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Peter Hepburn's picture

GLBTRT Councilor: report of activities, Midwinter Meetings, January 2012

GLBTRT Councilor:  report to GLBTRT Steering and membership on Midwinter 2012

I thought I might write this missive from the comfort of my hotel room at the Magnolia.  Back to Chicago tomorrow (what snow will I face there, I wonder).  For now, some reasonably fresh thoughts on the Midwinter Meetings here in Dallas.

Before reporting on some Council activities, thank you to everyone in the Round Table who showed up at meetings and social events and were a real, welcome presence in Dallas.  A highlight is the awarding of the Stonewall Book Awards-Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award as part of Monday morning’s Youth Media Awards.  ALA President Molly Raphael announced the honor and award books, and cheers erupted in the auditorium when Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright was announced as this year’s prize winner.  On the suggestion of RT member and Councilor-at-Large John DeSantis, I made an announcement of the naming of the award on the Council floor.  Larry (and Mike) received deserved warm applause.

There was also an enjoyable social held at the Dallas Public Library.  Funnily enough, I had three socials that evening all in the same building.  Frankly, I thought the RT social had the best space for the party, and with the tasty food and an abundance of newer faces mixed with some that are more familiar to me, I thought the social a great success.  I have some photos from the Social, Council, and other Dallas activities posted to my Flickr set at http://www.flickr.com/photos/liberrianph/sets/72157628955530401/.  Enjoy as you will!

As is my very happy and fortunate pattern, Todd Krueger and Martin Garnar once again roomed with me.  Terrific friends (the very best, in fact!), excellent roomies, and two people who offer me superb insight into matters around ALA, not just on GLBTRT matters.  I can’t sing their praises enough.  Thanks you two – I’m greatly looking forward to Anaheim together.

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.  Indeed, it was a quiet year on Council, and the meetings ended early.  There was one order of new business that came from the New Jersey Chapter Councilor, relating to access to e-content.  I did not seek advice from Round Table Steering on this matter.  The other resolutions came to Council mainly through reports from such committees as Intellectual Freedom, Legislation, and Organization.

The stand-alone resolution was called Resolution on Publishers and Practices Which Discriminate Against Library Users.  This might have seemed straightforward, but there was lively debate for a good 40 minutes, especially centering on the tone certain words (“discriminatory”) conveyed.  In the end, however, the resolution passed handily, and I voted in support of it.  I do not have the final updated text with me, but an earlier draft moved that it be resolved that the American Library Association opposes the discriminatory policies of publishers and distributors which adversely impact access to content by library users; and that the Working Group on Digital Content in Libraries be directed to review the situation and recommend appropriate action and/or appropriate parties who should be informed of this resolution.  I’ll also note that I agree with Martin (and a Council colleague) who thought the “which” in the title should have been “that”.

Of the discussions arising from the committee resolutions, the one that I had some inkling of beforehand was a resolution condemning the restriction of access to materials in Arizona schools following legislation that cut Mexican American studies from the curriculum.  The resolution, as I saw it the night before Council III, was not especially well-written, to be honest, and I had reservations.  By Tuesday morning, however, there were further revisions.  After the resolution was presented, I did ask at the microphones about ALA’s involvement with classroom materials as opposed to school libraries.  A couple of other Councilors provided helpful insight, and between that and seeing how so many other groups within ALA were supporting the resolution in principle, I voted in favour of it.

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... 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/vot....  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 met with the other members of the Committee on Committees and President-Elect Maureen Sullivan in her suite last Friday night (my goodness, you should have seen the views from that room!).  Over dinner, we discussed appointments to Council committees.  I wish I’d seen more familiar RT names on among the lists of volunteers.  Do submit a form this year, and do consider an internship if you qualify.

In closing, I thank all of you for what you do to make Midwinter and the work of the Round Table a success, even if you were not there in Dallas 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 Dallas made it home safely!