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Don Allgeier: Candidate for Core President-Elect

Don Allgeier: Candidate for Core President-Elect

We asked candidates for Core President-Elect to answer some questions before the spring election opens on March 11. Voting will close on April 3, with results announced on April 8.

The person elected will serve one year each as President-Elect (2024–2025), President (2025–2026), and Immediate Past-President (2026–2027).

Don is the Director of Tillamook County Library in Tillamook, OR.

  1. What has Core brought to your career, and what would you bring to Core were you elected to this position?
    Core has helped me to be better engaged professionally through the American Library Association. In my career, I have benefited from being a part of professional associations, but I have often felt lost in the scale of the national associations. Core has provided a framework where I have been able to connect my interests in the administration of libraries and develop connections with other library professionals.
    If elected, I would grow and increase awareness of the division. We can continue to build the momentum created in the first years of the division by continually evolving and being responsive to members’ needs and interests.
  2. What does equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) mean to you personally and what should it mean for the Core division professionally?
    Equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility are crucial to ensuring our professional organization is responsive and relevant to our members’ needs. EDIA has been an essential way for me to grow and learn about how privileges and barriers can shape the systems we are a part of, personally and professionally. While I expect to always be in a place of learning about the causes and effects of inequity, I hope that I can recognize when the systems that we are a part of are not working for someone and to humbly seek better ways.
    As both a system and a community of people, Core must continually examine itself to understand how biases and power dynamics are at play in the way we exist together professionally. That work needs to be done with intention and be considered throughout the organization. The Core Board of Directors must continue to support the work of those committees and interest groups that focus on equity in our division and the overall profession.
  3. Member engagement is critical for the life and health of the Core division. How do you plan to sustain and grow Core’s membership?
    Member engagement and growth is a key aspect of Core’s strategic plan. As our membership grows, the wealth of knowledge and experience we have to offer will grow. We can sustain our membership by regularly assessing their needs and acting on that input to better the division.
    We can grow our organization through targeted membership drives that allow us to speak to what truly interests people about our division and show that Core is a place for everyone. We also need to be specific in creating membership drives that focus on communities and parts of the profession that are currently under-represented. If we grow in this way, it will help us flourish in creating a more diverse organization.
  4. What is one thing you will do to make Core more welcoming to new members?
    People feel welcome when they can make personal connections. I would like to find more ways to create opportunities for those connections to blossom. One way that I would do that is to create a monthly virtual get-together for professional social engagement and to hear the latest on what is happening in Core. This would be a way to engage more new members as well as those curious about the division.
  5. Core is the product of a recent merger of multiple divisions. Is there one aspect of the division you believe could benefit from better cohesion, and how might you go about fostering improvement in that area?
    We should always seek more cohesion within our division. One way to accomplish this is by making sure members understand what is happening in the different sections of Core. I think that the section leader meetings have been good for this. If elected, I would also highlight the work of different sections as part of my overall communication strategy.
  6. What’s one thing you think Core is doing particularly well and that you would intend to support or enhance?
    I have been really impressed by the programming that Core has produced for both Core Forum and other venues. I would like to understand how the Core Board of Directors can support the continuation and extension of member programming. This work is at the heart of engagement and professional growth for our members. While I have ideas about how we might approach this, it will be vital for me to listen to the needs of the people and committees creating this work.
  7. What’s one thing that you think the Core division should change?
    The division is still young. Growth and adjustment are natural parts of this phase of the division’s life and something that should be embraced so that we remain fresh and relevant. I believe the work in the coming years should continue to look at what we are doing and how we are doing it. Does the way we are doing the work serve us, and if not, what can we do to create new ways of approaching that work? We also need to continually ask if we are creating doors or barriers for others to join our efforts.
  8. What do you believe would benefit most from active state/national/international advocacy from the Core division specifically?
    Our profession is in a difficult position. When we feel threatened, it may be easy to believe in binary choices that divide the world simplistically and prevent us from operating effectively. I do not have an answer for the best way forward but we must be steadfast in supporting our members and supporting libraries when they are under attack. We must not allow the cultural movements that seek to erode efforts for greater equity lessen our resolve to be strong in supporting all people who come to our profession or into our libraries. We are in a unique position to combat polarization. Our society will not heal unless we find new ways to connect and have healthy conversations about the issues that affect our lives. We face a world where the growth of online engagement and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have accentuated bitter divisions in the communities we serve. Those divisions are the greatest threat to libraries that I have seen in my lifetime. While we must defend libraries and librarianship, that will not be enough to change the course of events. We must find ways to help our communities heal and change.
    The other aspect of the realities we are operating in is the effect on library staff. The realities of the national housing crisis, opioid epidemic, and increased public violence has created more stress and danger for the people that make library services available to their communities. We need to grow the tools and resources available to library staff in contending with these issues and developing strategies for a safer work environment. I am particularly interested in what the Security in Libraries Committee will do in the coming years and how I can support that work.
  9. What is one thing you want to make happen while on the Core Board?
    If elected, I will develop a communication strategy that focuses on engaging current members, creating opportunities for connection, and growing membership.
  10. How will you pursue collaboration between sections of Core, and perhaps even with other ALA divisions?
    I will continue to support collaboration through section leader meetings. I will grow awareness of the work of the different sections and committees through my communication. Collaboration within the division is an essential function of the Core Board of Directors and division-level committees that are well-placed to identify opportunities for working together. If elected, I will identify opportunities to collaborate with other divisions to develop programming, resources, and events.

Don’s Personal Statement

Hello. I am running for Core President‐elect because I believe in the mission of the division and the importance of library leadership, infrastructure, and futures. I have worked in public libraries for almost 20 years, starting on the front lines shelving materials and progressing into circulation, reference, and management. Today, I work as a director for a rural county library system on the coast of Oregon. I love my job because it fuses together the work of directly serving the community with strategic planning. That connection between the work and the strategy of an organization is vital and must be cultivated with intention. As Core President‐elect, I would seek to continue developing the division with an eye toward prioritizing efforts that will enhance Core as a welcoming, connected, and inclusive organization. I am committed to the current Core strategic plan for increasing member value, career‐building, recognition, and organizational alignment. These goals need to be informed by the voices of membership both current and prospective to find their best expression. If elected, I will be committed to listening to member voices and using that engagement to support the work of our division. Thank you for your consideration, and I hope that we get a chance to connect in the months ahead.

Thank you, Don!