Council I Supports Whistleblower Edward Snowden

June 30, 2013

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Screenshot of President Barack Obama addressing librarians at Council IUpdate: On Tuesday of Annual Conference, Council III substituted the resolution on Snowden mentioned below for another resolution on the need for reforms for the intelligence community to support privacy, open government, government transparency, and accountability. See the Council III report.

A special video presentation by President Barack Obama encouraging librarians to help disseminate information about new health care insurance options under the Affordable Care Act opened the Council I session. In a little over an hour, Council quickly passed a number of resolutions, including support for whistleblower Edward Snowden (CD#39), which was moved by Jim Kuhn and seconded by Mike Marlin. The motion resolved “that the American Library Association recognize Edward Snowden as a whistleblower who, in releasing information that documents government attacks on privacy, free speech, and freedom of association, has performed a valuable service in launching a national dialogue about transparency, domestic surveillance, and overclassification.”

In other actions, Council passed a resolution reaffirming ALA’s commitment to basic literacy (CD#37), and unanimously passed two others: one urging that a new nationwide advocacy campaign to gain support for the Declaration for the Right to Libraries, be given the highest ALA staff priority (CD#40); and the other commended the Freedom to Read Foundation “for recognizing videogames as a nonprint medium in libraries worthy of First Amendment protections” (CD#47). Three resolutions were postponed for Council II: on library service to the community in a natural disaster (CD#41); on divestment of holdings in fossil fuel companies (CD#42); and on prayer in ALA meetings (CD#44). A resolution on the digitization of US government documents (CD#49) was referred to the Committee on Legislation.

ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels reported that this conference has attracted 14,341 registrants and 5,815 exhibitors, for a total of 20,156 registered attendees. This is almost 1,000 more registrants than the New Orleans Annual Conference in 2011, and almost 4,000 more registrants than the 2012 Annual Conference in Anaheim.