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Report on ALA Midwinter

Rob Sargent is NHLA’s ALA Councilor, and what follows is his report from his trip to ALA Midwinter in Seattle this past January:

ALA Midwinter in Seattle was my first meeting as the NH Chapter Councilor.  Before departing for Seattle, I was in constant contact with my predecessor, Diane Tebbetts, whose guidance and support made the prospect of several meetings, numerous participants, and strict policies and procedures less intimidating.  Thanks to Diane and the official ALA Council-mentoring program, I was able to relax and get down to business (and even to enjoy myself).

The first day, Saturday, was a day of orientations and a reception.  The day began with an 8:00 a.m. orientation for new councilors.  There are chapter councilors, councilors at-large, and councilors representing various ALA round tables and committees for a total of 160.  Each councilor serves a three-year term, so one-third of the Council body was new.  The orientation offered navigation through Midwinter and served as a tutorial on parliamentary procedure.  In fact, all Council meetings and forums are presided over by a licensed parliamentarian.  With a council of 160, it is necessary to follow a procedure or discussions would go on forever.  (At times, it feels as though they do!)  Another orientation for chapter councilors only followed.  That evening, Joseph Eagan, the Maryland Chapter Councilor and my official mentor, hosted a reception for all councilors.  It began at 9:00 p.m. and lasted for a couple of hours.  There were not a lot of attendees, but I very much enjoyed talking with those who did attend and the desserts were very good.

Also on Saturday (or maybe it was Sunday), there was a presidential candidates forum.  The two candidates made opening statements and then took questions from the Council.  There was another forum for executive board candidates on either Saturday or Sunday.  Although the entire ALA membership votes for president, only the Council selects the executive board members.  There were six or seven candidates, and each councilor votes for two.  I cast my ballot on behalf of NHLA for Charles Kratz of Pennsylvania and Melora Norman of Maine.  (Charles was one of the two elected, but Melora was not.)  To be honest, at both forums, all of the candidates sounded alike and deciding for whom to vote seemed to be a case of “six of one, a half dozen of the other.”

To read the rest of Rob Sargent’s report, download the complete report here.

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