ACRL Board of Directors’ actions, January 2017: Highlights of the Board’s Midwinter meetings

During the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, the ACRL Board of Directors met on January 21 and January 23. The Board met with the leaders of its four goal-area committees: New Roles and Changing Landscapes, Research and Scholarly Environment, Student Learning and Information Literacy, and Value of Academic Libraries to assess progress on the Plan for Excellence. The Board also met with the chair of Community and Junior College Libraries Section (CJCLS) and discussed the process in place should CJCLS want to develop a companion document to the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

The Board also received reports from the following task forces: Awards, Libraries Transform, and Standards for Libraries in Higher Education Review. The Board also heard updates from the project leaders of the Action-Oriented Research Agenda and the liaison from the ALA Board to ACRL.

The ACRL Board of Directors took the following actions:

Enabling Programs and Services: Advocacy

  • Approved a statement to affirm ACRL's commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and access.

Enabling Programs and Services: Education

  • Confirmed virtual vote approving Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe as the Standards Presenter Coordinator for the Standards for Libraries in Higher Education training workshop.

Enabling Programs and Services: Member Engagement

  • Approved the merger of the Slavic and East European Section (SEES) and Western European Studies Section (WESS) to form European Studies Section (ESS).
  • Approved the creation of the Institutional Research Interest Group.

Enabling Programs and Services: Publications

  • Approved the Proficiencies for Assessment Librarians and Coordinators.
  • Approved the appointment of Richard Saunders as editor of RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage.
  • Approved start-up funding for CHOICE development of OER review services and resource registry.

Enabling Programs and Services: Operations

  • Confirmed the virtual votes approving the minutes of the ACRL Board meetings at ALA Annual Conference 2016; approving the minutes of the virtual ACRL Board of Directors Fall Meeting held on October 19, 2016; approving College Libraries Section (CLS) Innovation Award criteria.
  • Approved revised Ground Rules for the ACRL Board of Directors.
  • Approved next steps for the Framework for Information Literacy Advisory Board (FAB), which includes the addition of FAB members to the Student Learning and Information Literacy Committee, so that they can help transition projects managed by FAB to the goal-area committee.
  • Approved working with a market research firm to develop a needs assessment for non-members working in community college libraries to better understand how ACRL might engage them.

ACRL Statement on the Dissemination of Federal Research

As the higher education organization for librarians, ACRL is dedicated to the advancement of learning and to the transformation of scholarship. ACRL is unwavering in its long-standing commitment to promoting the free exchange of different viewpoints and ensuring privacy and confidentiality in academic libraries. In the spirit of previous statements, ACRL reaffirms its dedication to its core values: visionary leadership; transformation, new ideas, and global perspectives; exemplary service to members; diversity, integrity, and transparency; continuous learning; responsible stewardship of resources; the values of higher education; and intellectual freedom.

One of ACRL’s objectives is that “librarians accelerate the transition to more open and equitable systems of scholarship.” Recent actions from the new Executive Branch agencies have cast the realization of this goal into jeopardy, and they run counter to the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and Core Values of Librarianship. These values are essential to academic advancement across the institutions we serve in the United States and abroad.

Agency orders to cease communication with the public—as well as a directive calling for the submission of EPA publications to administration review—had to be walked back in response to public outcry, but they set worrisome examples. These federal agencies are taxpayer-supported, and their outputs for public consumption and understanding are an essential service to everyone. Actions that silence scientists and other specialists employed by these agencies set dangerous precedents for fair and open, democratic governance and hinder the advancement of scientific knowledge by restricting the dissemination of research.

Privileging political viewpoints, rather than facts, erodes our country’s values of democracy, liberty, and equality. Limiting the ability of scientists and other educators to communicate with the public jeopardizes the creation of new knowledge. It is critical to maintain open communication from the government to the public, especially to support efforts to enfranchise disadvantaged and underrepresented populations, who rely on access to publicly available resources to make economic and health decisions. If these restrictive acts go unchallenged, we potentially set in motion an era of complacency that could devolve into acceptance of suppression and a mindset that discourages civic engagement and undermines the principles of democracy, which rely on an engaged population.

ACRL considers it an ethical and professional responsibility to challenge attempts to call into question the validity of facts simply because they run counter to the establishment’s agenda, or to subvert access to information.—ACRL Board of Directors

Copyright 2017© American Library Association

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