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ALA Midwinter Day 5

Today’s Council meeting was the final one for Midwinter. We heard reports from the Executive Board election, Intellectual Freedom Committee, and the Committee on Legislation. The Intellectual Freedom Committee and Committee on Legislation presented two joint resolutions for Council’s vote. Committee on Legislation also presented a third resolution. In addition to the three resolutions and election results, the Awards Committee announced a new ALA award. Again, the information in this blog is my observations and are not the official minutes of ALA Council.

Executive Board Election Results

The following ALA Councilors were elected to the Executive Board:

Peter D. Hepburn (2014-2017)
Gail A. Schlachter (2014-2017)
Gina Persichini (2014-2017)
Mike L. Marlin (serving 5 month term through July 1, 2014)

Resolution on Expanding Federal Whistleblower Protections

Although related to the resolution on Edward Snowden that failed at Council II, this resolution (page 6) from the Intellectual Freedom Committee and Committee on Legislation passed after only momentary debate on minor wording changes.

Resolution on Curbing Government Surveillance and Restoring Civil Liberties

Originally submitted as a single resolution, the two resolved clauses in this resolution were divided to create two separate resolutions. The first part urges Congress and President Obama to pass and sign legislation that reflects the content of the USA FREEDOM Act as originally introduced. This Act would repeal many aspects of the USA PATRIOT Act. The second part commends the Congressmen, Congresswomen, and Senators who have sponsored the Act. The resolution as presented is included in the same document as the whistleblower resolution, page 4.

Resolution on Maintaining Government Websites During a Government Shutdown

The text of the the resolved clauses for this resolution is available here on page two. The resolution on maintaining government websites during a shutdown elicited the most debate of any resolution offered today. It began with an proposed amendment to remove the first resolved clause and the phrase “in the absence of such a guideline” from the second resolved clause. The concern was that these sections asked government employees to work without pay to maintain websites in the event of a shutdown or other emergency. The amendment was defeated after lively debate. Another amendment was proposed to add the word “paid” in the first resolved clause, which changed the wording to

urges the President to direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Department of Justice (DoJ) to develop guidance to federal agencies stating that, in the event of a government shutdown or other emergency, continued access by the public to essential information on agency websites is an “excepted” activity that would warrant the retention of PAID [emphasis mine] personnel or the obligation of funds to assure access;

The addition of the word “paid” to the resolution seemed to convince those of us who were on the fence about this resolution, and the resolution passed as amended.

New Lemony Snicket Award

Perhaps the most fun part of today’s meeting was the announcement of a new award funded by author Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler): The Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. I encourage everyone to read the description of the award, as it provides some levity to some of the adverse situations librarians may face. The Executive Board had already voted to approve adding this award, and Council voted overwhelmingly in its favor.

ALA Midwinter Day 3

Last night I attended the Council Reception, where I had the opportunity to meet some of my fellow Councilors and talk informally about what Council is like. I think having less formal networking opportunities before getting down to business is a great way for people like me to get in the swing of things. At the reception, I was able to talk informally with ALA President Barbara Stripling about the lawsuits currently faced by libraries in Kentucky. I hope my colleagues in Kentucky will be comforted by the fact that President Stripling shared my concerns about what the outcomes of those lawsuits could mean for Kentucky libraries. We also spoke briefly about the petition that was circulated in Pulaski County to dissolve the library taxing district in 2012 (this petition was dropped soon after the November 2012 election). I firmly believe that what affects one library affects all libraries, so I find it encouraging that what our libraries in Kentucky are facing is on the minds of library leaders nationally.

This morning I attended Council I, which could be called Introduction to Council if it were a college course. The meeting began with a review of the rules of order and introductions of special guests, including KLA President Brenda Metzger and President-Elect Laura Whayne. After introductions, we heard reports from officers. A task force to determine the best mode of communication for Council documents was created, but both of the other resolutions on the agenda were postponed to Council II.

I was still a little overwhelmed at Council I, but I’m still excited to be serving in this capacity. I think meeting and talking with my fellow Councilors has made it easier, and getting to know some of the other first-time Councilors has helped me feel less like I’m in the deep end with no life preserver.

For those who are interested, all current Council documents are available here.

ALA Midwinter Day 2

This morning began early with New Councilor Orientation. I feel like I have a better idea of what to expect at tomorrow’s first Council session. Having never been to an ALA meeting, I wasn’t sure what Council would be like and didn’t have a full understanding of what Council does. Don’t get me wrong, I researched (like a good librarian) before I said yes to fill this position in the interim. But, in this case, there’s only so much that words on a website can convey. Now that I’ve been through the orientation, I am better prepared for what I’ll be doing tomorrow.

I also went to the Council/Executive Board/Membership Information Session this afternoon. While this was not my favorite part of the day–I’m not really one who enjoys listening to budget reports–I think it was a good chance for me to see firsthand how Council I will go, without as much pressure since no votes or decisions are made during the Information Session.

ALA Midwinter Day 1

Tomorrow my Council experience begins in earnest with new Councilor orientation at 8:00 in the morning, but I wanted to share a bit of my first day.

Today will probably be the least rigorous day that I spend at ALA Midwinter. After a quick breakfast at Reading Terminal Market, I made my way to the Unconference. I was a little late to the discussion, but I was able to participate in the group talking about embedded librarianship. I was struck by the different definitions of embedded librarianship. At Somerset Community College, where I work, we have defined embedded librarianship as purely a way to bring library instruction to our online students. Others at the table talked about embedding library services into their surrounding communities. One example that I found particularly interesting was from a librarian in Pittsburgh who spoke about a program her library has with the county jail.

We also discussed how departmental liaisons can help an embedded librarianship program in the academic library. One person suggested bringing food to faculty to open the conversation (something I have also done!). What our group ultimately concluded was that despite the differences in how different types of libraries work, becoming embedded in a class, community, or organization is all about relationships. It takes conversations, asking for things, and just getting to know people to have successful embedded programs. This has certainly been my experience, and it sounded like it was the experience of others in our group.

The Unconference was a great way to start out my first ALA meeting experience. I’m curious if other Kentucky librarians have found other ways to promote and create embedded librarianship programs. What has worked for you? Would you agree that relationships are key to embedding?

Heading to ALA Midwinter 2014

My name is Emily Krug, and I am excited to be heading to my first ALA Meeting. This will also be my first ALA as the Councilor from Kentucky. I was thrilled when KLA President Brenda Metzger asked me to fill in as interim councilor, and I’m glad to be getting my first chance to experience what it means to be an ALA Councilor.

I’ve decided to use this blog as a way to organize my notes at the conference and keep the other librarians of Kentucky informed of what is happening at the conference. I’m taking this idea from current NMRT Councilor Susan Jennings.

I hope my fellow Kentucky librarians find this to be a helpful resource during ALA Midwinter this year. If it is a success, I’ll definitely do it again for Annual.

For now, I’m going to get ready to catch my flight this afternoon and hope the wintery Philadelphia weather isn’t too bad!