July 27, 2009

SRRT Councilor’s report

ALA Council Report to SRRT, Chicago, July 2009

Before reporting on the business of the meetings, let me first honor the life of E.J. Josey, who died just before Annual Meeting. EJ was a founding member of SRRT and the founding father of the Black Caucus of ALA, the first black male President of ALA (1984-85), an ALA Councilor for 29 years,, and a fighter for justice for his entire career, both inside the library profession and outside in the community, nation, and world. EJ was instrumental in desegregating the ALA state chapters in the South and developing ALA policy to support the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. He was a prolific author (more than 400 articles and 12 books), and wrote the path-breaking book, The Black Librarian in 1970. He was responsible for organizing already existing groups for official recognition into a SRRT Coretta Scott King Book Awards Task Force in 1980 (now part of EMIERT). As a young librarian, EJ inspired me with his outrageous interruption of the 1985 Chicago IFLA meeting. He rose from the audience at the first plenary session to castigate the IFLA leadership for continuing to allow the membership of libraries that enforced the policy of apartheid and also the apartheid South African Library Association. I started my library activism at this meeting. For more about EJ , see Memorial Resolution #13.

Despite the economic meltdown, the ALA Annual Meeting had record attendance, 28,941 people. However there certainly was a sense of crisis, and the Council passed a resolution calling for ALA to develop “An Action Plan to Remedy Current Library Budget Crisis (ALA Council Document #56). ALA itself has had to make cutbacks, reducing staff by 9.6 FTE (including 2 layoffs) and requiring staff to take 5 “furlough” days and accrued vacation days.

SRRT had one resolution for ALA Council, “Resolution on Libraries and the Continuing Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” It was passed by the ALA Membership Meeting (Membership Meeting document #5) without any debate and by a large majority of members voting. However, the ALA Council defeated it by a large margin after several emotional speeches (ALA Council Document #55). In my presentation, I noted that Council had called for the withdrawal of the US military from Iraq at the 2005 Midwinter meeting (ALA Council Document #62). It was interesting that two long-time Councilors were ready to challenge the existence of the 2005 resolution until we produced a copy for them. Besides the usual argument that this is not a “library issue,” others seemed to support the Obama position of withdrawing from Iraq but escalating the war in Afghanistan. There were also assertions that the US was upholding women’s rights in Afghanistan. The Council usually follows public opinion, rarely taking a leadership position. We only passed the 2005 resolution on Iraq because it was clear that the country was fed up with the Bush Administration’s war. Sadly, I expect we will have to wait for public opinion to rise against the Afghanistan war before we get Council to act.

SRRT endorsed 4 resolutions developed by other ALA bodies and councilors. One of these also came through the ALA Membership Meeting, “Resolution on Civil Marriage Equality Regardless of Sexual Orientation” (Membership Meeting Document #6). I was very pleased to see that it passed Council with only a few dissenters (ALA Council Document #53). The resolutions on “Accessibility of Library Websites” (Council Document #51) and “Purchasing of Accessible Electronic Resources Resolution” (Council Document #52 Revised) sailed through easily. These bring ALA policy into conformance with several guidelines and laws concerning people with disabilities. Some of us were surprised with the amount of resistance to the “Resolution Endorsing Legislative Proposals for [Single Payer,] Universal Health Care (Council Document #54). ALA endorsed single-payer health care in 2006 but now that the national debate has seriously heated up, the Council took a step backwards. It looked like the resolution would be defeated until a compromise saved the day. Larry Romans substituted the wording “Reaffirms its support for affordable universal health care program, including the option of single payer health care program.” (The title was amended to remove the words “Single Payer.”)

SRRT Action Council also took a position on the “Organizational Dues Rate Proposal” (Council Document #44 Revised). It changes the criteria from size of budget to size of library in various categories. It provides for an average 28% increase over two years. SRRT reiterated its support for a progressive dues structure for individuals as well as organizations. Others voiced the opinion that because of the economy, this was the wrong time to increase dues. However the proposal was approved by a large majority.

Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act was again hotly contested. This is the section that concerns “business records,” the section that most directly affects libraries. It is the only section of the act that ALA has ever officially addressed. Jonathan Betz-Zall referred to “dueling motions.” Separate motions came out of the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) and the Legislation Committee. The IFC resolution was much better. “Resolution of the Reauthorization of Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act resolved that Section 215 be allowed to sunset (end) on December 31, 2009 as scheduled (Council Document #19.9). The Legislation Committee’s resolution recommended 9 changes to Section 215 (Council Document #20.8). After much debate, the Council passed the IFC resolution and sent the Legislation Committee’s recommendations to the ALA Washington Office for their use if it looks like reauthorization is going ahead. I spoke to the point that the Washington Office should initially hold firm, and only go to the back-up recommendations at a later stage. I wanted this in the legislative record because the Washington Office is often much too ready to cave in. Furthermore, I reminded the Council that SRRT is opposed to the entire USA Patriot Act.

Council passed 2 other resolutions from the Legislation Committee of particular interest. The first resolved that ALA convene a widely representative group to continue to assess the Google Book Search Settlement and make recommendations to the membership and the Association (Council Document #20.3). The other resolution looks very simple at first glance but is actually based on troubling trends. The “Resolution Supporting GPO’s Digitization of Historical Federal Publications” (Council Document #20.6) urges Congressional support, asks that all digitization efforts adhere to Title 44 of the US Code and GPO guidance, and ALA’s principles of Digital Content, and that GPO and partner depository libraries become trusted repositories for preservation and access. The background to this resolution may be a Midwest “Big Ten” (CIC) proposal to maintain print copies only in its 3 regional depository libraries. This leaves the other depositories to do what they like with their print collections, including moving them in mass across state lines and so-called “destructive digitization.” I think the debate on this will heat up in the coming year.

The Intellectual Freedom Committee presented and Council approved 4 new or revised interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights. They are: “Access to Digital Information, Services, and Networks” (Council Document #19.5), “Importance of Education to Intellectual Freedom” (Council Document #19.6), “Labeling and Rating Systems (Council Document #19.7), and “Minors and Internet Activity (Council Document #19.8). Of course, the death of Judith Krug highlighted the IFC’s work. Judith founded the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation. She initiated “Banned Books Week” and developed the Intellectual Freedom Manual. Although SRRT has occasionally tangled with the Intellectual Freedom bodies over the years, Judith stuck to her principles in a forthright way. She will be missed.

There were two other successful resolutions of interest. The first was “Resolution Promoting Sunday, October 4, 2009, as Intergeneration Day Means Libraries” (Council Document #50). This asks us to support multigenerational activities in our libraries and asks ALA bodies to do the same including promoting this on their websites. The other was “Resolution to Expand Electronic Participation.” Instead of waiting for ALA committees and staff to figure our when and where we will start electronic access to governance, this resolution mandated member access to Council meetings for Midwinter 2010. Considering the cost estimates presented, the easiest and cheapest option is a podcast. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and if there is extensive member interest.

The ALA Allied Professional Association (APA) Council passed one resolution after extensive debate. “Resolution on Support for Overtime Pay Protection” (APA CD#8.4) puts ALA-APA on record in favor of eliminating the exemptions for white collar staff that were enacted in 2003, amending the Fair Labor Standards Act. It also encourages other associations to speak out in favor of low-wage library workers and actively enforcing existing regulations.

This is my last report as your SRRT Councilor. After ten years as your first SRRT representative to the ALA Council, I can truly say how honored I feel to have had your trust for my time in office. Although there were many times when frustration almost got the better of me, on the whole I think the work has been extremely satisfying. Whether or not we won our issues, we always were able to do some education. In some cases, we were able to persevere and win our issues a few years later. I think this is not only a marker for me but an end to an era for SRRT. Elaine Harger and Jonathan Betz-Zall have also finished their work as ALA Councilors. They are both stalwarts and deserve our praise and thanks. I am sure all the old-timers, including the generation before Elaine, Jonathan and me, look forward to new younger librarians asserting themselves in favor of SRRT issues on the ALA Council floor. I stand ready to help in any way that I can. On the 40th anniversary of SRRT, let’s remember that we are still the largest round table. We also make the biggest splash of all the round tables in the ALA Council. We should be proud of what SRRT has accomplished.

Al Kagan
SRRT Councilor, 1999-2009

July 24, 2009

Translation project

I have not been posting much, because I’ve been on the road and things have been different – first the ALA Conference, which I attended as an exhibitor, putting a lot of energy into it, and then a few days in Milwaukee, where I worked on a paper and relaxed. Now I am on a professional development leave from my job and working on a translation project. I am translating a small book on library philosophy from French, for future publication. Here is a picture of the title page in case anyone is half as excited about it as me (click for bigger):

July 23, 2009

List of authors in Speaking of Information: the Library Juice Quotation Book

The following is the list of authors in the Author Index to Speaking of Information: The Library Juice Quotation Book. (Note that some authors listed, like me, are there because they show up in the notes.)

Achenbach, Joel
Agre, Phil
Alfino, Mark
Allen, Woody
Alterman, Eric
American Library Association
Angus, Ian
Atton, Chris
Atwood, Margaret

Bacon, Francis
Barber, Lucy
Barnett, Lincoln Kinnear
Baudrillard, Jean
Bauer, Joan
Beach, Frederick Converse
Bellow, Saul
Bentham, Jeremy
Berkeley, Sir William
Berkman, Alexander
Berman, Sanford (Sandy)
Berry, John
Bey, Hakim
Billington, James
Birkerts, Sven
Blanke, Henry
Blinn, Marjeanne Jensen
Block, Sita
Bok, Sissela
Bollier, David
Borges, Jorge Luis
Boswell, James
Bowen, Catherine Drinker
Bradbury, Ray
Bradfield, Bill
Brandeis, Louis
Brandon, Dick
Breen, Marcus
Brinkman, John
Brittain, Michael
Brodsky, Joseph
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buschman, John
Buttigieg, Joseph A.

Campbell, Leslie M.
Canetti, Elias
Capone, Al
Carey, Alex
Carlyle, Thomas
Carnegie, Andrew
Carnovsky, Leon
Castro, Fidel
Cheever, John
Chomsky, Noam
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor
Council of Books in Wartime, The
Crawford, Walt
Cronkite, Walter
Curley, Arthur

Danky, James
Danton, J. Periam
DeSirey, Jan
Devey, Joseph
Dewey, Melvil
Dick, Archie L.
Dodge, Chris
Dogwood, Silence. See Franklin, Benjamin
Douglas, Frederick
Dukas, Helen
Dwyer, Jim

Eigen, Lewis D.
Einstein, Albert
Emerson, Ralph Waldo

Farber, Jim
Fellner, Gene
Finocchiaro, Maurice A.
FitzGerald, Tom
Flynt, Larry
von Foerster, Heinz
de la Fontaine, Henri
Franklin, Benjamin
Freedman, Maurice J. (Mitch)
Freire, Paulo
Freud, Sigmund
Frothingham, Richard
Fujiwara, Chris
Fuller, Margaret

Gallagher, Thomas
y Gasset, José Ortega
Gates Jr., Henry Louis
Gaunt, Christine
Gilbert, G.M.
Gillespie, Kerry
Gitlin, Todd
Goering, Hermann
von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang
Goldman, Emma
Gordon, Thomas
Gore, Al
Gorman, Michael
Gramsci, Antonio
Grass, Günther
Greenburger, Martin
Greer, Germaine
Grenier, David

Haar, John
Hand, Learned
Harding, Les
Hart-Davis, Rupert
Hauptman, Robert
Hayden, Carla
Healy, Timothy
Henry, Patrick
Herbert, Ann
Herman, Edward S.
Hoffmann, Banesh
Hogard, Lynn
Horn, Zoia
Humphrey, Hubert H.
Hunt, Gaillard
Hutchins, Robert Maynard
Huxley, Aldous

Ishizuka, Kathy

Jast, Louis Stanley
Jefferson, Thomas
Jensen, Carl
Johnson, Hiram
Johnson, Samuel
Johnson, Steven
Johnston, Richard J.H.
Jordan, Loretta
Joyce, Michael

Kasdan, Jake
Katz, Bill
Keillor, Garrison
Kelly, Thomas
Kennedy, John F.
Kenyon, John Philipps
Keogh, Andrew
Keyes, Ralph
King, Martin Luther
Kipling, Rudyard
Klein, Gary
Koch, Theodore
Kuhns, William
Kundera, Milan
Kurtz, Howard

Lancaster, Frederick W.
Landor, Ronald
Langton, Jane
Lederer, Richard
Lessing, Doris
Lichtenberg, Georg
Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph
Lincoln, Abraham
Litwin, Rory
Livingston, Edward
Locke, John
Lohrey, Andrew

MacMechan, Archibald
Madison, James
Madras Library Association
Magliabecchi, Antonio
Mailer, Norman
Malcolm X
Maraszek, Derek
Martinez, Elizabeth
McChesney, Robert
McCook, Kathleen de la Peña
McCrimmon, Barbara
McDonald, Peter
McGruder, Aaron
McPherson, Isaac
Mencia, Mario
Michaux, Henri
Mill, John Stuart
Mitford, Jessica
Monty Python
Moore, Lara Jennifer
Moore, Michael
Moriarty, Laura
Morrone, Francis
Motavalli, John

Navasky, Victor
Noam, Eli M.
Norman, Melora Ranney

Oliver, Richard W.
Orwell, George
Orwell, Sonia
Osler, Sir William

Paine, Albert Bigelow
Pateman, John
Penn, William
Persimmon, E.
Peter, Laurence J.
Philbin, Regis
Pierce, Linda
Plummer, Mary Wright
Ponsonby, Arthur
Postman, Neil
Pound, Ezra
Price, Derek de Solla

Quinn, Brian

Ranganathan, S. R.
Raymont, Henry
Reed, Sam
Reynolds, Sir Joshua
Riesman, David
Rines, George Edwin
Robbins, Jane
Robbins, Louise S.
Rosenzweig, Mark
Rotenberg, Marc
Rushdie, Salman
Russell, Bertrand

Sagan, Carl
Savile, George
Sayers, Frances Clarke
Schiffrin, Andre
Schiller, Herbert
Schreibman, Vigdor
Schuman, Patricia Glass
Seldes, George
Seneca, Lucius Annaeus
de Sevigne, Marie
Shera, Jesse
Shore, Elliot
Siegel, Jonathan P.
Siegel, Tatiana
Simon, Herbert
Starr, Ken
Stein, Gertrude
Stern, Joseph Peter
Stimpson, Catharine R.
Stoll, Clifford

Talbot, Stephen L.
Temkin, David
Tennant, Roy
Thebes, Egypt
Thoreau, Henry David
Todd, Richard
Tomlin, Lily
Trelease, Jim
Trenchard, John
Trevelyan, G.M.
Twain, Mark
Tyson, Mike

Udall, Morris (Mo)
Urgo, Joseph
U.S. Supreme Court

Vaidhyanathan, Siva
Van Impe, Jack
Vavrek, Bernard
Vidal, Gore
Vogel, Jennifer
Vonnegut, Kurt

Wagner, Jane
Wallace, David Foster
Wedgeworth, Robert
Weekes, Karen
Weeks, Linton
Weisbrot, Mark
Weizenbaum, Joseph
Wertsman, Vladimir
West, Celeste
Wicker, Tom
Wiesel, Elie
Wilde, Oscar
Willett, Charles
Wilson, Bruce
Wilson, Peter Lamborn
Wood, James
Woodward, Kathleen
Wyche, John


Zappa, Frank
Zinn, Howard