Here is the tweet which caught my attention:
griffey I was requested, a motion was made, and the LITA Board of Directors voted to have me cease streaming and recording the Board Meeting....Michelle Boule (Smith) posted about it on her blog, and I encourage you to read it and the comments. (14 comments at this writing, including one of mine.)
For those who are not familiar with ALA and its structure, LITA (Library & Information Technology Association) is a division of ALA. (Here is a brief discussion of ALA's divisions from my ALA 101 series.) For the business inclined, divisions are "wholly-owned subsidiaries" of ALA. Therefore all of ALA's policies apply to the divisions and their meetings.
The ALA Policies (7.4.4 for the governance geeks) require that all meetings of ALA and its units be open to members and the press. It is very simple, and very simply stated.
What happened? Well, Jason Giffey, on his own initiative and with his own equipment, started to stream and web-cast the LITA Board Meeting. Now, except when discussing "matters affecting the privacy of individuals or institutions" this meeting should have been open. If he had not been a Board member, and had just wandered into the meeting, he would have every right to record and stream the meeting. I would use as analogy of what would happen if a news report, or even citizen, walked into a City Council meeting. (It is the example which first occurred to me probably because of my extensive public sector experience.) It is a public meeting and the public has the right to know.
Jason backed down when the LITA Board got upset. A part of me respects his doing that since he is a Board member and needs to continue to work with the Board. However, another part of me is very sad that LITA took this stand.
LITA is supposed to include librarians on the cutting edge of technology. "Big ALA" has been wrestling with opening up governance and ALA Council meetings. Here was a chance for LITA to take the lead and show how it can be done, and done effectively, and at very little cost. They blew it.
Karen A. Coombs commented in a similar vein on the broader topic of the relationship between virtual and physical participants.
I heard the argument stated that the reason for shutting down the web-cast was that a consultant was presenting a report which was copyrighted. I say: BALDERDASH! If LITA hired a consultant to write a report, and based on what I know about standard ALA contracts, any copyright remains the property of the division -- as far as the consultant is concerned it is a "work for hire."
If Norman Horrocks were around, he is the one I would turn to first. I am going to urge my colleagues on the ALA Executive Board to look into this. I consider it an egregious violation of the ALA Open Meetings Policy.