Tuesday, January 18, 2011

LITA Kerfluffle

I love Karen Schneider. We first met electronically in the early days of PUBLIB. We then actually met in person at a conference, and worked together for a while on ALA Council. I have been reading her blog, Free Range Librarian, for as long as I have been reading blogs. She (along with Rochelle Hartman and Jessamyn West) was part of my inspiration to blog.

Karen has been involved in LITA and tech stuff for a while. She recently posted about ALA's Open Meeting Policy and the whole LITA Kerfluffle (thanks Karen Coombs for that term).

Karen S. was actually at the meeting in question. I was not. I was half-heartedly watching the tweets, and doing other things.

Now, I am a little bit of an ALA Policy Wonk. OK, I admit it. In the past {mumble} years I have not gone to an ALA meeting with out the Handbook in hand, and once pulled it out at lunch in a restaurant.

Post-ALA, I have poked and nudged a few of my friends in higher places about the implications of this very unfortunate scenario.

Karen gets it right, and is a very much better writer than I am. (After all, she does have an MFA in writing...) Here are a couple of quotes which eloquently sum up my take on the issue:

"...the Open Meeting policy has obviously been OBT (Overcome By Technology)." Actually, Karen was lobbying for webcasting the transcription of ALA Council meetings years ago.

"...the more you open your proceedings, the healthier your organization." This is part of why open meeting laws exist for governmental bodies as well.

This quote will not get immediate comment from me, but is strongly emphasized in her post:
ALA as a body needs to immediately point its wonkiest law-making committees at the “open meeting” question, and the response — which needs to happen no later than Annual 2011 — needs to be both informed by ALA values (such as our historical commitment to intellectual freedom) and by our urgent need to stop losing money.
I am all for that, and have done a little poking myself. "One warning to all is that as as rule, ALA committees tend to get focused on the idea that something needs to be made available to the entire association, BY the association, in a uniform manner. I’m all for authority control, but we need to let flowers bloom when they’re ready, and ease up on the argument that “we can’t afford it” because ALA, as an association, can’t personally put a camera in every meeting room. "

Thanks Karen for your (usual) eloquence.


  1. Ok, I have never pulled out the policy manual at a restaurant. But I did sit through a Toronto Bluebirds game (when ALA was there) reading the CIPA decision, which makes me some other kind of wonk.

    ALA needs to get on this in a hurry-up.

  2. Karen....be sure to read my subsequent post which will show up tonight, and further emphasizes what I will now call *OUR* point.