ALA Committee on Professional Ethics
Submitted by Brad Eden
The committee met twice during ALA Midwinter Meeting, but I only attended the Monday morning meeting. Discussion from the agenda indicates that 2012 Annual Conference programming was discussed, a review of the ASCLA Code of Ethics for consultants was discussed, a report on OIF and IFLA were given, as well as an Executive Board Liaison report. Old business discussed was the Ethics Education Initiative. A number of quick reports were given by other ALA representatives and liaisons.
Freedom to Read Foundation
Submitted by Kay Cassell
The Freedom to Read Foundation discussed several important cases at its Midwinter meeting: Two “hard cases” came to FTRF in the last few months. The first, People of the State of Michigan v. Kwame Kilpatrick, challenges the Michigan “Son of Sam” law, which bars any person convicted of a crime from collecting any profits from the sale of his or her memories of the crime until court-ordered restitution is paid in full. Both the Supreme Court and the highest courts of other states have uniformly struck down such laws as a violation of the First Amendment. A Michigan county prosecutor is attempting to enforce the law against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who wrote and published a memoir titled, Surrender: The Rise, Fall & Revelation of Kwame Kilpatrick, following his conviction for obstruction of justice. Both the trial and appellate courts summarily rejected Kilpatrick’s First Amendment arguments, and Kilpatrick now is seeking review by the Michigan Supreme Court.
On November 1, FTRF joined with the Association of American Publishers, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and the PEN American Center to file an amicus curiae brief in support of Kilpatrick’s First Amendment rights. The brief asks the Michigan Supreme Court to review the lower courts’ decisions, on the grounds that the Michigan law is a content-based speech restriction on speech of public concern.
The second lawsuit, United States v. Alvarez, presented another difficult issue: should the government be allowed to punish nondefamatory, nonfraudulent false speech? This is the issue at the heart of this lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act, a law that makes it a crime to lie about having received military honors. Alvarez, the defendant, was charged with violating the Act after he falsely told the audience at a meeting that he had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The case is now before the Supreme Court, which granted certiorari after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Alvarez’ conviction.
FTRF has filed an amicus curiae brief that asks the Supreme Court to overturn the Stolen Valor Act on the grounds that the law creates a new category of unprotected speech that is contrary to long-standing legal precedents holding that the First Amendment protects nonfraudulent, nondefamatory false speech. The brief argues that there is no exception to the First Amendment for a government-imposed “test of truth,” and that enforcement of such a test would chill the speech of law-abiding media and other entities that distribute information.
FTRF has been monitoring Bradburn et al. v. North Central Regional Library District since 2006. As you may recall, three library users represented by the ACLU of Washington State filed suit in federal district court to challenge the library system’s refusal to honor requests by adult patrons to temporarily disable the filter for sessions of uncensored reading and research. After many years of wrangling and a side trip to the Washington State Supreme Court, the federal district court finally heard oral arguments on the parties’ motion for summary judgment this past October. The parties are now waiting for a decision from the court.
Another lawsuit, Hunter v. City of Salem and the Board of Trustees, Salem Public Library, charges the Salem Public Library and its board of trustees with unconstitutionally blocking access to web sites discussing minority religions by using filtering software that improperly classifies the sites as “occult” or “criminal.” Hunter, a resident of Salem, Missouri, alleges that the Salem Public Library director refused to unblock portions of websites discussing astrology, Native American religions, and the Wiccan religion that were blocked by the library’s filter, and told Hunter that the library was required to report any person who accessed such sites to the police. This lawsuit is in its early stages and FTRF will continue to monitor it.
Finally, PFLAG, Inc. v. Camdenton R-III School District challenges the Internet filtering practices of a school district in Missouri. The plaintiffs allege that the school district’s custom-built Internet filtering software includes a viewpoint-discriminatory category called “sexuality,” which blocks all LGBT-supportive information, including many web sites that are not sexually explicit in any way. The filtering software does, however, allow students to view sites that criticize homosexuality. The lawsuit argues that the district must either unblock the discriminatory sexuality filter or obtain other filtering software that is capable of filtering content in a viewpoint-neutral manner. Again, FTRF plans to monitor the progress of this lawsuit.
Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA
Submitted by John Attig
JSC activities for this period are described in detail in these reports:
- Report on the JSC meeting, Glasgow, Scotland, November 1–4, 2011
- Midwinter Report on JSC Activities, November 2011–January 2012
Legislative Assembly-Committee on Legislation
Submitted by Duncan Stewart
Key points on major issues & activities
- Appropriations (Jeff Kratz)
- Copyright updates (Nancy Kranich & Corey Williams)
- Open Access (Nancy Kranich & Corey Williams)
- E-government and Open Government Initiatives (Patricia Ball & Jessica McGilvray)
- Access to Govt. Info.& GPO issues (Richard Huffine & Jessica McGilvray)
- Ttelecommunications and Broadband & issues (Holly Carroll & Corey Williams)
- Privacy/Surveillance (Lynne Bradley)
Discussion of units’ legislative agendas and related processes
Potential resolutions at this conference 6. Discussion – communications and feedback on ALA Connect, District Dispatch, etc. Other items raised by Legislation Assembly and COL members
Submitted by Denise Novak
No agenda was sent prior to the meeting. Majority of the meeting was taken up with explanation of the purpose of the recruitment assembly and an update on the new web site by Lorelle Swader, Director of the Office for HR Development and Recruitment (HRDR) and ALA-Allied Professional Association for the American Library Association. She stressed the importance of publicity for the new web site. Recruitment is very technology driven and the ALA web site can be a very important component in the process.
We also touched on mentoring and how we (librarians) can help mentor young people to the profession.
The group discussed the possibility of needing only one face-to-face meeting during the year. No final decision was made.
ASCLA Accessibility Assembly
Submitted by Kevin Furniss
Discussed the Sue Polanka's No Shelf Required 2 and its treatment of issues related to accessibility and e-books (http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=3525) as a jumping off point for more widespread discussion and promotion of solutions.
The Assembly is working on a new mission statement and convened three members to write a draft.
Discussed the promotion of Section 508 (http://www.section508.gov) to assist institutions in their procurement of assistive technologies in the workplace.
American Association of Law Libraries – Technical Services Special Interest Section
Submitted by Ajaye Bloomstone
Programs sponsored by AALL Technical Services Special Interest Section and held at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries:
- Analyzing, Managing, and Communicating About Library Budgets: How are You Doing It?
- The Elusive Updating Looseleaf: Cataloging Standards and Practices for the 21st Century
- RDA Decision and What It Will Mean for Me and My Library!
- Isness vs Aboutness: Development and Implementation of LC Law Genre/Form Terms
- Best Practices for Evaluating a New Electronic Resource
- Cutting Beyond the Bone: Managing in an Age of Austerity
- Electronic Resources Management (ERM) Systems Showcase
- RDA for Everyone: Resource Description and Access Explained to Non-Catalogers
- Authority Control Vocabularies and the Semantic Web
Other programs presented during AALL 2011 which were of interest to technical services librarians:
- Emerging Technologies and the Library Manager
- E-books and the Future of Legal Publishing
- Collaborative Collection Development: What Should Academic and Law Firm Libraries Know About Each Other?
- RDA Test: Law Catalogers’ Perspectives
- Getting to Yes for Your Library: Negotiating Vendor Contracts in Your Favor
- Anatomy of a License Agreement
- Library Operations and the Evolution of the ILS: Backfield in Motion?
Workshops sponsored by AALL TS-SIS during AALL 2011 or of interest to technical services librarians:
- Putting the “M” in ERM: Best Practices in Electronic Resources Management
Programs and workshops sponsored by AALL Technical Services Special Interest Section or of interest to technical services librarians and scheduled for the 2012 annual meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries (nonmembers may call AALL if interested in attendance):
- E-Stats Collection for Your Non-Stacks Collection
- Launching Into RDA: The New Frontier
- Law Libraries and the Semantic Web
- Seminoles and Gators: Can Shared Patron Driven Acquisitions of Ebooks Overcome the Rivalry
- Helping Others Learn, Connect, and Grow Through Times of Stress
- KIA-KIX: A Revolutionary New Classification Schedule for the 21st Century
- Passing the Baton: Managing Temporary and Permanent Succession Changes
- Innovative Interfaces/Skyriver vs. OCLC Lawsuit: Who Wins? Who Loses?
- Modeling Subject Authority Data: FRSAD Overview and Implementation Examples
- Digital Content: The What, the How, and the Where
- Law Library Collections Post-Microform: Future Implications for the Newest Legacy Formats
- Technical Services by the Seat of Your Pants
- RDA for Law Catalogers