How Do I Explain ALA Council “Shushing” to My Students?

I was honored to have students from Dominican GSLIS attend my talks at conference. I was so glad for them to experience annual — with the crowds of library folk, far flung meeting rooms and a regular orgy of freebies and schwag in the exhibit hall.

What troubles me is the reports from the conference concerning Aaron the Librarian’s attempt to speak to Council.

He writes:

…Councilor-at-Large Heidi Dolamore stood for me (with coaching on parliamentary procedure by Councilor-at-Large Michael Golrick) and asked the moderator to suspend the normal rules of debate to allow me to address Council on this issue being discussed. The moderator asked for the indulgence of Council to allow me to speak and a bunch of councilors shouted “Why?!” A fair few hands went up to support my opportunity to address council; however, a larger portion of voting councilors chose to

Shush me.

I do not know why a majority of ALA Councilors would not want to hear from a Member on the subject of the format of the Membership Meeting — however, that majority succeeded in shutting out the individual voice of an Interested Member from direct involvement. Which leads me to my Wiki effort to Improve ALA from the ground up, Karen notes it’s why ALA Council is broken and her words resonate with me. Reading her post and returning to the comments/conversation at Aaron’s post, leaves me wondering how I explain events like this to my students who are so eager to participate. Concerns such as protocol, conference budgets and the outrageous cost of food for meetings via conference catering, and the fact that many folks were “not paying attention” just add to the confusion.

I’m eager for these conversations with my students — and to hear from those who attended.

I will say it again: I can feel the association on the edge of change. I can see some librarians anxiously pushing limits, being vocal and ready to serve. I hope they get every chance they can to do so.

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One thought on “How Do I Explain ALA Council “Shushing” to My Students?”

  1. Hi Michael, I, too, feel the winds of change a blowing in and around the Association.

    I would like to encourage your students (You go, future librarians!) who are interested in influencing the direction and improving the responsiveness of ALA to follow the 3 steps in Ann Ewbank’s excellent list of “things to do” to better effect change in your Association.

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