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Peter Hepburn's picture

GLBTRT Councilor's report, Annual 2014

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!


Peter Hepburn

GLBTRT Councilor, Executive Board member