Librarians for Castro

David Goldman writes "...while the the American Library Association (ALA), with its more than 64,000 members are protesting provisons of the Patriot Act (and by inference Atty Gen. John Ashcroft), they are ignoring a much more pressing human rights issue. The organization refuses to condemn Fidel Castro for sending to his gulag, for prison terms of up to 28 years, 10 independent Cuban librarians — who were included among the 75 independent journalists, union organizers, economists, human rights workers and other dissidents who were rounded up. The librarians resist the dictator's censorship of ideas, as do all those captured in the raids." Read the article here."


ALA President among Ms.'s "Women of the Year"

misseli writes "From ALA's Public Information Office:

Ms. Magazine has selected ALA President Carla Hayden as one of its ten "Women of the Year" for 2003. She was honored today at a luncheon at the National Press Club.

Other honorees this year: Dr. Sima Samar, Martha Burk, Salma Hayek, Joan Blades, Loune Viaud, Pamela Thomas Graham, Niki Caro, Eileen Fisher and Jessica Neuwirth."


ALA-APA director named

misseli writes: "According to a press release issued Nov. 26, ALA's Allied Professional Association now has a head: Jenifer Grady has been appointed Director, effective December 22nd.

From the release:

"I expect Jenifer will be exactly the kind of fighter we need to improve the salary
and status of library workers," said Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman, ALA Immediate Past
President and chair, ALA-APA Salaries and Status Committee. "The committee was
impressed with her energy, enthusiasm and the depth of commitment she has applied to
every aspect of her professional and volunteer work.""


Membership and privacy

Jessamyn pointed the way to to and This Post on her ALA membership.
They "rented" her name to outside organizations without her consent. She notes Annual the ALA talked about privacy and how important it was for individuals to be able to come to the library and read without fear.

"Privacy. Get a clue people--my name and address are PRIVATE unless I explicitly tell you they are not. Do you not understand what you said at your own conference?"


Squaring off over Cuban libraries

The debate within ALA over Cuban libraries makes it to the New York Times:

In one of the last places you might expect a debate over free expression is the American Library Association, the world\'s oldest and largest organization of its kind and a longtime champion of open access to information. But when the subject is as politically charged as Cuba, anything is possible.

So during the association\'s annual conference in Toronto, which ended Wednesday, a little cultural cold war broke out among members over what are known as independent libraries in Cuba . . . to some members, the association has been ignoring the repression of their colleagues and the cause of intellectual freedom; to others, a small group has been trying to hijack the organization to pursue an anti-Castro agenda.

Complete article (registration required).


Special Libraries Association keeps its name

Robert Teeter noticed "Special Libraries Association announced today that it is retaining the organization's nearly 100-year-old name. President Cynthia Hill made the announcement at the association's 94th annual conference in New York City following a vote at the annual business meeting. A two-thirds majority vote was needed to change the name. The vote culminates three years of research, discussions and brand name debates.


ALA announces new Prez, Councilors

They've counted your ballots, folks, and you've elected Carol Brey-Casiano as your new ALA President. Exec Board results here. Councilor results here.


The role of the ALA Web Site Advisory Committee

The ALA Web Site Advisory Committee is composed of ALA
members representing the Divisions
and is charged with advising Council and ALA Staff about
web site issues. We've been partially involved in the
process of designing the new site (giving feedback on
iterations of the design based on partial information),
but not as involved as we would like to have been. I
wrote an article
our experience with ALA staff in the web site development
process. It should be interesting reading for people who
are concerned about the new website and about ALA.


Marylaine Block to ALA: 'Two words: "beta test"!'

In her latest issue of ExLibris, #174, Marylaine Block expresses her considerable concern about the newly designed ALA website. In her words:
"It's not that ALA didn't need to redesign its web site. And its goals were admirable: according to ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels, 'The new site will make it much easier for members and the general public to find the information they are looking for'.
"The site address for this news announcement about the redesign, however, is
ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=25861, which is a good clue to the basic problem. This is easier? Easier than what? Than if it was inscribed on the head of a pin? Than if it was written in Sanskrit? Than if it had to be assembled like the parchment pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls?"


New ALA Website

John Hubbard writes "The American Library Association site has a new look. If you pay ALA dues, check out the code you've paid for. Also note some internal URLs have changed ( for example is now Veeery Looong - the wonders of Cold Fusion and Microsoft IIS/SQL...), many without redirects ( is dead for example).

If you have questions, just remember for their handy FAQ page. "



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