Thank you to everyone for the robust and respectful discussion regarding the status of the 2016 ALSC National Institute following North Carolina’s passage of HB2 one month ago. I’m incredibly grateful to my Board colleagues for their careful consideration and knowledge-based decision making. We heard very loudly and consistently from ALSC members on this issue and while I very much share in the disappointment that we won’t be gathering together in Charlotte this September, I’m proud of how all of us in the ALSC community have handled this challenging, important, and very real issue that led to its cancellation.
Throughout this process, the work of ALSC Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter and of Kristen Figliulo, Program Officer for Continuing Education, has been nothing short of extraordinary, as has that of their office colleagues Laura Schulte-Cooper, Dan Bostrom, Angela Hubbard, Marsha Burgess, and Courtney Jones. Vice President Betsy Orsburn, Fiscal Officer Diane Foote, Division Councilor Jenna Nemec-Loise, and Budget Committee Chair Paula Holmes have also been particularly involved in this process.
If you haven’t yet seen the Board document that outlines the details involved in this decision, please do take a look at it here.
Support from across all of ALA has been tremendous. ALA President Sari Feldman is a great friend of ALSC and of library service to children and I hope you’ll join me in expressing appreciation to her for her advocacy and support, as well as to Mario Gonzalez, ALA Treasurer and Executive Board Liaison to ALSC. ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels and Senior Associate Executive Director Mary Ghikas, along with the Public Awareness Office and Office for Library Advocacy have been there for ALSC at every step along the way. And a very special THANK YOU to our good friends at the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table, especially Chair Peter Coyl, Chair-Elect Deb Sica, and Immediate Past-Chair Ann Symons.
Please also help me express our incredible thanks to the Institute Planning Task Force, who have put so much dedication, care, and excitement into their work for many, many, many months. Thank you to Chair Emily Nanney and members Seth Ervin, Catherine Haydon, Jesse Isley, Karin Michel, Rebecca Thomas, and Priority Group Consultant Julie Dietzel-Glair. For those of you who will attending the ALA Annual Conference in June, please plan to attend the ALSC Membership Meeting on Monday (June 27) at 10:30 a.m. in the Orange County Convention Center Room W308, as we pay special tribute to the Task Force.
It was important that we took these weeks to make such a careful and considered decision, and while some elements of its implementation are still in progress, here is the latest information:
- Our Quicklists Committee has compiled a Transgender/Inclusion Advocacy & Information resource. The aim of this list is to educate and support both library workers and the general public regarding the legislation and the issues of transgender rights. It includes several organizations to contact regarding advocacy, donating time and money, and a bibliography of related books, including picture books, fiction, and nonfiction.
- Those who were registered for the Institute will receive a full refund of registration fees without penalty.
- For those who had already booked airfare, ALSC has created a memo to airlines (including American Airlines, for which Charlotte is a major hub) requesting they waive the change fee or offer a full refund, in the spirit of solidarity, to those who booked travel to North Carolina over the Institute dates.
- ALSC is now planning to hold a one-day workshop immediately prior to the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, January 20, to accommodate as much of the Institute’s creative programming as possible.
- ALSC also plans to offer much of the Institute’s educational content in an online format.
Specific details around which content will be offered, as well as its timing, pricing, and format, will be available in the coming weeks as ALSC works through the details, and Betsy and I will have additional information in our upcoming May ALSC Matters! columns. So stay tuned, and if you have any additional questions or thoughts, please feel free to share them in the comments section below or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.