I voted in favor of CD #56, but I think that we have more work to do in order to make council meetings productive and functional. Forum was developed to give people an opportunity to learn about what was going on and to work through debates on resolutions prior to the formal council meetings to increase understanding. This intent was good and useful, but it evolved into something else. I would like to share some of my ideas for improving ALA Council meetings.
My term on ALA Council began in 2020, and I attended the first ALA Council meetings in-person, then on Zoom throughout the pandemic, and back in-person this time. I attended all of the Council Forums my first time, some of the online ones, and none during this conference. I think that we can build in opportunities for more interaction during the actual council meetings instead of holding the forums. For example, we could include time for people to talk in partners or small groups prior to discussing resolutions, to give people the opportunity to think through their responses or questions before going to the mic to speak. This would also allow people to interact with each other, get to know members, and feel more connected. We could also hold networking sessions that allow people who are interested in similar issues to connect and work on resolutions that are not being brought forward through a committee. A problem with the ALA Council meetings is that they are so wrapped up in parliamentary procedure, a lot of time is wasted and voices are silenced. There are various schools of thought on Robert's Rules, and whether or not it reinforces a culture that is rooted in white supremacy and racism. I understand that we need to have a procedure to make the meetings efficient and productive, but perhaps it's time to revisit and maybe create a modified version of Robert's Rules that apply to ALA Council meetings so that we do not have to spend so much time on procedure and can spend more time making progress. If ALA Council is to continue to be decision making body, I would like to see a complete overhaul of the council process and meetings. I have not found it to be very productive during the 3 years that I have served, and I have found myself withdrawing from participating because many of the resolutions, make great statements, are not action-oriented.
This is my last set of Council meetings and I look forward to seeing the progress that ALA Council is able to make in the coming years. I hope to be involved again in the future in some capacity.
Lucy Wittkower, Virginia Chapter Councilor
225 N Michigan Ave, Suite 1300 | Chicago, IL | 60601 | USA
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