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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 Council I

  • 1.  IFRT Councilor's Report from Council I

    Posted Jun 28, 2021 02:05 PM
    Hi folks.  Here are my notes from Council I. Council II starts at 3 p.m. Central, so you can expect those notes later today or tonight.  Also, I have an answer to Michael's question about cost containment strategies, so be sure to scroll to the bottom for that information.

    Council I

    The meeting opened with a review of logistics and meeting rules.  After confirming the existence of a quorum, reviewing the consent agenda (see below), and approving the agenda and the minutes from the Midwinter and March Council meetings by unanimous consent, President Jefferson turned to the agenda.  The consent agenda included the following committee reports:

    Items on the consent agenda are not discussed unless a discussion is requested by a councilor. There were no questions on the reports.  As I recall, this is the first time we've had a consent agenda during my time on Council, so the lack of questions may reflect a lack of understanding about how the process should work, though it was explained before Council.

    We then heard the reports from the Resolutions Committee and the Nominations Committee. For the former, the outgoing chair gave his report in the form of a resolution thanking his colleagues.  For the latter, the report listed the nominees for the Council Committee on Committees and the Council representatives to the Planning and Budget Assembly.  There were no nominations from the floor for the Committee on Committees. A nomination from the floor for the Planning and Budget Assembly was not valid due to the proposed nominee's ineligibility as they are leaving Council after this conference. Voting for these positions will happen immediately after Council I and results will be reported at an upcoming Council meeting.

    The next section of the meeting was devoted to reports from special committees.  The first one was from the Forward Together Fiscal Analysis Working Group (FTFAWG).  One of the challenges of the process for analyzing the resolutions related to Forward Together was that there was insufficient time (only 9 days) to complete the analysis, so the data are incomplete. In addition, the open-ended nature of some of the resolutions made it difficult (if not impossible) to provide a full analysis, since some costs cannot be calculated until it is known whether some of the governance groups being proposed will be meeting virtual, in person, or using a hybrid approach; likewise, the number of representatives on some of the proposed groups was also fluid, adding to the difficulties in estimating costs. The FTFAWG's review of a proposed standardized dues structure for ALA Divisions and Round Tables was also presented.

    The Forward Together Resolutions Working Group's report was presented.  Of the proposed resolutions in the report, only two were deemed ready for presentation to Council: the resolutions on core values (item #1 on page 3) and round tables (item #2 on page 4). The remaining topics will be referred (motion to refer passed on a vote of 150 yes, 12 no, and 1 abstain) to a new, smaller working group to be appointed by incoming ALA President Patty Wong, with an extended timeline of reporting back to Council at a time determined by the president and executive board. Speakers offered a mixture of relief at having more time and frustration that the timeline is being extended, and there was a lot of discussion about the new working group's composition, charge, and timeline. The core values resolution was approved (158 yes, 0 no, 2 abstain). Due to time constraints, the round tables resolution was deferred to Council II.

    Following up on a question from my notes on the membership information session, ALA Executive Director Tracie Hall provided the following list of cost containment measures implemented in the past year:

    • general holds on hiring except for key positions;
    • reduced meetings and travel except for mandatory travel related to business-development;
    • reductions in purchasing new goods, supplies, and services;
    • renegotiation of existing contracts for goods and services to better reflect actual use or volume
    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Martin Garnar
    IFRT Councilor

    Martin Garnar (he/him/his)
    Director, Amherst College Library
    Chair, ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee