Voting for the American Library Association (ALA) 2016–17 presidential campaign has opened, and ALA members in good standing can cast their ballots through May 1. In order to offer voters some additional insight into the candidates’ opinions and plans, LJ has asked them to weigh in on some key issues facing the president-elect and general items of interest. The four candidates—Joseph Janes, associate professor and chair of the MLIS Program, University of Washington Information School, Seattle; James LaRue, CEO of LaRue & Associates, Castle Rock, CO; JP Porcaro, librarian for acquisitions and technological discovery at New Jersey City University Library, Jersey City, NJ; and Julie Todaro, dean of library services at Austin Community College, TX—have given their responses below.
In a Statement of Claim dated July 15, 2014, Joe Murphy—a 2009 LJ Mover & Shaker—named librarians nina de jesus and Lisa Rabey as defendants in a civil lawsuit filed in Toronto, Ontario (de jesus is a Canadian citizen). Murphy is suing the two for $1.25 million in damages–$1 million for general defamation, and $250,000 for aggravated exemplary and punitive damages. On March 25, 2015, de jesus and Rabey both published retractions and apologies to the Team Harpy website, which had previously hosted their joint legal defense fund, as well as to their personal blogs and Twitter accounts.
Barbara Stripling has served as assistant professor of practice at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies since 2012, and was recently promoted to senior associate dean. Stripling also served as president of the American Library Association (ALA) from 2013–14, where she initiated a number of programs that reflected her commitment to library advocacy. These included the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the proactive public awareness initiative Libraries Change Lives, which culminated in the “Declaration for the Right to Libraries”—a statement testifying to the power and value of libraries that was signed by advocates nationwide.
The American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Candidates’ Forum, held Saturday evening, offered an opportunity for the four candidates running for the 2016–17 ALA presidency to present their platforms and answer audience questions. Candidates Joseph Janes, James LaRue, JP Porcaro, and Julie Todaro discussed their philosophies and history of service—both within and outside ALA—and answered questions on subjects ranging from their membership in ALA’s Freedom to Read Foundation to the relevance of current library education and job prospects for future librarians. Barbara Stripling, ALA president from 2013–14, moderated the forum.
While the American Library Association (ALA) conferences held in Chicago commonly see some of the highest attendance thanks to the association’s hometown’s central location, winter weather hitting Sunday of this year’s Midwinter made that something of a mixed blessing—more than 19 inches of snow between Saturday night and Monday morning. While many locals stayed home (and perhaps watched the Super Bowl) and a few out-of-towners were able to beat the storm by departing early, many librarians and vendors were snowed in. Some 1,500 flights were cancelled arriving and departing Chicago’s airports on Sunday and Monday, forcing them to stay one, two, or even three days longer than originally intended—including much of the LJ staff.
There will be more than enough information and action at the 2015 Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits (MW) of the American Library Association (ALA) to make it worth the cost and time for any library worker to attend. It features a sparkling array of celebrities and authors, a massive exhibit show floor at McCormick Place, a pile of jobs and opportunities, a packed schedule of meetings, the fantastic city of Chicago, and, best of all, plenty of chances to booze and schmooze with peers, colleagues, vendors, and new professional friends.
Activist librarian Zoia Markovna Horn died on July 12 at the age 96. She was famous for being the first U.S. librarian to be jailed for refusing to divulge information that violated professional principles of privacy and intellectual freedom. An activist member of the American Library Association (ALA) and a member and chair of its Intellectual Freedom Committee, Horn was jailed for 20 days for contempt after refusing to testify in the 1972 conspiracy trial of the “Harrisburg Seven.”
The 2014 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference & Exhibition, held June 26 – July 1 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, saw some 13,019 attendees. Though this is a pretty substantial drop-off compared with the 20,237 attendees who came to Chicago in 2013, it is higher than the 12,000+ attendees who visited Annual in Anaheim, CA in 2012. Critiques of the location, which has not hosted an ALA annual conference since 1973, included the vast distances between event sites and the expensive transportation—and, of course, the heat, which topped out at 111 degrees. However, those who did attend seemed excited about the exhibit hall’s 800 company offerings, and heavy crowds surging toward the galley giveaways greeted the exhibit openings on both Friday evening and Saturday morning.