Letters from the Editors
SRRT Coordinator's Column
Councilor's Report from ALA Annual Conference 2019
Minutes from Action Council I & II
Feminist Task Force News
Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty Task Force Essay and News
Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force News
Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) News
Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) News
Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT) News
Interview: Jody Gray, outgoing ALA ODLOS Director
SRRT Statement: Open Letter to SCOE Opposing the Elimination of ALA Council
IFLA LGBTQ SIG (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions-Special Interest Group)
Call for Submissions
by Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow and Julie Winkelstein
Greetings SRRT Newsletter readers!
Lots of changes are in store for our little publication. This issue of the SRRT Newsletter is the last HTML document. We are in the process of changing our workflows and the ways we are delivering content through the newsletter.
Some things still stay the same. This issue--the October one--still provides information regarding the SRRT Action Council meetings during the past ALA Annual. In 2019, it was held in Washington, D.C. We are still working to make the SRRT Newsletter a vibrant publication that emphasizes the profession’s social responsibilities, not just the work and contributions of ALA-SRRT. With that, this issue carries the minutes from the ALA Annual 2019 Action Council meetings, reports from the different SRRT Task Forces, and news items from various groups in ALA and the world of the library and information professions.
We are currently working to reformat the SRRT Newsletter and are very excited to unveil our transformed publication in January 2020!
All the best,
Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow
SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor
Hello SRRT Newsletter readers and welcome to the fall issue!
As Melissa mentioned, in this edition we have articles from inside and outside the U.S. Included are an interview with Jody Gray, the outgoing ALA ODLOS director, and an article by Anne Reddaliff, the outgoing convenor of the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) LGBTQ Special Interest Group.
We’d also like to warmly welcome our three new Editorial Board members: Vikki Terrile, Miguel Juarez, and Kyle Evans. If you have some ideas for topics you’d like covered in the newsletter, please let us know. We are always looking for ways to include topics related to social justice and libraries.
Julie Ann Winkelstein
SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor
by Charles Kratz, SRRT Coordinator & Dean, The University of Scranton Weinberg Library, Scranton, Pennsylvania
My name is Charles Kratz, and it is my pleasure to serve as the SRRT Coordinator for 2019-20. Please visit our webpages within the ALA website for information on the round table.
SRRT Officers 2019-2020
I am pleased to announce the SRRT Officers, Coordinators and Representatives for 2019-2020:
Coordinator - Charles Kratz
Coordinator-elect - April Sheppard
Treasurer - Lisa Eichholtz
Secretary - Jane Cothron
Nominating Committee Chair - Stavroula Harissis
Feminist Task Force (FTF) Coordinator – Sherre Harrington
Hunger, Homelessness, & Poverty Task Force (HHPTF) – Julie Winkelstein
International Responsibilities Task Force (IRTF) Coordinator – Tom Twiss & Al Kagan
Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force Coordinator – LaJuan Pringle
SRRT Representative on ALA Program Jury - Sherre Harrington
SRRT Liaison to Planning & Budget Assembly - Lisa Eichholtz
SRRT Liaison to Intellectual Freedom Committee - Mark Hudson
SRRT Liaison to ODLOS Advisory Committee – Jane Cothron
SRRT Liaison to ALA Literacy Assembly - Marna Clowney-Robinson
SRRT Website Coordinator – April Sheppard
SRRT Social Media Coordinator – Stavroula Harissis
SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor – Julie Winkelstein
SRRT Newsletter Ad Hoc Co-Editor– Melissa Cardenas-Dow
Herb Biblo Conference Travel Grants Selection Committee - Charles Kratz (chair) , Marna Clowney-Robinson, April Sheppard, Mark Hudson
SRRT will share news and information with members once a month through the SRRT Membership (SRRTAC-L) listserv. According to the July 2019 ALA Membership Report, SRRT has seen a 4.48% increase in membership since last year. We continue to be the largest round table in ALA. Congratulations to the other round tables who saw an increase. Thank you Al Kagan and the SRRT Membership Committee for all of your hard work!
Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) 1865, +4.48%
Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) 1785, +0.56%
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) 1446, +3.51%
Sustainability Round Table (SUSTRT) 1135, +31.82%
Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) 952, +1.71%
ALA has 56,089, -2.79%
As a reminder, international members of ALA can now join SRRT for $8.00 per year.
The SRRT Newsletter is always looking to add pieces on social issues, especially how these intersect with librarianship. Perhaps you read something in previous issues of the newsletter that you are interested in responding to or adding your voice? We welcome and want your submissions! The minutes for the Action Council meetings held during ALA Annual will be published in the newsletter, but we wanted to share it with our members beforehand.
The Herb Biblo Conference Travel Grants
The new Herb Biblo Conference Travel Grants sponsored by the Social Responsibilities Round Table that will help finance attendance at the ALA Annual Conference. The $1000 award covers limited fees related to airfare, lodging, and conference registration. This award is given out on an annual basis. Deadline to apply is December 15 of each year. All applicants will be notified of the Ad Hoc Selection Committee's decision by January 15 each year.
Eligibility. Applicants must be personal ALA/SRRT members.
Applicant Responsibility. All recipients will be asked to agree to the following:
- Recipient will confirm in writing with the SRRT Conference Travel Grants Ad Hoc Selection Committee that they will attend the ALA Annual Conference.
- Recipient will agree to attend certain conference-related functions as requested in advance by the SRRT Conference Travel Grants Ad Hoc Selection Committee.
- Recipient will attend the two SRRT Action Council Meetings during ALA Annual Conference and the SRRT Membership Meeting.
- Recipient will agree to write a SRRT newsletter article about their ALA Conference experience.
- If the recipient is unable to complete the terms of this grant, they must notify the SRRT Conference Travel Grants Ad Hoc Selection Committee and return any funds received under the grant.
Selection Criteria. The selection of grant recipients will rest solely with the SRRT Conference Travel Grants Ad Hoc Selection Committee which will be composed of three SRRT members. The SRRT Coordinator will appoint such committee. The committee will consider the following in its deliberations:
- Current and potential contributions the applicant will/can make to ALA and SRRT.
- How the applicant intends to use the ALA conference experience in their career, at their home institution and/or in local, state, and regional associations.
- The applicant's current involvement at local, state, regional and/or national associations.
- The committee will also consider the applicant's overall proposal.
- Please do not hesitate to apply for the grant because you feel you have not done enough as a member of SRRT. We are interested in your potential, ability, and willingness to make future contributions.
Questions regarding the application for the SRRT Conference Travel Grants Ad Hoc Selection Committee may be directed to Chair, SRRT Conference Travel Grants Ad Hoc Selection Committee.
Notification. All applicants will be notified of the committee's decision by January 15 each year. The Ad Hoc Selection Committee will consider advance funding for air travel and conference registration after notification of the successful grant.
Website Update Task Force
I am pleased to announce that we have a task force led by April Sheppard, SRRT Coordinator-elect to update the SRRT web site. That group is also working on a redesign of the SRRT logo.
Get Involved in SRRT and ALA
If you would like to become more involved in SRRT and/or its task forces, please let me know so I can direct you to a task force coordinator. The SRRT Task Forces are: the Feminist Task Force (FTF); the Hunger, Homelessness, & Poverty Task Force (HHPTF); the International Responsibilities Task Force (IRTF); and the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force (MLKTF). Please visit our ALA webpages for more information on our Task Forces.
In addition, SRRT Action Council is also always looking for SRRT members to run for open positions. If you plan on attending the Midwinter and Annual Conferences, please join us at our Action Council meetings or attend the all-task forces meeting.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas on how to better support member engagement, please let us know by emailing me. We hope to hear from you!
How to Run for a SRRT or ALA Position
The more official involvement is easier than you may think. You just need to do it and not wait for someone else to nominate you or encourage you.
- SRRT Action Council: All ALA members may attend SRRT Action Council meetings but only Action Council members may vote. Do you want a vote? Then run to be a member of SRRT Action Council. The terms run for 3 years. Those elected this spring will have terms starting at the end of the 2020 Annual Conference through the end of the 2023 Annual Conference. There are 4 Action Council terms expiring in 2020. To run for a position, you need to fill out the nomination web form.
Go to the Divisions/Roundtables ballots for SRRT Action Council ballot. The more complete the information you provide the better it is for all of us when we are voting.
- ALA Council: SRRT has one official ALA Council member but it helps to promote our issues if there are even more SRRT members on ALA Council. Believe it or not, it is almost as easy to run for ALA Council as it is to run for SRRT Action Council. You just need to fill out an E-Petition and then let us know you are running so that we can sign your petition. Beginning with the ALA 2017 elections, the period for filing petitions runs from the first Wednesday in October through the first Wednesday in December. The petition form for the 2020 election became available on October 2, 2019. For more information, please view the ALA governance web page.
Let us know what you are doing in your communities
Post something about what you are doing in your library or in your state association that you think would be of interest to others in SRRT. Give us some inspiration about things that we can be doing in our own communities or within ALA. Start a discussion about a topic. There are three good places to do these things.
- Subscribe to srrtac-l, our official discussion list, and then post to the list.
- Post to our Facebook page.
- Start a discussion in ALA Connect.
On behalf of the SRRT Action Council, we look forward to working with you.
SRRT Action Council Coordinator, 2019-2020
by Tara Brady, Teen Librarian, Queens Borough Public Library, New York
There were four resolutions brought before the membership meeting on Saturday, June 22, 2019, all moved by SRRT members. They were:
- Resolution in Defense of the Free Speech of Supporters of the Movement for Palestinian Rights
- Resolution on Renaming the Melvil Dewey Medal
- Resolution on CIA Recruitment at ALA Meetings
- Resolution in Support of the Right to Publish Leaked Documents and the Dismissal of Charges against Julian Assange
The Resolution on Renaming the Melvil Dewey Medal passed the membership meeting with very little opposition and was adopted at Council I. As some readers may know, Dewey was unwelcome at ALA towards the end of his career because of his abusive behavior towards female subordinates, and because his Lake Placid Club prohibited admission to Jewish people and people of color. Having such a high honor in ALA bear the name of someone whose values are so contrary to the association’s has been cause for comment for many years. Thanks and congratulations to Feminist Task Force coordinator Sherre Harrington for being the driving force of this overdue change! The next step is for the resolution to be reviewed and acted on by the Awards Committee.
Despite awareness raising efforts in the form of a protest in the exhibit hall during the Friday night exhibit opening (organized by Alison Macrina of the Library Freedom Project and covered in Library Journal and elsewhere) the Resolution on CIA Recruitment at ALA Meetings was not passed at the membership meeting.
The Resolution in Support of the Right to Publish Leaked Documents and the Dismissal of Charges against Julian Assange also did not pass the membership meeting. Members told us that they supported the theory of the resolution but that it would be very hard for them to support it with Assange’s name so prominent. One member also commented that a broader resolution on the right to publish leaked documents would be better than issuing a new one every time a publisher is threatened, intimidated, or penalized for exercising what is in the US a legal right. There was a lively discussion at Action Council II regarding whether this was productive, or whether it might result in a resolution that was hopelessly watered down. Ultimately the decision was to set the resolution aside for the time being.
The Resolution in Defense of the Free Speech of Supporters of the Movement for Palestinian Rights passed the membership meeting by a single vote - a reminder to all of us that if we’re at a conference, we should make attendance at the membership meeting a priority! It was referred to committee at Council I despite an eloquent and moving argument for the resolution’s urgency by seconder Myrna Morales. The motion to refer came with instructions that the resolution should be revisited at Midwinter 2020, and a working group has been formed, so hopefully we’ll see progress on this important freedom of speech issue come January.
At Council II, the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness made a preliminary report to ALA Council. Per discussion at SRRT Action Council I, I brought up a number of points based on the notes and slide deck that were released in the lead-up to Annual. The Action Council expressed concern about the ‘one size fits all’ approach to Round Table structures and requested that any such changes be led by Round Tables themselves. We noted that the ‘Advisory Boards’ which would report to the proposed Executive Board would have no teeth and the Executive Board members would be free to disregard anything brought to them by those bodies. We also opposed the elimination of ALA Council because of the severe reduction in elected representation it would cause. The final recommendations will be presented at the Midwinter Meeting in January 2020. They will have to be approved by the ALA Council at two consecutive meetings -- Midwinter and Annual 2020 -- and will then be sent to the ALA membership for a final vote the following year.
A Resolution on Library Service for Children in Detention at Migrant Detention Centers created by a working group over the course of the weekend was presented at Council III. This was a very strong resolution denouncing the existence of detention centers for migrant children as well as the conditions in them. It was well-received and passed easily.
Finally, I made a general invitation to the ALA membership to reach out if they want help advocating for social issues in the association during the membership meeting. I want to make the same invitation to SRRT members who don’t have opportunities to come to conferences. Please feel free to contact me if you want help crafting a membership resolution or have anything else you’d like to see addressed by the association.
Submitted by Tara Brady
SRRT Councilor 2018-2021
Submitted by Jane Cothron, SRRT Secretary
Social Responsibilities Round Table
Action Council I & II Meetings
ALA Annual Conference 2019, Washington, D.C.
SRRT Action Council I
Saturday, June 22, 2019
Washington Convention Center, Room 304
- Welcome and Introductions
- Review of Agenda (Moved and seconded approved)
- Additions to Agenda and Approval of Agenda--two proposals
- Approval of Midwinter 2019 Minutes (moved and approved)
- ODLOS Report and other items
- Briana Jarnagin, Members Services Assistant, ODLOS; Danielle Ponton (ALA staff)
- Append ODLOS report to minutes
- Newest Spectrum cohort (60 scholars) started, started new directory to allow direct networking and publicly available; doing in person and virtual community activities
- Celebrating the 50th anniversary for the Coretta Scott King Award, gala at the Library of Congress
- Space for list of EDI sessions at ALA Annual, first time on schedule
- List of diversity owned businesses on conference site
- SRRT ALA Connect/website: now have 6 people (April Sheppard to chair web design group) interested in working on the website who are working on Drupal; aim for Midwinter 2020 to get new website up, then consider archiving, proposed that the libr.org page be deleted if it is not current; update Action Council page priority
- Social media discussion: Briana suggests making sure that passwords are shared with ODLOS office, has central email to set up new accounts; can coordinate this in July (Stavroula Harrissis)
- Need website design, logos
- Need to correct outdated links (need timeline)
- Volunteer Form for Editorial Board/Amelia Bloomer/ Membership -- can set time to trigger announcements
- New logo and branding -- can work with production services to create a logo and branding, costs $400-$1000 for both horizontal and vertical designs, requires questionnaire on round table interests and business (will be doing new cards due out in September 2019). Moved: SRRT set aside up to $1000 for logo design. Question: are we deciding to do a logo or not? Approved.
- Danielle Ponton (ALA staff) -- SRRT cannot issue statement instead of ALA, One Voice; individuals can issue call for protest as an open letter from an ad hoc group (remember the Women’s March in Atlanta)
- Thanks to Briana for working on SRRT programs and issues!
- ALA Council Resolutions (Tara)
- Resolution on the Renaming of the Melville Dewey Award (Sherre Harrington); suggested adding name of Dewey’s wife as amendment at Membership meeting. Moved to endorse: approved. Approved at Membership meeting. Approved at Council.
- Resolution on the Defense of the Free Speech Rights of Palestinian Rights Activists (Tom Twiss)**minor editing and format changes, change to final Whereas clause. Moved to endorse: approved. Approved at Membership meeting by 1 vote. Referred by Council to Committee on Legislation and International Relations Committee.
- Resolution on CIA Recruitment at ALA Meetings (Al Kagan and Tom Twiss). Moved to endorse: approved. Failed to pass at Membership meeting.
- Resolution in Support of the Right to Publish Leaked Documents and the Dismissal of Charges against Julian Assange (Al Kagan and Mark Hudson). Discussion of support for Assange vs. legal protections of journalists. Will change wording. Moved to endorse in principle: approved. Resolution failed in Membership meeting. Feedback: should be rewritten on a broader basis—not just focusing on Julian Assange—to protect whistleblowers and the right to publish leaked documents. New resolved clause(s) added by Council. Referred to IFC. Possible rework to emphasize right to publish leaked documents and present new resolution to Council at Midwinter 2020. (Tara Brady, Mark Hudson, Tom Twiss to work on revisions, can consult IFC for feedback)
- LBOR Interpretations (Library Bill of Rights)
- Any SRRT endorsements? Tara Brady empowered to vote her conscience.
- Stavroula Harrisiss: Proposes a protest at the WhiteHouse (Monday, 5:00)
- Briana Jarnagin, Members Services Assistant, ODLOS; Danielle Ponton (ALA staff)
- Letter from ALA Endowment Trustees (Al Kagan and Charles Kratz)
- SRRT Action Council
- Congratulations to new Action Council members: Marna Clowney-Robinson, Stavroula Harissis, April Sheppard
- Election of officers for 2019-2020 – Coordinator, Coordinator-elect, Treasurer, Secretary, Membership Committee Chair, Nominating Committee Chair
- Nominated Charles Kratz to be SRRT coordinator (Al). Approved.
- Coordinator-elect nominated April Sheppard (Charles). Approved.
- Treasurer nominated Lisa Eichholtz (Jane). Approved.
- Secretary nominated Jane Cothron (Charles). Approved.
- Membership chair; Al to continue.
- Nominating committee: no current chair. Stavroula Harrississ to chair.
- SRRT Action Council
- ALA Executive Committee Report
- Ed Garcia, Executive Board Liaison: members are encouraged to give SCOE feedback on the proposal via Connect page. Mark Hudson: why not have graduated dues structure; response, state organization just ended graduated dues because people misrepresented their salaries. Charles Kratz: decisions about round tables and efficiencies should come from discussions among the round tables instead of (Al Kagan: top down decision) having the decision handed down from SCOE. ALA is investing in IT, resulting in a budget deficit; will be reflected in the investment budget. Lost $500,000 from Midwinter underestimate of AV costs; deficit increased to $3.6 million. Ed will send information on the budget to SRRT. Questions: any response to report? Would be able to second resolutions at Council if they fail at Membership. Response to CIA protest; policy says can protest anywhere in conference area if not disruptive or threatening safety; will discuss with Mary Ghikas and board.
- Joint effort of Sustainability RT and SRRT on the endowment; report presented to endowment trustees on divesting from fossil fuels and increasing ESG investments (environmental, social, governmental), now at 34%; see letter from May 10, 2019.
- Bylaws (Charles Kratz)
- Term limits for SRRT Editorial Board. Action Council bylaws changed to get rid of term limits; term limits for Editorial Board were not addressed at that time. Al Kagan: Put on the ballot for the next elections the removal of term limits for the editorial committee and any other term limits in the bylaws. Approved. Charles Kratz to chair bylaws committee.
- Language for Virtual meeting if time meeting slots are limited at future Midwinters. Charles Kratz to adapt language from Sustainability RT to add to bylaws.
- Treasurer (Kenny Garcia). No report.
- Membership Committee (Al Kagan)
- SRRT Membership Committee Report to the Action Council June 2019 Current SRRT membership as of April 2019 is 1916, 6.27% more than from the same time last year. As we grow larger, our percentage increase naturally falls; the same number of new members constitutes a lower percentage. As of March 2018, SRRT become ALA’s largest round table. Currently, the second largest round table, the Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) has 1813 members, and it is growing at only 1.91% per year. So, we are 103 members larger than LIRT, and that number should increase as time goes by. SRRT began in 1969 with 1050 members, and we were also ALA’s largest round table at that time. Our low point was in 2011 with only 509 members. When we started sending out letters to new and dropped members in October 2014, SRRT had 785 members and was the seventh largest round table. So our membership has increased 144% since 2014, or 276% since 2011. If we continue to grow at the current pace, we will have over 2000 members by the end of the year. Our historical high was over 2400 in 2008, when we were, of course, the largest round table. Below you will find the totals and percent increase from the same time last year for the largest ALA round tables. Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) 1916, +6.27% Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) 1813, +1.91% International Relations Round Table (IRRT) 1626, -5.97% New Members Round Table (NMRT) 1525, +3.81% Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) 1465, +3.68% Library Research Round Table (LRRT) 1373, +0.44% Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) 1246, -2.58%% Sustainability Round Table (SUSTRT) 1114, +44.86% Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) 959, +3.12% ALA has 58,136, -1.99% Al Kagan, Chair, SRRT Membership Committee
- Task Forces
- Feminist Task Force (Sherre) Amelia Bloomer continues; will celebrate 50th anniversary at ALA Annual 2020 Chicago.
- MLK Jr. Holiday Task Force (LaJuan Pringle). No report.
- International Responsibilities Task Force (Al Kagan and Tom Twiss) will have two programs at this conference. Subverting Other People’s Elections (Stephen Kinser speaking); Hate Speech in Libraries. Tentative program for 2020 Annual on Iran.
- Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty Task Force (Julie Winkelstein). No report.
- SRRT Newsletter Editorial Board Report (Submitted by Melissa Cardenas-Dow and Julie Winkelstein)
- Editorial Board appointments. Moved to appoint Melissa Cardenas-Dow as ad hoc editor. Moved, approved.
- Three nominated for editorial board: Vicki Terrile, Miquel Juarez, and Kyle Evans. Approved.
- Planning & Budget Assembly
- Need a SRRT liaison for next year. Lisa Eichholtz nominated, approved.
- Program planning committee: Sherre Harrington. Nominated, approved.
- Round Table Coordinating Assembly (Charles Kratz)
- SRRT Liaison to ODLOS Advisory Committee (Jane Cothron)
- Need a SRRT liaison for next year. Jane Cothron to continue. Nominated, approved.
- SRRT Liaison to Intellectual Freedom Committee
- Need a SRRT liaison for next year. Mark Hudson. Nominated, approved.
- Bylaws (Charles Kratz)
- 50th Anniversary Social with Alternative Press (Charles Kratz and Violet Fox) 7-10 at Busboys & Poets, 450 K Street NW. Thanks to the Alternative Press Index for cosponsoring the Social.
- Herb Biblo Conference Travel Grants Update (Charles Kratz)
- Need selection committee for next year. Awarded 2 grants; one attended at all-committee meeting (Kate Adler). April Sheppard, Mark Hudson, Marna Clowney-Robinson volunteered and, as SRRT coordinator, Charles Kratz to chair.
- ALA Emerging Leaders Project. SRRT will sponsor an emerging leader to take on a SRRT project. Charles Kratz will send the call for proposals so AC members can think about possible projects.
- Carbon Offsets for ALA (Al Kagan)Sustainability RT has put together a carbon offset plan for ALA Annual. [Append to minutes, add website. CoolEffects will speak at Sustainability RT meeting, Sunday 8:30 Convention Center 158 A&B] Al would like to have a statement on the registration form on carbon offsets. Southern Ute tribe project would collect methane gases leaking from coal seams and collect in existing pipelines. Moved that AC call for carbon offsets in ALA activities. Approved.
- SCOE Recommendations and Future of Midwinter
- If restricted to fewer meetings at Midwinter, need to change bylaws to allow for virtual meetings.
- Meetings happening at ALA Annual and a virtual meeting July 8.
- SRRT opposes elimination of elected ALA Council and opposes any governing structure that denies round table representation and decision making powers, as well as the imposed standardization of round table governance. Moved (Charles Kratz), approved.
- Open Forum/Conclusion
SRRT Action Council II
Sunday, June 23, 2019
Renaissance Washington Downtown, Meeting Rooms 8 & 9
- Herb Biblo Permanent Award (Al and Howard Besser)
- Fundraising for endowment for new Herb Biblo award (in addition to the travel grant). Need $50,000 to create endowment (as of now); have $40,000, asking SRRT for $5000 toward the award. Al Kagan and Howard Besser working on award and fundraising. Need to identify the purpose of the award and then go through the ALA Awards Committee paperwork. Moved: SRRT to allocate $5000 as a contribution toward the Herb Biblo Award endowment (Tara), approved.
- SRRT Programs at Future ALA Conferences
- Juried program submissions – deadline- September 10, 2019
- US-Iran relations program, details not set.
- Possible program on trans rights and suffrage. Reach out to GLBTRT? COSWL?
- SRRT Coordinator’s Program: to be determined later.
- Discussion Group submissions
- Amelia Bloomer Program: Possible author panel.
- MLK 20th multicultural program with author.
- FTF 50th anniversary celebration: off site at Women and Children First. Also 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage amendent.
- Juried program submissions – deadline- September 10, 2019
- Resume other agenda items where we left off from Action Council I
- Open Forum / Conclusion
Saturday, 8:30 -8:50 am - Briana Jarnagin, ODLOS report
Saturday, 10:00-10:15am – Ed Garcia, Executive Board Liaison
by Sherre Harrington, Director and Liaison to Mathematics & Natural Science - Berry College Memorial Library, Mount Berry, Georgia
Feminist Task Force spearheaded the successful effort to remove Melvil Dewey’s name from ALA’s most prestigious award. FTF members worked together to craft the resolution, which I officially moved at the 2019 membership meeting at the ALA Annual Conference on June 22; Ahliah Bratzler seconded. After impassioned endorsement from supporters including FTF member Sarah Pritchard and Jim Neal, former ALA president and 2009 Dewey Award winner, the resolution passed at membership with little dissension. Introduced at Council I the following day, with similar strong endorsements, the resolution passed.
Publishers Weekly reported that on June 25 ALA officials told them that the resolution will "now be referred to the ALA Award Committee for next steps, including discussion with the award’s sponsor. When there is a new name to announce, we will share that news with you at that time."
Here are my supporting remarks:
The first Melvil Dewey Medal was given in 1953 to recognize achievement for recent creative leadership of high order. Regardless of his contributions to librarianship which this award seeks to memorialize, Melvil Dewey was a known and unrepentant sexual harasser, racist, and anti-Semite.
And unlike some historical figures who weren’t censured during their lifetime for their behavior, Dewey was repeatedly called out for his at the time and over many years.
Dewey and his wife Annie Roberts Godfrey did not permit Jewish people, African Americans, or other minorities admittance to the resort they owned in Lake Placid, NY, leading to censure by the New York State Board of Regents and Dewey’s ouster in 1905 from his position as New York State Librarian. Dewey did not relent and the issue resurfaced in the lead-up to the 1932 Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid, when Dewey was slated to receive state funding for a bobsled run to be built at the club. The New York Jewish Tribune described the resort’s practices as “anti-Semitic, bigoted, prejudiced, intolerant, and unjust.”
During the 1906 ALA conference, there was a movement to censure Dewey after four women came forward to accuse him of sexual impropriety, and he was ostracized from the organization for decades. There are more examples. In 1924, Los Angeles Public Library head librarian Tessa Kelso wrote, “For many years women librarians have been the special prey of Mr. Dewey in a series of outrages against decency, having serious and far reaching effects upon his victims while the association has echoed with the scandal.”
The American Library Association and its members take seriously our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Our association's highest honor should not be named after this man.
Of course, we’re librarians. There’s a Melvil Dewey selective bibliography. You can see a copy of the official resolution. Or read what they had to say about the resolution in Publishers Weekly, Smithsonian.com, and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
A Different View: Are Library Fines A Social Justice Issue?
by TJ Benham, guest author
I sat in a meeting recently where a director of a small rural library announced she had kept the fine of a child on her books for "ten or fifteen years," until the family member finally came in to pay the fine so the child could "finish a book report."
I've thought about this conversation quite a bit since that day with no small amount of internal dialogue, and also held conversations with other library directors to attempt to better understand why this might happen.
Directors justify actions such as these because of their perceived civic duty, the trust placed on them through their public charge, is to responsibly use and guard their budget and the items purchased with their budget, even to levying fines for the least expensive item. What a weighty charge and one never to be taken lightly for sure.
However, my view is a little different. As a taxpayer, I found myself considering the real cost of denying access to public materials by those unable to pay fines. Yes, use of library materials is still allowed within the library walls. But what message are we sending to those who are not allowed to check out materials? Are we valuing a replaceable item made of paper more than a human being? Are we really able to teach values by withholding access to information? Isn't this actually teaching that what we value is materials more than patrons?
Before I get too far, let me say I realize there are people in this world who would take items and never return them. I am not talking about replacement fees of chronic abusers.
But consider-what is the amount of time an item would be in the collection before it was weeded? If the replacement item is weeded, shouldn't all fines and fees associated with the item be removed? After all, we are saying this item really has no more use or value in our collection and to our patrons. Yet we continue to disallow patrons the use of the rest of our collection based on the loss of an item we no longer find valuable. What is the lesson here?
Also for consideration is the length of memory of children, especially those who live in chaotic situations. Maslow's hierarchy tells us that the immediate physical needs of a child receive the most thought. Like it or not, library materials probably aren't at the top of the pyramid. Within a few months, a child who loses an item likely won't remember what was lost. Punishment for losing that item then becomes punishment for using the library and creates a sense of unwelcome.
At a time when libraries are attempting to relay their relevance to a world that views them as outdated, perhaps it's time to reconsider who we are excluding with policies that may be ill considered. When we ask: “What is the REAL cost of library fines?” we must look at the social and human costs, including the cost to the literacy of the community, as well as the loss of access to resources and the critical part libraries can play in the lives of all of our community members, no matter their economic status.
Submitted by Lisa Gieskes and Julie Winkelstein, co-coordinators
Sandy Berman, founder of HHPTF, is a retired librarian who started the “Committee for the Abolition of Library Fines,” which is a group asking the Hennepin County Library System to drop fines. He says he feels locking out a child from libraries due to an overdue book is contradictory to the mission of libraries. And fines and blocks on cards are particularly challenging for children, teens and adults who are experiencing homelessness and poverty.
As library staff, we strive to provide equitable service to all. This means we have to look at how our policies and procedure are affecting our library users. Across the U.S., libraries are reconsidering fines. Some are eliminating them altogether, others are eliminating them for specific materials, such as those for children. The Urban Libraries Council has created an interactive “Fine Free Map” that shows the location of libraries who are fine free in some way. The HHPTF encourages you to consider going fine free if you haven’t already.
by LaJuan Pringle, Library Manager — Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force is currently planning the annual Sunrise Celebration that will take place in Philadelphia during the 2020 Midwinter Meeting. We have confirmed that Imani Perry, Hughes Roger Professor of African American Studies at Princeton, will be the keynote speaker. Imani, who lives in Philadelphia, is the author of numerous books, including last year’s award-winning Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry. The New York Times named Looking for Lorraine one of the 100 Most Notable Books of 2018. Her new book, Breathe: A Letter to My Sons has received two starred reviews, will be excerpted in TIME, and will be featured in the New York Times Book Review’s popular “By the Book” feature.
ALA Immediate Past President, Loida Garcia-Febo will deliver the call-to-action. The 2020 King Sunrise Celebration will continue the tradition of honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We are excited to continue our relationship with Beacon Press to promote books that based in social justice. Details regarding the location of the celebration will be shared soon.
Coordinator, SRRT, Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Submitted by Tinamarie Vella, EMIERT Chair and Andrea Jamison, Chair-Elect
This year, EMIERT awarded its biennial Distinguished Librarian Award to Dr. Clara Chu, director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, at ALA's 2019 annual conference. Dr. Chu is a "leading and respected international voice on cultural diversity in library and information science that has contributed to developing professional and policy documents to improve, spread and promote multicultural librarianship nationally and internationally." Dr. Chu was honored during EMIERT's annual Chair's program, titled "Social Unrest, Democracy, and Librarianship in the 21st Century."
EMIERT also sponsored a "Taste of the Town" event at Kith and Kin where guests were able to sample an Afro-Caribbean cuisine and network with a community of diverse librarians.
EMIERT's Coretta Scott King (CSK) Book Awards Committee celebrated its 50th anniversary by hosting a gala at the Library of Congress during ALA's annual conference. The Committee also honored several outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults, at its annual CSK Breakfast. Dr. Pauletta Bracy, a Professor of Library Science and Director of the Office of University Accreditation at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), was the honored recipient of the 2019 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.
This year EMIERT will review submissions for its 2020 David Cohen Award/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 shall be eligible to receive the award. The Award will consist of a certificate and a monetary award and will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference during the EMIERT Chair's Program. Nominations will begin in fall 2019. For more information or to submit a nomination, visit EMIERT's award pages on ALA's website.
Visit EMIERT's pages to learn more about the roundtable, our events, and volunteer opportunities.
Submitted by Kian Flynn, Chair of GODORT Education Committee
This fall, GODORT rolls out Elections & Voting Toolkits for all 50 states and D.C. in time for the 2020 U.S. primary & general elections. The online toolkits, which will be hosted on the LibGuides platform, will be distributed to public & academic librarians across the country. They can serve as a one-stop shop for state-by-state information regarding elections, voter registration, ID requirements, and how to cast a ballot.
Submitted by Uta Hussong-Christian, SustainRT Coordinator
It is with much relief and hopeful anticipation for the year ahead that we report SustainRT is once again sustainably staffed! After a tumultuous winter and early spring (marked by multiple leadership departures), a successful spring election and a period of intense committee volunteer recruitment resulted in a re-energized SustainRT Board and six fully staffed committees. We are especially delighted to report that SustainRT finally reached the membership threshold in 2018 (membership equivalent to at least 1% of personal ALA memberships) that qualified us to elect our first dedicated ALA Councilor in Spring 2019.
In spite of the administrative shakeup of the past year, good things did happen with SustainRT. The Membership Committee, with the help of SustainRT’s first LIS intern, launched a mentoring program in late Spring 2019. The Online Education and Programming Committees launched multiple virtual and in-person educational opportunities. The Booklist Committee launched the first annual SustainRT “Top 10” list of recommended books for children about the environment, playing in nature, gardening, and more, and the Environmental Scan Taskforce launched the Sustainable Libraries Database in Zotero (submissions are always welcomed). The Governance Committee, with the help of SRRT’s Al Kagan, worked to help ALA Endowment Trustees consider the advantages to more ESG investments for the ALA endowment and took the lead on the ALA 2019 Annual SustainRT Chair’s program on carbon offsets for travel.
If you are interested in the work of SustainRT, please join us in the year ahead!
Questions posed by Melissa Cardenas-Dow and Julie Winkelstein, SRRT Newsletter Co-Editors
Q: What are your thoughts for next steps for EDI and ALA?
JG: My hope is that people continue the path that we have all started. So much foundation and groundwork have been laid with the TF-EDI recommendations and the strategic direction on EDI. It’s important that these continue to be used as tools to move forward. The passion, the experience, and the knowledge to continue moving forward with this work through an examination of policies, structures, and programs must continue. I think the biggest barrier or concern is the silos that exist. I have seen more and more different divisions, offices, members, staff, and committees working together and I think that is going to be a big part of making these efforts successful across the association.
Q: Thinking back on your time at ALA, what is one accomplishment you are particularly proud of?
JG: I am proud of so many things. It’s hard for me to pick just one. I am proud that the ODLOS staff and I were able to find a way to take the merged work of the former Office for Diversity and Office for Literacy and Outreach Services and create some structure and a common vision for the work. I am proud to have worked on such historical programs like the Coretta Scott King Book Awards and the Stonewall Book Awards celebrations. I am so proud of the continuing education that has come out of the office through our EDIcon: Foundations for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. I am proud that ALA has found space and will continue to involve the ethnic affiliates in the Youth Media Awards. There are so many more things, that I think this section could take on a life of its own. Those are a few that stand out at this moment.
Q: What was most challenging about your work? Be frank, now...
JG: This is a hard job. I had many challenges in my time from responding to the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the intellectual freedom: meeting room issues, and LGBTQIA+ rights, to name a few. I would say that managing everyone’s expectations about what and how EDI work should happen is hard. There are so many passionate members and staff that are primed and ready to move forward and do SOMETHING. It was important to not discourage passion and motivation while simultaneously trying to be strategic and consistent about our approach. I think that will continue to be a challenge, but I find that more and more parts of ALA are talking to each other and starting to recognize how important it is to be working towards something together. I encourage members and staff to look to the final report from the EDI-Implementation Working Group to the ALA Executive Board. It really has some great insights on how to continue moving forward.
Q: What would you like ALA members to know about ODLOS?
JG: I would like ALA members to know that ODLOS is staffed by some of the most amazing, passionate, strong, creative, fun and intelligent people. I hope that members recognize that the office is a partner and a resource in their efforts. This is more than just a job or a paycheck for the people and they bring their whole selves to everything that is done.
I would also like members to know that ODLOS manages so many areas, it’s really quite remarkable. From the big name events like the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Breakfast, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunrise Celebration, the Jean Coleman Lecture, and the Spectrum Scholarship Program, to working directly with members through committees and round tables, to managing the budgets, materials, and licensing of the Stonewall and Coretta Scott King Book Awards. Among all of that, we all work directly with members and libraries that reach out for consultations and guidance. It is a small but mighty office that touches so many aspects of the membership and the association at large.
Q: Now that you’re starting off a new chapter in your career, what are words and thoughts would you like to impart to SRRT and ALA members?
JG: Be kind to one another. We have been experiencing an enormous amount of conflict and threats to the values and identity as an association and to the profession. We are all working to have an association that works to serve the needs of the profession and the membership. In the true sense of inclusion, I have witnessed the association find ways to make sure that many voices are heard. Many people have heard me say this before, but I think it’s important to recognize, inclusion does not mean everyone gets their way or is happy with a result. It’s finding a way to be able to bring your authentic voice to any conflict or discussion without retaliation. Listen to one another and aim for solutions, not just criticisms.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
JG: Thank you to everyone who I have worked with over the years. I have learned so much from this opportunity. I will always value my time at ALA and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
September 10, 2019
The Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness (SCOE) recently released its initial recommendations for changes to the structure and policies of the American Library Association (ALA). One of the most dramatic changes being proposed by SCOE is the elimination of Council, ALA's legislative body. We are writing this letter as members of ALA to urge SCOE to remove this proposal from their recommendations.
Currently, ALA Council comprises 100 councilors-at-large elected by the general membership. In addition, the divisions, chapters, and large round tables (with membership of 1% or more of ALA personal membership) send one councilor each to the Council. Smaller round tables share representation through a single Small Round Table Councilor. This democratic structure is one of our greatest strengths, assuring a seat at the table for all groups represented by the organization. We note that ALA stands out in this respect in comparison to many other library associations around the world that do not have such institutionalized legislative bodies, and we lament the idea of taking a step backward in this regard.
The initial recommendation from SCOE proposes to do away with Council and instead places all decision-making authority into the hands of a 17-person Executive Board, of which only 12 members would be elected by the general membership. There would no longer be guaranteed representation from divisions, chapters, or round tables in the governance of the organization. Instead, input from these bodies would be relegated to "advisory" assemblies. And while we certainly hope the elected and appointed members of the Executive Board would take advisory recommendations seriously and have the best interests of the organization at heart, we also know that providing "advice" is no substitute for true democratic representation.
We believe it is simply not possible for a 17-person board to adequately represent the array of diverse needs and perspectives within a national organization of over 58,000 members containing dozens of unique divisions, chapters, and round tables. We believe that the elimination of Council would be a devastating blow to democracy within our organization and to the values of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion that we espouse. We therefore strongly encourage SCOE to remove the elimination of Council from its recommendations and encourage the current Council and membership to vote down any such proposals. It is up to us to preserve the democratic strength of the oldest and largest library association in the world.
Film and Media Round Table
Government Documents Round Table
New Members Round Table
Retired Members Round Table
Social Responsibilities Round Table
Sustainability Round Table
IFLA LGBTQ SIG (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions-Special Interest Group)
Submitted by Anne Reddacliff, Outgoing Convenor
Wondering what’s been happening for LGBTIQ communities and the libraries they visit? If you’re looking for an international perspective on this look no further than the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) LGBTQ Users Special Interest Group (SIG). It’s been a busy three years for the IFLA LGBTQ Users Special Interest Group. As the outgoing Convenor, I am very proud of the work we are doing to increase LGBTIQ inclusivity and to get library professionals talking about issues facing LGBTIQ communities today.
IFLA LGBTQ Users SIG has held two conference sessions at the World Library & Information Congress (WLIC) in 2017 and 2019 dedicated to looking at intersectionality and overcoming stereotypes. We’ve also increased our SIG membership and our following on social media. For a small Special Interest Group we are having a big impact on the world stage.
During my time as Convenor I have helped the SIG to grow its membership from 7 members in 2016 to the 18 members that we have now. We meet bimonthly via Zoom from all corners of the globe including Australia, Macedonia and Argentina. In my time as Convenor we have also increased our social media following, particularly on Twitter. We started out with a mere 119 followers and now have over 700. This is a fantastic achievement for a very small social media team! In 2018 we produced our popular infographic about how libraries are helping LGBTIQ users and this received more than 20 retweets. It continues to allow us to profile what libraries can offer the LGBTIQ community and it is freely available to use.
From here we will begin planning for our 2020 WLIC conference session to be held in Dublin, Ireland. You may have seen our international survey on LGBTIQ inclusivity and libraries. Our next project is to build on this survey and start creating a set of international LGBTIQ guidelines for libraries. If you’d like to learn more about our work you can find us on Twitter @ifla_lgbtq or Facebook. Join us in our mission to make libraries truly safe spaces for LGBTIQ people around the world!
The incoming Convenor is Thomas Chaimbault.
Visit the LGBTQ SIG webpages for more information about the SIG and about IFLA.
The SRRT newsletter is always looking for relevant articles, essays and letters to the editor. The next submission deadline is December 20, 2019.
Any current member of SRRT or its affiliates are welcome to submit articles and letters. We also welcome relevant submissions from others and encourage guests to write for us. 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 Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow at micd.srrt.newsletter [at] gmail.com and Co-Editor Julie Ann Winkelstein, indicating "SRRT Newsletter" within the subject line of your e-mail. A confirmation of receipt will be sent in a timely manner.
Submissions for book or media reviews should be sent to Madeline Veitch, the SRRT Newsletter Reviews Editor, indicating "Reviews" in the subject line of your e-mail.
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 Laura Koltutsky, member of the SRRT Newsletter Editorial Board. 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 © 2019 by the Social Responsibilities Round Table. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without permission.
Reviews Editor: Madeline Veitch.
Editorial Board Members: Kyle Evans, Miguel Juarez, Laura Koltutsky, and Vikki Terrile.
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.