- Letters from the Co-Editors
- SRRT Coordinator's Column
- SRRT Councilor's Report From ALA Midwinter Meeting 2018, Denver, CO
- Minutes from Action Council I & II meetings, ALA Midwinter Meeting 2018
- Feminist Task Force News
- Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty Task Force News
- International Responsibilities Task Force News
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force News
- Ethnic Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) News
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) News
- Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) News
- Essay: Professional Autonomy: Where It Comes From and Why It Matters
- Essay: Rethinking Library Education
- Voice from the Past: Excerpt from Issue #5: June 1, 1970
- Call for Editorial Board Members
- Call for Submissions
- Publication Information
by Julie Winkelstein and Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow
Hello everyone and welcome to the March 2018 issue of the SRRT Newsletter! Besides the usual reports, we've included pieces by Rory Litwin and Celeste Bocchicchio-Chaudri about the MLIS degree. If you have any thoughts you'd like to share on this, we encourage you to write us a letter we can include in our next issue.
This is an ongoing discussion, this time prompted by the choice on the current ALA ballot that allows you, as an ALA member, to vote on whether or not you think it's important for the new Executive Director of ALA to have either an ALA-accredited master's degree or a CAEP-accredited master's degree with a specialty in school library media. No matter your stance on this, please vote!
The vote on the MLS degree issue will only matter if at least 25% of the membership votes in the election. If we don't reach this number, this decision will default to the current status, which is "preferred." By voting and encouraging any other members you know to vote, you're helping to make sure members' voices are heard.
Finally, I want to mention our Voices from the Past column, excerpted from past newsletters. I continue to be surprised by how relevant these historical newsletters are to the present. See what you think!
SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor
Welcome, dear readers!
We have dedicated a significant portion of this issue to the timely question of professionalism in library work. There are many, many factors to consider on this issue. At this moment, we can interpret the current vote on the educational requirements for the new Executive Director of ALA to be on the value of our master's degrees. As a gateway to professional practice, the question goes, shouldn't the master's degree be held by the Executive Director of the largest professional library organization in the world? This question is just as loaded as any answer one provides. In this issue, we offer you writings from members with differing opinions, Rory Litwin and Celeste Bocchicchio-Chaudri. We want to learn, and publish, your thoughts, so please write us a letter regarding this issue of professionalism in libraries.
All ALA members in good standing as of January 31, 2018 should have received an electronic ballot between March 12 and March 14, 2018. The ballot personal members receive through the email they had used to join ALA is unique and personal to the individual member. Please don't share the email containing your ballot and voting information.
Regardless of your position on the issue of the educational requirements of ALA's new Executive Director, dear reader, I do join Julie in strongly encouraging you to vote. As ALA members and practicing information professionals, we exercise our agency and our voices through the ALA ballot.
All the best,
Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow
SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor
by Kenny Garcia, SRRT Coordinator, Research & Instruction Librarian, Tanimura & Antle Family Memorial Library, CSU Monterey Bay, Marina, California
Midwinter 2018 Discussions
The task forces met during Midwinter 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The Action Council also had two meetings. We heard from ALA Presidential candidates, had a discussion with the ALA Executive Committee liaison to SRRT, and spoke with the ODLOS staff liaison to SRRT. There was also an important discussion on whether the ALA Executive Director should be required to have an MLIS degree. The Action Council had a spirited discussion and was split, but ultimately voted to endorse the membership petition to restore the policy that the ALA Executive Director should hold an ALA-accredited master's degree or a CAEP-accredited master's degree with a specialty in school library media. This important vote is currently on the ALA Spring 2018 ballot, along with voting on SRRT Action Council At-Large seats and the SRRT Councilor for ALA Council.
In order for the membership petition to be valid, at least 25% of ALA membership has to vote. A majority vote will decide whether or not the requirement will be reinstated. It's important that we all vote in the current elections, which not only has an impact on the ALA Executive Director policy, but will also determine who will represent SRRT members on the SRRT Action Council and the ALA Council.
Get ready for Annual 2018!
We have submitted meeting requests for ALA Annual and are still awaiting confirmation on meeting dates, times, and locations. Along with the typical SRRT meetings held at Annual, the task forces are also planning programs and discussion group meetings. The SRRT Chairs and Presidents program will be hosted by the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force, which will facilitate a panel discussion with local panelists from the larger New Orleans area to discuss local King Holiday celebrations. The Feminist Task Force is planning for a Wikipedia edit-a-thon to add biographical articles to Wikipedia from the Women of Library History project. The International Responsibilities Task Force is planning a discussion group meeting to discuss various initiatives for assisting Palestinian libraries and how you can help. More details will be shared once dates, times, and locations are finalized.
SRRT is growing
SRRT is going through a phenomenal growth in membership. According to the ALA Membership Report for January, SRRT is now ALA's second largest Round Table. Thank you to the Membership Committee and Chair, Al Kagan, for their hard work, to all of the new members who signed up to join SRRT, and to all of the members who have continued their membership.
As members, the next step is to become more involved in the task forces, Action Council, and newsletter. Let's continue the legacy to "make ALA more democratic and to establish progressive priorities not only for the Association, but also for the entire profession" (SRRT - About Us).
Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) 1745, +12.36%
Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) 1688, +41.97%
International Relations Round Table (IRRT) 1668, +3.54%
New Members Round Table (NMRT) 1398, +27.21%
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) 1368, +15.44%
Library Research Round Table (LRRT) 1335, +14.79%
Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) 1267, +10.75%
ALA 58,479, +3.09%
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas on how to improve SRRT, please let us know. Feel free to contact me, or any of the Action Council members listed on our website. We hope to hear from you!
by Laura Koltutsky, Social Sciences Librarian, University of Calgary Libraries and Cultural Resources
ALA Council was personally challenging this Midwinter Meeting. Before Midwinter, a group of SRRT and SustainRT members drafted a resolution to advocate increasing the use of Socially Responsible Investments within the ALA Endowment Fund. The resolved clauses are as follows:
Resolved, that the ALA Council strongly recommends the following to the ALA Endowment Trustees:
- Increase the percentage of Endowment funds invested in socially responsible portfolios in a practical manner every year for the foreseeable future;
- Exclude from the Environmental, Social and Governance/Socially Responsible Investments (ESG/SRI) portfolios all fossil fuel investments, notwithstanding any socially responsible designations by any company or organization; and
- Report on progress made towards these goals at least annually to the ALA Council and membership.
The SRRT-sponsored Resolution on Socially Responsible Investments for the ALA Endowment Fund 2017-2018 ALA CD#36_21118_REVISED (INF) was not discussed until ALA Council 3 session due to the possible financial implications of the resolution. The resolution had been shared with Susan Hildreth, ALA Treasurer, prior to the conference, but it was not dealt with by the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) in its one and only scheduled meeting on Friday, February 9th. Our resolution and the Resolution on Addressing Roadblocks to Diversity in the Leadership Pipeline (2017-2018 ALA CD#37_21218_INF) were left in limbo as BARC was unable to assess the fiscal impact of the resolutions.
The resolved clauses of the second resolution are as follows:
Resolved, that the American Library Association:
- Commission a research study to determine barriers to producing a diverse leadership pipeline within the field of librarianship,
- Explore external opportunities for funding such a study, and
- Communicate strategies and best practices for breaking down said barriers in effective and timely ways.
Al Kagan and I worked with Ed Sanchez, Chair of the Resolutions Committee, Susan Hildreth, and ALA Parliamentarian Eli Mina, to try to determine whether the SRRT resolution could move forward at this conference without BARC's analysis. In the end, Susan Hildreth asked for an emergency BARC meeting on Monday, February 12 which Al Kagan and I attended. Susan Hildreth said that the BARC response would be that they would need more time for analysis, delaying the resolution.
The route that these resolutions took to get there was abnormally long. This change to process was thoroughly discussed at Council Forum meetings and Ed Sanchez in his role as Resolution Committee Chair felt that neither resolution could be put on Council agenda, but they could be discussion items, which would not be voted upon by Council.
When I arrived at Council 3, the SRRT resolution as well as the Resolution on Addressing Roadblocks to Diversity in the Leadership Pipeline were on the agenda as resolutions, not discussion items. In the end, both resolutions were referred to BARC for further analysis of financial implications. The process felt very different than previous resolutions that I have brought forward and there was an overarching concern about ALA finances that I have not seen before. The referral process should not be used before a resolution is presented to Council, but that does seem to be what happened at this Midwinter Meeting.
Council received Eli Mina's Parliamentarian Report at the end of February, after Midwinter. Within that report, he outlined what he felt should be the process for BARC referrals. We'll see at Annual if this advice is followed. Below is pertinent text from the Report:
Thanks to ALA President Jim Neal, Resolutions Committee Chair Ed Sanchez, and ALA Treasurer Susan Hildreth, the procedure for referring an item with financial implications to the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) was strengthened and clarified. Given the success of this process, I recommend that it be used in future Council meetings, i.e.:
- A resolution which the Resolutions Committee has deemed to have fiscal implications would be moved and seconded by its proponents.
- The proponents would open the debate on the resolution they initiated.
- Council members would then be invited to briefly debate the resolution.
- After a brief debate, BARC Chair would move to refer the resolution to BARC, and would then explain the potential fiscal implications that necessitate the referral.
- Other members would then be invited to debate the motion to refer.
- The motion to refer to BARC would then be voted on.
(Source: Eli Mina, Report on the 2018 Midwinter Meeting, February 18 th , 2018)
Resolution on Socially Responsible Investments for the ALA Endowment Fund (full text)
Whereas, ALA Council passed a "Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries" (2014-2015 ALA CD#36_62815_FINAL), which specifically includes ALA internal policies;
Whereas, ALA Council passed "An American Library Association Statement on Global Climate Change and a Call for Support for Libraries and Librarians" (2016- 2017 ALA CD#41_6817_ACT), which includes recognizing that human interactions and activities affect the dynamics of Earth's climate system;
Whereas an organization's investments are a significant indicator of its values;
Whereas, divestment from fossil fuel corporations is a fast-growing worldwide movement encompassing educational, cultural, faith-based, philanthropic, government, and health care organizations, and includes pension funds, NGOs, and for-profit corporations;
Whereas, the ALA Endowment Fund has progressively increased its holdings in Environmental, Social and Governance/Socially Responsible Investments (ESG/SRI), and about 23.5% are currently in the ESG/SRI portfolio;
Whereas, ALA's socially responsible portfolio is currently managed by ClearBridge Investments, and that company has determined that ESG/SRI returns have very closely followed the S&P 500 index since at least 2001, noting no loss of investment income;
Whereas, ClearBridge uses "customized client screens" for investment policies;
Whereas, 350.org shows at least 830 institutions are divesting fossil fuel holdings worth at least $6.01 trillion;
Whereas, at least 186 US mayors have committed their cities to 100% renewable energy;
Whereas, over 260,000 jobs have been created in the solar energy industry, and the industry grows by at least 20% per year;
Therefore, be it resolved that the ALA Council strongly recommends the following to the ALA Endowment Trustees:
1. Increase the percentage of Endowment funds invested in socially responsible portfolios in a practical manner every year for the foreseeable future;
2. Exclude from the Environmental, Social and Governance/Socially Responsible Investments (ESG/SRI) portfolios all fossil fuel investments, notwithstanding any socially responsible designations by any company or organization; and
3. Report on progress made towards these goals at least annually to the ALA Council and membership.
Submitted by Jane Cothron, SRRT Secretary
Social Responsibilities Round Table
Action Council I & II Meetings
ALA Midwinter Conference 2018, Denver, CO
SRRT Action Council I
Colorado Convention Center, Mile High 4C
Saturday, February 10, 2018
- Welcome and Introductions
- Review of Agenda
- Attending (Saturday AC 1): Julie Marie Frye, Sherre Harrington, Al Kagan, Kenny Garcia, Jane Cothron, Ginny Moore, Wanda K. Brown, Violet Fox, Forrest Foster, Tara Brady, Peter Hepburn, Charles Kratz, Laura Koltutsky, LaJuan Pringle, Gary Colmenar, Mark Hudson, Mike Marlin, Julie Winkelstein
- Attending (Sunday AC 2): Briana Jarnagin (Member Services Assistant, ALA ODLOS staff liaison), Kenny Garcia, Laura Koltutsky, Melissa Cardenas-Dow, Al Kagan, Tara Brady, Sherre Harrington, Jane Cothron, Mark Hudson, Gary Colmenar
- ALA President-Elect
- Wanda Kay Brown: "Partnering for a stronger future"; Past President, Treasurer of BCALA; worked with BCALA for 30 years. Not a SRRT member. Would encourage people to trust the ALA CEO search committee; leave the requirements for ALA CEO as preferred degree; might have library champions who would be interested in ALA CEO position but are not librarians; no requirement to get degree after hiring. Strong background in academic libraries; work with North Carolina Library Associaion including working with school and public librarians.
- Peter Hepburn: Has extensive experience in various areas of ALA, including Council and Executive Board; current SRRT member; will be able to step into the office of president without a steep learning curve; sees need to continue to address issues such as equity, diversity, inclusion. Has worked in BARQ including discussions on moving endowment to socially responsible investments; wants as president to encourage and facilitate ALA groups to form natural partnerships; dues need to be expanded into more tiers (dues increase proposal mostly goes to EDI (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) initiative. ALA-APA needs to work on the deprofessionalization of the profession. Voted for, but then against, requiring professional librarian degree. Would not require advanced library degree, but would want ALA CEO to have certificate in corporate management. Ballot opens mid-March.
- SRRT Councilor: Tara Brady
- SRRT Action Council: Lisa EIchholtz, Kenny Garcia
- Write-In Candidates (SRRT Action Council): Tom Twiss (will not be able to attend all meetings)
- ALA President-Elect
- ALA Executive Committee Report
- Mike Marlin: see Talking Points document on ALA organizational effectiveness; re-imaging ALA. Socially responsible investments resolution: unofficially referred to BARC, resolution needs to go to Council to be officially referred to BARC; has been submitted to the Resolutions Committee; Trustees have some concerns and are trying to increase investment in SRI (up to 24.3% now); Clearbridge Investments not willing to move two petroleum exploration companies out of portfolio. [Al Kagan: Clearbridge says they have customizable client screens--what does that mean?] Feedback is that fossil-free investments would eliminate a large percentage of ALA's endowment.
- Resolution on Socially Responsible Investments for the ALA Endowment Fund: see discussion under ALA Executive Committee report [document distributed with SRRT AC agenda]. Moved Charles Kratz, seconded Kenny Garcia. Passed unanimously.
- SRRT position on the education requirement for the ALA Executive Director: Discussion of 25% threshold and how ALA can facilitate member participation in elections. The majority of ALA membership are not librarians with MLS or equivalent degrees (including many vendors, paraprofessionals, trustees, archivists). Violet Fox: in her opinion, younger members find degree argument polarizing; she will argue against requiring advance degree for ALA CEO in AC. Moved Charles Kratz, second, Jane Cothron. 5 in favor; 3 against, 1 abstention.
- Treasurer: current balance $76,086 (Dec. 2017) due to membership growth. Will talk with Julie Winkelstein about creating SRRT travel grant. NMRT used to have a travel network to facilitate librarians coming to conferences; FTF had also discussed some kind of financial support for conference attendance.
- Membership Committee: membership is increasing dramatically every month. 1594 members (Dec. 2017); more than doubled membership in the past 3 years. Overall ALA membership has dropped.
- Task Forces
- Feminist Task Force (Sherre Harrington reporting): Amelia Bloomer Project will release 2018 list today; Women in History Tumblr going into 5th year, thanks to Katelyn Brown. Planning program for 2018 ALA Annual: Wikipedia editathon, seeking partnerships with other groups in ALA. Planned emphasis will be on entering articles on women and librarians. Seeking support from database vendors for citations.
- MLK Jr. Holiday Task Force (LaJuan Pringle reporting): Monday, Feb 12, 2018, 6:30 am. 20th Anniversary of celebration will be in 2020. Working on getting Ginny Moore's archive up, scheduled for May 2018; sending them to University of Illinois to archive; will provide archives to SRRT. Will be indexed and have a finding aid; not necessarily digitized. Al Kagan willing to be local support.
- International Responsibilities Task Force (Al Kagan reporting): no program for Annual 2018; Tom Twiss proposal for a discussion group to support Edward Said library in Gaza. Trying to persuade Haymarket (and other publishers) to provide access to e-books.
- Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty Task Force: updating the Extending Our Reach toolkit; seeking other voices to look over the toolkit.
- SRRT Newsletter Editorial Board
- New submission policy: new language removes requirement that people submitting must be SRRT members. Kenny Garcia moves to endorse; Violet Fox seconds. Passed unanimously.
- Budget to support book reviews: need reviews editor; need 2 members of newsletter board; need to include budget to cover postage to send books to reviewers. Motion to add line item to annual budget. Moved Al Kagan; second Ginny Moore. Passed unanimously.
- Planning & Budget Assembly
- Legislative Assembly report (Kenny Garcia)
- Washington Office has 2 members; discussion of budget
- LSTA has $4 million increase; expectation is that new President's budget will decrease library funding and IMLS
- Copyright discussion: U.S. has not signed treaty on international copyright; Congress is considering bill on depository items and archived reports
- ALA is looking at impact on libraries of 2020 census (use of public computers to respond to online census form)
- Net Neutrality: Congressional Review Act could repeal FCC Net Neutrality rule repeal; not enough support from Congress to be successful
- Higher Education Act: loan forgiveness might come up for Congressional vote; ALA is against repeal of loan forgiveness program
- Library Lifesaver Act (HB4259): (NARCAN administration): ALA concerns for budget, liability, etc.
- National Library Legislation Day in May: will do a virtual library legislative day for people who cannot go to Washington, D.C.
- Federal Depository Libraries bill: funding not specified, agencies specified to work together; discussion but no conclusion on the bill
- Washington Office has 2 members; discussion of budget
- Committee on Legislation: working on a revised charge/mission statement to be voted on at ALA annual. Questions on how much control the committee will assume over input to ALA Council. SRRT can have liaison to COL.
- Round Table Coordinating Committee: ALA Connect site will be new (see website). Live demos of new site will be held at ALA Midwinter. Current Connect site grays out March 26, 2018, new site comes up on April 25, 2018. Temporary site can be set up if needed for committee work. Will have trainings and a support site. Default for Connect site is private; round tables can request that this be made public.
- Feedback on Conference changes:
- Clear timeline is needed
- Pre-conference planning needs to be included
- Updates should be shared with all of the round tables throughout the process
- The jury process needs to be better organized
- The Conference Planning Committee needs to reach out to jury members for feedback
- Rubrics on how juried programs were assessed should be shared
- The parameters/what support from ALA is included in each type of program should be shared to provide a smoother process in requesting meeting rooms
- Connect juried program proposals to the expertise of jurors. The current process randomly assigned proposals to those serving on the jury
- Even though the request for program proposals was completed months ago, the conference time and dates have not been finalized
- Round table representatives for the next round of juried selections should be shared
- Round table representatives for the next round of juried selections should be shared
- Feedback on Conference changes:
- Additional Items
- 50th anniversary celebration in 2019: Chuck Adamo (Alternative Press Index) suggests joint program. Possibly doing joint community service--celebrating in service; Busboys and Poets; perhaps highlight SRRT work over the years (web page, zine)--Violet Fox, Al Kagan, Julie Marie Frye; hold celebration evening at the conference venue; book drive for local youth shelter (would need local coordinator); Children in Crisis has done book drive. Add to agenda for Annual. GLBTRT, FTF, Martin Luther King holiday anniversary in 2020.
- Changes to the bylaws
- Annual program: SRRT chair program will be on MLK; discussion groups will not recorded. No decisions from jury on whether program has been accepted. Need to submit discussion proposals before mid-March deadline. (Check with Kenny and ODLOS office.) FTF, Amelia Bloomer Project, International Responsibilities Round Table
- BDS movement nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- PLG and SRRT meetings have traditionally been in the same room; Kenny Garcia will follow up on this for Annual
- Open Forum/Conclusion
SRRT Action Council II
Colorado Convention Center, Room 507
Sunday, February 11, 2018
- Resume where we left off from Action Council I
- ODLOS Report
- Briana Jarnagin: Spectrum Scholarship fundraising in honor of 20th anniversary; see ODLOS report. Kenny Garcia: from Round Table Coordinators Committee meeting: what will be the changes and room set ups available for the various types of meetings; what's the process to schedule each kind of meeting and what is included in each type of meeting, deadline for program proposals is in early March; need better communication and more information on the changes to the conference format from conference services committee. Briana understands that the next step is to consider changes to the Midwinter meeting.
- Ballot is closed; for open position without nominee, Tom Twiss has indicated interest as write-in candidate; write-in option is only provided when there are more open positions than there are nominated candidates.
- Question: is it possible for AC to consider web redesign. It would help with publishing the SRRT newsletter. Kenny Garcia has access to make changes to ALA web page. Need to find how to access libr.org page (possibly Diedre Conkling has the information). Proposal to use Wordpress software for content management software. Need to identify costs, limitations, etc.; discuss with Charles Kratz, treasurer. Melissa Cardenas-Dow, Laura Koltutsky, Jane Cothron to explore options. Violet Fox may be interested.
Saturday, 8:30-9:00am -- Wanda Kay Brown, President-elect candidate
Saturday, 9:00-9:30am -- Peter Hepburn, President-elect candidate
Saturday, 9:30-10:00am -- Mike Marlin, Executive Board Liaison
Sunday, 3:00-4:00pm -- Briana Jarnagin, ODLOS report
by Sherre Harrington, Director and Liaison to Mathematics & Natural Science - Berry College Memorial Library, Mount Berry, Georgia
It's Women of Library History time!
For Women's History Month 2018, Feminist Task Force is sponsoring a sixth year of Women of Library History!
Women of Library History highlights stories of women who have been significant to the libraries, services, and systems you know and love. In spite of popular depictions of librarians as meek, apolitical, and quiet, we know that librarianship has always been hard work, and that women have been raising money, creating action, and providing professional leadership for a long time.
What? The FTF hosts a blog with daily postings of historic women of librarianship throughout the month of March.
Why? In celebration of Women's History Month, we highlight the legacy you still see alive today. Submissions to this project have continued to illustrate the breadth of contributions women have made to their communities through libraries, and the long legacy of activism in our profession.
Who? Anyone who would be pleased to be identified as a woman and who has made a significant contribution to library history. Past subjects have included librarians, founders, community activists, women's clubs, and even the developer of our beloved MARC format. We include women who may be deceased, retired, or currently practicing -- any woman whose contribution to the field (whether locally or globally) is significant and enduring.
Take a look!
by Julie Ann Winkelstein, SRRT HHPTF Co-coordinator, adjunct professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The HHPTF met in conjunction with the MLKTF at Midwinter 2018 in Denver. Our primary topic of conversation related to poverty and homelessness was the current updating of the toolkit, "Extending Our Reach: Reducing Homelessness Through Library Engagement". If you're interested in contributing to this update, please contact Julie Winkelstein and Lisa Gieskes. We'd love to hear from you about your concerns, as well as any suggestions you might have.
I also want to point out the HHPTF blog, which includes recent articles, as well as excellent resources. Take a look and if you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please let us know. We want our blog to reflect the needs of libraries as they address homelessness and poverty in their communities.
by Al Kagan, African Studies Bibliographer and Professor of Library Administration Emeritus - University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
We are currently working on a discussion group, "Assisting Palestinian Libraries" for the 2018 ALA Annual conference. In addition to their limited funding, Palestinian libraries face many barriers to access that are the result of Israeli policies. We will discuss various means of providing assistance to Palestinian libraries and how you can help. One highlight will be a presentation on the Matloub/Wanted campaign, an initiative of Librarians and Archivists with Palestine in collaboration with the Tamer Institute for Community Education. This campaign hopes to raise awareness of the many access issues and of the context in which Palestinian libraries operate, while offering material support for the libraries' collections. The Matloub website will allow people to contribute to the purchase of books from a list of titles selected by participating libraries. It will also include educational resources about barriers to access to information in Palestine. A pilot version of the website, featuring a small number of participating Palestinian libraries, will be launched in May 2018. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
by LaJuan Pringle, Library Manager -- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
The Martin Luther King Jr. Sunrise Celebration was inspirational and personal. Our keynote speaker was Anthony Graves, a Texas citizen who was wrongly convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Graves's resolve to prove his innocence eventually resulted in his complete exoneration. Graves is now using his platform to advocate for criminal justice reform. As I sat there and listened to him speak about his experiences, I was overcome with emotion. There was one point where Sekou and I both looked at each other, knowing that Graves's story was not only a familiar one, but a story that could have easily been our own. We are so fortunate that Mr. Graves's life was spared and he is now advocating for those who can't advocate for themselves.
But I also have to think back to George Stinney Jr., the 14-year-old who was charged, convicted, and executed in a little over 80 days, for capital crimes that he, too, would eventually be exonerated. The list of U.S. citizens convicted of crimes, only to be found innocent later, continues to happen at an alarming rate. Why the U.S. still accepts the death penalty as a form of punishment is beyond my understanding, especially when there is clear evidence that the criminal justice system gets it wrong, and often. Dr. King is on record stating his objections to the death penalty. In November of 1957, when Dr. King Jr. served as a guest columnist for Ebony magazine, when asked whether or not he thinks God approves of the death penalty for murderers and rapists, Dr. King said "I do not think God approves the death penalty for any crime--rape and murder included. God's concern is to improve individuals and bring them to the point of conversion... How can he improve if his life is taken? Capital punishment is against the best judgment of modern criminology and, above all, against the highest expression of love in the nature of God."1
I learned a lot about the criminal justice system during my days as an undergrad student at the University of Michigan-Flint. It was through learning how the system benefited those with wealth and privilege did I shift my career goals and decide to become a librarian. I knew that I wanted to spend time working in a profession that emphasized education and lifelong learning as essentials to living. I came into the profession with an agenda to arm others with knowledge and there was nothing about my decision to become a librarian that was neutral. I feel just as passionate about it today as I did 20 years ago. Sometimes we all need reminders of why we do what we do. Listening to Mr. Graves's story reinforced why I am here today. Thank you, Mr. Graves.
I'd also like to thank Alexandra (Alex) Rivera for delivering a hopeful and encouraging call to action. Despite the obstacles that are placed in front of us, it was inspiring to hear Alex's refrain "We are here and we're not going anywhere." We will continue to fight the good fight and we will prevail. The Task Force is already working on next year's Sunrise Celebration, as we will observe its 20th anniversary. We hope to make this a celebration for the ages. We want to pay homage to folks like Ginny Moore, Satia Orange, BCALA, SRRT, and countless others who have made the celebration a staple of Midwinter. We hope to plan a celebration that will not only reflect the life of Dr. King, but of all of the librarians and library professionals who have been influenced by him. Look for more details as the year progresses.
We are also planning another Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Multicultural Exchange program that will take place in New Orleans, during the Annual Conference. So far, we confirmed participation from the New Orleans and the Paterson Free Libraries. Other guests may join us. The Exchange is scheduled for Saturday, June 23, at 4 p.m. The exact location will be announced later.
LaJuan Pringle email@example.com
1. King, Martin Luther. "Advice for Living." The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, Nov. 1957, p. 305,okra.stanford.edu/transcription/document_images/Vol04Scans/305_Nov-1957_Advice%20for%20Living.pdf
Submitted by Mimi Lee, Chair, EMIERT Executive Board
The Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) of the American Library Association seeks nominations for the 2018 David Cohen/EMIERT Multicultural Award.
The David Cohen/EMIERT Multicultural Award recognizes recent articles that include significant new research related to the understanding and promotion of multiculturalism in libraries in North America. Works published within the last two years preceding the award application deadline will be eligible to receive the award. The 2018 award application deadline is March 30, 2018.
Award recipients will be selected based on the relationship of publication to the purpose of the Award; extent to which publication bridges cultures, increases multicultural awareness in libraries, or provides appropriate cultural representation; significance of publication and its potential impact; and originality.
Submitted materials should include the completed nomination webform; article (published within 2016-2018); a copy of the nominee's resume or curriculum vitae; a 250-word statement of significance; and optional additional letters of recommendation. The Award is presented bi-annually during even years (e.g. 2016, 2018, etc.), and consists of a plaque and monetary award. If no suitable candidate is judged to merit the Award in a given year, the Award will not be presented.
For more information and to access the nomination form, please visit the Cohen/EMIERT Multicultural Award web page.
Submitted by Ana Elisa de Campos Salles, incoming Chair GLBTRT
Have you been thinking about getting more involved in the GLBTRT? Like the direction we're headed and want to help us be even more visible, diverse, and inclusive? Here's your chance! We have two calls out right now.
First Call: GLBTRT Volunteers
We're currently looking for volunteers for the following committees:
- 50th Anniversary Golden Jubilee Planning
- Local Arrangements/Social Planning
- Membership Promotion
- Program Planning
These committees conduct all work online and virtually, so you don't need to worry about budgeting travel in order to make a difference.
Appointments begin at the end of ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans (2018) and are two-year appointments, with the option to volunteer again.
More detailed information on each committee can be found on the GLBTRT Committees page.
To volunteer, log in to the ALA website and go to the GLBTRT's Committee Volunteer Form page.
We are also seeking locals who can assist in planning the Socials at the following conferences:
- Midwinter Meeting, Seattle, WA: Jan 25-29, 2019
- Annual Conference, Washington, DC: June 20-25, 2019
- Midwinter Meeting, Philadelphia, PA: Jan 24-28, 2020
- Annual Conference, Chicago, IL: June 25-30, 2020
If you are lucky enough to live or have great contacts in one or nearby one of these fabulous locations, your help in planning the socials would be very much appreciated.
Please note: the call for volunteers for the Stonewall Book Awards Committees, Over the Rainbow Book List, and Rainbow Book List typically happens after the ALA Annual conference. There will be a separate call for volunteers for those committees then.
Questions? Please feel free to email Ana Elisa de Campos Salles! I'm also more than happy to chat or text via phone.
Second Call: Panelists
The GLBT Round Table's Program Planning Committee is looking for panelists for a Trans* Customer Service 101 panel, scheduled on Sunday, June 24, 2:30-3:30 p.m. during the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.
If you are interested, please get in touch and let us know the following:
- Your full name and pronouns that you would like used for this presentation.
- Your race, if you are comfortable sharing (with us and/or with the audience). If this is an all-white panel, we want to make sure to talk about that during the presentation and make it clear that we do not represent the perspectives of all trans* people. The applicant pool was not as diverse as we would have liked (there are probably a lot of reasons for that, ranging from the overwhelming whiteness of the LIS profession to the cost barrier of attending ALA); from that pool, you are not taking the place of anyone of a less represented identity. No trans women have applied yet, which is another thing that will be discussed during the presentation.
- What are some subjects within the general topic that you would like to make sure that we cover? What are your areas of expertise?
- Do you have any other thoughts or ideas that will help us as we develop this panel?
Thanks again! We look forward to planning the specifics of this presentation. Get in touch if interested.
Submitted by Kenya Flash, Librarian for Political Science, Global Affairs, and Government Information, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Access to federal government information is very important to all communities and individuals. Much of this access is provided through Federal Depository Libraries. Title 44 is the statutory law that established and guides the work of depository libraries and is thus important to communities. Legislation to revise this code is being developed and will be introduced in the next few weeks.
To see what ALA has to say about the bill concerning this, please follow the Washington Office's blog, District Dispatch. To follow or participate in discussion regarding this bill, please follow GODORT on ALA Connect.
Submitted by Rory Litwin, Library Juice Press and Library Juice Academy
In the current debate over the value of the MLIS, a key element that could stand to be clarified is that of professional autonomy, and the threat that deprofessionalization poses to it. In an email discussion on the SRRTAC-L list recently, one advocate for a path to librarianship outside of graduate education wanted to hear specific examples of "professional autonomy" and how it is compromised by deprofessionalization, because its meaning had not been clarified previously in the discussion. The concept is central to the argument for the MLIS that has been expressed within SRRT.
My most recent job in the field was in a medium-sized academic library, where the librarians were non-faculty and had a pay scale that overlapped that of the support staff. More than in many libraries, there was a strong expectation there for support staff to be treated with an equal degree of respect, to the point where the term "support staff" was not considered acceptable; their role was not to support the librarians but to work side-by-side with us. And we were admonished to acknowledge that they were professionals too (they were "very professional.") Nevertheless, there was some tension over a sense that the librarians had privileges that others in the library did not, or that they had a superior attitude. One staff member, addressing this tension, once said to me, "We're at the same level, right? I mean, we are both on teams as team members, and we have a supervisor who tells the people on the team what to do." Well, in our case, not exactly. We had considerably more workplace autonomy. The reference librarians, who also did collection development and instruction, were a team in parallel with the technical services team (mostly paraprofessionals) and had a supervisor, but the supervisor was also a team member and did not have the role of a "boss." We decided what to do as a group, and what we decided was not always what the administration preferred. We justified our decisions based on our professional expertise, which we could make a claim to based on our professional education. That is strategic autonomy - the freedom to decide what you are going to do. Our strategic autonomy was limited, but it existed. We also had operational autonomy - the freedom to determine how we would do what we do. At the reference desk, we used our own professional judgment to determine what reference work involves. The assistant director of the library had her own idea of what the definition of reference service is, and for her it did not include an educational function. Although she thought she was in a position to define our work for us, we did not care what she thought; we determined what we would do at the reference desk ourselves, because we saw that as our prerogative as professionals. Likewise our methods for doing collection development, instruction, weeding, and anything else that fell within our job descriptions.
That autonomy is not merely a perk that comes with professional status. It really matters, because it is how librarians are able to prioritize the ethical aims of the profession at times when the administration wants to do something that we feel is contrary to it. Granted, many SRRT members are managers or library directors, and they may feel that they make decisions that are in concert with the values of the profession to the extent that resource limitations allow. But at the same time, they would have to admit that they may be under pressure from people higher up in their organizations to push for programs or priorities that stem from the encroachment of capitalism on public institutions (expectations of being a profit center, corporate partnerships and their effects on agendas, a shift away from public funding, etc). They are sometimes pressured to impose policies that they wish they could avoid. Having professional status gives librarians the ability to push back, somewhat like being in a union does. The ability to push back rests on a claim to professional status, which rests on professional education.
Deprofessionalization has a lot of elements to it, but a key part of it is that it systematically undermines that professional autonomy. As support staff are cross-trained to do the jobs that librarians have done, it becomes harder for librarians to justify a claim to professional status, which makes it harder to claim the autonomy that is needed to resist managerial prerogatives. And administrators prefer to have paraprofessionals doing that work, not only because it is cheaper but because if the workers don't have the same platform to claim professional autonomy, their work can be more closely defined and controlled. So, breaking down the distinction between librarians and support staff, though there might be a lot to be said for it in terms of class issues, unfortunately results in a net loss of autonomy for the people who do the work.
So the MLIS has value for the profession as a whole in terms of supporting its ethical foundations. Rather than bypassing the MLIS requirement in the interest of inclusion, working to make access to that education more inclusive would serve marginalized people as well -- or better, if you consider its intrinsic value -- without sacrificing the profession's power. As we fight to broaden access to the profession, we should be fighting to maintain our professional autonomy as well.
Submitted by Celeste Bocchicchio-Chaudhri, children's librarian at a large urban public library
Controversy regarding whether an MLIS degree should be required for the Executive Director of the American Library Association has inevitably led to a larger discussion about the library profession. In the ALSC's statement in favor of the "MLIS preferred" language in the search for an Executive Director, director Amy Koester argued that "if a candidate pool is limited by a specific credential, and that credential disproportionately favors one group (or disproportionately undervalues others), the process is flawed and inequitable and denies the association the opportunity to consider all truly qualified candidates." In other words, since the pool of people holding an MLIS degree is overwhelmingly white, requiring an MLIS for the position of Executive Director of the ALA unnecessarily excludes highly qualified candidates of color who are less likely to hold an MLIS degree.
One could extend this argument to any job description that requires an MLIS, thereby casting doubt on the entire professional credentialing of librarians. If the requirement of an MLIS for the position of Executive Director of the ALA makes the process flawed and inequitable, how can we justify requiring an MLIS for the director of a single library, much less for a basic entry level librarian position? Some people would argue that this logical extension of Koester's argument renders it absurd. After all, we can't possibly agree that the entire librarian credentialing process is biased and exclusionary, can we? Surely, we can create a more inclusive library world without tearing down the foundation of library science as a profession?
On the other hand, if we are going to answer the call put forth by Chris Bourg in her essay "NC is a No-Go: Bathrooms, Libraries and the Limits of Welcoming," to "to consider real fundamental, cultural and structural changes that would foster inclusion and justice" than we absolutely have to examine the foundation of the library profession. That means reconsidering the education of librarians: what we are taught, when we are taught it, and what degrees we are required to have to gain entry to the profession. Librarians are understandably nervous about erosions to the library profession in the name of efficiency and neo-liberal, market-based management strategies. When the work of professional librarians gets delegated to non-professional library staff, we cling to our credentials as proof of our worth--both in terms of salary and esteem. But we cannot allow the fight against the business model of libraries to eclipse the battle against the institutional racism.
In 2008, 63.9% of female students enrolling in graduate degrees were white. Only 11% were black. I could not find statistics for male graduate students, but given the skewed gender representation of the field, the statistics for female graduate students is relevant. This means that the pool of potential LIS students is overwhelmingly white: even with laudable efforts to recruit students of color, the fact of the matter is people of color have less access to higher levels of education.
In light of this racial discrepancy, we have to question whether an MLIS is the appropriate training for a 21st century librarian. I believe that it is neither necessary nor sufficient. That is to say, requiring a master's degree for entry level librarian jobs seems unnecessary, and the MLIS as it is currently administered does not sufficiently prepare higher level library staff for the challenges of contemporary libraries. Were we to create a BLIS as the standard entry level credential for librarians we would simultaneously make the profession more accessible to a wide range of people, and allow the MLIS to provide the training that library managers, department heads, and the Executive Director of the ALA require.
Often, the American Library Association is compared to the American Medical Association and the American Bar association. These professional organizations are led by doctors and lawyers respectively, so the ALA ought to be led by a librarian. This argument presupposes a similarity between the medical, legal, and library professions. Currently, all three require a graduate degree for entry level work, but that is where the similarity ends. For the purposes of my argument, it is notable that law school and medical school both have undergraduate counterparts: the pre-law and pre-med tracks respectively. There is no equivalent pre-library track in college. It makes sense that an aspiring lawyer would have an undergraduate degree focused on government and politics and that an aspiring doctor would focus on biology. What course of undergraduate work best prepares a future librarian for library school? Literature? Computer Science? Early childhood development? Depending on the kind of library work people are interested in, any of these could be justified, but there is no clear path for young adults who wish to be librarians.
I envision a BLIS that combines courses in the liberal arts to give future librarians the wide base of knowledge that helps with reference work with basic library science courses on reader's advisory, cataloging, information technology, and the history of libraries. Like our current MLIS programs, students could have a general degree that covers a wide range of library and information science fields or specialize in a track. A future archivist would take more history classes, someone interested in information science would take more computer science classes, an aspiring children's librarian would take courses in education and child development. Because a BLIS would be a four-year degree, the program would allow for a wider and deeper education than the two year MLIS currently provides. Those seeking to advance their careers could get an MLIS that focuses on library management and advocacy, plus a more critical examination of library theory and the place of libraries in society. Such training would better prepare the aspiring Executive Director of the ALA and give more librarians the intellectual tools necessary to understand and deconstruct the institutional biases that keep the profession so overwhelmingly white.
A little background: This issue of the newsletter was published before the ALA 1970 annual meeting in Detroit. Before the conference, there was a "SRRT Pre-Detroit Meeting in Philadelphia."
Excerpt "About 135 librarians met in Philadelphia May 15-17 to discuss plans for Detroit. A number of decisions and resolutions were made which, having been accepted by those meeting, are to be presented at the SRRT business meeting June 30, 4:30 to 6 p.m. It has been impossible to get the exact text of some of the resolutions. What follows is, in some instances, the general sense of what was passed.
National Issues Whereas the American Library Association has a long term commitment to intellectual freedom, human welfare, faith and reliance on the open access to information and the democratic process and civilizing influence of libraries and
Whereas we witness now such tragic events as the murder of students on our campuses, blacks in our cities, and innocent citizens of other nations, and the growing repression of the traditional right to dissent and subversion of our institutions for other than peaceful means and
Whereas the American Library Association can exercise its responsibilities by utilizing its prestige and resources in every way possible to bring about immediate change in the domestic and foreign policies of the United States.
Be it resolved that the membership and Council meeting in Detroit June 27-July 3, 1970 adopt and act on the following:
- That the American Library Association go on record condemning American involvement in Southeast Asia and call for the immediate withdrawal of all troops and all military aid from Indochina. To this end the Association will instruct its Washington office to use its energies and the resources to lobby for said objectives and inform the Federal Government that it refuses to pay the telephone Federal Excise tax which is committed to financing the war.
- That the American Library Association commit itself to a vigorous program to assist in ending all forms of political repression in the United States and to publicly support those who work to end repression against such groups as the Black Panther party. Further, the Association must seek out and expel those librarians and libraries who aid the Federal Government by making available circulation records and allowing their premises to be used for surveillance and wiretapping.
- That the American Library Association go on record condemning military complicity in universities and other public institutions. Further, the Association must examine its own investments and relations to financial institutions to insure that its funds are being used to be promote the betterment of the human condition.
(Resolution to be introduced by Richard Akeroyd, Member ALA, Veteran of Vietnam, University of Connecticut Library)."
Are you looking for a way to be more involved in the Social Responsibilities Round Table? Are you passionate about books, media and their role in social responsibility? Do you have excellent writing and editing skills? Are you good at meeting deadlines and encouraging others to meet them as well? If so, membership to the SRRT Newsletter Editorial Board might be just the volunteer position you're looking for!
We are in need of two members who can serve on the Editorial Board as soon as possible.
Editorial Board memberships positions are determined by the SRRT Action Council.
If you are interested in becoming members of the SRRT Editorial Board, please send a copy of your resume/CV, a brief letter of inquiry outlining your qualifications and interest in the position, and a writing sample and/or examples of previous work to Melissa Cardenas-Dow, SRRT editorial board member, at micd.srrt.newsletter [at] gmail.com.
The SRRT Newsletter is always looking for good articles, essays and letters to the editor. The next submission deadline is May 18, 2018.
The SRRT Newsletter invites submissions from library and information workers, students, educators, and all others who recognize the critical importance of libraries in addressing community and social issues. Submission content should align with the goals of SRRT: matters of social responsibility and values, current social needs, and opportunities and problems as they relate to libraries, library workers, or the communities they serve.
Please send your submissions electronically in one of the following formats: MS Word, RTF, PDF, or plain text pasted into the body of an e-mail. Submissions should be 500 to 1,000 words. Graphics are encouraged. If using images that are already on the Internet, the URL of the image and a caption or description may be added to the text of the submission.
Please send original submissions and inquiries to SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor Julie Winkelstein, jwinkels [at] utk.edu, indicating "SRRT Newsletter" within the subject line of your email. A confirmation of receipt will be sent in a timely manner.
Submissions to SRRT Newsletter Reviews
Submissions for book or media reviews should be sent to Melissa Cardenas-Dow, micd.srrt.newsletter [at] gmail.com, SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor, indicating "Reviews" in the subject line of your email.
Submissions should be sent electronically in MS-Word format or a Word compatible format. Reviewers should keep their reviews to 300-500 words; any length much shorter or longer should be discussed with the co-editor prior to submission. Reviewers should avoid conflicts of interest. Full disclosure should be made to the co-editor when appropriate.
Submissions to SRRT Newsletter Letters to the Editors
The Newsletter invites readers to submit letters to the editors relating to social responsibilities and libraries. The letters should be respectful and thoughtful, either respond to specific content in the newsletter or include suggestions for topics of interest to SRRT members to be addressed in future issues. We will only publish letters of more than 200 words in exceptional circumstances.
Letters may be edited for length, grammar, and accuracy. You will be notified if your letter will to be published.
Submit your letters to Michael Gorman, member of the SRRT Newsletter Editorial Board, at michaelg [at] mail.fresnostate.edu. You may submit your letter as an attachment in one of these formats: .doc, docx; or in the body of your email message.
Letters must include your full name, address, a telephone number and email address if you have one. This is for us only -- we don't share this information.
SRRT Newsletter is published quarterly by the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. ISSN: 0749-1670. Copyright © 2018 by the Social Responsibilities Round Table. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without permission.
Co-Editor: Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow, micd.srrt.newsletter [at] gmail.com.
Co-Editor: Julie Winkelstein, jwinkels [at] utk.edu.
Editorial Board Members: Michael Gorman, Laura Koltutsky, and Rebecca Martin
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 whimsy strikes.