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No Councilor Left Behind

I’ve retired from blogging on the PLA blog, which was a fun experience until it began crashing Monday due to a number of problems related to huge images and increased traffic. It was a fun experiment–a little rough around the edges, but overall I think it sets the tone for real-time blogging future conferences.

I just had an out-of-body experience on the floor of ALA Council where I found myself arguing against a resolution that would lead to more money for school libraries. My points were largely rhetorical, as when it comes up for a vote I will raise my hand to support it as well. There was much impassioned speechifying on behalf of Resolution #42, the ALA Resolution on School Libraries and the No Child Left Behind Act. Many people came over to my table to tell me how important school librarians are. In my years of public library service, I worked with many students and with some terrific school librarians, and I believe that school libraries play a direct role in improving literacy.

My concern is with ALA process. We have had months to see and discuss a resolution on this issue. Even seeing this resolution the week prior to Council would have been beneficial. But we did not. We received this resolution 24 hours ago, and it was a resolution that had problems. One of the “Whereas” clauses had Luddite language that made many of us cringe: “WHEREAS, funding formulas under No Child Left Behind favor computer-based technology over books and materials that support reading or learning…” We as an association do not need to make ourselves look any more backwards than we are. Also, we as a governing body do not need to be editing in real-time.

The mover agreed to amend the resolution, which is good, but we lost precious time canoodling with language that should have been buffed and polished a long time ago.

LITA doesn’t operate this way. A lot of work is done between conferences, and when we arrive at ALA, we can have substantive discussions about issues we’re well familiar with at that point. That’s how to run an association. (Plus it gives us more party time.)

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