RT Councilor report: ALA Annual 2011

ALA Annual 2011 in New Orleans, LA, has wrapped up. I am back in the cooler but no less-flat surroundings of Chicago, and after a week of the heat and humidity of the Gulf Coast area, I crave time back among mountains and mild temperatures. But a week in BC is still two months off, so let me get over that and happily write up a report for you instead while things are still fairly fresh in my mind.

I don’t get to many programs at Annual, and this year was no different. Just the same, I thought it a good conference indeed, and I was glad to see many (and even room with a couple) of the RT members and supporters these past several days.

Before reporting on some Council activities, thank you to everyone in the Round Table who made this a successful conference for us all. I regret that Council conflicts with the RT membership meeting and with the Book Awards Brunch. I can only hope that those who attended found them worthwhile. I did read some tweets about the brunch, waxing enthusiastically about it, so especial kudos to all involved in organizing that. Thanks as well to the organizers of the social at the chic Hotel Le Marais in the French Quarter. Martin, John, and I quickly dried off from our rain-soaked jaunt over there, and, drinks in hand, it was then a fun time of catching up with folks and meeting new people. I have some photos from the Social posted to my ALA Annual Flickr set at http://www.flickr.com/photos/liberrianph/sets/72157626912215033/ (and yes, there are a lot of food photos in the album – this should not be a surprise to many of you)

I was fortunate in having Todd Krueger and Martin Garnar once again not just as terrific roommates but also as sounding boards. Both of them listen well and offer much for me to chew on in my approach to Council issues. Just a super pair of friends and fellow RTers. Thanks guys!

And with those thanks (and I know there are more I’m omitting), onward with the report from the Council end of things!

There were no resolutions arising from the Round Table at Annual, nor were there any arising elsewhere that had specific implications for the Round Table. There were four resolutions that came forward to Council in advance of Annual, and I shared those with RT Steering to get a sense of how I should represent RT interests. The four resolutions were

• Resolution to Recognize ALA Conference Services and Gale Cengage Learning for Providing Shuttle Bus Service Accommodating Attendees with Disabilities
• Resolution on Out of School Time Library Programs
• Resolution to Protect Library User Confidentiality in Self Serve Hold Practices
• Resolution on Revised Guidelines for the ALA Intern Program

There was a lot of discussion on various lists about the third of those, the resolution regarding self-serve hold practices. The Intellectual Freedom Committee (who were bringing the resolution forward) listened, accommodated a lot of input from the Public Library Association, and a revised resolution passed with only a few dissenters. I voted in favour of all four resolutions.

Another contentious matter on some points was the report coming from the Council Effectiveness Task Force chaired by former ALA President Jim Rettig. It seemed a genuine effort in my eyes to make Council run better, but not all of its recommendations or action items were fully or widely embraced. Admittedly, there were some things in that report that were not going to go down easily, and though it’s tempting to be flippant and say that change can be rough so deal with it, a lot of people have legitimate concerns that need fair consideration. This is one report that Council will revisit. The final report is linked here: http://connect.ala.org/node/146259

There was the potential for a few resolutions to come from the ALA Membership Meeting to Council. Two resolutions dealt with WikiLeaks, and a third was a related resolution on Bradley Manning. The first resolution went down 23-36, and the other two did not come to an official vote because quorum had been lost. This is a good opportunity for me to encourage all of you to attend the Membership Meeting (nest held in 2012 in Anaheim). It is the direct voice of the members, and to have lost quorum was unfortunate as it rendered debate on the remaining motions somewhat pointless. I hope that more of you can attend next year, and if you do have resolutions in mind, remember that you can either work through RT Steering to have me bring them forward, or bring them forward yourselves to your colleagues. Or both!

There were other action items in various reports that came to Council beyond these that I’ve listed, of course. Council actions will eventually be posted online for members to view at http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/governance/council/council_actions/index.cfm soon. All the votes are a matter of record. You may see how I voted on any matter through the link that should soon be posted to this page: http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/governance/council/attendance_voting/vote_tally2004_2011/index.cfm. You can also follow me on Twitter (@phepbu) – during conference I can get pretty active with commentary on what’s going on with Council.

One final thing from Council: I was honoured with a vote from the assembly into a one-year term on ALA’s Committee on Committees. Yes, ALA has a committee on committees, let the jokes fly! ;-) In fact, this committee works on appointments to Committees of Council (see http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/committees/ala/index.cfm for a list). This news is a good segue to encouraging all of you who may be interested in service on ALA Committees to submit a form (forms will be available August 3, linked from this page: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/committees/volunteer/frm_vol.cfm). If you don’t ask, you don’t get (though asking is no guarantee of getting, of course), so let people in ALA know you are interested! And heck, there’s plenty of opportunities elsewhere in the Association, like in the Round Table. Please do consider signing up for one of the RT committees, too! http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/rts/glbtrt/committees/form.cfm

In closing, I thank all of you for what you do to make Annual and the work of the Round Table a success, even if you were not there in New Orleans or if I did not get an opportunity to talk with you. I invite any and all of you to use the list to debate the actions by Council, and I similarly invite you to contact me directly with questions or conversation about them. I am available at phepburn@uic.edu or 312.996.6633.

I hope everyone who was in New Orleans made it home safely!



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