Religion in American Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights | ALA Connect

The courts have consistently held that for the freedom of the press and speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to be fully meaningful, people must also have the right to receive information: that is, to read, view, hear or access what they choose, without any limitations imposed by the government. In addition, the First Amendment guarantees the right of individuals to believe and practice their religion or practice no religion at all (the “free exercise” clause) and prohibits government from establishing or endorsing a religion or religions (the “establishment” clause).  Thus the freedom of, for and from religion, are similarly guaranteed by the Constitution.

Source: Religion in American Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights | ALA Connect

This document from the Intellectual Freedom Committee of the American Library Association will be up from ALA Council discussion at the Annual Conference in Orlando in June. I think they struck a good balance.

I welcome comments from ALA members in general and from any members of the Alaska Library Association in particular.

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Copyright Abandonment – District Dispatch (ALA)

Putting all silliness aside, the real reason for this post is a reminder that copyright exists “to advance the progress of science and useful arts.” The Framers believed that by giving creators monopoly rights, they would more likely make their creative works and inventions available to the public thereby benefiting society as a whole. Therefore, exclusive rights should only be as broad as they need be to incentivize creation. It is as simple as that. During this multi-year copyright review, might the House Judiciary subcommittee consider tailoring back copyright for the greater good or will they abandon the public interest and leave it in the front yard?

Source: Copyright Abandonment – District Dispatch

 

Good words from Carrie Russell of the American Library Association Washington Office.

While there is a role for some kind of copyright monopoly, we all lose from the current term of Life plus 70 years. So much of our common culture is unmixable. Why do you think so many Hollywood movies are reboots of intellectual property they already own? There’s a reason for that.

 

 

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Referenda Roundup | American Libraries Magazine

Referenda Roundup

How states performed on library measures in 2015

By Kathy Rosa | January 4, 2016

During the 2015 election year, the ALA Office for Research and Statistics tracked 88 library referenda across 21 states. More than three-quarters of the measures passed, with 69 wins and only 18 losses (an additional one was advisory). Ohio and New York showed their strong support of libraries by passing 20 and 23 referenda respectively.

Source: Referenda Roundup | American Libraries Magazine

 

Some welcome news for libraries. 78% of library referenda PASSED last year. It’s great to see communities supporting their libraries with dollars in addition to the frequent kind words that they receive.

I’m also grateful to the Office for Research and Statistics for the American Library Association (ALA). Their research is one of many benefits from the dues of its members.

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These are the worst passwords of 2015 – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/01/19/people-are-still-using-these-terrible-passwords/?wpisrc=nl_draw2

For the third year in a row, 123456 is the most popular password. Followed by “password.”

Be better than this.

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Celebration Weeks & Promotional Events 2016-2017 | Conferences & Events

ALA’s offices and divisions sponsor a variety of library promotions throughout the year that libraries of all types all across the country can get involved with to promote libraries and create awareness of library issues. Check out the links below to see how you can bring these promotions to your library. The oldest of these events is National Library Week.

This page is compiled by the ALA Library. Please send any needed corrections to the ALA Library.

Source: Celebration Weeks & Promotional Events 2016-2017 | Conferences & Events

If your library wants to highlight national library themed observances, check out this calendar!

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Papers of Roman Totenberg Online | News Releases – Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has launched a new online presentation of 130 items documenting the life and career of virtuoso violinist and revered teacher Roman Totenberg (1911-2012).

The presentation—drawn from his personal papers, which were a gift to the Library from the Totenberg family—includes photographs, correspondence, video interviews, concert programs, publicity material and solo violin parts from core repertoire with Totenberg’s personal performance annotations. There is also a separate presentation of 61 woodblock prints, drawings and watercolors drawn from the Totenberg Papers that were created by his friend, Russian-born artist Ilka Kolsky.

Source: Papers of Roman Totenberg Online | News Releases – Library of Congress

Students of music and art might be interested in this online collection. I really appreciate the continuing stream of digitized material the Library of Congress makes available.

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#alamw16 #alacouncil – Short

ALA Midwinter 2016 was my fifth meeting as Alaska’s Chapter Councilor. It was the first ALA where I (and seemingly a third of Council) contended with colds. It was also the first ALA I’ve been at where all three of our formal Council sessions ended in less than an hour.

So I’ve decided to do one blog post covering highlights of all three sessions of Council. Nearly all documents from MW have now been posted to http://www.ala.org/aboutala/council-documents-midwinter-and-annual-conference-2016

Council I – Sunday 1/10/2016

Agenda

Reports Received

Review of Executive Board Actions Since the 2015
Annual Conference, Keith Michael Fiels,
ALA Executive Director and ALA Secretary of Council,
ALA CD#15-15.1_122815_inf

Implementation of the 2015 ALA Annual Conference
Council Actions, Keith Michael Fiels,
ALA Executive Director and ALA Secretary of Council,
ALA CD#9_121415-inf and ALA’s Green Efforts, CD#9.1_121815_inf

On a personal note, I liked that ALA did away with plastic badge holders for this conference. Read the implementation report for other measures towards greater sustainability.

Resolutions

Resolution Against Islamophobia, ALA CD#32_1716_act 10
Councilors Christian Zabriskie and Lauren Comito

Because Muslim patrons and staff alike have faced abuse simply for being Muslim, the movers of this resolution felt that a statement from ALA would be helpful. I and the rest of Council agreed and the resolution passed unanimously.  I encourage you to read the entire resolution. Here are the resolved clauses:

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA), on behalf of its members:

  1. recognizes the positive impact that Muslims have made in libraries and library science;
  1. recognizes the contributions that Muslims have made to information and knowledge in regards to the sciences, mathematics, philosophy, medicine and geography;
  1. stands with our colleagues, community members and users in speaking out against Islamophobia;
  1. deplores the hate speech being directed at Muslims from every level of society; and
  1. issues a public statement condemning Islamophobia and standing with our Muslim colleagues and users.

 

Council II – Monday 1/11/2016

Agenda (Word Doc)

Council II was short in part because both scheduled resolutions (conference accessibility and renaming “Illegal Aliens” to “Undocumented Immigrants” were pulled from the floor by their movers in response to feedback given at the previous night’s Council Forum. Both resolutions would return at Council III.

Reports Received

Policy Monitoring Committee CD#17
ALA Councilor Vicky Crone, Chair, ALA

This report contained two action items of a bookkeeping nature, which were accepted unanimously. The ALA Policy Monitoring Committee’s duty is to put approved documents and resolutions into the proper places in the ALA Policy Manual. It makes no policy of its own.

Constitution and Bylaws Committee CD#25
James R. Rettig, Chair,

This report had a single action item. To approve the ALA affiliation of the Joint Council of Librarians of Color. It passed unanimously with no discussion.

 

Committee on Organization, Susan Considine, Chair, ALA CD#27

This report had two action items. See report for details.

Item I – Name change for OLOS – Passed unanimously

Item 2 – GSLIS dean or director slot on accredition cmte – passed unanimously

I regarded both these action items as housekeeping, so voted yes.

 

International Relations Committee CD#18
Leslie B. Burger, Chair,

This report had no formal action items, though Chair Burger asked us to publicize the fact that the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) conference is in the United States this year. If you’d like to meet colleagues from around the world but find it difficult to leave the country, consider going to this conference in Columbus Ohio from August 13-19, 2016.

 

 

Freedom to Read Foundation Report CD#22
Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., FTRF President

President Jefferson briefly highlighted several cases that Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) is involved in, including a few surveillance cases. He also highlighted FTRF’s role in education through the Krug fund and introduced Jamie LaRue, new FTRF Executive Director.

FTRF sees several developing issues in the coming year: diversity, expression on college campuses, anti-islam and national security.

 

FY2017 Programmatic Priorities CD#13.1
Mario M. Gonzalez, ALA Treasurer

Although developed elsewhere with input from across ALA, Council is asked to provide formal approval of programmatic priorities used to develop the ALA Budget. This year’s approved programmatic priorities are:

  • Advocacy for Libraries and the Profession
  • Diversity
  • Education and Lifelong Learning
  • Equitable Access to Information and Library Services
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • Literacy
  • Organizational Excellence
  • Transforming Libraries

These priorities were accepted unanimously, as they usually are. I voted yes because it was a group effort and I found nothing objectionable about these priorities. I think ALA has more to do in the area of “Education and Lifelong Learning” for its members.

Council III – Tuesday 1/12/2016

Agenda (Not latest copy, but includes all but resolutions)

Memorials Made

Tributes Offered

 

Reports Received

Report of the Tellers, CD#11.2

Kent Slade, Chair

This report gave us the news that our new ALA Executive Board Members are John DeSantis, Karen Downing and Andrew Pace. Congratulations to our new board members and thanks to all candidates for running!

 

Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) CD#19
Pamela R. Klipsch, Chair,

IFC’s report carried two action items:

19.2 – User Generated Content in Library Discovery Systems

Voted yes – good job by IFC

19.1 – RESOLUTION FOR RESTORING CIVIL LIBERTIES AND OPPOSING MASS SURVEILLANCE

This was the return of two resolutions that had been jammed together in a train wreck at Annual 2015. I strenuously fought against returning the resolution to the committee I thought had gutted it in the first place. But I was wrong to do so. It wound up going to joint working group drawn from the Intellectual Freedom Committee, Committee on Legislation, AND the Social Responsibilities Roundtable. The result was a meaningful resolution that all could vote for in good conscience. It passed unanimously and I was happy to vote yes.

In addition to these two action items, IFC announced a new publication called “In Libris Libertas” which will replace the Intellectual Freedom Newsletter. Submissions are welcome.  They also announced the availability of several archived intellectual freedom webinars. See full report for details.

 

Committee on Legislation (COL) CD#20
Ann Dutton Ewbank, Chair,

Chair Ewbank began her presentation for thanking everyone in their efforts to ensure that the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has provisions to support school libraries. ALA’s District Dispatch had a 12/2/2015 article describing the benefits of ESSA for school libraries.

With the surveillance resolution having been taken care of with the IFC report, COL only had one action items for us:

CD#20.2 –  RESOLUTION HONORING JAMES H. BILLINGTON, LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS EMERITUS, JANUARY 2016

The full resolution can be read on page 8 of the Word file of the report. Among other things, I found the resolved problematic:

Extends its deepest appreciation to James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress Emeritus, for his extraordinary service to Congress, libraries and the public and for his nearly three decades of achievement.

I won’t deny that Dr. Billington has had some achievements at the Library of Congress and the ALA resolution correctly honors him for his role in American Memory (1990) and Thomas (1994). But “deepest appreciation” and “extraordinary service” are not appropriate words for a leader whose tenure led to continuous objective criticism of his management, reports of LC employees cheering upon his retirement announcement and that our deeply divided Congress agreed that future Librarians of Congress must be term limited.

I chose not to bring this up on the Council floor because while I believe COL was overgenerous in their praise for Dr. Billington, one has to choose one’s fights wisely and a few informal sounding outs of colleagues led me to believe fighting this relatively harmless (if somewhat fawning and misguided) resolution would be futile and be seen as ungracious. So I stayed silent but voted no. By a colleague’s count, mine was one of just a few hands that kept this tribute from being unanimous.

 

Resolutions

CD 31 – Resolution Concerning Accessibility of ALA Conferences and Meetings for People with Disabilities

CD 31 went through several changes as a result to heavy feedback during Council forums. The last version established a Conference Accessibility Task Force with the following charge:

1. Collect data from ALA Members and conference attendees with disabilities;
2. Establish methods for reviewing and addressing accessibility grievances;
3. Draft guidelines for review of contracts to ensure ADA and WCAG compliance;
4. Research best practices for accessibility training and makes a recommendation for implementation;
5. Report progress to Council during the ALA Annual Conference 2016 and ALA Midwinter 2017 and;
6. Make a final report to Council with recommendations during ALA Annual Conference 2017 in Chicago

Mostly supportive discussion. Passed nearly unanimously. I voted yes because there have been complaints about various accessibility issues during Conference that are not consistently addressed. I think establishing a task force is the bare minimum ALA can do.

 

CD 34 – Resolution on Replacing the Library of Congress Subject Heading “Illegal Aliens” with “Undocumented Immigrants”

This resolution asks the Library of Congress to reconsider their denial of a request to change the “Illegal Aliens” subject heading to “Undocumented Immigrants.”

Aside from a move that increases human dignity, the switch would align the Library of Congress with other national libraries like the National Library of Education and the National Library of Medicine, which use the term “Undocumented Immigrants” in their subject headings.

Discussion was universally positive. All but a very few voted in favor of this resolution, as did I.

 

CD 35 – Resolution Supporting the 2015 Advocacy Implementation

 

This resolution asked all chapters and subunits of ALA to join Big ALA in carrying out the “2015 Advocacy Implementation Plan” in hopes that speaking with one voice will help everyone’s advocacy efforts.

I was not able to find the final version online, but a Council colleague found a draft version from April 2015. I abstained at the vote because while I felt what we were being asked to do was vague I didn’t feel like casting a vote against advocacy. Once I’ve refreshed my memory on the plan, I may have a different opinion. I will also be taking it to the Alaska Library Association E-Council for consideration.

And that’s what I did at my last Midwinter as Alaska’s Chapter Councilor. My final meeting as Alaska’s Chapter Councilor will be at Annual in Orlando.

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