ALA Midwinter 2015 – Monday, Feb. 2 – Council Session II

Mary Stansbury, Chair of the Committee on Accreditation, presented her committee’s report. The committee recommended to Council adoption of updated accreditation standards.  This update to the 2008 Standards resulted from a six-year public review process via weblog, direct surveying of practitioners and LIS faculty, and online and open meetings at conference venues.  It supersedes the 2008 Standards for Accreditation and is based upon a synthesis of the views solicited during the review and revision process of 2008-2014.  Information about the Standards, including the recommended revision, is available at http://www.ala.org/accreditedprograms/standards.  Council adopted the updated standards.

Henry Stewart, Chair of the Policy Monitoring Committee, presented his report.  Based on a review of Council actions at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference, the Committee found three items that required Council action. 

At the 2014 ALA Annual Conference, the ALA Council adopted a Resolution on Communication by ALA and Council Committees (2014-2015 ALA CD#27.1) to read:  “Each chair of an ALA Committee or a Council Committee is responsible for submitting to the ALA Executive Director at least two times each year a substantive report on the committee’s work and accomplishments so that these reports can be made available to all interested ALA members.  Such reports may address, but not be limited to, matters such as accomplishments, planned activities, issues that affect the committee’s work and their implications for the future, interactions with other units within ALA, relationship of the committee’s work to the ALA strategic plan, current level of committee members’ involvement (more substantive than an attendance roll), committee self-check on its value and viability (update charge, discontinue committee, consolidate with another, change structure, other observations).”  The PMC moved that the above text be incorporated into the ALA Policy Manual as Policy A.5.5.4 Committee Reporting.  Council approved.

At the 2014 ALA Annual Conference, the ALA Council adopted this revision to ALA Policy A.4.3.2:  “Once established, a MIG may operate for three years at which point it may re-petition for another three- year term or may request another place within the ALA structure by following the procedures for establishing that type of group, or may request the ALA COO to disband it.  The re-petitioning process can be renewed every three years.  If the re-petition process is not carried out when due, the MIG will be disbanded.”  PMC moves that the revised text be incorporated into the ALA Policy Manual as Policy A.4.3.12 to read:  “A Membership Initiative Groups (MIG) is formed when a group of ALA members identifies a common concern or interest about librarianship which falls outside the delegated responsibility of a single division, roundtable, or unit, and wishes to establish a short-term, renewable mechanism to address this concern or interest. To establish a MIG, which must be approved by COO and reported to Council, a group must submit to the Committee on Organization a statement of purpose, at least one hundred signatures of ALA members in good standing, and the names and addresses of designated organizers.  Once established, a MIG may operate for three years at which point it may re-petition for another three- year term or may request another place within the ALA structure by following the procedures for establishing that type of group, or may request the ALA COO to disband it.  The re-petitioning process can be renewed every three years.  If the re-petition process is not carried out when due, the MIG will be disbanded.”

At the 2014 ALA Annual Conference, the ALA Council adopted a new interpretation to the Code of Ethics regarding “The Copyright” as recommended in ALA CD#40.1.  The new interpretation to Code of Ethics will be represented in the ALA Policy Manual by means of an abstract, supplied by the originating committee, followed by a reference to the Policy Reference File, where the full text of the Interpretation will reside.  PMC moves insertion of the following:  B.1.4 Copyright  Librarians are sources of copyright information for their user communities. Librarians should acquire a solid understanding of the purpose of copyright law and knowledge of its details relevant to library activities. They should do so in order to develop the ability to critically analyze issues of fair use or other limits to the rights of copyright holders, as well as to gain the confidence to implement the law using good judgment. Librarians and library staff should be educated to recognize and observe copyright and its limits, to understand and act on their rights and those of their users, and to be ready to inform or properly refer users with questions pertaining to copyright. When the balance between rights holders and information users’ needs to be restored, librarians should engage with rights holders and legislators and advocate on behalf of their users and user rights.  Adopted, 2014.  (See “Policy Reference File”: Committee on Professional Ethics Report:  2013-2014 ALA CD#40.1_63014_act)

 Council approved all three recommendations.

Mary Rzepczynski, Chair of the Committee on Organization (COO), presented her report, which focused on information related to a clarification of the reappointment policy to the Budget Analysis & Review Committee (BARC).  Currently, the composition description does not articulate rules for the ALA Treasurer, who serves in an ex-officio capacity. COO recommends that Council clarify the current committee composition description of BARC.  Resolved, that Council approves the following revision of the composition description (changes in bold italics):The Budget Analysis & Review Committee (BARC) consists of nine members serving no more than four (4) years on the committee in a lifetime.  Treasurer terms do not count towards the four years of service. Because of a number of questions, this was referred back to COO.

Jim Rettig, Chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, presented the following recommendation to Council.  

Resolved, that following amendment to the ALA Bylaws be presented to the ALA membership on the spring 2015 ballot:  Amend Article XII of the ALA Bylaws to state:  Robert’s Rules of Order in the latest edition, shall govern the Association in all cases to which it can be applied and in which it is not inconsistent with the Constitution, the Bylaws, or special rules of order of the Association.  Council approved placement of this amendment on the spring 2015 ballot.

Julius Jefferson, Jr., Chair of the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), presented his report.  He highlighted litigation activities.  The first report was about Antigone Books v. Horne. In September 2014, the FTRF joined with the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, Voice Media Group, Inc., the National Press Photographers Association and Arizona booksellers Antigone Books, Bookmans, Changing Hands Bookstore, Copper News Book Store, and Mostly Books to challenge an Arizona statute that makes it a crime to publish, sell, loan, or disclose images that include nudity without the depicted person’s consent for each distribution. Although intended to target “revenge porn,” the law, as written, potentially makes criminal the dissemination of a large number of historic, artistic, educational, and other newsworthy images.  FTRF joined the lawsuit on behalf of its member libraries because the law potentially could be used to impose criminal liability on libraries and librarians for material that currently is available in libraries both in and outside of Arizona.  The case is pending.

The second report was about Arce v. Huppenthal, also situated in Arizona.  FTRF continues to monitor the ongoing progress of this lawsuit filed by teachers and students in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) against the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction and other state officials that challenges the constitutionality of the Arizona statute prohibiting the use of class materials or books that encourage the overthrow of the government, “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” are “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”  FTRF is hopeful that an opinion will be issued sometime in March or April of 2015.

Follow developments on these litigation activities and others at http://www.ftrf.org/?Current_Cases.

On November 17, the Freedom to Read Foundation launched a year-long observance of its 45th anniversary with a Google Hangout featuring author Chris Crutcher; it was the first in a series of events FTRF is calling “FTRF45.”  In other news, in October, the FTRF awarded a $5,000 grant to HP Kids Read, a parents group in Highland Park, Texas fighting book censorship in their local school district. HP Kids Read is working to counter efforts by another group, Speak Up for Standards, that wants the school district to remove a large number of books from the reading list developed by the district’s high school English department. Speak Up for Standards, a well-funded interest group, also has lobbied for the district to change its challenge and opt-out policies to make them considerably more restrictive and to limit what books may be taught in the district.

Mario Gonzalez, ALA Treasurer, reviewed the three strategic directions that guided the programmatic priorities.  Those directions are Advocacy, Information Policy, and Professional Education and Development.  He next presented the FY2016 programmatic priorities that are in line with the 2015 ALA strategic plan.  They are also a guide in the preparation of the FY2016 budget.  Council endorsed the following programmatic priorities:

• 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

The Resolution on ALA Divestment from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions was withdrawn.

Council next considered the Resolution Encouraging Public Library Directors to Provide Funds for Trustees to Join ALA and United for Libraries.

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA), on behalf of its members,  urges all public library directors to include membership for each of their trustees in United for Libraries in their budgets.

This motion was referred to the Committee on Resolutions for Council III.

Keith Michael Fiels announced a current total registration of 10,568 at the 2015 Midwinter Conference.

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