The 2007 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition was held in Washington, DC in June. As your NH Chapter Councilor, I attended Council meetings and forums, membership meetings and forums, and the President’s reception. I also attended a few author lectures and a film premiere which I will detail later. But first, I will update you on ALA business.
There were two membership forums which were immediately followed by membership meetings. The theme of the first forum was “Should ALA take stands on non-library issues?” The issue was debated by Councilor Steve Matthews and Past President Michael Gorman, and any member present was able to speak on the matter. The issue was not resolved, but I can tell you from experience that a lot of time and effort is spent on issues like whether the American president should be impeached or if torture is a bad thing. The second forum was held to determine if ALA is adequately meeting the needs of its members. Several members spoke about their frustrations with a large conference: trying to find housing, too many programs at the same time, being turned away from well-known speakers, etc. No resolutions were introduced at either meeting, although the Resolution Committee was available and willing.
There were several resolutions presented at the three Council meetings, however. The most significant resolution was a unanimous vote to include school media specialists as “highly qualified” in any future incarnations of the No Child Left Behind act. (This resolution, and most of the others, of course, are non-binding since they serve as requests for Congress, but Congress is not required to take the action.) Other resolutions included funding for the National Library Service at $19.1 million, funding for the Government Printing Office Fiscal Year 2008 Appropriations at $182 million, and granting the Catholic Library Association affiliate status. Other business at the Council meetings included reports from various committees and sections, various proclamations, and daily annoucements. (By the way, did you know the annual ALA budget is in excess of $60 million?) For complete text and other information on the resolutions, you can visit www.ala.org.
The conference in DC set a record for attendance. Over 28,000 people were there, and some of them were there to see Ken Burns, Patricia Cornwell, David Baldacci, and Judy Blume. There were several other authors throughout the four days, but those are the four I got to see and hear. Ken Burns premiered his documentary, The War, which will air on PBS in September. Based on what I saw, I’m sure it will be his biggest hit to date. The other premiere I attended was for Hollywood Librarian. This documentary was created to abolish the stereotype of librarians as portrayed in the movies and on tv for the last century. Real librarians were portrayed as strong, courageous advocates of library access and ideals. Over 5,000 people attended that premiere.
Thank you for the privilege and honor of serving as your ALA Chapter Councilor. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.