ALA Midwinter 2015 – Tuesday, Feb. 3 – Council Session III

Courtney Young, President of ALA, presented Memorials and Tributes.  Memorials for Diane P. Monnier, Jean E. Lowrie, Roger C. Greer, Chris Olson, Ruth V. Bell, Ferol Ann Accola Foos, Miriam Drake, Lois Mai Chan, Judith Hopkins, Mary Woodley, Julia Claire Blixrud, Vivian Blanche Cazayoux, Ernest A. DiMattia, Jr., John H. Hunter, Donald J. Sager, Leslie Feinberg, and Paul Kay Sybrowsky were acknowledged, as were Tributes in honor of Nathan Scott, the Ferguson Municipal Public Library, Linda H. Lord, Charles Wilt, and Tom Wheeler.

Susan Schmidt, United for Libraries Councilor, presented a Resolution Urging library Directors to Encourage and Support United for Libraries Memberships for Each of Their Trustees.  Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA), on behalf of its members, urges all library directors to encourage and support United for Libraries memberships for each of their Trustees.  Council approved the resolution.

Kent Slade, Chair of the Tellers, reported on the results of the Executive Board election.  With 147 ballots cast, Loida A. Garcia-Febo, Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., and Mike L. Marlin were elected.

Loida A. Garcia-Febo, Chair of the International Relations Committee, presented her report.  IFLA unveiled the Lyon Declaration On Access to Information and Development at its Congress last August.  The Declaration positions libraries and information as foundations to success across the United Nations Post 2015 Development Goals.  ALA Council approved ALA becoming a signatore to the Declaration at the Annual Conference in Las Vegas.  There are now over 500 signatores to the Declaration.  

The 2016 IFLA Congress Will be held in Columbus.  ALA is a member of the IFLA 2016 National Committee.  Promotion for Columbus kicked off here at Midwinter with a Columbus Booth.  The National Committee met to continue its planning efforts. The National Committee co-chairs are Carol Diedrichs, Ohio State University, and Patrick Losinski, Columbus Metropolitan Library System.  Jim Neal will serve as co-chair of the fundraising effort for fellowship to attend the Congress.  

The IRC discussed the Resolution on the Destruction of Libraries and Schools in Gaza in 2014 but did not take action to endorse.

UNESCO was founded in 1945. For 70 years it has helped to foster collaboration among the nations through education, science, and culture to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion.  IRC ask Council to recognize UNESCO on its 70th Anniversary by recognizing UNESCO’s 70 years of achievement and urging Congress to approve the national interest waiver so the United States can again pay its dues, and become a fully functioning member of UNESCO. With this resolution, we urge the continued efforts Council approved in 2013 to get the United States to again pay its dues to UNESCO to help strengthen the ability of UNESCO to be able to fulfill its mission.

She presented a Resolution Recognizing and Supporting United Nations, Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Its 70th Anniversary.  

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA), on behalf of its members:

  1. recognizes UNESCO’s 70 years of achievement, as well as encourages its members to join in support of anniversary activities; and
  2. continues to urge Congress to approve the national interest waiver so the United States can again pay its dues, and become a fully functioning member of UNESCO.

Council approved the resolution.

J. Douglas Archer, Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, presented the Committee’s report.  He highlighted several items from his written report.  

During the 2014 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV, the IFC proposed revisions to 14 Interpretations to the Library Bill of Rights for inclusion in the 9th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual. All of the proposed revisions to the Interpretations were adopted by Council. During the discussion of the resolutions, the IFC was tasked to review the Labeling and Ratings System Interpretation after Annual and report back to Council on its findings. After review, the IFC has decided to split Labeling and Rating Systems into three separate Interpretations and will send the drafts to ALA Council in April for review and comment prior to submitting the revised Interpretations for approval at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.  He announced that the ninth edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual will be available in April.  Additionally, he shared that the Office of Intellectual Freedom is receiving an average of two new concerns a day. He also announced that Banned Books Week 2015 will take place September 27 – October 3, and Choose Privacy Week will take place May 1-7, 2015.

He presented a Resolution Denouncing Recent Assaults on the Freedom of Expression as Exemplified in the Attack on Charlie Hebdo.

Resolved, that the American Library Association 

  1. denounces these bloody assaults on fundamental human rights;
  2. expresses its deepest condolences to all those associated with the publication Charlie Hebdo and to the French people;
  3. affirms its solidarity with L’Association des Bibliothécaires Francais,
  4. reaffirms in the strongest possible terms its unwavering commitment to the advocacy and defense of intellectual freedom including freedom of the press, freedom of speech and freedom of expression; and
  5. directs Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director of the American Library Association to communicate its support and resolve to Francois Hollande, President of the French Republic for the people of France and to our colleagues of L’Association des Bibliothécaires Francais.

Council approved the resolution.

Vivian Wynn, Chair of the Committee on Legislation, presented the Committee’s report.  An important new subcommittee has been added to COL. FLAG is charged with the task of creating a cadre of influential library advocates from every state in the United States. FLAG will be devising and implementing a proactive approach, enhancing our advocacy efforts to Congress.  Advocates recruited by FLAG must have connections to one or more Members of Congress and agree to contact those Members of Congress when urgent legislative and policy issues arise. FLAG, with the help of the Office of Government Relations (OGR) staff, will provide talking points and background information to the cadre, which they can use to rally support among their elected officials. In the short three weeks that FLAG has been recruiting cadre members, we have been extremely successful, with a list of over fifty cadre members to date. We are asking councilors to help identify potential cadre members and to pass that information on to the FLAG chairs: Vivian Wynn (vwynn91@bellsouth.net) or Joan Reeves (jrreeves2@gmail.com).

COL has discussed the following federal legislation that is expected to be forthcoming in the 114th Congress: network neutrality; the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA); reintroduction of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR); an update to the Freedom of Information Act; changes to provisions of the USA Patriot, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments and Electronic Communications Privacy Acts; and reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

She presented a Resolution on Preserving Public Access to Scientific and Technical Reports Available Through the National Technical Information Service. 

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA): 

  1. urges the United States Congress to fund the provision of digital reports held by the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) to federal agencies and the public at no charge through NTIS, as well as the preservation of NTIS’ print and microform collections so they will remain available for sale to the public on a cost-recovery basis; and 
  1. urges the United States Congress to ensure that a national repository is selected, statutorily charged, and funded to preserve and provide public access to these important scientific and technical reports if NTIS-enabling legislation is eliminated.

Council approved the resolution.

Trevor Dawes, Chair of the Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, presented his report.  The impetus for creating the Task Force was the grave concern expressed by some members about the Association hosting its 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando, FL in light of Florida’s application of the “Stand Your Ground” laws as it relates to the Trayvon Martin case.  Following the release of the statement from the BCALA, ALA president Barbara Stripling engaged by e-mail and phone with leaders from ALA and the Ethnic Caucuses who subsequently issued a joint statement.  The ALA’s Executive Committee and BCALA’s Executive Board decided that the best way to respond to the Florida situation is by turning it into an opportunity to educate, build awareness, and advocate for equitable treatment, inclusion, and respect for diversity. Among the agreed-upon items was the creation of a special task force.  The ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion was created in the spring 2014 by then ALA President, Barbara Stripling. The charge of the Task Force reads as follows:  The Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will develop a plan and strategic actions to build more equity, diversity, and inclusion among our members, the field of librarianship, and our communities. The most important Task Force outcome is the public and honest conversation that will be generated by its plan and recommended actions. The final Task Force report will include recommendations for ensuring that a continuing focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion is embedded throughout the ALA organization.  Because the work of the TF got underway in the fall 2014, it is still in the information-gathering phase. To aid with information gathering, there will be a series of short ALA member surveys to understand the culture of the association, the profession, and communities with respect to equity, diversity and inclusion.  The first survey will be conducted in January/February 2015.  Subsequent surveys will launch at or around the time of future ALA conferences.

Jane Glasby, Councilor-at-Large, presented a Resolution on the Destruction of Libraries and Schools in Gaza in 2014.

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA)

  1. deplores the destruction and damage of cultural institutions, including schools and libraries, in Gaza during the recent conflict there;
  1. again calls for the protection of libraries and cultural resources in Gaza, and urges the US Government to support the United States Committee of the Blue Shield in upholding the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict”; and
  1. calls upon the government of the United States, as well as other governments, intergovernmental organizations, and nongovernmental organizations to provide material assistance for the reconstruction and restoration of these libraries and schools.

 An amendment to add an additional statement (a new #2) was presented:  Deplores the placement of weapons and other acts that make libraries, schools and other cultural resources viable military targets.  The amendment was defeated.  Ultimately, the resolution was also defeated.

Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director of ALA, announced that Midwinter attendance totaled 10,637.

Erica Findley, Councilor-at-Large, announced that a court decision in Kentucky is expected soon that could devastate funding levels for 99 of the 104 state’s public libraries.  She urged ALA to be prepared to provide any needed assistance.  Keith Michael Fiels responded that ALA has already been assisting the Kentucky Library Association.

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