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 firstname.lastname@example.org.