The “L-Word”

Before I get to the matter at hand, I have a confession to make. I love being a librarian. Although I fell into this profession by accident, all the signs were there pointing toward my eventual calling. I was fascinated by the public library as a child. I put rudimentary Dewey numbers in my books at home and “played library” with my younger brother and date due stamp my Aunt Adele loaned us. I was the only one on my dorm floor in my undergrad career who understood how to do research, and I helped many through the required and dreaded “library skills workbook”. Connecting folks with the human record is what I live to do. Librarianship is in my mind and in my heart and in my soul and I cannot see it any other way.

In contrast, there are many in our profession who desire to be information scientists. The seek to run from the “L-Word” as fast as they can, perhaps because they feel librarianship isn’t a real profession or a real academic field. Perhaps they seek the greater prestige and financial gain that information technology brings. Perhaps they think that librarianship or library science is subservient or secondary to information science. Perhaps they don’t have the same strong feelings for the profession that I do. Whatever the case may be, we’re in a 50+ year struggle for the soul of librarianship, and if I’m being honest, it makes me sad that many good people that I know are willing to sell the profession out for a “few magic beans” much like Jack in “Jack and the Beanstalk”.

So why is Matt writing about this now? Well, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has decided to be the latest “library school” to drop the word library from the name of the school. To be fair, the GSLIS at UIUC is a founding member of the iSchool movement, and has been heavily involved in information science for a very long time. Additionally, the school is retaining a commitment to its ALA-accredited MS in LIS program. But something doesn’t sit well with me about this name change, and I’m not the only one based on recent Twitter conversations I’ve had since this was announced.

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Minerva, by Elihu Vedder at the Library of Congress. Photo used with CC BY-NC-ND license from travelrelationship on flickr.com

As I see it librarianship (and I use the term librarianship and library science interchangeably, more about the reasons why in a later post) and information science are two separate, yet related fields of research. Librarianship is, according to Michael Gorman in his Our Enduring Values Revisited,  “facilitating learning by fruitful and wide-ranging interaction with the human record”. Said another way (by David Lankes), “the mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities”. Information science, on the other hand, can be defined as a field primarily concerned with “the analysis, collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval, movement, dissemination, and protection of information.” Wayne Weigand says it best when he posits that “the common misconception that libraries are part of the world of information is an inversion of reality”. The differences between these two related fields of study are important, and “information science” cannot assume the place of librarianship as a separate field.

But this is not a simple conflating of two related fields in the case of the Illinois “name change”. The underlying forces at play here are more nefarious than just confusion over librarianship’s place in higher education. It has been explained to me a few times in the discussion of the change with various groups that this was done to ensure the viability of the school and give it more “prestige” in the pantheon of academic programs. After all,  who wants to continue to fund a “library school”? Few, if any, grant-making organizations fund “library research”, but millions of dollars are given every year to research in information sciences and technology. After all, isn’t librarianship a dying profession? Who uses the library anymore anyway? All the information you’d ever need is on Google.

It bothers me that librarians have a) lost their way in the rush towards information science and technology, and b) see no future for librarianship other than as information scientists and technology mavens. Librarianship remains a vibrant and vital profession, apart from information science and technology. Librarians are called to create institutions and places that “allow every person in the communities served…to continue his education, to become more knowledgeable, and to live the life of the mind in the way in which he chooses…Through lifelong learning, libraries can and do change lives, a point that cannot be overstated.” (Gorman, p. 40) We librarians need to recapture and revitalize our profession and our course of study, especially at this time when the world needs us the most. Retreating into the relative “safety and security” of information science will not do. Librarianship must take its rightful place as the critical task of “facilitating human interaction with the human record”. (Gorman, p. 16)

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Wright on Librarianship and Management

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Source: postscapes on Flickr.com. Used per CC BY 2.0 License.

As a means of reading more of Jesse H. Shera’s work, I read the brief, but interesting biography, “Jesse Shera, Librarianship, and Information Science” by H. Curtis Wright, the former dean of the library school at Brigham Young University (which closed well before I entered the profession). Wright was a scholar of library history and philosophy and contributed much to the Journal of Library History. It is in this journal that I found the 1978 article “Inquiry and Science and Librarianship”.

I was especially interested in his “two views of librarianship” (p. 255), which posit a managerial view of librarianship that is functional and materialistic in outlook and a user view of librarianship, which aims to provide patrons “with access to the metaphysical resources of information itself, not supplying them with the physical instruments by means of which information is expressed.” (p. 255) This reminds me greatly of Lankes’ more contemporary “Atlas of the New Librarianship” which suggests that “the mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities”.

The “money quote” from Wright’s article is this:

The librarian, who can no longer get ahead as a librarian, has turned to administration as the best way up, the route to the summit. But administration is also the librarian’s way out of librarianship, for it leads to the top of the wrong mountain, where there is not librarianship, only more administration. (p. 256)

Although this article was written nearly 40 years ago, I feel the situation in librarianship hasn’t changed much since then. LIS programs and iSchools all have “information management” at their core. Students are instructed in how to manage, organize, and provide information resources. But perhaps we have been getting it all wrong these past 40+ years.

Management and provision of resources is not the true mission of librarians, but rather providing access to the “metaphysical resources of information itself”, this facilitation of knowledge creation, is what librarianship is all about. My hope is that we can break, as a profession, from “information managers” to knowledge facilitators. Our profession demands it.

Wright, H.C. (1978). “Inquiry in Science and Librarianship”, The Journal of Library History (1974-1987), 13(3): 250-264.

Market Orientation, Part Two

In my previous post, “The Future of Libraries? Adopting a Market Orientation“, I stated that the future of libraries is identifying the wants and needs of our communities and stakeholders and meeting them. Market orientation is taking this concept (the “marketing concept”) and making it central to the goals, objectives, and mission of an organization. I received a lot of positive feedback on this post, with many librarians agreeing that this is an optimal “way forward” for libraries that have been historically concerned more with products — collections, services, spaces, etc. — than with finding the wants and needs of their communities and meeting them.

I also received some thought provoking negative feedback on the post, mostly from those who have concerns about the use of business terms in librarianship, the “commercialization” of public good organizations like libraries, and basing what we do in libraries on “market forces”. If we as librarians and library professionals feel that we need new terms to describe these concepts, then let’s create them. Furthermore, adopting a market orientation is no more “neoliberal” than using standard accounting practices or sound financial advice for investing library endowments. I liken marketing and the marketing concept as a “way of thinking” that has proven results in satisfying wants and needs. Our market orientation, as libraries, is how central we are making this concept to what we do on a day-to-day basis.

As I said in follow up comments and tweets, I’m not advocating that libraries adopt a “laissez-faire” attitude and base everything we do on the whims of the market. As professionals, we need to guide and inform the wants and needs of our patrons. Even in business, customers often come to a firm with no clue about their individual wants and needs. Market orientation is a way to be aware and focused on these wants and needs, while guiding and informing our communities and the stakeholders we serve.

These ideas are more fully fleshed out in an article in the Journal of Library Innovation published today by Arne J. Almquist titled “The Innovative Academic Library: Implementing a Marketing Orientation to Better Address User Needs and Improve Communication“. Dr. Almquist details how the university library at his institution, Northern Kentucky University, has made the marketing concept central to the mission and strategic plan of his library, and some of the results of these actions. He also dispels the myth that I have seen quite prevalent in librarianship that marketing is only promotion and advertising. While these are important they are only marketing functions, and the marketing concept is much richer than promotion and advertising.

I would highly recommend that any librarians interested in preparing themselves for “the future”, read this article. I firmly believe that employing the marketing concept, and developing a market orientation, is a strategy that libraries can employ for years to come to truly meet the wants and needs of those we serve. Without our stakeholders — patrons, communities, students, faculty, and the like — libraries are nothing. Meeting their wants and needs will truly illustrate the values of libraries, and make us stronger as organizations and as a profession.

The Future of Libraries? Adopting a Market Orientation

I have been a librarian for over 15 years, and not a year has gone by without a discussion about “the future of libraries” in the profession. Much of the conversation has been dominated by library futurists, thought leaders, and visionaries, with little regard to the actual wants and needs of the communities and stakeholders that libraries serve. As the most recent discussion swirled around the creation of the American Library Association‘s Center for the Future of Libraries, and the companion Summit on the Future of Libraries that took place last weekend, it became evident that the “usual suspects” were once again prognosticating on the future of libraries with little input from those we serve both in the profession and in our institutions every day.

At first, I tweeted that I was “staying out of “future of the library” debates on social media, not because I don’t care about libraries, but out of a dislike for futurists”, but I quickly got pulled into the online debate about the Summit and who was and was not invited. Much of the discussion inside the Summit was the stuff that many of us in the profession have heard time and time again, increased technology, huge social upheaval, and the future irrelevance of libraries in the lives of most people. This type of nihilistic and self-serving (many of the participants in the Summit were from the realm of IT and technology) prognostication is worthless without gauging the true wants and needs of our users. Additionally, I found it classist and paternalistic to be discussing the future of libraries with little or no input from the communities that we serve.

As I was kvetching about this later to my partner, the marketing professor, he asked me “So what do you think is the future of libraries?” Without batting an eye, I said, “The future of libraries is identifying the wants and needs of our communities and stakeholders and meeting them.” In other words, adopting a market orientation, a “business approach or philosophy that focuses on identifying and meeting the stated or hidden needs or wants of customers.” When organizations adopt a market orientation, they seek to identify what customers/clients/stakeholders/users want and need first and then develop products and services to meet these needs. Indeed, many libraries have always done this and will continue to do so in the future, and have been quite successful during the myriad of changes in the profession in the last 50 years, but I also know that the number of libraries who have not adopted a market orientation is much higher, and these libraries continue to struggle.

Instead of listening to publishers, vendors, futurists, thought leaders, or anyone else paid to give opinions on the future of libraries, we need to identify what our communities and stakeholders want the future of libraries to look like, and then make this a reality for them. This means that libraries and librarians will need to reach out to communities, research their wants and needs, and truly listen to what we are being told. This means that we may need to let go of old assumptions, or new ones, and be flexible enough to change as the wants and needs of the communities we serve change. This means that we need to assess what we are doing right and keep it, and figure out what we are doing wrong, and change it. If we can develop the tools of market orientation to do this, I think the future of libraries will be bright indeed.

Putting Our Money Where Our Mouth Is

Source: peterdaou.com

This week the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) called upon the American Library Association to move its 2016 Annual Meeting from Orlando, FL to another venue due to racist and discriminatory laws in Florida like “Stand Your Ground”. I stand with the BCALA 100% and call upon the ALA to look for other venues for the 2016 Annual Meeting. While I think that BCALA’s call for action is a good start, I’d also like to bring attention to another area where ALA is breaking its own policies and call upon ALA to reconsider other future conference venues because of it.

In 2011, ALA Council passed legislation that was encoded in the ALA Policy Manual at A.7.1.1 “Non-Discrimination in Conference Contracts” (emphasis mine):

There shall be no discrimination, including that based on race, origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, creed or disability, in the use of any facilities used by the American Library Association. This policy shall become a part of ALA contracts for the use of space. The ALA will avoid entering, whenever possible, into convention center contracts with organizations and legal bodies in cities, counties, or states that by law discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people. ALA will provide materials for promoting sensitivity to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression for all employees on the floor of each convention center, including employees of companies to which the convention center has contracted for services on the floor of the convention.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the following states do not discriminate against LGBT people:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Based on this policy, the following upcoming conferences are in violation of this policy, at the present time, and should at least receive serious reconsideration for alternate venues:

  • 2016 Annual Conference, Orlando, FL: June 23-28, 2016
  • 2017 Midwinter Meeting, Atlanta, GA: January 20-24, 2017
  • 2018 Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA: June 21-26, 2018
  • 2020 Midwinter Meeting, Philadelphia, PA: January 17-21, 2020
  • 2021 Midwinter Meeting, Indianapolis, IN: January 22-26, 2021

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of ALA fought hard to get this policy approved and codified into the ALA, and we have advocated for years for conference venues in states that include LGBT people in anti-discrimination policies. Discrimination against the LGBT community is a pervasive issue and can effect employment, housing, benefits, and a whole host of other civil rights that are being denied to LGBT people in these states without LGBT anti-discrimination laws.

I suspect that many LGBT members of the ALA stand with BCALA on the issue of moving the Orlando conference to another venue. After all, according to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere.” I call upon BCALA, other ethnic caucuses and groups within ALA, and any ALA members who care about social justice to stand with me and expand the call to move the Orlando conference to all conference venues located in states that do not have protections from discrimination for LGBT people. Together we form a much stronger coalition for change in the Association and the attainment of important social justice goals. Let’s really put our money where our mouth (and our policies) are.

Midwinter in the City of Brotherly Love

When I was younger, the show “Angie” was quintessentially Philadelphian, at least in my mind. Enjoy the opening credits and late 70s/early 80s scenes from this “classic” TV sitcom while I give my tentative schedule of events at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia this weekend. I hope to live tweet (twitter.com/mciszek) and blog throughout the weekend.

Friday 1/24

Unconference
Friday, 01/24/2014 – 09:00am – 12:00pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – 103 A

Taiga Forum Update
Friday, 01/24/2014 – 02:00pm – 04:00pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – 102 B

Exhibits Open / All Conference Reception
Friday, 01/24/2014 – 05:30pm – 07:00pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – Exhibit Hall A-C

Presidential Candidate, Sari Feldman, Meet & Greet Reception
Friday, 01/24/2014 – 07:00pm – 08:00pm
Marriott – Grand C

Presidential Candidate, Maggie Farrell, Meet & Greet Reception
Friday, 01/24/2014 – 08:30pm – 10:00pm
Marriott – Grand B

Saturday 1/25

Executive Board Meeting (GLBTRT)
Saturday, 01/25/2014 – 08:30am – 11:30am
Marriott – Room 310

Council/Executive Board/Membership Information Session
Saturday, 01/25/2014 – 03:00pm – 04:30pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – Grand BR B

ALA Presidential Candidates Forum
Saturday, 01/25/2014 – 04:30pm – 05:30pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – Grand BR B

Challenges of gender issues in technology librarianship
Saturday, 01/25/2014 – 04:30pm – 05:30pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – 201 C

ALA Council Reception
Saturday, 01/25/2014 – 09:00pm – 10:00pm
Marriott – Grand I

Sunday 1/26

ALA Council I
Sunday, 01/26/2014 – 08:30am – 11:00am
Pennsylvania Convention Center – Grand BR B

ALA-APA Council
Sunday, 01/26/2014 – 11:00am – 11:30am
Pennsylvania Convention Center – Grand BR B

LRRT 2014 Mid-Winter Discussion Forum: Building & sustaining your research agenda
Sunday, 01/26/2014 – 01:00pm – 02:30pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – 120 C

Office for Intellectual Freedom & Freedom to Read Foundation Discussion Group
Sunday, 01/26/2014 – 03:00pm – 04:00pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – 203 A

Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of LIS Master’s Programs
Sunday, 01/26/2014 – 04:30pm – 05:30pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – 201 B

 

Social (GLBTRT)
Sunday, 01/26/2014 – 05:30pm – 07:30pm
Offsite Location – Off Site
Social event

ALA Council Forum I
Sunday, 01/26/2014 – 08:30pm – 10:00pm
Marriott – Grand I

Monday 1/27

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration
Monday, 01/27/2014 – 06:30am – 07:30am
Pennsylvania Convention Center – 113 AB

ALA Council II
Monday, 01/27/2014 – 10:00am – 12:15pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – Grand BR B

ALA Executive Board Candidates Forum
Monday, 01/27/2014 – 12:30pm – 01:30pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – Grand BR B

Wrap Up/Rev Up Celebration
Monday, 01/27/2014 – 02:00pm – 03:00pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – Grand BR A

Library Camp
Monday, 01/27/2014 – 03:30pm – 05:00pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center – 120 C

 

ALA Council Forum II
Monday, 01/27/2014 – 08:30pm – 10:00pm
Marriott – Grand I

Tuesday 1/28

ALA Council III
Tuesday, 01/28/2014 – 09:30am – 12:30pm

Conduct Unbecoming

Shortly after the American Library Association‘s Annual Meeting in Chicago last summer, I was approached by a group of ALA Members, ALA Councilors, and others about coming together to develop a “code of conduct” for ALA’s professional conferences. The group worked over several months, offered a document to ALA’s Office of Conference Services and the ALA Executive Board which was approved and accepted. The “Statement of Appropriate Conduct at ALA Conferences” is not new policy, but rather  a restatement of existing policies and procedures that have existed in the Association for many years in a concise form.

This Statement has been causing much consternation in Libraryland as of late. As someone who worked hard on gathering policies and solidifying them in this statement, I am proud that our Association offers this information – quite plainly and openly – to all conference attendees. Will Manley offers the latest critique of the Statement, and I feel that the time is right to offer my own voice to this discussion. As one of the people involved in creating this statement, but speaking on my own behalf, I’d like to respond to his criticisms and offer my own unique insight into this discussion.

Why? – ALA has gone over a hundred years without making librarians conform to a conference code of conduct.  What were the circumstances that necessitated enacting a code now?

As an ALA Councilor-at-Large and ALA member for over 10 years, I have been approached by several ALA members who have experienced bona fide examples of harassment and intimidation at conferences. Women touched, embraced, or fondled inappropriately. Others who had to suffer through verbal harassment or intimidation. Transgender and genderqueer members told by conference staff that they could not use a certain restroom. While the association has had policies guarding against such behavior for years, there has never been a definitive statement on the types of behavior that will not be tolerated and what the consequences of such behavior would be.

And to be honest, even though this type of “bad behavior” has been going on at ALA Conferences for years as evident in my experiences and the experiences of others, the impetus of the Statement was born out of some high profile incidents at recent technology conferences in the last few years. As these conferences were developing “statements of conduct”, a group of concerned ALA members got together and worked with ALA staff and leadership to develop a statement for the Association as well. As stated above, the Statement is not new policy. We simply concatenated existing policies and statements into a unified and easy to reference document.

How? – Admittedly I am not an ALA junkie so it’s quite possible this policy was comprehensively vetted by ALA’s membership.  However, I don’t recall reading about it  so I wonder: how exactly was this policy written, vetted by the membership, and approved by the ALA Council and Executive Board?

First, this is not new policy, just a restatement of existing policy. It was developed by a concerned group of ALA members in conjunction with the ALA Office of Conference Services, and vetted and approved by the ALA Executive Board. If this was indeed new policy, ALA Council would have had to weigh into the process as well, but as this was a restatement of existing policies and practices, no action by Council was necessary. As an ALA Councilor-at-Large, I have a feeling that this will come before Council at Midwinter next month, and I anticipate that Council will give its stamp of approval as well.

Please Define and Refine Your Terms:  The policy states: “Some behaviors are specifically prohibited: harassment or intimidation based on race, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, appearance, or other group status.”  My guess is that if you ask 100 librarians for a definition of “gender identity” and “gender expression” you will get 90 different answers.  ALA needs to define those two terms.  Also “other group status” is incredibly vague.  If I say something negative about Skinheads will I be violating the code of conduct and be reported to the Director of Conference Services?  How about the Knights of Columbus?  The Tea Party? The Rotary Club?  The Burlington Liars Club?  Please specify, ALA.

“Gender identity” and “gender expression” are both codified in ALA’s anti-discrimination policies. Both terms have very solid definitions in this context. According to the Human Rights Campaign, gender identity is a “refers to a person’s innate, deeply felt psychological identification as male or female, which may or may not correspond to the person’s body or designated sex at birth (meaning what sex was originally listed on a person’s birth certificate)”. Gender expression “refers to all of the external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine, such as dress, grooming, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interactions.” As I mentioned above, I know of several ALA members who experienced discrimination and harassment from conference center staff based on their gender identity/expression and the “proper” restrooms they should be using. Due to a lack of unified and consistent policy, these members were unaware of what group at ALA they should have reported this to, and what actions could and would be taken to rectify the situation.

I do agree that “other group status” is vague and needs clarification. I would welcome working with Will Manley and any other ALA members to clarify and modify the Statement. Like most documents, this is the first iteration and clarification and amendment is always welcome.

This Policy Can Have a Chilling Effect on Intellectual Freedom: The policy states: “Speakers are asked to frame discussions as openly and inclusively as possible and to be aware of how language or images may be perceived by others. ”   This is a very scary requirement.  It sounds an awful lot like…if you offend anyone you can be hauled before the Director of Conference Services and asked to recant.  Shock, satire, and hyperbole are all rhetorical strategies that speakers employ to shake an audience out of normative thinking in order to consider alternative points of view, but shock, satire, and hyperbole can also be very offensive.  I remember going to an ALA conference in the late 60s in which a black power speaker began his talk with the assertion: “Fuck this shit.”  He went on to deliver a great, inspiring message that shook the mostly white audience into a better understanding of his world.  Would that man be arrested by the ALA political correctness police today under this policy? Another effective rhetorical tool is humor.  Good humor is double edged.  It is funny but it also can be quite biting.   Would Richard Pryor or Lenny Bruce be arrested by the ALA political correctness police under this policy?  It is a very scary but very real thought.

I wholeheartedly agree that there is a fine line between intellectual freedom/free speech and harassment. The Statement was written not to squelch intellectual freedom and free speech, but to remind Conference attendees that intellectual freedom and free speech are never entirely free.  I cannot yell “FIRE!” in a crowded auditorium and claim free speech as a legal defense. Likewise making statements that are misogynistic, homophobic, racist, sexually charged, and the like may be free speech or fall under intellectual freedom, but are not appropriate behavior at a professional conference. The Statement does not seek to silence hot button issues or controversial topics, but seeks to ensure that discussions of these take place in a professional context.

Ambiguity Reigns in this Policy: Consider this clause from the policy: “…use of sexual imagery or language in the context of a professional discussion might not constitute hostile conduct or harassment.”  A good First Amendment lawyer would have an absolute field day dismantling this wishy washy directive and taking ALA to the bank.  What in heaven’s name does “might not” mean in this case?   ALA is the organization that sued the federal government so that children could have access to pornography on library computers.  This clause (and this whole policy) seems to be completely at odds with ALA’s historic defense of an extreme interpretation of intellectual freedom.

This phrase was taken from other codes of conduct used in other professional conferences. It indicates that there may be discussions or presentation that happen in a professional context, are not harassment or hostile conduct, even if this language or imagery outside of professional context, may be something to be avoided. In my opinion, this clause “gives an out” for intellectual freedom and free speech, if done within a professional context. Obviously you can’t have a discussion on literature related to child abuse survivors without using sexual imagery or language, and this is protected in the Statement, but leaning over to a colleague at a conference and telling him or her your abuse fantasy, is most definitely harassment and hostile conduct.

Where is the Due Process for Violators?: Here’s what the policy says: all violations “will be directed immediately to the Director of Conference Services, who will determine and carry out the appropriate course of action, and who may consult with and engage other ALA staff, leaders, and legal counsel as appropriate.  Event security and local law enforcement may be involved, as appropriate based on the specific circumstances.”  Good grief!  Imagine Howard Stern being arrested by law enforcement at an ALA conference for saying the seven words you cannot say on radio or Chris Rock being arrested for making fun of white people or Sarah Silverman being arrested for ridiculing men.

The spirit of the Statement is not to be the ALA Thought Police. Conference Services will not be placing moles in programs and presentations to guard against violations. That being said, if someone feels they have been harassed, abused, or otherwise made uncomfortable at a conference, this statement directs the member who to contact and provides a sense of how the situation will be evaluated and resolved, all within existing policy.

I am very proud of the Statement and was honored to have worked on its creation and distribution in the Association. I will be the first to admit that it’s not a perfect document, and could use clarification and amendment. I would welcome anyone with suggestions — and critiques — to contact me and I will bring these forward to ALA Council. the Executive Board, and Conference Services and ensure that we make this Statement better.