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Andrew Medlar's picture

Online Board Meeting: ALSC 2016 National Institute

Greetings, Board colleagues.

I am calling an online meeting of the ALSC Board of Directors.

The agenda item is to determine the status of the 2016 ALSC National Institute, and the discussion document is attached.

In order to establish quorum for this online meeting, I would like to ask everyone to please indicate at this time that you are “present” and then discussion may begin over the next couple of days. 

Thank you.

Andrew

Aimee Strittmatter-IL (staff)'s picture

Attached you will find the background document for discussion of the status of the 2016 ALSC National Institute.

Aimee Strittmatter
ALSC Executive Director

Ellen Riordan's picture

Present. I am here but as of tomorrow COB I will not have access to my work PC until next week due to my office move. I do have computer access from my home PC but what I have access to is still a bit unclear. 

Diane Foote's picture

Present

Diane Foote
Assistant Dean & Curator, Butler Children's Literature Center
Dominican University GSLIS
dfoote@dom.edu, 708-524-6054
http://www.dom.edu/gslis

Elizabeth Orsburn's picture

Present.

Betsy

Elizabeth Orsburn

 

 

Christine Caputo's picture

Present.

 

Christine Caputo

Vicky Smith's picture

Present.

Mary Voors's picture

Present

Doris Gebel's picture

Present

Doris Gebel

 

Jenna Nemec-Loise's picture

Present


Jenna Nemec-Loise
Division Councilor
Association for Library Service to Children

 

Megan Schliesman's picture

Present

Megan Schliesman's picture

Present

Megan Schliesman's picture

Present. (I'm editing this response to say sorry--i'm not present three times. It's just been a really long day and apparently I can't drive my laptop.)

Julie Roach's picture

present

Gretchen Caserotti's picture

Present

Kay Weisman's picture

Present.

Kay Weisman

Andrew Medlar's picture

Thank you, we have a quorum.

Please remember to apply here the same guidelines we use in our face-to-face Board discussions, always keeping in mind our Core Purpose of "Creating a better future for children through libraries;" our core values of Collaboration, Excellence, Inclusiveness, Innovation, Integrity and Respect, Leadership, and Responsiveness; and our Envisioned Future as one in which "Libraries are recognized as vital to all children and the communities that support them."

The ALSC Board must embrace knowledge-based decision-making to be most effective, and for each issue we ask ourselves:

  • What do we know about the needs, wants, and preferences of ALSC members/prospective members/stakeholders that are relevant to the issue?
  • What do we know about the current realities and evolving dynamics of children's librarianship that are relevant to this issue?
  • What do we know about the capacity and strategic position of ALSC that are relevant to this issue?
  • What are the ethical implications of our choices

(From "Knowledge-Based Decision Making: The 4 Knowledges," C2011 Tecker Consultants, LLC)

Discussion is now open on the issue of the status of the 2016 ALSC National Institute.

Andrew

 
Gretchen Caserotti's picture

I too am thankful to ALSC staff and leadership for compiling all this information to help us in our deliberations and for their transparency in this process. And I appreciate my colleagues for already presenting such well-articulated responses. Considering the information we have been presented with, including ALSC member input, I support cancelling the Institute. Like many members who took the time to share their comments, it is with disappointment as I believe ALSC Institute is an incredibly valuable conference. But with the information we have at this time and using the knowledge-based decision making approach, I believe it is the right choice to have our choices be in alignment with our values and the ethical implications of our choice are greater than the fiscal consequence. I’m proud to be a member of this association.

Megan Schliesman's picture

I want to begin by expressing my great appreciation to Andrew for his leadership, and the entire ALSC staff. Wow--I know the 15-page summary represents hours of time and research and consideration of multiple factors.  Thanks, also to Diane, for making sure the fiscal considerations are clear.

 

So...as I read the blog posts last week in response to Andrew's invitation to member to share their thoughts, I felt incredibly moved, and proud of our membership.  The additional information in the survey results add to that. This isn't easy for anyone, but people's willingness to respond honestly is so helpful. 

I come away from all of it personally feeling that cancellation, along with committing to some alternate way to offer at least some of the content (again, such thoughtful ideas are already being explores), is the right thing to do for multiple reasons. First and foremost, there is the fact that this is blatantly discriminatory, which is against ALSC's values. There is also the critical issue of the safety and comfort of all attendees. And there is also the issue of access: How can we keep it in Charlotte knowing that some ALSC members cannot attend, at least in their official work capacity with travel being paid by their employer, because their employer (certain cities and states) has banned travel to North Carolina.

I know this will be disappointing for some attendees. I don't think this is an easy decision to make. But I think it is the right one. The fact that we are fiscally able to absorb the loss (I don't want to sound cavalier about that) makes one dimension of the decision a little easier to me--we are fortunate--but regardless I think it would be the right thing to do.

I appreciate ideas for alternate ways of delivering the content that are already in the works. Perhaps it can be a combination of online and a Midwinter workshop, or whatever ultimately seems most viable.  But, again, in a way I see that as a separate, though critical, decision from the one about what to do about  the Institute as currently planned.

 

Megan

     

Kay Weisman's picture

I would like to concur with everything Megan has so eloquently stated. 

I am proud to be a member of an organization that is willing to stand up against discrimination, for the safety of its attendees, and listen to the thoughtful comments of its members. 

I feel that cancelling the institute is the right choice, given the present circumstances, and hope that many of the proposed presentations can be accommodated at a later date, either online or at another venue. 

My thanks to Andrew, Aimee, Diane, and all the ALSC staff for all their hard work in getting us to this point.

Kay Weisman

Edith Campbell's picture

Present. And, I am an ALSC member.

Christine Caputo's picture

I’d like to add my thanks to Andrew for his leadership and to Aimee and all the ALSC staff for their hard work.  A special thanks to everyone who put together the very informative and helpful report.

I’d also like to add my appreciation for all the ALSC members’ thoughtful feedback. Having read through the responses on the ALSC Blog, I was very moved and proud to be part of such a wonderful group of people.

Thanks to Megan for kicking off the discussion so eloquently!  I don’t have too much to add, but given what we have heard about the ALSC members’ needs and preferences and knowing that the new NC law goes against ALSC’s core values and does not support our membership, I agree that cancelling the Institute is the best decision we can make. 

I do recommend that ALSC continue to review the options to host a Midwinter Workshop (preconference) if speakers and sponsors are available and perhaps offer an online keynote or other continuing education opportunity in September, again depending on speaker’s availability and ALSC Staff's available time.   I am happy to continue the discussion about other professional development opportunities, but I do recommend we cancel the Institute in Charlotte.

 

Christine Caputo

Jenna Nemec-Loise's picture

I agree with everything Megan, Kay, and Chris have stated, so I won't repeat them. Rather, I'll repeat myself by echoing my "From the Editor" piece in the latest issue of Everyday Advocacy Matters:

As an ALSC member, I’m immensely proud of our division’s willingness to listen to understand, and nowhere has this been more apparent than in recent communication about the 2016 ALSC National Institute. We are fortunate indeed to have colleagues, member leaders, and division staff who have welcomed our perspectives, invited our concerns, and heard our hopes. We honor one another with our Everyday Advocacy, and for that I’m ever grateful.

I've done my utmost over the past few weeks to listen for understanding, too. What I've heard is expressed clearly and objectively in the detailed report we've all had the chance to review. Here's how I believe that information aligns with the knowledge-based decision-making questions Andrew has posed for our consideration:

  1. Ethical implications. NC legislation violates the core values of ALSC.
  2. Needs, wants, and preferences of ALSC members. The majority of membership favors cancellation but also values outstanding professional development opportunities.
  3. Capacity and strategic position of ALSC. Physical relocation of the Institute is not a viable option.
  4. Current realities and evolving dynamics of children's librarianship. Ours is a profession of equity, diversity, and inclusion. The safety and well-being of our LGBTQIA membership is paramount, and both are jeopardized should the Institute proceed as planned.

In light of this knowledge-based perspective, I concur that ALSC should cancel the Institute and explore alternative means to deliver its excellent content. This is my standpoint as both an ALSC Board member and a personal member.


Jenna Nemec-Loise
Division Councilor
Association for Library Service to Children

 

Gretchen Caserotti's picture

I'd just add to your #3 summary that ALSC has the capacity to absorb the fiscal loss (as Megan stated, not to be cavalier about it, just stating the fact)

Jenna Nemec-Loise's picture

Thank you for adding this point, Gretchen. It helps provide a more balanced perspective on ALSC's capacity and strategic position.


Jenna Nemec-Loise
Division Councilor
Association for Library Service to Children

 

Jenna Nemec-Loise's picture

I agree with Vicky that it's imperative to consider the financial investment and potential loss our members may experience should the Institute be cancelled. I apologize for the oversight in my original post. I certainly didn't mean to discount this important consideration.


Jenna Nemec-Loise
Division Councilor
Association for Library Service to Children

 

Vicky Smith's picture

I echo my colleagues' previously expressed feelings. I too believe that to go ahead with an institute in a location that expressly discriminates against any of our members or guests is in conflict with both our core values (specifically, inclusiveness and integrity and respect) and the stated theme of the institute. I am in favor of cancellation.

However, I think it's important to address the ethical consequences of a cancellation. I see two, though there may be more. First, there's the lost learning opportunity for our members and guests; some who have spoken before have spoken of this. Second, there's the nonrefundable costs already incurred by members and guests. It's one thing to decide to eat our own costs, but to expect others, who have in good faith made commitments to ALSC, to eat their costs is something else. I imagine that very few in our constituency who have made travel plans already, whether indivuals or institutions, will feel unaffected by a decision to cancel. I understand that ALSC may not have a legal obligation to consider this, but I believe we have an ethical obligation to do so.

I do not know how best to address either ethical consequence, but I would be distressed if we did not.

Gretchen Caserotti's picture

I completely agree Vicky. This is an additional consequence. The information from Aimee shows 27 people indicated they had made non-refundable arrangements at this point. That feels like a manageable number to work with to see what options are available to help them with those out-of-pocket costs. I forget where I saw a suggestion that Friends of ALSC could be requested to assist with this? I can't speak for the group of course, but it can't hurt to ask. I would certainly make an additional donation if they were able to provide that type of assistance! We are a creative, clever bunch and can work to find solutions to even the stickiest problems :-)

Mary Voors's picture

So far there have been 115 comments in response to Andrew’s blog post asking for member feedback on this issue. It has been so very gratifying (and inspiring!) to read these comments. I must agree with the sentiments already expressed about feeling proud to belong to this organization and concur with the suggestion already made that cancelling the Institute while working to offer an alternative method to offer as much of the content as possible is the best decision.

Amy Martin's picture

Hello! I'm the chair of the ALSC Program Coordinating Committee, though at this moment I speak for myself only and not as a representative of that committee. As this year's chair, I led the PCC through selection of the 16 programs on the docket for the 2016 ALSC Institute. It was a tough process, with many excellent proposals that didn't make it through simply because we didn't have enough slots. Our team took great care to select a broad range of topics and to represent diversity as best we could (we don't often know the backgrounds of proposed presenters outside of professional accomplishments). I'm so proud of our work, and even though I was not planning to attend the Institute myself, I was excited every time I saw the schedule of events attendees could choose from.

I am so sad to let go of our excellent slate of programs, but I agree 100% that the Institute should not go on in Charlotte. I have been filled with pride reading the comments on Andrew's blog post to see how strongly my ALSC colleagues value inclusion and the safety and comfort of all our members. And on a practical note, with presenters withdrawing, some potential participants facing a travel ban, and other potential participants faced with a lack of legal access to restroom facilities, I do not see any way for the Institute to go on as planned.

Although planning time is short and I can't commit on behalf of others in the PCC, I would be happy to work within my team in any helpful capacity if there is a way to move the content of the Institute online.

I hope this is a precedent setter. ALSC is doing a fantastic job right now regarding the concerns for the safety of its members and a discriminatory law. I'm remembering the conversation that happened last year when the ALA Black Caucus called for Annual 2016 to be moved from Orlando because of the Stand Your Ground laws in Florida. I understand that moving Annual would have been a logistic monster far greater than moving the ALSC Institute, but I wish those concerns had been heard and reflected more fully by ALA, and that *some* action had been taken. ALSC has a great opportunity here to take a stand on behalf of its members who are underrepresented and live with challenges I, a white ciswoman, and others in majority groups do not face in our own lives.

Thank you for this discussion, and for being awesome.


she/her

Megan Schliesman's picture

I agree about nonrefundable travel costs. I think ALSC has a responsibility to make sure they are reimbursed--an ethical one, as Vicky noted, whether through Friends of ALSC if they're willing, perhaps with some additional donations to the Friends earmarked for this, or in some other way or combination of ways.

 

Megan

Paula Holmes's picture

I just wanted to give you a brief note on Friends of ALSC.  FOA currently has five areas of support: Unspecified Donations, Early Literacy, Innovative Conference Programs, Professional Development and 21st Century Challenges.  It is a future goal to have only three areas of support, Unspecified, Early Literacy and Professional Development, so to be bold, it would be great not to earmark new area of support.  As for example it would be difficult to use Early Literacy designated funds for reimbursing travel costs, the Unspecified area of support gives the board the most flexibility.   Aimee and Diane may have more thoughts.

Elizabeth Orsburn's picture

I'm a bit late to our discussion, but I would like to start by thanking Andrew, Aimee, and Diane, our Fiscal Officer for the excellent background reading materials they prepared for our Board discussion.   I've just returned from a prolonged family visit to Denver.   While attending PLA, I sought out ALSC and ALA members to hear their opinions on holding the Institute in Charlotte, NC.  It was gratifying to hear their 100% support for cancelling the September 2016 in Charlotte, even if it means the loss of this important educational opportunity.  All that spoke with me were supportive of any possible alternative to holding the on-site conference in North Carolina.  

I am attaching a link to an article about further political decisions in North Carolina, but I do not think this undoes the terrible impact of HB2

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/pat-mccrory-north-carolina-hb2/477936/

North Carolina's Nearly Meaningless Executive Order on Discrimination

Republican Governor Pat McCrory says he intends to clarify the LGBT-related law. Will it be enough to stop the backlash?

 

I had hoped the political situation in North Carolina would change, but this (link above) is not enough and it is all, I think we can expect to see in the next couple of months in this state.  As your 2016-17 President-Elect, I would rather not to go to Charlotte, North Carolina for the ALSC Institute in September.  

 

 

Christine Caputo's picture

Thanks for reminding us about the travel costs that members/presenters will incur if the Institute is cancelled.  I do like the idea of seeing if the Friends of ALSC fund could be a source of reimbursing members/presenters who may have made non-refundable travel plans.  It would be helpful if we could investigate the total costs involved, so that ALSC can assess how funds can be allocated (or raised?) to support members as best we can. 

 

Christine Caputo

Diane Foote's picture

Thank you, Paula, for pointing out the nature of the Friends of ALSC funds. Thanks, also, to everyone who has expressed concern about our members who may have made travel plans already. We certainly CAN investigate costs, but we haven't yet done so, and I don't want to hold up a decision on Charlotte/no Charlotte. It will take some time to assess the extent of the possible cost, and possible solutions. Please stay tuned, but let's not hold up discussion or decision based on this.

Diane Foote
Assistant Dean & Curator, Butler Children's Literature Center
Dominican University GSLIS
dfoote@dom.edu, 708-524-6054
http://www.dom.edu/gslis

Julie Roach's picture

I am also in complete support of cancelling the Institute for all the strong reasons my colleagues have already clearly and eloquently stated.  I do believe by doing this we have a responsibility to somehow shoulder the non-refundable costs for our members.

Paula Holmes's picture

I am concerned about the non-refundable costs as it concerns the decision to host the conference in Charlotte or cancel.  Putting on my budget chair hat, as I am also concerned that Friends of ALSC is referenced as a solution to non-refundable costs.  At this point I have no number on what the non-refundable costs are for the 27 people who stated on the survey that they have incurred non-refundable costs.  Friends of ALSC is a small but mighty fund, but currently a large portion of the funds are designated Early Literacy and cannot be used for any other purpose.  I know that there is a call to fund raise, but again as we don't know what the costs are or what we would raise. I personally, would not want to give promises that we cannot keep.  This also sets a precedent for future institutes and may impact other divisions events that do not have our funding.  I think that any solution to these expenses will need to be discussed after the vote as Diane has stated and the solution may need to be creative.  Thank you for this opportunity to be part of this important discussion.

Gretchen Caserotti's picture

I agree with you Paula. There is always risk with travel and such and while we want to be sensitive to those 27 members situation, that is a separate deliberation to a decision from this issue (Charlotte/No Charlotte). I've lost deposits and fees at various times in my life for reasons out of my control. It sucks, but it's happened. Once a decision is made we can contact those 27 members to find out more information about their situation and go from there. 

Doris Gebel's picture

I have been reading with awe the blog posts and conversations and can only echo the thoughts already expressed praising the thorough, careful and respectful steps taken by Andrew staff and members leading up to this decision. After much consideration, I would vote for cancelling the institute.

Although the Governor has made a slight gesture in his recent statement, it is not enough and I think that adding ALSC to the list of companies, institutions and cities that have cancelled events or prohibited travels at this time affirms that his statement is not sufficient.

I also agree that it would be advisable to investigate alternative ways to make the content of the conference available and to look into ways to at least partially compensate those who have incurred nonrefundable expenses. I don't think it is advisable as Diane and Paula have mentioned to commit FOA to that without knowing the cost and making promises that can't be kept. Perhaps a complimentary registration to the alternative way to make the content available, whether webinar or pre-conference?

Doris Gebel

 

Andrew Medlar's picture

Thank you all for this discussion!

In regards to financially supporting the reimbursement of attendees’ expenses beyond registration, I would bring to the Board’s attention that there is a Cancellation Policy in effect as noted on the Institute registration page which states “ALSC reserves the right to cancel the Institute, or any portion of, if there is insufficient registration or for other reasons. Neither ALA nor any of its divisions are responsible for cancellation charges assessed by airlines or travel agencies, or other losses incurred in the cancellation of the Institute.” Source: http://www.ala.org/alsc/institute-registration

As our Fiscal Officer has noted, “it will take some time to assess the extent of the possible cost, and possible solutions” and I believe this is also the case with the intention, for which I’m sensing support, of exploring additional educational opportunities for our members, both virtual and face-to-face in lieu of a cancelled Institute.

First things first, however, and I’m seeing consensus here around the specific question of whether the 2016 National Institute should continue as scheduled in North Carolina or if it should be cancelled, and I would like to now entertain a motion on this singular question.

 
Elizabeth Orsburn's picture

I move that the Board vote to cancel the September 2016 ALSC National Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina.  

Megan Schliesman's picture

I second the motion.

 

Megan

Andrew Medlar's picture

Thank you, we have a motion and a second. I will now allow for one day of further discussion on the motion before us and will call for a vote tomorrow (Sunday, 4/17). Please be prepared to vote between then and Monday.

Andrew

 
Andrew Medlar's picture

The vote on this motion is now open at http://connect.ala.org/node/252798. Please cast your vote as soon as you are able.

Andrew