The PLA Board discussed the issues associated with the PLA 2020 Nashville site at the ALA 2016 Annual Conference board meeting (see board documents 2016.81a and 2017.16). The discussion was the result of newly enacted legislation (Tennessee HB1840) that allows mental health counselors to refuse to treat patients based on the therapist's religious or personal beliefs.
The PLA Board considered these factors in voting to stay with the original site, Nashville. These will serve as guidelines for future conversations about meeting sites and will be shared with the PLA Conference Committee and other PLA/ALA groups that help develop our continuing education programs that support the core values of librarianship:
- No conference/meeting site is immune from future political actions or legislation contrary to our values;
- Conference planning cycles may begin as early as 10 years out; PLA can monitor but cannot predict what may happen in a host city or state;
- PLA uses and will continue to use language in our hotel/convention center contracts that specifically spells out our civil rights’ values and principles and PLA will be proactive in seeking sites that best align with those values and principles;
- PLA is a national organization and our members, stakeholders and libraries live, work and serve communities in all 50 states;
- Through its conferences, PLA provides high quality education opportunities and seeks to educate and share with host communities our core values and principles;
- PLA conferences have been and will be inclusive as public libraries are community conveners on equity, inclusion, and diversity;
- Equity, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement will be addressed at conferences going forward;
- PLA will communicate to its membership the thinking behind this decision and will plan an inclusive conference in Nashville and at future meetings and conferences;
- PLA will work with the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table and use the recommendations from the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to guide conference planning;
- An intended outcome of our conference will be to raise awareness and ultimately, to impact changes to policies and law that are discriminatory. PLA will use our presence to educate and inspire action.
Approved by the PLA Board of Directors, January 2017.