Public Announcements

The Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) is the common bond, voice, and power for the library community. We are united to advocate for quality library services, support access to information, and foster the professional development of our members. CAL and its Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) work to honor the efforts of individuals and groups who safeguard access to information. Both Boucher Awards this year represented excellent examples of communities advocating for access to information. 

However, during the Julie Boucher Award at this year’s CALCON, statements were made that painted Douglas County Libraries in a negative light over a library policy, and concerns were brought forward that the policy was misrepresented. The CAL Board would like to note that Douglas County Libraries asked that the award remain in place, and we will honor that request with the understanding that the following actions need to be taken.

Ultimately, the CAL Board has a responsibility to ensure that statements coming from CAL and CAL Committees or Interest Groups are in line with our mission as an association. As an organization, we need to be cognizant of the language we use to communicate the position of Colorado libraries and the impact it will have on our statewide community. In this instance, the CAL Board’s lack of due diligence negated the opportunity to partner with CAL IFC to help guide the award in a more collaborative direction.  We acknowledge that our oversight resulted in this incident, and we apologize for that.

The CAL board has long had a passive approval process within the awards given by CAL. Awards are often considered together as an entire slate, without an in-depth analysis of why the award was being given. The board has not reviewed what would be said on behalf of the Association for an award. As a result, the CAL Board will develop a new policy that will treat all CAL Awards as a formal statement from the CAL Board. This will change how we approve awards. It will also require that the board formally vote on and approve all statements included on behalf of the association in awards. This will ensure a greater commitment to due diligence and an assurance that the comments and statements align with CAL’s mission as an organization.

There were two issues of concern that were brought forward.

In working through this issue with both the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee and the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom, they both expressed concern with CAL IFC naming the library publicly in this case. They have recommended how CAL can handle similar situations in the future to support library employees while still working collaboratively with organizations. We will evaluate those recommendations as a board and determine the best steps when handling potential conflicts between parties in the future.

The second issue relates to a claim in the award statement by CAL IFC regarding perceived explicit threats relating to staff livelihoods. The CAL Board takes this issue very seriously. While intent and impact can differ in communication between those who say something and those who are listening, there is a responsibility to ensure that our statements are accurate and can withstand scrutiny. The reality is that CAL is unable to be a fact-finding body. We do not have the resources, nor the expertise, to serve in this type of role in our state. 

Moving forward, the CAL Board will need to find an appropriate medium of supporting libraries and library staff, without serving in a fact-finding capacity. It is important for employees and patrons to have a voice in issues that may be contentious. In alignment with our mission as an organization, CAL can support employers and employees to seek out resources to help in instances such as this.

The CAL Board would like to thank everyone who brought forward their concerns on the award, offered feedback to the association, and who work to educate our state on issues around intellectual freedom. We are committed to repairing the relationships between the Colorado Association of Libraries and the involved parties and together, improving libraries and library services for all the citizens of Colorado.  

-CAL Board

April 27, 2020

In this time of uncertainty, reliable information and community support are among our most trusted and valuable resources, and the Colorado Association of Libraries' members, as do all librarians and library workers in the State, provide both of these services every day. The Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) encourages and champions the numerous important contributions that library workers make to their communities in the form of trusted information resources, entertainment, companionship, early childhood education, job seeking, information literacy, skill building and more.

CAL recognizes that the dangers posed by the COVID-19 virus outweigh the benefits of operating public-facing libraries and information organizations for in-person services during this public health crisis. Accordingly, CAL supports decisions to close such facilities until public health and medical experts determine that it is safe to reopen them. At the same time, CAL encourages government, business, and academic leaders to take a long-term view and begin preparing for the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. A critical step in this process is retaining and fully compensating library workers regardless of their paid position in their organization. 

There is significant work that library workers can accomplish remotely, including digital and phone outreach and information literacy programs to help communities better connect and navigate their online services and environment.  Layoffs and furloughs undermine libraries’ important work in preparing communities to learn, connect, evaluate information and thrive during any and all extenuating circumstances.  CAL recognizes that many libraries and government institutions are facing difficult financial times that may necessitate the need to consider extreme actions such as layoffs and furloughs.  CAL asks that libraries consider the long and short-term impacts of such decision making and retain library staff as much as possible to meet the changing needs of our communities as we work through COVID-19 together.

Libraries are among the only institutions advocating and supplying services such as education, outreach, and internet access to marginalized populations--seniors, people with disabilities, lower and middle class workers, people experiencing homelessness, survivors of domestic violence, new immigrants, English language learners, and far more. The work of libraries may be more crucial than ever right now as they strive to offer ongoing virtual programming, information literacy instruction, free media access, personalized outreach, and technology support to their communities.  Because libraries are trusted and respected sources in their communities, they reliably and efficiently spread much needed health information and learning resources during these unprecedented times of social displacement. It is for these reasons that CAL strongly urges the retention of library staff who are actively connecting with their communities and providing reliable, trustworthy services and support to their communities and partners online.

Furthermore, CAL believes that library workers are especially vital in the aftermath of a catastrophe. Libraries have been and will continue to be the place where people go to complete their unemployment applications, apply to new jobs, or work on new resumes. Libraries are major outlets for official municipal information. We expect an increase in materials circulation because of information and educational needs and new hobbies developed in quarantine.

CAL calls on every employer in the State to support all library workers by recognizing their value, retaining them as employees regardless of position type as much as possible, and including them in post-pandemic plans. 

Signed,

CAL Board

The Colorado Association of Libraries commends the steps being taken around the state to prevent the additional spread of the COVID-19 virus.  

Libraries act as social hubs within our communities, bringing together large and diverse groups of people.  While we all share a commitment to our communities, we must balance that commitment with the safety of our patrons and staff.  While a number of libraries in our state have closed in order to protect their communities, many libraries remain open. The Colorado Association of Libraries recommends that all libraries in the state of Colorado suspend operations, including closing for a period of time.  This recommendation coincides with the CDC’s recommendation that all gatherings with 50 people or more be cancelled.

Additional information on COVID-19 may be found at the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Colorado’s COVID-19 website: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus

Ryan Buller
Colorado Association of Libraries President

 

CAL STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR THE ALA STATEMENT ON EXECUTIVE ORDER ON COMBATING RACE AND SEX STEREOTYPING

November 4, 2020

The Colorado Association of Libraries supports and affirms the, “ALA Statement on Executive Order on Combatting Race and Sex Stereotyping.” The Colorado Association of Libraries will continue to support conversations and training around diversity, equity, and inclusivity, both within libraries in the state of Colorado, as well as within our own organization. We recognize that there is significant work to do in our communities and within our profession.

ALA STATEMENT ON EXECUTIVE ORDER ON COMBATING RACE AND SEX STEREOTYPING

CHICAGO - On September 22, the White House issued its Executive Order On Combating Race And Sex Stereotyping, prohibiting federal employees, contractors, and grant recipients from discussing or considering concepts such as critical race theory and white privilege and discouraging diversity education and training. This order is based on the patently false and malicious claim that diversity training—which is aimed at fostering a more equitable and just workplace and dismantling systemic racism and sexism—reflects a "Marxist doctrine" that is itself racist and sexist. 

The American Library Association rejects this claim. We are painfully aware that libraries and the profession of librarianship have been—and still are—complicit in systems that oppress, exclude, and harm Black people, indigenous people, and people of color, and deny equal opportunity to women. We assert that a commitment to learn from the painful and brutal legacies of our history is essential to the fulfillment of our promise as a country of equal rights and opportunities. 

This executive order is already having a chilling effect, with some colleges and universities suspending all diversity trainings and canceling cultural celebrations for fear of losing federal funds. A hotline has been established to encourage informants to report those whose words and deeds do not comply with the order or the dictates of its accompanying memoranda. We are reminded of another time and another era when the Council of the American Library Association adopted the Freedom to Read statement in response to growing concerns about censorship in the McCarthy era. That statement reads in part:

Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. 

It is the longstanding role of libraries to foster intellectual freedom by ensuring access to the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by those in power. The pursuit of social justice and equity, diversity, and inclusion is equally a core value of the American Library Association. Consequently, the American Library Association opposes the Executive Order On Combating Race And Sex Stereotyping and all other actions that result in the curtailment of free expression and social justice and pledge to continue to pursue social justice and further our work against systems of oppression.  

American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.

TAGS

GovernanceDiversityOffice for Intellectual FreedomGovernance Office

Julius C. Jefferson Jr., ALA President

 

Colorado Association of Libraries 2020 Awards

Date: September 16, 2020

Colorado Association of Libraries 2020 Awards

Each year the Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) receives many nominations for outstanding libraries, teams, and individuals in and around the library industry.  These awards showcase the top talent across Colorado.  Each nomination is evaluated, and after careful consideration by the CAL Awards Committee, winners are chosen and approved by the CAL Board.  Thank you to everyone for all you do and the hard work you put in. This year has been an unusual year for us all, and we are more excited than ever to celebrate the accomplishments of our Colorado Library Community. 

Allow us to present the awards as follows:

  • President’s Award: Colorado State Library

  • Special Recognition of Leadership During a Pandemic: Crystal Schimpf

  • Distinction in Library Services: Helen I. Reed

  • Equity, Diversion, and Inclusion: Colorado Black Library Association

  • Innovated Spaces Award: Antonia Gaona

  • Library Partnership of the Year: Laurin Arnold

  • Lucy Schweers Award for Excellence in Support Services: Sarah Vaughn

  • Outstanding Trustees of the Year: John Krueger

  • Outstanding Trustees of the Year: Dorothy Pisel

  • Project of the Year: Elizabeth Grey

  • Unsung Hero: Maria Lokey

  • Volunteer of the Year: Florence Jones

  • Jean Maio Award for Adult Literacy: Charlotte McLain

  • Julie J. Boucher Award for Intellectual Freedom: Anonymous Library Workers of Douglas County Libraries

  • Julie J. Boucher Award for Intellectual Freedom: Morgan Perlman

  • Julie J. Boucher Award for Intellectual Freedom: Cooper Jones

  • Legislative Award: Julie McCluskie

Thank you once again to all our award recipients and a round of applause for our nominators. Without nominators, we wouldn’t have award winners.  You make a difference every day. This year’s winners were celebrated at the 2020 CALCON Awards Ceremony.