Highlights from Midwinter 2008

Midwinter Meeting/Annual Conference

ALA’s 2008 Midwinter Meeting, while a bit hectic, was overall productive and fun! Herewith are some OIF highlights from six days in Philly:

Friday, Jan. 11
: The Freedom to Read Foundation board met and heard updates on key litigation, made plans for potential future litigation, and began preparations for the 40th Anniversary of FTRF, scheduled for 2009 at ALA Annual in Chicago. Also discussed was a mentoring scholarship to honor the memory of past FTRF president Gordon Conable.

Saturday, Jan. 12
: The Intellectual Freedom Committee, Merritt Fund board, Intellectual Freedom Round Table Executive Committee, and Committee on Professional Ethics all held business meetings. Following that, staff and colleagues went to the Downs Award reception to fete Barbara Jones for her well-deserved honor!

Sunday, Jan. 13: IFC met with the Committee on Legislation to share information about what each was up to and discuss the joint 2008 Annual Conference program. That was followed by a joint informational meeting between IFC, IFRT, and the chairs of the division IFCs (thanks to the ALSC IFC for bringing the entire committee to the meeting!). Among the topics discussed were the successful Banned Books Week 2007 and BBW 2008, scheduled for September 27 – October 4.

Next up was a well-attended and constructive “Conversation” between representatives from the Merritt Fund, IFRT, the Committee on Diversity and Office for Diversity, ALA-APA, and several others about promoting awareness of the Merritt Fund and other resources for librarians and library workers facing workplace issues. Among the ideas generated included the creation of a “Merritt Ambassador” program for supporters of the Fund and the production of a brochure or pamphlet listing resources available to those in need.

Later that day, the Ethics Committee held an open hearing to discuss proposed changes to the ALA Code of Ethics.

Monday, Jan. 14: More business meetings! The exhibit floor closed, marking the beginning of the end of Midwinter. (Thanks to Carolyn Forsman who once again had a booth and will donate to FTRF proceeds from her sales!)

That evening featured the FTRF member reception at the lovely National Consitution Center, followed by the highlight of the day (and possibly of the conference): “Anthony Lewis on the First Amendment.” The program, cosponsored by FTRF and the NCC, consisted of a conversation between FTRF Trustee Chris Finan and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner (and First Amendment legend) Anthony Lewis. They discussed Lewis’ new book, Freedom for the Thought We Hate, his remarkable 50+ year career in journalism, and his thoughts on the past and present Supreme Court. We will have audio and, hopefully, video of the event available in the near future. (Note: in the meantime, you can listen to an interview on Philly public radio station WHYY’s program “Radio Times” — search for “Anthony Lewis” in the archives or browse the date January 14, 2008.) Many thanks to all who attended!

Finan and Lewis
photo by Karen Gonzales

Tuesday, Jan. 15: FTRF President Judith Platt presented the Foundation’s Report to Council. COPE Chair Candy Morgan presented the Ethics Report to Council, and then the Council passed the proposed revisions to the Code. This revised Code of Ethics will be on ALA membership cards. In the afternoon, IFC wrapped up its business, much of which included beginning work on updating the Intellectual Freedom Manual.

Wednesday, Jan. 16: Council III featuring IFC’s Report to Council, given by IFC Chair pro tem Barbara Stripling. Then, time to go home!

Thanks so much to everyone who pulled together to make Midwinter 2008 so successful and memorable.

— OIF Staff

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.