ALA Council activities are open to all ALA members by physically attending a Council meeting at conference and observing, by following ALA website updates, and by tracking social media on platforms like Twitter. It can be confusing and frustrating unless you are also attending the myriad of forums, board, and committee meetings to understand the process and why actions occur. For example, why was it important for Council to pass a statement on Global Climate Change? As school librarians, we want our students to have access to factual scientific information. Librarians recognized that some of these vital resources on global warming were disappearing from government websites so we crafted a resolution to address this. The specific resolve clauses are listed below.
One of the action items involved passage of the American Library Association Statement on Global Climate Change and a Call for Support for Libraries and Librarians.
Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA), on behalf of its members:
- recognizes that human interactions and activities affect the dynamics of Earth’s climate system, and that there is a large and growing base of factual scientific data, information, and literature providing robust and accurate STE3M3 (scientific, technical, environmental/economic/ethical, medical/mathematical/management) evidence of global climate change;
- affirms a commitment to the preservation and availability of this factual scientific data, information, and literature, both from government and citizen sources; and
- supports librarians, library workers, and educators, as they are guided by the ALA Policy Manual, in their roles for providing rigorous, robust, and accurate reference and referral services; access to data (both historical and current) and information resources, literature, and collections; and instruction in their use in assisting climate stakeholders’ and library users’ greater understanding of global climate change.
Other action items revolved around task force work on making sure all ALA and divisional conferences are accessible to members; that the definitions of equity, diversity, and inclusion are applied across the association; and to address libraries as “Responsible Spaces” to protect patrons and staff from harassment while maintaining our historic support for the freedom of speech.
The American Libraries article on the conference lists many more agenda items and reports that occurred. One particular note is that “Pamela R. Klipsch reported on the recent work of the Intellectual Freedom Committee (CD#19.11–19.13), including recording a spike in hate crimes in libraries; speakers who have been disinvited to universities, schools, and public libraries after protests; and the latest on net neutrality. A motion to adopt ‘Politics in American Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights’ (CD#19.12) passed, as did a motion to adopt ‘Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights’ (CD#19.13).”
As the Division Councilor, I appreciated the tribute resolution to Keith Michael Fiels upon his retirement. Throughout his years as executive director, Keith was a champion for school libraries and I will miss him. Currently I am serving on the search committee for the new executive director.
During future meetings, I encourage you to attend the Youth Council Caucus meeting. This year we met in the council suite to discuss issues of importance to the representatives of youth on council. Your concerns must be shared so we can craft relevant resolutions and provide support for our constituents. As your representative from AASL to ALA Council, I appreciate any comments and concerns you share with me. I stand ready to explain any actions that occurred during ALA Annual conference so please email me for clarification. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.
All council actions are posted on the Council page at:
Council Actions: http://www.ala.org/aboutala/governance/council/council_actions
Council Documents: http://www.ala.org/aboutala/governance/council/council-documents
Author: Diane Chen
AASL Representative to ALA Council