Wednesday, March 19, 2014

FLA Flips ALA the Bird on Florida's Stand Your Ground Law

Northern Mockingbird
Mimus Polyglottus
Florida State Bird
The Florida Library Association [FLA] has flipped the American Library Association [ALA] the bird, and in Florida, that means the mockingbird.  FLA mocks ALA for taking political positions that have nothing to do with librarianship.  And ALA is already mounting a response to attempt to force FLA to act as ALA wishes, similar to what ALA does in local communities, only this time it applies to a state library association.

ALA's ruling "ALA Council" (one that, for example, bullies its conservative Christian members) has recently decided to take on yet another non-library issue, like fried librarian giblets, but in this case, it's Florida's Stand Your Ground law.  This started after ALA's "Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc." [BCALA] published the following:
  • "Black Caucus of ALA Denounces ALA's Decision to Hold 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla," by BCALA, American Library Association, 17 March 2014:
    The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), condemns the American Library Association's (ALA) decision to continue with plans to hold the ALA 2016 annual conference in Orlando, Fla. in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict and that state's refusal to revise or repeal "Stand Your Ground" laws, which were included in jury instructions in Zimmerman's trial for second degree murder for fatally shooting unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. in 2012.
ALA is scheduled to have an annual convention in Orlando, FL, in 2016.  As a result, ALA Council is now discussing whether to move the convention out of Florida or to use the event to oppose Florida's gun laws and guns generally.

ALA is frequently mocked for allowing a few people to drive the entire organization to support progressive causes having nothing to do with librarianship.  The latest example is the Annoyed Librarian writing for the Library Journal in "An Idea For a Resolution":
I have a suggestion for the Socially Responsible Round Table.  The next time you want to push a meaningless resolution about something unrelated to the libraries, why not instead push a meaningless resolution in support of the third of Americans that have no library access at all.  That actually has something to do with libraries and it's a worthy cause.  It's just not very sexy.
Well ALA decided to pressure FLA to provide input on whether to move the conference out of Florida or to suggest how FLA proposes going about using the conference to pressure Floridians and conference visitors on their own gun laws.

FLA was having none of that.  It responded ever so politely by telling ALA that FLA addresses issues facing Florida libraries and librarians.  See the FLA letter to the ALA or read it below.  And FLA's Alan Kornblau wrote, "As a member of the FLA Executive Board and Florida Chapter Councilor, I support FLA's position and encourage lovers of libraries to attend our state conference at the beautiful Buena Vista Palace in Lake Buena Vista, Florida from May 7 – 9, 2014, as well as the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida."

Given ALA was subtly pressuring FLA to take a position on a non-librarian and progressive political issue of gun control and tossing aside the Second Amendment, FLA's response that clearly defines its mission as one of libraries and librarians is basically mocking ALA for taking on those progressive, non-library political issues.

And since the Florida state bird is the Northern Mockingbird, it appears FLA is flipping ALA the bird and mocking its northern ALA.

Well, ALA is not used to people telling ALA off.  So ALA Councilor Gladys Smiley Bell responded to Alan Kornblau—you see, library workers and users "fear" living in Florida so that makes opposing gun laws and the "struggle for equality and fairness" into "library advocacy" and "an opportunity to promote change":
This is about library advocacy which I support.  This is an opportunity to promote change in states that includes library workers, libraries, library users in light of BCALA and others fight for safety, a safe environment, and other discriminating acts regarding the struggle for equality and fairness.  I don't like living with fear for myself or my teenage grandsons.
And ALA Councilor Al Kagan steamed, "Alan, Thanks for forwarding the Florida Library Association letter.  Unfortunately, it does not address the issue at hand."

So you know ALA received the message loud and clear that FLA was not going to be ALA's political hatchet man and was not going to take on non-library issues.

The night is young and the typical Chicago Way pressure from Chicago's ALA is only just beginning to build.  The conference is in 2016.  We'll have to wait to see if it the conference is moved or not.  I doubt it, but it won't be for a lack of trying.

Read FLA's letter to ALA for yourself to see FLA is sticking to library issues only:

March 18, 2014

Dear Colleagues and Friends at ALA,

On behalf of the Florida Library Association, our Executive Board thanks you for your recent inquiry about our Association's focus.

Our mission statement notes that our association:  "develops programs and undertakes activities to earn it a leadership position for all areas of librarianship.  To do this, the Association works with other professional organizations and professions that are relevant to librarianship; provides increasing opportunities for librarians and support staff in Florida to advance their skills so that they can maintain their effectiveness in the new information age; works closely with the information industry, facilitating productive links with the library community; and continues its role as legislative advocate for excellence in all types of library service within the State of Florida and beyond."

Since we are an organization with finite funds and limited staff we focus all our resources on issues directly supporting libraries and librarians in the state of Florida.   Keeping libraries open and librarians employed so that our libraries can provide the best library services possible to their users is our primary focus.  Our legislative platform focuses on funding libraries of all types.

The Florida Library Association supports the position that libraries are forums for information and ideas and that their resources should be available to all.  We encourage people to exercise their rights as individuals and support free speech.  We have a very active Intellectual Freedom Committee that was so effective it spawned a new member group last year, "Readers Rights and Privacy."  We have adopted supporting positions on "Public Library Funding," "Freedom to Read," ALA's "Library Bill of Rights," "Code of Ethics," and "Ethics Statements for Public Trustees," and have statements on "Privatization" and "Professional Education."

The Florida Library Association is looking forward to the 2016 ALA Conference in Orlando and the opportunity for Florida librarians, friends, and staff to attend.

We also encourage you to attend our FLA Conference this spring, May 7-9 at the Buena Vista Palace in Orlando.

Gladys Roberts, President

The FLA letter may be downloaded here:

By the way, since FLA appropriately sticks to library issues, I hope it addresses these:


As presaged, and this didn't take long, ALA has struck back at FLA.  Only days ago I wrote, "The night is young and the typical Chicago Way pressure from Chicago's ALA is only just beginning to build."  Sure enough, ALA President Barbara Stripling (a very nice lady from what I can see, by the way) is striking back and hard.  In big, Chicago Way style.  She is organizing the full power of ALA to community organize all librarians to punish FLA for insolence and promote progressive causes in libraries nationwide, starting with opposing guns laws.  What does this have to do with librarianship?  Nothing, but the ends justifies the means, no?

She is charging directly at any state library association that would dare do what FLA did, using FLA as the whipping boy.  "ALA's Executive Committee and BCALA's Executive Board decided that the best way to respond to the Florida situation is by turning it into an opportunity to educate, build awareness, and advocate for equitable treatment, inclusion, and respect for diversity.  We have agreed on the following actions: ... Support for conversations and actions at the state level facilitated by state library associations or other organizations within the states."

So, FLA, the full weight of ALA will "support conversation and actions at the state level facilitated by state library associations...."  That means you, FLA.  You will support "conversation" and "action" on the very progressive political cause you politely avoided.  If you do not acquiesce, there will be more and more "conversation" and "action" until you come to heel.

"Most troubling is the growing prevalence of Stand Your Ground laws," writes Barbara Stripling et alia.  So even though you, FLA, said you will not engage in that political activity because you wanted to spend limited resources instead on libraries and librarians, you will soon learn the most cost effective move will be to give in to the ALA instead of constantly fending off the "conversation" and "action" that ALA is gathering to bring to bear in Orlando as a direct result of your giving ALA the bird.  ALA's flipping you back a bigger bird.  No other state library association will dare defy ALA further.

This is how ALA pushes porn in libraries nationwide, like this:

This is how ALA pushes state library associations to come to heel.  Even to the point of teaching them the opposite of the law so they will promote porn in libraries.

And, it's already working!
As the Councilor from Louisiana and one of the councilors who originally suggested state-level action, I will be bringing this statement with me tomorrow to the Executive Board Meeting at the Annual Conference of the Louisiana Library Association, where I will recommend that we have our own chapter-based Task Force devoted to issues of diversity within our profession—well in advance of any upcoming ALA conferences in New Orleans. 
I would also like to put my name forward as being interested in working with the your Special Presidential Task Force, Barbara—in whatever way you deem appropriate. 
Stephanie Ganic Braunstein, MA MLIS
Head Government Documents/Microforms Librarian
& Liaison to Political Science
Louisiana State University
Middleton Library
Regional Depository #222

Louisiana State University.  A public university.  What a coincidence.

Does anyone know if this political activity violates ALA's 501(c)(3) tax exempt status?  Are taxpayers supporting an organization that calls itself the American Library Association but that instead works to promote progressive political causes, much like Media Matters for America and the like?  Is there something wrong with libraries and librarians that ALA needs to come out openly as promoting progressive causes, like opposing Stand Your Ground laws, having nothing to do with librarianship?

ALA membership is shrinking.  I have to wonder if this non-library, non-librarian political activism is part of the reason why.  "The goal is to use the Orlando conference platform to provoke a national dialogue."  Oh really?  State library associations like FLA far better serve the needs of librarians, I have heard.  And seeing FLA's willingness to keep its focus on library and librarian issues, I can see why.

Here is the ALA statement of 25 March 2014 that represents ALA reacting strongly to a state library association, in this case FLA, daring to express an interest in sticking to issues affecting libraries and librarians:

CHICAGO —The values of diversity, equity, and inclusion form the foundation of the library profession and our professional associations.  Those values have been challenged by the discriminatory enforcement of the "Stand Your Ground" law in Florida and the fact that ALA's 2016 Annual Conference is scheduled for Orlando.  The Executive Committee members of ALA and the BCALA Executive Board have actively engaged in conversation to determine the best solution to this challenging dilemma.  That conversation has been extended to the Executive Boards of AILA, APALA, CALA, and REFORMA with a decision to issue a joint statement of commitment and action. 
In response to BCALA's concern regarding holding the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, in 2016, the ALA Executive Board thoroughly explored the options for moving the conference.  ALA started by clarifying the facts underlying conference site selection, the implications of trying to move the Orlando conference, and the prevalence of Stand Your Ground laws across the United States.  The contracts for Orlando were negotiated originally in 2000; the Stand Your Ground law in Florida became effective on October 1, 2005.  Cancelling the hotel and convention center contracts would result in a minimum fine of $814,000.  Conferences as large as ALA must be scheduled for specific sites and contracts signed at least 7–10 years in advance.  At this late date, it would be highly unlikely that ALA would be able to find another site with availability during our window of late June/early July 2016. 
Most troubling is the growing prevalence of Stand Your Ground laws. Twenty-two states have laws that allow for that self-defense provision to be asserted (as of August 2013).  An additional 21 states have enacted laws that allow for self-defense within one's home (called Castle Doctrines).  However, each state has implemented and applied the Stand Your Ground laws differently, and it is the interpretation and application of the Stand Your Ground Law in the Zimmerman and Dunn cases, as well as the Marissa Alexander case, that has heightened the urgency for discussion and action. 
With that information in hand, our ALA's Executive Committee and BCALA's Executive Board decided that the best way to respond to the Florida situation is by turning it into an opportunity to educate, build awareness, and advocate for equitable treatment, inclusion, and respect for diversity. We have agreed on the following actions:
  • Town Hall discussions of racial diversity and inclusion in our profession, association, and communities.
    • Major topic of Membership Meeting at 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas.
    • Topic of discussion during Virtual Membership Meeting on June 5, 2014.
  • Support for conversations and actions at the state level facilitated by state library associations or other organizations within the states.
  • Formation of a Special Presidential Task Force involving members of the ethnic affiliates and ALA to (1) develop programs and other opportunities for members to learn about and engage in the issue, (2) build strong advocacy and awareness while at the Orlando conference, and (3) develop communications directed toward the public.  The Task Force will be formed immediately.  The goal is to use the Orlando conference platform to provoke a national dialogue. 
  • Collaboration with local Black and Hispanic/Latino community members and organizations in Orlando to determine the best ways for ALA members to be supportive of them.  This will include compilation of a list of African-American and Hispanic/Latino businesses in Orlando for ALA members to patronize.
  • Outreach to national organizations with vested interest in the Stand Your Ground laws to build alliances and collaborative efforts in advocacy and public awareness (e.g., NAACP, La Raza, Urban League).
Most important to all the ethnic caucuses and ALA is the public and honest conversation that will be generated by our actions.  We are committed to building more diversity and inclusion among our members, the field of librarianship, and our communities.  We invite all members of AILA, APALA, BCALA, CALA, REFORMA, and ALA to engage with us in moving toward a more just society. 
With respect,
Barbara Stripling
(American Library Association) 
Jerome Offord, Jr.
(Black Caucus of the American Library Association) 
Heather Devine
(American Indian Library Association) 
Eugenia Beh
(Asian Pacific American Librarians Association) 
Lisa Zhao
(Chinese American Librarians Association) 
Isabel Espinal
(The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking)
See that call for "diversity"?  "We are committed to building more diversity"?  What, ALA does not already have diversity?  For example, it doesn't already promote Islam in hundreds or thousands of libraries nationwide?  Of course it does.

By "diversity" ALA means uniformity.  They do not mean diversity.  If they did, they would not work with the racist or supremacist organization "La Raza" (The Race, like there's only one).  If they did, ALA would stop making it a regular practice to support basically all libraries blocking collections from containing materials on exgays, or ALA would stop libraries from discriminating against Christians and written materials having a Christian slant.  If they were really interested in diversity or "inclusion" ALA would not exclude librarians who speak out about sexual harassment that results from unfiltered computers.  Etc.

No it's not diversity ALA wants, it's uniformity.  It's progressive political activity, using the name "American Library Association" as cover.


NBA basketball star Kobe Bryant catches hell for saying its wrong to make knee jerk reactions to jump to one politically correct view on Trayvon Martin:
I won't react to something just because I'm supposed to, because I'm an African-American," he said.  "That argument doesn't make any sense to me.  So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense?  Yet you want to talk about how far we've progressed as a society?  Well, we've progressed as a society, then don't jump to somebody's defense just because they're African-American.  You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won't assert myself."
The American Library Association, now tossing aside pretense of being a library association, is doing just that and making it the centerpiece of ALA' efforts.  Not porn in libraries harming children, not sexually harassed librarians, not the massive fraud in the CIPA E-rate program, but Trayvon Martin, stand your ground laws, "diversity," and other progressive causes having nothing to do with librarianship.

I'll list a few stories here, and I hope the few remaining librarians interested in librarianship and willing to speak up can wrest control from the many progressives driving the ALA:


Today ALA made public an announcement of how it is continuing to community organize its political activity having nothing to do with librarianship.  In the case below, it's mainly opposition to Stand Your Ground laws.

The issues of sexual harassment are roiling the librarian community now, thanks to #TeamHarpy, yet political goals trump that as the more serious, coordinated effort is put into non-library issues like Stand Your Ground instead of sexual harassment of librarians:

[alacoun] update from the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Garnar, Martin Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 2:51 PM
To: "ALA Council ("
Dear colleagues, 

ALA’s Task Force for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, co-chaired by Martin Garnar and Trevor A. Dawes, has begun its work to ensure committed and sustained attention to equity, inclusion, and diversity issues within ALA, in the profession, and in our communities.  The Task Force was formed earlier in 2014 when members of the Black Caucus (BCALA) raised serious concerns about the scheduling of ALA’s 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, a state where the implementation of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law has been critically flawed. 

After some discussion with several concerned members, the ALA and the affiliated Ethnic Caucuses issued a joint statement, available at   In the joint statement, we shared our concern about the reasons there was a call to change the conference location; affirmed our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion; and recognized that moving the conference at that point was not possible.

Task Force members have heard that there is still some concern being expressed about the fact that the American Library Association will hold its 2016 annual conference in Orlando, FL.  We believe that moving forward with the conference in Orlando presents us with opportunities to engage with the communities in Florida in ways clearly not possible if we are not there.   The Task Force will be developing plans for the association not only to address actions at the 2016 conference, but also to plan more generally for how we can be a more inclusive association and profession.

The Task Force members will be reaching out to ALA members and non-members in the coming months to gather information and feedback and we all hope you will share your thoughts.  The first piece where we would appreciate your feedback is to the definitions of equity, diversity, and inclusion that will frame our work.  The definitions are below and have been posted to ALA Connect for public comment (   You are, of course, welcome to contact the task force members ( at any time if you have questions or concerns.

Preface to the definitions:

In framing the definitions of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for our work as a task force, wanting to change the world by and beyond the Annual 2016 Conference, and realizing we *may* fall short of that  goal, we offer the following definitions  for consideration. We have decided to maintain a fairly global perspective in these definitions, i.e. not to attempt an exhaustive list of descriptors or qualities of disenfranchised groups comprising ALA membership and by extension our various stakeholders and patron populations. We are striving for social justice for *All* - and with these definitions desire to achieve a larger rather than smaller common and inclusive denominator.


Equity is not the same as formal equality. Formal equality implies sameness. Equity, on the other hand, assumes difference and takes difference into account to ensure a fair process and, ultimately, a fair (or equitable) outcome. Equity recognizes that some groups were (and are) disadvantaged in accessing educational and employment opportunities and are, therefore, underrepresented or marginalized in many organizations and institutions. The effects of that exclusion often linger systemically within organizational policies, practices and procedures. Equity, therefore, means increasing diversity by ameliorating conditions of disadvantaged groups. . 

The Task Force believes that everyone deserves equitable rights and opportunities.  Our goal is to create a just and equitable Association, profession, and society where everyone has access to social power, resources, and physical and psychological safety.
(Adapted from ALA Office for Diversity “Strategic Planning for Diversity”: , and National Association of Social Workers:


Diversity can be defined as the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different.  Visible diversity is generally those things we cannot change and are external.  However, diversity goes beyond this to what we call ‘invisible’ diversity.  Invisible diversity includes those attributes that are not readily seen. So, when we recognize, value, and embrace diversity, we are recognizing, valuing, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual. 

The Task Force has chosen to define “diversity” in all its complexity in order to recognize and honor the uniqueness of each ALA member, all members of our profession, and our very diverse communities.  The Task Force also agrees with the National Education Association that, “While diversity itself is not a value-laden term, the way that people react to diversity is driven by values, attitudes, beliefs, and so on.  Full acceptance of diversity is a major principle of social justice.” 
(Adapted from National Education Association):


Inclusion means an environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully; are valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives; have equal access to resources and opportunities; and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.  
(Adapted from Society for Human Resources Management  and Hewlett Packard:

The Task Force believes that, to be inclusive, our association, profession, and society must recognize the inherent worth and dignity of every member of the community; involve and empower all members to participate and contribute; promote and sustain a sense of belonging; and value and practice respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of all members.

Again, we welcome your comments on the definitions and any questions you may have for the task force.


Martin Garnar and Trevor A. Dawes

Martin Garnar
Reference Services Librarian and Professor of Library Science
Dayton Memorial Library, Regis University --
3333 Regis Blvd., Mail Stop D-20
Denver, CO 80221

On Twitter:  @ALALibrary @BCALA_Inc @FLGovScott @LibraryJournal @TweetFLAlibrary #libchat #2A #syg #StandYourGround

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