In July 2018, the Intellectual Freedom Committee formed a working group that brought multiple voices and a broad range of perspectives together, including representatives from the diversity community, to revise "Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights," adopted by ALA Council at ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. In August, Council voted to rescind the interpretation, restoring the 1991 version; however, work on a more up-to-date revision continued. The working group distributed a Google Form for suggestions on language and resources to include in the revised draft.
The working group collected feedback and suggested edits and took them into consideration.
The Intellectual Freedom Committee would appreciate feedback from the library community on this draft. ALA members and non-members alike are invited to provide feedback on the draft interpretation by September 14, 2018. Feedback can be posted in the following two ways:
Use this Google doc to post your comments. The working group requests that you ONLY post comments on this document, and not edit the document directly. To post a comment, select "Insert" in the top menu, and then click "Comment." Comments may be posted anonymously (if you're not signed into a Google account) or publicly (if you're signed into your Google account).
Post suggestions to this ALA Connect post, either as a comment or by attaching a "track changes" version of the provided Word document.
Please share this document widely. After the deadline, the working group will review comments and revise the document further. It plans to submit the draft to ALA Council no later than October 1, 2018. The committee also plans to publish a Q&A on meeting rooms, addressing specific questions brought up in discussions and feedback from the library community; this Q&A will be drafted after October 1.
Below are resources and references that will be included at the bottom of the web version of the Council-approved interpretation. Although this section - titled "See Also" - is not part of the proposed interpretation and is not adopted by ALA Council, the working group invites suggestions on additional resources that readers may find helpful:
For a statement of the Association's belief that libraries should be welcoming places for users and workers: "Resolution on Libraries as Responsible Spaces," Committee on Diversity, June 2017.
For legal and ethical context concerning the use of library spaces by religious groups: "Religion in American Libraries: Question and Answers," Intellectual Freedom Committee, 2010.
For guidelines and context concerning controversial speakers: "Responding to and Preparing for Controversial Program and Speakers Q&A," Intellectual Freedom Committee, June 2018.
For legal context on hate speech, hate crimes, and libraries: "Hate Speech and Hate Crime," ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, December 2017.
For information about political activity in libraries: "Politics in American Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights," adopted June 27, 2017, by the ALA Council.
Thank you for your feedback, and please let me know if you have any questions.
Julia Warga, Chair
Intellectual Freedom Committee
Thank you to all involved for the thoughtful work that has gone into this effort. He new draft is much improved, and the comments useful as this proceeds.
Councilor At Large
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