ALA Council Update

Diane Dates Casey, ALCTS Councilor

Many ALCTS members view ALA Council as a debating society focusing on the profession’s core values and, perhaps, the latest social or political cause. ALCTS' concerns rarely emerge at Council. That was then; this is now. Council lowered the quorum to 75 for membership meetings where issues can be raised and, if passed, sent to Council for consideration. Now, any ALA member has an easy avenue to send a resolution to Council.

At the Chicago Annual Conference two such resolutions directly affecting ALCTS came to Council via membership meetings.

  • A request was made that MARBI expand the MARC 21 character repertoire beyond the MARC-8 subset to include all of Unicode. Then-ALCTS Councilor, Bruce C. Johnson, eloquently defended MARBI’s work on the nonroman character information and the need to respect our international partners who may not fully agree with the American view. While Council narrowly defeated this resolution, another attempt is likely to be made again at the Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio. Consequently, ALCTS President Rosann Bazirjian has appointed a task force to assess the state of Unicode implementation and nonroman cataloging issues.
  • A second resolution advocating the reduction of division membership dues for retired individuals was brought to Council. Despite the fact that division councilors argued adamantly that this decision was strictly division business, not Council’s, the resolution passed. ALCTS was already studying the fiscal feasibility of reducing retired members’ rates.
ALCTS must take seriously the membership meetings. As ALCTS Councilor, President-Elect Johnson established breakfast and dinner meetings for division councilors to share information and build a coalition of support to address issues directly affecting them. The coalition succeeded by collaborating on various resolutions. As ALCTS Councilor, I will continue the division councilors’ coalition but also extend the network to other councilors empathetic to ALCTS issues. Additionally, I will work to mobilize ALCTS participation at the membership meetings to better advocate for our concerns before they ever arrive on the floor of Council.