ALA Council Rescinds “Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of The Library Bill of Rights”

August 16, 2018

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The American Library Association (ALA) announced today the outcome of a vote by ALA Council to rescind 2018 updates to “Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.” The vote comes after a swift response from ALA members, leadership, its offices, and library advocates to address concerns regarding the use of the term hate groups.

The motion to rescind the 2018 version was approved. Ninety of the 179 councilors were required to vote. Seventy-five percent of those voting were needed to approve the measure. A total of 146 voted on this question, representing 82% of eligible voters. The final tally: 140 voted to rescind, four voted not to rescind, and two abstained. The 2018 Meeting Rooms interpretation will be removed from ALA’s website. The Library Bill of Rights will revert to the 1991 version of the Meeting Rooms interpretation, which was in effect until the 2018 ALA Annual Conference.

“I would like to express my gratitude to ALA members and staff for their collaboration and feedback as we work to respond to language found within updates to The Library Bill of Rights,” said ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo. “ALA continues to strive to provide resources that support equity, diversity, inclusion, and intellectual freedom. We can only do so when all of our voices are heard. Today’s vote does not end conversations regarding the interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights, but rather continues our exploration regarding how we can support the profession’s needs.”

Conversations regarding meeting rooms continue within the library community: The Intellectual Freedom Committee has established a new working group. It will continue work to draft a new revision of “Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights” and share it prior to October 1, 2018, with the anticipation that Council will vote on it before the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.