ALA Annual Day 5

I want to apologize for the delay in my final post for ALA Annual. I will explain the delay at the end of this post.

The final day of the conference I attended Council III. At this session, the primary discussion revolved around the Intellectual Freedom Committee’s Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights, in particular the interpretation regarding Labeling and Rating Systems. At issue was this section:

Libraries sometimes acquire resources that include ratings as part of their packaging. Librarians should not endorse the inclusion of such rating systems; however, removing or destroying the ratings—if placed there by, or with permission of, the copyright holder—could constitute expurgation (see “Expurgation of Library Materials: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights”). In addition, the inclusion of ratings on bibliographic records in library catalogs is a violation of the Library Bill of Rights.

Some Councilors were bothered by the language of the final sentence of this paragraph. Some argued that by not including rating information, such as MPAA ratings, which is including on the packaging of some materials, we relegate remote users to second-class citizenship; these users cannot see the packaging and do not have access to the ratings information. Additionally, one Councilor indicated that the ALA-approved Resource Description and Access guidelines include specific instructions for how to include ratings in bibliographic records.

Council voted on removing the Labeling and Rating Systems interpretation from the package presented by IFC; the motion was defeated 70-65. Despite its defeat, the IFC is going to review this interpretation in conjunction with the cataloging groups in ALA after the current interpretations are published in book format later this year. At the very least, there was lively debate on the matter.

Regarding the delay in my post, I want to announce that this was both my first and last year as Kentucky Chapter Councilor. I have started a new job in Tennessee and am resigning my position as your Councilor. I want to thank the Kentucky Library Association for the opportunity to serve as your Councilor. I plan to attend the KLA/KASL fall conference and give my final reports then.

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