Confidentiality and Transparency

A PLA Governance Best Practice

Confidentiality and trust are two values implicit in good governance. Generally speaking, PLA board members should not disclose sensitive information outside of the board. If the element of confidentiality is lost, the board will not be able to have free and frank deliberations. A perceived lack of confidentiality will have a chilling effect. When decisions have to be made, all PLA board members should be able to contribute to a healthy discussion of the matters at hand without any fear of the detail of those discussions being “leaked” to other people either within or outside the organization.

Within PLA, confidentiality will be balanced against the principle of transparency. Transparency engenders goodwill among the organization’s members and supporters. It is also the mark of a well-governed and well-managed organization. PLA uses a variety of policies and practices to insure transparency. PLA board agendas and documents, along with minutes and financial reports including budgets, are posted to ALA Connect as open documents, available for any ALA member to read. PLA committee reports are also available there. PLA policies and committee rosters are available on the PLA website. PLA meetings are open to all ALA members as defined by ALA policy. ALA Open Meetings (policy 7.4.3) states: “All meetings of the American Library Association and its units are open to all members and to members of the press. Registration requirements apply. Closed meetings may be held only for the discussion of matters affecting the privacy of individuals or institutions.”