Hello NHLA Membership,
The following is my report from ALA Midwinter 2014 in Philadelphia, January 24-28. Please contact me with any questions or comments you have.
Highlights of Council I (Sunday, January 26)
Digital Content Working Group Report: http://www.ala.org/aboutala/sites/ala.org.aboutala/files/content/governance/council/council_documents/2014_mw_council_documents/cd_30_digitalcontentwkggroup.pdf
Highlights: Big 5 publishers all now selling to libraries. Future of the group, charge extends only through annual 2014. Continued concern over pricing from publishers, consideration of preservation, attn to streaming video, and ongoing concerns about privacy.
New Business with Action Taken:
ALA Council Document #34 Resolution on Electronic Communications for ALA Council,
examining guidelines for council email and electronic communications. The genesis of this resolution came from discussions about where Council is accessing documents online. HQ staff is having a hard time working under current guidelines which date back to 1994. Resolution asks for creation of a task force to rework these guidelines. Questions came up about whether this topic needs a yearlong task force. But no options were given. Voted yes.
CD# 35 Resolution to Improve Member Access to ALA Unit Governing Information.
This resolution requires all governing bodies of ALA divisions and roundtables to link their meeting minutes from the unit’s hosted webpage within 30 days of approval of the minutes.
The resolution was not addressing Council or Executive Board minutes which already have posting requirements. The resolution was brought in the spirit of addressing the openness and transparency of the organization hoping to make it easier for ALA members to locate minutes online.
Postponed to Council II to address concerns of council members regarding wording. Voted yes to postpone.
ALA-APA (ALA Allied Professional Association) Meeting was held directly following Council I
Highlights from Council II (Monday, January 27 )
Freedom to Read Foundation Report by Julius Jefferson http://www.ftrf.org/?page=Council
New Business with Action Taken:
Revised ALA CD #35 resolution to improve access to ALA unit governing information (originally presented at Council I).
Essentially, designed to get divisions and subunits to put their minutes on the ALA website in a timely manner in a place where they can be easily found by the membership. People approved in theory, but some boards and roundtables were concerned about putting up unapproved draft minutes and some concern about getting minutes up within 30 days.
Voted yes. The motion passed.
CD#37 Resolved that the ALA recognizes Edward Snowden, as a whistleblower who, in releasing information that documents the mass surveillance programs of the NSA, has performed a valuable service launching a dialogue about transparency, government surveillance, and over classification.
This was much discussed at this Midwinter meeting and Annual in Chicago last summer.
Lengthy discussion went on the floor covering little new territory. Once it was brought to a vote, the resolution failed. I voted no.
In my opinion, a stronger and more ALA relevant resolution (CD#20.4 &19.2: Resolution on the Need for Reforms for the Intelligence Community to Support Privacy, Open Government, Government Transparency, and Accountability) was passed at Annual 2013, you can read it here http://www.ala.org/aboutala/sites/ala.org.aboutala/files/content/governance/council/council_documents/2013_annual_council_docs/cd_20_3_COL%20report%20FINAL.pdf
A resolution was presented to allow programs at midwinter meetings. Currently discussions and meetings take place, but programs are not allowed. Discussions and meetings often resemble what we would think of as a conference program. Passage of this resolution would allow programs.
Council voted to refer this resolution to BARC (Budget Analysis & Review Committee) to look at the financial implications of passage. We should be seeing it again in June in Las Vegas with recommendations from BARC.
Discussion of nomination of Patricia Glass Schuman, past ALA president
for honorary membership to ALA . Motion passed. Voted yes.
On Sunday afternoon, a Chapter Councilors Forum was held in the afternoon. This is a chance for the chapter (state) councilors to meet and discuss issues relevant to state chapters.
Highlights of Council III (Monday, January 28)
New Business with Action Taken:
CD# 19,2 Resolution from the Intellectual Freedom Committee Expanding Federal Whistleblower Protection. The focus of this resolution is to urge the U.S. government to extend legal protections for whistleblowers to employees of all national security and intelligence agencies and to non-federal employees working for civilian contractors and more.
Motion passed. Voted yes.
CD#20.1 The Committee on Legislation presented a Resolution on Curbing Government Surveillance and Restoring Civil Liberties.
This resolution calls upon Congress to pass legislation supporting the reforms embodied in HR 3361/S.1599 as introduced, and upon the President to sign such legislation; and
Also, commends Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressmen James Sensenbrenner for sponsoring the USA Freedom Act, the 143 legislators in the Senate and the House who have co-sponsored it, and the 85 organizations who have endorsed it, as of January 27, 2014.
This resolution was split in two for the vote (1. urging congress to act and 2. commending sponsorship of USA Freedom Act). I voted yes to both. Council passed both.
Resolution CD#20.3 was also brought to Council by the Committee on Legislation titled Resolution on Maintaining Government Websites During a Government Shutdown. The concern of COL is that government information is not available during a shutdown. The resolution asks agencies to have a plan/guideline for what is available before a shutdown takes place.
An amendment to this resolution was brought by Daniel Cornwell, Alaska state councilor, asking council to strike first paragraph entirely, and the first sentence of the second paragraph. He was concerned the Council was recommending that federal employees be asked to work without pay. The amendment failed. I voted no on the amendment.
Another amendment to add the word paid to the first resolved clause.
Motion passed. Voted yes. The resolution then passed as amended. I voted yes.
Final action item: CD#36 establishment of the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. Cash prize of $3000, plus up to $1000 towards travel costs. There is an additional $1000 provided to ALA for administrative costs. Adversity is left intentionally undefined. An annual award funded by Daniel Handler.
Motion passed. Voted yes.
Memorial resolutions were read for:
Bohdan Stephan Wynar
Tributes: honoring Giovanni’s Room Bookstore and Owner Ed Hermance and a tribute honoring Senator Jay Rockefeller.
Results of the Executive Board Election held on Sunday.
Peter D. Hepburn
Mike L. Marlin
Gina A. Persichini
Gail A. Schlachter
Other interesting items from Midwinter:
Spencer Ackerman, National Security editor for the Guardian newspaper gave an informative presentation, The Washington Update—Under a Microscope: The Story Behind the Revelations About the NSA Surveillance Programs, on the Snowden documents and the release of information from these documents. The program offered an overview of issues of transparency and government surveillance raised by the release of these documents.
At the Council Relations Committee meeting on Saturday afternoon, ALA executive director, Keith Michael Fiels introduced the new, Why ALA? brochures being offered to drum up new members. I will have these available at the NHLA Spring Conference in April. Keith also talked about beginning the process of creating a new 5-year strategic plan for ALA in 2015.
For those of you particularly interested in advocacy, ALA Mobile Commons has a new advocacy tool. You can now receive action alerts on your cell phone. Text “library” to 877877, you will then receive auto calls with talking points regarding a pertinent topic. After listening to the talking points, you will be automatically connected with your legislator’s office. This service is available now.
I thought we might hear more discussion regarding net neutrality and the recent federal court decision to strike down current FCC rules, but there was surprisingly little discussion at Council or elsewhere. Many ALA committees and leaders are waiting to see what happens next before drafting ALA resolutions on the matter. I do expect to hear more at Annual Conference in Las Vegas this summer.
Candidates for ALA President, Maggie Farrell and Sari Feldman both offered speeches to ALA Council on Saturday evening. Some of you may recognize Sari’s name as she is a past president of PLA and member of the Digital Libraries Content Working Group. You can watch the closing statements of each candidate here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYpBpHo-w90. Voting will take place between March 19- April 25, 2014.
Reminder from COL that 2014 is the 40th anniversary of Legislative Day May 5 & 6 in Washington D.C.
Attendance figures for Midwinter meeting: 8407 registrants plus 3,800 Total 12,207.
NH ALA Councilor, 2013-2015
Lebanon Public Libraries