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 www.ftrf.org/?Arce_v_Huppenthal.  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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