Officially Speaking | February 2014

President's Column | Councilor's Midwinter Report | ALSC Donors  

Hand in Hand 

Drawing of Starr LaTronica by Suzanne BloomThere is nothing like the excited anticipation and energetic bustle of committee work inherent at the Midwinter Meeting! Committees and work groups convene and generate the kind of dynamic energy that is created when passionate, committed professionals come together to pool their collective talents for progressive projects and programs and to carry on the long-established work that is at the foundation of our association—the evaluation of media for children. 
 
It is the latter process that led me to ponder our steadfast and oh-so-important partners—those who are in the business of creating and providing the tools that are essential in allowing us to do our good work with children and families. We depend on the work of equally passionate and committed authors, illustrators, filmmakers, musicians, editors, designers, publishers, and promoters of the materials we employ every day in service to children as much as we depend on the evaluation and award committees that work year round to assess the very best in books, recordings, videos and websites so that we all may share their considered judgment with our clientele.  
 
Midwinter is a time to recognize, honor and celebrate the arduous and rewarding work of all the parties involved, which culminates in the lists of award winners, notables, and great websites. The fruits of their labor may be seen at:
 
 
In addition, we are fortunate to benefit from the work of related committees around ALA:
 
Coretta Scott King Awards  (Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table)
Stonewall Awards  (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table)
 
Midwinter is also an occasion to look forward, to network in the exhibits and in programs for previews of the work to be unveiled this year.  It offers the opportunity to chat with publishers and colleagues to express our appreciation for all types of media produced for children—not only those cited by award and notable committees, but the multitude of titles that lift hearts, engage minds, tickle funny bones, open eyes to new worlds, and bring children and families back to the library for more.
 
A friend in publishing recently related the pride she feels when she sees a book to which she has contributed in the hands of a child on the subway, and recognizes that it was probably the result of the influence of a librarian.  As librarians, we know that feeling as well, when we see children leave the library with materials we recommend, knowing the hand that our colleagues in publishing and media play in equipping us with what we need to fulfill our role effectively.  The two fields are inextricably linked in leading children to literacy and library use.
 
Even as we congratulate all those publishers, producers, and creators whose outstanding work has been recognized, we know it is we librarians and readers who are the winners.  We are grateful for their work and proud to be their partners. Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Let’s give them a hand!--Starr LaTronica, ALSC President
 

ALSC Councilor's Report 

Photo of Andrew MedlarGreetings, everyone! I’m happy to provide an update on the work of ALA Council during the recent Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. (A side note: Midwinter attendance was 12,207, which is higher than it’s been since we were last in Philly in 2008.) As ALA’s governing body, Council works to provide policy direction for the association, and each ALA division—such as ALSC—has a representative—such as yours truly—with a voice. Below are some of the actions undertaken by Council, and a full list of related documents is available online.  
 
A major concern of Councilors, as with many librarians, is the January 14 action by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down “Net Neutrality” (described by ALA as “online non-discrimination”), and that same day ALA President Barbara Stripling issued a statement expressing our association’s disappointment with the ruling. This issue concerns the “free flow of information for all people” and the ALA Committee on Legislation and the Washington Office will carefully monitor the unfolding implications of the ruling and keep us up to date. 
 
Council heard a report from the Digital Content and Libraries Working Group, which is encouraged that all “Big 5” publishers are now making their content available to libraries to at least some extent. There is much work still to be done, however, and the group’s advocacy work will continue on important issues including pricing, preservation, streaming, privacy, and accessibility. 
 
Council bestowed Honorary Membership, ALA’s highest honor, on Patricia Glass Schuman. A tireless library advocate, co-founder of Neal-Schuman Publishers, and author of such articles as “Libraries: Defending Children’s Right to Know” (Reading Today, 1992), she has served as President and Treasurer of ALA, and joins a distinguished list of previous honorees. Memorial resolutions were presented for Major Owens, Augusta “Gussie” Clark, Nasser Sharify, and Bohdan Stephan Wynar, and a tribute to Philadelphia’s Giovanni’s Room Bookstore and Owner Ed Hermance was adopted.
 
Resolutions passed included those supporting “Maintaining Government Websites during a Government Shutdown,” “Curbing Government Surveillance,” and “Expanding Federal Whistleblower Protections” (while a resolution recognizing former NSA-employee Edward Snowden as a whistleblower was defeated). Council approved the establishment of the “Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity,” commended Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-WI-5) and Senator Leahy (D-VT) for their support of the USA Freedom Act, and honored Senator Rockefeller (D–WV) for his support of America’s libraries. Council heard a report from the Freedom to Read Foundation, which will be publishing an updated Toolkit this spring, and referred a resolution to allow programs at Midwinter to the Budget Analysis and Review Committee for consideration of financial implications.
 
Part of being an ALA Councilor is also being an ALA-Allied Professional Association Councilor, and I invite you to visit the ALA-APA website to learn more about this important work to “promote the mutual professional interests of librarians and other library workers.” To that end, the ALA-APA’s focus is on the certification of individuals in specializations beyond the initial professional degree, direct support of comparable worth and pay equity initiatives, and other activities designed to improve the salaries and status of librarians and other library workers.
 
As the ALA election approaches next month, I would encourage you to check out the Councilor-at-Large candidates’ biographies included in the ballot, look for members of any of the three youth divisions (AASL, YALSA, and, of course, ALSC), and consider lending your support to increasing the youth division representation on Council. The Youth Council Caucus, for which ALA President Stripling joined us in Philadelphia, can increase our visibility and influence as we continue to grow in number. Our advocacy efforts can also be strengthened by supporting the Declaration for the Right to Libraries, and I ask you to add your signature to it here in advance of its presentation at National Library Legislative Day in early May. 
 
As always, I will share any important Council developments on ALSC-L and am interested in your thoughts regarding Council actions past, present, and/or future. I look forward to hearing from you.--Andrew Medlar, ALSC Division Councilor 
 

Thank You to Our Most Recent Donors 

Many thanks to the following contributors to ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit www.ala.org/alsc and click on "About ALSC--Contact ALSC--Donate to ALSC” on the left-hand navigation menu.

Pura Belpré Award Endowment

Alan Bern
Ed Spicer

Friends of ALSC logoFriends of ALSC

Gold Circle
 
Dudley B. Carlson
Linda A. Perkins
 
Silver Circle
 
Therese Bigelow
Maria Gentle
David Mowery
Ed Spicer
Judy Zuckerman
 
Notable Circle
 
Christine Caputo
Barbara A. Genco
B. Allison Gray
Paula Holmes
Amy Kellman
Ginny Moore Kruse
Nina Lindsay
Phyllis Mattill
Linda A. Perkins
 
Friends Circle
 
Marilyn Ackerman
Viki Ash
Rita Auerbach
Alan Bern
Elisa J. Gall
Patrick J. Gall
Lolly H. Gepson
Rebecca Jackman
Kathie Meizner
Connie Pottle