Discussion Starter: Codes of Conduct

03/02/2014 § 1 Comment

I used to love the first day of school! One of the things I remember about those “first days” was going over the class rules. As my classmates and I got older, and then headed off the college, the wording of the rules changed, but the message stayed pretty much the same: respect others, come to class, do the work (and make sure it’s your own work!).

Now we have guidelines on how to interact at ALA conferences and meetings. A few weeks before last month’s ALA Midwinter Meeting ‘14 in Philadelphia, the American Library Association presented a Statement of Appropriate Conduct at ALA Conferences. This Statement, from the ALA website, is below:

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The American Library Association holds professional conferences and meetings to enable its members to receive continuing education, build professional networks, and discover new products and services for professional use. To provide all participants – members and other attendees, speakers, exhibitors, staff and volunteers – the opportunity to benefit from the event, the American Library Association is committed to providing a harassment-free environment for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, physical appearance, ethnicity, religion or other group identity.

As an association, ALA is strongly committed to diversity, equity and the free expression of ideas. These values have  been repeatedly delineated in ALA policy (for instance: Policy A.1.4 – Core Organizational Values; Policy B.1.1 – Core Values of Librarianship; Policy B.1.2 – Code of Professional Ethics). Taken cumulatively, the values and beliefs delineated within ALA policy describe conduct based on a firm belief in the value of civil discourse and the free exploration of competing ideas and concepts – with a fundamental respect for the rights, dignity and value of all persons.

Within the context of ALA policy and the professional practices of librarianship, critical examination of beliefs and viewpoints does not, by itself, constitute hostile conduct or harassment.  Similarly, use of sexual imagery or language in the context of a professional discussion might not constitute hostile conduct or harassment.

ALA seeks to provide a conference environment in which diverse participants may learn, network and enjoy the company of colleagues in an environment of mutual human respect. We recognize a shared
responsibility to create and hold that environment for the benefit of all.
 Some behaviors are, therefore, specifically prohibited:

  • Harassment or intimidation based on race, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, appearance,  or other group status.
  • Sexual harassment or intimidation, including unwelcome sexual attention, stalking (physical or virtual), or unsolicited physical contact.
  • Yelling at or threatening speakers (verbally or physically).

Speakers are asked to frame discussions as openly and inclusively as possible and to be aware of how language or images may be perceived by others. Participants may – and do – exercise their option to leave a session or a conversation. Exhibitors must follow all ALA Exhibits rules and regulations and ALA policies.

All participants are expected to observe these rules and behaviors in all conference venues, including online venues, and conference social events. Participants asked to stop a hostile or harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Conference participants seek to learn, network and have fun. Please do so responsibly and with respect for the right of others to do likewise.

Please contact Conference Services staff in the ALA Office at conference if you believe you have been harassed or that a harassment problem exists. All such reports will be directed immediately to the Director of Conference Services, who will determine and carry out the appropriate course of action, and who may consult with and engage other ALA staff, leaders and legal counsel as appropriate. Event security and/or local law enforcement may be involved, as appropriate based on the specific circumstances. A follow-up report will be made to individuals who report being harassed.

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My first introduction to the Statement of Appropriate Conduct was through Andromeda Yelton’s post, “Why ALA Needs a Code of Conduct,” on Library Journal’s website. My first thought when I read the title was, “Hmmm, we still need rules?” I read on, though, and was surprised, sad, and embarrassed to learn that although I hadn’t been a victim, or knew of anyone who had been the recipient of unsavory behavior at ALA conferences, it had happened to others.

Not everyone has embraced the Code of Conduct with open arms, though. Dissenters have brought up issues like freedom of speech, intellectual freedom, and Big Brother. To learn more about the discussion, check out Lisa Rabey’s “roundup of responses to ALA’s code of conduct.” A sampling of blog posts on her list is below. To catch the active discussion on Twitter, search “ALA Code of Conduct,” or the hashtag #ALACoC.

ALA’s Code of Conduct, the Supreme Court, and Those Guys from Duck Dynasty

Conduct Unbecoming

Conduct Unbecoming (a Library Conference)

So, what do you think? Is the ALA Code of Conduct a necessary thing, or is it unneeded or flawed?

[Hack ALA] What to Bring to ALA and What to Do

26/06/2013 § 2 Comments

Are you ready for ALA Annual? Check out last year’s post on preparing for the conference, “Hack ALA: Professional Preparations.”

ALA exhibit hall

Photo of ALA exhibit hall (Washington, DC, 2007) by Elizabeth Thomsen.

For some extra advice, I asked some of my friends who have gone to ALA what attendees should bring and what they should do while at the conference. Here are their suggestions:

What to Bring

  • Business cards. If you don’t have any yet, make some quick ones on a printer with card stock!
  • Bring clothes that you can layer. Not only is Chicago summer weather fickle, but you will have to deal with variable conference center and hotel air conditioning systems.
  • Granola bars or other portable snacks. You will be booked solid (if you are doing things right) and may forget a meal here or there.
  • An empty water bottle. Stay hydrated!
  • Professional looking pen. (“No bics, man,” says my friend.)
  • Camera (sound settings off if possible for less obtrusive picture-taking).
  • Chargers for your phone, camera, tablet, computer, and other gadgets.
  • Comfortable shoes.
  • Blister creme.

What to Do

  • Make sure to schedule time to network (at more formal events as well as more informally over meals and drinks). Meeting people is as important as attending sessions.
  • If you know that you need time for yourself, make sure to also schedule some downtime away from people, especially if you have roommates.
  • Be ready to pick up swag (free stuff! books! pens! bags! random thing!) at the exhibits.
  • If someone invites you to an event or meal, go! Make lots of friends.

Thanks to Roger, Sarah, Bryan, Julia, and Stephanie for these suggestions!

[Hack ALA] Hack Library School Events!

25/06/2013 § 1 Comment

ALA Annual is just a few days away, and as we’re all packing and prepping for Chicago, it’s time to start thinking about Hack Library School events! We’re pleased to be hosting two of them:

Conversation Starter: Hacking Transferable Skills!
This conversation starter will be held in room S102-d at the McCormick Place Convention Center, on Sunday, June 30th, at 1:30 pm! We’ll be talking about life AFTER hacking library school. Here’s the session description:

LIS education is designed to prepare students for many things beyond “library work”–how do we turn those skills into useful talents as we enter our chosen profession? This session will bring students and professionals together to get us talking about “big questions.”

HackLibrarySchool is all about self-determination, and we “hack” our programs and approaches to make our degrees exactly what we seek. How can similar attitudes be applied to library work?

Is there a “gap” between perceptions of recent graduates and library veterans? How can we bridge it?

Join the HLS bloggers to answer these questions and more!

The HLS meet-up!

Come join us for our second ALA Annual HLS meet-up! We’ve teamed up with LibraryLab for a get-together at The Green Door (http://www.greendoorchicago.com/) from 8pm to 10pm on Sunday. Meet like-minded librarians, and chat about the ways you hack your life. This event is informal and should be a blast! Come make some new friends, have a drink, and chat about the conference, librarianship, and general awesomeness. Hope to see you there!

{Too long; Didn’t read}
Conversation Starter: Hacking Transferable Skills
Sunday, June 30th, 1:30-2:15
McCormick Place Convention Center
S102-d
ALA Scheduler Link: http://ala13.ala.org/node/12218
Meet-up (With Library Lab!):
Sunday, June 30th, 8-10pm
The Green Door Tavern
 678 North Orleans
ALA Scheduler Link: http://ala13.ala.org/node/14447

Hope you’ll consider joining us! See you in Chicago!

ALA Student to Staff Program

24/06/2013 § 1 Comment

This weekend I’ll be travelling to Chicago and attending ALA Annual as part of the Student to Staff (S2S) program. S2S is an opportunity provided by ALA wherein individual student representatives from 40 of the ALA-accredited library schools are selected by their institutions and then sent to ALA Annual. S2S provides conference registration, hotel accommodations, and per diem for food and in exchange the student representatives work 4 hours a day (for a total of 16 hours over the conference) assisting an ALA sub-group. It’s a really great opportunity for students to go to ALA pretty cheaply, network within a library group, and participate in the largest library conference of the year!

You have to first apply at your school, through your student ALA chapter; then applications are forwarded to the ALA offices and the first 40 suitable candidates are chosen as participants. Here is a list of the 40 participants going this summer: S2S 2013.

bd

This is my first-ever library conference! Hopefully it won’t be too overwhelming… (Image source: ALA)

Here’s a brief look at parts of my schedule, to give you a taste of what ALA S2S entails:

« Read the rest of this entry »

HLS and LibraryLab Meetup at ALA!

06/06/2013 § 1 Comment

Are you going to ALA later this month? We’re teaming up with LibraryLab to host a meetup on Sunday, June 30th from 8:00-10:00 at the Green Door.  The meetup is a fun and informal way to hang out with us, network, and make some new friends while having a cocktail! You can add it to your ALA calendar by going to this link.

Also, if you’re in the DC area, remember we’re hosting meetups in June!

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