Canadian Library Association Sails into Its Future in Halifax

By Dowding, Martin | American Libraries, August 1996 | Go to article overview

Canadian Library Association Sails into Its Future in Halifax


Dowding, Martin, American Libraries


"Smooth sailing" describes the 50th annual Canadian Library Association conference, held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 5-9. The 1,100 delegates enjoyed a downhome Maritimes ceilidh (key-lee) party and excellent sessions and exhibits, and heard about new programs designed to increase library awareness. A highlight of CLA's 50th anniversary was the Past-Presidents' Celebration, which saw 19 of the association's former leaders feted at the annual banquet. Those present created a Past-Presidents' Fund for future CLA initiatives that reached $5,000 at the conference.

CLA's Library Advocacy Now!, inspired by ALA's model, drew spontaneous support from a number of delegates at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), who made personal pledges ranging from $25 to almost $400. However, a resolution to bring the initiative into CLA's committee structure was defeated.

Former ALA executive director and current IFLA President Robert Wedgeworth was also in Halifax, along with American Library Trustee Association President Wayne Coco; they spoke at a session titled "International Perspectives: Crises in Library Leadership," moderated by Norman Horrocks.

Theme and variations

Despite the conference theme of "Sail into Our Future," some financial problems emerged at the final Executive Council meeting. While conference attendance surpassed the 950 delegates expected, many took advantage of lower early registration fees or attended only part of the program. Exhibitors also went for an early-bird deal, leaving a potential conference revenue shortfall of $20,000 to $30,000, according to CLA Treasurer Rowena Lunn.

Lunn's good news was that for the third year in a row CLA had a year-end surplus. March figures showed that net revenue exceeded budget by $86,000, largely due to the success of last year's Calgary conference. Membership increased to 3,000, but since fees have dropped since 1993, revenues decreased slightly. In 1997, flat-rate fees for personal members will be $175, with institutional fees at $300. Feliciter advertising was down $13,000 in the past year, and CLA monograph sales also diminished; however, ALA publications were selling well through CLA particularly AACR, leaving an overall net revenue of $56,000.

A dozen resolutions

Twelve resolutions were considered at the AGM, all of which were later ratified at the final Executive Council meeting except for the defeated Advocacy motion. The resolutions:

* called for the Canadian government to continue distributing publications in print form at no charge to depository libraries, until an appropriate electronic infrastructure for public access is available;

* proposed that CLA and others address issues affecting the impact of information technology on employment and issues affecting workplace telecommunication access and privacy;

* called for CLA to continue sponsoring Information Rights Week annually, especially since the event is becoming a focus for information policy debate;

* called for CLA and other library and community coalitions to ask the Information Highway Access Council to address policy, funding, access, and content creation and to address employment problems resulting from information technology;

* asked that CLA oppose the introduction of Price Cap pricing, which may well increase rates, proposed to the Canadian Radio and Television Commission by the Canadian consortium Stentor and the telephone companies, designed to replace the current guaranteed rate-of-return system based on fees calculated on infrastructure investment;

* urged CLA and its members to endorse the Canadian Book and Periodical Council Task Force "Voluntary Performance Guidelines for Canadian Suppliers of U. …

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