This letter to the chairman of the ALA Committee on Organizations from the chairman of a Committee for the Organization of an ALA Roundtable on Social Responsibilities of Libraries includes a petition about why such a round table is needed. The statement noted that the purpose of the Round Table would be: "To provide a forum on the major issues of our times--war and peace, race, inequality of opportunity and justice, civil rights, violence--and the responsibilities of libraries in relation to these issues." It went on to say that "The Round Table would provide a place in the Association for action on or consideration of proposed ALA involvement in problems," which are not identified to be addressed by other units, and that "It would demonstrate further the Association's commitment to libraries as living, essential institutions of American society." This unit of the American Library Association would exist to propose and promote action around social issues. While not specifically mentioning gender issues in this statement, the SRRT created the space within the ALA to discuss pressing social issues.
September 7, 1968
Mr. Robert N. Sheridan, Chairman
ALA Committee on Organization
Levittown Public Library
1 Bluegrass Lane
Levittown, L.I., N.Y. 11756
Dear Mr. Sheridan:
Enclosed is an amplified statement of purposes and responsibilities of the proposed ALA Round Table on Social Responsibilities of Libraries in response to the request of the Committee on Organization.
Although the statement uses the auxiliary verb "would" throughout, this consistency is largely for grammatical purposes. It would be desirable if COO substituted "can", "might", "could", or even "will" for "would" in many cases. The objective of the amplification is to suggest a sufficient number of options for activity to provide useful indications of the nature of the interest in the Round Table.
If I can provide other information COO needs, please let me know.
Very truly yours,
Kenneth F. Duchac
Committee for Organization of ALA Round Table on Social Responsibilities of Libraries
3621 Sylvan Drive
cc: Ruth Warncke
ROUND TABLE ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF LIBRARIES
The petition for establishment of a Round Table on Social Responsibilities of Libraries in the American Library Association states the unit's functions and responsibilities as follows:
To provide a forum on the major issues of our times--war and peace, race, inequality of opportunity and justice, civil rights, violence--and the responsibilities of libraries in relation to these issues;
To examine current library programs on these issues;
To propose activities which will increase understanding of these issues;
To promote action toward resolution of attendant, critical problems.
"Social responsibilities" in this context is defined as the relationships that libraries have to non-library problems that relate to the social welfare of our society.
An alternative wording of the purpose proposed by Charles W. Weisenberg of the Los Angeles Public Library may be useful in providing a more complete statement:
To provide a forum for the discussion of the relationships between libraries and the important social problems and responsibilities that fact the institutions and members of the profession; and to provide a clearinghouse for information from all ALA units in order to have a better understanding of what libraries and librarians are doing about their social responsibilities; to act as a stimulus to the Association and its various units in making libraries more responsive to the social problems that may be current in our society; to arrange programs and exhibits as may seem appropriate."
The Round Table would provide a place in the Association for action on or consideration of proposed ALA involvement in problems or areas not precisely identified as the functions of existing divisions or other units, and for concerns which the Association does not consider requires establishment of an ad hoc or special committee of ALA. It would demonstrate further the Association's commitment to libraries as living, essential institutions of American society.
Within the area of social responsibilities, in its function as a forum, it is anticipated that the Round Table would sponsor separately or in conjunction with other units of ALA or other educational organizations or institutions, program meetings during ALA annual conferences and/or Midwinter meetings. It would participate in planning, sponsorship or conduct of seminars, institutes, workshops or other educational activities. It would provide meeting opportunities for small groups of the total Round Table membership for discussion and exchange of ideas on specific problems. It would publish a newsletter and/or other periodical or occasional pieces.
In its function of examining current library programs which relate to the areas of its concern, the Round Table activities would call attention to special or on-going library programs, or library contributions to on-going community programs. It would provide the manpower to collect information on significant activities and function as a clearinghouse for such information. It would focus on and assess the effectiveness of programs and activities in relationship to the needs and responses of communities and libraries of various types, sizes and characteristics.
As a unit which would propose and promote action and activities to increase understanding of the relationship of the library program to social issues, the Round Table would build on the information and attitudes gained from the aforementioned activities to develop proposals designed to suggest new methods of meeting needs, new types of activities and re-focus of efforts, either separately or in cooperation with other appropriate units of the Association.
It is conceived that the Round Table would function in consort with, in support of, in cooperation with other appropriate units of the structure of ALA.
The Round Table would provide a meeting place for librarians of all ages, experience and background for discussion and exchange on topics of mutual interest which are not the primary concerns of other Association units.