Librarianship and Traditional Cultural Expressions: Nurturing Understanding and Respect 7.0

The seventh draft of “Librarianship and Traditional Cultural Expressions: Nurturing Understanding and Respect” is available for review and comment.

“The responsible management of traditional cultural expressions—in which the principle of open access to information is balanced with a respect for the rights of indigenous and traditional communities—is an important issue for the American Library Association and for libraries,” said ALA President Camila Alire.

The author of this statement is the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) and its Advisory Committee. The World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), which OITP monitors, addresses the issue of traditional cultural expressions globally. OITP has worked closely with the Library Copyright Alliance and the Chair of theInternational Federation of Library Associations’ (IFLA) Committee on Copyright and Other Legal Matters (CLM). OITP also worked closely with AILA, the American Indian Library Association, in developing the draft document.

“A draft statement of principles was presented for adoption at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston, but a number of groups, external and internal, raised issues with the document just prior to or at Midwinter. Based on these concerns, the Committee on Legislation, which brought the matter to Council, decided not to bring the draft principles to Council until these issues had been addressed,” said ALA President Camila Alire.

“Traditional Cultural Expression is a complicated issue for many reasons, but we believe that a statement of principles is needed, and that it will be possible to resolve the issues that were raised,” she noted.

President Alire is establishing a Presidential Task Force, with co-chairs appointed by the OITP Advisory Committee and the International Relations Committee (IRC), to work on this matter. The Task Force will also consist of representatives from the Intellectual Freedom Committee; Committee on Legislation; Association of College and Research Libraries; ALA Joint Committee on Archives, Libraries and Museums; American Indian Library Association; Asian Pacific Library Association; Chinese American Library Association; REFORMA; and Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

The Task Force is charged to:

  • Review the background and development of the current version (7.0) of the document“Librarianship and Traditional Cultural Expressions: Nurturing Understanding and Respect”;
  • Review the current principles draft document and other relevant material, including any issues raised by external or internal groups;
  • Propose revisions to the document as needed; and
  • Prepare a revised draft document for discussion and approval by the ALA Council at ALA Midwinter 2011.

The Task Force will meet via conference call and in person at Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., in June 2010, and will also work online using ALA Connect.

The Alaska Library Association recently adopted (7.0) of the document “Librarianship and Traditional Cultural Expressions: Nurturing Understanding and Respect.”