ALA Midwinter 2011 – Council Session II

John Moorman, Chair of the Policy Monitoring Committee, presented his report and stated that the PMC is working on revising and codifying the Policy Manual.  Additionally, he presented motions on the following:  change text in ALA Policy 54.16; change text in ALA Policy 7.1.1; insert text in ALA Policy 53.1.23; and change in ALA Policy 6.2.1.  All motions reflected changes in text made necessary by actions taken at the 2010 Annual Meeting.  All motions passed.  He also reported that the Committee is considering the ambiguity of the term “Headquarters” and will continue to do so once the Constitution and Bylaws Committee has completed its review of the ALA Bylaws and Constitution.

Jim Rettig, Chair of the Committee on Organization, presented his report.  He brought three action items to Council.  The first was to change the name of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,and Transgendered Round Table to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table.  Council approved.  The second was to modify the composition of the Web Advisory committee to add as an ex officio member of WAC the chair of the ASCLA Accessibility Assembly.  Council approved.  The third was to discontinue the American Library Association-Association of American Publishers Joint Committee in favor of a more workable system of maintaining an important ongoing inter-association relationship. 

Kent Oliver, Chair of the Freedom to Read Foundation, presented his report.  He stated that the FTRF serves as the First Amendment defense arm of the American Library Association.  He reported on two recent victories for the freedom to read: Powell’s Books v. Kroger, a lawsuit challenging two new “harmful to minors” statutes passed by the Oregon legislature; and a second lawsuit that was filed against the State of Alaska, which challenges a newly adopted Alaska statute that criminalizes the distribution of certain material to minors under the age of 16 either on the Internet or in person, such as in a library or a bookstore.  He also reported that the FTRF made the first grants from the Judith Krug fund.  Developing issues for the FTRF include the recent WikiLeaks controversy, e-books and privacy, and issues raised by new laws regulating obscenity and recent obscenity prosecutions. 

Maggie Farrell and Vivian Pisano, Co-Chairs of the Presidential Task Force on Traditional Cultural Expression, presented their report.  This task force was faced with synthesizing some very complex issues, including copyright, cultural property, traditional cultural expressions, and traditional groups.  The co-chairs reported that although the majority of the TF members participated in discussions related to the report, and most of them contributed to the report’s content, there was not unanimous support for all statements contained in the report and there remain reservations by task force members for aspects of the report. 

Michael Porter, Co-Chair of the Presidential Task Force on Equitable Access to Electronic Content, presented his report. He stated that the task will emphasize that the ALA at a national level needs to play an active role in defining an e-content marketplace model that will work for libraries and will also ensure that the mission of libraries is maintained.  Key discussion items will be library lending, accessibility of content, preservation, and ideas for actionable projects in which the library community can engage.  Task force members have agreed to conduct an environmental scan of library and the e-content market. 

Jim Neal, ALA Treasurer, presented his report and stated that the result of the ALA audit was an unqualified opinion of no material weaknesses and no significant deficiencies, the best possible result.  He reported that the 2010 financial situation for ALA is improved over 2009.  Although revenue is down, the Association has made the appropriate adjustments to expenses.  ALA total revenues equaled $52,489,065 and total expenses equaled $50,208,833.   Net assets are up to $29, 663,464.  Dues were on target while revenue from publishing improved.  He also identified a number of future issues for ALA budget planning, including: investing in technology (new systems and services); rethinking the role of Midwinter meetings; continuing to migrate to electronic publishing distribution and business models; sustaining and growing membership; and developing new products and services.

He also presented the FY2012 programmatic priorities that are in line with the 2015 ALA strategic plan, which Council approved:

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

Camila Alire, Immediate Past President of ALA, presented a nomination for ALA Honorary Membership.  This is the highest honor that the Association can bestow on an individual.  Honorary membership may be conferred on a living citizen of any country whose contribution to librarianship or a closely related field is so outstanding that it is of lasting importance to the advancement of the whole field of library service.  The nominee was Yohannes Gebregeorgis, librarian and author.  He was nominated in recognition of his founding of Ethiopia Reads, a nonprofit organization that is establishing children’s libraries in Ethiopia and publishing bilingual and trilingual children’s books.  Council approved the designation of Honorary Member for Mr. Gebregeorgis.

Council revisited the Resolution on Notifying Conference and Meeting Attendees of Hotels Named on “Do Not Patronize” Lists.  Resolved that the American Library Association directs the Executive Director: to the extent known at the initial announcement of conference registration and prior to the conference taking place, will inform attendees of conferences and exhibitions if a hotel is on the “Do Not Patronize” list of the local labor body during an ALA event, or is the object of a boycott because of the unfair labor practices of the hotel.  ALA’s legal counsel shared comments on antitrust law.  Council engaged in a lengthy discussion.  Action on this resolution was postponed to Council III.

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