GLBTRT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Round Table) RoundTable
The 2015 MidWinter Meeting ended less than a week ago (well, for me – I went until almost dinner time on Tuesday, later if you count the bite and drinks with John Chrastka), and with the spring semester just underway here yesterday, I’ll get this report out to the round table before more time passes.
Yes, winter hit Chicago on the Sunday of MidWinter, but it wasn’t so bad (says the guy who didn’t have a Sunday or Monday flight to worry about)(says the guy who grew up in northern Canada). I was delighted to see snow – we’re so desperate for it on the mountains out here. The shuttles seemed to run smoothly, and when the taxi queue at the Hyatt looked dauntingly long, I cheerily set out for the social on foot down Michigan. It’s always good to be back in Chicago, I say.
Ann Symons, Peter Coyl, and Roland Hansen deserve much credit for a well-run board meeting and a fine RT social. They and the other board and committee members do a lot to keep our round table functioning and active. It was good to see non-board members watching and listening at the board meeting as well. Oh, and four presidential candidates! I missed the visit by one of them to the board, but I did get to hear the other three as well as see them at the candidates’ forum. Regardless of where you place your vote, I hope this race will encourage you all to cast your ballot!
Council didn’t feel overwhelmed with resolutions this time. In the lead up to MidWinter, it seemed there might be more on our docket, but no, it was all quite manageable. A couple of proposed resolutions didn’t come to the floor in the end. One involved divestment of endowment investments in three companies with interests in Israel. The other came from our own RT.
Carolyn Caywood had drafted a well-written resolution in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and Matt Ciszek and I had solicited support and endorsements from a range of bodies including divisions, other round tables, committees, and state chapters. Prior to MidWinter, the reception for the resolution had been uniformly positive (Councilor-at-large Ed Garcia had asked to sign on as a co-seconder – always glad to bring allies on board!). A few days before MidWinter started, however, the Washington Office approached us. The ACLU had decided not to support ENDA and was intending to pursue a strategy that would not allow for the exemptions ENDA permitted. They asked if ALA would partner with them in some fashion. There was quick e-mail discussion among board members, and we acquiesced to a request to withdraw the resolution. We have hopes that we’ll hear more from the Washington Office and perhaps have something concrete in time for Annual.
Council did discuss a few resolutions. Deploring the destruction of cultural and educational institutions, including libraries, in the Gaza Strip proved contentious and went down. Surprisingly contentious as well was a resolution that would put on the spring ballot a change to ALA bylaws such that Robert’s Rules of Order would be used in place of Sturgis. Much like they do with style guides, people have strong preferences on parliamentary rules! I did see some commentary on Twitter that Council was spending disproportionate time on something like Robert’s Rules when there are library crises going on, such as in Kentucky where funding is in grave danger. When I had a chance to talk with new Councilors, I would point out that Council does have responsibility for governance, and much as the Robert’s Rules debate seemed trifling, it was within our purview.
Council devoted time to a breakout session for work on the strategic plan. Councilors discussed three areas: advocacy, information policy, and leadership and professional development. I thought that the conversations went well. My own group, like a number of others, struggled with information policy (we know what it is when we see it, but we can’t define it). The various groups reported back, and we all heard ideas shared by many as well as some unique ones. The strategic planning process took place in many quarters at MidWinter, and will continue on to include the membership at large through the Virtual and In-Person Membership meetings in June.
Council, I remind you, is YOUR Council. You elect us. You may not be able to speak at Council, but you can come watch and listen. I never mind members taking me aside when the moment permits and asking questions or offering feedback. Also, I often bring homebaked cookies to my corner of the Council chambers, just sayin’. The room is open, the seating is abundant. Come check it out.
My MidWinter was quite busy this year thanks to my work as a rookie on the Executive Board. Aside from the RT Board meeting, Council meetings (3, plus the joint information session with Executive Board), and Executive Board meetings (3), there were liaison visits to a division, three round tables, an affiliate, and three committees. A lot to cram in, but it does give a marvelous insight into so many other areas of the association. Rewarding work. By the way, Executive Board meetings are open, and there is seating. Again, you will not be permitted to speak unless invited to do so, but you are welcome to observe at any time. Or grab me in a hallway afterward and ask questions! I do have talking points from the Board that I can share broadly should anyone want them. Just ask!
A side note with some relation to my liaison duties: I work with the newest round table in ALA, the Sustainability Round Table, liaising between them and the Board. Their chair-elect, Madeleine, came to our RT social, and I hope she was able to meet a number of people. I do encourage you to check out the work that SustainRT is doing and consider membership. Green initiatives can come out of any place in ALA, but with so many of us interested in them, it’s good that they have an RT to call home.
Annual in San Francisco is up next. I was glad to meet a number of you for the first time in Chicago and get re-acquainted with others, and I hope to so all the more this June. San Francisco will be challenging, what with the parade affecting Sunday logistics and the hotels not being as cheap as in other locations (and yes, ALA did get a big bulk discount off of the rack rate). Early numbers, though, indicate that attendance will be good. Please, join us all there. Come to the RT programs and social and meetings, come to Council and Executive Board. Find me on Twitter (@phepbu). Send me an e-mail. Be active in the Round Table!
(And for a glimpse of my MidWinter in photos, check out my Flickr set – there are RT social photos in there! https://www.flickr.com/photos/liberrianph/sets/72157650210414408/)
In the meantime, get through the rest of this winter (especially all of you in New England!), and may things in your libraries be going well.
GLBT Round Table members
The board's meeting agenda and minutes are posted. This document captures what your board is doing. At the bottom of the document, you will find links to all committee and representative reports that were submitted. Thanks to David Issak (our wonderful outgoing chair of web committee) for reminding me that we need to post links to these materials in the GLBTRT ALA Connect space.
- 2014 ALA Annual Conference GLBTRT Executive Board Minutes and Committee Reports
- Our Annual Conference events are all listed in the Scheduler.
- Want to Contact someone in GLBTRT? Use our Contact page.
GLBTRT Councilor’s report
ALA Annual Conference 2014, Las Vegas, NV
July 7, 2014
So that was Las Vegas.
I admit, I was among those in ALA who was not thrilled by the notion of going to Las Vegas for conference. I’d never been there before – the desert at 100+ degrees in summer is not a place for someone who grew up in the cool and wet Pacific Northwest and who can burn to deep redness with frightening ease – and it wasn’t on my “must visit” list. But it was where ALA went, so it’s where I went as well, and conference happened. So on to that!
Council was relatively quiet this conference with the exception – of course! – of the last session which ran over time and which, unfortunately, I had to leave early. There were no resolutions that impact the round table insofar as we work with and represent the GLBT communities. Instead, Council devoted time to other matters. For example, it debated its own means of communications (which resulted in some discussion over the precise wording of periodic review). It supported a resolution calling for the District of Columbia to have sufficient budgetary control so as not to jeopardize library service there should federal government services come to a standstill in the future. It also spent significant time in the third session on documents that provided interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights, with lengthy debate on one such document coming from the Intellectual Freedom Committee and centering on ratings for library materials. Alas, it was during that debate that I had to leave, and I will need to read the record of Council when it is available to see what outcomes from that meeting I missed.
Within the Round Table, I was able to attend the executive board meeting but not the membership meeting. The former was run effectively, allowing us to consider a large amount of business and leaving ample time at the end for some in-depth discussion of some matters. A highlight from the meeting for me was discussion of the online newsletter/blog and what an achievement it is. Roland ably chaired his last meeting (and David attended his last meeting as past-chair), and we’ll now have Ann’s leadership in the year ahead. It will be interesting to see what we all accomplish together by the end of the San Francisco conference next year.
I typically make it to almost no programs at conferences because of meetings, and this time was no different. Similarly, I could not go to the Stonewall Brunch, though I have heard raves about the food and the speakers. I’m glad to hear it was such a good event. Happily, I was able to attend the social. Yes, there were challenges in pulling it together, but the venue was pretty terrific. Out of the way? Sure. But how great to be visible at the Las Vegas GLBT community centre! Plenty of food, lots of familiar faces, some new names for me to get to know. Roland’s partner Bill and those who worked with him deserve a lot of credit for such an enjoyable time.
The big thing for me at this conference was my installation on the ALA Executive Board. I’ll remain the GLBTRT Councilor with two years left in that term, but as of 4:30 on the Tuesday afternoon of conference, I was a member of the Executive Board. It will be a privilege to work with Courtney Young in her presidential year, and I look forward to the work ahead. There will be much of it, I know. My husband, Conrad, escorted me in to the Inaugural Brunch, and I was later told by Molly Raphael that in her recollection, it was the first time that same sex spouses were introduced, though partners have been (and were again this year as Gina’s partner Kathy escorted her in). A few people commented to me on how it marks progress, and how it was meaningful to them, and I was touched. On a lighter note, the ridiculously colourful Mr Turk blazer I wore drew a lot of attention, and I cheerfully let anyone try it on who wished.
A few other things about conference to draw your attention to:
- Mack Freeman was this year’s Conable Scholar, receiving support to attend the conference and being shepherded around to many functions and meetings. I saw Mack a few times, and I was proud that one of our members had earned that award.
- The RT board has been working with ALA Conference Services on policies and practice surrounding gender-neutral restrooms. It was good to see one in place at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
- I did not make it to the Queerty party, but I heard it was a success. Between that and the librarian portraits she was helping coordinate in the convention centre (plus all the other things I would guess she had on her plate), Ingrid was a terrifically visible and active board member at conference.
- Council has a healthy contingent of GLBT members and allies, I’m always heartened to see.
- Attendance and voting records for Council are linked from here: http://www.ala.org/aboutala/governance/council/attendance_voting/vote_ta.... Other links on the side of that page take you to various pieces of Council business. You are always welcome to contact me with questions or concerns.
- I have posted a photoset from the conference to Flickr. It is currently available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/liberrianph/sets/72157645445936564/
In closing, a few kudos and thanks. My roommates (and great friends), Todd Krueger and Martin Garnar, are an excellent pair to share a hotel room with as well as conference talk and non-conference talk, meals and drinks and Olivia Newton-John. David, Roland, Ann, and now Peter, as well as the other recent and current RT board members all contribute so well to the work that is being done. I’ve met more of you still and enjoyed a lot of conversations while we were together. There are even more of you I have yet to meet and talk with. Please, tap me on the shoulder at a future conference event and say hello.
We’re in Chicago for Midwinter, and I hope to see many of you there. Enjoy the summer!
GLBTRT Councilor, Executive Board member