SRRT Newsletter - Issue 168, September 2009

SRRT Newsletter - Issue 168, September 2009


ALA Annual Conference in Pictures

Whether you were not able to attend 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago or you are looking to relive memories from SRRT events at conference, you are sure to enjoy this brief slideshow:

The file is 17.1MB and may take a few minutes to load, depending on the speed of your Internet connection. It is in QuickTime format, so you may be prompted to install a QuickTime plugin if it is not currently included in your web browser. Click the play button on the bottom left corner of the viewer to start the slideshow.

Photos in this slideshow include:

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Letter from the Editor

Myka Kennedy Stephens, SRRT Newsletter Editor

Dear Readers,

Once again, you are presented with a SRRT Newsletter that brings with it a few more changes. I have undertaken the enormous task of updating the style of SRRT's site. These updates are an effort to accommodate our growing needs as we continue to shift into electronic publishing and communications. Hopefully these changes will make our website and the Newsletter easier to read and more accessible. I apologize for the slight delay in the publication of this issue, as it was necessary to begin implementation of the new style.

One special feature I have integrated is the use of acronym texts within the text of the Newsletter. There is a never-ending stream of acronyms and abbreviations within SRRT and ALA, and even the sharpest among us can get tripped up on them from time to time. When you encounter an acronym or abbreviation, move your cursor over it and a small box will appear to give you the full name of that acronym. This is just one detail among many in the new website style that will hopefully make your time here a little more enjoyable.

This issue also marks our first venture integrating multimedia into the Newsletter. Your feedback about the QuickTime slideshow of Annual Conference pictures would be most appreciated as we experiment with adding such features and take advantage of our electronic format. Than you in advance for your support and help with making the Newsletter more interactive and visually engaging. I would especially like to thank Nancy Garmer and Alison Lewis for contributing their photographs from Annual Conference.

It is with some sadness that I announce the resignation of our long-time Book Reviews Editor Jane Ingold. Jane has served as book reviews editor for five years and served as general editor the three years prior to that. She is hoping to pass on the torch to someone, perhaps a new librarian or a tenure-track librarian, interested in becoming more involved with SRRT. Thank you for your many years of devoted service, Jane. Your contributions to SRRT and the SRRT Newsletter are appreciated beyond measure.

It was such a delight to meet many of you at the 2009 Annual Conference in Chicago. I am looking forward to continuing to know you better as we continue to work together on behalf of the Social Responsibilities Round Table.


Myka Kennedy Stephens

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Coordinator's Column

by LaJuan Pringle

LaJuan Pringle, SRRT Action Council Coordinator

I would like to thank SRRT for giving me the opportunity to continue serving for another term as your coordinator. It's a privilege to represent SRRT as we celebrate our milestone 40th anniversary. I look forward to working with our entire membership body to ensure SRRT's influence within ALA for the next 40 years and beyond.

As SRRT conducted its business this year, the spirit of collaboration was in the air. The Alternative Media Task Force along with other members of SRRT worked closely with the Alternative Press Center (APC) in Chicago to provide a memorable Alternative Media Reception, which also served as SRRT'S 40th Anniversary celebration. The celebration, which took place at the Experimental Station in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, not only brought together several alternative publishers, but also brought members of SRRT and the APC together who spoke of the rich histories of both organizations. Our collective energies were also on display at this year's Action Council meeting. The majority of resolutions endorsed by SRRT were initiated from other divisions or round tables. As SRRT continues to bring issues of social justice to the profession's attention, collaboration with other units who share similar goals is essential for getting our message out to the association at large. The Rainbow Project is a noteworthy example of how our joint efforts can create a wonderful environment for success between different groups within ALA. The Rainbow Project not only serves as a full task force of SRRT, but also functions as an official standing committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table. A few other task forces have already produced wildly successful events as result of their cooperative efforts. The Feminist Task Force and the ACRL Women's Studies Section have held joint socials for several years to provide a forum for mutual issues the two groups share. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force has worked tirelessly with Office of Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS) and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) to bring us the inspirational Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunrise Breakfast each year at our Midwinter conferences. These partnerships will continue to flourish for years to come. We must continue to build on the relationships we have established with other round tables and divisions in order to keep the work of SRRT going. This will ensure that our message of social responsibility among librarians continues to grow.

I'd also like to take a moment to remember Dr. E.J. Josey, a pioneering member of both SRRT and BCALA whose activism made it possible for librarians like me to be a part of this association. Dr. Josey's devotion to social justice makes the case as to why the status quo should never be accepted without question. Dr. Josey's lifelong push for equality came as a result of breaking down established barriers and I believe there are several lessons to be learned from Dr. Josey's time here with us. If there's one thing I can take away from his time here, it's that we should always strive to better our situations. If we can understand that there's always room for improvement whether it be in our careers or our personal lives, we will continue to learn, grow and sometimes fight for what is right!

And on a final note, please keep Al Kagan in your thoughts as he will undergo spinal surgery in the weeks ahead. Al has worked as a tireless advocate on behalf of SRRT and providing the progressive voice so urgently needed on ALA Council. Please wish him well and a speedy recovery. Also, SRRT would like to recognize Satia Orange's retirement from OLOS. Satia has worked with SRRT for years in her capacity as Director of OLOS. She has not only been a friend to our round table, but has befriended many of us personally. Please wish her the best as she starts a new chapter in her life.

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Wanted: Book Reviews Editor for SRRT Newsletter

Are you looking for an exciting new way to become involved in SRRT? Do you enjoy staying informed about the latest publications of books and media related to SRRT causes? Are you organized, detail-oriented, and good at managing and encouraging others?

If you answered positively to any of these questions, you may be just who we are looking for as our next Book Reviews Editor for SRRT Newsletter! The responsibilities of this position include:

  • Maintaining a list of reviewers
  • Working with the Newsletter Editor to establish due dates for reviews
  • Sending bulk email to reviewers calling for submissions
  • When necessary, mailing review items to reviewers
  • Editing reviews for grammar, style, and content and submitting them to the Newsletter Editor
  • Fielding emails from publishers regarding the availability of review copies; some will be sent automatically in the mail
  • Monitoring SRRT, PLG, and task force lists for ideas

If you are interested in serving as our new Book Reviews Editor, or would like to learn more about the position, please e-mail Myka Kennedy Stephens.

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Librarians and Human Rights: Writings in the first decade of the 21st Century

by Katharine J. Phenix and Kathleen de la Pena McCook

On December 10, 2008 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) marked its 60th anniversary. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been translated into more than 300 languages and dialects: from Abkhaz to Zulu—the most translated document in the world.

60th Anniversary Logo of the UDHR, provided by the United Nations

Katharine J. Phenix wrote of the anniversary's theme, “Dignity and Justice for All of Us: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948-2008” and how the UDHR intersects with the principles and practices of librarianship (see Progressive Librarian no. 30 (Winter 2007/2008): 1-2). Library workers have a history of alignment with human-rights issues and have long been aware of the many ways human rights values intersect with our values. Human rights permeate library policies beyond the round tables inhabited by intellectual freedom, social responsibilities, and international relations. Librarians keep in mind our history of human rights advocacy, and note the work we do today as a continuation of the commitment to the contributions of our programs, collections, and services toward keeping an open society. However, it is only recently that librarians have begun to discuss our commitment to these values in universal language.

On July 2, 1997, The American Library Association voted and approved the language of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 with the adoption of Policy 58.4 and 58.4.1:

58.4 Article 19 of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.

58.4.1 Human Rights and Freedom of Expression

The ALA shall work with other associations and institutions that belong to IFLA to develop positions and programmatic plans of action in support of human rights and freedom of expression. The president or the member officially representing the Association at IFLA conferences shall be directed to support and carry them out; and, in the absence of such specific direction, the president or the member officially representing the Association at IFLA conferences is empowered to vote on new IFLA resolutions related to human rights and freedom. Their votes shall be guided by ALA's adoption of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the good of the Association.

To honor the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights we recognize some high points in library workers' commitment to these civil and political rights over the last decade.

2001 – M. Hoffman, “Developing an Electronic Collection: The University of Minnesota Human Rights Library.” Legal Reference Services Quarterly 19, no. 3/4 (2001): 143-55.

2003-2004 – Carmine Bell, “Libraries and Human Rights Education.” Catholic Library World 77 (December 2006): 112-20.

The Human Rights Video Project was a national library project created to increase the public's awareness of human rights issues through documentary films that took place in 2003-2004. A collection of 12 documentary films on human rights issues was provided as a key resource for this project which encouraged collaborations between public libraries and human rights advocacy organizations. The project was developed by National Video Resources in partnership with the ALA Programs Office.

2005-2006 – Susan Maret, “Formats are a Tool for the Quest for Truth: HURIDOCS Human Rights Materials for Library and Human Rights Workers.” Progressive Librarian no. 26 (Winter 2005-2006)

2006 – Kathleen de la Pena McCook and Katharine J. Phenix. “Public Libraries and Human Rights.” Current Practices in Public Libraries. William Miller and Rita M. Pellen, eds. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, 2006: 57-73.

2007 – Katharine J. Phenix and Kathleen de la Pena McCook, “A Commitment to Social Change—Let's Honor the Qualities Required of a Librarian Dedicated to Human Rights.” Information for Social Change no. 25 (Summer 2007):

2007 – Toni Samek, Librarianship and Human Rights: A Twenty-First Century Guide. Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing, 2007.

Toni Samek wins the Library Journal teaching award for her work in human rights. Her work goes far beyond the three standard measures of academic performance: teaching, research, and service. Her teaching “is deeply informed by her commitment to, and scholarship in, human rights and the core values of the profession,” says Kenneth Gariepy, who nominated her for LJ's award. (Berry, John N. III, “Toni Samek,” in Library Journal 132, no. 15 (2007): 32-4)

2008 – Al Kagan. “An Alternative View on IFLA, Human Rights, and the Social Responsibility of International Librarianship.” IFLA Journal 34 (2008): 230-237.

2009 – Kathleen de la Pena McCook. “Human Rights as a Framework for Reflection in Service Learning: ‘Para que Otro Mundo es possible.’” Service Learning. Loriene Roy, Kelly Jensen and Alex Hershey Meyers, eds. Chicago: American Library Association, 2009: 5-15.

2009 – G. Stinnett, “Archival Landscape: Archives and Human Rights.” Progressive Librarian 32 (Winter/Spring 2009): 10-20.

We have argued for the acceptance of a human rights paradigm in librarianship from the vantage that a human rights perspective will move librarians from a stance of neutrality to work passionately on behalf of human capabilities (McCook, Kathleen de la Pena and Katharine J. Phenix, “Human Rights, Democracy and Librarians” in The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Expert, ed. by Ken Haycock and Brooke Sheldon (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2008), pp. 23-34). We hope that this list of works by librarians contributes to this shift.

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Introducing SRRT40 on

by Nancy E. Garmer

As many of you know, the Social Responsibilities Round Table is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. SRRT has been an active member of the American Library Association for 40 years striving to ensure that ALA is a socially conscious and democratic organization.

In celebration and honor of the work that SRRT has been involved in since its inception in 1969, we created the srrt40 wiki at The wiki is designed to be a collaborative bibliography of materials on issues that SRRT has addressed within ALA. The wiki is seeded with 40 titled pages created to provide dedicated space for reference material, resources and/or links to information, books, articles and sites that expand upon SRRT's mission.

As a cooperative and collective endeavor, this wiki will be a valuable resource for SRRT members. It can be used as a go-to place when looking for information on various aspects of socially responsible librarianship.

We invite all SRRT members to join the wiki. Whatever your area or level of interest or expertise, we encourage SRRT members to add and contribute resources, links, photos, etc. to the wiki. Only wiki members will be able to edit the wiki.

The following categories each have an individual page dedicated to resources that fall under this subject heading. Please share. We are looking forward to having a dynamic and well-populated wiki for members to utilize as an information exchange.

  1. Environment
  2. Library Funding
  3. EPA Libraries
  4. Green Libraries
  5. Green Conferencing
  6. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
  7. Coretta Scott King Award
  8. Civil Rights
  9. Alternative Press
  10. Independent Media
  11. Jackie Eubanks Memorial Award - The Alternatives in Publication (AIP) Task Force
  12. Sandy Berman
  13. Feminism
  14. Amelia Bloomer Project
  15. GLBT
  16. Rainbow Project
  17. Libraries and Neutrality
  18. Miriam Braverman Award
  19. Human Rights
  20. Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty
  21. Consumer Ethics
  22. Labor Unions
  23. Iraq
  24. Darfur
  25. Cuba
  26. Gaza / Palestine
  27. Afghanistan
  28. Vietnam War
  29. Cultural Democracy
  30. IFLA - International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
  31. Information Policy in the Public Interest
  32. Internet Filtering
  33. Intellectual Freedom
  34. Freedom to Read Foundation
  35. Misinformation / Disinformation
  36. Racism
  37. Women's Studies
  38. Accessibility and Access to Libraries
  39. Activism
  40. Social Responsibilities - Open Forum

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How and Why We Got Here Today: A History of the ALA Task Force on the Environment

by Fred Stoss, TFOE Chair

I was asked earlier this year to provide a short history of the ALA Task Force on the Environment, which celebrated its 20th anniversary at this year's ALA Annual Conference. My history with TFOE is peripheral from 1989 until 1993 or 1994. Since then I have served as a Chair, co-Chair, program planner, and mentor for TFOE and its members. Like all things, TFOE has a history, much like that of the great conservation and environmental movements of previous decades or centuries.

Many librarians have their academic roots in the humanities and may be expertly aware of a more complete knowledge-base of the literary roots of conservation and environmental thoughts. However, even for the scientists among us, it is not beyond our realm to realize that America's interest in things environmental begin with 19th Century writings on man and nature in British literature (Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson), as well as pre- and post-colonial American literature (Thomas Jefferson, James Audubon, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, John Burroughs, John Muir).

The evolution of the great conservation movement of the late 1800s through first decade or so of the 20th Century is sparked not only by the massive wildfires from the railroad network crisscrossing America's landscapes, but also by these writings. World wars and a global depression interrupt this conservation movement in the mid-Twentieth Century.

However, it reemerges in from the post-World War II years that saw conflicts of labor, civil rights, anti-Viet Nam War protests and a growing seed of feminism from the 1950s through the 1960s. The environmental movement of the 1970s through early 1990s was stimulated by the writings of Jack London, Aldo Leopold, Barry Commoner, Edward Abbey, and Rachel Carson. The decades of the 50s through the 70s launched an era of environmental activism. The fruits of this era included a tremendous building of environmental awareness and understanding. It also produced mountains of environmental data and information on scales never before encountered.

How did the library community respond? The Special Libraries Association created the Natural Resources Division in 1968 and the Environmental Information Division was proposed in 1972 through the efforts of Marta Dosa (Syracuse University, School of information Studies) and Mary Englemeirer (Smithsonian Environmental Information Exchange). It became an official SLA Division in 1976. In 1987 I had the honor to suggest merging the NRD and EID, by introducing a joint resolution to both Divisions at their respective business meetings at the SLA Annual. SLA established its current Environment and Resource Management Division in 1989. In 1991 SLA created the Natural History Caucus.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations were established in December of 1970, eight months after the first Earth Day, through a massive reorganization of the U.S. Federal government. One of its first actions was the creation of the EPA National Library Network (orchestrated, largely, by members of ALA's Social Responsibilities Round Table).

The 1972 United Nations Conference on Development produces the concept of Sustainability that is more eloquently outlined in the book, Our Common Future. The United Nations Environment Program and UNEP's Infoterra network, database and repositories began as a result of this event.

It was Elizabeth Morrissett, from the Alaska State Library, who proposed the idea for creating a task force within the Social Responsibilities Round Table to make librarians within ALA and the general public aware of the rapidly growing data and information base related to environmental issues. Terry Link from Michigan State University was the first TFOE Chair. Elizabeth and Terry nurtured TFOE through its infancy and firmly established TFOE as a major force within SRRT and ALA. Maria Anna Jankowska and Irwin Weintraub served in various capacities throughout TFOE's history to assured its quality of programs and helped to maintain a solid respect for the task force within SRRT and ALA. In more recent years, Jonathan Betz-Zall and Monika Antonelli have stepped into the breach to offer their creativity and expertise.

ALA granted TFOE official Task Force Status within the Social Responsibilities Round Table at the 1989 ALA Annual Meeting. The goals of the task force have been to:

  • Promote awareness of environmental issues within ALA
  • Unite librarians and information professionals for mutual benefit and support
  • Provide TFOE members with opportunities for career development, skills enhancement, and leadership experiences
  • Facilitate networking among peers and professional associates
  • Provide services, programs and publications that assist TFOE members and other in their careers, workplaces, homes and communities.

It is also interesting to note that in June of 1989, the National Library of Medicine and the Environmental Protection Agency created the most powerful and the most important environmental information tool for the general public at-large. The Toxic Release Inventory still provides data to individuals, neighborhoods, and communities about toxic chemicals stored and legally released into the environment. It is best accessed through Scorecard: The Pollution Information Site or other right-to-know sites such as MapCruzin.

Since its creation TFOE has taken the following actions to meet the goals set forward at its creation:

  • Introduced resolutions to promote ALA's paper recycling practices as well as ALA's use of chlorine-free paper in its publishing and communications operations
  • Continues to work with Conference Services to develop and implement a concept of ‘greener’ ALA Meetings
  • Assisted in an assessment of ALA Publishing's Green Environmental Practices
  • Participated in the Book Industry Study Group's environmental initiatives and the Book Industry Environmental Council
  • Sought and obtained ALA's endorsement for creating the EPA Office of Environmental Information
  • Fought to secure, restore and protect funding support for critical Federal programs such as the National Agricultural Library and the National Biological Information Infrastructure
  • Instrumental in saving the EPA National Library Network from imploding during a critical budget crisis that nearly closed the entire Network
  • Actively participated in developing and promoting the ALA Libraries Build Sustainable Communities program, with members serving as trainers, and then presented the program as a model for other libraries at the 2002 United Nations World Summit on the Environment.

Over the years, TFOE programs have seen speakers such as David Brower and Denis Hayes, and panels of experts to discuss the library ramifications of environmental justice, socially responsible investing, the development and impacts of the rapidly emerging Internet, GIS technologies, global warming, sustainability, childhood lead poisoning, the impacts of hazardous wastes to environmental health, environmental education, and much more. Today, TFOE actively participates in a new era that is sparked by the writings such as Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, that I hope in future years will be looked upon as the ‘era of environmental action.’ I also hope that TFOE will be counted among the entities that helped to get things started.

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Speeches from the 40th Anniversary Party/Alternative Media Reception, Part 1

transcribed by Mike Marlin

Editors Note: We are happy to bring you the first of two installments of the speeches made at the anniversary party during Annual Conference. The second installment will be included in the December 2009 issue.

LaJuan Pringle: Welcome to the 18th Annual Alternative Media Reception. We're here tonight to celebrate the origin of two organizations that have been fighting for progressive causes for 40 years, as we celebrate the anniversaries of the Social Responsibilities Round Table and the Alternative Press Center. SRRT, from the beginning, can be traced back to 1969 during the midst of an unpopular war and challenges to cultural norms that fostered the environment within the profession that led to the creation of SRRT. As we meet here on this glorious evening 40 years later, we find ourselves engaged again in another unpopular war, and we're still fighting for basic human rights for everyone regardless of race, gender, or sexual identity. We fight this battle in the atmosphere where global corporations have gotten more powerful, more organized, and have infiltrated mainstream society in a way that has taken advantage of our complacency. Nevertheless, those of you who are here this evening understand that, as we come together to celebrate our histories, we must leave here with the recognition that our work here is not finished. We must continue to do the work that has been shaped by folks like the late great Dr. E.J. Josie and Dr. Judith Krug, whose life and work falls heavily on the conference this year. We must continue the work of folks like Herb and Mary Biblo, Sandy Berman, Pat Schuman, and Bernadine Abbot Hoduski as well as John Berry, who have been with SRRT more or less since its existence, and who continue to do the work of SRRT today. I know that there are many of you out there who have done this work as well, and I want to thank you for laying the groundwork that have allowed folks like myself to be a part of this organization. It's the spirit of your work that continues to shine on us every day. (applause) We must also acknowledge how the alternative press has given a voice to the voiceless, and if it wasn't for these fine folks who set out to challenge history with the stroke of a pen, many of us wouldn't be sitting here in this room today. So let us please give a round of applause to those folks as well. (applause)

At this time I want to share a few words from Toni Samek, a great librarian and a great friend of SRRT, who took the time to write a few words for SRRT since she couldn't be here this year. This comes from Toni Samek:

"SRRT has helped to nurture the global, and intercultural critical library movement of the 21st century. This movement has identifiable sites and faces in numerous regions. From Argentina to Kosovo, from Pakistan to Zimbabwe, SRRT and its sister groups pioneer viable ways for street level library workers to participate in their field, where in many instances and circumstances they have neither the cultural capital nor the economic means to access the elite library networks. SRRT has sustained itself for 40 years because it relentlessly ties and binds librarianship to its realities: social, cultural, political, ideological, philosophical, technological, economical, and legal—all moving targets. The absence of a collective memory of librarianship creates a need for ongoing work that continues to document SRRT, explains SRRT, and sustains SRRT. SRRT does not rely on financial resources as the solution to library problems. SRRT seeks contribution, not control. SRRT counters librarian neutrality and sees the library as a point of resistance, and thus takes professional interest in broad issues such as sustainable development, poverty, war and peace, torture, destruction of cultural resources, and government intimidation. SRRT for 40 years has been the site for intelligent action. We must seek to protect it internationally as a safe haven for people and ideas, because reactive internationalization of librarianship and library education, rooted in cultural supremacy, oppression, exploitation, and promotion of global market fundamentalism threatens SRRT and its natural extensions beyond words." (applause)

Thank you remarks to Lincoln Cushing for designing SRRT T-shirts, Tom Twiss for organizing the t-shirt campaign. Thanks to APC for organizing tonight's event: thanks to Mary Burford, Chuck D'Adamo, Catherine Michael, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, and many others. (applause)

Chuck D'Adamo's remarks will appear in the second installment

Jonathan Betz-Zall: Good evening, my name is Jonathan Betz-Zall and first I'd like to know how many of you do not know how SRRT is organized? Raise your hand. Okay, that's enough! The main thing I want to say is that SRRT is not just one organization, it's like a coalition of different task forces, each of which focuses on a different area. I am the co-chair of the Task Force on the Environment, and we define the environment pretty broadly to include social justice. Back home in my other life I'm also on the Board for the Community Coalition for Environmental Justice in Seattle, and we are very proud of our record in bringing together people of different ethnic groups to struggle for social justice, and I'm glad to see SRRT doing the same thing. We just had an Action Council meeting this afternoon and we came together in supporting the people who put together the Martin Luther King Breakfast at every Midwinter meeting. Apparently there had been some power politics going on, but we were instantly able to come together to support the one person who is standing point on this endeavor for us. It was a wonderful multicolored coalition coming together—a real shining moment. This has happened over and over again throughout our history—bringing people together who come from a variety of disparate causes, and standing up together for social justice.

I'd like to tell you a quick story. We did a program on Saturday afternoon, and the first speaker gave a rather formal, academic talk giving the history of the Task Force on the Environment. Then I got up there, and I'm a former Children's librarian which you can tell—and I tried to engage the audience. This is a typical SRRT move, mixing up our modes of operation. We have the academic credibility, but we also have rapport with the people. The title of the program was "Greening Your Libraries," and I encouraged people to green from the inside. The idea is that in your every day work, there are all kinds of things you can do, no matter how powerless you may feel. I encourage people to keep their minds open and seize any opportunity that comes along, eventually you will develop a reputation, and people will start coming to you for advice. And then you'll have power. Thanks. (applause)

Bernadine Abbot Hoduski's remarks will appear in the second installment

Jane Glasby: Hello, I'm Jane Glasby. I'm a member of SRRT, I'm the coordinator of the International Responsibilities Task Force, and I was recently in contact with a couple of early SRRT members, from whom I have a couple of e-mails to read. Ilsa Moon wrote: “Sadly Eric and I will not be in Chicago to attend the 40th anniversary party. From its earliest days SRRT has been the conscience of ALA. When the Council was pussyfooting around, wondering whether it was appropriate for ALA to become involved in social issues, many of us argued that the political issues of the day are indeed library issues. Have a wonderful party.” From Ilse and Eric Moon.

Diane Gordon Cavanaugh wrote: “After all these years I am still a SRRT member and supporter. I am too handicapped to come to ALA and wish I could be there. I send my congratulations and best wishes for the next forty years.”

And Yannova Balais of Rutgers also sends her regrets for not being able to come. (applause)

Jonathan Betz-Zall: I was giving you some historical stuff earlier but now I want to give you some modern day stuff. Did you know that social responsibility is one of the core values of the American Library Association? Who do you think was responsible for that? We were, that's right. The one person who spearheaded that effort was Mark Rosenzweig. Mark is still in China, but his strong background in philosophy allowed him to take every argument against the idea of incorporating social responsibility into ALA and turned it around, driving the idea home. And after social responsibility was adopted as a core ALA value, Mark made sure that it remained highlighted as one. And since Mark is thousands of miles away it's up to us to adopt that task.

Elaine Harger: I'm Elaine Harger and I've been in several different positions within SRRT. I just wanted to let everyone know that this morning at the ALA membership meeting, the membership passed a resolution that calls for the withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. We will hopefully pass this resolution in Council and send it to our dear President and to members of Congress, the press…and even though when ALA says “get the troops out” and the Department of Defense doesn't jump, it's important for professional associations to make these types of statements. In keeping within the spirit of SRRT, that's what we did this morning. (applause)

LaJuan: Thanks, go enjoy cake and have a good time. And let's remember that although we're celebrating tonight, we still have work to do.

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ALA Council Report to SRRT

by Al Kagan, SRRT Councilor 1999-2009

Chicago, July 2009

Before reporting on the business of the meetings, let me first honor the life of E.J. Josey, who died just before Annual Meeting. EJ was a founding member of SRRT and the founding father of the Black Caucus of ALA, the first black male President of ALA (1984-85), an ALA Councilor for 29 years, and a fighter for justice for his entire career, both inside the library profession and outside in the community, nation, and world. EJ was instrumental in desegregating the ALA state chapters in the South and developing ALA policy to support the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. He was a prolific author (more than 400 articles and 12 books), and wrote the path-breaking book, The Black Librarian, in 1970. He was responsible for organizing already existing groups for official recognition into a SRRT Coretta Scott King Book Awards Task Force in 1980 (now part of EMIERT). As a young librarian, EJ inspired me with his outrageous interruption of the 1985 Chicago IFLA meeting. He rose from the audience at the first plenary session to castigate the IFLA leadership for continuing to allow the membership of libraries that enforced the policy of apartheid and also the apartheid South African Library Association. I started my library activism at this meeting. For more about EJ, see Memorial Resolution #14 (not available online).

Despite the economic meltdown, the ALA Annual Meeting had record attendance, 28,941 people. However there certainly was a sense of crisis, and the Council passed a resolution calling for ALA to develop “An Action Plan to Remedy Current Library Budget Crisis” (ALA Council Document #56). ALA itself has had to make cutbacks, reducing staff by 9.6 FTE (including 2 layoffs) and requiring staff to take 5 “furlough” days and accrued vacation days.

SRRT had one resolution for ALA Council, “Resolution on Libraries and the Continuing Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” It was passed by the ALA Membership Meeting (Membership Meeting document #5) without any debate and by a large majority of members voting. However, the ALA Council defeated it by a large margin after several emotional speeches (ALA Council Document #55). In my presentation, I noted that Council had called for the withdrawal of the US military from Iraq at the 2005 Midwinter meeting (ALA Council Document #62). It was interesting that two long-time Councilors were ready to challenge the existence of the 2005 resolution until we produced a copy for them. Besides the usual argument that this is not a “library issue,” others seemed to support the Obama position of withdrawing from Iraq but escalating the war in Afghanistan. There were also assertions that the US was upholding women's rights in Afghanistan. The Council usually follows public opinion, rarely taking a leadership position. We only passed the 2005 resolution on Iraq because it was clear that the country was fed up with the Bush Administration's war. Sadly, I expect we will have to wait for public opinion to rise against the Afghanistan war before we get Council to act.

SRRT endorsed 4 resolutions developed by other ALA bodies and councilors. One of these also came through the ALA Membership Meeting, “Resolution on Civil Marriage Equality Regardless of Sexual Orientation” (Membership Meeting Document #6). I was very pleased to see that it passed Council with only a few dissenters (ALA Council Document #53). The resolutions on “Accessibility of Library Websites” (Council Document #51) and “Purchasing of Accessible Electronic Resources Resolution” (Council Document #52 Revised) sailed through easily. These bring ALA policy into conformance with several guidelines and laws concerning people with disabilities. Some of us were surprised with the amount of resistance to the “Resolution Endorsing Legislative Proposals for [Single Payer,] Universal Health Care” (Council Document #54). ALA endorsed single-payer health care in 2006 but now that the national debate has seriously heated up, the Council took a step backwards. It looked like the resolution would be defeated until a compromise saved the day. Larry Romans substituted the wording “Reaffirms its support for affordable universal health care program, including the option of single payer health care program.” (The title was amended to remove the words “Single Payer.”)

SRRT Action Council also took a position on the “Organizational Dues Rate Proposal” (Council Document #44 Revised). It changes the criteria from size of budget to size of library in various categories. It provides for an average 28% increase over two years. SRRT reiterated its support for a progressive dues structure for individuals as well as organizations. Others voiced the opinion that because of the economy, this was the wrong time to increase dues. However the proposal was approved by a large majority.

Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act was again hotly contested. This is the section that concerns “business records,” the section that most directly affects libraries. It is the only section of the act that ALA has ever officially addressed. Jonathan Betz-Zall referred to “dueling motions.” Separate motions came out of the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) and the Legislation Committee. The IFC resolution was much better. “Resolution of the Reauthorization of Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act” resolved that Section 215 be allowed to sunset (end) on December 31, 2009 as scheduled (Council Document #19.9). The Legislation Committee’s resolution recommended 9 changes to Section 215 (Council Document #20.8). After much debate, the Council passed the IFC resolution and sent the Legislation Committee’s recommendations to the ALA Washington Office for their use if it looks like reauthorization is going ahead. I spoke to the point that the Washington Office should initially hold firm, and only go to the back-up recommendations at a later stage. I wanted this in the legislative record because the Washington Office is often much too ready to cave in. Furthermore, I reminded the Council that SRRT is opposed to the entire USA PATRIOT Act.

Council passed 2 other resolutions from the Legislation Committee of particular interest. The first resolved that ALA convene a widely representative group to continue to assess the Google Book Search Settlement and make recommendations to the membership and the Association (Council Document #20.3). The other resolution looks very simple at first glance but is actually based on troubling trends. The “Resolution Supporting GPO’s Digitization of Historical Federal Publications” (Council Document #20.6) urges Congressional support, asks that all digitization efforts adhere to Title 44 of the US Code and GPO guidance, and ALA’s Principles for Digital Content, and that GPO and partner depository libraries become trusted repositories for preservation and access. The background to this resolution may be a Midwest “Big Ten” (CIC) proposal to maintain print copies only in its 3 regional depository libraries. This leaves the other depositories to do what they like with their print collections, including moving them in mass across state lines and so-called “destructive digitization.” I think the debate on this will heat up in the coming year.

The Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) presented and Council approved 4 new or revised interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights. They are: “Access to Digital Information, Services, and Networks” (Council Document #19.5), “Importance of Education to Intellectual Freedom” (Council Document #19.6), “Labeling and Rating Systems” (Council Document #19.7), and “Minors and Internet Activity” (Council Document #19.8). Of course, the death of Judith Krug highlighted the IFC’s work. Judith founded the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation. She initiated “Banned Books Week” and developed the Intellectual Freedom Manual. Although SRRT has occasionally tangled with the Intellectual Freedom bodies over the years, Judith stuck to her principles in a forthright way. She will be missed.

There were two other successful resolutions of interest. The first was “Resolution Promoting Sunday, October 4, 2009, as Intergeneration Day Means Libraries” (Council Document #50). This asks us to support multigenerational activities in our libraries and asks ALA bodies to do the same including promoting this on their websites. The other was “Resolution to Expand Electronic Participation” (Council Document #57). Instead of waiting for ALA committees and staff to figure our when and where we will start electronic access to governance, this resolution mandated member access to Council meetings for Midwinter 2010. Considering the cost estimates presented, the easiest and cheapest option is a podcast. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and if there is extensive member interest.

The ALA Allied Professional Association (APA) Council passed one resolution after extensive debate. “Resolution on Support for Overtime Pay Protection” (APA CD#8.4) puts ALA-APA on record in favor of eliminating the exemptions for white collar staff that were enacted in 2003, amending the Fair Labor Standards Act. It also encourages other associations to speak out in favor of low-wage library workers and actively enforcing existing regulations.

This is my last report as your SRRT Councilor. After ten years as your first SRRT representative to the ALA Council, I can truly say how honored I feel to have had your trust for my time in office. Although there were many times when frustration almost got the better of me, on the whole I think the work has been extremely satisfying. Whether or not we won our issues, we always were able to do some education. In some cases, we were able to persevere and win our issues a few years later. I think this is not only a marker for me but an end to an era for SRRT. Elaine Harger and Jonathan Betz-Zall have also finished their work as ALA Councilors. They are both stalwarts and deserve our praise and thanks. I am sure all the old-timers, including the generation before Elaine, Jonathan and me, look forward to new younger librarians asserting themselves in favor of SRRT issues on the ALA Council floor. I stand ready to help in any way that I can. On the 40th anniversary of SRRT, let’s remember that we are still the largest round table. We also make the biggest splash of all the round tables in the ALA Council. We should be proud of what SRRT has accomplished.

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Alternative Media Task Force Report

by Catherine Michael

On Monday, July 13, 7-11 pm, the Alternative Media Task Force (AMTF) organized The Alternative Media Reception/SRRT 40th Anniversary ‘Rent’ Party at Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone Avenue in Chicago. The party was co-organized by colleagues at the Alternative Press Center (APC) who were also celebrating their 40th Anniversary.

The focus of the annual Alternative Media Reception is to help promote awareness of alternative and progressive media vendors to librarians attending ALA's Annual Conference. Types of media available include organizational literature, small progressive publishers, and videos.

This year the event also celebrated the founding of both SRRT and the APC in 1969. This was done through testimonials by past and current SRRT members LaJuan Pringle, Chuck D'Adamo, Jonathan Betz-Zall, Bernadine Abbott Hoduski, Jane Glasby, and Elaine Harger. A transcript of their speeches has been prepared by Mike Marlin, the first installment appearing in this issue of the SRRT Newsletter. The transcript will be posted in its entirety to ALA Connect once it is completed.

The Alternative Media Task Force would like to begin with a heart-felt thank you to the Alternative Press Center's collaborative efforts that made the event possible. Charles D'Adamo, Senior Editor, helped finance and organize the event. Mary Burford, Associate Editor, and Meghan Davison contacted vendors, scouted potential venues and restaurants, assisted in marketing the event, delivered the vendor tables, and helped set up the food and drinks. Thanks to all the crew of the APC who assisted. If your library does not subscribe to the APC's Alternative Press Index, consider a subscription through OCLC.

Thanks to LaJuan Pringle, SRRT Coordinator and Master of Ceremonies. He also stayed after the lights went out to iron out the business end of the party.

Thanks to Mike Marlin for arranging the band and to Brian Sandstrom and Frank Portolese for music that had us dancing.

Whether the cause was the time, distance or the cost of the event, far fewer members attended than the organizers anticipated. Low attendance affected our vendors. We estimated at least 100 members would attend; less than half that number was present. You can still show your support for alternative media vendors through your purchases. If every member selected one item for your library or personal collection, it would make a difference. A list of vendors can be found as a supplement to this report.

The Alternative Media Task Force welcomes you to join us during the SRRT All Task Force Meeting in Boston. In addition to promoting alternative media through the Alternative Media Reception, the AMTF also discusses legislative developments such as media consolidation (big media), diversity of media (independent media), and the future of journalism.

Your participation in all SRRT Task Force events and meetings is appreciated. Membership involvement is critical as we examine the next 40 years ahead.

Vendors who exhibited at the Alternative Media Reception

  • AREA Chicago

    Founded in 2005, AREA Chicago comprises both a biannual magazine and a series of sponsored events. Its publications and events serve the double mission of researching art, education and activist practices within the city of Chicago and producing and strengthening networks among grassroots practitioners. In its first two and a half years, AREA Chicago has published five magazine issues and organized 50 events. AREA Chicago is dedicated to gathering and sharing information and histories about local social movements, political and cultural organizations. Through this practice, it seeks to create an independent network for organizations and individuals committed to social justice through cultural and educational practices within the city.
  • Black Swan Press / Surrealist Editions

    Established in 1968, Black Swan Press is the publisher for the Surrealist Movement in the United States as well as Surrealist around the world. Publisher of the journal Arsenal: Surrealist Subversion.
  • Charles H. Kerr

    The past couple of decades have seen further growth of the Kerr Company. Organized as a worker-owned co-operative not-for-profit education association, its rapidly expanding list features beautifully printed but reasonably priced books which bring back into print some of the best of C.L.R. James, Mary Marcy, Edward Bellamy, C.H. George, and Voltairine de Cleyre, as well as heretofore unpublished writings by T-Bone Slim, Claude McKay, Slim Brundage, and Covington Hall, and new books by H.L. Mitchell, Staughton Lynd, Warren Leming, and Carlos Cortez. Now in its 124th year, the Kerr Company is not only a living link with the most vital radical traditions of the past, but also an organic part of the today's struggles for peace and justice in an ecologically balanced world.
  • Contratiempo

    Originally conceived as a monthly Spanish language magazine in April 2003 by a group of Latino writers living in Chicago, Contratiempo is now a 501(c)3 tax exempt literary and publishing center. Its mission is to create opportunities in the Latino community to read, write and publish in Spanish, and to offer a space for dialogue to reflect upon issues of identity and the social environment that influence their literary, artistic and cultural expression and weave it into the fabric of American life. The group's mission is carried out in three ways: through its flag publication, Contratiempo magazine, with each issue focusing on a particular topic of interest to US Latinos in Chicago and elsewhere; through its budding publishing house, Ediciones Vocesueltas; and through the organization of symposia, readings, creative writing workshops and discussion series, all of which uniquely engage the Spanish-speaking Latino community through artistic expression and dialogue.
  • Curbstone Press

    Throughout its history, Curbstone's Director and Board members have nurtured its focus on creative literature that invites readers to examine social issues, encourages a deeper understanding between cultures, and reflects a commitment to promoting human rights. Curbstone's mission encompasses two interdependent goals: 1) publishing creative literature that promote human rights and inter-cultural understanding and 2) bringing writers and programs deep into the community to promote literacy, knowledge of many cultures, and an appreciation for literature.
  • Haymarket Books

    Haymarket Books is a nonprofit, progressive book distributor and publisher, a project of the Center for Economic Research and Social Change. We believe that activists need to take ideas, history, and politics into the many struggles for social justice today. Learning the lessons of past victories, as well as defeats, can arm a new generation of fighters for a better world. As Karl Marx said, “The philosophers have merely interpreted the world; the point however is to change it.”
  • Icarus Films

    Icarus Films (formerly First Run/Icarus Films) is a leading distributor of documentary films with a library of almost 900 titles. They release approximately 50 new films each year, covering controversial issues too often unseen and unheard. Their productions feature outstanding social, political and historical documentaries, as well as films related to science and technology, all which provide provocative views of a rapidly changing world.
  • Insight Press

    Insight Press provides complimentary books to prisoners and is currently expanding their publishing capabilities to fill the need for critical and revolutionary thought that can influence the discourse in society.
  • In These Times

    In These Times is a news magazine committed to political and economic democracy and opposed to the dominance of transnational corporations and the tyranny of marketplace values over human values. In These Times is dedicated to reporting the news with the highest journalistic standards; to informing and analyzing movements for social, environmental and economic justice; and to providing an accessible forum for debate about the policies that shape our future.
  • Library Juice Press

    “Library Juice Press is an imprint of Litwin Books, LLC specializing in theoretical and practical issues in librarianship from a critical perspective, for an audience of professional librarians and students of library science. Readers of the webzine and blog, Library Juice, can expect the books that we publish to be deeper investigations into topics that have been covered there over the years, including library philosophy, information policy, library activism, and in general anything that can be placed under the rubric of ‘critical studies in librarianship.’”
  • Media Consortium

    The Media Consortium coalesced in 2006 and represents leaders in independent radio, television, and online media to address key questions affecting a democratic society such as: 1) how to increase independent journalism's voice in broader public debates about the crucial political and social issues of our day and 2) how to navigate the current wave of profound technological change that is reshaping the media business and redefining the practice of journalism itself.
  • National Film Board of Canada

    Their collection includes animation, documentaries, experimental films and alternative dramas. They showcase films that take a stand on issues of global importance that matter to Canadians—stories about the environment, human rights, international conflict, the arts and more. Works that push the boundaries, give a voice to the underrepresented, and build bridges between cultures.
  • Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA)

    NWA provokes dialogue and promotes change by creating opportunities for adults in Chicago to write, publish, and perform works about their lives. They publish the Journal of Ordinary Thought.
  • The Point

    The Point is a Chicago-based print journal devoted to rigorous intellectual essays on contemporary life. The journal will be published twice a year. The first issue will include essays on Facebook, the Creation Museum, David Foster Wallace, Eckhart Tolle, as well as a symposium on the question: What is Politics For?
  • Radical Teacher

    Radical Teacher is an independent magazine for educational workers at all levels and in every kind of institution. The magazine focuses on critical teaching practice, the political economy of education, and institutional struggles.
  • RE/SEARCH Publications

    RE/SEARCH grew out of Search & Destroy, “the best punk rock publication, ever. It combined art and photography with in-depth interviews and articles.” Every RE/SEARCH book continues the Punk Rock Cultural Revolution, but strives to provide permanent inspiration to artists/cultural scientists of the future, providing careful editing, reference sections, photos, art and anthropological history.
  • Revolution Books

    Revolution Books is dedicated to changing the whole world, to deeply understanding that the problem is the capitalist imperialist system and that a far better revolutionary world is possible. When it comes to the hardest questions, Revolution Books is on the front line with revolutionary theory, history, science, literature, and debate. At the heart of Revolution Books is the work of Bob Avakian—his re-envisioning of revolution and communism goes beyond the best of the previous communist movement and its animating a new conversation at Revolution Books. With books, discussions, and author appearances, Revolution Books is a center of revolutionary ferment where re-envisioned communism mixes it up with many streams of progressive and radical intellectual life, and welcoming engagement with all of reality without a priori blinders.
  • Stop Smiling

    Stop Smiling's unique editorial premise is rooted in the glory days of magazine publishing from the '60s and '70s; think: old Playboy, old Esquire, old Interview, Creem, and National Lampoon. Each issue follows a theme and consists of feature-length interviews, essays and oral histories. With a focus on preservation, Stop Smiling has published some of the last in-depth conversations with Kurt Vonnegut, Roberto Bola�o, Robert Altman, Lee Hazlewood and George Plimpton. Stop Smiling is pleased to announce that it will launch a book imprint in partnership with Melville House/Random House, with its first title out in Spring 2010.
  • Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center

    The Independent Media Center is a grassroots organization committed to using media production and distribution as a tool for promoting social and economic justice. The IMC is not owned or funded by corporate sponsors and advertisers and is in need of your support to sustain their efforts.

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The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force at 2009 Annual

by Virginia B. Moore

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force presented its 9th Multi-Cultural Idea Exchange with a traditional panel of distinguished guests extolling their highly acclaimed library activities for the 2009 King Holiday observance and their historical programs. Introductions and the welcome were made by the Task Force Chair and LaJuan Pringle, SRRT Coordinator, served as panel moderator.

Beginning with the presentation representing public libraries, Ghada Kanafini Elturk, Community & Multi-Cultural Outreach Librarian, City of Boulder Public Library, Boulder, CO was unable to attend; however, she sent an email with a detailed account of the program for her system and the MLK Jr. celebration committee made up of city, school, university, human rights and youth groups. The public library is a member of the city-wide planning committee with the celebration sponsored by local community organizations, businesses, radio stations, newspaper, and others. With a typical day that includes: a rally and march to start the celebration, keynote speaker, dance and gospel music, teach ins, a human rights fair, children's activities that include the library's storytelling, games, music, readings, poetry, arts and crafts, etc. Along with performances and writing contest award presentations there is breakfast or lunch. In closing remarks about "how we keep MLK Jr.'s legacy and dream alive," Elturk said, "Celebrating his birthday or Black Heritage Month once a year definitely is not enough, although important… the way we live our day to day life is what keeps him and his aspirations alive… in our personal life as well as in our professional life… Why am I telling you about this? Because I think MLK is alive with me, the immigrant, and with my family in my daily life at home and at work." In agreement and awe of the account of the multifarious celebration as well as the personal sentiments, similarities were repeated by each panelist.

Steven M. Adams, Biological and Life Sciences Librarian, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ followed with details of the outreach program which the library helps to coordinate with all the university departments throughout its very diverse campus along with officials, institutions, and organizations throughout the city. Adams described the annual King Holiday observance with its voluntary cooperation and large attendance as a reflection of the radical change from Princeton's early history. The successfully festive celebration, that can be viewed at, brings together speakers, performers, and members of the entire community for a day with wide media coverage of different cultures honoring Dr. King's memory.

For school libraries, Silvia M. Lloyd, Instructional Director of School Library System and Media Services, Rochester City School Library System, Rochester, NY offered insight regarding her system's emphasis on culturally responsive library collections and activities. Dr. Lloyd gave vivid descriptions of “A Musical and Literary Tribute” to honor Dr. King's birthday at the Lincoln Academy. Student speakers and performers on various grade levels in addition to community officials shared an afternoon of band and choral music, poems, and speeches. Later, the event was aired on television.

Jim Kuhn, Head of Collection Information Services, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, represented special libraries in sharing the work of his colleagues, Donnajean Ward, Folger Consort Manager and Teri Cross Davis, Folger Poetry and Lectures Coordinator. Kuhn outlined the activities of the three-year-old program titled similar to the King Holiday theme, “Not Just Another Day Off” that included library officials, staff, and community. A flyer announced the library honoring Dr. King's birthday by recognizing women from the civil rights movement with poetry, dramatic readings, and an open-mic session for a family-friendly event. The speeches presented included those from Dr. King, Mary McLeod Bethune, Barbara Jordan, and Shirley Chisholm along with poetry. Also, there was a reception and a collection of unopened toiletries for distribution to homeless shelters.

The panel discussion was followed by a presentation from guest author and publisher Willie E. Box, University Park, IL, recounting his adventures in the research of his book, The Official African-American Museums and Cultural Galleries Directory, 1991. In addition to providing details about the museums and collections specifically honoring Dr. King, Mr. Box stated that his book “addressed the need for African American museums to ‘tell our story’ through our African American eyes.” Also, he spoke about his activities that “Keep the Dream Alive” through his career as a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools as well as his passionate interest in American History, African American history, urban history and his forthcoming book, All Black Towns.

The Audience Exchange and Materials Exchange were shared through a discussion of the handouts that included brochures, flyers, lesson activities, and posters as well as copies of the guest author's colorful books and folders that were gladly autographed. Also, the books were distributed again at the SRRT 40th Anniversary Celebration. Moreover, a bibliography was distributed: “The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Moving the Nation Forward,” by Joanne C. Burns, edited by Alysia Peich and members of the MLK Holiday Task Force. Equally important, the Materials Exchange continued as part of the 9th year of King Holiday Task Force participation in the Diversity Fair. However, the official listing for the MLK Holiday Task Force/BCALA 2009 Sunrise Celebration Exhibit named the Oxon Hill Library instead of SRRT and OLOS. Nevertheless, all of our Task Force ventures were tremendously successful.

Accordingly, we extend our deepest gratitude to our program participants and especially our guest author. Also, thanks to Mary Biblo, charter and loyal Task Force member, contributors of the bibliography, and the OLOS staff. Most of all, we extend wholehearted congratulations and appreciation to Satia M. Orange, OLOS Director, on her ALA retirement. We will always be grateful for her establishment, leadership, and legacy of success with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Sunrise Celebration at ALA Midwinter Meetings 2000-2009.

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Rainbow Project Task Force Report

by Nel Ward

The Rainbow Project Task Force, with its goal of selecting an annual bibliography of recommended gay/lesbian/bisexual/ transgender books/questioning books for young readers from birth through age 18, turns three years old at ALA Midwinter 2010 when the nine members select titles published from July 2008 through December 2009. Because the dates for the first year included those published from 2005 through 2007, we will have the best GLBTQ books for the past five years.

A formal mediation at ALA Midwinter 2009 gave GLBT-RT and SRRT dual sponsorship for the Project under the aegis of OLOS, thus taking advantage of members' expertise from both round tables. During its Midwinter meetings the Rainbow Project selected John Andrews as Chair-Elect; he will take over as Chair after Midwinter 2010.

As many of you know, books appropriate for GLBTQ youth are still not plentiful. Yet the present database of potential nominations for the next list now numbers almost 100 books of which 20 have been nominated. The Project members are hoping to consider between 50 and 75 books for the next list.

Of the 88 books considered last year, 52 were nominated, and 34 were chosen. Unfortunately, very few of these books were suitable for elementary or middle school audiences. We hope that this bibliography will encourage more quality books for these age groups. Two of the nominations this year are board books for the pre-kindergarten set, and other picture books are being considered.

To publicize the Task Force, members designed and printed bookmarks, available in bulk: e-mail nelcward(at) GLSEN plans to feature Rainbow books on their website each month. Members are also planning a breakfast at ALA Annual 2010 in Washington, D.C., an event that will continue during even years of the ALA summer conference.

The publicity surrounding this Project has been overwhelming: blogs and websites from ALA divisions and round tables, library districts, gay publications, and authors, to mention a few. Booklist highlighted ten titles in the March 15, 2009 edition and published the entire list in their May 15, 2009 online edition. There was even a mention of Focus on the Family coming out against the Rainbow Project list in their daily podcast, “Family News in Focus” on March 11.

Changes noted by writers of these entries include the facts that many books on the 2009 list come from small presses and are about GLBT children and teens rather than their parents.

“Take a look at the list—you'll be ready when someone asks for help with this topic [transgender children].” This quote from the Arapohoe Library District (Colorado) blog about the book 10,000 Dresses explains why this bibliography is vital to young readers. A posting to this blog reads: “I think this list is wonderful! I love how it gives readers another view/perspective on other people's lives and its influence and impact on those around them. It's a great way to show the younger crowd too how important it is to understand diversity, in all its dimensions.”

More information about the Rainbow Project, including past lists and currently nominated books, is at Other sources of information are at MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook.

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GreeNotes: Reports from the Task Force on the Environment

by Fred Stoss

Going Green at ALA Annual

The ALA Task Force on the Environment (TFOE) celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a program called “GrassRoots Greening.” This program was proposed and moderated by Monika Antonelli and featured TFOE Co-Chairs, Fred Stoss and Jonathan Betz-Zall as speakers and those attending the program as active participants sharing their actions and ideas for bringing ‘green’ and smart-energy or environmental friendly programs, projects, and ideas to their own libraries or communities they serve. Fred's presentation was a history of TFOE (appearing in this issue of the SRRT Newsletter in slightly modified format) and Jonathan highlighted a number of activities and projects or programs librarians might consider for their libraries. Fred and Jonathan wrote two articles about the TFOE Program in COGNOTES at: (p. 24, Stoss) and (p. 24, Betz-Zall).

At the All-Task Force Meeting, which serves as TFOE's annual business meeting, Co-Chair Jonathan Betz-Zall stepped down after four years of service to the Task Force and Fred Stoss will continue to serve TFOE as its Chair, a position Fred has held several times in the past. Topics for programs at the 2010 ALA Annual were discussed: a program on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and a program on health effects associated with global warming and climate change that will feature Lise Van Susteren, MD and one of Al Gore's “Climate Messengers.” You can read more about Dr. Susteren's interests in global warming at: Fred Stoss also described an environmental education discussion group he is organizing for the ALA Midwinter in 2010 at the new Boston Convention Center.

In addition to the “GrassRoots Greening” program that the ALA Task Force on the Environment held as its 20th Anniversary celebration. There were two other notable ‘green’ events at the ALA Annual. First, was “Small Scale Green,” another of a long series of the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) Annual Meeting programs about green libraries, sponsored by LLAMA's Buildings and Equipment Section (BES). Over the years much attention has been given to sustainable construction projects for new library buildings, but there also are a variety of ways libraries can ‘green’ existing facilities or small renovation projects. This program included discussion of techniques used in environmentally conscious renovation and restoration projects as well as new maintenance programs put in place in existing buildings to reduce energy consumption and improve air quality. Speakers included Dan Snydacker, Pequot Library and the Rhode Island School of Design; John An, Atelier Ten, a building design company; and Lee Councilor, Facilities Manager, City of Green Creek, AZ

Second was the Auditorium Speakers Series presentation by Wanda Urbanska, who wrote an inspiring article on green libraries in the April 2009 issue of American Libraries and with whom I had the great pleasure of assisting, thanks to AL Editor Leonard Kniffel. She provided her audience a delightful litany of actions that can be undertaken by librarians to bring environmental and Earth-friendly ideas to their users and make libraries more eco-viable places of information, resources and services. She provided many examples of libraries taking bold initiatives in their libraries and communities.

From the ALA Website: “Urbanska discussed the ‘disease’ of overconsumption and the idea of simplicity as a lifestyle, and offered suggestions for how to incorporate these ideas into libraries—and help the environment at the same time. The presentation includes a brief question-and-answer segment, which evolved into discussion on how to advocate for environmentally friendly options to administrators who are charged with focusing on the bottom line.” It is a bit less than an hour in length. You'll find the video on the ALA Website. I had a great conversation with her before and after her presentation and hope to continue working with her on several topics of mutual interest.

ALA continued to showcase ‘green library’ resources at the Green Pavilion in the Exhibits Hall. ‘Green’ is a hot topic in all aspects of life, and the ALA Green Pavilion showcased products and services helping libraries “Go Green”. Whether you are searching for furniture, signage, lighting, architectural or space planning services, or computer recycling this will be the place to gather the latest information. Look for this as a regular section of the ALA Exhibits Hall and visit the Exhibitors in this section. Additional efforts about ‘greening’ the ALA Meeting are found at Green Meeting Efforts.

Reducing Your ForkPrint

Librarians brought coffee mugs and water bottles to the 2007 Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia to reduce their carbon foot print and make a ‘green’ statement. Well, we can do it again!

Americans throw out enough plastic dinner-ware to circle the equator 300 times! Instead of throwing those knives, spoons, and forks into the garbage consider bringing or carrying your own. Here is what To-Go Ware has to say about RePEatT Utensils, this exciting new and GREEN SOLUTION:

“We've got our travel mugs and our reusable shopping bags. How about a bamboo utensil set to round out the perfect toolkit for life on the go? A handy carabineer on the back lets you clip and carry a fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks wherever they may roam. Perfect for a busy lifestyle and our precious planet. RePEaT utensil holders give plastic bottles a second shot at a useful life—and an opportunity to stay out of our landfills. Made out of RPET (recycled PET plastic), we like to call it ‘RePEaT’ because it lets plastic reincarnate into something kinder and gentler.”

Their line of bamboo flatware & chopsticks provide utensils that are heat and stain resistant, won't impart or absorb flavors, are lightweight and strong (durability is one of the keys to green products), and they are hand finished with top grade natural and food-safe wood oil. The price for these eating utensils (in various colors) starts at $9.95 to $46.95 for a pack of five in assorted colors. For more information, visit their website.

To-Go Ware is a company with a rock-solid commitment to social responsibilities (environment, labor, human rights, justice, and more), which are impressive and described in great detail in their mission statement. To-Go Ware is approved by Green America and shown on The Oprah Winfrey Show and is Big Tree Carbon Committed.

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Minutes of SRRT Action Council Meeting I

Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 10:30 AM in Chicago, Illinois


Action Council Election Report – We welcomed our new newsletter editor Myka Kennedy Stephens, as well as 2009 SRRT AC election winners Myntha Cuffy and Jaime Hammond. It was noted that SRRT actually had a third AC slot to fill and that ALA's ballot mistakenly called for two vacancies to fill. As a result:

Motion: To elect the third top vote getter from the 2009 ballot, namely our beloved coordinator LaJuan Pringle. Moved by Al Kagan, seconded by Jane Glasby. Motion carries.

Resolutions – Discussion of a resolution to call for the end of the wars and withdrawal of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, again. Al Kagan explained that the resolution received a cool, though surprisingly not overtly hostile response at Friday's International Relations Committee meeting. He suggested we pass it and send it on to council for ALA's endorsement.

Motion: To adopt Iraq/Afghanistan Wars Resolution as SRRT resolution and forward to Council to pass as an ALA resolution. Moved by Al Kagan, seconded by Tom Twiss. Motion carries. The resolution was subsequently passed at Sunday's ALA membership meeting, though it was eventually defeated in Council.

Next, two resolutions, concerning purchasing of electronic products and accessible web sites respectively were presented by Mike Marlin in order to seek SRRT's endorsement. It was noted that several other divisions and round tables had already endorsed these in principle. The gist of these resolutions is to ensure libraries seek vendor guarantees of accessibility when purchasing their products, and ensure that libraries comply with standards and regulations to ensure accessibility of their own web sites for people with disabilities. ALA Council subsequently passed both resolutions.

Motion: SRRT endorses in principle the Purchasing of Electronic Resources Resolution. Moved by Al Kagan, seconded by Fred Stoss. Motion carries.

Motion: SRRT endorses in principle the Library Web Accessibility Resolution. Moved by Jane Glasby, seconded by Jonathan Betz-Zall. Motion carries.

Free Gaza “Right to Read” Campaign – Tom Twiss brought to our attention the Free Gaza Movement's “Right to Read” Campaign which has been endorsed by several notable activists including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire, scholar Noam Chomsky, and British MP George Galloway. This campaign, initiated in partnership with Al-Aqsa University, will challenge Israel's blockade of Gaza, using boats to deliver textbooks and other educational supplies to universities throughout the occupied Gaza Strip.

Motion: SRRT endorses the Free Gaza Movement “Right to Read” campaign found at, will publicize it in our newsletter, and will notify the Free Gaza Movement of our endorsement. Moved by Tom Twiss, seconded by Mike Marlin. Motion carries.

Marriage Equality – Several AC members sought SRRT's endorsement of the Marriage Equality resolution on the docket for a vote in ALA Council. The controversial provision to pull out of conferences in states banning gay marriage had been removed by the time it got to us.

Motion: SRRT endorses the Marriage Equality resolution. Moved by Al Kagan, seconded by Nancy Garmer. Motion carries. The resolution was subsequently passed by the ALA Council.

Executive Committee Liaison Report – Larry Romans reported on the current fiscal status of ALA. The Association is suffering in this economy, having lost 2400 members (out of 65,000 plus) in FY2008, and its revenue is down $2.67 million. ALA took $.5 million from its reserve fund and forced staff to take a one week furlough, in addition to laying off 10 employees. ALA is focusing on advocacy by sponsoring “in hard times” membership meeting, and is developing the “Finding a Job in a Tough Economy” and “Advocacy University,” online advocacy tool kits. Larry reported that the Obama stimulus plan doesn't specify libraries, but libraries can take advantage through their respective states.

Larry also relayed the committee's finding that e-participation is very expensive. Online meetings for the Annual Conference would have cost $144,000. in total. A 90-minute Palmer House Hotel meeting would cost $500, a charge which committees and round tables would have to incur. The experiment for some e-participation at this conference amounts to $30,000. The Library Education Task Force has dissolved now that the LIS accreditation standards have been finalized. Several in attendance noted that SRRT tried to put social responsibility and diversity issues into the LIS document, but our suggestions were ignored.

Fred Stoss commented that administrators look at decreased ALA membership as the idea that libraries are dying and perhaps as an excuse to de-fund or eliminate them. Mary Biblo asked Larry to clarify other potential cost cutting measures by asking if Executive Board members receive reimbursements for airfare and hotel expenses at ALA conferences. She questioned the efficacy of firing ALA staff in lieu of reducing perks for Executive Board members. She suggested other cost-saving measures such as not paying for IFLA conference expenses. Larry thought that only the Executive Director has his way paid to IFLA. Monica Antonelli mentioned that a RUSA committee had proposed eliminating Midwinter Conference to save money for the Association. Larry countered that such a move would not facilitate savings but would in fact affect a loss of $2 million—over 25% of ALA revenue comes from conferences (including exhibitor fees), 20% comes from dues, publishing contributes 25-30% of revenue, and the rest comes from publishing. Publishing could be in jeopardy, partly because it's nearly impossible to generate ad revenue from electronic publishing. Finally, Fred warned that we don't know where we're going to buy the shovels let alone proclaim we have shovel-ready projects, and this metaphor applies to libraries. The lesson, he suggests, is help support state library associations.

SRRT Programming and OLOS – It was thought that SRRT missed the deadlines to get our programs listed in the conference tracks, though it turned out this may have been an OLOS oversight or mistake. For example, the FTF had submitted programs well in advance and they didn't make it into the tracks. SRRT meetings don't fit neatly into tracks, but they could be listed under “Issues,” though there seem to be a lack of appropriate sub-issues in which to place items. LaJuan will contact Elliot Mandel or conference services and investigate this further.

SRRT Electronic Newsletters and subscriptions – LaJuan has yet to hear any negative feedback about our electronic-only newsletter and Satia Orange waxed very positively about our latest electronic issue. We may have some subscribers who are not members who paid for renewals. Myka brought up the issue about the fact that some members have paid for subscriptions to the newsletter and OLOS' Elliot Mandel had said some were recently renewed. The question was raised of how to handle those people who want to pay to receive the newsletter. Monica noted that the membership form is not available online and that the file is somehow corrupted. Once we can access this form, we can make sure ALA members or outside organizations understand there is no longer a print newsletter, and that in fact our newsletter is free! This item was slated to be continued in AC2, but was not discussed again due to time constraints.

Myka Kennedy Stephens and Alison Lewis will coordinate on print copies for indexing by Wilson.

SRRT-shirts – Thanks to Tom Twiss for his herculean efforts in acquiring our beautiful t-shirts. We have 8 boxes of shirts to sell at this conference and subsequent events, conferences, and eventually by mail order. Shirts cost $20 each.

Meeting adjourned at 12:18 PM.

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Minutes of SRRT Action Council Meeting II

Monday, July 13, 2009 at 1:30 PM in Chicago, Illinois


Approval of Minutes – Motion to approve 2008 Annual and 2009 Midwinter Meeting Minutes. Moved by Nancy Garmer, seconded by Marie Jones. Motion carries.

Round Table Coordinators Assembly Report – LaJuan attended the meeting on Friday. This report is submitted post AC2 meeting:

Thirty percent of ALA's Membership belongs to RTs. Yet RTs do not have the distinction that divisions have. Many feel that ALA leadership take their cues from the divisions and as a result, the round tables are made to accept whatever is decided with no input. One example: ALA staff and Division leaders were encouraged to read Seven Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don't. After reading this, they were encouraged to develop solutions that would make ALA a more effective organization. None of the RTs were directly involved in this effort. Obtaining clear and concise budget reports from ALA is difficult. The spreadsheets are difficult to read and it's difficult to get complete financial information from ALA including adequate explanations of expenditures. Other issues include sticking to our projected budgets when unexpected expenses or special needs can create excessive spending that break budgets. One round table expressed outrage over the exorbitant costs of wi-fi at the conference hotels. The round table did as much as it possibly could to minimize expenses for a program, only to find out that Internet services were priced extremely above-market. SRRT had its own issues with equipment. When the FTF asked for a screen to show films for an event, they were told they would need to pay $425 plus 150% labor charges. Although it was understood by many that Chicago would be an expensive conference city, they would have easily broken their budget if they had decided to purchase the screen.

SRRT Web Site Management – We discussed the pros and cons of maintaining two web sites, the content management system (CMS) run SRRT site, and the more extensive SRRT pages on Myka Kennedy Stephens is presently interim manager of the independent site and is willing to continue in that capacity. Marie Jones volunteered to be the SRRT web site manager, so together they would be co-managers of SRRT's web sites.

Motion: SRRT will maintain its independent web site and manage the SRRT web site as well. Moved by Marie Jones, seconded by Al Kagan. Motion carries.

Motion: SRRT accepts Marie Jones and Myka Kennedy Stephens as co-web-managers. Moved by Alison Lewis, seconded by LaJuan Pringle. Motion carries.

Budget – Requests for 2011 Annual Conference programs, though technically not due until end of Midwinter in Boston, are requested prior to January 1 by SRRT treasurer Susan Dillinger. Proposals before January 1, 2010 would help Susan with our budget considerably. She thanks you in advance for adhering to this deadline if possible.

ALA made a mistake with misspelled ribbons (“Social Responsibility Round Table”) for which they charged us. They should give us a free box. We need to buy another box of ribbons. Two boxes of t-shirts went missing which means we lost approximately $400.

A suggestion was raised to mail out postcards at election time, notifying SRRT members about the Spring ballot choices and which SRRT members are running for ALA Council. We have an administrative budget so we could mail postcards and LaJuan will investigate. However, it was also discussed that when we went all electronic with the newsletter, we decided to discontinue mailings to members. We should instead send messages out via SRRTMEM to encourage members to vote since SRRT's presence on ALA Council is waning.

ALA Council Pitch – Mary Biblo says: Please consider running for Council even if you're not sure you're ready. SRRT's numbers are dwindling on the Council and we need a renewed presence to counter council members who continually oppose social responsibility of librarianship. There are 140 counselors at large. Al discussed the responsibilities of council. Making policy is rather important, e.g. challenging the USA PATRIOT Act and joining with the ACLU. Even people observing council meetings may lead to more transparency. Jonathan reminded us that several SRRT members have gone on to become ALA President. “The council is librarianship.”

Traditional Cultural Expression and WIPO – Mike reported about the ALA's Office of Information Technology Policy's efforts to support an international copyright exceptions treaty for the blind and its efforts to support the Reading Rights Coalition's efforts to force Amazon to keep its text to speech function independent of Authors' Guild pressure. LaJuan discussed OITP's solicitation of feedback from SRRT re “Traditional Cultural Expression” or TCE, a concept we found somewhat vague and ill-defined and potentially abused if it is being suggested that oral tradition artifacts and stories can be copyrighted. There is a document sent to us by OITP's Carrie Russell entitled “Draft Principles on Traditional Cultural Expression.” Folklore and traditional cultural expression: TCEs are traditional works by oral communities, handed down from generation to generation. If these are not considered public domain works, the U.S. could extend copyright protection to works housed in libraries. Digital technologies have expanded access to TCEs. ALA has no policies. The U.N. passed a declaration on rights of indigenous people and so did IFLA and Society of Native Peoples. Tradition bearers should define what is copyrightable. For more information, visit

Motion: SRRT is interested in the work on cultural expressions and wants to be involved in the discussion, and we're in favor of the work OITP is doing on WIPO and TCE. We thank OITP for soliciting our feedback. Moved by Marie Jones, seconded by LaJuan Pringle. Motion carries.

Motion: SRRT appoints Mike Marlin as liaison to OITP. Moved by Stephanie Renne, seconded by Marie Jones. Motion carries.

AC meeting adjourns at 3:10.

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Minutes of SRRT Membership Meeting

Monday, July 13, 2009 at 3:30 PM in Chicago, Illinois


Resolutions, etc.

ALA Organizational Dues Structure – An ALA task force released a proposed revised organizational dues structure based on size of library rather than total library budget. The organizational dues hadn't been changed since 2000 and needed change because there were instances of individual dues costing more than some organizational dues. While we support the need to raise organizational dues, SRRT supports the idea of graduated dues structures for organizations and for personal members, and we believe that both should be based on budgets and salaries respectively. We decided to work on a resolution on this topic for Midwinter.

Universal Health Care – We discussed the resolution on single payer health care written by Vermont Chapter Counselor Nancy Wilson being sent to Council.

Motion: SRRT endorses the Resolution Endorsing Legislative Proposals for Single-Payer, Universal Health Care. Moved by Diedre Conkling, seconded by Jonathan Betz-Zall and Ginny Moore. Motion carries.

40th Anniversary and 40 Bibliographies – A plea for bartenders at tonight's 40th anniversary party was answered immediately! Thanks to Nancy Garmer for setting up the 40 Bibliographies wiki, which all are encouraged to join and assist with as we launch this celebratory year-long effort. The wiki can be found at:

SRRT By-laws – The mission statement will not be tampered with despite meddling by an ALA Council member. Recounting the need to change SRRT structure in order to appoint or elect a coordinator-elect as well as coordinator, Myka proposed a subcommittee to evaluate the bylaws and report back on any revisions at Midwinter. Subcommittee volunteers include: Tiffani Conner, Alison Lewis, Jane Glasby, Elaine Harger, and Mike Marlin.

AC Offices

Motion: SRRT elects LaJuan Pringle as coordinator for another year through June 2010 (Annual Conference). Moved by Nancy Garmer, seconded by entire table!

Motion: SRRT elects Nancy Garmer as secretary through end of 2010 Annual Conference. Moved by Jane Glasby, seconded by LaJuan Pringle. Motion carries.

Motion: SRRT elects, in absentia, Susan Dillinger as treasurer for another year (unless Susan objects, which we don't think she will). Moved by Marie Jones, seconded by LaJuan Pringle. Motion carries.

Mike Marlin agreed to become the unofficial coordinator-elect for 2010-2011; he can be officially voted in once the by-laws have been amended. Mark Hudson will take over role of SRRT liaison to the Progressive Librarians Guild since Elaine Harger is stepping down from this role.

Task force reports will be submitted to Myka for inclusion in the SRRT Fall newsletter.

It was noted that Satia Orange is retiring from ALA this summer and we do not know who the next OLOS liaison to SRRT will be. Satia always helped to arrange the MLK Holiday Celebration at Midwinter conference. It was agreed that the SRRT coordinator will send a letter to Satia Orange and copy in Executive Director Keith Fields, and Black Caucus ALA representative Andrew Jackson asking what steps will be taken to ensure that the ceremony, a product of the MLK Holiday Task Force of SRRT, continues to happen.

Task Force reports were given by TFOE, FTF, IRTF, HHPTF, and we heard that an SRRT member named Alan Bobowski may be willing to assist with the leadership of the Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty Task Force.

Meeting adjourned at 5:18 PM.

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Resolution on Libraries and the Continuing Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Adopted by SRRT Action Council, July 11, 2009

WHEREAS, The American Library Association has called for the withdrawal from Iraq of all U.S. military forces, and the return of full sovereignty to the people of Iraq (2004-2005 ALA CD#62); and,

WHEREAS, The American Library Association has urged the United States government to shift its budgetary priorities from the occupation of Iraq to improved support for vital domestic programs, including United States libraries (2004-2005 ALA CD#62): and

WHEREAS, The American Library Association has called upon the United States government to provide material assistance through the United Nations for the reconstruction of Iraq, including its museums, libraries, schools, and other cultural resources (2004-2005 ALA CD#62); and,

WHEREAS, The occupation of Iraq continues, U.S. military forces have not been withdrawn, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers and civilians continue to die everyday; and

WHEREAS, although the Obama Administration plans to withdraw some U.S. troops from Iraq, it also plans to maintain U.S. military bases and thousands of U.S. troops there indefinitely; and

WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is escalating the war in Afghanistan, sending more U.S. troops and supplies, and U.S. and Afghan soldiers and civilians continue to die everyday; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association:

  1. Reiterates its call for the ending of the occupation of Iraq and the withdrawal of all U.S. troops; and
  2. Calls for the withdrawal from Afghanistan of all U.S. military forces, and the return of full sovereignty to the people of Afghanistan; and
  3. Urges the United States government to shift its budgetary priorities from both wars to an improvement in support for vital domestic programs, including United States libraries; and
  4. Calls upon the United States government to provide material assistance through the United Nations for the reconstruction of both Iraq and Afghanistan, including its museums, libraries, schools, and other cultural resources; and
  5. Sends this resolution to all members of Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the President of the United States, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and the press.

Moved by Al Kagan. Seconded by Tom Twiss.

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Endorsement of "Right to Read" Campaign

Students inspect the rubble of the Islamic University in Gaza. (MaanImages, Magnus Johansson), from

During the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, the Action Council of the Social Responsibilities Round Table voted to endorse the “Right to Read” campaign of the Free Gaza Movement on Saturday, June 11 at its meeting. This campaign, initiated in partnership with Al-Aqsa University, will challenge Israel's blockade of Gaza, using boats to deliver textbooks and other educational supplies to universities throughout the occupied Gaza Strip. Other endorsers of activities of the Free Gaza Movement include Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire, scholar Noam Chomsky, and British MP George Galloway.

For more information about this campaign, see the Free Gaza Movement's website.

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Schiff, Peter D. (with John Downesj). The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets: How to Keep Your Portfolio Up When the Market is Down. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Reviewed by Nancy Churchill, Librarian, Clarence Public Library

A contrarian, financial analyst, and president of Euro Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff gained much respect when in late 2008 his warnings about the global economy, published more than a year earlier in Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse, proved particularly insightful.

cover art, Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets, Provided by John Wiley and Sons Publishing

Schiff's goal for this reviewed title, also published before the downturn, is to help readers “preserve and enhance wealth that can be reinvested in America after fundamental economic reform takes place.” This title is a part of the Little Book Big Profits Series™, which contains “topics that range from tried-and-true investment strategies to tomorrow's new trends.”

Schiff doesn't mince words and he rarely agrees with the efforts Washington has made to improve U.S. economic conditions. His advice is detailed and his perspective far-reaching. Schiff urges much less consumer spending and much more savings. He demystifies a plethora of historical events, financial terms, economic situations, and statistical measures. He explains their relevance to present global economic conditions. He outlines strategies for investing and preserving capital, and presently advises individuals to look outside the U.S. for investment opportunities.

A broker-dealer, Schiff repeatedly also warns about the possibility of financial loss from following his advice. Yet even without committing any funds, readers with many viewpoints and levels of economic awareness can make intellectual gains by reading this 264-page, easy to understand handbook. Unfortunately, for their future reference, readers will find no index, no glossary, nor any bold printing of important terms. Still Schiff is prolific in spreading his economic analyses and investment advice through a variety of media; many more such offerings can be accessed through his company's web site.

September 2009 is the release date for the author's next book, Crash Proof 2.0: How to Profit from the Economic Collapse.

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Miedema, John. Slow Reading. Duluth, MN: Litwin Books, 2009.

Reviewed by Jenny Bossaller, PhD, Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science, University of Southern Mississippi

The title of the book might suggest a boring slog, but I found Slow Reading to be a quick, easy, and fun read. In it, John Miedema weaves his own reading and experiences through a thoughtful look at past and current trends in publishing and technology, couching personal reflections in a wide range of theories about the purposes of and psychology of reading. The overarching theme of the book is how people relate to texts, and how different methods of reading and the form of the text itself can affect their connection with the text. Some of the more familiar approaches to reading he discusses are reading aloud in a group context (performance reading); very close readings (New Criticism); and Reader Response theory. He also discusses less familiar engagement with text, such as the actual digestion of a book: “In the Old Testament, the prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah ate books by divine command, a preparation for their role as prophets. In the New Testament, an angel told St. John to eat a book which then was metabolized into his Book of Revelations. Eating a book symbolizes a deep and personal internalization of an idea…” (p. 8).

cover art, Slow Reading, provided by Litwin Books

By describing the various methods of reading (or consumption of text), Miedema is emphasizing intimacy with or internalization of ideas, which he contrasts with ‘speed reading.’ Speed reading, in contrast with slow reading, aims for a quick deciphering of the main idea of a text in the most time-efficient way—reading without becoming fully engaged with the book. His equation of speed reading to fast food and slow reading to slow food is apt; we often become trapped by modern life's mandate to live ‘bigger, faster, and more.’ This fast pace doesn't allow for full engagement of the senses or reflection; slowing down allows us to make connections and reflect on their meanings. Like the slow food movement, slow reading is a conscious effort to explore small nuances—the things we miss when we're focusing on efficiency.

Miedema does not promote speed reading, but he is actually (and fortunately) a pragmatist. We read throughout the day, and every act of reading should not necessarily receive the same reverence. He cites a number of studies to provide evidence that a book is best for slow reading, but the form of the text is unimportant for quick informational reading. Miedema calls the wide variety of text sources our ‘information ecology’—recognizing the value of both print and digital media for different purposes. He also cites studies which analyze the environmental impact of books and computers for information access. Unfortunately, he never explicitly states the obvious—that buying used (or borrowing from the library) is the least environmentally destructive way to consume books. Perhaps that is a given.

One unresolved (and possibly irresolvable) problem he brings up is the librarians' role in recommending books to patrons: “It is an uncertainty principle of library science” (p. 17). Despite the read-alike tools we've developed to help us out with Reader's Advisory, he concludes that it is ultimately going to be the individual psyche of the reader that will determine if that vital connection with the text will occur.

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Cinar, Ozgur Heval and Coskun Usterci. Conscientious Objection: Resisting Militarized Society. New York: Zed Books, 2009.

Reviewed by Seth Kershner, Simmons College

Among the many books devoted to the subject of conscientious objection, few have undertaken anything like a global survey. Aside from the academic books that constitute the vast majority of these titles, the relatively small number of volumes written for a broader audience tend to be biographies that concentrate on the harrowing personal narratives of conscientious objectors. So when two Turks, Ozgur Heval Cinar and Coskun Usterci, put together a collection of essays that is both international and interdisciplinary, librarians and peace scholars alike take notice. First delivered at a conference in Istanbul in 2007, the 23 essays of Conscientious Objection alternately examine the topic through the lenses of history, philosophy, the law, and gender studies. Although many of the authors write from a Turkish perspective, a separate section leaves room to discuss the state of conscientious objection in nine other countries, including Israel, Chile, and South Africa.

For many readers of SRRT Newsletter, the first chapter to consult might be the one treating conscientious objection in the United States. While the author of that article, Anthony Gutmann of Brown University, will probably turn off some readers for citing the occasional Wikipedia article, this reviewer is bothered more by the author's patchy historical sketch of the subject. For example: Torture of conscientious objectors was widespread in American jails during World War I, but the reader finds no mention of it here.

What, then, is there to take away from Gutmann's guide? One of the more important points is that despite being safeguarded by U.S. Department of Defense Directive 1300.6 (issued in May 1968), in practice soldiers often face official obstacles to filing for conscientious objector (CO) status. During the Gulf War (1990-1991), the Army prohibited the filing of CO applications until soldiers had already arrived in Saudi Arabia—“a maneuver,” according to Gutmann, “unquestionably designed to discourage and inhibit GIs from becoming conscientious objectors” (138). Evidence that such obstruction has continued to occur throughout the Iraq War (2003-?) can be found in the memoirs published by COs like Sgts. Kevin Brenderman and Camilo Mejia.

Compared to Turkey, the sometimes callous treatment of COs in the United States appears pretty mild. The right to conscientious objection is still not recognized in that country, where refusal to put on the uniform translates into a kind of “civic death” for Turks: difficulty in finding employment, intermittent periods spent in jail, and even losing the right to marry. Amongst the many contributions in Conscientious Objection which deal with the Turkish situation, some of the more fascinating articles highlight the role of women. Even though women are exempt from mandatory military service, since 2004 more than a dozen have declared themselves conscientious objectors. In Turkish activist circles the male conscientious objector enjoys a heroic status: in declaring his opposition to war he is putting his personal freedom on the line. Therefore, these women conscientious objectors find themselves fighting against twin foes: militarism, on the one hand, and the overwhelmingly masculinist model of anti-militarism on the other.

What the Turkish women's movement recognizes is how—and here I am quoting from an address by Susan Sontag—“we are all conscripts in one sense or another.” Conscripted to reinforce the dominant norms of our society, conscripted to show patriotic support when we send our youngest off to war, we must all face up to the fact that absent any form of conscientious objection, we become complicit in the violence that ensues. (Sontag's talk, “On Courage and Resistance,” was, in fact, given in honor of an Israeli “refusenik,” Ishai Menuchin.) When she later said that “all struggle has a global resonance,” Sontag had in mind the way resistance can at first seem to have limited effect, but upon closer examination is seen to have inspired other activists hundreds, thousands of miles away who then carry out actions of their own. Reading her remarks, I immediately began thinking of the experiences outlined in Conscientious Objection. International. In solidarity.

On the whole, this volume stands as a worthy contribution to the rather scarce global literature on war resisters. Best read as a reference source rather than as a coherent whole, Conscientious Objection is especially worth adding to libraries with collections in peace studies or military history.

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Publication Information

SRRT Newsletter is published quarterly by the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. It is sent to members of SRRT as part of their membership and is available to others by subscription for $15.00 per year. Subscription is open to both members and non-members of ALA. ISSN: 0749-1670. Copyright : 2009 by the Social Responsibilities Round Table. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without permission. Editor: Myka Kennedy Stephens, mykaks(at) Book Reviews Editor: Jane Ingold, jli4(at) Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of ALA/SRRT. The editors reserve the right to edit submitted material as necessary or as the whimsy strikes.

Join our e-mail discussion list (SRRTAC-L) and announcement distribution list (SRRTMEM). Login to ALA's Mailing List Service to subscribe and manage your subscription. You will be asked for an e-mail address and password. First time users will receive a password by e-mail to the address you provide.

Do you Facebook? Join our group: SRRT (Social Responsibilities Roundtable)

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