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President’s report from Chapters Council at ALA Midwinter

Better late than never, right?  Like so many of you, I returned from ALA only to be thrust into the beginning of the semester whirlwind.  I can’t take the guilt of “Report about ALA on blog” on my to-do list anymore, especially since the report I have to offer is so brief!

First, I have to say that I was delighted (and distracted) by ALA being in Boston.  I lived in Boston a decade or so ago in the years after I graduated from college.  Visiting the city gave me that mostly-pleasurable feeling of time -tripping.    Some streets and areas (like down at the Convention Center) were unrecognizably altered since the last time I had been there and some things seem to have changed not at all.  I walked through the door at an old haunt, the Delux Cafe, and I swear it’s like I walked out ten years ago and time stood still until I walked back in.  Honestly, I’m pretty sure that the people sitting at the bar are the same people who where there last time I was in.

The main activity for the ACRL state chapter leaders is the Chapters Council meeting.  Usually quite long meetings (8am-noon on Sunday), this meeting was shorter than usual so we could attend the ACRL Presidential Candidates forum.  Actually, one kind of neat thing the Chapters Council does is provide the questions for the candidates to respond to in those forums.    The main activity of this meeting was voting on a proposal to send a request to ACRL National to both increase the amount of funding that the chapters receive from ACRL and to change the way that money is distributed.  The way it works now is each chapter can get up to $1 per ACRL national member that lives in their state.  The money is available to reimburse chapters for certain activities.  Chapters Council brought a motion before National last year, requesting the funding be raised from $1 to $3.  The funding increase was not approved, in large part because there is always quite a lot of money that goes unclaimed.  The issue is basically that some states always claim every last cent of that money, some states never do.  (Incidentally, looking back it seems that we have some years and have not in others, here in Oregon.)  So the new proposal asks that the unexpended funds be held as a pool to allow chapters to apply for up to $500 in additional funding to support programmatic activities after some cut-off point in the year.   The motion to bring the proposal to the board passed.   The complete draft minutes are available if you’re interested in hearing more.

We also got an update from ACRL President Lori Goetsch who updated us on a number of ACRL and ALA  initiatives and activities including the Value of Academic Libraries initiative and Library Advocacy Day.

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