April 19, 2018

ALA 2010 Midwinter Meeting: Roundup on Council, E-Board, ALA-APA Actions

By Norman Horrocks

ALA 2010 Midwinter Meeting – American Library Association – Library Journal

  • Conference met 98% of its budget
  • Looking ahead to 2011
  • Rhetorical and financial support for Haiti
  • New E-Board members elected
  • Can ALA give free membership to those laid off?

While the attendance at the recently-concluded American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Boston was some 2500 below that in Philadelphia in 2008, the total—8,526 registrants and 2,569 exhibitors—actually helped ALA meet 98% of its conference budget. (The total exceeded that last year at the less-accessible city of Denver: 10,220.)

ALA Treasurer Rod Hersberger, who reported to Council and the Executive Board, estimated that membership and conference/meeting attendance revenue will remain steady this year but perhaps not in 2011. The Midwinter Meeting in San Diego and Annual Conference in New Orleans were potentially "soft" markets, he said.

Jim Neal, Chair of the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC), said a preliminary contingency plan has been discussed to meet a 2010 budget shortfall of $1.1 million. It will be decided upon at the Spring Executive Board meeting.

Looking beyond FY 2010 ALA has only one national division conference in FY 2011—potentially a $60,000 budgetary impact. In the next two years, the economic strains felt by libraries may affect ALA revenue from conference attendance, membership, publishing, and products and services in FY 2012.

Free membership?
Councilor Bernard Margolis suggested that the Executive Board offer free membership to those who are laid off.  Councilor Amy Harmon, now an unemployed librarian, agreed with Margolis and suggested that free memberships be extended to recent graduates. Hersberger assured her that "management has heard you."

Councilor James Casey queried the impact of post-retirement health insurance benefits of ALA staff. Hersberger said that the Finance and Audit Committee had asked for a review of this situation.

Toward 2011
In reviewing the draft schedules for 2011 it was agreed that the ALA/ERT Author Forum held at Midwinter helps to bring delegates to the convention center and the following All-Conference reception in the exhibit hall. To achieve a similar effect at the 2011 Annual Conference the Opening General Session will be on Friday from 4–5:30 p.m., followed by the Exhibits Reception.

The Executive Board approved the proposed Presidential Initiative Budget for Roberta Stevens, who will take office in July.

Three areas were represented. They include "Frontline Fundraising," in response to the nationwide reduction in resources at libraries: $22,500; "Our Authors, Our Advocates," using well-known authors as advocates to highlight the key role of libraries: $40,000; and "Why I Need My Library," utilizing the energy and exuberance of young people to advocate for libraries via a contest: $37,500.

Mario Ascensio, Chair of the Committee on Legislation (COL) presented three resolutions calling for more transparency and openness in making government information available to the American public; urging Congress to support digital information initiatives at the Government Printing Office; and, urging federal, state, and local governments to support libraries as essential providers of broadband access for communities across America. All passed with little discussion.

Haiti support
A resolution on the rebuilding of damaged or destroyed libraries and archives in Haiti was carried. The International Relations Committee (IRC) also thanked the Convention Center Authority and ALA members and vendors who had collected a joint donation of $27,084.50 to support relief efforts in Haiti.

The second Resolution was in support of National Health Care moved by Councilors Tiffani Conner and Mary Biblo. After a short discussion, mainly pointing out that at Annual Conference last year ALA had already gone on record with its support for National Health Care the Council closed debate and defeated the motion.

Executive Board election
Elected for a period of three years from the end of ALA Annual Conference 2010 to the end of ALA Annual Conference 2013 were Kevin Reynolds, Assistant University Librarian for Learning and Access Services, Jessie Ball duPont Library, University of the South, Sewanee, TN, and J. Linda Williams, Coordinator, Library Media Services, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Annapolis, MD.

The event planner
After much criticism of the ALA’s Event Planner, an online system for planning schedules at conferences and meetings, a resolution, after lengthy Council discussion, was referred to the Executive Board, on which sit the mover (Larry Romans) and seconder (Charles Kratz) of the motion.

Later, executive director Fiels said that Council and members will be surveyed and ALA staff would work on improving the planner, with an anticipated completion date of the end of April.

IFC reports
Martin Garner, Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC), reported on its hosting on Saturday, January 16 of ALA’s new privacy initiative, Choose Privacy Week, which will be held May 2-8. Supporting materials, posters, bookmarks, buttons and resource guide are now complete and available for sale from the ALA Store. Choose Privacy Week is made possible by a seed grant from the Open Society Institute.

A new edition of ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Manual will be released during the 2010 Annual Conference. IFC will supplement the Manual with web-based documents which will be released with the Manual which is edited by Candace Morgan. IFC also moved a resolution honoring the 40th Anniversary of the Leroy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund.

Kent Oliver, President of the Freedom to Read Foundation, (FRTF) welcomed the new Executive Director of FRTF, Barbara M. Jones; she also serves as ALA’s Director of the Office of Intellectual Freedom. In both positions she is succeeding the late Judith F. Krug. Jones was a Trustee of the FTRF and its treasurer. 

John Horany, a Dallas attorney, will serve out Jones’s term; a recent FTRF Trustee, Horany is known for his work on defending residents in his hometown Wichita Falls, TX, against a city council resolution allowing residents to limit access to books.

Oliver also reported that FRTF’s offer of free memberships to recent graduates (since August 2009) of LIS programs had been very successful. Nearly 100 graduates of ALA accredited programs or school library media programs accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education applied for memberships. As a result, FRTF trustees agreed to extend the program for another year.

Non-discrimination in affiliation
Tom Wilding, Chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee(C&BL), reported that a request for Affiliation with ALA from the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) was being brought to Council with the proviso that affiliation be contingent upon receipt by the Executive Board of an affirmation by AJL that sexual orientation is implicitly included in AJL’s non-discrimination policy.(Update: AJL since affirmed that sexual orientation is covered by their non-discrimination policy, so it has been approved as an ALA affiliate.)

At issue was the AJL non-discrimination policy which did not mention "sexual discrimination" as does ALA Policy 54.3. Councilor Margolis enquired whether all existing affiliates had non-discrimination policies that were in accord with present-day ALA policies. Wilding replied that C&BL was raising this issue with the Executive Board. 

As previously reported, financial matters still remain a concern for ALA-Allied Professional Association (APA), with an increase of $25,000 in the loan from ALA.

The Certified Public Library Administrator program now has more than 125 candidates, the majority from medium-sized libraries serving communities of 25,000–99,900. 

Starting on January 25, ALA-APA will open enrollments for potential candidates for Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC). Funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, ALA has developed the LSSC over the past three years.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 will be National Library Workers Day, during which efforts will be made to brainstorm solutions to pay inequities even in a difficult economy.

Visit LJ’s ALA Midwinter Meeting News Channel for complete coverage of the conference and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Flickr.

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