Resolution on ALA and the Gates Library Foundation

Adopted at 1997 Annual Conference

WHEREAS Council commends the Gates Library Foundation for its support for computer development in libraries in poor communities;

AND WHEREAS Council believes that there must be a comprehensive look at all the implications of such unprecedented philanthropic largesse;

AND WHEREAS Gates' interest in libraries can reasonably be seen as linked, at least in part, to plans to promote his own products and services and to maximize his corporations' market share and is not motivated entirely by the same dynamic as the concerns of public libraries and librarians;

AND WHEREAS the huge amount of money and Microsoft software involved may influence the direction of public library development in a way that ties libraries to the priority of specific electronic services over resources, services, and materials public libraries feel they must provide;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the GLF be asked to include on their board of directors a significant number of prominent librarians, including the ALA Executive Director, representing the range of views on library priorities and the place of electronic services, in recognition that librarians involved in their project at the local level must be the ultimate arbiters of professional issues;

AND THAT THE ALA Council recognizes that ALA's gratefulness to the GLF and similar enterprises should not imply that public libraries can be revitalized and sustained by principal reliance on private largesse, and that we will redouble our efforts for public support for libraries through changes in government policy at all levels.

SRRT Newsletter Issue 125, p. 14