June 18, 2021

ALA Council Rescinds Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

Here’s the full text of an announcement from the American Library Association (ALA) dated August 16, 2018:

2018-08-16_13-53-39Today the American Library Association (ALA) announced the outcome of a vote by ALA Council to rescind 2018 updates to the Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. The vote comes after a swift response from ALA members, leadership, its offices and library advocates, to address concerns regarding the use of the term hate groups.  

The motion to rescind the 2018 version was approved. Ninety of the 179 councilors were required to vote. Seventy-five percent of those voting were needed to approve the measure. A total of 146 voted on this question, representing 82 percent of the eligible voters. 140 voted to rescind, and 4 voted not to rescind. The 2018 Meeting Room interpretation will be removed from ALA.org. The Library Bill of Rights will revert to the 1991 version of the Meeting Rooms interpretation, which was in effect until Annual 2018.

“I would like to express my gratitude to ALA members and staff for their collaboration and feedback as we work to respond to language found within updates to the Library Bill of Rights,” said ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo. “The ALA continues to strive to provide resources that support Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and intellectual freedom.  We can only do so when all of our voices are heard. Today’s vote does not end conversations regarding the interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights, but rather continues our exploration regarding how we can support the profession’s needs.”

Conversations regarding meeting rooms continue within the library community. The Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) has established a new working group that consists of member leaders including Shauntee Burns-Simpson, New York Public Library, chair, Committee on Diversity; Sara Dallas, Southern Adirondack Library System, chair, Committee on Professional Ethics; Martin Garnar, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, chair, Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) Advisory Committee; Ray James, Institutional Survey, Intellectual Freedom Committee; Emily Knox, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, vice president, Freedom to Read Foundation and member, Association of College and Research Libraries Professional Values Committee; Johana Orellana, North Richland Hills Library, Intellectual Freedom Committee; Kim Patton, Kansas City (Kan.) Public Library, Intellectual Freedom Committee; Brooke Sheets, Los Angeles Public Library, Public Library Association liaison to the Intellectual Freedom Committee; John Spears, Pikes Peak Library District, Intellectual Freedom Committee; Julia Warga, Kenyon College, chair, Intellectual Freedom Committee. Staff liaisons to the working group include Jody Gray, director of Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services and James LaRue, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The group will continue its work to draft a new revision of Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights and share it prior to Oct. 1, 2018, with the anticipation that Council will vote on it prior to the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

See Also: How the Council Voted

Background

Free Speech Debate Erupts with ALA’s Inclusion of Hate Groups in Revision of Bill of Rights Interpretation (July 10, 2018; via SLJ)

ALA OIF Responds to Library Bill of Rights Meeting Room Interpretation Update (July 10, 2018)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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