Greetings from your ALA Councilor,
My trip to Dallas for ALA Midwinter was a busy one as usual. Here are some of the issues which I feel you should know about. If you’d like more information about these issues or other ALA topics, please do not hesitate to contact me. The more I get to know ALA, the more I am impressed, so I would enjoy speaking with you about your concerns.
There were two significant resolutions passed by the ALA Council. The first was a Resolution on Publishers and Practices Which Discriminate Against Library Users. It stated that ALA opposes any discriminatory policies of publishers and distributors that adversely impact access to content by library users; and that the Working Group on Digital Content in Libraries be directed to review the situation and recommend appropriate action and/or appropriate parties who should be informed of this resolution.
While this resolution might sound like a no-brainer, there was some debate both in Council forum and on the floor. Some were concerned that the resolution, if too strongly worded, might offend the publishers with whom ALA is scheduled to meet next week. In the end, the Council stuck with the original, forceful language and the resolution passed.
The second was a resolution condemning the restriction of access to materials in Arizona schools following state legislation that led to the elimination of a Mexican American studies program in the Tucson Unified School District. While it took some time to sift through the numerous layers of the controversy and identify the real culprits, the resolution passed. For more info, contact me or visit any number of websites including http://www.oif.ala.org/oif/?p=3157, http://saveethnicstudies.org, http://nyti.ms/yd6mfp, http://huff.to/xm4AHq.
ALA Fighting For Libraries, Librarians and Library Patrons
Elsewhere in the Association, a great deal is happening. As I referred to above, leaders of ALA will be meeting with top executives from Macmillan, Simon & Schuster (S&S), and Penguin publishing houses, (which all do not allow libraries to circulate their ebooks,) on January 30th,January 31st and February 2nd to voice the concerns of the Association. For more info, read this article from LJ, http://bit.ly/zr9qS8. In addition, the Working Group on Digital Content and Libraries (http://connect.ala.org/node/159669) will be meeting frequently throughout the year to study the issues and develop advocacy strategies.
The entire organization is also working hard to raise awareness of the White House Petition on School Libraries, http://wh.gov/Wgd, which asks that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provide dedicated funding to help support effective school library programs. 25,000 signatures are needed by February 4, 2012, in order for this petition to reach the desk of the President. We are more than halfway there, but time is running out!
A few other advocacy initiatives/resources to be aware of are:
- The updated “The Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library,” http://www.ala.org/offices/olos/toolkits/rural,
- “Keeping Public Libraries Public: A Checklist for Communities Considering Privatization of Public Libraries.” http://www.ala.org/tools/outsourcing.
- Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit, http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/advocacyuniversity/toolkit.
A whole host of additional advocacy tools can be found on ALA’s Advocacy University website, http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/advocacyuniversity/.
I could go on, but I’ll stop for now. Please let me know if you’d like me to come speak with your library co-op about ALA. I’d be happy to try and do so.
Steve Butzel, NH Chapter Councilor on the ALA Council