Council III: Effectiveness Task Force Recommendations Dominate Session

June 30, 2011

A report by the Presidential Task Force for Improving the Effectiveness of ALA’s Council (Council Document #45), chaired by past ALA president Jim Retting, was the hot topic on the agenda of the third session of the Association’s governing Council in New Orleans.

Three of the many suggestions required and received formal action. Others, except one, moved forward by consensus.

  • By a vote of 78 to 42, Council passed a measure that urges all resolutions presented support ALA’s Strategic Plan and unanimously moved forward a measure that calls for enhancing opportunities for members to respond to and interact with ALA leadership at the Annual Conference Membership Meeting and the Council/Executive Board/Membership Information sessions held at each Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference, as well as directing the executive director to develop a proposal and budget for a Council self-assessment study.
  • Other recommendations that moved forward by consensus included: urging that the chairs and staff liaisons to committees of ALA and Council commit to contributing materials to the “What’s Happening” document ALA Senior Associate Executive Director Mary Ghikas creates before Midwinter Meetings and Annual Conferences; encouraging ALA and Council committee chairs to make use of their posting privileges to the Council discussion list; asking that leadership of the various Council forums and caucuses experiment with other forms of communication, including ALA Connect; increasing member communication via such vehicles as videos and American Libraries Direct; asking Councilors to eliminate poorly worded resolutions; and implementing a wider and constant distribution of the Strategic Plan to councilors.
  • The task force also forwarded a recommendation to eliminate the ALA–Allied Professional Association Council to its board of directors.
  • Council failed to more forward a measure that called for elimination of the oral Freedom to Read Foundation report that requires no official Council action.

In other business, Council approved a FY2012 budgetary ceiling of $62.9 million, presented by Treasurer Jim Neal. He reported that total ALA revenues, as of April 30, total $27.3 million, $6.4 million less than last year; expenses were $29.7 million, $3.8 million less than last year; general fund revenues at $14.7 million, just over $106,000 from 2010; and general fund expenses at $17.6 million, $696,000 more than last year.

Neal also talked about a change in the Long-Term Investment Fund payout formula, moved along by the Endowment Trustees (CD#16.1). It allows the executive director, in preparation of the annual budget, to include a payout rate of 3%–5% of the trailing five-year quarterly rolling average of ALA’s Future Fund. Neal said the change will make $640,000 more available for use in scholarships, awards, program initiatives, and general operations.

He also discussed new business development in the areas of electronic publishing, continuing online education, international community/public library users, and mergers and acquisitions.

Two resolutions from the Intellectual Freedom Committee, chaired by Julius Jefferson, were approved: a resolution to protect library user confidentiality in self-service hold practices (CD#19.3) and a resolution to continue opposition to the use of Section 215 of the Patriot Act and the use of National Security Letters to violate reader privacy (CD#19.4). The same resolution regarding Section 215 was offered and passed by the Committee on Legislation (COL), chaired by Charles Kratz.

COL also presented and received approval on three other resolutions: on full FY2012 funding for the U.S. Government Printing Office (CD#20.8); to increase funding for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program (CD#20.10); and a resolution urging Congress to include libraries in the Workforce Investment Act (CD#20.12).

Council also approved a resolution endorsing the United Nations’ May 16 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right of Freedom of Opinion and Expression (CD#51) and defeated a move that would have made ALA Connect the Association’s official online document distribution channel and archive (CD#52 Revised) to allow staff additional time to refine the system.

Memorial resolutions were offered for Edward Swanson, Patricia Wilson Berger, Christy Tyson, Margaret “Peg” Oettinger, Norman Horrocks, Virginia Mathews, Diane Gordon Kadanoff, Linda Jean Owen, Herbert Goldhor, Ursula Meyer, and Lane Thompson.

Tribute resolutions honored Oklahoma State Rep. Lee Denney (R-Stillwater), who was honored by the Oklahoma Library Association with the Bill Lowry Library Champion Award for her efforts in support of state libraries; and ALA Conference Services and Gale Cengage Learning for providing shuttle bus service accommodating attendees with disabilities.

Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels reported that the final New Orleans conference attendance total was 20,186.