ALA membership renewal

I’m back from my trip and reading through email. On my “to do” list is to renew my ALA membership before the conference since it expired at the end of the year. I figured since ALA had my email address, they might send a reminder about this and they did… today! It reads, in part, “Thank you for this past year of ALA Membership. Your membership year ends December 31, 2005 ” Please note the present tense of the word “ends” my membership ended a few weeks ago. Now, this is my own fault for not staying on top of my professional association dues over the holidays, but you’d think that even an organization like ALA could manage a reminder email that went out before my membership had expired, maybe?

Additionally, I just bought my plane tickets for San Antonio and found that I had to stay an extra day in order to stay for the full Council meeting on Wednesday since all flights for my small airport seem to leave at the crack of dawn. This tosses a small wrench into my plans lodging-wise, so if anyone has tips for cheap/free places to stay in San Antonio on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings the 24th and 25th, please let me know.

update: Jenny synthesizes some discussion about conferences & registration fees

Jenny posts a follow-up to her earlier post about organization membership and guest speakers and conference registration fees and the weird relationship between them. A few of us were trying to do some damage control on the Council list where it became clear that people were misunderstanding the issues, either accidentally or because of a radically different worldview than some of the rest of us. I’ve been asking friends of mine in other professional organizations and it’s become clear to me that some organizations have similar policies, many do not, and most people who don’t have just a flat-out “it’s an honor to be invited to speak and you should expect nothing in return.” seem to be surprised that exceptions weren’t made for Michael and Jenny not because of who they are but just because of their extentuating circumstances [not attenting the conference, paying all expenses in Michael's case, etc.] and peoples’ ability to be flexible about things like this. update: Meridith makes a very compelling “librarians should not be martyrs” point with plenty of stats to back up her vision of a more just professional association.

direct democracy @ your library conference

I’m not sure how many people really feel like they need to have a say in how ALA conducts its business. Membership Meetings at ALA have been a chance for rank and file ALA-ers to have a chance to discuss issues and write, discuss and even pass resolutions. In the past, the quorum for the meetings was set sufficiently high [1% of membership] that it was hard to get the requisite number of people for them to act offically.

Thanks to a bylaws amendment ratified by membership, quorum is now set at 75 members, though the bylaws currently do not reflect this online [don't get me started on how hard it was to pry all of this information out of the ALA website]. There are at least two resolutions coming before membership this time around. I’ll be at both of these meetings. If you want to get a peek at ALA democracy in action, the meetings are at

Saturday 4-5 pm [before Barak]
Monday 11:30-12:30