Council Activities at Midwinter 2009
Diane Dates Casey, ALCTS Councilor
James G. Neal reported at Council I for the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) on ALA’s budgetary status. While revenues were up for FY08, the first three months of FY09 brought a drop in revenues. However, as a result of effective management by ALA Executives and Budget Officers, expenses were reduced and the net assets of the Association remain stable. Not surprisingly, the one year investment picture presented by Daniel J. Bradbury on the ALA Endowment Fund was bleak. The Fund dropped from $31.6 million one year ago to $22.6 million.
ALA-APA spokesperson Nancy Bolt shared the significant progress made by the Library Support Staff Certification Program, in which ALCTS is participating. The first enrollments will be accepted in January 2010. In regards to electronic participation, ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels shared that he and his team are developing a cost matrix to determine whether making Council meeting more widely and readily accessible to the ALA Membership is affordable.
Council II began with the Treasurer’s Report, which reviewed the cost/benefit advantages of the ALA Washington Office’s work. Treasurer Rodney Herseberger pointed out that three of the major revenue producers, publishing, meetings and conferences, and dues, were not growing at a significant enough rate. ALA is exploring new approaches and business models to generate more revenue. Impacting ALA-Accredited master programs in library and information science, the “ALA’s Core Competencies of Librarianship” were approved. The competencies include Foundations of the Profession, Information Resources, Organization of Recorded Knowledge and Information, Technological Knowledge and Skills, Reference and User Services, Research, Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning, and Administration & Management. The Task Force on Electronic Member Participation (TFOEMP) Report was presented by the Chair, Janet Swan Hill. The first four recommendations, which modified ALA policies to pave the way for expanded electronic participation, were approved.
At the final Council session, J. Douglas Archer, on behalf of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, submitted three new interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights, Challenged Materials, Restricted Access to Library Materials, and Service to Persons with Disabilities, which were passed almost unanimously. The Committee on Legislation Chair Ken Wiggin brought two resolutions to Council: “Resolution Commending President Barack Obama on his Commitment to Openness and Transparency in Government” and “Resolution in Support of the Reauthorization of the Library Services and Technology Act.” Both passed with a near unanimous vote.
Beverly Lynch, Chair of the International Relations Committee, presented a “Resolution on the Connection between the Recent Gaza Conflict and Libraries.” After lengthy debate, Council passed the resolution by a wide margin. Chair Steve Matthews reported for the Committee on Organization. Among the items acted upon was the final combination of ALTA (Library Trustees) and FOLUSA (Friends of Libraries) into ALTAFF. The Council vote was nearly unanimous.
Discussion continued on the 16 TFOEMP report recommendations. After the approval of recommendations 4 and 5, the remaining recommendations were discussed in a bundle, approved, and referred to the Executive Board and BARC for further investigation and formal report to Annual Meeting in Chicago. “Resolution on Understanding Gaza – One Conference, One Book, One Read” was defeated. “Resolution on Access for Physical Mobility Impaired Conference Attendees” passed overwhelmingly, as well as the “Resolution on Accessible Computer Workstations at ALA Annual Conference and Midwinter Meetings.” Council defeated a resolution on “High Speed Internet Wireless Access at Conference Hotels.”