Council Report for the ALA Annual Conference 2009
Diane Dates Casey, ALCTS Councilor
During the ALA Council Information Session, the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) reported that ALA revenues are down and steps are being taken to monitor and reduce expenses appropriately. High priority items for funding include web code data clean up to make the ALA website more accessible and a website accessibility, usability and functionality review. After two quarters of extreme volatility, the endowment earnings are on the rise again. By June 30, 2009, one million dollars was restored to ALA’s long-term investments. Jenny Levine gave an overview of the implementation of ALA Connect to date. She noted that ALA Connect provides collaborative workspace for ALA groups, member profiles on which to build professional networking, and workspace for member-generated communities of interest. Use has grown steadily. Plans are in place for 2010 to add a new event planner and a continuing education clearinghouse in ALA Connect.
At Council I, ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels discussed steps towards implementation of the Task Force On Electronic Member Participation’s recommendations. Posting transcripts of council deliberations may present some liability issues. Consequently, Fiels sees posting of an audiorecording of council proceedings as the best, most cost-effective first step. At ALA-APA Council, progress reports were given on support staff certification programs soon to be available. ALCTS is a participant in this initiative. A resolution in support of overtime pay protection was passed.
At Council II, the Policy Monitoring Committee brought an action item to eliminate in the Policy Manual the category of “virtual members”; its passage removed the stigma associated with electronic participation. Also, committee chair, Janet Swan Hill, noted that a review of internship programs throughout ALA will take place. The ALA Membership Committee succeeded in achieving a dues increase for ALA organizational members. The Committee on Professional Ethics failed in its attempt to provide only one firm for consideration in future association ethics training. Councilors felt that a traditional RFP process should be followed where a variety of qualified organizations may be considered. The ALA Treasurer summarized the careful monitoring and prudent actions taken by ALA management to deal with the association’s budgetary shortfall. A “Resolution on Civil Marriage Equality Regardless of Sexual Orientation” was passed with an almost unanimous vote. A “Resolution on Libraries and the Continuing Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan” failed; many Councilors felt the focus of the resolution was too little on libraries and too much on foreign policy.
At Council III, a number of actions were taken. The Constitution and Bylaws Committee brought forward revised wording which would permit voting by members of the Executive Board, Council, Committees and Task Forces by mail, electronically and via conference call. This amendment now goes to the membership for approval. The Committee on Legislation obtained support for establishing an association-wide group to monitor the impact of the Google Book Search Settlement on ALA members and their institutions and to make recommendations for action when needed. The Intellectual Freedom Committee was successful in receiving Council’s support to pursue the elimination of Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Council passed resolutions in the following areas: promotion of Sunday, October 4, 2009, as “Intergeneration Day Means Libraries,” compliance with Section 508 to expand accessibility of library websites and online databases purchased by libraries, endorsement of legislative proposals for affordable, universal healthcare, development of action plans to remedy the current library budget crisis, and implementation of access to ALA Council’s entire proceedings via audio recording on the ALA website starting with Midwinter Meeting 2010.
The final attendance figure for the Chicago conference was 28,941.