Library Juice 7:20 - September 24, 2004


Contents:

1. Links...
2. IFLA Report 2004 to SRRT
3. Social Forum of Information Documentation and Libraries
4. ALA Council list discussion on "E-Participation"


Quote for the week:

"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop
reading them." -- Ray Douglas Bradbury


Homepage of the week: Megan M. Adams
http://www.librarygrrrl.net/

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1. Links...

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Top 25 "Censored" Media Stories of 2003-2004
from Project Censored
http://www.projectcensored.org/publications/2005/index.html

[ from Don Phillips ]

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Media Democracy Day - October 18th
http://www.mediademocracyday.org/tiki-index.php

[ found surfing ]

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Libraries, Society's Jewels, Merit More Public Funding
By Kevin Starr
Kevin Starr, professor of history at USC and state librarian emeritus, is
author of "Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990-2003" (Alfred A.
Knopf, 2004).
September 9, 2004
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-starr9sep09,1,4715521.story

[ from Dana Lubow to the SRRT list ]

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Is copyright necessary?
by Terrence A. Maxwell
http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue9_9/maxwell/

Abstract:
Copyright is a legal mechanism for promotion of useful knowledge.
However, it is not the only means society could use to encourage
information dissemination, and several alternative models have been
suggested over the last 200 years. This article provides the results
of a dynamic simulation of the publishing industry in the United
States from 1800 to 2100, and tests the impact of different
protection schemes on the development of authorship, the publishing
industry, and reader access. It closes with a discussion of
intellectual property information policy decisions that can be
currently made, and their likely impacts on domestic and
international copyright protection.

[ from Edward J. Valauskas to First Monday TOC subscribers ]

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Don't Mess With Librarians
By Adam L. Penenberg
Wired News
http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,64945,00.html

[ from Librarian.net ]

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Van de Sompel, Herbert, et al. Rethinking Scholarly Communication:
Building the System that Scholars Deserve. D-Lib Magazine, 10(9).
September 2004.
http://www.dlib.org/dlib/september04/vandesompel/09vandesompel.html

[ from Bernie Sloan to the JESSE list ]

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Plundering the cradle of civilisation
By Zainab Bahrani
September 13, 2004
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/09/12/1094927432173.html

[ from Mark Rosenzweig to the ALA Council list ]

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2004 Information Format Trends: Content, Not Containers
http://www.oclc.org/reports/2004format.htm

[ Don Wood to Member Forum ]

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a seminar was held in Helsinki, Finland, on 13 September 2004, about WSIS and
libraries. The title was Libraries for Active Citizenship - Global
Perspectives. The speakers came from Namibia, Switzerland, France, the
Netherlands, Azerbaijan and from Finland. Some titles:
- Information society in Africa?
- WSIS and Libraries
- Information cottage - reaching the grassroot
- etc.

The seminar papers are now available on the web:
http://www.eduskunta.fi/kirjasto/Home/Uutta/wsis.htm

[ from Tuula Haavisto to the IFLA list ]

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Librarian Meetups
http://librarians.meetup.com/
40 of them at the present time

[ from Emily Reich to the SJSU SLIS list ]

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Anne Lipow has passed away
http://wazzup.infopeople.org/archives/000083.html

[ Chizuko Kawamoto to ncal-lib ]

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Chilean libraries during and after the dictatorship
CLARA BUDNIK SINAY (Directorate of Libraries, Archives and Museum of
Chile, DIBAM, Santiago, Chile)
Tuesday, Aug. 24th, 2004
http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla70/papers/096e-Budnik.pdf

[ from Al Kagan to the SRRT list ]

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Bookstacks - free online books
http://www.bookstacks.org/

[ found surfing ]
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2. IFLA Report 2004 to SRRT

IFLA held its first meeting in South America this year, Aug. 22-27,
in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although Argentina has been going
through a very rough period economically since 2001, the organizers
did an excellent job and the conference went very smoothly. About
3000 participants saw how rich this country used to be in the faded
elegance of the architecture and public spaces. The economy is now on
the upswing, but President Kirchner lamented that Argentina is still
going through "hell" in a speech while we were in town. The current
difficulties are directly related to World Bank/IMF structural
adjustment demands as well as local corruption. The present
government is making a major effort to fight off the World Bank.
However for IFLA participants from elsewhere, prices were cheap and
it was exciting to be in this vibrant city where the tango is alive
and well. Let me just mention one of the best cultural evenings that
I have attended in many years of IFLA meetings. The August 25th
Velada Cultural at the Teatro Opera was indeed wonderful and included
folk ballet, tango, choir, and avant garde (similar to Cirque Soleil,
I am told).

The main controversial issue coming before the IFLA Council was a
resolution on the defense of public lending in libraries. It was
introduced by a group of European and Latin American members
expressing concern over the recent evolution of European Union
actions on copyright laws. I was surprised to learn that European
libraries must pay copyright fees in order to lend books to the
public. In some countries, these fees are paid up-front by
governments, but libraries will be responsible for such fees
elsewhere. The resolution asked for library exemptions to this
regulation. After much debate, a substitute resolution was passed
asking the IFLA Governing Board to study the question and report back.

One of the most important IFLA bodies is the Free Access to
Information and Freedom of Expression Committee (FAIFE). As an
incoming member officially taking office after the meeting, I will
report on some of the more important topics discussed. Following on
the 2003 IFLA Council resolution asking association members to report
on legislation similar to the USA Patriot Act, FAIFE decided to put
the collection of such information into its on-going questionnaire
process for compiling its world reports issued every two years. The
next will be issued in 2005. Theme reports are issued in the years
between the world reports. The current 2004 theme report was issued
in Buenos Aires, and it is titled, Libraries for Lifelong Literacy.
It includes chapters on Chile, Namibia, South Asia, and indigenous
knowledge and minority languages in Africa.

Special cases that have come before FAIFE include Afghanistan,
Palestine, and Cuba. The Committee has been trying to organize
delegations to Afghanistan and Palestine for the past several years
but various obstacles have gotten in the way. There is some hope for
getting these underway this year, particularly for Palestine where
the funding is already secure.

FAIFE has issued at least five previous statements on Cuba. The
Committee received a request from an organization called People in
Need through the Czech TV Foundation, again asking IFLA to address
the situation of the so-called "Independent Librarians" in Cuba. It
was signed by Vaclav Havel, Elena Bonner (widow of Andrei Sakharov),
and other notables from Eastern Europe and Russia. However, it was
interesting to see that no librarians signed this letter. Robert Kent
from the Friends of Cuban Libraries group spoke again and distributed
his press clippings. He found very little support at these meetings
filled with South American librarians. He was roundly denounced by
several speakers (and with much applause) at a FAIFE program on
another topic. There were about 20 Cuban librarians at the meeting,
and they also distributed a statement at their booth and poster
session. In the end, FAIFE decided that no further action was
necessary, and that a letter would be sent noting IFLA's past actions
(which are available on the IFLA website in various places). A draft
letter was distributed at the FAIFE meeting. I made several
suggestions for a revision to more accurately reflect IFLA findings.

Al Kagan
September 19, 2004
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3. Social Forum of Information Documentation and Libraries

Release - September 14, 2004

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to tell you about the first Social Forum of Information,
Documentation and Libraries (SFIDL) which was held in Buenos Aires,
Argentina August 26-28, 2004 and which met its planning goals and became the
first step for building a professional community that identifies with the
highest social values and political commitment.

We can state that our expectations were fulfilled thanks to the high level
of participation by the attendees. The Organizing Committee publicly thanks
each and every one of the colleagues who formed part of the Forum: those who
sent a paper, those who participated in the virtual debate, and those who
attended the Foro in Buenos Aires.

There was an attendance of 150 people who met in Buenos Aires coming
primarily from various countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Six
round tables were developed during two days which culminated in the plenary
session on Saturday, August 28. Attendees could also visit a poster
exhibition about human rights, view documentary videos from an alternative
collective, The Fourth Patio, and participate in a video conference with
Richard Stallman, driving force of free software, as part of additional
activities offered.

The main outcome was that it raised the need to continue a permanent forum
that has its presence through commissions and working groups which will
focus primarily on subjects like user formation, preservation of heritage
documents, prison libraries, a School of Latin American Library Science
Thought, the impact of OMC/ALCA on libraries, etc.

At this time the Organizing Committee is engaged in evaluation, working on a
proposal for planning and organization of the activities of these
commissions and tables, on the drafts of documents and reports about the
different commitments raised at the forum, on the work agenda and on the
action plan. CEBI and GESBI are writing the final declaration that will be
released at the end of this September.

All this documentation will be made available at the SFDIL portal:
http://www.inforosocial.com.ar (site in Spanish) or in this site
http://www.cebi.org.mx/indexsf.html (site in English) and distributed to the
interested lists.

Hoping to stay in communication and looking forward to your comments. We
share our cordial and supportive greetings.

Sincerely,
The Organizing Committee General Secretary
Grupo de Estudios Sociales en Bibliotecología y Documentación (Argentina)
Piedras 482 4° Piso "M"
CP: 1070
Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires
República Argentina

Círculo de Estudios sobre Bibliotecología
Política y Social (México)
Apartado Postal 70-190
Zona Comercial, Ciudad Universitaria
Del. Coyoacán
04511 México, DF
Contact: secretaria[at]inforosocial.com.ar

Library School student's letter about the Forum.

Hi fellow Biblioprogresistas!!

My name is Gabriela Barreto and I am a Library Science student from Uruguay.

By way of introduction to the group, I would like to tell you what my
impressions were with respect to the Information, Documentation, and Library
Social Forum.

Of course above all I liked everything and I returned very happy from being
able to participate, the chances and the regard of the people that made it
possible for me.

It was more or less like this:

The first day (at the end) I couldn't believe it, it was if we were all
friends, colleagues with a common goal. We all could express our opinion and
we were all treated with respect and listened to with a lot of attention.
Anyway, they say that nobody is a prophet on their ground, but finally I
felt that the work we do and that at times we feel alone and without impact,
finally had generated impact; impact in a community interested in that type
of work, interested in working by and for the community.

The second day was also fantastic, there was an atmosphere of trust and of
freedom to express ourselves that although dangerous in some moments,
finally prevailed. Apart from the important interventions from my school
companions, I was very excited to personally know the group of people who
did literacy work in Argentina and to be able to exchange impressions with
them and generate a friendship.

I arrived the third day at an emotional high, I didn't want to forget the
event's organizers who made us feel at every moment of the Forum very loved
and we developed a great friendship with them, who produced the meeting with
people who gave us feedback pleasantly. The last day, then, for me was if it
would not end, as if later we were going to see everybody again, although
there were tears, I believe that everybody was full of joy and emotion.

Anyway, academically I learned a lot, for the work with people much more.
But what enriched me the most was to know the different experiences of every
person, of every country, or every town.

And now we return, we return with a bag full of books, of cards. But above
all with my mind full of ideas and with my soul full of a common feeling, of
working in order to help the people of Latin America live a little better.
To work in a group, because we are not alone or isolated.

In order to give you a little of this feeling is why I now tell this. So
that all of us are united as one. And although we can't physically be
together we are virtually, and we will see each personallyâ¦

Also to break the ice...

I am Gaby from Uruguayâ¦

Charmed to meet you.

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4. ALA Council list discussion on "E-Participation"

[ALACOUN:13013] E-Participation
Date: Monday 11:35:06 am
From: "James B. Casey" <drjbc92[at]lib.oak-lawn.il.us>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>

It electronic participation was "full fledged" rather than advisory,
substantive member participation would be broader and more
inclusive. However, it is feared that attendance at conferences
and midwinter meetings would be adversely affected since it
would no longer be necessary to spend thousands of dollars
for flights, hotel accommodations, meals, taxi cabs, etc. in
order to cast a vote and have influence over the future of the
Association. Also, ALA derives serious revenue from
its conferences and midwinters. Those who pressure
strongly against full e-membership realize that declining
attendance at expensive "face-to-face" gatherings would
shrink ALA's revenues and therefore could ultimately
cost many ALA Staff their jobs. Defenders of the
"status quo" may be highly motivated to argue against
logical and creative innovation which could eliminate
major cost barriers to participation.

Does ALA serve the interests of Libraries and
Librarians or do Libraries and Librarians
serve the interests of ALA? Expending
thousands of dollars from slim library budgets or
slimmer personal budgets to "serve and support"
ALA by having to travel across the country to
"be counted" saps resources which could be better
used elsewhere. Do you think that $1,000 from
one's personal funds would be better spent on
behalf of Libraries and Intellectual Freedom if it
went to the Marriott for a hotel room or if it
were to be given to support the Kerry
campaign (for example) or to MoveOn.Org. or
donated to the Spectrum Initiative?

James B. Casey -- Councilor-at-Large

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[ALACOUN:13018] Re: E-Participation
Date: Monday 03:08:01 pm
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]earthlink.net>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
Reply to: iskra[at]earthlink.net

I oppose giving electronic participation the same status as actual
attendance and face-face communications, but for several different
reasons (some related though) to those assayed by Jim Casey. In short
I believe that just because something can be done it doesn't mean it
should be done. Nor is financial cost the only desideratum, as
Councilor Kamm would seemingly have it. There are other kinds of
costs.

I am extremely concerned with the implications of overall trend
towards 'virtualization' of all human institutions including
libraries and, to be sure, our library association. I believe many
others are too, but it seems we librarians just cannot resist -- we
don't have the courage perhaps of seeming for a time, an historical
moment, to be swimming in some way (any way) against the stream --
the lure of more and more disembodied communications, so that rather
than just giving such modes of communication the status of necessary
adjuncts (which they certainly are) we move further and further
towards giving them primacy and adapting ourselves to them rather
than adapting them to us. We bow and scrape before seeming
technological imperatives as if we have lost our critical faculties
in the the face of the new machine.

In doing so we have increasingly undermined the arguments for
libraries, especially public ones, except as arcades for virtual
access to so-called 'information' and these arcades themselves, as
physical places are increasingly considered expendable, unnecessary.
The dynamic of virtualization is powerful and is transforming our
institutions and their purposes so quickly that they can disappear
forever into the ether from which there is no return in a generation.

Further, we know that people are more and more tied to their PCs, at
work and at home, in ways which are beginning to appear increasingly
socially and psychologically destructive. They are, as well, slaves
to their cell phones and laptops in a manner which, albeit the butt
of many jokes, is atomizing as much as it is communicatory. The
norms and character of electronic communications in this electronic
environment are not the same as those of face-to-face communication,
and this is not merely a question of 'style': it is a question of the
purposes and limits of these different forms, indeed , radically
different levels : if this is not apparent to you, you are already
living in a different world. People do not behave and perceive others
behavior, they do not judge matters, they do not present themselves
in the same way as in a 'non-virtual' real world.

We would be creating two different castes of 'participants' in our
Association, the virtual and the real. The real becomes recognized,
in effect, as a privilege. This is a destructive concession to
technology.

I understand the necessity of electronic communications. I simply
cannot see them as a substitute for what is dismissively called
'face-to-face' communications as if we are talking about some
historical antiquity. Face-to-face communications, my friends, should
be valued, promoted, encouraged in the face of technological
developments which devalue them, lest they actually DO become an
artifact of the past (of the entire history, that is, of humanity up
to this point).

I believe that increasing virtual participation will not only shrink
the association conferences and meetings as providing fora for real
participation at actual events, in real places, with real encounters,
in shared circumstances with real people with real commitment to real
dialogue and discussion and debate and deliberations and
decision-making, it will ultimately undo the raison d'etre of ALA
just as similar decisions are undermining the raisons'd'etre of
libraries themselves.

Mark Rosenzweig
Councilor at large

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[ALACOUN:13019] Re: E-Participation
Date: Monday 03:59:20 pm
From: "James B. Casey" <drjbc92[at]lib.oak-lawn.il.us>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
CC: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
Reply to: drjbc92[at]lib.oak-lawn.il.us

Mark Rosenzweig wrote (excerpts):

> I oppose giving electronic participation the same status as actual
> attendance and face-face communications, but for several different
> reasons (some related though) to those assayed by Jim Casey. In short
> I believe that just because something can be done it doesn't mean it
> should be done. Nor is financial cost the only desideratum, as
> Councilor Kamm would seemingly have it. There are other kinds of costs.

Councilor Rosenzweig has spoken with great eloquence in the
past about the need to irradicate the charging of fees by libraries
in that they constitute a "financial barrier" to information which
discriminates against those who cannot afford to pay. Doesn't the
notion that an ALA Member must be able to afford to attend
ALA Annuals and Midwinters on a regular basis throw up a
more significant fiscal barrier or "poll tax" keeping many who might
otherwise hold decision making roles on various committees
and other bodies from full participation?

I agree that fiscal arguments are not the only ones. We have seen
"distance education" enable working parents and those who may
be less mobile than others to avail themselves of the nourishment
of continuing education and earn full academic credit without the
necessity of sitting in a classroom dozens or hundreds of miles
away.

Technology can enable us to become more inclusive and less
exclusive. That can only strenghten the value and force of
our consensus.

>
> I am extremely concerned with the implications of overall trend
> towards 'virtualization' of all human institutions including libraries
> and, to be sure, our library association. I believe many others are
> too, but it seems we librarians just cannot resist -- we don't have
> the courage perhaps of seeming for a time, an historical moment, to be
> swimming in some way (any way) against the stream -- the lure of more
> and more disembodied communications, so that rather than just giving
> such modes of communication the status of necessary adjuncts (which
> they certainly are) we move further and further towards giving them
> primacy and adapting ourselves to them rather than adapting them to
> us. We bow and scrape before seeming technological imperatives as if
> we have lost our critical faculties in the the face of the new machine.
>
> In doing so we have increasingly undermined the arguments for
> libraries, especially public ones, except as arcades for virtual
> access to so-called 'information' and these arcades themselves, as
> physical places are increasingly considered expendable, unnecessary.
> The dynamic of virtualization is powerful and is transforming our
> institutions and their purposes so quickly that they can disappear
> forever into the ether from which there is no return in a generation.

Yesterday, our Library had its "Rededication" Ceremony where
we marked the completion of a major construction project costing
$5.5 million. Last Sunday, I attended a "Grand Opening" where
the new Library building cost $22.5 million. There have been
dozens of major construction projects in the greater Chicago
area where larger and newer Library buildings are constructed
with many millions of additional tax dollars paid --
sometimes with enthusiastic willingness -- by taxpayers who
otherwise shout with rage against tax increases. Why are we
seeing such a growth in public demand for Libraries if the
"virtualization" of technology is swallowing up the essense of
Library service? We aren't losing our "essence". We are,
rather, becoming essential.

I think that the advent of technology and its further march
forward augur well for the future of libraries. That we
could better avail outselves of the opportunities for service
is obvious.

James B. Casey --- Councilor-at-Large

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[ALACOUN:13020] Re: E-Participation
Date: Monday 07:31:26 pm
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]earthlink.net>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
CC: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
Reply to: iskra[at]earthlink.net

I appreciate Jim Casey's thoughtful response.

I too believe equity of participation is a serious issue.

I think there are other ways to address it besides institutionalizing
two distinct and not necessarily commensurable forms of
participation. This latter course cements into place a structure
which excuses the lack of library administrations' support for
conference attendance by librarians and staff. I can hear it now,
cant you? "Ms Johnson, yu don't have to take time off and go to a
conference or have us subsidize your attendance. Ther are ways for
you to participate... electronically" That is, while stuck at your
desk at work and/or during your own time tied your PC at home .How
different that is from real attendance and participation, apart from
the considerations I raised in my last post!

I should say too that I don't at all scoff at the financial
considerations for ALA suggested by Jim. Giving excuses for ersatz
forms of participation not requiring attendance means, for ALA, less
library workers at conferences supported by their libraries in
attending and therefore less conference fees from them; less
librarians encouraged and enabled to go means less vendors; less
vendors means less vendor fees; smaller participation by vendors
means less incentive for institutions to send their librarians; less
revenues from conferences means diminished services by ALA and a
predictable drop in membership.

How can equity in participation be addressed otherwise?

By creating a real sliding scale of dues; for implementing a sliding
scale of conference fees; by helping to find really affordable
housing beyond hotels; by considering subsiding committee members and
other active participants with matching funds from their institutions
on a needs basis; by encouraging libraries to subsidize their
librarians and support staff in conference attendance as professional
development and particularly in supporting those engaged in service
to the profession.

In the end, in the medium run in fact, I think this would create the
basis for more equitable, genuine participation in the
real-life/real-time/real-world conference experience and prevent the
spiral of events consequent to virtualizing the experience of 'full'
participation. It is, in any case, not possible to make decisions or
have an informed discussion without actually experiencing the
conference events as a totality, some of which are quite
unpredictable in their consequences, and people should be able to do
so if they are willing to be participants. Keeping virtual
participation as an adjunctive means of communications, of course, is
not precluded.

Mark Rosenzweig
Councilor at large
NYC

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[ALACOUN:13021] Re: E-Participation
Date: Tuesday 07:28:01 am
From: jessamyn <jessamyn[at]speakeasy.net>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
CC: List Council ALA <alacoun[at]ala.org>
Reply to: jessamyn[at]speakeasy.net

On Sep 20, 2004, at 8:31 PM, Mark Rosenzweig wrote:

> "Ms Johnson, yu don't have to take time off and go to a conference or
> have us subsidize your attendance. Ther are ways for you to
> participate... electronically" That is, while stuck at your desk at
> work and/or during your own time tied your PC at home .How different
> that is from real attendance and participation, apart from the
> considerations I raised in my last post!

As the person who was part of raising this original issue this time
around [by resigning from the Membership Committee when I discovered
that I would be participate the same as everyone else but without being
able to vote on substantive issues] let me just say that at some level
we are ALL e-members. The fact that you are reading my email and we're
not at Annual or Midwinter highlights the degree to which we already
participate electronically. However, we can only make binding decisions
twice a year when we get together and vote. This turns conferences into
frenzied hives of activity where we have to cram all the work of the
association into less than a week, and anything left undone gets tabled
for six months.

That said, I do believe in moderation and I think some of ALAs
electronic initiatives have yielded less than spectacular results, or
tried to push too many people into an e-environment they weren't ready
for, or that the organization wasn't ready to support. I'm not sure
what to do about this, but I am sure we're not getting it right yet.

I submit, that pragmatically we have choices to face:

* If we insist on doing all of our business in person, we will be
outpaced by other organizations who allow more e-participation who can
change more rapidly, respond to issues more quickly and be more
responsive to members who are already online While I appreciate not
wanting to lose conference revenue to people staying home and
participating over email/chat/whatever, we also need to think about
losing members because we are a slow-moving organization who is not
perceived as "getting" technology in a world where more and more of our
jobs involve interacting with technology. People have many other
options for professional development. We say on the one hand "hey we're
all cybrarians, we're hip and with it" but we can't walk the talk and
people join ASiS, and they attend Computers in Libraries instead of
ALA.

* If we only do business at conferences, we leave much more of the
running of the organization to ALA staffers. While they are certainly
doing a fine job, there are always grumblings that this is a member
organization that should be run more by its members. This becomes an
easier claim to make if there are more ways of interacting with the
members in more immediate ways between conferences.

* If we stress attendance and participation, we should also endeavor to
make such attendance and participation worthwhile, and perhaps simpler
for a larger percentage of the membership. And by simpler in many ways
I mean cheaper. Ideas come up all the time such as

- discounts on registration fees for Councilors or other people giving
greatly of their time

- exhibit passes free for children to attend with parents so
more families can plan vacations around ALA

- more responsiveness from ALA staffers AT conferences to deal
with issues that come up during the conference that need immediate
resolution [yes, I'm still holding a grudge over lack of AV at my
virtual presentation in Orlando] in a cell phone/pager sort of way

- actual low-cost housing options for people who can't ever afford
the Marriot

The point is not to make people who are not comfortable or enthusiastic
about technology-assisted participation feel like they are being passed
by. The point, as I understand it, is to offer more options for more
people to feel like they are a part of ALA, a real part.

I'd love to see a demographic slice of ALA and see what the ages are of
people who are joining. ALA was the big name in library circles when I
was graduating library school a decade ago, is it still? Will it be two
decades from now?

jessamyn

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[ALACOUN:13022] RE: E-participation
Date: Tuesday 07:46:41 am
From: "Rettig, Jim" <jrettig[at]richmond.edu>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
Reply to: jrettig[at]richmond.edu

Councilor Casey says that if " electronic participation was "full fledged"
rather than advisory, substantive member participation would be broader and
more inclusive." This is true. But to attribute this state of affairs
solely to dollars and cents issues distorts the situation and ignores recent
history. He is indeed correct that it could have an adverse effect on
conference revenues. It could also have an adverse effect on Association
expenses. But it more than a dollars-and-cents issue.

As we consider ALA's future, greatly expanding opportunities for member
electronic participation (of many sorts for many purposes) is a necessity.
ALA will need to be rethought , perhaps in radical ways, to make that
transition and remain fiscally viable.

In recent years the Committee on Organization has worked on some of the
e-participation issues, primarily those having to do with committee
membership. For the history of this, see the documents at
http://www.ala.org/ala/ourassociation/governanceb/council/counccommittees/coo/coodocuments.htm
(Or, alternately: http://tinyurl.com/6u58v.)These make it clear that there are several ALA
policies that currently limit the extent and nature of electronic
participation in committees (as do quorum considerations in Sturgis). Key
among those policies are:

Policy 4.5: Requirements for Committee Service

Policy 7.4.4: Open Meetings

(Some of the COO documents may cite a different policy number for one of
these or other policies. Changes to other parts of the Policy Manual have
resulted in changes in some cited numbers.)

In this thread Sue Kamm asked " Can someone find out how much it would
cost to provide some kind of online participation for committee members?
Would ALA need to revise the conference schedule to allow for time
differences?." This implies that a meeting or program could be in progress
live in a group of people meeting face-to-face and that simultaneously
members across the nation or beyond could participate in real time
electronically. If that is Sue's intent, then I can provide an estimate of
very expensive. I cannot cite a dollar figure for this. However I recall
that obtaining wireless access for a few days in the Orlando Convention
Center for a limited number of members was costly. If I recall, it was
about what a typical ISP charges for a month. As for providing all of the
transmitting equipment needed in the face-to-face meeting rooms to allow
others to participate in real time from afar, telecommunications and
computer equipment fees in convention centers is notoriously expensive.

ALA is looking at software for online communities. If this proves
useful and reliable, then there will be new opportunities for electronic
participation. However even if we have such software, it won't wipe out the
policy issues. Council will need to deal with those if it wishes. One of
the COO documents (see
http://www.ala.org/ala/ourassociation/governanceb/council/counccommittees/coo/openmeetings.htm
or http://tinyurl.com/6l54c) identifies some policy options. There are probably others, too. Even if
there is suitable software, I don't think the needed infrastructure is
widely enough deployed in meeting places to blend in full simultaneous
face-to-face participation and electronic participation. We may be able to
do it on a limited scale for selected meetings, but note wholesale in the
spirit of the open meetings policy.

COO over several years took an incremental approach to electronic
participation rather than to attempt a number of major changes at once. The
reason for this approach was varied (sometimes directly conflicting) view of
members who spoke at an open forum as well as concerns among members of the
committee.

Melora started this thread asking "How can meaningful participation be
obtained in a digital environment?" (She currently chairs COO; that gives
her a very practical interest in this issue.) How can meaningful
participation be obtained in a digital environment? In recent years member
feedback on that question has focused on committee participation. Hence
COO's emphasis on that issue. But surely electronic participation is
something broader than being a committee member or participating in
committee meetings. Let's brainstorm a bit about the answer(s) to Melora's
very important question. The ideas generated can help shape ALA's long-term
direction. Once we have those ideas, then the policy issues, the
organization structural issues, the fiscal issues, etc., that need to be
dealt with will become clear and we can address them with a goal in sight.

If online communities software is adopted by ALA I can imagine it
supporting member groups that form around an issue of common interest. Each
of these would be a new community within ALA. Most of them would be ad hoc
and probably short-lived. But for their participants this transitory
community would be very useful and rewarding. That's just one small,
probably underdeveloped idea about what electronic participation in ALA
might look like.

Jim Rettig, member of the ALA Executive Board (speaking for himself and only
for himself) and
University Librarian
Boatwright Memorial Library
University of Richmond
Richmond, VA 23173
Voice: 804/289-8456
FAX: 804/287-1840
jrettig[at]richmond.edu

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[ALACOUN:13025]
Date: Tuesday 09:13:59 am
From: Marilyn Hinshaw <mhinshaw[at]eodls.lib.ok.us>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
Reply to: mhinshaw[at]eodls.lib.ok.us

Only with a smile would I say this:
what if membership meeting were virtual??? How interesting to ponder if it
would increase attendance?

Just coming off the assignment to select a scholarship winner from some 256
applicants, my report to you is that the totally on-line experience with the
other committee members worked beautifully. (We did have to slip in one phone
call for the teams of two, working on a sub-assignment, and I had several
calls to ALA headq., as the team leader.)

To make this work well, the coordinator has to take a very strong role in
moving it forward - setting dates for responses, checking in frequently,
etc.

The other caveat is that, for me at least, it has to be a task that can use
the virtual environment as a strength. Some other tasks that depend on
personal interaction, for instance, would be very difficult to perform in
the virtual environment. Possibly that is why the affairs of state - one
country in its relationships to another - still use (must use, in my
humble opinion) face to face meetings.

What a wonderful century of opportunity, to be involved in the decisions
that will affect how people change their work and work places. Having been
there for the times and trials of Captain Kirk in the original run of the
series, I always have the vision of how it worked for inter-galactic
relationships. Any other trekkies out there, who can't wait to take
the next leap??

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[ALACOUN:13023] Re: E-Participation
Date: Tuesday 09:27:39 am
From: "Steve Matthews" <smatthews[at]foxcroft.org>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
CC: "ALA Council List" <alacoun[at]ala.org>
Reply to: smatthews[at]foxcroft.org

Bravo to Councilor Rosenzweig! The machine is a tool. It should serve us,
not control us. While Councilor West made the valid point that we need to be
more nimble and able to respond, giving up another piece of our humanity is
too high a price, if that is the tariff. Libraries serve people, so when I
leave my particular work venue, I want to see people, talk to them, listen
to them, interact with them to forge an improved idea or a new initiative.
I want to hear language, uttered with intonation and exclamation. I want
to see the excitement and/or disappointment of colleagues, their accompanying
and essential body language and eye contact, as we make our way to improve
and change what we have devoted our lives to. It seems impossible that we
have come to a juncture where we are actually thinking that showing up is
no longer 90%, it's 0%, or that participation is like gathering eggs as
they're laid, but there's nobody there to make or eat the omelet. I live
and adjust to a world where an increasing part of communication is avoiding
human contact- phone mail and e-mail both allow us to function asynchronously
for much of our lives, avoiding delivering the news, the opinion or the
unpopular answer in person. Talking to electronicly generated voice
simulations or a recorded clip of the human in question are routine facts
of life and real time wasters. And then, there's that wonderful "paperless"
society that we have created. Forest trees beware- it's only the beginning.
My point isn't to say that technology is horrible, but that we need to quit
being bullied by it. What do we need to accomplish and how can we best
accomplish it without chucking our humanity in the proverbial trash bin.
In this wretched time of war, insecurity, and carnage, where advertising,
not information, controls the political agenda, we need methods and priorities
which re-humanize us, not condemn us to our wired cubicle where we can
simulate being a member of human society while being alone. I don't now,
nor will I ever believe that meeting with my colleagues or hearing Jonathan
Kozol or Richard Rodriguez in person, in real time, at this very time, when
I am alive and practicing my craft is a "luxury." And so, HAL, are you
really sure that you want to do what you are doing?

Steve Matthews, Councilor-at-large

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[ALACOUN:13024] Re: E-Participation
Date: Tuesday 09:49:51 am
From: "James B. Casey" <drjbc92[at]lib.oak-lawn.il.us>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
CC: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
Reply to: drjbc92[at]lib.oak-lawn.il.us

Mark Rosenzweig wrote (excerpts):

>
> I think there are other ways to address it besides institutionalizing
> two distinct and not necessarily commensurable forms of participation.
> This latter course cements into place a structure which excuses the
> lack of library administrations' support for conference attendance by
> librarians and staff. I can hear it now, cant you? "Ms Johnson, yu
> don't have to take time off and go to a conference or have us
> subsidize your attendance. Ther are ways for you to participate...
> electronically" That is, while stuck at your desk at work and/or
> during your own time tied your PC at home .How different that is from
> real attendance and participation, apart from the considerations I
> raised in my last post!
>
>
> By creating a real sliding scale of dues; for implementing a sliding
> scale of conference fees; by helping to find really affordable housing
> beyond hotels; by considering subsiding committee members and other
> active participants with matching funds from their institutions on a
> needs basis; by encouraging libraries to subsidize their librarians
> and support staff in conference attendance as professional development
> and particularly in supporting those engaged in service to the
> profession.
>
> ----------------------------------

Having written an article (AL, April 2002, "The 1.6% Solution") advocating
that Libraries provide more fiscal support for professional involvement and
continuing education by staff, I am in strong agreement with the notion that
those of us in Administration could do a much better job of finding and
allocating funds to support active participation in ALA and in state library
associations.

That being said, we need to acknowledge that the "administrators"
and board members who serve libraries are not always among the
most affluent of people. Despite being the CEOs of their operations,
many public library directors draw salaries which are extremely low
when compared to those paid to public school teachers and
executives in other fields. Of the 86 public libraries in
South Suburban Chicago, many of the directors earn less than
$40,000 per annum and most earn less than $50,000. Library
budgets are also tight. Money available for building projects isn't
always on hand when it comes to compensation and CE. Much as
I would urge even the poorest of libraries to invest in professional
involvement and continuing education, it is quite often a very
"difficult sell". A sliding scale of dues may be a good idea,
but there isn't much of a slope to slide down or up. Sometimes
the top salary in a public library is less than the average paid
to a public school teacher in the same community.

ALA needs to find ways of bringing the lower paid librarians
and the less affluent libraries into a more substantive and
viable role in the decision making process. We need to be
more relevant to their needs and more responsive to their
concerns.

James B. Casey --- Councilor-at-Large

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[ALACOUN:13026] Re: E-Participation
Date: Tuesday 11:12:46 am
From: Sue Kamm <suekamm[at]mindspring.com>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
CC: alacoun[at]ala.org
Reply to: Sue Kamm <suekamm[at]mindspring.com>

Councilor West brings up a point I had not thought about for several years:
Making inexpensive housing available for conference-goers.

<creaking rocking chair>

When I became active in ALA shortly after the invention of moveable type,
those of us on limited budgets had the opportunity to stay in el cheapo
housing, normally in dormitories at colleges in the conference city.
Granted, these rooms were sometimes Spartan - no TV, no daily maid service,
bathrooms down the hall - but they had the advantage of being inexpensive.
The ever-handy Gale buses did go to the colleges. The last time I remember
staying in a dorm was at a conference in San Francisco, at the University
of San Francisco [IIRC}. If the Gale transportation wasn't available, a
public bus stopped nearby.

I must admit I haven't paid attention to the presense or absense of this
housing alternative. Does staff take the availability of such housing into
account when selecting conference sites? If not, can they negotiate for
less expensive spaces at colleges or universities? (I realize that such
accommodations might not be available for Midwinter, since students are
in residence.)

</creaking rocking chair>

Your friendly CyberGoddess and Councilor-at-large,
Sue Kamm
Inglewood/Los Angeles, CA
Truest of the Blue, Los Angeles Dodgers Think Blue Week 2000
Visit my home page:
http://suekamm.home.mindspring.com/index.htm
email: suekamm[at]mindspring.com
What I wonder is, where are the guys who just love to play baseball?
--Wes Parker, former Los Angeles Dodgers infielder

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[ALACOUN:13027] RE: E-participation
Date: Tuesday 11:25:36 am
From: "Janet Hill" <Janet.Hill[at]colorado.edu>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
Reply to: Janet.Hill[at]colorado.edu

This is one of those discussions where it might be possible to identify some
of the authors from their opinions alone, without benefit of signatures.
(remember this point, it's important).

We have a full array of opinions already expressed, and all those that I
have read have merits. But something imbedded in Jim Rettig's message seemed
especially important to me. And that is the need to acknowledge/recognize
that "e-participation" does not necessarily have to denote only one kind of
participation.

Many messages seem to imply that "e-participation" must necessarily include
full voting membership in committees. But since actual (in-the-flesh)
participation in ALA activities takes many forms. why shouldn't virtual
participation also have many modes?

Many ALA members find their ALA activities satisfying and useful without
committee membership or holding of offices. Surely we are all acquainted
with people who come to conference and never (or almost never) contribute
more to conference activities than their warm bodies, and perhaps an
occasional question. Some of what they get out of conferences
(information, observation) might be satisfied by a "virtual conference".
But some might not. Talking to someone in the hall afterward? Making a
snarky comment to your neighbor during a presentation? Seeing wonderful
Orlando? Experiencing shared disasters or delights? Schmoozing? If all
that conferences offered was information; continuing education, people would
stay home and read journals.

Now, some schmoozing can definitely be done online, through discussion
lists, chats, "online communities", etc. And some people take to this kind
of thing readily. They develop friendships (or antipathies), recognize
personality traits, can assess relative authoritativeness of participants.
AND they can obtain and exchange information and opinions.

And some committee work can certainly be done online. Much is already.
But I would submit that we as a whole association OF PEOPLE aren't ready to
do it all online (even if the necessarily technologies were universally
available). Anyone who has been involved with a committee that has a
discussion list (heck, anyone who has been on THIS discussion list) has seen
that while some people are willing, able, and inclined to conduct
discussions, information seeking, opinion sharing, document drafting, etc.
online, there are many who are not.

Some are simply not comfortable doing it. Some people are opposed to it.
And that's just with discussions limited to committee members. How would
they feel with "observers" present? Some aren't prepared to devote the time
to it (remember this, too. It's also important). How many times have you
read a message where someone says something like "YOU people must not have
much to do in your jobs, but as for ME, I don't have the time to read all
these messages? .... carrying the suggestion that their time is way to
important to waste on committee/Council business, with its implicit message
that they expected their ALA commitments to be pretty much limited to
conferences and the few weeks just before and after them. A shift to
e-participation might carry with it a shift to year-round involvement.
How many would that drive away?

Someone made a draconian suggestion that everybody should be REQUIRED to
participate in their committees electronically (through discussion, etc.),
but implementation would be a nightmare. I've just participated in a
2-week discussion topic for a course in a graduate library school.
Students were graded on participation (and you could tell that some had a
really hard time coming up with something to contribute/ask) .... but would
we do the same thing in ALA business? And how? The Chair becomes the
"professor"? The system tallies messages posted?

As a part of the background investigation for Strategic Planning, some
members were asked why they participated in ALA to the extent that they did.
The Very Active members (those who routinely served on committees or in
offices) tended to say "Because it is the right thing to do. Because it
enriches the profession and furthers the association's goals. Because it
helps to prepare the profession and its practitioners for the future."
The Active members (those who regularly attend conferences, and who may or
may not ever serve on a committee tended to say "Because of what I get out
of it, like continuing education, information, networking"). There are
only so many of any association that belong in the first category.

What we don't know (and maybe we can't know until we expand possibilities
and assess them) is how many there are out there, who think that "it's the
right thing to do" but who are prevented from exercising their principles of
involvement by money and travel issues. Or, how many such potential people
there might be out there who, if they were able to contribute substantively
to committee/governance work virtually would discover that to them, too
"it's the right thing to do."

But I don't think that we should start out by assuming that making
electronic participation "the norm" (or "one of the norms") that
participation will automatically get more, or better in quality, or more
useful ..... or even that it will be equally
effective/useful/valuable/insightful as in-the-flesh participation is.

Let's experiment, by all means. But let's not draw conclusions in advance
of data.

janet swan hill
also speaking only for herself
(executive board)

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[ALACOUN:13029] RE: E-participation
Date: Tuesday 12:03:21 pm
From: "K.G. Schneider" <kgs[at]bluehighways.com> (Blue Highways)
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala.org>
Reply to: <kgs[at]bluehighways.com>

O.k., I was trying not to post on this busy day but: the (mildly
tongue-in-cheek) suggestion that e-participation be required was intended to
be provocative, not alarming.

As usual we have generated more words that facts in this discussion. I'm
still worrying about some assumptions underlying a lot of decisions.

First is the idea that allowing members to participate virtually on
committees will lead to lower ALA revenues by way of less conference
attendance. Is this a data-driven conclusion? Is this what happens in other
associations? Is this what we are really talking about?

Second is the idea that preventing members to participate virtually on
committees is still a fair and reasonable way of doing business in 2004,
*even if it does "cost" us in the end* in terms of our traditional way of
doing business (and I'm still waiting for someone to show me how this
works). Creating a class of membership with all of the responsibilities and
only some of the rights is not the solution (however well it mirrors real
life, where entire classes of people in our society are disallowed from full
equality but required to make full contributions). Justifying this limited
form of participation by arguing that face to face networking is superior to
electronic networking is meaningless. We aren't talking about the six days a
year we are at ALA. We are talking about the 360 days a year we aren't
(except for a handful of political junkies).

It is true that many people are still unwilling or unable to participate
electronically on committees, but I do not understand why this is used to
justify barriers to full inclusion for those who are. That is simply
illogical. If we insisted that everyone participate equally and in a similar
manner on a committee, we would have no more committees because everyone's
participation is driven by many factors, including circumstance and
preferences.

Some of you invoke the spectre of a 24x365 ALA in which we all wearily
participate around the clock and the calendar. But we on Council have
mechanisms to do that if we wanted to, albeit clunky, and we still do the
bulk of our work just prior to conferences. There's nothing like a deadline
to generate high-quality work in a minimum of time, and I believe this is
how people will continue to function regardless if--gasp--we allow e-members
to vote. (And how many of us look forward to a long flight because we know
we will arrive at Council caught up on weeks of distributed documents?)

Also, even though it may not be right, even though it may frighten the
horses, a lot of committees vote between conferences anyway. So here is an
extremely peculiar situation: legal e-members cannot participate in
e-voting.

The reality is it is already technically feasible to participate in ALA
electronically. Many of us do it all the time. Now that the technical
barriers are down, we have erected procedural barriers, and frankly, that
makes us look foolish. Even the most seasoned critic of technology cannot
argue that technology doesn't exist. It is there. We can deal with it or we
can continue wading in our bibliofundamentalism and widen the gulf between
ALA and the upcoming generations of librarians who will replace us. We do
not need to embrace technology in order to make it serve us well.

We blow up this one small issue until it is threatening civilization as we
know it. Everything bad will happen if we allow this one thing: ALA will
lose important revenues, no one will come to conferences, the association
will turn into a Metropolis of year-round electronic drudgework.

Take a breath and step back, look at the question of participation, and ask
why we have established "separate but not equal" guidelines for electronic
participation on committees. Please do not tell me that this is serving
anything but a memory of the way things used to be.

Karen G. Schneider (speaking on her own behalf)
_________________________________________________________________________top


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