GAMERT (Gaming) Round Table

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The mission of the Games and Gaming Round Table is to provide the following:
  • A forum for the exchange of ideas and concerns surrounding games in libraries;
  • Resources to the library community to support the building and maintaining of library game collections;
  • A force for initiating and supporting game programming in libraries;
  • Create an awareness of, and need for, the support of the value of gaming and play in libraries, schools, and related learning communities.
  • Create an awareness of the value of games and gaming in library outreach and community engagement plans.
  • A professional and social forum for networking among librarians and non-librarians interested in games and gaming.

Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

  • 1.  Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 17, 2018 05:37 PM
    Hi Folks,
    Council is currently having a discussion about the resolution passed at Annual regarding interpretations for acceptable meeting room use. This is about having the language referring to hate groups as specifically included in those that we must accommodate. As your councilor I want to hear your thoughts on this issue and to know how I voted. From what I understand this isn't actually anything we can control -- if we were to rescind this resolution we would still have to allow white supremacist groups to use meeting rooms because they have a legal right. The IFC recommended this language be placed to remind public libraries that we can't keep them out by saying they can't have a room. I voted in favor of the resolution. What say we on this?

    Gina Kromhout, Ohio CPL, MLIS
    Teen Services Librarian
    Avon Lake Public Library
    32649 Electric Blvd.
    Avon Lake, OH 44012
    2018 Emerging Leader
    GAMERT Councilor

  • 2.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 18, 2018 08:51 AM
    Here is the wording that I believe is being referred to: "Public libraries are bound by the First Amendment and the associated law governing access to a designated public forum. A publicly funded library is not obligated to provide meeting room space to the public, but if it chooses to do so, it cannot discriminate or deny access based upon the viewpoint of the speaker or the content of the speaker's speech. This encompasses religious, political, and hate speech. If a library allows charities, non-profits, and sports organizations to discuss their activities in library meeting rooms, then the library cannot exclude religious, social, civic, partisan political, or hate groups from discussing their activities in the same facilities. Allowing religious groups to use the library's meeting rooms does not constitute a breach of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause."

    Personally, I have very mixed feelings about this. I can see both sides of the argument. I work in a community that is very diverse and if a white supremacist group booked our nonexistent meeting room (I wish we had one) and weren't discreet about it, their presence would make the space very unwelcoming for a majority of my customers, who are children. I don't allow hate speech/derogatory terms in my library between customers and the kids know this. On the other side, denying access to a particular set of people is a slippery slope.

    I look forward to hearing others opinions.



    LeeAnn McNabb
    Branch Manager
    Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

  • 3.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 18, 2018 09:41 AM
    A lot of members, myself included, are upset about the included language for a couple of reasons. So far OIF, IFC, and the major players involved don't seem interested in addressing these particular concerns.

    1. The timeline of all of this seems very suspicious. For the first week or so of the debate, no one seemed to have any idea when the specific hate group language had been added. Instead of simply telling concerned members the answer, James LaRue and others involved simply ignored the question. It was discovered yesterday that the language was voted on by IFC on Monday afternoon and voted on Tuesday morning. No one from OIF or IFC mentioned Tuesday before the vote that the language had been changed. Many councilors after the fact were surprised to realize what they had voted for. If IFC and OIF truly believe this is the best course of action, why weren't they more upfront about adding the language in? 

    2. I am hearing from members with legal experience that by explicitly stating that we must allow these groups, libraries are actually more legally vulnerable to lawsuits since there is an explicitly stated guideline that white supremacist groups can use in court to make their case. If adding the language doesn't actually change the guideline, as OIF/IFC seems to be saying, then why leave it in there when it makes so many members uncomfortable?

    3. Just because something is the law doesn't make it ethical or right. A lot of things were legal in the past that are no longer so because people fought against them. OIF/IFC claims that adding this language doesn't invite white supremacists or other hate groups into libraries, it simply says they are allowed to be there. But by that inclusion, our policy is telling other portions of our populations (LGBT patrons, patrons of color, Jewish patrons, etc.) that they are not welcome. That may not be the implication OIF/IFC was going for, but it sure is what they ended up with. 

    4. There have been a number of councilors on the listserv claiming that saying we don't want hate groups will make it easier for libraries to also prevent groups like BLM and other social justice groups from using the libraries. This is ridiculous. The fact that library staff who are supposed to be experts in information literacy are drawing false equivalencies between social justice groups campaigning for things like "make police stop killing poc" and hate groups campaigning for "kill all the poc" is, frankly, idiotic. It is not the same thing at all and the only thing that argument does is show the immense privilege that those councilors have. Apparently it's fine to welcome hate groups since those specific people won't actually be injured by it. Miss me with that garbage. 

    I do not think including that language was the right thing to do. I think it was done in a very shady and underhanded way and I think that parroting the "Free speech is all" bs is dangerous. In this current political climate hate speech does not exist in a vacuum. It results in violence. Allowing those groups into libraries is inviting violence against our most vulnerable populations and staff members. No wonder library staff of color leave the profession in droves when our professional organization and many of it's highest members tell them they need to extend the hand of friendship to people who want them dead. Remove the language and instead provide libraries with resources for what to do if they are sued by a group for refusing them access. If having the language there doesn't change the policy then leaving it out also doesn't change the policy. Why be explicit in something that only has the potential to harm? 

    It was a shameful addition and much of council's refusal to listen to concerns shows how incredibly elitist and out of touch they are with much of the rest of libraryworld. If they're going to keep this language then they need to stop hawking their supposed desire to increase diversity within the profession. You cannot have it both ways. 


    Natalie DeJonghe


  • 4.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 18, 2018 11:01 AM
    Considering it has come out that the addition of hate group was added even though members of the IFC were against it and it was done with only approximately 30 people (as started by J LaRue) providing feedback at Annual before the updated language was voted on by council on top of the (in my view) extremely problematic language, I would strongly urge a reconsideration of this resolution. I was one of the ~500 signatures on the petition started by APALA that was recently handed in. I also am supportive of this resolution being drafted by councilors right now:

    I cannot speak for everyone on GameRT, but my feeling is that this resolution was pushed last minute with a lack of consideration for the efforts regarding diversity and inclusion that ALA has been claiming to support. As responding to Banned Books related material do not have an explicit list of what we mean by that, so too should this policy not include this language. There are other manners in which understanding first amendment rights within public library spaces have been and could be addressed. 

    My speedy two cents,

  • 5.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 18, 2018 12:08 PM
    Natalie DeJonghe: "Just because something is the law doesn't make it ethical or right."

    This is also my opinion.

    I'll also link to the Petition to Revise ALA's Statement on Hate Speech & Hate Crime (which I have signed) in case anyone hasn't seen it.

    Matthew Murray
    Library Fellow

  • 6.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 18, 2018 01:03 PM
    Edited by Kristin Anderson Jul 18, 2018 01:12 PM
    I am also a member of IFRT.  I understand where everyone is coming from, and the verbiage "hate groups" was actually added after it was approved by our RT.  I also understand why it was added.  There is a Supreme Court decision known as the Skokie decision, where a hate group was denied access to meet and wound up successfully suing for infringing their rights.  This is ALA's attempt at legally covering themselves and smaller institutions from a similar decision.

    Personally, I think it should have said something more along the lines of not denying access to groups if the library loans out meeting rooms to begin with.  Making it that specific about those kinds of groups is troublesome since anyone could argue about many different groups being a "hate group."  
    Kristin Anderson

  • 7.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 19, 2018 08:42 AM
    I just began my service as Councilor at-Large at Annual and will admit that I missed this change of language like many others. I understand the Skokie decision and what that may mean for libraries but I don't feel that the inclusion of the hate group/speech terminology was necessary to include in the interpretation. I think that the controversy surrounding the language could likely put libraries on the radar of white supremacist groups as a possible meeting place. I would like to see the wording changed and the OIF work to provide libraries with the tools to create meeting room policies that enable them to meet community needs and protect themselves from litigation. I don't feel it's necessrily an all or nothing proposition.

    Mary Glendening
    Middletown Free Library

  • 8.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 19, 2018 08:58 AM
    I also feel that the inclusion of the specific language was suspect and it shouldn't be included. There's no reason to call out specific groups to say that they're welcome to meet in meeting spaces within our libraries. Everyone is welcome should be good enough... calling out specific groups is a slippery slope indeed. Why aren't other specific groups of people included in this resolution, BLM, Black Panthers, PETA, Anitfa, Greenpeace? ALA is explicitly discriminating against groups that would be discriminated against through hate speech. Why are we making people in marginalized groups that either work for our libraries, or come into our libraries uncomfortable and possibly vulnerable to attacks? Having this publicized as it is only brings more attention to it from hate groups. I hope this doesn't bite us in the end (i.e. I hope no one gets hurt in the libraries dealing with this), but I also really hope that this gets changed. It's a disgrace to our institution as a whole.

    Erin Stachowiak

  • 9.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 19, 2018 09:45 AM
    I'm also very torn. I want libraries to be a welcoming place for everyone, but by doing so you can alienate many groups as well. I don't see an easy solution :/ 

    Perhaps playing devil's advocate here, but the ALA Bill of Rights are just guidelines correct? Individual libraries are not bound to adhere to them if they don't want to. Therefore the ALA could provide the broadest parameters and at the local level the policies can be dependent upon their community.

    Another reply to this thread mentioned that this new clause opens libraries up to be more easily sued. I don't see how that is true if local policies state the right of the library to deny the use of their meeting rooms to anyone that does not coincide with their mission. Am I misunderstanding the relationship between the ALA and individual libraries?

  • 10.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 21, 2018 12:36 PM
    While they Bill of Rights are just guidelines and libraries aren't required to follow them, they are the standard issued by the Association and is argued by many that all libraries should be following them. Since they're professional standards by our official organization, adding the "hate group" language opens libraries up to more legal ramifications because if a library institutes local policy and denies a white supremacist group the ability to meet, the group's lawyer can point to the bill of rights and say, "But see, they know they're supposed to be letting us in."

    April Hathcock, who used to be a corporate litigator, has a thread detailing it. She's actually where I garnered that piece of knowledge and does a much better job of explaining it since she's an actual expert and I am not.

    I would highly recommend people take a read through her blog and stuff on Twitter regarding this whole thing.

    All in all, regardless of whether people support the language or not, I hope that GameRT will at least support the resolution to rescind the language and have the revisions go back to the working group. The process through which the change was made and voted on was very suspect, in my opinion. I think Council has a responsibility to address the concerns made by both ALA and non-ALA members and put this language through a much more rigorous review process.

    Natalie DeJonghe


  • 11.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 22, 2018 02:58 AM
    "There's no reason to call out specific groups..." sums it up for me.

  • 12.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 24, 2018 11:36 AM
    I also think the identification of a single subgroup is at best unnecessary and at worst suspect. Unless the clause is going to list *every* potentially controversial group that may want to use a space, they need to leave it out.

     Also, these groups are a self-correcting problem. Their very nature flies in the face of every behavior and open door policy I've seen,so it stands to reason that once they show up, their own behavior will get them booted.

    Kimberly Nicholson
    Administrative Assistant-Business Office Manager
    Cedar Falls Public Library

  • 13.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 26, 2018 09:51 AM
    I agree that being that specific to include that phrase is unnecessary and a little alarming. Maybe we should go to less specific language and allow library systems to interpret it for themselves.


    LeeAnn McNabb
    Branch Manager
    Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

  • 14.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 19, 2018 01:00 PM

    I appreciate hearing your take on this as someone who voted for the resolution, and the fact that public libraries legally not being able to deny hate groups use of our spaces puts us in a tricky position. However, I'm inclined to agree with those who are upset about the resolution for many of the reasons already stated in this thread. In particular, if what I've been hearing about the language change being made at the last minute is accurate, I think that was absolutely the wrong way for ALA leadership to go about doing this.

    Caitlin Young
    Young Adult Librarian
    New Orleans, LA

  • 15.  RE: Current Council discussion on the Resolution on Meeting Rooms

    Posted Jul 20, 2018 10:39 AM
    If nothing else, the way that the new language was added into the resolution needs to be addressed. I also feel that the specific mention of hate groups gives them a leverage that is not offered to other "partisan political" groups. Although I understand IFC's thoughts on reminding libraries that we cannot exclude hate groups from using meeting rooms, I think that the way they worded it has come across as too heavy-handed.

    Lynda Salem-Poling
    Youth Services Librarian
    Long Beach Public Library