ALA News: The Work of the American Library Association

American Libraries, October 2003 | Go to article overview

ALA News: The Work of the American Library Association


ALA Leaders Hold CIPA Meeting

Some 30 librarians and ALA staff members met at the Association's headquarters in Chicago August 23 for an all-day session to discuss ALA's response to the Supreme Court's decision upholding the constitutionality of the Children's Internet Protection Act (AL, Aug., p. 12-13). ALA President Carla Hayden stressed that the purpose of the meeting was not to set policies, but to take a "first step" to develop a plan addressing short-term needs as well as to begin work on a long-range strategy.

The participants, representing various ALA divisions and committees, brainstormed to determine priority areas on which to concentrate over the coming year. After identifying four priority areas-criteria for filters/compliance/implementation, communication/public relations, political/legislative, and research/data collection-they then broke into small groups to discuss approaches to address each area.

Among the trickier considerations was ALA's role in regard to the manufactures of Internet filters. Since ALA policy is to oppose the use of filters in libraries, Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels said the Association's message must include "a way to acknowledge our constant opposition to filters." Fiels stated that its antifilter stand shouldn't preclude ALA developing criteria for filters and then evaluating software based on those standards, nothing that "we don't support floods, but we help libraries that are flooded."

After the meeting, Hayden issued a list of next steps, which included gathering information on the costs of implementing filters, beginning the development of criteria and tools for evaluating filters, providing libraries with information on how to meet CIPA's implementation requirements, developing a communications plan to keep ALA members informed on new resources and educating the public about Internet safety, and working with ALA chapters to oppose state-level filtering laws.

ALA's OIF and OITP had scheduled an August 14 meeting with filtering companies to discuss the Association's concerns. However, in the wake of objections from members over the appropriateness of meeting with the vendors, ALA's Executive Board voted July 17 to cancel that meeting in favor of the one with member leaders.

Jenner and Block Ties Questioned

The longtime relationship between Chicago law firm Jenner and Block and ALA is on the agenda of the Association's Executive Board fall meeting in Chicago, October 11-12, according to Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels.

The board will discuss whether the firm's representation of the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) in its efforts to prosecute Internet users suspected of downloading music files represents a conflict of interest (AL, Aug., p. 18).

"We have been engaged in discussions with Jenner and Block and [ALA's] Washington Office on the RIAA issue for a while now," Fiels said in an August 29 message to the ALA Council online discussion list. "As is appropriate in such a situation, we are seeking to make sure that we have all the information and facts in the matter first."

ALA Committee Volunteers Sought

ALA President-elect Carol Brey-Casiano is seeking applications and nominations for members to serve on 2004-2005 ALA and Council committees, with the appointments to be effective at the conclusion of the 2004 Annual Conference.

Brey-Casiano will fill slots on the following ALA committees: Accreditation; American Libraries Advisory; Awards; Chapter Relations; Conference; Constitution and Bylaws; Election; Human Resource Development and Recruitment Advisory; Information Technology Policy Advisory; Literacy; Literacy and Outreach Services Advisory; Membership; Membership Meetings; Nominating; Orientation, Training, and Leadership Development; Research and Statistics; Website Advisory; ALA-Children's Book Council Joint; and ALA-Society of American Archivists-American Association of Museums Joint. …

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