Freedman Reports To The ALA

Topic: 

Mitch Freedman writes :\"Dear Colleagues:
Attached is the slightly revised version of my report to the Executive
Board, and by extension to the Association.

Following is a review of significant events and initiatives since
I was
informed of my election, May 3rd, 2001, as President-Elect of the
American Library Association.


Below you can read his thoughts on The Annual Meeting for 2001, The IFLA Conference, Cuba Resolution, Bob McKee and the Pay Equity Issue, Anti-terrorism Bill and much more...
American Library Association.

Report to the American Library Association
President-Elect 2001-2002
Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman, MLS, PhD
October 11, 2001

ALA Annual Meeting, Marriott Hotel, San Francisco

The Annual Meeting for 2001 is over and what went on regarding the
Hotel
Employees & Restaurant Employees (HERE) boycott of the Marriott
Hotel
has been widely reported.  It is over and done.  However,
I feel an
incumbency to include in this report some discussion of my actions. 
Out
of respect for the boycott by HERE, the position of support by the
San
Francisco Public Library, the Mayor of San Francisco, and so many
others, all of whom requested that ALA members not enter the Marriott,
I
chose not to attend any ALA meetings or events held in the Marriott,
including my first official meeting as a member of the Executive
Board
of the American Library Association.  It is critical that we
all learn
the lessons needed from the series of events surrounding the Marriott
boycott to do our best to ensure that ALA\'s membership is not confronted
with such a conflict in the future.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

This was my first IFLA Conference as an ALA officer.  Several
highlights
follow.

Campaign for the World\'s Libraries: I was part of the ALA team that
met
with the IFLA Board and presented the information concerning the
proposed Campaign for the World\'s Libraries.  IFLA officially
adopted
the Campaign and now libraries around the world will be following
up
with @your library materials and messages adapted to suit their
nation\'s
needs and in the many languages spoken in those countries.

Cuba Resolution: I was very proud to have been a member of the American
Library Association because of the strong and principled stand ALA
took
in co-sponsoring a resolution in support of improving relations
between
the United States of America and Cuba\'s libraries.  The resolution
was
co-signed by Eliades Acosta, the director of the National Library
of
Cuba, who represented Cuba\'s library association.  What made
it special
from the U.S. perspective was the unflinching statement of opposition
to
the U.S.\'s embargo policy against Cuba and the crippling effects
it had
on Cuba\'s libraries and people.  Kudos to John W. Berry, ALA
President,
Nancy John, Chair of the ALA International Relations Committee (IRC),
and to the IRC members and everyone else who played a role in bringing
this resolution to the IFLA Council.  The very good news was,
although
combined with a similar resolution, the substance of the ALA-Cuban
resolution was approved as part of a combined version of the two.

Meetings and Personalities: In addition to getting a chance to meet
with
and see many of the friends and colleagues I see at ALA conferences
and
elsewhere, I had the wonderful experience of meeting and getting
to know
librarians from around the world.  I won\'t list all of them,
but will
highlight just one.  Getting to know Kay Raseroka, newly elected
President-Elect of IFLA and director of the University of Botswana
Library gave me insights into the universality of gender and pay
equity
issues for librarians.  Her achievements and promotion to her
position
involved her having to overcome the same kind of sexism that women
librarians have had to deal with for the better part of the 20th
century
and still affect compensation for female librarians.

Round Table of Managers of Library Associations (RTMLA): I attended
this
meeting so that I could establish a dialogue with other presidents-elect
regarding their plans and programs for their respective associations. 
A
good thought.  However, I found out that in so many associations
that
the President is an honorary position and that the Executive Director
is
the one who develops the programs, manages the association, and
is the
most active person in promoting the association programs and resolving
problems.  After much discussion, I ended up, along with Ellen
Tise,
newly elected president of the Library and Information Association
of
South Africa (LIASA), being responsible for a RTMLA program at IFLA
2002
(Glasgow) on library association strategic plans and programs.

Bob McKee and the Pay Equity Issue in the Library Association: I
had the
pleasure of meeting with Bob McKee, the Executive Director of the
Library Association.  The Library Association (LA) has been
most
intensely studying the issue of salaries and pay equity for British
librarians.  The LA has held extensive and valuable on-line
discussions
with its members on this topic.  Because the theme of my presidency
will
be improving the salaries and pay equity for America\'s library workers,
it was most valuable making this contact and learning about what
is
going on in the LA.  We will maintain a dialogue and share
the
information we develop because so many of the problems faced by
British
librarians-as with Kay Raseroka from Botswana-are the same confronting
U.S. librarians.

Campaign for America\'s Librarians: This will be the title for the
theme
of my presidency.  Although the word librarians is used, the
task force
will focus on all library workers.  It will be a part of and
complement
the Campaign for America\'s Libraries.  I have established the
theme for
my presidency and have appointed a task force to begin its work
on
developing programs and materials, including a Better Salaries and
Pay
Equity Toolkit.   The task force will liaison with the
Past-President
Kranich\'s Committee On the Status of Librarians so as to ensure
that the
valuable work done by that committee will be incorporated into the
work
done by this task force.

On the Council listserv and other venues I have indicated what the
current goals and outcomes for the task force will be.  They
are:

· Create a toolkit that has background, research and data
on library
salaries and pay equity
· Include in the toolkit case studies of salary and pay equity
disputes/campaigns involving different kinds of libraries and library
systems
· Include in the toolkit frequently asked questions (FAQ\'s)
and
responses t stereotypical depictions of librarians that have contributed
to the disadvantageous salaries and pay equity problems
· Include in the toolkit scripts and sample dialogues and
narratives
that will help library staff, administrators, boards, deans, school
superintendents, and community officials, academic committees, etc.
better advocate for better salaries and pay equity
· Include in the toolkit a discussion of the important role
unions can
and have played in getting better salaries and pay equity
· Recommend specific actions by ALA, as warranted.
· Hold one or more programs at ALA conferences to promote
the Campaign
for America\'s Librarians
· Hold regional meetings and institutes-at minimal charges
to
attendees-that will help empower local library workers who may not
have
the resources to attend ALA conferences and to build up local support
and promote a sense of empowerment
· Work with other ALA units and state and regional organizations
to
promote the Campaign for America\'s Librarians
· Create a web site that will include source documents and
a variety of
information relevant to the committee\'s work, and that can be accessed
by anyone
· Create a web-based venue for people to communicate with
the task force
and with each other concerning salary and pay equity issues; the
kind of
focused discussions conducted by Bob McKee in the LA serve as an
outstanding model for this initiative

Overall the intent is to provide the resources and inspiration for
America\'s library workers so that they can feel more empowered to
be
better advocates for themselves and their colleagues on salary and
compensation issues.

The task force membership is pretty much complete.  It will
have its
first meeting in November.

ALA Activities: Because of the 9/11 events, my ALA Chicago Headquarters
orientation and media training lasted six days instead of three. 
(Of
course three of the days were spent trying to get a flight home
from
Chicago-I ended up driving home in a rental car.)  I was pleased
to have
met so many of the ALA staff, and the media training seemed to be
most
helpful.

I also had a one-day orientation in the ALA Washington Office. 
It was a
pleasure meeting the key players who represent the Association in
Washington, and becoming apprised of the many and diverse areas
in which
they are working so hard.

Anti-terrorism Bill: I also had occasion, October 10, 2001, to fly
to
Washington to help lobby New York\'s senators to support the Feingold
Amendment to the Anti-terrorism bill.  Of particular importance
was the
visit with Senator Schumer\'s office because of his membership on
the
Senate Judiciary Committee.  That committee is currently working
on the
bill.  The ALA position is to support the Feingold Amendment.

Speeches and Selected Meetings: Included in my travels were speeches
against censorship.  I spoke, September 24th, in support of
Banned Books
Week at the Yonkers (NY) Public Library, and at a program meeting,
September 30th, of the Rockland (NY) County Coalition for Democracy
and
Freedom, at the New City Public Library.

October 11th, I also spoke and interacted for two and one-half hours
with about 40 members of the Chicago Public Library staff concerning
ALA, my presidency, salaries and pay equity, filters, and several
other
topics with approximately 40 members of the Chicago Public Library
staff.  It was a great deal of fun.  Also, after reading
so much written
by Laura Morgan on several listservs, it was a pleasure to meet
her,
argue a little bit, and have a pleasant chat after the program.

That evening, I attended the Chicago Public Library\'s Carl Sandburg
Literary Dinner, which featured one of my favorite authors, Kurt
Vonnegut, and Chicago\'s excellent up-and-coming African-American
author,
Jeffrey Renard Allen (Rails Under My Back.)   Incidentally,
I am proud
to say that Mr. Allen had been one of the featured authors at the
Westchester (NY) Library System\'s African-American Writers &
Readers - A
Literary Tea, 2000, held annually on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 
Mr.
Allen had also indicated that Kurt Vonnegut was one of his favorite
authors, as well.  Mr. Vonnegut gave a great speech, one that
I hope
sees the light of publication soon because of his thoughts on the
attack
on the World Trade Center and the bombing campaign in Afghanistan,
and
so much more.

And so it goes.
 

Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman, MLS, PhD
ALA President-Elect
Director, Westchester (NY) Library System
October 17, 2001 [slightly revised version]
Originally submitted to the ALA Executive Board, October 11, 2001.

 --
Mitch
Maurice J. Freedman, MLS, PhD
ALA President Elect
www.mjfreedman.org
Director, Westchester (NY) Library System
410 Saw Mill River Road - Suite 1000
Ardsley, NY 10502-2605
Voice: (914) 674-3600 x223; fax: (914) 674-4193
freedmanATwlsmail.org
www.westchesterlibraries.org
For all matters concerning the U*N*A*B*A*S*H*E*D Librarian,
[email protected]\"
 
 

Subscribe to Comments for "Freedman Reports To The ALA"