In one of my final duties as ALSC Vice-President, I arranged for ALA Parliamentarian Eli Mina to speak to the ALSC Board of Directors during our Orientation Meeting at the 2010 Annual Conference. In addition to discussing the fundamental principles of parliamentary procedure, Mr. Mina provided sage counsel about dealing with controversial policy issues. He advised us to bring the membership-at-large into the process as soon as possible; provide as much information as possible; provide opportunities for face-to-face discussion; and provide sufficient time for dialogue–as long as two years when dealing with contentious matters.
As many of you know, one of the most challenging policy issues that has faced our association in recent years is the ALSC Scope of Attention Motion. Because it requires a change to our bylaws, the two-part motion will go to our membership for a vote in the spring of 2011. In addition to recommending a change to the lower end of our range of service from “preschool” to “birth,” it proposes what has proven to be a controversial change to the upper end of our range of service from “through the eighth-grade” to “through, and including age 13.”
While there was discussion about the Scope of Attention Motion between ALSC members on ALAConnect last year, what I heard our constituents say loud and clear at the 2010 ALSC Membership Meeting was that they had more to say on the subject and they wanted a formal venue in which to say it. In order to guarantee that everyone may be heard, to open up conversation to our colleagues who can’t attend conferences, and to help everyone feel that they can participate in the resolution of this issue, there will be another opportunity for members to engage in conversation about the Scope of Attention Motion on ALAConnect this fall. While this is not a face-to-face forum, there will be pro and con statements related to the motion to help frame the conversation. As the ALSC Board of Directors has elected to put forward the motion, they have graciously agreed to prepare these unsigned statements.
The conversation pertaining to the Scope of Attention Motion will open on
ALAConnect on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 12:00 pm EST and continue for one month. As a reminder, an email will be sent to all ALSC members shortly before the kick-off. In addition, I will post a reminder that the floor is open on ALSC-l and on the ALSC blog with a link to ALA Connect.
In closing, Eli Mina noted that difficult issues could bring forth very passionate discussion. Can I count on your help in maintaining a safe and respectful environment so all our members feel free to speak?
President, Association for Library Service to Children