The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs, and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians.
The IFRT Members Community group is the central hub for discussion, library and events. It is visible to all ALA members but only IFRT members can participate in the conversation.
Learn more about IFRT on the ALA website2019-2022 Strategic PlanIFRT Leader HandbookFacebookTwitter#IntellectualFreedom
We began with the usual meeting logistics and announcements, then established a quorum and approved the agenda as amended to reflect some new resolutions and the removal of the report from Digital Content Working Group due scheduling issues with the presenters. We then turned to the complete list of memorial and tribute resolutions (available near the bottom of the documents list). Next up was the continuation of the Treasurer's report, reviewing the budget and presenting the Annual Estimates of Income, which was approved by Council (156 yes, 1 no, 3 abstain). Most of the information Eli Mina, ALA Parliamentarian, asked to address an issue from Council II, in which a councilor called for a point of order after voting had opened on a resolution. The parliamentarian noted that no interruptions are allowed during voting, especially considering that the point of order was actually a question and not a point of order, which is a statement that parliamentary rules are not being followed (which, in this case, was not accurate).
Next came a report from the Operating Agreement Working Group (OAWG). Last week the OAWG requested and received an extension of one year from the Executive Board and will complete their work by Annual 2022. The OAWG noted that the overhead rate charged to ALA units does not actually cover the costs classified as overhead, so ongoing discussions will look at options such as adjusting the rate or abandoning the rate altogether and moving to a unified budget. Please refer to the report for the full details.
The next section of the meeting was for committee reports. First was the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, which asked Council to vote a second time as required on a constitutional amendment to clarify that Council and Membership meetings may be conducted electronically and would allow electronic voting at those meetings. Council approved this motion (157 yes, 0 no, 1 abstain). Next, the Committee on Professional Ethics proposed the addition of a ninth principle to the ALA Code of Professional Ethics addressing the importance of social and racial justice as a professional value. The language of the ninth principle follows:
We affirm the inherent dignity and rights of every person. We work to recognize and dismantle systemic and individual biases; to confront inequity and oppression; to enhance diversity and inclusion; and to advance racial and social justice in our libraries, communities, profession, and associations through awareness, advocacy, education, collaboration, services, and allocation of resources and spaces.
Council voted to adopt the ninth principle with no changes (160 yes, 0 no, 0 abstain - first unanimous vote of the entire conference).
The next report, submitted in two parts online, was from the Intellectual Freedom Committee, which included updates on work from the Privacy Subcommittee and the Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice Working Group. The Resolution on U.S. Enterprises' Abridgement of Free Speech (a joint IFC/International Relations Committee effort; available on page 9 of the first report) was approved by Council (158 yes, 0 no, 2 abstain). A footnote defining US enterprises as "intended to refer to corporations, businesses, and other commercial organizations based in the US. It is not directed at non-profit organizations such as libraries" will be added to the resolution by the Executive Director. The Resolution in Support of Open Educational Resources (a joint IFC/Committee on Legislation effort; available on page 11 of the second report) was approved by Council (155 yes, 0 no, 0 abstain). Both of the resolutions had been endorsed by the IFRT.
There were no action items from the Committee on Legislation or the International Relations Committee, but their reports include updates on library-related federal funding and legislation and on awards and scholarships related to international library activities, respectively. The Tellers report provided the results of the elections for Council representation on two groups. Oscar Baeza, Regina Beard, K.C. Boyd, and Binh P. Le were elected to the Council Committee on Committees. Sharrese C. Castillo, Jos N. Holman, Trish Hull, Alanna Aiko Moore, and Edward Sanchez were elected as the Council representatives to the Planning and Budget Assembly.
Next on the agenda were the reports from "special" (i.e. non-standing Council) committees, including the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF). For the FTRF report, updates on relevant court cases not included in the report were provided, including the ruling supporting student speech outside of school (Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.). A document from the Executive Board providing guidance to libraries in support of patron privacy as it relates to contact tracing was presented as another special report.
The final business items were two resolutions: the Resolution on Greater Transparency in the Library of Congress Subject Headings Revision Process (endorsed by the IFRT) and the Resolution on Replacing the Library of Congress Subject Heading Illegal Aliens Without Further Delay (not endorsed by the IFRT -- concerns raised by the Committee in Legislation were discussed as a issue during the board's discussion). During the discussion of the process-focused resolution, concerns were raised about damaging the relationship with the Library of Congress and about setting a precedent of ALA directing a library (even the Library of Congress) what to do. Ultimately, the process-focused resolution was not approved by Council (24 yes, 125 no, 9 abstain). The specific LCSH resolution was referred to the Committee on Legislation (91 yes, 61 no, 6 abstain) after an extended debate about taking action vs. letting the political process work out.
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