Council Actions during Midwinter 2010

by Jenny Emanuel

Ask any Councilor what went on at ALA Midwinter this year and they'll probably either answer, "It was the Council we finished 2 hours early!" Or "There was nothing overly controversial happening to make Council sessions exciting". As a result, this is probably the briefest report of what went on concerning ALA governance ever.

Council acted upon the following issues:

* Adopted a resolution declaring and promoting 2010 as the Year of Cataloging Research.
* Adopted a resolution on transparency and openness in the Federal government as well as a resolution in support of digital information initiative at the U.S. Government Printing Office.
* Passed a resolution urging governments to support universal access to broadband internet.
* Adopted a resolution on Haiti, offering sympathy, providing resources as to how libraries can help rebuild Haiti's libraries and cultural institutions, and urging libraries to provide up to date social and communications services devoted to issues surrounding the Haiti earthquake.
* There was a resolution that was withdrawn that would have had ALA endorses the statement "Librarianship and Traditional Cultural Expressions: Nurturing Understanding and Respect". I suspect we'll hear from this one again.
* Approved programmatic priorities for ALA including diversity, equitable access to information, education and lifelong learning, intellectual freedom, advocacy for libraries and the profession, literacy, and organizational excellence.
* Made changes to the Library Bill of Rights, namely stating that minors have freedom of speech in adding content to interactive web sites.
* Elected two members of the Executive Board: Kevin Reynolds (University of the South), J. Linda Williams (Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Maryland). The Executive board is elected from within Council and provides oversight of ALA as well as set priorities. Executive Board members serve three year terms.

There was also a lot of talk about the online event calendar that ALA offers for every conference. Most were frustrated by its usability. Discussions included getting rid of it, developing a new tool through ALA Connect, or just getting ALA to recognize that it should be a bigger priority. Although a resolution for the "dratted event planner" was submitted, it was withdrawn after Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels came up with a draft action plan. This plan included making the event planner more of a priority, and reporting back to Council at Annual and update to it. It appears a new event planner, linked in through ALA Connect will be live by Midwinter 2011.

Although grateful for getting to go home early, Council at Midwinter did accomplish a lot. There are several current and recent NMRT members on Council (myself, Aaron Dobbs, Nanette Donohue, Amy Harmon, and Courtney Young). We have a lot of support from other ALA leaders that were once a part of NMRT, who understand the needs of early career librarians. I encourage everyone in NMRT to become aware of the issues that Council takes up and consider running for a Council seat at large next year. I hear that a lot of people do not have an understanding of Council, or feel that it does not touch upon issues relevant to new librarians, but the way to overcome that is to become involved yourself. We're always looking to get more people involved.