SRRT Coordinator's Column - June 2019

by Charles Kratz, SRRT Coordinator, Dean of the Library and Information Fluency, Weinberg Memorial Library, The University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania


Congratulations to our newly elected SRRT Action Council Members-at-Large:

  • Marna Clowney-Robinson
  • Stavroula Harissis
  • April Sheppard

We look forward to them joining Action Council after the 2019 ALA Annual Conference. And thank you to everyone who stood for election this year.


ALA Annual Conference 2019
We look forward to seeing you at the 2019 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. where the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) and the Alternative Press Index celebrate 50 years of activities in the broad community of libraries.

We will celebrate each organization's 50th anniversary with a social gathering and discussion with Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies at Busboys & Poets, 450 K St. N.W. in Washington, DC. The event will take place during the Annual Conference of the American Library Association (ALA) on Saturday, June 22nd and runs from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Ms. Bennis will speak on "War Dangers Rising: Trump Foreign Policy & Lack Thereof."

It is my great honor to serve as SRRT Coordinator as we celebrate this 50th Anniversary milestone. SRRT is more important than ever in our profession and in today's society as we fight harder than ever for democratic principles and progressive priorities. Concern for human and economic rights was an important element in the founding of SRRT and remains an urgent concern today. Libraries and librarians must recognize and help solve social problems and inequities in order to carry out their mandate to work for the common good and bolster democracy.

The Social Responsibilities Round Table was founded in January 1969 at the tumultuous American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in Atlantic City. SRRT works to make ALA more democratic and to establish progressive priorities for the Association and the library profession.

The Alternative Press Index is published by the Alternative Press Centre, an independent library in Baltimore, Maryland. It was founded in March 1969 by student activists at Carlton College in Minnesota. The Index fosters progressive social change by providing better access to what used to be called the "Underground Press," and what we now consider alternative, radical, and leftist periodicals.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. She focuses on the Middle East, U.S. wars, and United Nations issues. She is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Her writing appears regularly in The Nation magazine and other independent periodicals. Among her latest books is Understanding ISIS & the New Global War on Terror: A Primer.


SRRT International Responsibilities Task Force (IRTF) program: Stephen Kinzer at ALA Annual 2019
Besides our regular roundtable meetings, the International Responsibilities Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) will present a talk by Stephen Kinzer, noted journalist, author, and scholar on "Subverting Other Peoples' Elections: History and Resources" on June 23, 2019, 1:00 -2:30 p.m. in the Washington Convention Center, Room 158A-B. A few of Stephen Kinzer's books include Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, with Stephen Schlesinger (1982), All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror (2003); Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (2006), and The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire (2017).

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. His articles and books have led the Washington Post to place him "...among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling." The Huffington Post wrote "Stephen Kinzer is a journalist of a certain cheeky fearlessness and exquisite timing."

Kinzer spent more than 20 years working for the New York Times, most of it as a foreign correspondent. His foreign postings placed him at the center of historic events and, at times, in the line of fire. While covering world events, he has been shot at, jailed, beaten by police, tear-gassed, and bombed from the air.

From 1983 to 1989, Kinzer was the New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua, and he covered war and upheaval throughout Central America. From 1990 to 1996, Kinzer was the chief of the New York Times bureau in Berlin. There he covered the transformation of the Eastern European countries and the wars in the former Yugoslavia. From 1996 to 2000, Kinzer headed the newly opened New York Times bureau in Istanbul, Turkey, from where he covered the new nations of Central Asia.

He has taught at Northwestern University and Boston University, and is currently a Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. He writes for various publications including the Boston Globe, The Guardian, and the New York Review of Books.


All ALA RTs membership numbers, April 2019
Below is the latest membership breakdown for SRRT and other round tables that saw an increase in April 2019. It lists the name, total number of members, and percent increase compared to last year.


ALA Group Membership Numbers Percentage of Growth from Last Year
Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) 1916 +6.27%
Ethic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) 959 +3.12%
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) 1465 +3.68%
Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) 1813 +1.91%
Library Research Round Table (LRRT) 1373 +0.44%
New Members Round Table (NMRT) 1525 +3.81%
Sustainability Round Table (SUSTRT) 1114 +44.86%

ALA has 58,136, -1.99%


SRRT Newsletter is looking for Editorial Board members!
The SRRT newsletter is looking for new Editorial Board members. If you would like to become more involved in SRRT, this is a great way to do that! We need people who are committed to social responsibility and social justice, who are interested in editing, writing and being part of a team, and who have ideas to share about the content of the newsletter, which has been in existence for exactly 50 years. Come contribute to this history! If you are interested in becoming a member of the SRRT Editorial Board, please send a copy of your resume/CV, a brief letter of inquiry outlining your qualifications and interest in the position, and a writing sample and/or examples of previous work to Melissa Cardenas-Dow, SRRT Newsletter co-editor, at and Julie Winkelstein, SRRT Newsletter co-editor at


Needed: Web managers for SRRT Website!
Do you have an interest in web design + maintenance, some time to volunteer, and looking to get more involved in SRRT?

The Social Responsibilities Round Table is currently recruiting volunteers to serve on a small team of web managers for SRRT's website. The web management team will be responsible for updating and maintaining the website in a timely fashion, working to ensure the accuracy and functionality of the site while complying with accessibility standards, coordinating cohesion across task force, committee, Action Council, and general pages, and handling routine maintenance tasks such as link checking. One of the first projects of the group will be working with the SRRT staff liaison to determine and implement an updated structure on the website and take an audit of missing information. This team will be considered an ad-hoc committee for the time being, with the possibility of institution as a standing committee.

The website uses Drupal, a content management system, so interested volunteers do not need to have programming or development experience, though we hope to have volunteers with a mix of experience levels! All volunteers should have:

  1. at least a medium comfort level with technology,
  2. time to complete a brief Drupal training and review help documentation shortly after being selected, and
  3. the time and interest to dedicate to the group to improve SRRT's web presence.


If you have any pertinent experience, let us know! Note: all volunteers must be current SRRT members.

Please contact SRRT Action Council Coordinator Charles Kratz and SRRT staff liaison Briana Jarnagin if interested.


Get involved with SRRT
If you would like to become more involved in SRRT's task forces, please let us know so we can direct you to a task force representative. The SRRT Task Forces are Feminist Task Force (FTF); Hunger, Homelessness, & Poverty Task Force (HHPTF); International Responsibilities Task Force (IRTF); and Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force (MLKTF). You can also click on the volunteer form to use to serve on ALA, Divisions and Round Tables committees/task forces. This form includes volunteer opportunities in SRRT.