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.


ALA Annual Day 4

Like day three, day four of the conference began with a council session. At this session, Council heard reports from the Policy Monitoring Committee, the Committee on Organization, and the Freedom to Read Foundation. Additionally, ALA President Barbara Stripling recognized those Councilors whose term ends at today’s meeting.

Council took action on a resolution from the District of Columbia Library Association. The resolution urges Congress to

grant the District of Columbia budget autonomy in order to prevent the unnecessary closing of city government facilities, including public libraries, in the event of a federal government shutdown.

This resolution is not asking for D.C. statehood or for voting representation in Congress. It simply asks that Congress release D.C.’s budget–of locally paid city taxes, not federal monies–from the requirement that it be approved by Congress before expenditures may be made.

In the afternoon, I attended the Chapter Councilors Forum. This forum is less formal than the regular Council and we discuss issues relevant to state chapters in the context of Council proceedings. One interesting topic from yesterday was how to attract young librarians and retired librarians to state associations. While the specific needs and interests of these two groups vary, one thing they have in common is the need to feel valued within the organization. State associations should not be afraid to ask people of these age groups to take leadership roles, and creating groups for these individuals as well as including programming and social events are great ways to get these potential members involved.

ALA Annual Day 3

Day three of the conference began with the first Council session. The two main action items at Council I were the electronic communication processes for the ALA Council and a Resolution in Support of Stable Funding for Air Force Libraries.

The electronic communication item passed with minor deliberation over wording about the frequency with which communication processes would be reviewed.

I am pleased to report that ALA Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution in support of stable funding for Air Force libraries. It should be noted that this resolution applies only to Air Force libraries because these libraries are in immediate danger of losing funding.

As of yesterday morning, there were 18,185 total attendees, including exhibitors, at the Annual conference.

Yesterday evening I attended the Council forum where we discussed some of the items coming before Council in today’s session.

ALA Annual Day 2

The second day of Annual began with a breakfast sponsored by Project Muse. At the breakfast we heard about some of the new collections and journals coming to Project Muse in addition to a presentation on the state of university presses and publishing. I found the talk enlightening since I have little experience working with university presses. For those of you who are familiar with Project Muse, it is a database that specializes in humanities and social science content.

I left the Project Muse breakfast a little early because I wanted to attend a session titled “Boba Fett at the Circ Desk: Library Leadership Lessons from The Empire Strikes Back.” Unfortunately, by the time I arrived at the session, I couldn’t even get in the door.

After finding a place to sit and relax since I couldn’t go to the session, I listened to featured speaker Azar Nafisi, the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. She spoke on the importance of literature and the “republic of the imagination,” which also happens to be the title of her new book. One of my favorite things that she said was

The great thing about books is that we can be so promiscuous.

She was referring to the fact that you can love a book or an author then leave that book or author for something else and then return.

The next item of the day was seeing Stan Lee! He spoke eloquently of his love of libraries and was a joy to hear.

In the afternoon, I attended the Council/Executive Board/Membership Information Session. Based on the reports, ALA’s financial situation is not as bad as it appeared at the Mid-Winter Meeting. Over 11,000 people preregistered for the conference. The number of attendees as of yesterday afternoon was 17,658.

ALA Annual Day 1

Greetings from Las Vegas, fellow Kentucky librarians! I had great feedback on this blog at the Mid-Winter Meeting, and I’m excited to share my ALA Annual experience with you this summer.

As a reminder, I am the ALA Chapter Councilor for Kentucky. This is my first time at ALA Annual and my first year as Councilor. I’ll be sharing my observations and information from the Council sessions so that Kentucky librarians can keep informed of what ALA Council is doing.

I arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday evening and attended a great networking event. It was good to see some friends I had made at Mid-Winter and a great way to get in the right frame of mind for the conference.

I had a fairly light schedule for Friday’s pre-conference events. I attended the Unconference again. This table-discussion event gives some guidance to the conversations that tend to spring up naturally at conferences. The attendees suggest topics and then divide into groups to talk about library-related issues.

The other major event that I attended yesterday was the OCLC Symposium. The topic of the day was the Internet of Things. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s basically the idea that the Internet is being connected to nearly everything in our lives, both digital and analog. We heard ideas from the audience for possible IoT wish lists. My favorite idea was the suggestion of using GPS tracking as a digital “call number” so that patrons could track a book rather than having to write down a call number. Imagine a world where you can track a book’s global position; you could potentially never have another missing book!

I’m looking forward to today’s sessions. I’ll be attending the Stan Lee event as well as several Council-related sessions in the afternoon and evening. If anyone has any questions about the conference, please let me know!