ALA Councilor Samantha Thomason: Midwinter 2018 Report

Denver, CO, February 8-13, 2018

Samantha Thomason - ALA Chapter Councilor 2017-2019, Virginia

All Midwinter Council documents:

Midwinter Attendance: Over 8,000, including 2,600 exhibitors

The future of ALA, particularly organizational effectiveness and financial viability, was a major focus of this year’s Midwinter meeting. Council II session included a 30-minute Organizational Effectiveness Discussion open to all members.

Discussions topics over the course of Midwinter included:

  • Details of ALA’s investments and budget
  • Assessment of  ALA real estate at 40 & 50 E. Huron Street in Chicago
  • Viability of ALA’s publishing division
  • Membership dues structure
  • ALA divisions, potential mergers
  • Viability of Midwinter and conference restructuring
  • Technology implementation plan

While not an issue for Council debate at Midwinter this year, the executive director search is very much on everyone’s radar as ALA seeks to establish new leadership. After an unsuccessful search for a new executive director in 2017, the hotly debated issue of whether or not an ALA- or CAEP-accredited master’s degree should be required for this position will be decided by ALA membership during elections March 12-April 4.

Advocacy was also a major focus. President Trump’s proposed FY2019 budget dropped during Midwinter, and, as expected, eliminates the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which provides approximately $183 million in direct funding to libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The budget proposal also eliminates the $27 million Innovative Approaches to Literacy program administered by the Department of Education. Preserving federal library funding will continue to be one of ALA’s top legislative priorities. Advocating for school libraries will also be a top priority as more school libraries and librarian positions are being threatened.

ALA Council Actions:

ALA Executive Board Elections:

Diane Chen Elected for the 5-month term (February 2018 through June 2018) to complete President-Elect Loida Garcia-Febo’s term

The following ALA Councilors were elected to ALA Executive Board for a 3-year term, 2018-2021:

  • Tamika Barnes
  • Ed Garcia
  • Maria McCauley


Resolution on Socially Responsible Investments for the ALA Endowment Fund - not passed

Library Bill of Rights Interpretation on Visual and Performing Arts - adopted

Membership dues adjustment proposal - adopted (to be voted on in upcoming elections)

Meetings Attended:

Friday, February 9:

Recruit & Rally - ALA Advocacy Training Institute, 12:30-4:00

Saturday, February 10:

ALA Council I/Executive Board/Membership Information Session, 3:00-4:30

ALA Council Forum I, 8:30-10:00

Sunday, February 11:

ALA Council I & ALA-APA Council, 8:30-11:00

Chapter Councilor’s Forum, 12:30-2:00

Monday, February 12:

ALA Council II, 10:00-12:00

ALA Executive Board Candidate’s Forum, 12:15-1:15

Chapter Relations Committee, 1:30-2:30

Tuesday, February 13:

ALA Council III, 9:30-11:30