Blogger Andrew Medlar

Share Your Thoughts on the Institute and HB2

Give ALSC your feedkbac on how to move forward with the National Institute
Give us your feedback on how to move forward with the National Institute (image courtesy of ALSC)

I’m reaching out today, International Transgender Day of Visibility, to share information regarding the 2016 ALSC National Institute and last week’s passing of North Carolina’s HB2 legislation, with the objective of gathering more member feedback within the next few days.

Thank you to everyone who has already expressed thoughts, concerns, support, and questions regarding this extremely important situation.

This is not an abstract issue. In addition to this law’s conflict with ALSC’s core values, purpose, and diversity work, in the past week ALSC leadership has heard from members who are personally affected by it in a very real way. During this time we have been consulting with ALA management and President Sari Feldman; ALA Conference Services; the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT); the ALA Public Awareness Office; the Institute Planning Task Force; the North Carolina Library Association; the Charlotte Marriott City Center; and, most importantly, as I mentioned, ALSC members on ALSC-L and via e-mail and social media.

With the Institute less than six months away and an ALSC calendar scheduled literally years in advance, unfortunately moving the event to another state is not a viable alternative even with a change of date. The alternative to moving forward with the Institute as scheduled in Charlotte is to cancel it.

We are working with GLBTRT on a continuing course of action and to prepare should the Institute proceed in Charlotte, a city with a culture of inclusiveness and library support. Indeed, it was Charlotte’s transgender-inclusive, nondiscrimination ordinance which was subsequently and egregiously reversed by the state’s HB2 legislation. We have already sent a letter to Governor McCrory urging him to support a swift repeal of HB2, however please be aware that we are a 501(c)(3) organization and must be very conscious that actions such as calls for boycotts and electioneering may put ALA at risk.

The Institute schedule does include programs specifically on equity and inclusion for all and we are actively looking to develop further programmatic content to help raise awareness and share resources. We have begun speaking with local LGBTQIA organizations in Charlotte on how we can actively support their work, and welcome suggestions of any of which you’re aware.

We continue to monitor and assess the situation closely and want to hear from you as your immediate feedback will help us plot our course moving forward and make a decision regarding the Institute within the next two weeks. To respond, please leave a comment below. If you would like to reach out to me privately, please feel free to do so at


  1. Jenna Nemec-Loise

    Andrew, thank you for updating us on the swift and strong action ALSC leadership and staff have already taken on this issue. We are fortunate indeed to have such champions of equity, diversity, and inclusion among us.

    ALSC colleagues, your voices matter! Your feedback is critical to helping ALSC shape what happens next. Please take a few moments today to comment below or send Andrew an e-mail.

  2. Nina Lindsay

    Thank you, Andrew and ALSC, for addressing this issue and sharing the status. It’s been on my mind, and it is so good not to have to ask, and to be confident that ALSC will take any official action possible.

    As someone who is planning to be at the Institute, but doesn’t feel comfortable doing so without demonstrating personal protest of this legislation, I will be looking for ways to do so appropriately. I imagine that other attendees are feeling the same. I would welcome an informational directory of organizations that members might choose to follow as individuals for opportunities for action.

    1. Nina Lindsay

      My comment above presupposed the Institute goes on. Cancelling would be something powerful ALSC could do; not without significant cost, but in support of our members and core values. While I can’t imagine doing the Institute online, I’d support low-cost ways to host program content online through a combo of webinars, twitter chats, hangouts. A one day virtual conference?

  3. Jenni

    As the spouse of a transman, I would not feel safe attending an event in a state where my spouse is not also welcome. Would it be possible for this event to be hosted online instead so that people may attend remotely?

  4. Sarah Stippich

    I want to echo everyone’s thanks for addressing this important topic!

    Just one idea: We could show our support for our trans colleagues and friends by wearing an “I’ll Go With You” pin. It would be great to have a ton of children’s librarians sporting this visual support of trans civil rights!

    From their website: #IllGoWithYou allies go into bathrooms and other spaces with transgender people who may be afraid or concerned about their safety. An #IllGoWithYou ally offers support, buffering, and nonviolent assistance when asked.

    1. Mary

      Or would that draw attention to trans folks who might prefer “allies” not inadvertently out them? It’s so frustrating how this issue is being looked at as if it doesn’t really impact ALSC members. It’s more than just an opportunity to take a political stance for trans people; it’s actually unsafe for us. Someone wearing a sticker to support trans access to bathrooms won’t stop police from “handling” a trans person using a gender-specific bathroom. I am a trans library administrator and had planned to send most of the youth services department from my system. If the conference goes on as planned, I will not send anyone from our library. I see spending my system’s money in a state employing hate politics as bad stewardship. If ALSC goes through with this, the message is clear that the association is fine with trans discrimination. If I can’t stop that from happening, at least I can make a personal statement by not sending my staff and not renewing my membership next year.

      1. Sarah

        Hi Mary,

        Thanks for your response, and I appreciate your insight. It’s true that I’m coming more from an “ally” perspective than someone who is daily affected by this; my gender expression isn’t scrutinized or policed. I see wearing the pin is a (potentially positive) drop in the bucket, but considering cancellation of the Institute is paramount. So, thanks for your perspective.

  5. Erin

    I’m so glad to hear that ALSC is pondering how to navigate this issue. I was so excited to travel to Charlotte and then extend my time in that part of the country with a visit to Asheville and now…not excited at all. This was the first time I’d made plans to attend the Institute and was so excited to be among my children’s librarian colleagues and now…not excited because of the location.

  6. Dawn Treude

    The Institute will be my first national professional library event. I won a scholarship to attend and as a Library Assistant in YS, I can’t express enough how important this opportunity is professionally. I specifically chose ALSC Institute because of the diversity in programing and would be crushed if the event was cancelled.

    I hope that we can find a way to be in Charlotte and support the GLBTQ community during the weekend.

    1. Ann

      I agree! I have never attended a conference this large and I am very excited. It means more to go and support and voice our opinions than to not show up and not have our say.

      1. Tess

        I respectfully disagree – I think we should relocate – economic boycotts work. This state needs to be boycotted until the legislation is repealed. I am a straight white woman with all kinds of privilege. If I go to the conference (as a presenter this time – was very thrilled and excited to be accepted) I would be in the company of a bunch of other straight, probably mostly white (let’s face it) privileged people who have never been discriminated against in their lives. And we would sit there and pretend to be allies while we hand our money over to a state that should know better. Nope.

  7. Elsworth

    I appreciate that you are soliciting comments from members about this issue. If you proceed with the Institute as planned, the safety of transgender ALSC members in attendance will be compromised. ALSC would have some control over the actual Institute facilities, so there could be non-gendered bathrooms and signs expressing welcoming and affirmative messages about inclusion onsite—which is great—but please consider the other places people will need to pass through in the state, including airports, hotels, retail environments, etc. The only good option in my opinion is to cancel the Institute, despite the hardship this would cause the association.

    1. Liz

      I just want to add to this thoughtful discussion that I don’t believe canceling should be considered a financial hardships or ALSC. Instead it could be an investment in advocating for the well-being and civil rights of all our members. Respectfully, I think we need to think about the economic part of this in a different way.

  8. Erin

    At the end of the day, I believe our greatest protest and support of the trans community would be to cancel this event. No amount of professional development is worth the safety and equality of these community members. To cancel the Institute would send a clear message that we will not support, philosophically or financially, a state that discriminates against any group. Money clearly speaks in our country; to deprive North Carolina of our money expresses our support for the trans community much louder than any number of protests on site.

  9. Laura Abbott

    PLEASE don’t cancel the ALSC Institute in Charlotte. Online conferences don’t compare to ones attended in person. Youth Services staff need this to share, network, learn, and grow. Let’s support each other and be a positive show of force for the GLBTQ community while attending. Maybe our good example will open up lines of communication and start the change that needs to happen. Avoiding Charlotte will delay the needed change. This could be an opportunity for education.

    1. Ann

      I AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Renee Grassi

    Andrew & ALSC, your leadership continues to inspire me. Thank you for your efforts championing the human rights of LGBTQIA. This is an opportunity for ALSC to make our voices heard in a profound way. I realize that if the difficult decision is made to cancel the Institute, it would be made to ensure the safety of its membership, which is of the utmost importance. It would be a professional opportunity that would be missed by many, but I fully stand with ALSC and the decisions it makes for our organization. By practicing and advocating for inclusion and acceptance for all, we can be a model for other divisions of ALA and beyond. My sincerest gratitude.

  11. Meg

    I think those asking not to cancel really need to think how your fellow ALSC members who are trans or identify as LGBT would feel attending in a place that is not safe for them? I understand you want the networking and learning experiences that the institute has but there will be more conferences, online opportunities, and canceling the institute will keep our colleagues safe and let them know they their professional network values their safety. It would be unfortunate if it got canceled, but it would be the right call.

    1. Bethany

      I agree. I find it selfish to request one’s own professional development opportunities proceed at the expense of a colleague’s safety.

  12. Caitlin

    I’m so proud to be a part of an organization that cares so much and does everything in their power to make humans safe, loved and smart.

    1. Dale

      It is true, let us go there and protest.

  13. Randi

    I’m so glad this conversation is happening. As I noted in the comments section of the survey sent to those already registered for the ALSC institute I feel conflicted about attending. I am appalled by the recent legislation in North Carolina. If the Institute is canceled I will likely have to eat the cost of the plane ticket I purchased, but I guess I’m willing to do so in support of humane dignity and equity. If the Institute does go on as planned I’m not sure if I will or will not attend. I will consider the plans ALSC makes for the Institute for action around this issue during the conference.

  14. Hanna

    I understand that time limits prevent relocation of the event, but it feels insufficient to just make a gesture while continuing to go to and give my money to North Carolina.

    I agree the strongest statement we could make could be to cancel Institute, acknowledging that this puts our fellow members in danger (thanks for your reminder, Mary). Otherwise, it’s business as usual, and state representatives are not actually faced with financial consequences to their bigoted decisions. I was very much looking forward to ALSC Institute, as it would have been my first, but I also see an opportunity for ALSC to send a strong message in support of its members and the children we serve.

    As someone who lives and works in a state that actively embraces discrimination (Mississippi), I’m sensitive to the idea that sometimes you have no choice but to effect change from within. If we want these states with terrible human rights records to change, I wonder if we have to “occupy” them—rather than desert or boycott them. But I think that would require something more substantial and disruptive than a symbolic gesture (participating a Wednesday or Sunday volunteer event). I’m not convinced that any protest or volunteer event that we could coordinate at this time would be as effective a message as denying the state access to any further conference revenue.

    I need to figure out the logistics of this, but as of right now, I am planning to reverse my decision to attend (complicated since I was helping organize a session).

    Andrew and ALSC leadership, thank you for listening to and responding to our voices!

  15. Dianna Burt

    I’m so glad that ALSC is responding so positively to this legislation. If we don’t cancel the conference, being an ally I will cancel my reservation and flight and not attend because this issue is so important to us as an organization and to me personally. I have family, friends and colleagues that bring me into the ally category and I must stand up for them. I implore ALSC to stand up for them on this issue or it won’t be keeping it’s word and our organization will not be worth much.

  16. Donna Zick

    This would be the first ALSC Institute I would have the opportunity to attend and I requested to attend it rather than ALA this year. You have created a wonderful program. However, I cannot personally bring myself to assist in bringing money to a state with these kinds of policies that harm and harass so many people. Therefore, if ALSC chooses to hold the institute in North Carolina, I will not be attending. I appreciate ALSC having this discussion and hope that we can find a way to continue to support and grow our important services without supporting discrimination.

    1. Dale

      Every state has terrible laws. We cannot boycott every state.

      1. Tess

        I knew it was only a matter of time before someone came along and said that very unhelpful statement, Dale.
        There is no Utopia – but there are some places that are better than others with regards to human rights and social justice. This NC legislation has no business in the 21st century – it is new legislation and it represents a terrifying trend towards hate and intolerance.

  17. Elisa Gall

    Thank you for sharing this information with us, and for seeking input from our membership. Please cancel the Institute. I know it will not be easy, but I have faith in our membership that ALSC can innovate and create alternative learning opportunities that promote the safety and inclusivity reflected in our organizational values.

  18. Robert Bittner

    As an ALSC member, a panel organizer for Institute, and as a scholar of gender and sexuality studies, I see this as a turning point for ALSC in terms of its ability to support trans and genderqueer individuals through a concrete act. Though I understand the desire not to lose money or disadvantage ALSC in the longer term, I believe that cancelling the Institute would send a clear message, both in terms of our support of trans and genderqueer populations, but also in terms of our desire not to be held captive by monetary influence. I will not personally be attending the Institute this year.

    As I was watching ALA respond to issues around Florida’s legislation around gun control and blatantly racist legislation, and more recently regarding the possibility of Georgia passing its own religious freedom legislation, I was struck by how often ALA is held captive by monetary influence because of the need to book conferences so far in advance. Every time, the response is something along the lines of, “If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t attend, but we can’t pull out due to the financial penalties.” And again, while I understand the financial burden, we are still allowing money to dictate our response to homophobic, transphobic, and racist legislation in states where we hold our conferences.

    It is not my intention to oversimplify the situation, but I feel, like a number who have left feedback, that there is an opportunity here for ALSC to show the state, the country, and ALA at large, that we are willing to take a stand and not fall prey to the whims of those in power who seek to marginalize, discriminate, and otherwise belittle entire swaths of the population who need and deserve recognition, safety, and support. Thank you to Andrew for opening up this discussion. My best wishes and wholehearted support go out to everyone working on this at every level.

    1. Bethany

      Too bad there isn’t a like button. Robert, I find your statement to be an excellent one.

  19. Karen Perry

    Please know that there are many NC residents who try to elect thoughtful intelligent leaders who actually care about their constituents. But the last two elections have featured an influx of political money from PACS and folks like the Koch brothers who are determined to take over our state legislature.
    They have succeeded in ways you cannot even imagine. This HB2 legislation is the tip of the iceberg. If you did not understand the implications of all that political campaign money being poured into this state, perhaps now you do.
    And we are so, so sorry to have our great state’s image turned into one of intolerance and bigotry. I apologize to all ALSC members that my personal political efforts have not been enough. It will take a revolution. Occupy – YES!

    1. Hanna

      Don’t give up, Karen! Thank you for your work in NC!

  20. Fred Stoss

    Not if you want reimbursement from State-funded libraries, such as the entire SUNY System:

    Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today (28 March 2016) signed an executive order banning all non-essential state travel to North Carolina. The order requires all New York State agencies, departments, boards and commissions to immediately review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the state of North Carolina, and bar any such publicly funded travel that is not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety.


    The ban, which takes effect immediately, follows North Carolina’s enactment of a law which bars transgender individuals from using restrooms appropriate for their gender identities, excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from state anti-discrimination protections, and prohibits municipalities from extending those protections to LGBT citizens.

    “In New York, we believe that all people – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation – deserve the same rights and protections under the law,” said Governor Cuomo. “From Stonewall to marriage equality, our state has been a beacon of hope and equality for the LGBT community, and we will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past. As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am barring non-essential state travel to that state.”

    In 2015, Governor Cuomo banned non-essential state travel to the state of Indiana after that state’s legislature passed a controversial religious freedom measure that did not prohibit discrimination against LGBT citizens. The Indiana measure was later amended to prevent it from being used to discriminate against LGBT residents and travelers in Indiana, and that travel ban was lifted.

    The Governor’s executive order banning non-essential travel to North Carolina is available here, and the text can be found below:


    WHEREAS, New York State is a national leader in protecting the civil rights and liberties of all of its citizens;

    WHEREAS, New York State in 1945 enacted the first state law against discrimination in the nation, which now prohibits discrimination on many bases including age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, gender identity, marital status, and disability;

    WHEREAS, ensuring that persons are free from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a compelling state sanctioned government interest;

    WHEREAS, protecting New York State from inadvertently financing discrimination against protected classes, including sexual orientation and gender identity, is a compelling state sanctioned government interest;

    WHEREAS, the state of North Carolina has enacted legislation to bar transgender persons from using bathrooms and changing facilities corresponding to such persons’ gender identities, has excluded sexual orientation and gender identity from that state’s anti-discrimination protections, and has prohibited units of local government from extending such protections to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens;

    WHEREAS, in a free society the equal rights of all citizens, including LGBT citizens, must be protected and cherished;

    WHEREAS, in a free society the will of the many cannot be the basis for discrimination against the few;

    WHEREAS, it is the policy of the state of New York to promote fairness, protect the welfare of the citizens of the state of New York, and combat discrimination;

    NOW THEREFORE, I ANDREW M. CUOMO, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by my office, the New York State Constitution, and the Statutes of the state of New York, do hereby ORDER AND DIRECT:

    All agencies, departments, boards, authorities and commissions to review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the state of North Carolina so long as there is law in effect there that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT citizens; and
    To bar any such publicly funded or publicly sponsored travel to such location, unless such travel is necessary for the enforcement of New York State law, to meet prior contractual obligations, or for the protection of public health, welfare, and safety.
    New York State’s ban on publicly funded travel shall take effect immediately and shall continue until such law is repealed.

  21. Suzanne

    The strongest motivator for repealing hate based legislation is the negative economic impact it has, particularly on the tourism sector. For this reason I think the Institute should be cancelled and replaced with a series of online alternatives.

  22. Nicole

    I think the strongest statement we could make to the state of North Carolina would be to cancel the Institute. I agree with everyone’s comments stating that the Institute should be cancelled so that, first and foremost, all of our members can feel safe .

    Perhaps a compromise could be to somehow translate sessions into an electronic format, such as an online conference of some sort? I was planning on attending as I helped to organize a session, but would rather not show support in any way to such discriminatory practices. I will look forward to the next Institute hopefully taking place in a state that would be more safe, supportive and aligned with ALSC and ALA’s core values.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this along with other ALSC member’s opinions.

  23. Sarah

    I too feel cancelling is the best option. I was planning on attending (had even received a local scholarship) but I just feel I can’t justify going now. What North Carolina’s government is promoting is not what I stand for or what ALSC stands for. Cancelling would guarantee that I will attend the next institute because I know ALSC listens to its members.

  24. Mary Dubbs

    I was approved to attend, and I will be so, so bummed if it’s cancelled, but! my feelings of disappointment about missing a conference don’t trump the actual safety of my colleagues. I will be proud of ALSC if we do cancel, sending a message to our members that we see and value them, and sending a message to NC and other states that as much as possible, we’re going to put our money where our mouth is. I’m often an advocate for staying within an organization or area that’s in need of change and fighting for that change on the ground, but in this case, I think we make a stronger statement of solidarity with our trans coworkers if we cancel.

  25. Madeline Dietrich

    I am a member of ALA, but not of ALSC. I am following this discussion with great interest. I am a member of MLA (music) and have been speaking out to that organization about about the difficulties trans people face when attempting to participate in activities sponsored by the professional organizations they belong to. Please know I am heartened by the outpouring of support demonstrated by your membership for the LGBT community, and particularly the trans community. Your decision whether to cancel your conference in Charlotte or proceed with it will set a precedent.

    1. Madeline Dietrich

      Oh, and I am a transwoman.

  26. E

    As a disclaimer, I am not a member of ALSC nor am I in the youth services side of librarianship, but as a North Carolinian and a member of the GLBTQIA community, I want to express my support for cancelling the Institute. Loss of revenue will make so much more of an impact on the current state government than any protest ever will, no matter how great or heartfelt said protest may be. I understand that cancelling would have significant repercussions for ALSC and those who had planned to attend, but my own point of view as a QT North Carolinian (speaking only for myself, and not for the whole NC GLBTQIA community) is that if ALSC wants to support the NC GLBTQIA community, the best way they can do so is by cancelling the Institute.

  27. Jennifer

    Is Institute big enough that cancelling would have a measurable economic impact?

    1. Jeanette Larson

      Probably not but it sends a message and coupled with other groups that cancel would add to the impact.

      1. Jennifer

        Yeah, there are lots of reasons besides economic to cancel – I was just wondering what the numbers would look like – if Institute isn’t big enough on its own to make a dent (and is ALSC going to get the contract with the conference center or whatever refunded or would the organization, not the business, take the hit?) it would be worth teaming up with other groups or having some kind of “this is what the numbers look like because we’re not coming” sort of thing. Or…something. If we’re going to cancel I want to make it really matter as much as possible!

  28. Ernie Cox

    Thank you for opening up this conversation, Andrew. The current political landscape is shaping up to make life more difficult for far too many people. I wonder what we as an association can learn from recent similar events such as the one in Indiana. When that state legislature passed “religious freedom laws” the N.C.A.A. indicated a willingness to relocate. The N.C.A.A.’s stance, along with other organizations and businesses, had a direct impact on that law being revised to explicitly state it could not be used to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I’m not clear if cancelation of the institute would constitute a boycott. Are other organizations prepared to cancel meetings etc?

    It would be helpful to know more about the financial implications to ALSC if the institute where to be canceled. I’m also curious what members of the GLBTRT are suggesting as the best course of action. It is clear from this thread that safety would be a very real issue for attendees. This is an important moment for ALSC to make a decision that demonstrates our commitment to equality. Opening up conversations like this one will help guide us forward.

    The spirit of this quote from N.C.A.A. Preside Mark Emmert regarding the situation in Indiana is one that speaks to this moment too.

    “We have to be able to conduct our affairs and our tournaments in an environment that reflects the values of inclusiveness and diversity,” “Inclusion and diversity are real touchstone values in higher education.”

  29. Tess P

    The legislation is despicable and shameful. I am an ally. I find myself wondering how the Marriott leadership would respond to a request to relocate to a hotel in another US state (a safe one) or a province of Canada. Not being involved in the business side of things, I have no idea if this is feasible but I am goal-oriented and I do want this conference to go ahead someday someway! Are the chairperson and the board of directors of the Marriott company all bigots? Let’s give them a chance to prove that they are not. If ALSC pulls out of this conference the only ones making money are the Marriott shareholders as I am just going to assume there is no refund option. The spectre of the Marriott making money because of this is outrageous. If you have not already, can we try to work with the Marriott to relocate the conference (likely with different dates which would be understandable) as soon as possible. It is a very small conference…there must be somewhere we can gather to continue making the world a better, safer and more inclusive place for everyone.

  30. Debbie Reese

    When Arizona passed one of its racist “papers please” laws, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) was in the same situation that ALSC is now in, and the membership had a conversation about it. There was a call, from Latinx people in AZ, to boycott the state. If you went to AZ and you fit their racist profiling, you were at risk of being stopped.

    I have been profiled. In Oklahoma, just driving through the state. Pulled over by a sheriff, I was fearful that the wrong answer, the slightest wrong move, would mean he’d throw me to the ground and I’d be in handcuffs. I was terrified for my daughter who was in the car watching this interrogation and then was interrogated by him, too.

    I was amongst those in NAISA who voted to cancel, but the majority voted to go on with it, and so they did. They added sessions to address the racist laws there. They joined a protest, too. But who is the “they” that did that? A minority of the association. The rest? They spent a lot of money there, at restaurants, golf clubs, shopping… How far any individual is willing “to go” in terms of supporting those of whose lives are impacted by these laws is always disappointingly thin. They experienced no loss. Those of us who cancelled? We lost money (no refunds from the association, hotels, airlines, etc.) but, I also had (and have) a hard time thinking about those who went. Those who weren’t at risk for being profiled.

    As we’ve seen in the news, it is when money is withheld that changes happen. Some may think that ALSC is too small to make a difference, and all by itself, perhaps it is. But all those too-small’s, when added up, are not insignificant. ALSC is small, but as part of ALA, I think it would be major news if ALSC cancelled. I’m rambling a bit in this comment, so I’ll just top and say, if this was put to a vote, I’d vote to cancel.

  31. Stephanie

    I agree with everyone else, though this would be my first time attending and I was excited I am not able to support and finance a state that promotes hate. I will not attend and feel that canceling the event sends the strongest message of our support to this community which needs our support. I am children’s librarian and was looking forward to brining myself and staff but I just don’t see a way for us to attend now. I agree with others that the content should be hosted online this year and next year we can all meet in person.

  32. Mary Donovan

    I think any effort short of cancelling is not enough. NO support for a state that enacts hate legislation.

  33. Katie McDonough

    Would ALSC proceed with an event in a state where there was state sanctioned discrimination against people because of their race or gender, i.e., Whites Only bathrooms? I think not, and I think ALSC should cancel. This is no different.

  34. Jeanette Larson

    Has ALA changed the conference city in the past? Or am I mis-remembering? Regardless of what has been done or not in the past, changing the venue is doable, especially for an Institute. Even though I am not trans, I would not be comfortable knowing that the government is going to stick their nose into my business to be sure I’m using the “correct” bathroom.

    1. Paula Holmes

      ALA pulled a meeting in Cincinnati in regards to the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit. I don’t know if ALA has ever returned to Cincinnati.

  35. Brian

    Thanks Andrew! And thanks to everyone for this discussion. Reading these comments, I believe safety is the a real concern and a more than legitimate reason to cancel the institute in North Carolina. No ALSC members should feel unsafe, and no partners, friends, and family members hoping to travel with ALSC members should feel in harm’s way or discriminated against. I am willing to bet the keynote speakers planning to speak at the Institute would understand if ALSC chose to cancel the conference.

    Andrew you wrote “We have begun speaking with local LGBTQIA organizations in Charlotte on how we can actively support their work, and welcome suggestions of any of which you’re aware.” I would love to hear more about how we can help!

    I thought I would share this article from Thinkprogress–the governor is receiving pressure about the law:

    Thanks again.

  36. Rachel Payne

    I really appreciate all the thoughtful words and comments from the ALSC leadership and membership. Even before this hateful legislation was passed, I was on the fence about attending due to scheduling difficulties and now I am sure I can’t attend. Even if the ALSC Institute were to continue, would the wonderful authors and illustrators, who are scheduled to be there, still come? As we have heard, many program presenters are planning to boycott. If the institute were to go forward, it wouldn’t be the event we are hoping for. I feel for those who are excited about attending their first institute, but there will be other wonderful ones in the future.

    I like the idea of reaching out to Marriott about the situation and see what they can do, even though it in probably pie in the sky that they would help ALSC relocate or refund fees. If anyone has bought a plane ticket, it couldn’t hurt to call the airline and see if they can get you a refund. It doesn’t hurt to ask and maybe it will encourage companies who haven’t taken a stand on the legislation to do so.

    I see that there is note that registration is suspended on the institute’s registration page. It would be helpful to put a note on the home page as well.

  37. Julie

    First off, many thanks to the National Institute Planning Taskforce for all of their amazing work planning the Institute.

    Just a thought — IF ALSC decides to reschedule the Institute, it may be smart to look at fall 2017. Currently, both ALSC and YALSA host an Institute/Symposium on even years. There must be people who would like to attend both but can’t make both happen in the same year (and season). If this Institute is rescheduled, perhaps ALSC can jump to hosting the Institute on odd years opening up the opportunity for members of both ALSC and YALSA to attend both specialized conferences. This is assuming that the 2018 location is not already set and that there aren’t other ALSC commitments that would preclude this decision.

    I am so happy to see so many thoughtful and respectful comments in regards to this issue.

  38. Anonymous

    The Minnesota governor has told state employees not to attend conferences or travel to NC:

  39. KathyK

    I would be really, truly proud of ALSC if they cancelled. It would cost us but that is because freedom “costs”, financially and otherwise Freedom accrues to those who are willing to pay the price and I hope we are among those who understand that and live it.

    “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
    Viktor E. Frankl

  40. Beth

    I agree with those who have recommended either cancelling, relocating, or converting to an online conference. It’s so, so important to consider the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and their families, and I hate the thought of putting any of my fellow librarians or their loved ones at risk just so we don’t have to change our plans.

  41. Allison

    I’m dismayed that keeping the ALSC Institute in Charlotte is still under discussion at all. It should be moved out of state, moved online or cancelled. I have attended an ALSC Institute in the past, but I would not go to this one if it is not moved elsewhere.

  42. Jennifer Crow

    The headline for this article in ALA’s American Libraries, where I just happened to find this discussion, is “Why ALSC Is Still Going to Charlotte.” As an ALSC member, I am wondering where the discussion has been and why does ALA say that ALSC is still going to Charlotte?
    Bathroom bills such as those passed in NC perpetuate violence against trans and gender non-conforming people. ALA and its divisions should not financially or otherwise support states that lawfully discriminate against those who we claim to advocate for.
    I hope the next issue of American Libraries has a article that reads, “Why ALSC will not hold its convention in North Carolina.”

    1. Tess

      I agree, the headline is shockingly misleading – there has been no official decision yet. I am about to email Andrew to tell him I intend to withdraw my presentation. Even if the institute isn’t cancelled, I am not going to NC unless that bill is repealed in the next few weeks. Which is wishful thinking. I am hoping that some creative thinking takes place and the whole thing can be rescheduled somewhere else.

  43. Heidi Colom

    Please keep the Institute. Not all North Carolina residents are responsible for that new bill. I have never attended the Institute and was greatly looking forward to doing so. It is not the fault of the residents of Charlotte. Please maintain the Institute. Thanks.

    1. Tess

      I agree of course that many North Carolinans are not responsible for that bill. But, it must be repealed. And one of the ways that will happen is if the state feels an economic impact. That is what a boycott is meant to do. It is supposed to hurt. By the way, my first gut reaction a few days ago to this whole thing was “No way should they cancel it! I am presenting my research! This is important to me!”. Well, I’ve changed my mind. I was speaking from a place of privilege as a white, straight and middle-class, educated person who has never been discriminated against (except for being female – par for the course in this world which is deplorable, but I digress.) It is still important to me to present my research but it is more important that I stand by my principles and not spend one of my hard earned Canadian loonies in that state.

  44. Kayla Kuni

    How big is this conference, roughly? How many attendees do you expect? I know it is not that far off, but I would love to make some calls and see if there are any venues that are available during your scheduled dates.

  45. Dallas Baillio

    The ONLY WAY to make a meaningful statement is to cancel. ALA must accept this fact. While the innocent people of Charlotte (Restaurant owners and staff, Hotel employees, taxi and Uber drivers and scores of others) will be hurt, to make an impact that will be felt by elected officials ALA must hit NC citizens in their pocketbook. They are voters and will let their elected officials know of their displeasure. ALA and its members will have little effect unless officials feel the pain their constitutes exert.

  46. Don Reynolds

    It could very well be unsafe for gays to travel and stay in North Carolina. Bottom Line: attending a meeting in Charlotte now is to register approval of the NC law.
    Contrary to previous comments, 1) meeting in Charlotte or 2) canceling the Institute are not the only two choices. Don’t cancel the event: just cancel the city/state of the event.
    Re-setting conf plans? Well, if all those talented children’s librarians in ALSC can’t juggle and re-arrange those plans in 3-4 months, they should have to surrender their membership cards ! (Children’s librarians ROCK ! ! – and are extraordinary planners in quick time.) Children’s librarians tend to be the most socially conscious, wanting others to feel safe and welcome – I can’t imagine them not supporting withdrawal from a bigoted, narrow-minded, threatening environment. Hold the Institute somewhere else.

  47. Benjamin Fasching-Gray

    Cancel it

  48. Heidi Colom

    I always favor the rights of the individual.

    How many individuals who attend or staff the Institute will be directly affected by the nefarious bill? Meaning that they will not be able to use public bathrooms in NC at all. I am guessing not too many.


    How many individuals who attend or staff the Institute will be directly affected if the Institute is cancelled? Hundreds. Many Youth Services Librarians will be deprived of this fantastic opportunity to further our education- not to mention to travel and take a break from work. It will deeply hurt many of us. Some of us have not attended before- and may not have the opportunity to attend again.

    Transphobia is wrong. Everyone should be able to use the bathroom of the gender they identify as and that they feel most comfortable using. I despise this bill and cannot fathom as to why would it have been passed. However, cancelling the Institute will hurt more people than it could ever benefit.

    Please keep the Institute. There are other ways to let our voices be heard- while still fighting for the rights of the individual.

    1. Mary Dubbs

      Saying that fewer people will be “affected” by going than not going is not a great argument. Part of the responsibility of being in the privileged majority is standing up for the minority. It’s not fun. It’s not what we would prefer to do. It’s not easy. It means losing something we want. So what? It’s not fun, preferable, or easy to be legally threatened and humiliated for being trans. And when that’s happening to people in our profession, it DOES directly affect all of us in that we are less likely to have trans people attend, and those who do aren’t able to participate fully because instead of asking an important question in a session or coming to a cocktail hour, they are preparing for whatever the next battle might be — whether finding a safe place to pee or being refused service at a restaurant or being assaulted. We are poorer for losing their voices and so too are the communities the communities we serve.

    2. MT

      I would be directly “affected,” as would many other ALSC members, participating authors, venders, etc. Transgender people are everywhere (many trans people live a stealth life), and we deserve the same access to resources (including bathrooms) as cis people. I have already cancelled my flight and hotel reservation, and if ALSC holds this conference in NC, I will drop off my ASLC committee and no longer participate in the association.

      I’m interested in why you’re “guessing” not many people would be impacted by this. Seems like cis privilege to me.

    3. Bethany

      “Part of the responsibility of being in the privileged majority is standing up for the minority.” —> This is the nail being hit on the head!! I’m “guessing” the majority of ALSC membership is part of a privileged majority (I know I am in this group). But as I become more and more aware of an understanding of the privilege that I have in this world, I feel it is my responsibility, my duty, to support those directly affected by this legislation by giving up my privilege of safety and security, so that I may demonstrate my solidarity with those who are discriminated against. It has never been my plan to attend this Institute as I have my own personal obligations that prohibit me from participating in out of town conferences, but I whole-heartedly support cancelling the Institute outright, and hopefully making creative efforts to hold an online, virtual institute. Please, do not be blinded by your privilege. I know I have been for many years, but recent events in the world have me taking my blinders off.

  49. Scott Muir

    A number of years ago ALA held a conference in Denver, not long after that state passed a homophobic law. It was too late to move the meeting. What we did was have a march (maybe it was a walk – not sure of the legalese here) to the steps of state capital and held a rally. We also had buttons denouncing the law. I still have mine. You could try some sort of similar strategy.

    You could also ask all the participating hotels and venues to post signage that they are welcoming places for all people. That way your attendees could chose to patronize “friendly” businesses when selecting a restaurant or store where they might shop. Possibly the local chamber of commerce or someone would help with this effort.

    1. Heidi

      This is a fantastic third option. That way the Insitute would host safe places and spaces, while still being held and benefiting everyone who wants to attend it.

      1. Tori

        Again, not ideal for actual trans attendees. A cis ally holding up a sign or a local business posting a “welcome” banner is really more for them than for trans people. It shocks me that any professional adult would honestly think an organized march of a few dozen librarians or random attendees wearing buttons will make this event safe for trans people. Hearing the opinion that a desire for professional development is more important than the safety of trans attendees makes me think all of ALSC needs to talk about empathy, compassion, and working together for the profession. Saying that a space is safe doesn’t make it so.

        1. Tess

          I totally agree with you Tori – these suggestions are made by those who aren’t at risk for discrimination or abuse in NC. Allies need to get with the program and understand that this bill is so much more than a bathroom choice/safety issue (which is bad enough) It is a wholly discriminatory package that removes people’s rights to not be discriminated against in the workplace as well. This is outrageous and hateful and must be repealed. It WILL be repealed if NC experiences the economic pressure of extensive boycotts. Therefore, our obligation, professionally and personally (at great cost on both fronts for me) is to NOT attend. Thanks to everyone so far who has helped to educate me on this issue – I have said this on another thread but this conversation made me change my mind about this as I initially wanted the Institute to go ahead as well. Now I don’t unless it is moved or that law is repealed immediately.

  50. Amanda

    I would suggest trying to relocate, because I believe that despite the oncoming deadlines, companies like Marriott might be willing to work with us in order to improve their own publicity and show their stance on the HB2. With that said, if relocating is an absolute impossibility, I vote that the conference is cancelled.

    I am very sorry for all of those who were excited to attend, but we need to consider what we will be saying if we allow the conference to take place in NC. We need to send a message to not only to North Carolina, but also to our own members who are affected by this bill: We value them more than we value the cost of cancellation.

  51. Pam

    Suggestion: For a future site in the South, please consider Charleston, SC, for ALSC National Institute.

  52. Tina

    As a member of the LGBTQ community and a trans ally, I stand with my colleagues that believe that canceling the Institute is the principled course of action. It’s just the right thing to do. For those that are angry at losing on the professional development opportunities, I urge you to consider the fear and anxiety that traveling to an unsafe and unwelcoming place will cause your fellow LGBTQ colleagues. For those that presume that will only apply to a minority, you are missing the point. You are standing behind your privilege. How can we speak about creating safe and welcoming libraries for youth of all backgrounds if we can’t stand with our LGBTQ colleagues to make ensure a safe and welcoming environment for them? I appreciate those that have pointed out that there will be so many hurdles for our trans colleagues to jump through just to get to the Institute and also while there — whether that be in an airport, at their hotel, or simply walking down the street. This is a civil rights issue and I applaud ALSC’s leadership in opening up the discussion to the membership. If we think we can just turn the other cheek and support our trans colleagues in other ways, we are mistaken. I would feel very proud of ALSC canceled Institute. Of course I would miss the professional development opportunity, but we are librarians, aren’t we? Don’t we know how to access other professional development opportunities from the myriad of sources at our fingertips. There will be other conferences and Institutes, but ALSC has an opportunity to take a real stand in this particular moment in time. Where would we be if MLK wavered? If ALSC cancels Institute, it would send a profound message to our members that safe and welcoming spaces for all member are truly a core value.

    1. Matt

      Bravo and well said!

  53. Don Reynolds

    Dear Friends, NO-NO-NO – why punish ourselves for legislators’ hateful behavior?
    As The New York Times pointed out a couple of days ago, the North Carolina bill is about more than bathroom privileges, the law creates “a mandatory statewide anti-discrimination policy.”
    The choices ALSC faces are NOT go to Charlotte or cancel Institute: going to Charlotte now is agreeing with and financially supporting discriminatory policies; however, to cancel is to let the bigots win.
    No (especially children’s) librarian worth their salt wants a reputation of being discriminatory.
    Simply cancel the mean-spirited state of NC, and RELOCATE THE INSTITUTE to a more hospitable, accepting state.

  54. PR

    Adding to the states/cities who have banned employee travel to North Carolina until this law is repealed, the DC Mayor issued a travel ban on March 31.

    The last list I saw of travel bans included: Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Boston, and San Francisco.

    1. Tess

      This is fantastic news. Thanks for sharing! I am sure we can relocate and regroup and do this institute proud somewhere else and some other time (even if it is the 2018 timeslot) – any one of the places you have just mentioned would be fantastic – or anywhere in Canada!

    2. KathyK

      And Minnesota!

  55. Andrew Medlar

    Thank you to everyone for your comments on the Institute and HB2 issue via the ALSC blog, e-mail, phone, social media, and in person. Thank you also to those who have already registered for the Institute and responded to the survey sent to them regarding any non-refundable travel arrangements already in place.

    A cornerstone of the ALSC Board’s work is making knowledge-based decisions that reflect our purpose, core values, member needs, and strategic plan. In accordance with the timeline I described on the blog last Thursday, we will spend the remainder of this week on final information gathering, planning, and communicating, and I will convene an online Board meeting on ALA Connect on Monday, April 11, for the purpose of working toward a final decision on the status of the Institute. I will share the link to that so that it is publicly available to be seen by all.

    In the meantime, please continue to share any thoughts you have here on the blog or by e-mailing me ( I will be at the PLA conference this week along with ALSC Vice President/President-Elect Betsy Orsburn and Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter, and we welcome hearing your thoughts in Denver, as well.

    1. Beth

      Thank you, ALSC staff, and the ALSC Board for soliciting member feedback and for the transparency during the process.

  56. Kendra Jones

    As a scheduled presenter, I am in favor of cancelling. Even if the decision is reversed the atmosphere will not be welcoming to all, which is what we stand for as libraries and librarians.

    If the institute is not cancelled I will withdraw as a presenter.

    I would be fully supportive of an online institute and would bet that all of us at Storytime Underground would be willing to help with those efforts in any way possible. And, for the record, I actually don’t think it would be too terribly difficult. It would just require a bit of shift in thinking of what the Institute has traditionally been. Perhaps with a virtual model ALSC could allow for more participants and possibly raise fund to offset any expenses incurred through cancellations?

  57. Eric

    Just an FYI – this is the statement that MOOGFEST ( has made regarding their upcoming conference in Durham, NC, this coming May:

    To our global community of artists, technologists, and future-thinkers.
    We are stunned by the news this week, and we invite you to join us in opposing regressive, unjust discrimination of all kinds.
    House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, passed on Wednesday by North Carolina’s legislature and signed into law by the governor, eliminates anti-discrimination protections for all lesbians, gays and bisexuals and bars transgender people from using bathrooms that do not match the gender they were born with.
    Moogfest is proud of its home in Durham, its heritage in Asheville, and our friends throughout the state of North Carolina. But we adamantly oppose this law, and any laws that enable or encourage exclusion and bigotry.
    Moogfest is dedicated to the legacy of Bob Moog, an engineer who partnered with artists to create new technological tools for creative expression. It was Bob’s lifelong belief that true innovation comes through collaboration, not exclusion. Moogfest offers an inclusive environment where all people come together to explore big ideas for the future. We value diversity, self-expression and experimentation above all else. This discriminatory law not only runs counter to the basic principles of equality, fairness, and justice – it is a direct affront to our principled mission.
    We will have spaces dedicated to education and dialogue around these issues and we will take every step possible to ensure that Moogfest remains a safe and welcoming space for all festival-goers, especially the many LGBTQ artists and speakers joining us this year.
    We invite all fans of Moogfest to join us. We are standing our ground in North Carolina, and will use every opportunity to protest this law – on the stage, in the streets, and on social media.
    Follow and share the story on social media #WeAreNotThis #HB2 #NC
    Support the work of our allies at the ACLU of North Carolina
    Sign Equality NC’s petition
    Synthesize love,
    Your friends at Moogfest

  58. Nina Lindsay

    I am so impressed and thankful for the comments here, and want to express a deep appreciation to our trans colleagues (those who both have and have not shared in comments). Considering this from the perspective of access to education for our members: keeping the Institute in NC excludes individual members in a way that is absolutely counter to ALSC’s core values; while canceling or moving the Institute only interrupts educational opportunities for all of us, through no fault or action of our own but because of this hateful legislation. It took me a sec to see this course clearly, for which I apologize, but the Institute should not go on in NC.

    Having chaired an institute, I’d be monumentally surprised if moving it in the same timeframe is an option, but would support it if it can be done, especially to a contiguous state, to support local attendees who’ve secured permission and who I know will feel excluded if they lack the support to go to conferences further afield. If ALSC goes this course I’d also suggest a Friends of ALSC scholarship opportunity for those that now would need additional travel assistance, or who have to rebook flights.

    I’m also intrigued by the idea to approach YALSA about a joint conference in 2017, though that may be similarly very difficult, since I would expect they’ve already outlined much of it, and because it shifts a very significant workload for our ALSC staff, and may therefore interrupt other projects.

    I’m most intrigued, taking this back to the idea of access to education for our members, to figure out a way to do a fully online institute. It would be totally different, but could reach more members, and is something I think we should be trying, in any regard, specifically because of what we are hearing here from those that have difficultly attending conference. Within the same dates, could we prepare a series of webinars from the program presenters, chats in Twitter and Adobe Connect for networking, blogger reporting? Members could arrange regional get togethers for viewing/participating/networking if they chose, and we could all prepare an online action in support of our NC colleagues. A modest registration fee could allow live access to the webinars/Adobe chats, while anyone could participate in the Twitter and blog components. This is me thinking aloud…I know there are models for online conferences, such as What others?

  59. Kate C

    Add Multnomah County and the city of Portland, Oregon to the list of government agencies not funding travel to North Carolina. I wasn’t planning to attend this year in any case, but others are/were. If relocation isn’t an option, I agree with cancelling and holding an online institute.

  60. Laura Jenkins

    This passionate yet civil conversation makes me proud to be a member of ALSC, and has convinced me that the Institute should be pulled from North Carolina. I am sorry for those who will miss the opportunity, and particularly for those who may not be able to get refunds for travel or housing. If ALSC can figure out a way to handle the accounting, I’d like to make a contribution to help defray just a little bit of the costs. It’s mostly symbolic, I suppose, but is a small way for me to show my support for the principled stand I hope ALSC will take.

    1. Erin

      Yes, this is exactly how I feel, Laura. Proud of ALSC, proud of the members, proud of the discussion and I agree that it should be cancelled at this time. I am sorry about missing the opportunity, but know that there will be other such opportunities in the future. I also would be willing to make a small contribution.

  61. Angie Manfredi

    As someone who was so excited to present (yay!) and attend for the first time, I totally understand the drive to still want to have the Institute. But I can’t on good conscious attend at this point, especially because this isn’t a personal vacation I’d already planned but the exact kind of national, high revenue conference I feel like NC should lose because of this unjust law.

    That having been said, I support moving it 2018 or trying to move it to an adjacent state. Our progessive colleagues in the South (yes, they exist) deserve this kind of accommodation – these institutes are valuable *because* they are regional. I’m not sure I think online would be engaging enough, TBH.

    IF the Institute goes on, ALSC should actively fundraise for queer organizations in NC and invite queer kids/teens/children of queer parents to be participants. And the sooner a decision could be made, the better. (Easier said than done, I know.)

    Thanks for this convo.

  62. Rhea

    I honestly don’t understand the continual call for boycotts such as this. Every single state has something about it which will offend someone. Kind of like a good library, huh?

    How is a conference planner ever to predict what has or will happen to set off the angry mob with pitchforks calling for a cancellation for political or social reasons? This is exhausting, all of this continual self-righteous anger. Go have the conference and use the opportunity to make a positive difference in the town.

    1. Sarah Stippich

      The ALSC leadership has opened up a public discussion to ensure that everyone is heard and validated. They are concerned about the safety and privacy of our colleagues and want to create a safe, democratic space for them.

      Kind of like a good library, huh?

    2. Tess

      I have read every single comment on this thread, as well as others on twitter and I cannot see a single member of and angry mob, nor any pitchforks. Nor do I see nor feel self-righteous anger. I feel just plain anger at the prospect our own colleagues and friends and their families members putting themselves at real risk to attend this institute in this state at this time. Political/social protests (or boycotts in this scenario) are conducted for a very good reason: They work. This bigoted legislation is disgraceful and must be repealed. A boycott aimed at that repeal is warranted and it will work. So I’m joining the boycott but I’m not waving a pitchfork.

    3. Linda

      Agreed! Canceling the Institute will ruin a chance for children’s librarians to convene and share ideas, programs, thoughts and have an in person networking opportunity. This could never be translated to a virtual conference.

      Boycotting only helps fuel the fire. Attending a conference and possibly learning about programs and ideas that could potentially be making a difference to your own community, the one that matters, does not.

  63. Nichole Brown

    ALSC should relocate the institute. It is the computer age folks, and it is not as complicated as everyone claims it is. In this political climate many other cities would bend over backwards to accommodate ALSC’s political stance to move the conference; and make the transition financially feasible and seamless. Imagine the free publicity for ALA. ALSC and the new city. This is like marketing gold if managed correctly.

    1. Elizabeth

      Yes, indeed! Come to Chicago! We would love to have everyone over!!! 🙂

  64. Lorianna Giarrizzo

    As someone who has already purchased airline tickets and is looking forward to their first ALSC Institute, I still feel the best course of action would be to cancel the conference. If we believe in being inclusive, how can we hold a conference in a state that is actively discriminating against some of our members?

    Imagine the legislation was affecting your personal ethnicity/sexual identity/gender identity/etc. How would you react if your colleagues who were not a part of that group were still in favor of going and didn’t seem to see what the problem was? I would feel very hurt, excluded, and unsafe.

    The whole situation is extremely disappointing, but it seems like the empathetic, inclusive, library-minded choice is clear.

  65. Jennifer

    I was not planning to attend the Institute this year. But if ALSC could pull off the monumental undertaking of rescheduling it elsewhere, or holding it online, I will figure out a way to participate. I so appreciate the thoughtful and empathetic discussion here. It’s made me even more proud to be a part of this organization.

  66. Amy Martin

    I didn’t know canceling or moving the Institute could be an option! I agree 100%. The ALSC Institute is a national professional development opportunity, and to have it in a place where some of us would not be allowed to use the bathroom would be terrible. Let’s cancel or move.

    1. Linda

      No one would “not be allowed to use a bathroom.”

      1. Amy Martin

        It would be illegal for our colleagues who are trans to use the bathrooms that correspond to their correct gender. So they would literally not be allowed to use the bathrooms.

      2. Sarah Stippich

        Linda (and anyone who doubts the effect this law is having), please see the link I posted below. This is already happening. The person in the report very well may be an ALSC member, who simply used a gas station restroom and was then harassed and followed by a cop.

        This law is simply justifying that kind of intimidation and harassment.

  67. Diane Foote

    As ALSC Fiscal Officer, I would like to share some perspective on the financial aspects of the decision before us. I am so sorry I haven’t weighed in before now; I was out of the country at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair until yesterday.

    I really, really appreciate the thoughtful discussion here, and like so many others, am appalled that we are having to have it. I would like to reassure everyone that yes, even though there would be a financial loss to the division if we cancel, due to sound fiscal management and a healthy business plan, the loss would be manageable to the division.

    Even if it were not, I also appreciate the commenters above who have characterized the loss as an “investment” in standing up for human rights, as well as the person who pointed out that “freedom ‘costs.'”

    –Out of pocket costs to cancel: ~$10,000. This figure is as low as it is due to conscientious event management on the part of ALSC staff, who negotiate contracts that protect us.

    –Net revenue that would be foregone: ~$8000. We built the fiscal year 2017 budget expecting to net this amount from registrations and sponsorships.

    These losses won’t sway ALSC’s ~$1.5 million dollar budget too much one way or the other, although any decision to reduce revenue and increase costs unexpectedly should be taken seriously, as we are doing.

    We also know even if we were to go ahead with the event, the net revenue would likely not be as high as budgeted, due to sponsors and attendees pulling out.

    Of greater concern are the members who may already have made nonrefundable travel plans, including people traveling from overseas. It’s been gratifying to see comments above from folks willing to sacrifice a plane ticket for this cause; as well as those offering to donate to help fellow members. ALSC is surveying those who were already registered, and these responses will help leadership make a decision and a plan.

    ALSC is fiscally healthy enough that finances do not need to dictate our decision (although they are part of the decision), which is something for the association to be very proud of. I believe that a decision is forthcoming soon; I hear the commenter above who is dismayed that it is taking some time, but please be patient with us while we make sure we are hearing from everyone and making the most informed decision possible.

  68. Sarah Stippich

    I just want to point out that this is ALREADY happening. Here is one documented case of a person being profiled for their gender and being harassed by police.

    This is completely unacceptable and extremely dangerous.

  69. Sarah Stippich

    This is already happening. Trans people are being profiled and harassed by law enforcement.

    This is so scary and so heartbreaking. The person in the story could very well be a children’s librarian, just trying to drive from Point A to Point B.

  70. Heidi Colom

    I was wondering if the Institute could be moved to Atlanta.

    Why Atlanta?

    The Governor of Georgia recently vetoed a similar bill. Yes, a Republican governor. Not all Republicans are monsters.

    The Mayor of Atlanta expressed his disapproval towards the NC Bathroom Bill.

    That, and Atlanta is humongous, has A LOT of places where the Institute can be held, and is relatively close to Charlotte. Plus it has many good transportation options.

    So Atlanta would be a good option to relocate the Institute to.

  71. Elizabeth

    You have two more librarians from Illinois who can’t come if it’s in NC, but can definitely come if it’s somewhere else. Our library is holding off on us registering until it has been decided. We are a bunch of organizers in this profession. I’m sure there are lots of us that would be thrilled to help with the work involved in moving the conference!

  72. Polly

    Speaking as a gay woman, I won’t be visiting NC until this is repealed. Both because my trans friends can’t, and because I’m not wildly fond of any rules that make it okay for people to be awful to me or anyone else because they’ve profoundly misunderstood the religion they practice (as always, am looking hard through the bible to see where Jesus said “hate trans people, oh, and gay people too, and everyone else who isn’t 100% straight and cis-gendered”). Wouldn’t be coming to this Institute either (I can’t make more than every other one at the most), but I would be VERY sorry to see it go ahead and run in NC this particular year.

  73. Don Reynolds

    Over the weekend, Bruce Springsteen canceled his scheduled North Carolina concert saying, “I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters [against the North Carolina anti-human rights law]. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show … Some things are more important than a rock show,” he continued, “and this fight against prejudice and bigotry – which is happening as I write – is one of them.”
    For those who haven’t seen it, the American Library Association Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table introduced their “Open to All: Serving the GLBT Community in Your Library” Tool Kit at the Public Library Association meeting in Denver on Saturday, April 9
    If Springsteen can cancel out North Carolina to support human rights, can ALSC do anything less?
    Let’s just relocate this Institute to a more hospitable and welcoming state/city.

  74. Amy martin

    Has there been a decision?

    1. Diane Foote

      Not yet, Amy. The Board is in the midst of an online “meeting” as I type this. We expect to come to a decision shortly. Thank you for asking. Please be patient. There are lots of moving pieces to this one!

  75. Nina Lindsay

    The Board mtg is happening at

    1. Lynne

      Was a decision made?

      1. Nina Lindsay

        It’s not a synchronous mtg so it is still unfolding. You can check back periodically for comments

  76. Allison

    Late to weigh in, but I want to say that even as a scheduled presenter, I hope ALSC will cancel the Institute in NC. Let’s stick with our professional values. Thanks to all the ALSC staff and board members who are putting so much thought into this important decision.

  77. Andrew Medlar

    Thank you, everybody, for this continuing, respectful, and important conversation. The online Board meeting is now happening and everyone can follow along at You will also find there a link to the information background document that reflects the work done on this issue so far and which is informing the Board’s discussion.

    While I’ve not set a firm timeline for this discussion because I want to ensure that the Board has the opportunity to work through everything the group wants to discuss, I currently anticipate resolution within a week.

    Thanks again!

  78. Allie Jane Bruce

    I too am coming late to the party, but I want to say that I fully support cancelling.

    These laws are a structural, systemic form of discrimination fueled by bigotry against the transgender community, and ALSC has significant power here; cancelling puts fiscal pressure on lawmakers to change their ways, and all too often, fiscal pressure is the only communication that powerful lawmakers understand.

  79. Elizabeth

    Is there any possibility of perhaps rescheduling the Institute? Maybe for late winter or spring? It would give everyone time to find a new city, and for ALSC members and friends to help support you all with whatever organizational help you might need to do it. That also might help those who already bought their airline tickets. Many airlines don’t like you canceling altogether, but might let you get at least partial credit toward a different flight to a different city, especially considering the circumstances.

  80. Natasha Forrester Campbell

    I’m very much in favor of relocation for a selfish reason – my system has issued a travel-ban for nonessential travel to NC, and this is not considered essential. Otherwise I’d be fine with going to NC and making a point of asking at every business, including hotels, if they support HB2 and if the answer is yes then letting them know specifically they would not get my business. Not ever going doesn’t make as much of an impact as going and leaving because their policies are destructive and hateful.

    Having said that, if ALSC can’t vet their vendors to ensure they are working with LGBTQIA-supportive companies, I fully support cancelling the Institute.

  81. Andrew Medlar

    FYI, the Board vote on the status of the Institute is now underway at

  82. Pingback: Update on the #ALSC16 Institute - ALSC BlogALSC Blog

  83. Janet Anderson

    Thank you for supporting our friends and family in the LGBTQ world. I believe that we can’t “make exceptions for ourselves”. We, of ALL people, who defend everyone’s rights needs to stand against those who try to deny basic rights to others.

    Thank you so much for your decision. I am so proud to be a librarian.

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