ALA MW report #1--IFC

I'm trying to ease myself back into conference blogging. I got a lot out of it for the conferences I managed to do it for, so here's the first one from Midwinter 07.

I'm on two committees for ALA and have one elected office so I'm pretty busy going to meetings. This first report will be about the ALA Council Committee for which I am an intern--the Intellectual Freedom Committee.

This is an exciting, dynamic committee and I always learn the most from these meetings. It is also a contentious committee among some members of ALA--obviously any committee that discusses intellectual freedom will have its share of controversy and debate both within and outside the meetings. I know that Greg was in attendance at our first meeting and blogged about it here and here. The topic of that particular meeting was primarily Cuban librarians. I have no particular position on the issue personally, but I did support the committee's agreement that it was not our fight. Our charge and our focus is on US intellectual freedom issues, and I think Greg did a good job pointing that out.

Other issues that we discussed at Midwinter include:

  • The National Discussion on Privacy. To fulfill a resolution adopted by Council at ALA Annual 06, the IFC will assemble and present a national conference on privacy, tentatively titled "Taking Back American Values." This conference will work to be collaborative across the library world and the US at large. Topics to be discussed include sniffer software, ISP user tracking, NSA surveillance of citizens, CALEA, Council of Europe treaty on cybercrime, DHS surveillance of citizens, and Justice Department surveillance of citizens.
  • Discussion on the core values and priorities of ALA. How can these fit in with accreditation processes and Leslie Burger's National Library Agenda?
  • Intellectual Freedom programs to be presented at ALA Annual 07: A preconference on the Library Bill of Rights sponsored by IFRT; programs on Bush Administration policies and IF, the need for information ethics training, RFID, whistleblowing (should be very exciting!) and a discussion between a judge from US Ct of Appeals 7th Circuit and a law professor on liberty vs national security (also should be very interesting!).

This is just a very brief summary of the 12 hours(!) we spent together as a committee--if you have any questions about specifics or want more information on any point just let me know. More to come soon!


Was that you sitting a couple chairs over from me?

Hey Samantha! It's great to have you back and reporting on library conferences!

Yep, I was pretty close to you. It was good to see you there, and I'm glad to see more being written about what we do in that committee. I think it's a mystery to most.

Samantha, I have just posted a detailed reply to the falsehoods that were spread at the meeting you attended. This has no reflection on you whatesover; we just refuse to be silenced and attacked by your bosses at the OIF Animal Farm, who seem to think that some books are better burned than others....They need to explain just why it is that they have taken the same position as the Communist-Party appointed hacks who control Cuban libraries: that Amnesty International is lying, or wrong. Same with the Organization for American States, which cites the court documents which Kurg and Wood refuse to address.Also, I am assuming that deleting posts from an open blog, supposedly dedicated to intellectual freedom, is not something the chief watchdogs of our liberties wish to be associated with....but that is EXACTLY what Don Wood has done to two different polite posts... sent them to the memory hole.Bad new for the OIF Animal Farm : This is NOT Cuba and we will not be flushed down the memory hole!

Hi there Walter, I have read your blog as well, but I want to clarify a couple of things that you have connected to my post. First of all, OIF is not 'our bosses' in any way on the IFC committee. They are there as ALA staff to assist us in the consideration of intellectual freedom issues as they pertain to members of the American Library Association. It is technically a standing Council committee and works with (but not for) OIF.The charge of the committee, as listed in the ALA Handbook of Organization, is "to recommend such steps as may be necessary to safeguard the rights of library users, libraries, and librarians, in accordance with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Library Bill of Rights as adopted by ALA Council. To work closely with the Office for Intellectual Freedom and with other unites and officers of the Association in matters touching intellectual freedom and censorship."The key thing about our charge is that we are dealing with IF issues as they exist in the United States and as they affect the American Library Association. As was stated in the first IFC meeting this past Midwinter, Cuba does not fall under our charge and any debate or discussion thereto should be referred to the International Relations Committee or to IFLA/FAIFE. So I would say that criticizing IFC, OIF, Judith Krug, Don Wood, and so on is a waste of your time. We don't have anything to do with the Cuban Library issue and it will not come before us at IFC again.I appreciate your dedication to your cause, but urge you to address your complaints and concerns to the correct people.

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