Thanks so much for joining the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT). We would like to share with you the many opportunities to get involved with SRRT, as we work to establish progressive priorities for the American Library Association and profession as a whole, and strive to make ALA more democratic. We work towards these ends largely through SRRT’s governing body, its Action Council, and issue-driven task forces. SRRT is ALA’s largest round table, with 1,743 personal and organizational members as of April 2023.
One aspect of our work is bringing important speakers to ALA. SRRT has consistently brought great speakers to conferences over the years. The 2023 virtual Afternoon of Social Justice was held on August 9th and featured two panels: “What Can U.S. Librarians Learn from Feminist Struggles Against Imperialist Invasion in Ukraine, Military Wars in Sudan and Religious Fundamentalism in Iran?” and “Disability is Not a Bad Word.” In addition, SRRT hosted two programs during the 2023 ALA Annual Conference:
- US-Iran Relations in the Biden Era. Trita Parsi, award-winning author and executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, is one of the most knowledgeable and respected US scholars on Iran and the Middle East. He addressed the fraught US negotiations with Iran, with implications for the Middle East.
- The film, Boycott, which addresses the large number of state laws that prohibit state contractors from endorsing boycotts of Israel, in order to get state contracts. SRRT has documented numerous instances where libraries/state agencies and city governments have been forced to sign off to get state library contracts. See our webpage "Anti-BDS Legislation: The Library Connection” for the details.
The SRRT task forces:
- Feminist Task Force. FTF is one of SRRT's largest and most active groups, concerned with a broad, evolving set of feminist issues. Their activities include the The Feminist discussion group and the Rise: A Feminist Book Project for Ages 0-18.
- Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty Task Force. HHPTF fosters greater awareness of the dimensions, causes, and ways to end hunger, homelessness and poverty.
- International Responsibilities Task Force. IRTF advocates socially responsible positions on issues of international library concern.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force. MLKTF supports and advances the observance of the MLK Jr. holiday as an American celebration and hosts an annual Sunrise Celebration at ALA Midwinter Meetings, in coordination with the Black Caucus
If any of this work is striking to you, please join a SRRT Task Force. Task forces develop ALA Annual Conference programming and craft resolutions for submission to ALA Council to influence ALA policy.
Please see the SRRT website for more information on the task forces and all SRRT matters, including our newsletter and its archives. We also have a Year in Review page that highlights all our recent activity. If you don’t see a task force in your area of interest, it only takes a small motivated group to establish a new one. The SRRT Action Council will facilitate that process. You may know that several SRRT task forces have developed into ALA round tables. These include the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT), Rainbow Round Table (RRT), and, arguably, the Sustainability Round Table, which was preceded by a very active SRRT Task Force on the Environment.
And, please find us on ALA Connect.
Gary Colmenar (chair), Al Kagan, April Sheppard
SRRT Membership Committee