ALA Council I- January 26, 2020- Philadelphia, PA

Key Takeaways for first council- Steering Community Organizational Effectiveness (SCOE). Lessa (chair of SCOE and member of the ALA Executive Board) shared the plan and the variety of ideas, concerns and timeline. It was decided to push back the plan for a year to be able to develop a strong communication strategy and continue to hear from members.

The major areas of agreement include:
We need to make some dramatic changes because membership wants more engagement and more flexibility in how to be involved including more online access.
We need to figure out how to include all voices but not be as complex as the ALA organizational structure currently is and we need build in efficiencies because of fiscal realities.
The major areas of concern include:
Are we simply creating different silos rather than more involvement with the changes in governance?
How are the Divisions and Roundtables given decision making authority if they are only included in the assemblies?
How do we make sure all areas of the organization have a voice if it becomes a popularity contest of who you know for voting onto the 17 member Executive Board rather than have at least one seat for every state?
There were only a couple of questions during the Council session however I did attend one small group discussion session to be able to hear more especially to provide questions as they relate to Chapters. The SCOE workgroup took a lot of notes during our small group session to take back to continue their work.
The biggest concern at this point with the project is there is so much not known about how the plan will work and what the impact will be. I believe this is one reason that they are still in listening mode and have push the votes and potential implementation back.

The other significant discussion at Council I was a beginning discussion of the financial situation at ALA. We are in deficit budget planning and spending which was known as we decided last year to move into an investment budget plan for the next three years. The biggest issue is the parts that were unknown. ALA has been running a deficit for the past 5 years and our investment plan only exacerbated the situation. Over the next couple of days, we will hear more about the situation and the plans to remedy the budget situation.

Registrations as of today are: 7968 Philadelphia
This compares to 9040 Seattle and 7894 Denver. While the numbers are down it is important to keep in mind that this is also a PLA conference year and they are always down when there are other major conferences.

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