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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