In spite of intermittent rain, the mild temperatures of Atlanta, GA, made it a welcome destination for the 2017 American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting, held January 20–24. Current events—notably the inauguration on Friday of Donald Trump as the 45th president—drove a series of offerings that were definitely not business as usual.
Organizations & Consortia
At “Taking Our Seat at the Table: How Academic Librarians Can Help Shape the Future of Higher Education,” sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries University Libraries Section (ACRL ULS), library administrators spoke up on how their institutions are looking ahead—both within and outside of the library.
As always, the American Library Association’s 2016 annual convention included many announcements and product launches from library vendors. Here’s a roundup of some of the news from this year’s show floor.
A standing-room only crowd attended Literacy Inside and Out: Services to Incarcerated and Newly-Released Adults and Their Families at the recent American Libraries Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. I’ve been thinking about this issue—and serving under-served communities in general—since I was a public librarian. Once, a patron cautiously approached the reference desk, explaining that he had been recently released and needed assistance familiarizing himself with the library. At the time, I didn’t realize how a building full of large, imposing stacks could be intimidating for those who hadn’t been to a library before, or not for a long time.
Thanks to the joint efforts of a student group and university librarians at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, with a push from the American Library Association (ALA), the Library of Congress (LC) announced on March 22 that it would remove the term “Illegal alien” from the LC Subject Heading (LCSH) system, replacing it with “Noncitizen” and, to describe the act of residing without authorization, “Unauthorized immigration.” Per LC’s executive summary, the proposed change will be posted on a “Tentative List” for comments “not earlier than May, 2016.” Ultimately the heading “Illegal aliens” will become a “former heading” reference, cross-referenced with the new terminology; other headings that include the phrase will also be revised or canceled. This decision currently stands despite recent backlash: members of the U.S. House of Representatives have voted to attach language to a funding bill which would require LC to switch back to the original term, but the bill is not yet law.
Update: The Library of Congress has posted a survey where the public can share their views on the proposed changes, and will accept comments through July 20.
Kvetching about the location of the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference is practically a rite of passage. While the meeting has been held in many unquestionably great American cities, the association’s quest for affordable conference and hotel space in quantity tends to drive it to cold places in winter and hot in summer, and a certain amount of transit snafus and frayed tempers inevitably result. Objections to the location of this year’s ALA, running June 23–28 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, however, are on a completely different level.
PopTop Stage Goings-on: Covering a variety of discussions, readings, and presentations throughout the conference.
For library leaders, trustees, Friends, and foundation members headed to the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Orlando, June 23–28, there will be a number of sessions on offer with content of specific interest to trustees.
Voting for the American Library Association (ALA) 2017–18 presidential election closed on April 22, and when the votes were tallied on April 29 James G. (Jim) Neal had won the role of president-elect in a close race. A total of 10,230 ballots were cast—marginally up from last year’s 10,119. Neal edged out opponents Christine Lind Hage and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe with 34.6 percent of the vote.
On April 13, the American Library Association (ALA) and Google announced the “Libraries Ready to Code” project, which will investigate the current status of computer programming activities in U.S. public and K–12 libraries with the goal of ultimately broadening the reach and scope of these coding programs. The project will include an environmental scan, practitioner interviews, focus groups, and site visits, and particular attention will be focused on opportunities that libraries are providing to minorities, girls, and other groups that are currently underrepresented in computer science and related fields, according to an announcement. The results of the project will be used to further engagement by ALA, and to inform a computer science policy agenda as part of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy’s (OITP) Youth and Technology program.