Wednesday, July 17, 2013

ALA Annual Conference Report

The American Library Association Annual Conference was held June 27-July 2, 2013 in Chicago, IL. Attendance was very strong, as is usually expected when the conference is held in Chicago. ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels reported There were 15,918 paid entrants, 4,319 complimentary passes and 6,125 exhibitor passes for a total of 26,362 total attendees. Attendance surpassed that of 2012 in Anaheim, CA by 6,200. This was very good news for the organization as one of the biggest challenges this year is revenue. Chief sources of revenue are conference, publishing, and membership. The Association is facing significant budget shortfalls due to decline in membership and decline in publishing revenues. Retiring Treasurer, Jim Neal proposed a budget ceiling of $63,944,617, two million dollars less than last year. In order to meet the budget ceiling, 33 positions at ALA will remain unfilled. Additional cost savings measures will have to be implemented to deal with the fiscal reality.

Controversy abounded around resolutions in support of Edward Snowden as a whistleblower. Initially passed in Council I, the resolution was overturned and replaced with a resolution introduced by the Committee on Legislation in Council III: Resolution on the need for reforms for the intelligence community to support privacy, open government, government transparency and accountability. There are those who still debate the original. Another controversial resolution would have ALA divest investments from fossil fuel industries. Although hotly debated, the resolution failed. Another "green"resolution introduced, directs ALA to decrease printing costs for Council meetings. This resolution overwhelmingly, if not unanimously passed. Now let's hope internet access is adequate in future meetings so that documents are accessible.

Other Resolutions that passed:

  • Resolution Reaffirming ALA’s Commitment to Basic Literacy 
  • Declaration for the Right to Libraries Resolution 
  • Resolution Commending the Freedom to Read Foundation
  • Resolution on Library Service to the Community in a Natural Disaster
  • Resolution on Government Printing Office as official repository for government information
  • Resolution on supporting librarians in libel suits
President  Barbara Stripling introduced her initiative for libraries with the Declaration for the Right to Libraries  resolution. She and ALA will develop a national campaign to gather signatures on the declaration in support of libraries. The goal is to collect one million or more signatures. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, find out more at

Loved Chicago!

Vickie Mix, ALA Chapter Councilor
South Dakota Library Association

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