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*UPDATE* ALA Meeting Rooms Interpretation

Tuesday, August 28, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tammy Schoenberg
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*UPDATE* ALA Council voted to rescind the 2018 updates to Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. ALA announced the following vote results on August 16, 2018: 140 voted to rescind, four voted not to rescind, and two abstained. As a result, the 2018 Meeting Room interpretation will be removed from ALA’s website. The Library Bill of Rights will revert to the 1991 version of the Meeting Rooms interpretation, which was in effect until the 2018 ALA Annual Conference. A new version of the Meeting Room interpretation will be introduced in September 2018.

During the past couple weeks, discussions within the library community have centered around the recent revision to the ALA Meeting Rooms: an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. MLA has heard from members expressing their dismay at the addition of new language that explicitly mentions that hate groups/hate speech should not be excluded from library meeting rooms, as well as the process by which this change was brought forward to ALA Council at the recent annual conference.


Our ALA Chapter Councilor, Sara Ring, has been keeping us informed of the movement within ALA Council to move forward a Resolution to Rescind Meeting Rooms: an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (2017-2018 ALACD#19.6_62617_act), and her plans to vote yes to this resolution so that more discussion can take place. Discussion is now open on ALA Connect (July 26th-Aug. 9th) and results of the electronic vote will be announced on August 17th.


Separate, but in addition to this action, The ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee has formed a working group to revise the recently adopted Meeting Room Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. The working group will strive to provide a revised document that will uphold core values, is responsive to the concerns raised by library workers, and supports the communities of America’s libraries. Their goal is to have a public draft available by September 4, 2018. Any library worker can submit feedback via this form, and the IFC Meeting Rooms Working Group will accept comments through August 24th.


It is a best practice for libraries to have a meeting room policy in place that reflects the needs and values of their communities. While this conversation continues within ALA, this is an opportunity for Minnesota libraries to discuss their meeting room policies, both internally and with the communities they serve, ensuring that both staff and patrons feel safe.


Below are a few discussion documents that provide context and resources.



Ryan McCormick, MLA President

Amy Boese, MLA Past President

Kirsten Clark, MLA President-Elect


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