ALA Council is the governing body of ALA. Council meets during Midwinter and Annual, with significant electronic communication in between.
I'm an 'at-large' Councilor, which means I'm not representing a particular state, ALA division, or roundtable like some other Councilors do. For example, all divisions (like the youth ones, ALSC, AASL, and YALSA) have an ALA Council representative. There's also an Executive Board and Council Officers as well. While the structure of Council might sound complicated and can be at times, every Councilor there has an important role.
Though not every issue Council discussed at Midwinter had to do with our service population, I have briefly summarized those issues which did apply below:
- Council elected Jim Neal and Sara Kelly Johns, School Librarian, to the Executive Board. For the roles and responsibilities of this ALA entity, view this page here. While there is currently youth representation on the board, it's great to see that it will continue at this level.
- There was much talk throughout the conference about ebooks. Particular to Council in this area was information from the Digital Content & Libraries Working Group (DCWG), who delivered a report on their current activities as well as a business model scorecard for libraries to determine the best lending model for their organization. While ebook concerns aren't specific to teens readers, the recent Pew Internet report and summary posts on YALSA blog, on the reading habits of young Americans, reminds us that libraries providing access in a range of formats remains important to younger patrons.
- Because of changes with the accrediting bodies, Council adopted a resolution to change wording in policy B.9.2.2 (formerly ALA Policy #54.2.2). regarding School Library Media Specialists to read, "The master's degree in library and information studies from a program accredited by the American Library Association or a master's degree with a specialty in school librarianship from an ALA/AASL Nationally Recognized program in an educational unit accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation is the appropriate first professional degree for school librarians."
- The Freedom to Read Foundation updated Council with their activities report. While no recent litigation in the report dealt directly with teen issues, it did mention several potential topics from the Developing Issues Committee that could impact intellectual freedom. ' One of the most contentious is "the near universal use of Internet filters in school libraries and the impact the practice has on student learning outcomes." A second issue raised regarded "claims raised by a Michigan lawsuit filed on behalf of students who claimed that their school district had failed to teach them to read in violation of their right to a public education."
- Youth Council Caucus met during Midwinter as well. This group is made up of Councilors who are also ALA youth division members, though anyone registered for the conference is welcome to sit in on the conversation. One of the issues discussed is the upcoming campaign of ALA President Maureen Sullivan to "promote awareness and understanding of the impact of the de-professionalization and curtailment of school library instructional programs on students and student achievement." We'll hear more about this in the spring as well as at ALA Annual.
- Looking ahead of course the ALA election will start next month on March 19. Both candidates for ALA President-elect in the 2013 have ties to youth services. We'll be hearing more about the election here on the YALSA blog in the upcoming weeks.
Photo by: htomren