Prepared by Liz Bishoff, ASCLA Councilor
ALA Council met in Philadelphia during the 2014 ALA Midwinter Conference. ALA Executive Director Keith Fiels reported attendance of 12,207, at the Midwinter meeting in spite of snow and cold, exceeding attendance in Seattle and Dallas.
Highlights of the Council meeting included Council passage of Resolutions on:
o EXPANDING FEDERAL WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS that
o urges Congress to amend the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 to extend existing legal protections for whistleblowers to employees of all national security and intelligence agencies, and to non-federal employees working for civilian contractors;
o urges Congress to establish a secure procedure by which all federal employees, and all non-federal employees working for civilian contractors, may safely share evidence they have discovered of fraud, waste, or abuse with the appropriate oversight committees of Congress, and directly with the press and the American people, with the protection of legally enforceable rights against retaliation or prosecution;
o commends the courage and perseverance of federal employees, and non-federal employees working for civilian contractors, who risk their livelihoods, their reputations and their liberty to expose evidence of government fraud, waste, or abuse
o Resolution on maintaining government websites during government shutdowns—
o urges the President to direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Department of Justice(DoJ) to develop guidance to federal agencies stating that, in the event of a government shutdown or other emergency, continued access by the public to essential information on agency websites is an “excepted” activity that would warrant the retention of personnel or the obligation of funds to assure access;
o urges the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in the absence of such a guideline, to direct each agency to communicate the status during a shutdown of its website to the Government Printing Office (GPO) or another appropriate agency, which would widely communicate and update information about which agencies are maintaining their websites, which are updating them and which are closing them;
o urges OMB to require each agency to determine what information is essential and should be available if a government shutdown or emergency should occur. For such an occurrence, develop a contingency plan for continued public access to information;
o urges OMB to direct agencies to work with GPO in hosting their online publications and data in the Federal Digital System (FDSys) or other publicly accessible means;
o urges GPO to expand its automated harvesting of Federal agencies’ websites and to redirect persistent uniform resource locators (PURLs) to GPO-harvested copies rather than agency websites; and
o urges that GPO or another appropriate agency be directed to maintain a clearinghouse of web pages that provide alternate ways of accessing government information.
President Barbara Stripling reported that the Executive Board has continued working on the Reimaging ALA activities that has engaged ALA members over the past several years. The Board held a two day strategic planning session prior to the Midwinter meetings, analyzing and synthesizing the collected data, resulting in development of a set of drat strategic initiatives that reflect the conversations and deliberations of members and member leaders. Additionally a set of enabling strategies have been developed for review by the ALA members. The Strategic Initiatives include:
o Advocacy for the value of libraries and librarians
o Information policy
o Professional and leadership development
There was widespread discussion of the strategic initiatives and the enabling strategies across ALA.
ALA Treasurer Mario Gonzales and Budget Analysis and Review Committee Chair Pat Wand reported that ALA is financially healthy organization, finishing FY13 with a net asset balance of $76,000.
Executive Director Fiels announced that ALA Elections will begin March 19, 2014 and end April 25, results will be announced May 2. Council elected three new Board members to three year terms, beginning after annual conference. ASCLA member Mike Marlin was elected to complete an uncompleted term and will serve until the end of Annual Conference 2014.