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The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs, and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians.

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IFRT Councilor's Report from ALA-APA Council and ALA Council I

  • 1.  IFRT Councilor's Report from ALA-APA Council and ALA Council I

    Posted Jan 24, 2021 03:49 PM
    Hi folks.  Here's my report from today's ALA Council Meetings:

    ALA-APA Council

    As the ALA Council is also the governing body for the ALA Allied Professional Association, there is a brief business meeting at each conference. We are approaching the 20th anniversary of first the library staff certification program in June and the founding of ALA-APA next January, so there will be programs celebrating these milestones. Though the budgeted revenue targets for FY 20 will likely fall a little short, revenues are still exceeding expenses, so that's good news. The FY 21 budget projects a small ($10K) net revenue. The full reports from the executive director and treasurer are available for your review.

    Council I

    Please note that all Council documents are available on the ALA website, so I will not link every report, but will link those that I think are of particular interest. The meeting opened with the standard action items of adopting the council rules, reviewing the agenda, and approving the minutes from the June, September, and December virtual meetings.  All were approved with unanimous consent. ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall reported on the actions of the ALA Executive Board since the 2020 June Virtual Meeting and the implementation of 2020 Virtual Meeting Council Actions. Nominees for the ALA Executive Board were announced (see the report for the 6 original nominees), with one additional nominee (Kari Mitchell, a furloughed public librarian) made from the floor. The Tellers Committee was appointed and instructions for voting were reviewed.  Mike Marlin, chair of the Resolutions Committee, presented his report of the committee's recent activities and noted that resolutions can now be submitted at any point during the year.  After a short break, the rest of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of the final report from the Forward Together Working Group, along with updates from the Forward Together Fiscal Analysis Working Group and the announcement of the Forward Together Resolutions Working Group (of which I am a part). I would encourage you to read these reports on the Forward Together process and to share your thoughts with me as the Resolutions Working Group begins its work.  The main Forward Together Working Group co-chairs gave a presentation with the following findings:

    • clear support for changing the name of the Executive Board to the Board of Directors and for increasing its size from the proposed 17, though there is not consensus on how big the board should be
    • there is little shared understanding of what member engagement means
    • there was a lot of support for adding committees on intellectual freedom and core values
    • some support for longer terms for committee membership
    • round table existence should not be based on membership numbers alone
    • round tables should have a shared or unified governance document; the Round Table Coordinating Assembly is already working on a template and should be invited to Council to present when it's ready
    • not much consensus on the future of Council
    • need to know more about how Assemblies would communicate, if they would have board representation, and whether they would have any policy-making authority
    • the working group's scope did not include ALA-APA or divisions, but these groups should be engaged going forward

    The Fiscal Analysis Working Group will continue to operate, analyzing the fiscal implications of proposals made by the Resolutions Working Group.

    Questions/comments raised in the discussion:

    • When will we get some clarity about the role of assemblies? Now it's up to the Resolutions Working Group to make proposals about the assemblies to bring back to Council.
    • There was a theoretical proposal to shrink Council that would keep the breadth of representation, but with fewer representatives in each category.
    • Question about school librarians being represented on the Resolutions Working Group (president says yes, but it's unclear who)
    • The Resolutions Working Group will be making recommendations to bring to Council
    • Questions about the cost implications of increasing the size of the Board and whether that's tied to the dissolution of Council
    • The Resolutions Working Group will present recommendations in groups of topics, not as a omnibus proposal.
    • Concerns about any positions on the Board being appointed, not elected
    • Assemblies should be represented on the Board
    • Cost savings did not drive the start of this reorganization discussion
    • We need to remember that member engagement should be a focus of this work
    • What are the connections between Forward Together and the ALA Pivot Strategy? We'll discuss more at Council II
    • A suggestion that Council should stop delegating the work to working groups and should take up the challenge of making actual proposals of how to make changes to the organization
    • Lots of comments about the need to move forward and start doing the work.
    • The Constitutional Convention is still scheduled for this spring, but I'm still a little confused about the timing of when all these resolutions that have yet to be written will come to Council.

    I'll have more to report once the Resolutions Working Group gets started.

    Tracie Hall reported that we are up to 7,012 registrants (slight increase from yesterday's numbers and reviewed some of the highlights of upcoming programs.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.  

    Martin Garnar, IFRT Councilor

    Martin Garnar
    Director, Amherst College