#alaac16 Council I: Age of Referrals

The American Library Association 2016 Annual Conference is my last as Alaska’s Chapter Councilor. After the end of this conference, Alaska will be represented by Steven Hunt of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. But until then, I’m still blogging Council Sessions:

For this and other Council sessions, I’m only going to do highlights. If you’d like to see the full agenda we worked through, see the full official agenda.


Reports Made

Council received the following reports during Council I:

  • Review of Executive Board Actions since the 2016 Midwinter Meeting, Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director and Secretary to the ALA Council, ALA CD#15.1-15.2
  • Implementation of the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting Council Actions, Keith Michael Fiels,  ALA Executive Director and Secretary to the ALA Council, ALA CD#9.2

One of the actions in CD 9.2 was the implementation of the anti Islamophobia resolution we passed at Midwinter:

Document Number/Title of Document: ALA CD#32_1716_Act, Resolution Against Islamophobia.

 Implementation Action:  Council ADOPTED ALA CD#32_1716_Act, Resolution Against Islamophobia, as amended to read:  “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;
  2. recognizes the contributions that Muslims have made to information and knowledge in regards tofields such as the sciences, mathematics, philosophy, medicine and geography;
  3. stands with our colleagues, community members and users in speaking out against Islamophobia;
  4. deplores the hate speech being directed at Muslims from every level of society; and
  5. issues a public statement condemningthat condemns Islamophobia and stands with our Muslim colleagues and users.”

Response:  The resolution was sent to the following organizations:  Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); Council on American-Islamic Relations; Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago; and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.


Resolution Activity

The agenda called on us to act on the following resolutions:

  • Resolution Calling Upon Libraries to Build More Inclusive Communities,
    ALA CD#44_62516_ACT
  • Resolution on Gun Violence Affecting Libraries, Library Workers,
    and Library Patrons, ALA CD#45_62516_ACT
  • Resolution Concerning the Creation of the Deaf Culture Digital Library, ALA CD#46_62516_ACT
  • Resolution in Support of the Professional Cataloging Processes and Determinations of the Library of Congress, ALA CD#39_6816_ACT
  • Resolution Concerning the Role of Chapters in the American Library Association, ALA CD#40_Revised 62416_ACT


Resolution Calling Upon Libraries to Build More Inclusive Communities – In my view this was a resolution with a big heart and not much in the way of concrete actions. There were many enthusiastic endorsements from various ALA units. It passed pretty much unanimously. I voted yes even though I’m not much for resolution without actions. It’s hard to be against inclusiveness and I appreciated the spirit of the resolution.

Resolution on Gun Violence Affecting Libraries, Library Workers, and Library Patrons – The mover of this resolution requested referral to a working group of Committee on Legislation (COL) and Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC). The committee chairs promised to have a draft back prior to Council III. I was skeptical, but in my tenure on Council, I’ve been only too happy to refer gun control resolutions to any committee that will have them. I’m personally for regulating guns including magazine limits, liability insurance and mandatory waiting periods. BUT, as the Alaska Chapter Councilor, I have to think about whether there is consensus and/or passion among our membership on a given issue. In the area of guns, there is no consensus on gun restrictions – many Alaska library staff own guns and aren’t interested in more regulation.

I was supportive of one provision of the resolution – to call on Congress to lift the ban on research into gun violence by the CDC. That’s an intellectual freedom issue. Also, it forces us to debate in a vacuum, which is never helpful. I hope that comes back, preferably as a separate resolution.

Resolution Concerning the Creation of the Deaf Culture Digital Library – Mover requested a referral to ASCLA and COL. While I generally don’t like to refer resolutions, I almost always defer to the mover. So did the rest of Council as this passed unanimously.

Resolution in Support of the Professional Cataloging Processes and Determinations of the Library of Congress – The Committee on Legislation brought this resolution forward outside of their normal report process. This resolution requests Congress to leave cataloging to the catalogers at the Library of Congress by not dictating what subject headings may or may not be used to describe undocumented immigrants. I was happy to join what appeared to be a unanimous vote on this resolution.

Resolution Concerning the Role of Chapters in the American Library Association – This resolution had been brought forward after a number of medium to high profile incidents where state Chapters felt like their voices weren’t being considered at the Big ALA level. The aim of the resolution was to better coordinate Chapter-ALA communications and activities. The first draft was extremely controversial and although I am a Chapter Councilor myself, I opposed the resolution on the Council Mailing list. But I was supportive of a version that removed the parts that made it seem like a Chapter takeover of ALA that would have made it even more expensive to participate.

But, we were not to discuss this resolution at Council I because the mover asked it to be moved to Council II. This was accepted by unanimous consent.

Libraries Transform Discussion

After we completed this agenda, all of us went back to library school in order to have small group discussions on ALA’s Libraries Transform initiative. I liked the questions that were asked and will include them in a future post on Libraries Transform. If you don’t want to read that post, or if I don’t get around to writing it, my TL:DR version is:

  • Libraries Transform is well intentioned.
  • Libraries Transform has great promotional materials that should be used by many more libraries
  • Libraries Transform has made almost no real headway in the library community by ALA’s own measurements, which fail to compare numbers of library signups/social media messages to either the number of US Libraries or to volume of social media messages generated by other types of campaigns.
  • After a year, it’s mostly librarians talking “libraries transform”
  • Like the Declaration for the Right to Libraries before it, Libraries Transform has no action calls. Once people realize that “libraries transform” what should they do?



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