Iowa Library Association Meeting

I attended two sessions at the Iowa Library Association annual meeting in Coralville in early October.  The first was by Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.  Merrill spoke convincingly and passionately about the Writers Workshop program which has been in place for over 30 years.  He added one tidbit which I thought was a sign of the times.  When prospective writers send in their portfolios for review to see if they will be invited to participate in the Workshop, a panel of reviewers comes to an independent judgment about the worthiest candidates.  Then the list is sent to the State Department for their review to determine who will be awarded visas.  Their decision is binding and the Workshop personnel cooperate fully.  So, politics is very evident in the decision-making.  The second session focused on graduate library and information science education at the University of Iowa.  News from them is that they are now offering a program to educate school librarians which previously had been done only at UNI in the state of Iowa.  Over 100 school libraries in Iowa currently operate without a certified school librarian so the University of Iowa is stepping up to provide a needed service.

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