Issue 174, March 2011
SRRT Scoop on the 2011 ALA Elections
SRRT Co-Sponsors Tribute to Helen Hill
Volunteers Needed for Human Library
News from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force
News from the Feminist Task Force
ALA Councilor Report from Midwinter 2011
SRRT Member Publishes Opinion on WikiLeaks Resolutions
Resolution on WikiLeaks and Federal Agencies
Resolution in Support of WikiLeaks
Minutes from Action Council Meeting I
Minutes from Action Council Meeting II
Review: Academic Repression
Call for Submissions
It is election time again! Be sure to cast your ballot online beginning March 16 and ending April 22. Paper ballots may be requested by calling ALA customer service at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5 by April 9.
SRRT Members will elect three members to serve on Action Council for
2011-2014. Those running for this honor include:
Leslie Alison Dann
Zena Kay McFadden
Jennifer J. Meister
Emily Puckett Rogers
Nicole J. Winslow
The following SRRT members are running for ALA Council:
J. Douglas (Doug) Archer
Charles E. Kratz
Mike L. Marlin
Jennifer J. Meister
William L (Bill) Turner
Patricia A. Wand
by Danette Pachtner
Join the Video Round Table at our 2011 Annual Program in New Orleans, a panel discussion highlighting local New Orleans experimental animator Helen Hill. The program is scheduled for Sunday, June 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon.
Helen Hill could have settled anywhere, but the young filmmaker chose N.O. as home. Helen once said that she enjoys "making my little films and sending them out to the world," in an interview recorded on a front porch somewhere in the city with her noticeable southern charm, hopeful for good things to come. While some of her creations were damaged in Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Helen returned to NOLA one year after the storm with her husband and young son. But in 2007, she faced an untimely and tragic death at the hands of an intruder in her New Orleans home. Her work, from photographs to films can be found in the Harvard Film Archive's Helen Hill Collection, established shortly after her death. In 2008, New York University hosted "Anywhere: A Tribute to Artist and Activist Helen Hill," which opened the 6th Annual Orphan Film Symposium in New York. Hill also received a posthumous honor when her film Scratch and Crow (1995) was named to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2009. Helen Hill was so much more than an artist. She was a wife, mother, activist, and teacher. Known as 'Chicken' by those close to her, Hill's legacy continues to live on thanks to artists and librarians who now serve as champions of her work.
by Julie Winkelstein
What is your prejudice? Are you aware of biases or prejudices you might hold? Or do you sometimes feel like people treat you as a stereotype or have formed prejudices about you without really knowing you?
SRRT is sponsoring a Human Library at ALA annual in New Orleans and the organizers are looking for suggestions and volunteers for human books. The Human Library offers an opportunity to break down barriers, by allowing readers and human books to engage in one-on-one respectful conversations.
If you have suggestions for books or would like to be considered as a human book, please contact Julie Winkelstein at jwinkels[at]utk.edu. The program is currently scheduled to take place on Monday, June 27 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
by Mike Marlin
It would be so easy to just give up. Here we are ending the first quarter of 2011, entering the third year of President Obama's term, going into four years of the biggest Wall Street fueled recession of most of our lifetimes, and contending with the most transparent reactionary movement in the U.S. in quite some time. I'm sure I don't have to explain the feelings of anger, dismay, and even some astonishment at the social service and library axe wielding governors and legislators at federal, state, and local levels. State library associations are fighting grant and program elimination while counties are sending mass pink slips to teachers, including library media specialists. It's pretty hard not to feel marginalized after watching grass roots movements in the Middle East topple authoritarian regimes and compare it with an upstart governor's attempt to ban collective bargaining which elicits just a hint of outrage reported on the front pages of every American newspaper and evening news program. Instead, a majority of the publicity is given to tiny gatherings of 'tea party' activists on the fringes of large pro-labor demonstrations.
Unions make concessions and public sector workers continue to suffer demonization by the American media. State library association lobbyists provide eloquent and logical arguments on behalf of libraries while state finance departments seem unconcerned. The problems arisen from our massive military budget and the financial repercussions of war are largely ignored. We are being pitted against each other in this anti-tax, fake anti-government, covert xenophobic climate, and I suspect that many librarians feel powerless to affect change or choose to ignore the root causes of our global financial crisis. The struggle for library support and funding is not new, but it has intensified with the recent wave of budget cuts and backlash against overspending.
At this past Midwinter conference in San Diego I was disturbed to overhear comments made by colleagues who label SRRT as a dogmatic group of purists unwilling to compromise. It was reported to me that some ALA members see SRRT as a minority group who refuse to stop writing those pesky and difficult resolutions that will never pass in ALA Council. I thought all librarians enjoyed rigorous debate regardless of one's personal views, so I was surprised by this dismissive attitude. Upon further reflection, however, I realize that librarians are just as easily caught in the web of the corporate oligarchy, fighting each other for crumbs and insulating ourselves from the painful awareness that some lawmakers consider us to be obsolete or replaceable by technology. The threat of de-funding has the potential to destabilize our profession as much as it brings us together as advocates. This does not mean we should compromise for the sake of pragmatism because it feels safe. SRRT has lost some battles and won others, as have other divisions of ALA. I am worried about the dangerous rush to compromise that appears to be sweeping the “progressive” movement in the U.S. into what some have called the “Extreme Middle!”
Someone has to fight entrenchment and inertia, and struggles for social justice take time. SRRT has been bringing issues about war, the military industrial complex, language used in classification, gender and orientation discrimination, and the need for librarians to be socially conscious for over forty years. Librarians are purveyors of information that can improve and strengthen the health of our society. We are not immune from the implications of buttering up corporate funders and powerful politicians, and it is especially important to remember our professional social conscience. SRRT is one of the most concerned, conscientious, and passionate groups within ALA and I hope that others in the Association can recognize the value of our voices. We may disagree ideologically, but we must respect each other or there is little hope for the future of our profession.
by Virginia B. Moore, MLKTF Chair
Beginning with a delicious repast sponsored by World Book, Inc. at the 2011 ALA Midwinter Meeting, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunrise Celebration was held from 6:30-7:30 a.m. on Monday, January 10 in Room 2 of the San Diego Convention Center. A capacity attendance reflected on the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during this annual event co-sponsored by the SRRT Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). The theme, "Everybody Can Be Great…" brought together ALA President Roberta Stevens and ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels along with the leaders of the Association Round Tables and program sponsors who read from Dr. King's "Drum Major Instinct," a sermon he delivered on February 4 before his assassination on April 4, 1968. Following the reading was a presentation from featured speaker Dr. Michael K. Honey, professor of Labor and Ethnic Studies and American History at the University of Washington, Tacoma.
Dr. Honey is the author of several books about Dr. King including Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign and his newest book, All Labor Has Dignity which contains a collection of Dr. King's speeches on labor and a CD from which the presentation included excerpts. He spoke of "growing up as a follower of King in an all-white farming area… somebody who read a lot and went to the library a lot… always kept King's teaching in my mind." Recounting his early studies of the roots of racism, poverty, and injustice, Dr. Honey traced his interest and continued attention to the labor movement and other issues that Dr. King addressed. His participation was made possible through the generous support of Beacon Press and Random House, Inc.
The Call to Action Speaker was Jenifer Grady, Director of the American Library Association Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA). She challenged the audience to consider the program theme and the need to honor Dr. King's legacy that continues to impact on the everyday life of library workers - their service and the ALA-Allied Professional Association, especially during the economic crisis. The Closing speaker and scriptwriter was Andrew P. Jackson (Sekou Molifi Baaka), BCALA Co-Chair for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunrise Celebration. Continuing tradition, the audience sang "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" during the opening and, with clasping hands, closed the program with "We Shall Overcome."
With deepest gratitude extended to all participants and attendees, there are special acknowledgements: Janet Peterson, Paul Kobasa, Jennifer Parell, The President and Officers of World Book, Inc.; Black Caucus-ALA; the writers and editors of American Libraries and ALA Cognotes; Jannie R. Cobb, Librarian, The National Labor College, The George Meany Memorial Archives Library; Satia M. Orange, Former Director and Miguel A. Figueroa. Acting Director, ALA Office for Literacy & Outreach Services (OLOS) and Staff; and the SRRT Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunrise Celebration Committee.
by Diedre Conkling, FTF Coordinator
The Feminist Task Force announced the 2011 Amelia Bloomer List at the Midwinter Meeting in San Diego. For more information, please visit the FTF Wiki: http://ftfinfo.wikispaces.com/Amelia+Bloomer+List+2011
The FTF Newsletter Women in Libraries can also be found on the FTF Wiki. The latest issue is January 2011: http://ftfinfo.wikispaces.com/Women+in+Libraries
Feminists' Night at the Movies
Come and have an entertaining and educational night at the movies with the Feminist Task Force and Women Make Movies. This year we will have a short introductory speaker and then show Pink Saris. Mark your calendar and conference schedule for Sunday, June 26 from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.
This new film by director Kim Longinotto has been awarded "Best Documentary" in the prestigious Abu Dhabi International Film Festival's Documentary Competition, as well as the Special Jury Prize by Sheffield Doc/Fest and the Amnesty Award for "Best Documentary" at CPH:DOX. For more details and a full summary of the film, please visit the Women Make Movies website.
by Tiffani R. Conner
Once again ALA Council sessions were lively, but abbreviated. Council III ended almost 2 hours earlier than scheduled after a lightening round of permanently tabling SRRT's two resolutions on Wikileaks.
Overall the Wikileaks resolutions (CD 37 - Resolution on WikiLeaks and Federal Agencies; CD 38 - Resolution in Support of WikiLeaks) saw a lot of time and experienced tons of passionate debate, strong opinions, and recommendations on changes or modifications. The resolutions were brought to Council I but moved to Council II at the request of your SRRT Councilor. The hope was to send them through Council Forums for improvement, then bring them back to the floor at Council II. During the first Council Forum the resolutions were torn apart due to two main elements: 1) Julian Assange and Wikileaks being specifically named, and 2) personal feelings towards Wikileaks and the need for maintaining confidential government documents. After long, sometimes vehement concerns were voiced, a request was made to bring the two resolutions back to the next Council Forum.
Taking suggestions from the first Forum and making modifications to the resolutions, the request was accepted and the resolutions were shifted to ALA Council III and brought back to Council Forum for the second time. Those with strong opinions had not changed their minds on the overall issues and the recommended changes didn't seem to sway anyone. The Intellectual Freedom Committee and Committee on Legislation introduced CD 19.1 Resolution on Access to and Classification of Government Information at Council Forum and it was met with ease and overall acceptance. It was so well liked that the SRRT Councilor was asked to withdraw the two Wikileaks resolutions in favor of the CD 19.1.
With SRRT AC weighing in on the possibility of withdrawing CD 37 and CD 38, the two resolutions came to the floor at Council III. After reading the resolved clauses and adding justification to CD 37, another Councilor came to the microphone and moved that the resolution be tabled indefinitely-passed almost unanimously. The same thing happened to CD 38 with the same resounding support for tabling the resolution. Council was then dismissed, 2 hours early, much to the pleasure of most Councilors.
Other resolutions of interest to SRRT included CD 32 Resolution on Notifying Conference and Meeting Attendees of Hotels Named on "Do Not Patronize" Lists, which failed after much public debate on the Council floor. Oddly, Councilors opposed to this resolution were concerned about the language and any legal problem that might be caused. ALA's legal counsel was brought in to work with the resolution developers and make modifications. The modified resolution was brought to the floor but still failed - much to the dismay of many supporting Councilors.
CD 34 Resolution in Support of Requiring the Right to Cancel Contracts with Hotels with Active Labor Disputes was withdrawn by the movers, however I am not certain of the backstory.
CD 35 Clarification within Job Listings as to the Presence or Absence of Domestic Partner Benefits was revised and eventually passed. Again, there was significant debate on the Council floor about some of the wording being too strong. The original wording implied, to some opponents, that an employer would be forced to list benefits and that this might have a negative mpact on ALA's financial solvency.
CD 39 Resolution in Support of Requesting Congress to Reintroduce and Vote on the DREAM Act was revised and passed. SRRT requested a few changes to the resolution prior to wanting to support it. Not all of the requested SRRT changes were made, thus, as your representative I abstained from the vote.
Council Forums were the more interesting places to be this past Midwinter because of the debates and misunderstandings of their purpose. New councilors are encouraged to actively participate in Council Forums. As I was told, Forum is the place where you can expect to get assistance with resolutions, to talk things through and gain support. Thus far I have not experienced that exact description and am concerned about the subtle replacement of public debate the Council sessions are supposed to be.
One councilor informed the Seconder of CD 37 and CD 38 that she thought the Forums were decision-making spaces and was shocked that the Wikileaks resolutions came back and then showed up at Council III. This disconnect of the purpose of Council Forums needs to be addressed specifically on the Council floor. This conflicting understanding of purpose coupled with the immediate tabling actions at Council III, of the SRRT resolutions, prompted several SRRT AC members to gather supporting policy documents for open, public debate at Council sessions.
To date, the documentation for support of the democratic process in the form of an “open, inclusive and collaborative environment” (2009-2010 ALA CD#36.2 - Strategic Plan 2011-2015, p. 2 - Core Values) continues to grow. My concern, as a Councilor, is that Council Forums are becoming decision-making spaces about resolutions. The problem with that is two fold, 1) there are no records of the discussions so members do not have the opportunity to look at the minutes of the meetings, and 2) not all Councilors participate in the Forums for a variety of reasons. Problem 1 demonstrates a direct conflict with the idea of having an open, inclusive and collaborative environment. A lack of access to minutes or discussions excludes ALA members from being included. While ALA Council minutes are long, they are records and members can access them. Problem 2 illustrates a lack of opportunity for inclusion and collaboration, it also disenfranchises Councilors from participating in debates that they were elected to participate in.
ALA MW 2011 delivered just as much information and opportunities for learning as previous ALA conferences. Overall the mood was pleasant and people were actively engaged. Despite the failure of the Wikileaks resolutions, discussions were held and people were engaged. Now it's on to New Orleans for an active ALA Annual Conference in June.
Al Kagan, longtime SRRT member and former SRRT Representative to ALA Council, published a commentary on the tabling of the two SRRT WikiLeaks resolutions in a recent issue of American Libraries. The full text may be found at http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/columns/my-mind/midwinter-s-wikileaks-letdown. The article was also discussed on the SRRT Member Forum (srrtac-l). Please log in to http://lists.ala.org/sympa/info/srrtac-l to subscribe and view the archive of posts made to this forum.
Adopted by SRRT Action Council, January 8, 2011
WHEREAS, On December 3, 2010, the United States Office of Management and Budget issued an order blocking access to WikiLeaks across all federal agency networks;
WHEREAS, The Library of Congress blocked access to the WikiLeaks site from December 2 to December 7, 2010, across its computer systems, including those for use by patrons in its reading rooms;
WHEREAS, The Library of Congress has issued memos to its employees and posted signs in its reading rooms concerning applicable law, but unblocked its public access computers;
WHEREAS, The OMB order forbids federal employees access to WikiLeaks from their home computer systems and threatens punishment;
WHEREAS, OMB explained its actions by stating that applicable law obligates federal agencies to protect classified information and that unauthorized disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents' classified status or automatically result in declassification;
WHEREAS, On matters of vital public concern, citizens' fullest knowledge and discussion are in the interest of democracy, freedom, peace, rule of law, and good governance here and around the world;
WHEREAS, Blocking access to published information is censorship, and supporting sanctions against reading is endorsing abridgment of intellectual freedom;
WHEREAS, The open publication of documents by WikiLeaks and other agencies of the free press renders the government classification status of these documents irrelevant; and
WHEREAS, The blocking of WikiLeaks curtails the public's right to know, violates the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, and fundamentally contradicts the principles of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the American Library Association (ALA)
- Calls for the amendment of Executive Order 13526, Classified National Security Information (December 29, 2009) to exclude publicly available information;
- Calls for the amendment of any other executive orders, public laws, or federal regulations that forbid access to publicly available information; and
- Calls for all US government agencies to follow the example of the Library of Congress in providing access to documents available on WikiLeaks.
Moved by Mike Marlin. Seconded by Jane Glasby.
Adopted by SRRT Action Council, January 8, 2011
WHEREAS, WikiLeaks is a non-profit organization that publishes submissions of secret documents from anonymous sources and news leaks;
WHEREAS, WikiLeaks has recently made available thousands of important documents concerning United States foreign and military policy;
WHEREAS, WikiLeaks is performing a vital watchdog role by expanding citizens' knowledge on matters of vital public concern following in the steps of Daniel Ellsberg who courageously made the Pentagon Papers available to the public;
WHEREAS, Support for WikiLeaks should be a concern for all those who believe in the right to know and intellectual freedom, and most especially librarians;
WHEREAS, WikiLeaks and its founder and volunteers are under tremendous pressure to stop publishing leaked documents by many governments, elected officials, and prominent personalities;
WHEREAS, WikiLeaks spokesperson, Julian Assange, has not received equitable due process under the laws of the United Kingdom; having been briefly detained, and his movements are currently restricted due to supposedly unrelated matters; and,
WHEREAS, The American Library Association has signed a joint letter with many other organizations asking the United States government to reverse its order to US government agencies blocking access to WikiLeaks, in support of publishers' and citizens' first amendment rights, and against the possible application of the Espionage Act against WikiLeaks; therefore be it
RESOLVED that the American Library Association
- Supports the rights of WikiLeaks to publish leaked government documents;
- Commends the efforts of WikiLeaks to expunge from documents names and other material deemed potentially harmful to innocent people;
- Commends WikiLeaks for performing a public service by making available important documents related to foreign and military policy;
- Urges libraries to link their websites to the WikiLeaks website; and
- Condemns the harassment of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and other volunteers.
Moved by Al Kagan. Seconded by Mike Marlin.
Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. in San Diego, CA
Meeting Called to order at 10:38 a.m.
Introductions — The following SRRT members were
Mike Marlin, SRRT Coordinator
Jane Glasby, SRRT Coordinator-Elect
Tiffani Connor, SRRT Representative to ALA Council
Nancy Garmer, SRRT Secretary
LaVonda Broadnax - SRRT Action Council Member
Jaime Hammond, SRRT Action Council Member
Al Kagan, SRRT Action Council Member
Emily Rogers - SRRT Action Council Member
Julie Winkelstein, SRRT Action Council Member
Diedre Conkling, Feminist Task Force Representative
Ginny Moore, Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force Representative
Maria Jankowska - Task Force on the Environment Representative
Laura Koltutsky - IFRT Liaison
Mark Hudson -FTR and PLG Liaison
Bleue Benton -Illinois Librarians for Social Responsibility Forum Representative
Al Kagan began the meeting with a motion to postpone the Dream Act Resolution discussion to AC II since Tom Twiss could not attend AC I to participate. Jane Glasby seconded. The motion passed.
Announcements/Happenings — Mark Hudson, liaison to the Progressive Librarian's Guild (PLG), stated that PLG sent out an email that said there would be leafleting at the Manchester Grand Hyatt which is currently under boycott. Unite Here was there Friday afternoon and would be there Saturday afternoon from 11:30-1:30.
Mark announced that the PLG meeting was Saturday afternoon at 4:00 and a representative from Unite Here would attend. The PLG dinner would follow the meeting at the Bandar Restaurant from 7-9.
Kei Nagao, a research assistant with SEIU Local 721 and Cindy Singer, a public librarian in LA County spoke to the group about the rash of library privatizations by LSSI. They have started an anti-privatization movement and awareness campaign called Privatizationbeast.org. The group intends to highlight librarians and libraries, so elected officials don't make decisions without knowing all the facts. They said that with budgets continuing to fall, this could become a bigger issue in the future.
Julie Winkelstein suggested that they put together a list of preferred responses - point by point arguments - to counter what LSSI says are the “proposed benefits.”
Freedom to Read Foundation Report — Mark Hudson, Freedom to Read Foundation liaison to SRRT, gave his report. The Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the filtering policy, under which the library system refused to honor requests by adult patrons to temporarily disable the internet filter, is constitutional under that state's constitution. The case is now going to federal district court to resolve the question of whether the policy violates the federal constitution.
FTR is also looking at the constitutionality of downloading ebooks and what privacy issues are involved. Overdrive has access to patron information. FTR tasked a committee to look into it and make recommendations, so patrons' privacy is not compromised.
Mark said WikiLeaks was discussed at length. The proposed SRRT resolutions were brought up. Mark spoke to them and made a case for the resolutions. He said there was a positive response.
Approval of 2010 Annual Conference Minutes — It was noted that since SRRT publishes the minutes and newsletter electronically, they should also be posted to ALA Connect.
Al Kagan moved to approve the minutes from 2010 Annual Conference. Mark Hudson seconded. The minutes were approved.
SRRT was asked to endorse several resolutions in principle.
Resolution on Notifying Conference and Meeting Attendees of Hotels Named on “Do Not Patronize” Lists — Julie suggested that the resolution should state that ALA must make consideration for providing an alternative venue and meeting space. Mark Hudson stated that the people he approached while leafleting were sympathetic to the cause and stated that they wish they had known in advance that the hotel was under boycott and felt torn and trapped. Julie stated that accessibility should be taken into consideration if providing an alternative location.
Al said that he thinks Julie's issue falls under the second labor resolution. Tiffani stated that given the discussion about this last year at Council Forum, adding more to this resolution might diffuse its purpose. Tiffani stated that incremental positive motion might prove the most beneficial right now with a conservative council.
Jaime Hammond stated there is value now the way it is written. Simply providing the information is enough to influence people's decisions. Meeting space is a little bit different.
Al moved to endorse the resolution in principle. Tiffani Connor seconded. The motion passed.
Jane suggested that our councilor speak to this motion when it is brought to Council floor. Tiffani said she will bring up SRRT's concerns.
Subsequently, this resolution failed at ALA Council.
Resolution in Support of Requiring the Right to Cancel Contracts with Hotels with Active Labor Disputes — This resolution was sent to BARC already, so it was mentioned that much of the discussion at Council may revolve around the fiscal impact.
Al moved to endorse the resolution in principle. Jane seconded. The motion passed.
Subsequently, this resolution was withdrawn before going to ALA Council.
Resolution on WikiLeaks and Federal Agencies — Al read resolved clauses.
Marianee Koska stated that the second whereas clause seems to imply that blocking and then unblocking the site is the way to go. We want to emphasize that we want them to unblock access which is what is stated in the third resolved clause - ultimately, providing access to the documents available on WikiLeaks.
Mike stated that it doesn't make sense to ban something that is already widely available. This was also brought up at FTR. Once these documents have already been published, then it becomes censorship.
Some discussion ensued regarding using the word irrelevant in the second to last whereas clause. The word "silly" was suggested as an alternate word for "irrelevant" although the suggestion was never officially adopted. Al suggested that we could just delete that whereas if people are opposed to it. Mark Hudson suggested that by keeping it in, we are arguing that it is important because obviously information is no longer classified if it's publicly available.
Mike Marlin moved to pass the Resolution on WikiLeaks and Federal Agencies with the discussed corrections. Jane seconded. The motion passed
Al moved to pass the SRRT resolution on to ALA Council to be passed as an ALA Resolution. Tiffani seconded. The motion passed.
Subsequently, this resolution was tabled at ALA Council after extensive discussions at Council Forum. Note: Council Forum is an informal forum of conversation and the debate is not entered into Council record.
Resolution in Support of WikiLeaks — Some grammatical, formatting and other small changes were made to resolution. Tiffani and Diedre Conkling's names were added to the resolution as the mover and seconder, respectively.
Mark stated that we should include government transparency in the fourth whereas clause to expand on why we support it. This passed as a friendly amendment to the original motion by Al.
Discussion ensued about the resolution's direct support of Julian Assange. Some people might take issue with him. The general agreement was that SRRT does support him and that language should be kept in the resolution unless it wouldn't get passed without it.
Al moved to pass the Resolution in Support of WikiLeaks as a SRRT resolution with the aforementioned changes. Mike seconded. The motion passed.
Al moved to pass the resolution on to ALA Council to be passed as an ALA Resolution. Mike seconded. The motion passed.
Subsequently, this motion was tabled at ALA Council.
Al moved to extend the time of the meeting to 12:30. Tiffani seconded. The motion passed.
SRRT was asked to endorse several more resolutions in principle.
Resolution on the Removal and Censorship of Artwork from the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery — Nancy Garmer gave a brief explanation of the Smithsonian issue.
Nancy moved to support the resolution in principle. Julie seconded. The motion passed.
Subsequently, this resolution passed at ALA Council.
Resolution on Clarification within Job Listings as to the Presence or Absence of Domestic Partner Benefits — Deidre stated that in Oregon, it is a law that you must provide benefits to domestic partners.
Jane moved to endorse the resolution in principle. Mark seconded. The motion passed.
Subsequently, a revision of this resolution passed at ALA Council.
Tiffani stated she will let the other groups know that we endorsed their resolutions.
Treasurer's Report — Mike Marlin related his conversation with Treasurer Sue Dillinger who was not in attendance. Mike said that she has been frustrated by getting budget requests late. She suggested allocating $1,000 to each task force for their 2012 program budget. That way, the budget is in to OLOS and the budget template is in place.
Mike moved that AC approve the 2012 SRRT budget allocation of $1,000 to each SRRT task force and the remainder of the projected SRRT income will be available to AC to use for additional programming and/or other expenses. Tiffani seconded. The motion passed.
Jaime stated that is how her state conference allocates money and it works well. The motion was received positively.
Nancy stated that she will contact Sue and let her know the motion passed.
ALA Executive Board Liaison Report — Mike stated that SRRT's new executive board liaison is Linda Williams, former ALA presidential candidate, but she is seriously ill. Thus, there will be no executive board liaison report this conference.
Julie stated that she would like to bring up, for future discussion, adding homeless status to the ALA policy on discrimination. She said there is discrimination based on housing status and she objects to it. SRRT has the Hunger, Homeless and Poverty Task Force and Julie said she is also on the OLOS Subcommittee on Library Service to Poor and Homeless People. Jane said she would help Julie try to get a resolution together.
SRRT Elections — Mike said he has spoken with seven or eight people via email regarding the open seats. There are currently no official applicants for the three Action Council positions. Some of the candidates started to fill out the biographies online as required for ALA elections, but none were saved. Mike reported that having to attend both meetings per year was a big issue with the people he spoke with.
Jaime offered to help advertise the open positions on ALA Connect and write up a little testimonial about what is required as Action Council members. Emily Rogers said she would have appreciated that information as a new AC member.
Julie said library schools would be a good place to focus on since students are just starting their career and open to different things. She also suggested a sponsorship or scholarship to get first-timers to conference. Further discussion was postponed until AC II - membership issues.
Jane and Mike attended the Round Table Coordinators Meeting and said the round table members agreed that they would like a calendar in place that helps RT coordinators through the process of conference planning.
Tom Twiss, International Responsibilities Task Force Representative, arrived at the end of the meeting and gave a debriefing on the WikiLeaks meeting he had attended. He said it was well-attended and the legal background was explored in depth.
Tom stated the bulk of the report that was presented was devoted to defense of free speech issues and whether or not ALA could advocate for rapid declassification of materials. Caution was urged because of the current climate in Congress. The Administration is pushing to charge people under the Espionage Act. Tom said that Mitch Freedman was at the meeting and spoke about the upcoming Ellsberg program at Annual. People were excited about it. Tom also reported that Brewster Kahle from the Internet Archive is archiving WikiLeaks.
Meeting Adjourned at 12:36 p.m.
Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. in San Diego, CA
Meeting Called to order at 8:10 a.m.
Introductions — The following SRRT members were
Mike Marlin, SRRT Coordinator
Jane Glasby, SRRT Coordinator-Elect
Tiffani Connor, SRRT Representative to ALA Council
Nancy Garmer, SRRT Secretary
Al Kagan, SRRT Action Council Member; Librarians for Social Responsibility Forum of the Illinois Library Association
Emily Rogers, SRRT Action Council Member
Julie Winkelstein, SRRT Action Council Member
Ginny Moore, Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force Representative
Tom Twiss, International Responsibilities Task Force Representative
Christie Gibrich - Rainbow Project Representative
Miguel Figueroa, OLOS
SRRT was asked to endorse the following resolution in principle by Loida Garcia-Febo, Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table.
Resolution in Support of the DREAM Act — The resolution went through many revisions and discussions via email prior to the conference. Tom Twiss stated that he would like to see additional changes in the resolution before it is something he could endorse. Tom said that since the community service provisions were removed from the DREAM Act, the majority of undocumented youth would be channeled into the military option and given the economic climate, the Dream Act would reinforce the Poverty Draft.
Tom stated that he would like to see the following added into the resolution:
- Whereas US Military forces are currently engaged in Unjust and immoral Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (cite ALA policy)
- Increased casualties in undocumented youth
- Include community service and vocational education and to provide funding for college education as pathways to citizenship.
- Endorse that Congress pass the amended bill as the first step of comprehensive immigration reform.
Julie said that Larry Romans sent out an email saying the resolution is a compromise and she agreed that perhaps it can only be a compromise. Al stated that it is SRRT's role to bring up the issues we are discussing and that it is an important role. Tom stated that it is SRRT's role to advance the discussion and it is ALA's mission as well. It should be endorsed as the first step in comprehensive immigration reform.
After lengthy discussion, Al moved to have SRRT Councilor Tiffani Connor relay SRRT's ideas to the movers of the resolution and summarize our concerns. Tom seconded. The motion passed.
It was agreed that SRRT has issues rather than specific language. Young people should have options, so the DREAM act should encourage real choice and real options. More choices include having educational opportunities, including vocational education, funding for the education and community service options.
Subsequently, a revised version of this resolution entitled Resolution in Support of Requesting Congress to Reintroduce and Vote on the DREAM Act passed at ALA Council.
MLK Task Force Report — Before leaving the meeting to attend ALA Council I, Ginny Moore announced that the MLK Sunrise Celebration will feature Dr. Michael Honey and to be sure and attend.
Budget Report — Mike Marlin invited Miguel Figueroa to the meeting to discuss the SRRT budget and explain the confusion over the Coretta Scott King Award money transfer. In 2003, the CSK award committee moved from SRRT to EMIERT. No one in the room had the historical knowledge to know why. When the award transferred, it was agreed that SRRT would continue to get a portion of those revenues. An error occurred in 2005 and continued into 2006 that was not included in the accounting sheets somehow. Miguel spent a lot of time figuring it out and presented a worksheet with the figures. Nancy requested that Miguel archive this in some way, so this knowledge does not disappear again for someone else to try figure out in the future.
Miguel stated that ALA is getting new accounting software and hopefully that will incorporate the correct historical data. Al stated that financial issues seem to be a continuing issue with SRRT and requested that Miguel try to work on this more effectively. Miguel said that he tries to be as responsive as possible and release reports out in a timely manner.
Miguel stated that SRRT's finances revolve around programming and it needs to be laid out how to assess costs and plan programs. He stated that Jane and Mike are both adamant about this and Jane added that this is a Round Table issue and was discussed at the Round Table Coordinators Meeting.
Miguel talked about the current budget. He said it is necessary to reallocate our money. There is still money in printing and mail services which SRRT no longer does. He said it would behoove SRRT to reallocate the budget to more accurately reflect current costs at the beginning of each year.
Miguel stated that SRRT has a fine operating budget and spends wisely. SRRT has a great program this year with Daniel Ellsberg. SRRT is right where it should be. He said that SRRT is right in middle compared to other round tables. Student membership and all membership has gone down across the board.
This year's opening balance at the beginning of year was $45,000. It should zero out expenses and income. SRRT brought in $13,000 this year in revenues. ALA takes 10% operating expenses from dues only. Miguel said he started updating line items. The revenue hasn't been updated in years as well. SRRT has $10,000 listed as revenue, but SRRT has been doing better than that each year.
Per the conversation at AC I, Mike stated that we will put $6-7,000 in Task Forces and put the rest in for Action Council.
Miguel attempted to explain the financial report because it is difficult to read and shows a negative balance. He said there is new software being implemented and they have asked for input from the round tables. Miguel stated that Sue Dillinger, the SRRT treasurer, has contributed. Miguel admitted that there is an issue with ALA connecting with the leadership of Round Tables.
Al thanked Miguel for OLOS's $1,000 contribution to the upcoming Daniel Ellsberg program.
Miguel reported that the Diversity Council - a subcommittee of the Committee on Diversity with members from different groups and ethnic affiliates - endorsed in principle all the same resolutions that SRRT discussed at AC I.
Miguel thanked SRRT members for supporting the spectrum scholarships. He asked that supporters please wear the Spectrum Scholarship ribbons to show support for the program.
Rainbow Project — Christie Gibrich reported on the Rainbow Project. The Rainbow Project is a joint project between SRRT and GLBTRT. The bibliography committee looks for books with GLBT content. The complete list is finalized on the blog with annotations. Christie said that after the midwinter conference, the list will be migrated to the ALA site with links from our pages. The books are 2010 publications divided by age group and fiction/nonfiction. The Top 10 will be published in Booklist with a breakout box. Lynn Everett is the acting chair and will continue next year. The Rainbow Project alternates its program breakfast at Annual every year with the Amelia Bloomer Project.
Annual Programs — Julie stated that she would like to do a musical event in New Orleans in addition to the Human Library program she is already working on. She said her idea is to have a sing-along - revitalize the spirit of protest songs or showcase local musicians. Discussion ensued about having an annual event. The committee agreed to have a soft beginning off site. Mike moved to provisionally approve $500 for a New Orleans social and sing-along. Al seconded. The motion passed. Emily offered to help Julie work on it.
SRRT T-Shirts — Mike reported that LaJuan Pringle is going to sell the SRRT shirts online for $20 per shirt plus $5 shipping. More than one T-shirt can be ordered for same amount of postage. Emily discussed using stickers for marketing purposes.
Membership — John Chrastka, Director of Membership Development, attended the meeting to discuss SRRT's membership numbers and strategy. Regarding the large drop in membership numbers, John said it is mostly student memberships and it appears to be mostly one institution although he could not tell which one. John stated that he thinks perhaps one or two key faculty members who had championed the SRRT cause were no longer at the institution. The scenario most likely involves a retirement.
ALA, as a whole, is down only a few percent, but John said there is a lot of volatility in round tables right now. Members are delaying renewing and the cycles are getting longer.
John stated that he thinks SRRT should initiate a concentrated campaign to the 400 who have left us. Once members are gone, it is harder to bring them back. John said SRRT should focus on asking them to come back. John said he can help manage lists and memberships. SRRT needs to work on our message and getting people back. John suggested a reinstatement campaign that highlights all the new and interesting things SRRT has been involved in and then reiterate core services as well.
Mike stated that the SRRT membership committee is currently comprised of himself, Jane, Nancy and LaJuan.
The most recent membership report showed that SRRT has 509 regular members at $15 membership rate. Student memberships brought in $1000 this year at $5 per membership. ALA charges $30 / yr for student membership for a five-year maximum. John stated that 7 of 16 round tables have increased membership this year. The rest of the round tables are down in membership.
John said that SRRT needs a large number of members to say that is who you represent. It's a political opportunity that we can't afford to lose. John said he can help us get the message out and reach those 10,000 students. Regarding marketing, John said that targeting the faculty at library schools is the most effective way to get membership. If it's a required placement, that is the ideal goal. SRRT members tend to have lifetime engagement. SRRT has a lot of long-term members.
John suggested several ways to appeal to students - A FAQ outlining benefits. Also, an appeal to their absence/ without you message. Without you, we are less effective in Council, in DC and as an international presence.
John said he can work with SRRT to update our marketing collateral at zero cost. He said he is currently working with several other round tables on logo development and new text. It is really easy now to get good graphics in forms we can use. John said he would provide us some examples and he looks forward to working with SRRT this year.
Al moved that SRRT make membership for students and unemployed free. Jane seconded. The motion passed. Regular SRRT membership will remain at $15. Regular membership was recently raised from $12 to $15. (The new dues structure will go into effect Sept. 1, 2011)
Virtual Meetings — Mike stated that ALA iLink and the chat feature on ALA Connect is available. To use the voice over, ALA needs to give permission to use the rooms. ALA Council discussed virtual meetings and there is no plan to scrap the Midwinter Conference. Mike said that there is nothing in the SRRT bylaws that prohibits voting virtually. Al stated that if SRRT intends on voting virtually, it should be in the SRRT bylaws and made official.
Mike said he thinks more people would run for Action Council if it was not required to attend both conferences. Jane said that face-to-face Action Council meetings are an integral part of SRRT. Virtual meetings would be in addition to and not in place of conference meetings. Smaller meetings and sub-committees could certainly try to meet online.
Mike said that the virtual meeting discussion is on the agenda for Annual and it should be discussed if a virtual meeting could replace an actual meeting. Julie expressed that the costs of conferences are prohibitive and it could be construed as exclusive if AC members must bear the costs of attending conferences.
ALA Elections — Presidential candidate Maureen Sullivan attended to answer questions. Sullivan owns a consulting business.
Susan Stroyan has worked in libraries since she was 16 - public, community college, state academic and private academic.
Al asked both candidates about ALA's One Voice policy. Sue said she is not a real good rule follower.
Action Council Meeting Time — Mike said that he will work on polling people to see their availability for AC I, AC II, the membership meeting and the all task forces meetings in New Orleans. Emily offered to help Mike set up the poll using Doodle. ALA Council times are the most important consideration.
Mike reported that Laura Krier is SRRT's ALA website liaison. He said that Laura is also on the content management task force and is thinking about running for action council.
Meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.
Nocella, A., S. Best, and P. McLaren. Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Inudstrial Complex. Edinburgh, Scotland: AK Press, 2010.
Reviewed by Seth Kershner, MLS candidate '10, Simmons College, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
The editors of Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic-Industrial Complex argue that the issue of academic freedom should not be solely the concern of those who teach in academia: "it is rather of vital concern for all scholars ... for academic repression anywhere is a threat to academic freedom everywhere" (30-31). In their introduction, the editors give us accessible and engaging histories of academic freedom, student activism, and academic repression. The last term they define as the "manifold denial and negation" of academic freedom, "such that professors are hassled, penalized, and often fired for holding unorthodox, nonconformist, critical, controversial, and dissenting views" on topics ranging from U.S. foreign policy to animal rights. Academic repression in the twenty-first century looks much different than the McCarthy-era purges of professors suspected of subversion, funded as it is "not only by the finite budget of the state, but also from the virtually unlimited resources of the right" (78). So instead of Hoover's G-men and the House Un-American Activities Committee, today's faculty have to fear the proliferation of private pressure groups like Accuracy in Academia and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.
Many of the more than thirty contributors to Academic Repression have faced repression themselves in one way or another. In "Academic Repression: Past and Present," sociologist Michael Parenti describes the circumstances surrounding his own firing before giving a short history of cases similar to his own. Since those case studies are mainly drawn from the 1970s and beyond, readers would do well to read his chapter alongside the deeper history offered by the editors in their introduction.
Of particular interest are the chapters contributed by some of the more widely known victims of academic repression. By now everyone knows Bill Ayers, the progressive educator and recently retired professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, as the "terrorist" Barack Obama had been "palling around" with in the years following Barack Obama's stint in a madrasa; and the 2008 campaign controversy caused several universities to cancel lectures Ayers had been scheduled to deliver. Ward Churchill lost his job as chair of the Ethnic Studies department at the University of Colorado when he was charged with “academic misconduct”-a decision seen by many of his peers as retaliation for an article he wrote describing those who died on September 11, 2001, as "little Eichmanns." Understandably out to vindicate himself, Churchill contributes one of the more rigorously researched chapters in the book (200+ footnotes!). And in 2005, at around the same time the Churchill case was unfolding, British anthropologist Victoria Fontan also fell victim to the wave of post-9/11 patriotic hysteria. As she describes in her chapter, "From Colgate to Costa Rica: Critical Reflections on U.S. Academia," she had traveled to Iraq and sent back a critical report predicting that U.S. policies would strengthen the insurgency. Shortly thereafter, an "e-lynching" led by conservative bloggers cast doubt on the integrity of her research; because of this, she was let go from Colgate University, a move which forced her into "academic exile," teaching at a university in Central America.
Several of the contributors discuss ways that private pressure groups are trying to undermine the legitimacy not just of individual scholars but of whole disciplines. In the 1980s, the founding project of one such group, Accuracy in Academia, was to publish a list of scholars they had accused of teaching "bad facts" (whatever that means) concerning U.S. involvement in Central America. But today, that repression has shifted to Middle East Studies. As Mark LeVine tells it in his chapter, "When Knowledge Kills: Repressive Tolerance and the Future of Academic Freedom," an entire corporate/state/media establishment has been erected in recent years to challenge the legitimacy of Middle East scholars who do not "stick to the authorized text."
Because the problem seems so deeply rooted, Academic Repression can be a depressing read. As Gregory Tropea shows in his chapter, "Contingent Faculty and the Problem of Structural Repression," academic repression is inextricably tied to structural factors like the corporatization of the university and the reliance on part-time faculty too afraid of losing their jobs to teach critically about controversial topics. What to do about structural repression? The recession, of course, means that contingent faculty are here to stay, at least for a while. When John Asimakopoulos picks up the topic in the book's final chapter, "The Role of Free Universities in Creating Free Societies," he finds the existing system unworkable. But his proposed solution- start a new graduate school from scratch based on principles of radical egalitarianism and academic freedom-would be difficult to replicate on a wide scale.
Hope is in short supply, and the little readers do get mainly comes from the stories of scholars like Fontan who find work again after having been laid off for speaking out. But this is the quibble of one surprised by the wealth of new knowledge presented in this volume. The editors, after all, are not interested in policy prescriptions; they intend the book to be a "tool of education and struggle" (86). And since not every case of academic repression attracts media coverage- in fact, few do-the contributors to this volume are providing a lot of new information. It is up to readers, then, to use this information to agitate for change in the repressive structures of academe. Strongly recommended for college and university libraries.
The SRRT Newsletter is always looking for good articles, essays, and letters to the editor. The next submission deadline is May 13, 2011.
Submissions to the SRRT Newsletter may be made by any current SRRT Member or SRRT affiliate. Please send your submissions electronically in one of the following formats: MS Word, RTF, PDF, or plain text pasted into the body of an e-mail. We ask that submissions be kept to a length of 500 to 1,000 words. Graphics are encouraged. Please submit images as separate files along with a list of file names with corresponding captions. If using images that are already on the Internet, the URL of the image and a caption or description may be added to the text of the submission.
Please send submissions and inquiries to SRRT Newsletter Editor Myka Kennedy Stephens, indicating "SRRT Newsletter" within the subject line of your e-mail. For submissions that can only be made by post, please mail to Myka Kennedy Stephens, 5928 Crain Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053. A confirmation of receipt will be sent in a timely manner. Notification of our decision to accept or reject your submission for publication will be sent after the submission deadline.
SRRT Newsletter is published quarterly by the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. ISSN: 0749-1670. Copyright © 2011 by the Social Responsibilities Round Table. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without permission. Editor: Myka Kennedy Stephens, mykaks(at)gmail.com. Book Reviews Editor: Jennifer Caldwell, Jennifer.Caldwell(at)pima.gov. Editorial Board Members: Gerardo Colmenar, Erik Estep, Alison Lewis, Heather Edmonds, and Julie Winkelstein. Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of ALA/SRRT. The editors reserve the right to edit submitted material as necessary or as the whimsy strikes.
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