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.
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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.

ALA Council II- Seattle

Council II was a combination of new business with two new resolutions and also a discussion regarding the ALA Headquarters and the plan to sell the current property and a 30 minute small group discussion on Organizational Effectiveness•

REPORTS OF ALA/COUNCIL COMMITTEE
Policy Monitoring Committee 10 Mins
Gladys Smiley Bell, Chair, ALA CD#17_act
Committee on Organization, Shali Zhang, Chair, 10 Mins
ALA CD#27
International Relations Committee 10 Mins
Robin Kear, Chair, ALA CD#18_inf
Committee on Accreditation, Loretta Parham, Chair, 10 Mins
ALA CD#36_act and 36.1

REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEES/GROUPS
– Freedom to Read Foundation Report 10 Mins
Charles Brownstein, FTRF President, ALA CD#22_inf

RESOLUTION-on Eliminating Monetary Library Fines as a Form of Social Inequity, Peter Hepburn ALA CD#38-act (revised 1/27)- There was a significant amount of debate on this resolution due to impact and decision making authority at the national or local level.  The resolution had also been revised several times to move away from some slightly inaccurate information to a focus on urging libraries to do away with fees.  I spoke on this resolution as it isn’t simply a revenue focused issue but also a collection development issue.  I chose to vote against this resolution because this is a decision that should be made at a local library level.  The resolution passed 108-59.

RESOLUTION-in support of Civil Rights Protections for People of Diverse Gender Identities, Ann K. Symons ALA CD#41-act
There was good support for this resolution and it passed overwhelmingly.

Susan Hildreth gave an update on the plan to sell the ALA Headquarters building in downtown Chicago due to the fact that it doesn’t meet our needs, has significant infrastructure issues in terms of technology and is also in prime and expensive property areas of Chicago.  The plan is to rent property that better meets the ALA staff’s needs.

• DISCUSSION: Organizational Effectiveness-
We reviewed the documents that the Executive Board discussed related to what type of organization do we want for ALA into the future.  Our focus was on what would ALA Council look like in a new organizational plan.

ALA Council I- Seattle

Council I tends to be a session where we have a series of reports with only a few action items.

Loida introduced all the state chapter presidents in attendance and it was very nice to hear Laurel Littrel introduced as our Kansas Chapter President. The nominees for the Executive Board positions are presented and there is an opportunity to nominate additional board member candidates from the floor.    Eboni Henry, Leslie Preddy, Alex Rivera, Gladys Smiley Bell and Karen Schneider are the candidates.
Courtney Young, chair of the ALA Executive Director Search Committee shared the plan for the search and the timeline.  ALA Council had a chance to vote on additional members of the search committee.
Her report is ALA document CD#34_info
Peter Hepburn and Susan Jennings were elected to serve on the search committee.

 

We had one resolution for new business-  RESOLUTION-for the Adoption of Sustainability as a Core Value of Librarianship, Sara Dallas ALA CD#37-act
The goal of this resolution was to take a proactive step when possible to encourage sustainability as a Core Value.  Librarians are encouraged when possible to look for ways to incorporate sustainability in their work.  The Sustainability Taskforce will continue to work on these endeavors and also look at how this functions at conference as well.
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