ALA Council II – Monday, June 29, 2015

Courtney Young, ALA President, asked for a moment of silence to honor the memory of Cynthia Graham Hurd, a public library manager in Charleston, S.C., and the eight others who were murdered at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church.  

Outgoing Executive Board members and councilors were recognized.

Loida Garcia-Febo, Chair of the International Relations Committee, presented her report. Almost 600 librarians from 62 countries registered for the 2015 Annual Conference. The IFLA World Library and Information Conference will be held in Columbus, OH, August 13-19, 2016, and preparations, led by Co-Chairs Carol Diedrichs, The Ohio State University, and Patrick Losinski, Columbus Metropolitan Library, are moving into high gear. ALA is partnering with READ Global (Rural Education and Development) libraries, other NGOs, and government organizations in Nepal to collect to help rebuild and restock the hundreds of libraries destroyed or damaged by the earthquake in April.

Mary E. Rzepczynski, Chair of the Committee on Organization, presented her report and asked Council to approve the following revision.

The Budget Analysis & Review Committee (BARC) consists of nine (9) Members:

  • Two (2) ALA Executive Board Members, with staggered two-year terms
  • Six (6) ALA Members, with staggered four-year terms
  • ALA Treasurer (ex-officio voting)

A Chair is selected from among the non-Executive Board members.

Executive Board Members and ALA Members may not be reappointed once they have served on the Committee for four (4) years. The maximum four (4) years need not be consecutive and need not be served as the same member type. For example, one could serve as an Executive Board Member for two (2) years and an ALA Member for two (2) years.

Three (3)-year Treasurer terms do not count towards the four (4) years of Committee service outlined above. Therefore, one may serve as Treasurer for three (3) years and a combination of Executive Board Member/ALA Member for four (4) years, for a total of seven (7) years.

Council approved the change.

Julius Jefferson, President of the Freedom to Read Foundation, highlighted several items from the FTRF report.  In the area of litigation:

Prison Legal News v. Kane – This spring the FTRF joined with journalists, booksellers, publishers and others to successfully challenge a Pennsylvania law that allows a victim to sue a convicted offender to stop any conduct — including speech — that causes “mental anguish.” Under the law, a district attorney, the Attorney General, or a victim of a personal injury crime can ask a judge to prohibit an offender from engaging in any conduct, including speech, that would cause “a temporary or permanent state of mental anguish” to the victim or otherwise “perpetuate the continuing effect of the crime” on the victim or the victim’s family. The FTRF joined an amicus curiae brief drafted by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press that argued that the statute violates the rights of offenders and deprives the public of information that it is willing to receive by allowing a court to issue an injunction barring the distribution of a broad variety of First Amendment-protected material. On April 28, 2015, a U.S. District Court Chief Judge struck down the Pennsylvania law, finding the law “manifestly unconstitutional.” Conner ruled that the law is an impermissible content-based restriction and that it is vague and overbroad.

Antigone Books v. Horne: In September 2014, the FTRF joined with booksellers, publishers, and photographers 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. After FTRF and its fellow plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction asking the district court to block enforcement of the law, attorneys for the State of Arizona sought to stay enforcement of the law and stay the lawsuit itself to allow the Arizona legislature the opportunity to narrow the law in its next legislative session. The legislature failed to act, however, and on May 18, 2015, the plaintiffs renewed their motion for a preliminary injunction.  Unless FTRF and its fellow plaintiffs reach a settlement with the state, oral argument on the motion will be heard on August 31. While the Freedom to Read Foundation strongly condemns the malicious invasion of privacy resulting from “revenge porn,” and supports using legal tools to stop it, the Arizona law goes far beyond criminalizing this reprehensible practice and potentially makes criminally liable anyone who provides access to any image that includes nudity, including newsworthy images such as the iconic image of the “Napalm Girl.”

Arce v. Huppenthal: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has still not published a decision in 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.   The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of an 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.” The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the parties’ oral arguments on January 12, 2015. Constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the UC-Irvine, argued the case on behalf of the students. Commenting on the case, he had high praise for the brief authored by FTRF’s legal counsel. 

Keith Michael Fiels announced that current conference registration stands at 22,614.

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