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Notes from March 24 COMM conference call

ALA Committee on Membership Meetings

Conference Call, March 24, 2014



Given the recent statement from the Black Caucus of ALA and the subsequent joint statement from ALA President Barbara Stripling and the ethnic caucuses, the Committee had a discussion of diversity as a starting point for a themed conversation in the Virtual Membership Meeting.

  • Of concern was whether diversity was too broad and unfocused a topic.  For example, would the meeting address diversity in the association or in the profession as a whole?
  • The Committee felt that subtopics within diversity would be better to address, such as concrete ways for the association to approach diversity matters.
  • Another possibility was for there to be discussion at the meeting of the relationship between the stand your ground laws at the center of the statements and libraries and the association.


There is interest from the ethnic caucuses that there be opportunities for resolutions to come forward at the membership meetings as a way of addressing specific concerns.

  • In terms of the Virtual Membership Meeting, there has never been a resolution brought forward.  A tribute style resolution could make for a relatively easy test of the logistics.  A resolution with a call to action could turn out to be messy from a practical perspective, however.  The mechanisms for debate and for making amendments would be challenging.
  • Ron has a document in Connect that outlines the process for resolutions.  He will edit it to reflect this year’s meeting dates and ensure that it is shared broadly with membership.


Promotion of the Virtual Membership Meeting will begin around April 12-15.

  • ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels will send an initial e-mail to ALA Council.
  • Barbara Stripling will then send out an e-mail blast inviting the membership to participate.
  • Ron Jankowski/ALA staff will send out subsequent reminder blasts.
  • Information on the meeting will be posted on Connect, the members blog, chapters blog, AL Direct, and via Press Release.
  • Divisions and Round Tables will be encouraged to co-promote the meeting
  • COMM can work its own networks from there


Mario Gonzalez will not be giving the Treasurer’s report at the VMM

  • Pat Wand from BARC will take care of that instead


A list of topics is needed by no later than April 15

  • COMM will need to think about how to frame diversity in relation to it being a potential topic.
  • Peter will talk with Barbara Stripling about diversity as a topic.


Peter let the committee know that Barbara Stripling is seeking a committee representative to serve on a diversity and equity task force to be established.


There was a separate question about whether the membership meeting can be lengthened to allow for more debate on topics.  This is something for the committee to consider in the future.