Resolution and Response to the Draft of the ALA International Relations Agenda 2000-2005

Adopted at 2000 Annual Conference

Whereas the ALA International Relations Committee has formulated an International Relations Agenda and has asked for comments:

Resolved that the Social Responsibilities Round Table transmits the attached [following] proposed amendments to the ALA International Relations Committee for their consideration:

The Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association commends the ALA International Relations Committee for its efforts to establish an International Relations Agenda. Although SRRT agrees with the thrust of the operational sections, we are proposing several changes and additions to strengthen the language and address points omitted. We do however have deeper concerns with the Guiding Principles which will be used to evaluate issues not specifically addressed in the body of the document. Here we are proposing significant changes that we think better describe the current state of affairs and reflect long-standing ALA policy statements.

SRRT puts forward the following proposed amendments. Paragraphs not affected are omitted. Deletions are [bracketed]. New text is in CAPITALS.

Guiding Principles

* Technology has nearly eliminated problems of distance and has significantly reduced the impact of differences in time FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION IN RICH COUNTRIES AND ELITES IN POOR COUNTRIES. HOWEVER, THERE IS A GROWING GAP BETWEEN THE INFORMATION RICH AND THE INFORMATION POOR BOTH WITHIN AND BETWEEN COUNTRIES.

* [Information has become an international commodity.] LIBRARIANS HAVE TRADITIONALLY VIEWED MOST INFORMATION AS A PUBLIC GOOD FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL. THE INCREASING COMMODIFICATION AND PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC INFORMATION RESOURCES IS AN INTERNATIONAL TREND WITH NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE MAJORITY OF CITIZENS.

* [The role of the library in connecting individuals to information is a value held throughout the world.] LIBRARIES SHOULD PROVIDE FREE ACCESS TO INFORMAITON AND PROMOTE FREEDOM OFTHOUGHT AND EXPRESSIONS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. ALA SUPPORTS ARTICLE 19 OF THE U.N. DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE PROTECTIONS IT SEEKS TO PROVIDE AGAINST REPRESSION OF THESE RIGHTS.

* The library's role in promoting the education of society, preserving AND DEVELOPING its cultures, supporting EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE economic growth and advancement, and safeguarding AND DISSEMINATING the world's information heritage is essential for the global, transborder, multicultural society of the 21st century.

1) An Internationally Aware Organization

* Through the ALA development and international relations offices, funding for international activities will be sought from corporate, governmental, FOUNDATION, NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION, INTERNATIONAL AGENCY, and private sources, and through member contributions.

* The association will attempt to increase membership from abroad and to realize a greater international presence at ALA conferences and meetings. AS WE SUBSIDIZE ATTENDANCE FOR ALA MEMBERS AT INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIRS, WE WILL ALSO SUBSIDIZE APPROPRIATE INTERATIONAL ATTENDANCE AT ALA MEETINGS.

2) An Internationally Aware and Involved Membership

[New point] THE ALA INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS OFFICE WILL SUPPORT THE WORD OF THE VARIOUS INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEES OF ALA DIVISIONS, ROUND TABLES AD OTHER BODIES AND THE WORK OF THE ALA INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ASSEMBLY.

[New point] THE ALA INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS OFFICE WILL PROVIDE LIAISON SERVICES WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEES OF OTHER LIBRARY ASSOCIATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES AND THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, AS WELL AS INDEPENDENT LIBRARY ORGANIZATIONS WHICH MAY NOT BE AFFILIATED WITH OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED ASSOCIATIONS.

3) An Effective and Far Reaching International Program

* Through its work in IFLA, with other library and educational organizations, and through various independent entities, ALA will be an influential force in areas of international importance such as copyright law, [and] the development of standards, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND OTHER GLOVALIZATIONS (sic) ISSUES INCLUDING THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION PROPOSALS ON THE PRIVATIZATION OF SERVICES WHICH MAY DETERMINE THE GLOBAL CONTEXT OF LIBRARY DEVELOPMENTS. *

*See 1991-92 CD#17.1, U.S. Objectives for IF LA and 1996-97 CD#18.4, IFLA, Human Rights and Freedom of Expression

SRRT Newsletter Issue 135, p. 10