Sunday, June 26, 2016

ALA Saturday

Saturday was a very busy day at ALA so I didn't get anything posted so let me review the day yesterday. I had a bunch of committee meetings in my work as a personal member. I serve for myself on the ACRL Women and Gender Studies Section Research Committee and we met and had a great discussion. I also serve on the ACRL Anthropology and Sociology Section Instruction and Information Literacy Committee and this group had a somewhat frustrating but ultimately good discussion. Our work is just beginning on this committee and I look forward to many more virtual meetings.

The membership meeting for ALA was the big event for Councilors. There were three resolutions presented at the membership meeting and they were all passed.

1. There was a resolution presented in response to the shootings at the Pulse Nightclub here in Orlando. This has turned into a theme at this conference (not surprisingly) and we had a lovely memorial ceremony first thing in the morning. Anyway, this resolution is concerned with making libraries a safe place for all people and encourages all libraries to work to diffuse violence as a way of life. Below are the resolved clauses of this resolution:
  • Resolved that libraries, librarians, and library workers will cultivate more inclusive communities by actively engaging their communities to defuse and deescalate a culture of violence based on hatred, discrimination, and bigotry; and
  • Resolved that the American Library Association stands with the LGBTQ*, Latinx, and diverse communities in confronting hate, discrimination, and bias while recognizing that they are impacted by violence at a much higher rate than the rest of society; and
  • Resolved that violence of this kind has no place in a civil society
2. A resolution, also in response to the shootings at the Pulse is against gun violence in relation to libraries and library workers. There was a lot of controversy about this one and I'll have more on it later. Here are the resolved clauses:
  • extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of the 49 people who were shot dead at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and to all the families and friends of the thousands of victims of gun violence;
  • deplores the gun violence that materially affects the communities we serve;
  • works with other professional associations to support sensible and effective and national gun safety laws, oppose “gun friendly” state legislation, in particular any legislation that permits the carrying of guns in or near libraries and schools;
  • calls on Congress to lift restrictions that prohibit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other Department of Health and Human Services agencies from conducting gun violence research as a response to library communities in crisis;
  • resolves to advance the idea of libraries mitigating violence in our culture by serving as “safe havens” for the public, as evidenced during the recent uprisings in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD, and by offering public education opportunities that advance the notion of libraries as perpetuators of peace.
3. Finally, there was a resolution to support a digital library for the deaf through the Library of Congress. In my opinion, something that is definitely needed and sorely late. One resolved clause in this one:

  • supports and promotes the creation of the Deaf Culture Digital Library under the auspices of the Library of Congress.
There were quite a number of memorials and testimonials as well. It was a good meeting.

The day ended with an informal session that allows councilors to see what is coming up and finesse the resolutions that will be brought to council. We met for 1 3/4 hours - until 10:15 because we had so much to discuss.

Friday, June 24, 2016

ALA Annual in Orlando

I am in Orlando after flying out of Sioux Falls at 5:00 this morning. I'll try to add an update of what is going on in Council each day. I am also going to expand my repertoire and actually tweet on occasion. I have a feed on the right side of the blog.

Council has not yet met but the opening session was wonderful. Michael Eric Dyson was the speaker at this session. Mr. Dyson was recommended by the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity. Dyson is a professor at Georgetown University and a well known author and speaker on many of today's burning issues. Diversity and inclusion were themes of this conference even before the shootings here in Orlando but I have to say that I am finding these themes even more powerful at this time in this location. I know that I'm preaching to the choir, but let's make sure that our South Dakota libraries are safe places for all the people in our communities!

Look for more tomorrow after the Council really starts to work.

Monday, June 13, 2016

New Librarian of Congress - Another Step in the Journey

The Senate Rules Committee has passed the nomination of Carla Hayden to the Senate. It is now up to us. If the Senate approves her nomination, Carla Hayden will become the first female Librarian of Congress, the first African American Librarian of Congress, and only the SECOND librarian Librarian of Congress. I would personally like to encourage you to contact our senators and encourage them to approve this nomination. Can you believe that since 1802, there has only been one Librarian of Congress who actually had a library degree? Let's change that this year!

Contact information for Mike Rounds can be found here:

Contact information for John Thune can be found here:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

More on LC Subject Headings

On Thursday, May12, 2016, the House Appropriations committee met and very narrowly passed legislation to fund the Legislative Branch for 2017. While I would not normally say that is unfortunate, this year that bill includes language requiring the Library of Congress to keep the subject headings "aliens" and "illegal aliens" rather than change them as ALA and many other librarians believe should be done. The vote on the amendment to remove LC headings statement was 24-25 with 2 members either not present or not voting.

All is not lost - the Senate has no such language in their bill (at least not yet). Provided it is not added to the Senate bill, the Senate and House negotiators will have to work to bring the bills into accord. Since the vote in the House Appropriations Committee was so close, they will have little bargaining power to convince the Senate to adopt it. I will continue to update you on this issue.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Update on ALA Resolution Brings Results

A Republican Congresswoman from Tennessee has stated that she intends to bring legislation to the House requiring that the Library of Congress retain the subject headings "alien" and "illegal alien" because changing them to "immigrant" and "undocumented immigrant" is legally and factually untrue. (Don't ask me to explain that statement as I can't.) The report went on at length about using the term illegal since that is what they are. She is against the movement to be politically correct in this situation. The bill was introduced as H.R. 4926 and was referred to the House Committee on House Administration. It may not go any further but we'll keep our eyes on it and see what happens.

Your tax dollars at work!

Virtual Library Legislative Day - You can Advocate for Libraries Too

As part of National Library Legislative Day 2016 (NLLD), we are offering library advocates unable to attend in person the chance to participate through Virtual Library Legislative Day (VLLD)!   

This year, we’re teaming up with the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) to help expand our efforts and take advantage of the momentum started by the nearly 400 library supporters who plan to attend NLLD. Their Chapters’ members are pledging their time to make calls, send emails, tweet, and otherwise raise awareness about library issues during the week of May 2nd. To date, the HPA has received pledges for nearly 500 actions from their members!

We think we can do our wizarding friends even better.

Over the next few weeks, please ask everyone in your circles -- members, followers, patrons, fellow library staffers, and listservs -- to join us! Once they register for VLLD, we’ll follow up by sending them talking points and other handy resources they can use to advocate easily and effectively.  We’ll be including a link to a webstream of the National Library Legislative day program, live from Washington, on the morning of May 2nd. They’ll get to hear our keynote speaker, former Congressman Rush Holt, and listen in on this year’s issue briefing.

I’ve attached a few graphics that I’ll be using to promote VLLD on social media this year. There’s also a handy resource toolkit for librarians who may want to get younger advocates involved. Please feel free to use them as you like! You can also find out more by visiting the United for Libraries and the Harry Potter Alliance webpages, or by subscribing to the Action Center.

Please feel free to contact Lisa Lindle, Grassroots Communications Specialist for ALA Washington, if you have any questions.

Monday, March 28, 2016

ALA Resolution Brings Results

In January, the ALA Council passed a resolution asking the Library of Congress to change some subject headings. Various libraries had already tried going through the appropriate steps and the request had been turned down. Now, the Library of Congress has announced that it is changing those subject headings as a response to constituent requests. The Policy and Standards Division (PSD) of the Library of Congress, the group that maintains the Library of Congress Subject Headings, now acknowledges that the term "Illegal Aliens" has become perjorative. The term will be cancelled and replaced by two new headings - "Nonciticzens" and "Unauthorized Immigration".  Other terms that use "illegal aliens" as part of a subject heading will also be revised. All revisions will appear on a Tentative List and will be approved no earlier than May 2016. Bibliographic records will be revised shortly after the change is accepted.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

LSTA and IAL may be on the cutting block again this year

The following is sent from Emily Sheketoff, ALA's Associate Executive Director in the Washington Office.

Help Our LSTA / IAL Library Champions Help Us Now!

It's that time of year again when Congressional cost-cutters sharpen their budget knives and go looking for under-supported federal programs to slash or discontinue. Last year, now Speaker of the House Paul Ryan proposed completely eliminating IMLS and with it over $200 million in funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). Both of these programs are potentially on the chopping block this year and it's up to you to help save them.  

Library champions in Congress are now circulating "Dear Appropriator" letters to their colleagues urging members of the powerful Senate and House Appropriations Committees to fully fund LSTA and IAL (See the letters here). 

Please take just five minutes to contact your Representative in the House and both of your U.S. Senators and ask them to sign these letters (one each for LSTA and IAL in each chamber of Congress). Your help, and these funds, make a huge difference in what libraries and librarians can do for their patrons in every corner of the country.

These "Dear Appropriator" letters carry tremendous weight with the Appropriations Committee. The more Members of Congress who sign them, the more likely LSTA and IAL - and the millions of Americans they help every year - are to survive and thrive.

Time is short! Please, contact both your Senators and Representative now.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Harry Potter Alliance

While wandering around the exhibits at ALA in January, I came across a booth for a group called the Harry Potter Alliance. You may already know about them, especially if you are in public libraries, but I had not heard of them before. The HPA is a group that is working to make young people into activists. They take Harry Potter fans and get them working on issues such as equality, human rights, and literacy. They claim that their weapon is love - who can't support a group like that. So what has the group done? Here are a few of the accomplishments they list on their page:

  • Raising over $123,000 for Partners in Health and sending five cargo planes of life-saving supplies to Haiti.
  • Donations of over 250,000 books across the world through HPA's Accio Books campaign (love the campaign name!).
  • Partnership between Walk Free and over 400,000 HPA fans convinced Warner Brothers to change the sourcing of their Harry Potter chocolate line to be 100% UTZ or fair trade.
At ALA, the Harry Potter Alliance handed out pamphlets on getting youth organized to participate in National Library Legislative Day. Getting support for our libraries at the national level is important and who better to push our message home than our youth. Libraries Transform everyone but we have great power to transform young people. Let's help them tell their stories to our national leaders. They don't have to go to Washington to do so, there is a Virtual Library Legislative Day that they can participate in through their phones, e-mail, and Twitter.

Find out more about the Harry Potter Alliance at
Find out more about Virtual Library Legislative Day at

There is currently no HPA chapter in South Dakota - is it time we created one?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Librarian of Congress News

Late last year, the long-time Librarian of Congress announced his retirement. SDLA, along with many other state library associations sent a letter to President Obama urging him to nominate a degreed librarian for the position. Today comes the announcement that President Obama listened to us and has nominated Dr. Carla Hayden to the post. Dr. Hayden has been a librarian at the Chicago Public Library and, most recently, has been the CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. If confirmed, she will be the first woman to hold the role of Librarian of Congress and the first African American to hold the post. Check out this video from President Obama's Facebook page introducing Dr. Hayden.

The letter sent to President Obama was also sent to our senators as the Senate will have to confirm the Dr. Hayden. I heard from a staff member of one of our senators that they are keeping our recommendations in mind but had not yet heard a nomination. Hopefully, our Senators will support this nomination.

Resolution on Replacing the Library of Congress Subject Heading "Illegal Aliens" with "Undocumented Immigrants"

This resolution came about because some librarians who help those our subject headings currently call illegal aliens recognize that those words can be offensive. In many other subject heading lists the term has already been changed from "illegal aliens" to "undocumented immigrants". There was discussion in Council about whether this resolution was appropriate for us and encouraged those who brought it to pursue the appropriate channels through the Library of Congress first. The person who introduced the measure did so on behalf of some of the librarians that she represents and didn't have all the facts the first time. When she came back to us and explained that the Library of Congress had turned the request down because they were using the terms in the criminal code, Council agreed to hear the resolution again. We did pass it knowing that official channels had been tried already. We do feel that the language "illegal aliens" is offensive and encourage LC to change the heading. Here is the resolution.

Resolution Concerning Accessibility of ALA Conferences and Meetings for People with Disabilities

ALA conferences are great places to connect with other librarians from around the country and the world. For those with disabilities; however, ALA conferences can be troublesome. Stories abound about sessions that are blocks or miles apart without enough transportation, especially transportation for those in wheelchairs or other mobile devices. Having spent 5 weeks on a knee walker myself almost two years ago, I can't imagine having to negotiate ALA in such a manner. There was even a story about a speaker at a previous conference who indicated they needed a podium and mike that was wheelchair accessible and got to their speaking venue to discover several steps (and no ramp) up to the speakers' platform and no accommodations had been made. ALA councilors discussed this issue and the best way for council to get some action taken through several meetings. We finally came up with a resolution that establishes a Conference Accessibility Task Force with several goals the task force needs to accomplish. This is a rather important resolution so I will include more information in this post that I have in the others.

You can go to the resolution (linked here) to see all the whereas clauses but I am including the resolved clause here:

Resolved, that the American Library Association, on behalf of its members:

Establish and charge a Conference Accessibility Task Force to:

1.    Collect data from ALA Members and conference attendees with disabilities;
2.    Establish methods for reviewing and addressing accessibility grievances;
3.    Draft guidelines for review of contracts to ensure ADA and WCAG            compliance;
4.    Research best practices for accessibility training and makes a                     recommendation for implementation;
5.    Report progress to Council during the ALA Annual Conference 2016 and ALA Midwinter 2017 and;

6.    Make a final report to Council with recommendations during ALA Annual   Conference 2017 in Chicago

This task force has been created and will begin work soon if they haven't already.

Resolution supporting the 2015 Advocacy Implementation Plan

Council also passed a resolution to support the Advocacy Plan that is part of ALA's Strategic Directions document. The resolution points out some of the advantages of ALA's Advocacy Plan and encourages all chapters to use the plan to their own benefit. I will write more on this plan later as SDLA is itself writing advocacy into our strategic plan and it is nice to know that we don't have to reinvent the wheel. See the resolution here.

Resolution Against Islamophobia

Council passed a resolution against Islamophobia. This resolution came about as a result of an issue where a patron insulted a Muslim librarian. The resolution reaffirms our profession's belief that all people should receive equal assistance from the library no matter what they believe. See the resolution here.