ALA Council at 2013 Annual and Youth Issues

ALA Council is the governing body of ALA. Council meets during Midwinter and Annual, with significant electronic communication in between.

In January, I posted about Council decisions related to youth issues after Midwinter.

A brief summary of issues with implications for the youth we serve that were taken up by Council at the most recent conference can be found below:

  • Council adopted a resolution (CD#37) Reaffirming ALA’s Commitment to Basic Literacy. While there was discussion disputing the need for such a resolution as well as the perceived implication that one literacy was being privileged over another, the majority passed a statement of support. This resolution can serve as a reminder that literacy is a core service all libraries support and is essential in helping teens become productive adults.
  • Council adopted resolution (CD #47) Commending the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) for Defending Videogames. The FTRF recently posted about the Media Coalition’s recently-released study “Only a Game: Why Censoring New Media Won’t Stop Gun Violence,” which scrutinizes video games in the wake of the 2012 Newton massacre. The Media Coalition welcomes comments about the report, a study partially funded through FTRT grant support, on their site. This resolution can help aid in defending establishment and ongoing support for libraries collections of new media which may include video games.
  • Council adopted resolution (CD#40), Declaration for the Right to Libraries, a part of the current ALA President, Barbara Stripling’s initiative to “focus on increasing public understanding of the value of libraries.” A forthcoming toolkit will be available to collect supporter names in local communities. Teens can definitely be a part of this initiative!
  • The topic of Edward Snowden dominated a lot of Council discussions. Originally, Council passed a resolution (CD#39) during the Membership Meeting in support of whistleblower Edward Snowden. Only after the resolution was passed was it referred to the Committee on Legislation (COL) and the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC), a process that usually happens to prior to Council adoption and which became a very contentious issue among many Council members. The overarching topic of exposing secrets is definitely worth discussion among the youth we serve, as it touches on issues of privacy, public access, and free speech.
  • According to the Digital Content & Libraries Working Group report, “for the first time ever, all of the Big Six publishers are engaged with library ebook lending.” These inroads are great news for libraries and patrons looking for ebooks!

    Feel free to share additional issues regarding Council decisions that have implications for the youth we serve.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.
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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the wrap-up, Kelly. I am still hung up over the passage of the motion to sanction moments of silence at ALA meetings, implying an indictment of organizational events that begin with prayer. As YALSA Past-President Kim Patton and other councilors voiced, this seems overtly alienating to some members we seek to enfranchise and protect, as one speaker called it “a microagression” against minority groups. I am closely watching the follow-up conversation about “what will happen” if a division opts for a more formal prayer at an event. I like to think that, as members of the organization, we have the wherewithal to avoid settings which conflict with our personal beliefs, and I certainly can’t imagine an situation where participation in prayer would be compulsory at an ALA meeting. Great stuff for thought.

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