Archive for January, 2014

ALA Midwinter 2013 – Tuesday, Jan. 29 – Council Session III

Barbara Stripling, President of ALA, presented Memorials and Tributes.  Memorials for Augusta “Gussie” Clark, Major Owens, Nasser Sharify, and Bohdan Stephan Wynar  were acknowledged, as were Tributes in honor of  Giovanni’s Room Bookstore and Owner Ed Hermance and Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV.

John Sandstrom, Chair of the Tellers, reported on the results of the Executive Board election.  With 138 ballots cast, Peter Hepburn, Gina Persichini, Gail Schlachter, and Mike Marlin were elected.

J. Douglas Archer, Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, presented the Committee’s report.  He highlighted several items from his written report.  The IFC  is revising the Intellectual Freedom manual and will release the 9th edition soon. Additionally, a revised privacy toolkit will be available on the web by March 1.  The IFC has added 3 members from the Committee on Legislation to the IFC privacy group so that the two committees can work more closely together.  A new ALA award has been planned- the Lem0ny Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity.  Additionally, he announced that Banned Books Week 2014 will take place September 22-28, and Choose Privacy Week will take place May 1-7, 2014.

He presented a Resolution on Expanding Federal Whistleblower Protections.

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA) on behalf of its members:
  1. urges Congress to amend the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 to extend existing legal protections for whistleblowers to employees of all national security and intelligence agencies, and to non-federal employees working for civilian contractors; 
  2. urges Congress to establish a secure procedure by which all federal employees, and all non-federal employees working for civilian contractors, may safely share evidence they have discovered of fraud, waste, or abuse with the appropriate oversight committees of Congress, and directly with the press and the American people, with the protection of legally enforceable rights against retaliation or prosecution; 
  3. commends the courage and perseverance of federal employees, and non-federal employees working for civilian contractors, who risk their livelihoods, their reputations and their liberty to expose evidence of government fraud, waste, or abuse.

Council approved the resolution.

Vivian Wynn, Chair of the Committee on Legislation, presented the Committee’s report. 

She presented a Resolution on Curbing Government Surveillance and Restoring Civil Liberties.

Resolved, that the American Library Association
  1. calls upon Congress to pass legislation supporting the reforms embodied in H.R. 3361/S. 1599 as introduced, and upon the President to sign such legislation; and
  2. commends Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman James Sensenbrenner for sponsoring the USA FREEDOM Act, the 143 legislators in the Senate and the House who have co-sponsored it, and the 85 organizations that have endorsed it, as of January 27, 2014.

Council first approved item 1 of the resolution and next approved item 2.

Vivian next presented a Resolution on Maintaining Government Websites During a Government Shutdown.

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA):
  1. urges the President to direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Department of Justice (DoJ) to develop guidance to federal agencies stating that, in the event of a government shutdown or other emergency, continued access by the public to essential information on agency websites is an “excepted” activity that would warrant the retention of paid personnel or the obligation of funds to assure access; 
  2. urges the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in the absence of such a guideline, to direct each agency to communicate the status during a shutdown of its website to the Government Printing Office (GPO) or another appropriate agency, which would widely communicate and update information about which agencies are maintaining their websites, which are updating them and which are closing them; 
  3. urges OMB to require each agency to determine what information is essential and should be available if a government shutdown or emergency should occur. For such an occurrence, develop a contingency plan for continued public access to information; 
  4. urges OMB to direct agencies to work with GPO in hosting their online publications and data in the Federal Digital System (FDSys) or other publicly accessible means; 
  5. urges GPO to expand its automated harvesting of Federal agencies’ websites and to redirect persistent uniform resource locators (PURLs) to GPO-harvested copies rather than agency websites; and 
  6. urges that GPO or another appropriate agency be directed to maintain a clearinghouse of web pages that provide alternate ways of accessing government information.

Council approved the resolution with the addition of the word “paid” in the first resolved clause.

Vivian addressed the issue of net neutrality and stated that the COL is planning to allow some time to pass before determining a course of action.  The court decision was announced

Vivian closed her report by acknowledging that 2014 will be the 40th anniversary of the National Library Legislative Day.  NLLD will be held May 5-6 in Washington, D.C.

Eric Suess, ALA Awards Committee Member, presented a request from the committee for approval of the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, a $3,000 award to the honoree with up to $1,000 to cover travel expenses and $1,000 for administrative costs.  The description is:

It is of the opinion of Lemony Snicket, author, reader, and alleged malcontent, that librarians have suffered enough. Therefore he is establishing an annual prize honoring a librarian who has faced adversity with integrity and dignity intact. The prize will be a generous amount of cash from Mr. Snicket’s disreputable gains, along with an odd, symbolic object from his private stash, and a certificate, which may or may not be suitable for framing. It is Mr. Snicket’s hope, and the ALA’s, that the Snicket Prize will remind readers everywhere of the joyous importance of librarians and the trouble that is all too frequently unleashed upon them.

Council approved establishing the prize.

Barbara Stripling called attention to written reports submitted by the Committee on Professional Ethics and the International Relations Committee.

Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director of ALA, announced that Midwinter attendance totaled 12,207.


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ALA Midwinter 2013 – Monday, Jan. 28 – Council Session II

Mario Gonzalez, ALA Treasurer, presented the FY2015 programmatic priorities that are in line with the 2015 ALA strategic plan.  They are also a guide in the preparation of the FY2015 budget.  Council endorsed the following:

• 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

Bill Turner, Chair of the Policy Monitoring Committee, presented his report.  Based on a review of Council actions at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference, the Committee found one item that required Council action – the resolution on Prayer in ALA Meetings.  The Committee moved to remove secondary phrasing from the resolution.  The original version was stated as:  “The American Library Association, as a secular institution in a country that is increasingly diverse religiously, refrains from having public prayers during its meetings.  Moments of silence may be observed during meetings.”  The recommended revision was stated as:  “The American Library Association refrains from having public prayers during its meetings.  Moments of silence may be observed during meetings.”  Council approved the revised wording.

Julius Jefferson, Jr., Chair of the Freedom to Read Foundation, presented his report.  He highlighted three items from his report.  He first reviewed the status of the situation regarding the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies program.  The program was closed after the State Superintendent of Instruction issued a notice stating that the program was in violation of AZ Revised Statute.  Students filed in the program filed suit in federal district court.  That court subsequently dismissed a free association claim but did address the students’ remaining First Amendment claims.  The court determined that only one provision was unconstitutional and upheld the remaining provisions of the statute.  The students have appealed the court’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  FTRF filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the student plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights and also argues that the AZ statute is unconstitutional due to its overly broad approach.  More information on the case is available at  He also reported on the growing movement to require K-12 teachers and librarians to “red flag” books for “problematic” content.  Finally, he shared that the FTRF Trustees approved two action items that were designed to regularize the Foundation’s use of interest income from its endowment.  He also encouraged all in attendance to join the FTRF for the cost of $35.00+ for personal members and $100.00+ for organizations.  

Council considered the following Resolution to Improve Member Access to ALA Unit Governing Information, which was a revised version.

Resolved, the American Library Association (ALA) 
1. Adjust policy to include, “the governing bodies of ALA Divisions and Round Tables shall make drafts of their meeting minutes or other reports of actions taken available via the unit’s ALA-hosted web page within 30 days of the meeting;”
2. Adjust policy to include, “the governing bodies of ALA Divisions and Round Tables shall make final versions of meeting minutes or other reports of actions taken available via the unit’s ALA-hosted web page within 30 days of their approval;”
3. Require governing bodies to maintain an easily-available historical record of these meetings and action reports; and
4. Exempt sub-units of the divisions and sub-units of round tables from the policy.

Council approved the resolution.

Council next considered a Resolution on Whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA) recognizes Edward Snowden, as a whistleblower who, in releasing information that documents the mass surveillance programs of the National Security Agency, has performed a valuable service in launching a dialogue about transparency, government surveillance, and overclassification.

After much discussion, Council did not approve the resolution.

Council referred a resolution to allow programs at ALA Midwinter Meetings to the Budget Analysis and Review Committee because of the financial implications of the proposal.

Council next approved adding an agenda item, a discussion of the status of a resolution on the digitization of U.S. government documents.  This resolution was referred to the Committee on Legislation at the 2013 Annual Conference with a request to report back to Council at the 2014 Midwinter Conference.  COL  did  not do so.  Council approved a motion that COL report back at the 2014 Annual Conference on the resolution on digitization of U.S. government documents.

Maureen Sullivan, Immediate Past President, presented a nomination for honorary membership in ALA – Patricia Glass Schuman.  Council approved the membership.

Keith Michael Fiels announced a current total registration of 12,189 at the 2014 Midwinter Conference.

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ALA Midwinter 2014 — Sunday, Jan. 26 — ALA-APA Council Meeting

Mario Gonzalez, ALA-APA Treasurer, presented his report.  He reviewed the mission of the ALA-APA. It provides national certification for library workers via the Certified Public Library Administrator Program and the Library Support Staff Certification Program.  It also advocates for salaries and training for library workers and it provides reports and analyses via salary surveys.  At the end of 2013, revenues were down just over $31,000 from 2012, and expenses were down $3,199 over 2012.   Additionally ALA-APA made an interest payment of $6,300 to help pay off the loan from ALA.

Keith Michael Fiels, ALA-APA Executive Director, introduced Lorelle Swader, ALA-APA Director, who made a brief report on recent ALA-APA office activities.  The Certified Public Library Administrator program currently has 112 active candidates and 75 graduates. Graduates of the program will be eligible to receive credits toward re-certification for attending the 2014 PLA National Conference in Indianapolis.  The Library Support Staff Certification  (LSSC) program currently has 373 active candidates and 75 graduates.  The Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Oklahoma Library Association Board have approved the LSSC Program as meeting requirements of the Oklahoma Public Librarian Certification Program at the highest level.  Oklahoma LSSC candidates who complete LSSC approved courses will receive credit toward Oklahoma certification.  The ALA-APA salary survey normally is published in even-numbered years and the newest edition was scheduled for publication in 2014.  Publication has been put on hold due to budgetary constraints within the overall ALA budget. Tuesday, April 15 will be National Library Workers Day. Libraries will have an opportunity to nominate a library worker star.  The Salaries and Status of Library Workers committee has updated the Pay Equity Bibliography.  It is a resource aimed at helping librarians and library workers understand what they are worth and then use the information to advocate for better pay in an effort to close the wage gap. 

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ALA Midwinter 2014 ALA Council I – Sunday, Jan. 26

Courtney Young, Chair of the 2013-2014 Committee on Committees (and ALA President-Elect), presented the 2014 nominations for election to the ALA Executive Board.  Two councilors are to be elected for three-year terms from the following candidates:  Peter Hepburn, Head Librarian, College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, California; Gina Persichini, Networking Consultant, Idaho Commission for Libraries, Boise, Idaho; Alexandra Rivera, Student Enrichment & Community Outreach Librarian, University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Gail Schlachter, President, Reference Service Press, El Dorado Hills, California; Aaron Dobbs, Systems & Electronic Resources Librarian, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania; Mike Marlin, Director, Braille and Talking Book Library, California State Library, Sacramento, California.

Keith Michael Fiels, ALA Executive Director, reviewed Executive Board actions since the 2013 Annual Meeting.  Major actions included authorizing the use of a statement on ALA conference conduct, which is in accordance with existing ALA policy and existing legal frameworks, for use in conjunction with ALA conferences; upholding the Committee on Accreditation’s decision to withdraw accreditation from the MLS program at Southern Connecticut State University; and approving the continuation of a 10% voluntary salary reduction for the Executive Director and Senior Associate Executive Director for fiscal year 2014 with the proviso that these reductions will be restored if there is a positive year-end financial outcome and that no salary reductions will be included in the fiscal year 2015 budget.  The text of the Statement on ALA Conference Conduct is available at  Keith also reported on the implementation of ALA Council actions taken at the 2013 Annual Conference.

Sari Feldman and Robert Wolven, Co-Chairs of the Digital Content and Libraries Working Group, presented a brief update on the work of the group and on future directions.  Key activities included an ALA leadership visit to New York and an ALA Virtual Town Hall Meeting.  One of the largest challenges regarding the Big Five publishers remains pricing, which the members of the Working Group continue to believe is too high.  Now in its third year, the Working Group is re-examining priorities and identifying other topics over which the group may be able to have some influence.  Streaming video particularly comes to mind.

Council next considered the following Resolution on Electronic Communications for ALA Council:

Resolved, that
(1) The ALA President shall appoint a task force of the Council to work with ALA HQ staff to
a. Examine and revise as needed the guidelines for the Council email lists and electronic communications,
b. Determine when various Council Documents should be available to the membership-at-large and the public-at-large,
c. Determine what options are available for sharing Council Documents and what are the capabilities, requirements, and consequences of each option,
d. Make recommendations to Council regarding which option(s) should be adopted,
e. Determine a schedule for re-examining these issues.
(2) The task force shall prepare an interim report for Annual 2014
(3) The task force shall prepare a final report and recommendations for Midwinter 2015.

Council approved the resolution.

 Council next considered the Resolution to Improve Member Access to ALA Unit Governing Information:

Resolved, the American Library Association (ALA) shall change Policy A.7.4 to included, All governing bodies of ALA Divisions and Roundtables link their meeting minutes from the unit’s ALA-hosted web page within 30 days of approval of the minutes.

Council approved postponing discussion to the second session of Council.

The Resolution on Whistleblower Edward Snowden was referred by the mover and seconder to the second session of Council.

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ALA 2014 Midwinter Conference – ALA Council/Executive Board/Membership Information Session – Saturday, January 25

ALA President’s Report – Barbara Stripling

Barbara updated the audience on the Declaration for the Right to Libraries.  Signatures have been gathered at 26 state conferences and book festivals, at libraries across the country, and at national and international events.  The signed Declarations will be presented at a ceremony during Legislative Day in May.  She also highlighted the Summit on the Future of Libraries, a national invitational summit will be held in May 2014 in Washington, D.C.  She reported that ALA is developing a multi-faceted school library advocacy campaign to address the national crisis in school libraries.  

ALA President-Elect’s Report – Courtney Young

Courtney presented brief updates on her activities.  Her presidential focus will be on supporting initiatives and projects that are already underway.

Budget Analysis and Review Committee Report – Patricia Wand, Chair

Pat reported on FY2014 adjustments and on FY2014 first quarter results.    Three month highlights included: total ALA revenue is less than budget by $1.7 million; total ALA expenses is less than budget by $1.7 million; cash and investments were more than last year by $1.3 million; and the endowment fund was more than last year by $4.6 million.  She also encouraged attendees to visit the ALA website for additional financial information and for online learning opportunities related to finances and budgeting.

Treasurer’s Report – Mario Gonzalez

Mario reviewed the 2013 audited financial results.  He reported that revenue in 2013 increased over 2012 in publishing,  grants/awards and miscellaneous for a 1.2% increase in ALA total revenues.  Total assets stand at nearly $75.4 million and total liabilities stand at almost $44.7 million.  

Endowment Trustees Report – Rod Hersberger, Senior Trustee

Rod reported that the value of the endowment for the calendar year ending Dec. 31, 2013 was $37,288,932, which is an improvement of $14,000,000 or 61% from the recessionary low of $23,421,000 in 2008.  He also reported that 2013 was a banner year for equities in the U.S. and Western Europe.  He also identified market factors that could/will impact 2014:  the start and degree of Federal Reserve tapering; liquidity provision by other world central banks; the pace of economic recovery in the U.S.; the threat of declining inflation rates worldwide; election results in emerging markets; the impact of implementing China’s economic overhaul; and the question of a recovery in commodities.

Nominating Committee Report – Andrew Pace, Committee Member

Andrew reported that the committee, for the first time in some years, considered sitting councilors (those with terms ending in 2014) for a spot on the official slate.  He also reviewed the disappointment that the committee members felt in the low numbers of responses received from divisions and roundtables.  He also introduced the candidates for ALA President-elect: Maggie Farrell and Sari Feldman.

Executive Director’s Report – Keith Michael Fiels reviewed registration and attendance figures for the conference.

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