Vermont Chapter Councilor Report – ALA Annual 2023

Hello — I recently got back from virtually attending ALA. Virtual attendance at Council meetings continues to work pretty well and I submitted one resolution.

We had significantly shorter meetings this time because we’ve gotten the main bylaws changed and the major Council reorganization done which were big jobs. Here is my report.

Previous reports from me: June 2020, January 2021 (did not write a report), July 2021, January 2022, June 2022 (did not go to ALA ), January 2023

I filled in for outgoing Councilor Marti Fisk who moved, and was elected to a three-year term starting in 2020. I am planning on having LibLearnX in January 2024 be my last conference.

So, VLA is looking for a Councilor. It’s a pretty low-key commitment: virtual or in-person attendance at meetings twice a year where you represent Vermont’s libraries and librarians, and occasional fill-in meetings. Paying attention to ongoing ALA Council issues and communicating about them to VLA. Writing conference reports and doing an annual “State of the Chapter” survey. I’ve been a Councilor for six years total–I was an “at large” councilor in the early aughts–and it’s a great way to meet librarians at a national level and work to get things done.

Do you already attend ALA and could you take on a bit more responsibility? Please contact me if you have further questions or want to get involved.

All documents for this meeting can be found here.

Final attendee report: 15842 registrations, 9459 paid (i.e. not vendors, corporate members, free attendees)

All votes passed.

Saturday June 24

– We received many reports which can be read at the link above
– Voted to implement a voting tool at membership meeting that does not require early pre-registration (current membership meeting voting tool required people register over a week in advance to receive voting credentials)
– Received the slate for committee on committee members and planning and budget assembly members (for voting later – I have voted for these)
– Approved the 2023 Edition of the American Library Association Standards for Library Services for the Incarcerated and Detained.
– Voted for some wording changes on the Bylaws
– Because of the smaller size of Council moving forward they are searching for 18 >Councilors at Large instead of the usual 50 and over time expect attrition and turnover to result in a smaller Council ultimately
– Voted on Resolution on Actions by the Executive Board to clarify how open seats are handled and who has ultimate authority because there was some dispute about the appointment of two people to the EB because of early vacancies
– Voted to Reaffirm ALA’s Position on the Freedom to Read. This was a no-brainer and VLA signed on.
– The people who are working on the next edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual would like to hear from diverse voices with personal stories to help them with those rewrites Email can be sent to

Sunday June 25

– Voted on some Council reorganization documents
– Voted to approve virtual access to all membership meetings
– Voted on giving the Core Values Task Force an extension
– Voted on my resolution ensuring virtual governance participation seconded by Tara Brady from SRRT. It was referred to Bylaws Committee because it involves a change in the bylaws. My remarks which I gave at Council can be found here.
– Voted on a Resolution Condemning Discrimination Against Library Workers and Supporting the LGBTQIA+ Community

Monday June 26

Memorial tributes

– Josephine Maria (Riss) Fang
– David Goodman
– Chris Cottrill
– Jen Angel
– Bill Ott
– Kristen A. Cooper
– Esperanza Bravo de Varona
– Helene Lafrance
– James Henry Jacobs Jr.
– Paul Cappuzzello
– Patricia A. Wand
– David S. Baugh
– Rebecca Taylor Bingham
– Terrilyn Chun
– Eleanor M. McKnight
– Joyce Meskis
– Dr. Tracey J. Hunter Hayes
– Daniel Ellsberg
– Aletta Seales
– Charles L. Blockson

– Reports from the Budget Committee, the Committee on Accreditation, the Committee on Committees and the International Relations Committee, Committee on Legislation, and the Freedom to Read Foundation
– Resolution objecting to the IFLA location in Dubai. This had many amendments and was a somewhat contentious issue because of the various aspects of this issue, safety of LGBTQIA+ attendees, IFLA’s participation in choosing this location, consideration of MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) librarians who wanted to be somewhere that was more home turf to them.
– Resolution about looking into changing the dates of ALA Annual to not overlap with Pride so that librarians could attend at home. This was also a little contentious mainly because there is really no good date that is going to work for 15,000 people. School librarians have specific schedules, people’s fiscal year makes them have to make certain decisions, and some people feel better participating in Pride not-at-home (or have no home celebration) whereas other people felt very strongly about not missing Pride at home.

Jessamyn West

Vermont Chapter Councilor
American Library Association