I plan to write more about #alamw14 ALA Council I later, but because I pledged to keep you up to date on Council Resolutions and explain my votes, I thought I’d post something reasonably quick now.
This was my very first Council session. When the meeting started, there were three Resolutions on our Agenda:
- Resolution on Electronic Communications for ALA Council, ALA Councilors John Sandstrom and Lauren Comito,
- Resolution to Improve Member Access to ALA Governing Information, ALA Councilors Gina Persichini and Suzanne Sager,
- Resolution on Whistleblower Edward Snowden ALA Councilors Diedre Conkling and Jane Glasby,
The Snowden resolution was pulled off the floor by its sponsors and is supposed to reappear at ALA Council II. If there are no changes in the “Resolved” portions of the resolution, I plan to vote against it.
The resolution document takes no concrete action and the wording seems more appropriate to a tribute. I would enthusiastically vote in favor of a tribute to Edward Snowden despite the likelihood of losing ALA support from “National Security” inclined politicians. Freedom isn’t free and sometimes organizations have to take hits in the service of defending our rights.
Assuming the resolution was pulled for more work, I will review the revised text and review my decision not to vote for it.
The “Resolution on Electronic Communications for ALA Council” addresses the problem of where Council documents ought to be posted as we attempt to transition to a paperless organization. Some Councilors wish to have documents e-mailed, others want them posted on Connect, others on the ALA wiki, etc. I’d like to see them posted on Connect or the ALA wiki, but I’m not choosy about where it goes.
To me as a first term/first meeting councilor, it seems like the problem of where to post documents could be solved by a simple poll of Councilors. The resolution before us established a task force that would study all of the communication methods available to Council, the pros and cons of each and would provide an “interim” report at Annual 2014. It would then deliver a final report at Midwinter 2015.
This seemed like extreme overkill. After letting one person speak in favor of the motion and seeing no other speakers, I got up and spoke against the motion. The motion passed OVERWHELMINGLY, though I’m happy to say that fellow Alaskan Coral Sheldon-Hess joined me in voting against such a complicated solution. We were joined by a handful of others.
A few Councilors came to me after the vote and explained why they thought a task force was necessary. I respect their point of view but disagree. But what’s done is done and I wish the task force well.
The last resolution we took action on was “Resolution to Improve Member Access to ALA Governing Information.” Drafted by Gina Persichini, this resolution would extend the requirement to put links to minutes in a central place to divisions and roundtables. ALA Council already links to their their minutes in the Council Documents section of the ALA website.
During the discussion of this resolution, several Councilors came forward with questions of definitions and scope. Eventually a proposal was made to postpone consideration of this resolution to ALA Council II. I voted in favor of postponement, along with a strong majority of Councilors. I felt the issues people had with resolution wording were legitimate enough to warrant rewording by the author.
There were reports and other activity regarding Council I, but I’d like to wait until I’ve had more time to reflect on it.
Feel free to comment on the Snowden resolution if you like. I’ll do my best to review your comments before Council II, though this isn’t a poll and I can’t guarantee I’ll actually be able to read comments before Council II. It would help me if you’d let me know whether you’re from Alaska and/or an ALA member.
I would like to make it clear that I think the authors of the Snowden resolution have proved their case that ALA Council has honored whistleblowers by name in the past. My main problem is that I think resolutions should go beyond “recognize” and direct some sort of action. Like call upon President Obama to issue a pardon. Or call upon Russia and Ecuador to ensure Snowden’s safe passage to a country of permanent asylum.
If we simply want to recognize and commend Snowden for his courage and commitment to the US Constitution, then we ought to do so in a tribute.