Reports from Midwinter 2010

Council Activities

Diane Dates Casey, ALCTS Councilor

During the ALA Council Information Session, James Neal, chair of the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC), reported that the FY09 ALA budget ended $213,296 in the black with no use of reserve funds. The net revenue for the divisions’ budgets was more than $1.5 million in the positive column. As for the FY10 ALA budget, the first quarter was almost $400,000 in the red, but the projections for the first quarter were $1.5 million in the red. Association finances are being carefully monitored to reduce the impact of these difficult financial times. On a brighter note, the endowment funds have risen by 26.8 percent. ALA Council members reviewed and commented in small groups on the draft strategic plan developed last fall.

At Council I, ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels discussed progress towards implementation of the Task Force on Electronic Member Participation’s recommendations. An audio file of ALA Council’s 2010 Midwinter proceedings will be posted on the ALA web site. A presentation was given on the Spectrum Presidential Initiative which plans to raise $1 million in twelve months for Spectrum scholarships targeted to increase diversity in the library profession. Council unanimously passed ALCTS’ “Resolution Declaring and Promoting 2010 as the Year of Cataloging Research.” The resolved clauses state:

Resolved that the American Library Association acknowledges the importance of outstanding research in the area of cataloging and metadata and declares 2010 as the Year of Cataloging Research; and

The American Library Association promotes 2010 as the Year of Cataloging Research throughout the association, among professors of Library and Information Studies and to other library associations.

At Council II, ALA Treasurer Rod Hersberger summarized the careful monitoring and prudent actions taken by ALA management to deal with the association’s budgetary shortfall and noted plans for neither staff compensation increases nor budget inflation. Association revenue will be hurt by the occurrence of only one division-level national conference. A resolution on the conference planner was referred to the Executive Board and a resolution on national health care with a public option was defeated. Councilors felt that the congressional debate had already moved beyond calls for a public option at this time.

At Council III, the Intellectual Freedom Committee’s proposed “Resolution in Honor of the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund’s Fortieth Anniversary” was approved by Council. The Fund was “founded in 1970 to help librarians who have been denied employment rights because of their defense of intellectual freedom or because of discrimination.” Several action items from the Committee on Legislation were passed: “Resolution on Transparency and Openness in the Federal Government,” “Resolution to Support Digital Information Initiatives at the U.S. Government Printing Office,” and “Resolution on Universal Access to Broadband.” The International Relations Committee presented a “Resolution on Rebuilding Libraries and Archives Damaged or Destroyed by the Earthquake in Haiti” which was passed unanimously. Jim Rettig gave a brief report from the Google Book Settlement Task Force which will keep ALA Council informed as the implications of this Settlement for libraries develop. The resolution on the “dratted” ALA event planner was withdrawn following assurances by Fiels that event planner issues will be resolved. A “Resolution in Support of 2010 Spectrum Presidential Initiative” was passed unanimously

The final attendance figure for the Boston conference was 11,095, while last year’s Denver Midwinter conference was 10,220.