John W. Berry Answers Your Questions

We've had several interesting interviews so far this
year, they include all 3 Presidential Candidates for the
ALA, Maurice J. Freedman, Ken Haycock, and William Sannwald, and also Pat Schroeder, from the APA.

This time around I sent John W. Berry, President
Elect at the ALA, the same questions the current
candidates received. Read on to see what the new
president of the ALA has to say on all the current topics
that interested YOU, the loyal LISnews readers.1) What do you think of Pat Schroeder and the
AAP?


Pat Schroeder is a woman of intelligence and
commitment who has
served the public with dedication throughout her career.
Her recent
statements about libraries and their relationship to
publishers are
unfortunate in both their tone and their lack of
understanding of the
role of libraries and their traditional, positive
relationship with
the publishing community. We anticipate that as time
goes on, Ms.
Schroeder will become better informed on this issue
and will realize
that librarians and publishers have complementary,
equally important
roles to play in providing the public with information.


2) Why should I continue to pay my dues and
remain a member of the ALA?


The American Library Association is the oldest, largest
library
association in the world, with over 61,000 members in
academic,
public, school, government and special libraries. ALA
historically
has served as the voice of America\'s libraries,
articulating the
contributions, services, needs and concerns of libraries
and
librarians to the local and national community. In
addition, ALA has
served generations of librarians by providing
opportunities for
continuing education, networking, leadership
development and
professional growth.


ALA\'s resources enable us to undertake litigation to
challenge
legislation, such as the Children\'s Internet Protection
Act (CIPA),
that threatens intellectual freedom. We are launching a
Campaign for
America\'s Libraries, a five-year commitment to
educating the pubic
about the value of libraries and librarians to our
communities,
schools, academic institutions and businesses, as
well as to our
society, democracy, and the new digital age. ALA is
exploring
technologies that will enable us to deliver continuing
education to
the desktop and offer opportunities for professional
participation to
members who are unable to travel to conferences. ALA
continues to
offer programming and publications that expand
members� horizons and
enhance their professional growth. Member
committees, working with
ALA\'s dedicated staff in Chicago and Washington, are
examining issues
critical to the future of the profession, such as
recruitment,
professional certification for librarians and the
changing roles of
library professionals and paraprofessionals.


Now, more than ever, it is vital for librarians to our
diverse
profession to come together and speak with a unified
voice. Your
support, participation and dues are vital to ALA�s
continued growth
and success.


3) At present, ALA throws the weight of its
considerable
influence into absolute opposition of filters in all
libraries.
Doesn\'t this make its claim to favor a local library
solution on this
issue somewhat disingenuous? In the upcoming battle
to challenge
mandated filters for libraries receiving E-rate discounts,
wouldn\'t
the ALA\'s position be stronger if it really did promote a
local
solution by taking a more balanced approach that
recognizes the
ethical complexities of the problem?


There is no single local solution -- there are many
solutions already
in place across the country, and the Children\'s Internet
Protection
Act runs roughshod over local control. This is the first
thing we
tell reporters and lawmakers in discussing this issue.
In opposing
CIPA, the ALA is supporting local decision-making.
Mandatory
filtering legislation at the federal and state levels
disregards
local control and local values. CIPA forces libraries to
install
blocking technology on all computers for all users in
exchange for
federal funding--and we believe this legislation is an
unworkable,
one-size-fits-all proposal.


No technology exists that will filter out illegal material
such as
obscenity and child pornography while allowing library
patrons full
access to constitutionally protected speech. Filtering
software has
been shown to deny access to critical medical, health
and political
information, as well as to information related to the arts
and
literature. Filters are contrary to the mission of the
public
library, which is to provide access to the broadest range
of
information for a community of diverse individuals. The
American
Library Association remains committed to protecting
the rights of
patrons to unfettered access to constitutionally
protected material.


ALA\'s role is to recommend policies that promote the
highest quality
library and information services. ALA respects the right
of local
libraries to adopt policies that uphold this ideal and
meet the needs
of their library users. However, we believe filters are not
the best
way to protect children.


4) What will you do as ALA president to fight for fair
use in an
online world where content providers are fighting to
destroy fair use?


It\'s true that recent developments - the increased use of
licensing,
especially non-negotiated, shrink-wrap type of licenses
- threaten
our user\'s ability to exercise fair use. The Librarian of
Congress\'
ruling on the anti-circumvention of passwords and
other encryption
devices could lead to pay-per-use business models for
information.
We will continue to focus on lobbying efforts in
Washington and
increase awareness at the local level where new
copyright-type
legislation, like UCITA, is being introduced. Continuing
our efforts
to educate the membership about complex copyright
issues remains
critical.


Our librarians are on the front lines facing copyright
issues
everyday. Additional resources are necessary to ensure
that lobbying
and education efforts continue. We have a lot of work to
do, and
this work needs to be done now. New copyright
legislation, relating
to distance education and the reaffirmation of fair use,
is being
introduced. This is very promising news for libraries,
teachers,
faculty, researchers, and all library users. We must
support this
legislation and be ready to respond with good
arguments and the data
to back up those arguments. I do not believe we have
lost the
fair-use battle. Napster has increased the public\'s
awareness of
copyright issues in both negative and positive ways,
and we should
build on this awareness.


5) The ALA has for many years been a proponent
for libraries,
but many members feel that the ALA has not been a
proponent for
librarians. What will you do as president, to
demonstratively
increase the status and pay of America\'s professional
librarians? As
ALA president, how would you address the issue of the
relatively low
salaries paid to public librarians? Do you believe there
is a brain
drain, and if so, what are the implications?


This is an issue that is of serious concern to ALA\'s
leadership. The
ALA Executive Board and Council have held
discussions and, as a
result, ALA President Nancy Kranich has formed a
Special Presidential
Task Force on the Status of Librarians. That group\'s
charge is:


(1) to articulate those issues facing the profession that
may be
characterized as issues of status (e.g. comparable
worth, public
recognition of librarians);
(2) to recommend strategies for addressing those
issues;
(3) to recommend specifically those strategies which
should be
followed by the American Library Association (as
opposed to those
which could/should be followed by other stakeholders);
and,
(4) to define the scope of questions (financial, legal,
organizational, research) which must be addressed by
the Association
in order to adopt those strategies.


Input is being sought from the many ALA standing
committees that have
charges that relate to these concerns: Status of
Women in
Librarianship; Office for Human Resource
Development and Recruitment
Advisory; Public Awareness Advisory; Minority Concerns
and Cultural
Diversity; Research and Statistics; and Pay Equity.


The task force will submit recommendations to the
Executive Board at
its 2001 fall meeting and then to the ALA Council at the
2002
Midwinter Meeting in New Orleans. Once the
recommendations are
received, we will be in a position to determine our next
steps in
confronting this problem.


A key focus of The Campaign for America�s Libraries is
increasing the
visibility of librarians. Using slogans like \"The Ultimate
Search
Engine is @ your library\" with pictures representing the
diversity of
our librarians, the ALA and libraries across the country
are putting
the spotlight on librarians and the important roles they
play in this
country. Increased funding for libraries and improved
recruitment
are two key goals for the five-year effort.


One of the focus areas I have identified for my
presidential year is
recruitment and diversity. I believe that if our profession
is to
grow and thrive, we must seek new ways to promote
librarianship as a
career choice to the best and the brightest of our young
people as
well as to those seeking mid-career opportunities. I
have appointed
a task force to study this issue and recommend
initiatives for my
presidency. Our first planned event will be a national
teleconference on recruitment and diversity to be held
in December,
2001. I encourage you to look for announcements of
the
teleconference and to participate.


6) ALA has been slow in responding to the call for
contracting
out of library services in all libraries. Certainly, the
preeminent
professional organization for libraries should address
the issue more
strongly, and at least, provide a checklist of issues for
libraries,
directors and trustees contemplating the contracting
out some or all
of library services. Also, the publication of a handbook
outlining
the pros and cons of contracting out, and what to look
for and look
out for, are a minimum response that has so far been
lacking by ALA.
What will you do to make the ALA more active in the
issues of
contracting out?


ALA has, in fact, been actively examining the complex
issues
surrounding the question of outsourcing and
privatization for the
last three years. Due to increasing interest and
concern among
members, the ALA Council directed then ALA President
Barbara Ford to
appoint an Outsourcing Task Force (OTF) in 1997 to
study the issue,
make recommendations and report back. The OTS
held membership
hearings at both the ALA Midwinter Meeting and the ALA
Annual
Conference in 1998 and reported back to Council with
recommendations
in 1999. Several OTF proposals were referred to ALA
divisions and
management for further study. Checklists, guidelines
and
recommendations were solicited from ALA divisions
and units. The
Intellectual Freedom Committee reviewed the Library
Bill of Rights as
it relates to outsourcing and privatization and presented
a checklist
to Council at the 2000 Annual Conference. At that
Conference,
Council also heard a report from Texas Woman\'s
University (TWU),
which had been engaged by ALA to study the practice of
outsourcing in
libraries and elsewhere. After extensive discussion,
Council
accepted the TWU report and asked the ALA president
to establish a
small task force to continue the discussion and help
frame the issues
involved in outsourcing and privatization. The task force
presented
an interim information report to Council at the 2001
Midwinter
Meeting and will bring a final report with
recommendations at the
2001 Annual Conference.


The task force\'s preliminary recommendations
emphasize the importance
of generating Association-wide discussion on their
working definition
of privatization as �the shifting of policy making and the
management
of library services from the public to the private sector.� I
encourage you to review the supporting documentation
on the websites
listed below and to add your voice to this discussion.


Supporting documentation may be found at:
htt
p://www.ala.org/alaorg/oif/outsourcing.html
(IFC
report/checklist)
http://
www.ala.org/alaorg/ors/reports.html
(TWU
report)
http://w
ww.ala.org/outsource/index.html
(OTF report)
http://www.ala.org/alcts/publications/release.html
(ALCTS report/checklist)
http://www.pla.or
g/outsourc.pdf
(PLA report/checklist)


7) Since we are living in an increasingly globalised
world, what
international initiatives or projects do you envision the
ALA
initiating in the near future?


In the global environment of the 21st century, library
issues are
becoming increasingly international. As a result, ALA
will broaden
its focus beyond national forums. We will spend more
time in
international arenas such as the World Trade
Organization and the
World Intellectual Property Organization promoting the
importance of
several of our key action areas -- access to information,
equity of
access, information literacy, and intellectual freedom.
ALA has
joined the International Federation of Library
Associations and
Institutions (IFLA) to create a Shadow G-8 Group to
monitor digital
divide issues, and we will be working directly with
library
associations in other countries to provide them with
support. ALA\'s
continuing education opportunities will be available to a
global
audience. For example, we will hold a workshop in the
Caucasus
region in May 2001, which will become a model
program to be used by
associations in other regions. ALA\'s web courses,
such as the one on
copyright, coming later this spring, will be available to
librarians
around the world at their desktops.

8) What do you see as the most worrisome
provision of UCITA?
Would you support proposed amendments to exempt
public libraries, or
would you favor solidarity among libraries of all
types?


ALA has been opposing UCITA with our able allies in
the other major
library associations for the past 2 years. If amending
UCITA becomes
the only option in a particular state, then we favor an
exception
that would favor all libraries.


The library community is troubled by many sections in
UCITA.
Primarily, though, we are concerned that UCITA would
make it easier
for vendors to insert and legally to enforce terms in their
product
licenses that restrict the uses customarily permitted to
libraries
under federal copyright law. Library collections are
becoming
increasingly electronic, including a host of electronic
products like
databases, e-books, CD-ROMS and videos. Each one
of these products
is accompanied by a license that could limit our
patrons\' access to
them and would restrict our ability to share these
materials through
services like inter-library loan, to save them for
archiving and
preservation, or even receive such products as
donations.


Professional Address:


John W. Berry
Executive Director
NILRC: A Consortium of Community Colleges,
Colleges and Universities
P.O. Box 390
Sugar Grove, IL 60554-0390


John W. Berry
President-Elect
The American Library Association


630.264.6345 (main office #)
708.366.0667 (direct voice to John Berry)
630.859.3229 (fax)
708.366.0728 (direct fax to John Berry)
312.399.1715 (cellular)


jberry@psinet.com


http://www.nilrc.org
and
http://www.ala.org/berry

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