Thursday, July 7, 2011

ALA Annual 2011

 ALA Annual – New Orleans 2011 Council Notes
The American Library Association Annual Meeting for 2011 was held in warm and wet New Orleans from June 24-June 28.  Nearly 20,000 people attended, which is down a bit from last year, but I was still able to see a variety of folks from Oregon libraries there.

Council meetings began on June 26.  ALA President, Roberta Stevens appointed several task forces during her tenure.  We heard back from the Future Perfect Task Force, which was tasked with looking at “blue sky” options for the way ALA Council is constructed and managed.  While many of their ideas were intentionally provocative, their larger idea was to increase the broader ALA membership’s level of participation and make sure a wide variety of voices are being heard in Council.  There were a variety of responses to their proposals, but hopefully some of their work will be incorporated into future planning.

Another task force that reported out was the Council Effectiveness Task Force (you may notice a high degree of ALA Council introspection here).  They included several resolutions intended to make Council meetings more productive, such as limiting the number of reports given and including time for Council to discuss “hot topics” type issues as they arise.  All of the Council Effectiveness resolutions were (eventually, and with several modifications) passed.

In addition to hearing reports from several committees and task forces, a wide array of resolutions were discussed and passed.  Read on for more details (sorry I didn’t capture the fun of Sturgis Rules of Order included in the passing of these resolutions).

Resolution – The “Out of School Time” Library Programs resolution was passed, which encourages all libraries and library organizations to talk about the value of libraries as an “Out of School Time” resource to legislative bodies that will be providing funding to these types of programs.

Resolution – The resolution regarding simplifying voting rules and the appointment process for the ALA-level (i.e. not ACRL or RUSA, etc…) intern program was passed. 

Resolution – A resolution was introduced and passed that encourages libraries to incorporate Self-Service Holds privacy practices.  The resolution encourages libraries to endeavor to protect patron identity by adopting practices and procedures that conceal the library user’s personally identifiable information in connection with borrowed materials.

Resolution  - The resolution expressing opposition to the USA Patriot Act and the use of National Security Letters that could result in violating reader privacy was passed.

Resolution – The Legislative Committee sponsored resolutions (that passed) related to government funding.  First they urge the GPO to provide no-fee permanent public access to government information by fully funding the GPO appropriations.  They ask that funding be reinstored for Statistical Abstracts from the US Census Bureau.  They ask for an increase funding for improving literacy through school libraries program by increasing funding for the LSTA at $232M for FY 2012.  Finally they call for including libraries in the Workforce Investment Act.

Resolution – Finally Council endorses the UN Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom and expression. 

Oregon’s own Molly Raphael has now begun her tenure as ALA President, so the upcoming year should be an exciting one for Council!

Respectfully submitted,
Hannah Gascho Rempel
Oregon’s Representative to ALA

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

ALA Midwinter 2011

This was my first ALA as a member of ALA Council (which is where I represent Oregon as OLA's rep to ALA). There are three main Council meetings where councilors bring forward resolutions and hear about the business of running ALA. I've attached more detailed notes from these meetings, but overall it was really refreshing to see how different sides could really work together toward an improved compromise (somewhat different than what we sometimes observe in national politics).

The main (and most scintillating) resolutions that were addressed looked at Domestic Partner Benefits in library job ads, publishing a Do Not Patronize list of hotels used at ALA conferences, and intellectual freedom and how the federal government handles these issues (initiated by what had been happening with WikiLeaks in December).

Most of my time was spent in the Convention Center, but I did get outside to enjoy the lovely San Diego weather (mostly on walks to my hotel). If you would like any other details of my time in San Diego, or have questions about what ALA Council is and how the OLA rep fits in, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.