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Public Policies

Prior to July 2009, Public Policies were proposed and adopted by the CLA Assembly, a group of member-volunteers that was abolished July 1, 2009. Current requests for position statements can be proposed by the CLA Board of Directors or a member of the Association, to be considered and voted on by the membership at the Annual membership meeting.

Position statements include:

Note: Scroll down the page to see all statements or click on the statement of interest to jump to that text

  1. Outsourcing and Subcontracting Library Services
  2. Fees for Public Library Services
  3. Electronic Access in Public Libraries
  4. Empowering Users
  5. Envisioning the Future Library
  6. Evaluating Library Performance
  7. Library Personnel Resources
  8. Emerging Technologies
  9. Social Responsibilities
  10. Representation of Statewide Library Interests
  11. Non-Discrimination Policy
  1. Outsourcing and Subcontracting Library Services - Adopted by Assembly 5/6/98
    • It is CLA policy to support libraries in the search for the most effective and efficient means for providing the highest quality library services.
    • It is CLA policy that providing the highest quality library services relies upon the core competencies of professional librarians in materials selection, access management, information provision and service evaluation and planning.
    • It is CLA policy that members evaluate decisions on outsourcing or subcontracting any library service using the following criteria:
      • The library and its governing authority must set the mission and goals of the library as the framework for provision of services.
      • Planning and evaluation of library services must remain the function of professional librarians.
      • The library's constituencies must retain their right to participate in the evaluation of services and the setting of policy.
      • The rights of library workers to negotiate the conditions of their work must be preserved, compensation and benefit levels maintained or improved and contracts with collective bargaining units or their equivalent retained.
      • The primary measure of service benefit must be effectiveness in meeting the needs of library users.
  2. Fees for Public Library Services - Adopted by Assembly 11/18/97

    The California Library Association believes that basic services must be defined locally and it is also persuaded that certain values and principles must inform decisions about fees. Public libraries have long faced the challenge of meeting their mission within the restraints of limited revenue. Some governing authorities have suggested that fees for service are an appropriate means for enhancing local resources, including those which support basic public library services. Analysis by the Association indicates that fees for service cannot provide a significant source of public library revenue. The following statement of values, principles, and guidelines may be helpful in making fee-charging decisions.

    • Values
      • Public libraries are a public good and must be supported by public funds.
      • Public libraries provide locally identified basic services that are free and available to all users.
      • Libraries which cooperate and share resources are better able to meet the needs of users.
    • Principles

      The definition of basic public library services is a local one. Library services include access to and circulation of any type of resource, reference and information services, and admission and access to facilities and programs.

      • Fees should not create barriers to information access.
      • Fees only provide a small percentage of the total public library budget.
      • Fees should not be established solely on the basis of format.
      • Fee revenues should be retained by the library to support library services.
    • Guidelines

      Public libraries should provide a mechanism to allow for exceptions to applying fees. Examples of services for which fees might be appropriate are:

      • Services which provide greater convenience to the user
      • An enhanced level of service
      • Services which otherwise might not be available
      • Consumable supplies
      • Services to non-residents
      • Managing the use of limited resources
  3. Electronic Access in Public Libraries - Adopted by Assembly 11/18/97

    The California Library Association supports the American Library Association's policies regarding access to information in electronic format. The role of libraries is to provide ideas and information across the spectrum of social and political thought, regardless of storage media, and to make these ideas and this information available to anyone who needs or wants it.

    Access questions should be professionally interpreted through general services policies that also relate to the specific mission and objective of the institution. Libraries should focus on developing policies that ensure broad access to information resources of all kinds, citing as few restrictions as possible, rather than developing more limited acceptable use policies that seek to define limited ranges of what kinds of information can be accessed by which patrons of any age and in what manner.

    Electronic media offer an unprecedented forum for the sharing of information and ideas. Many electronic resources, such as CDs, are acquired for the library collection using selection policies. When libraries provide Internet access, they provide a means for people to use the wealth of information stored on computers throughout the world, whose ever-changing contents are created, maintained and made available beyond the library's control. Some information accessed electronically may not meet a library's selection or collection development policy. It is, therefore, left to each user to determine what is appropriate. Parents and legal guardians who are concerned about their children's use of electronic resources should provide guidance to their own children.

    • Supporting Documents
      • American Library Association. Library Bill of Rights. Chicago, IL: ALA, 1996.
      • American Library Association. Free Access to Libraries for Minors. Chicago, IL: ALA
      • American Library Association. Access for Children and Young People to Videotapes and Other Non-print Formats. Chicago, IL: ALA
      • American Library Association. Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. Chicago, IL: ALA, 1996
      • American Library Association. Economic Barriers to Information Access. Chicago, IL: ALA, 1993
      • American Library Association. Resolution on the Use of Filtering Software in Libraries. Chicago, IL: ALA, 1997
      • American Library Association. Equity on the Information Superhighway. Chicago, IL: ALA, 1996
      • Minow, Mary. "Filtering the First Amendment for Public Libraries: A Look at the Legal Landscape." California Libraries. June, 1997, p. 1, 10-11.
  4. Empowering Users - Adopted by Assembly 11/14/95

    It is CLA policy to support libraries in helping users to access and utilize the broadest range of information and library materials for their recreational and informational needs. Means to accomplish this policy include but are not limited to the following:

    • CLA shall take a proactive role in facilitating the provision of education/information literacy training. This training should enable all library users to access the information resources they need with a minimum of outside/professional help.
    • CLA shall form a task force to collaborate with the California School Library Association to plan and implement effective information literacy training from kindergarten through college.
    • CLA shall assist libraries and library schools in the development of training and tools, including easy, user-friendly technology and materials, to insure that users can obtain needed information at the level desired and appropriate for their needs.
  5. Envisioning the Future Library - Adopted by Assembly 11/14/95
    • CLA shall create and maintain a vision statement for use in planning library services and in responding to challenges to programs offered by libraries.
    • CLA shall assign to a unit(s) of the association the responsibility to develop research papers which help members, libraries, and policy makers to clearly define library service in the context of users' information needs, lifestyles, present and emerging technologies, and budgets.

    With these documents, a unit(s) of the association shall establish forums in which members can explore ways in which library services, programs, and projects can be tailored, redesigned or created to allow for increased remote use and increased user independence. While encouraging user independence, CLA also supports free and equal access to information resources and the availability of professional assistance.

  6. Evaluating Library Performance - Adopted by Assembly 11/14/95

    CLA will support libraries by encouraging the development of evaluation criteria for successful library performance and helping libraries to evaluate their services and programs, including providing staff training opportunities and publicizing professional resources on evaluation.

  7. Library Personnel Resources - Adopted by Assembly 11/14/95
    • CLA shall promote the value of a career and work in libraries and develop strategies to recruit a diversity of persons for library service.
    • CLA shall provide continuing education for library personnel through the annual conference, other sponsored training events, and its publications.
    • CLA shall promote retention of skilled library personnel by advocating and supporting fair compensation, good working conditions, equitable reward systems, and awareness of diversity.
  8. Emerging Technologies - Adopted by Assembly 5/3/95
    • CLA informs and educates its members about emerging technology and related issues. The following policy statements address major concerns:
    • CLA supports the right of individuals to privacy and acts as an advocate in legislative matters to ensure that laws concerning privacy of library records, including machine-readable records, are upheld.
    • CLA tracks how emerging technologies are redefining the profession. It takes a leadership role in educating librarians, government officials, and Californians about them.
    • CLA advocates and collaborates to provide access for all Californians to the entire spectrum of information resources.
    • CLA actively opposes censorship of information available on electronic media. Preservation of this information is also considered to be critical.
    • CLA supports standards for hardware and software to promote information access/exchange, to maximize the useful life of equipment, and to protect the environment.
  9. Social Responsibilities - Adopted by Assembly 11/16/93
    • CLA recognizes its responsibility to address social needs and issues that relate to library collections and services. The association will provide guidance and support to individual members and to libraries in the state facing social issues and challenges. Units with assigned responsibilities shall support this policy by analyzing and tracking the experiences of California libraries facing these challenges in order to provide a record of experience for study and referral.
    • CLA also recognizes that Californians should not be denied information access due to any factor such as the following: age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, culture, religion, language, literacy, educational level, computer access/proficiency, income, or disability.
  10. Representation of Statewide Library Interests - Adopted by Assembly 11/16/93

    It shall be the policy of the California Library Association to promote the inclusion of library interests in all statewide forums and levels of activity which involve library and information services. Groups such as state government, statewide associations and trade groups which affect the public interest in California shall be notified of CLA members' willingness and intent to participate in the formation of public policy.

    The association shall designate the President as the office responsible to insure that this policy is implemented. It is further recommended that in implementing this policy, each type of library and their issues are included and given equal weight.

  11. Non-Discrimination Policy - Adopted by Assembly 5/3/93

    The California Library Association policy is to stand for openness in intellectual pursuits and for acceptance of all people. This stand shall be evident in the actions of the association toward member libraries, personal members, staff, programs and services, and positions of advocacy to the community at large.

    The Public Policy and Emerging Issues Committee will propose guidelines for implementing the above policy, such as addressing the issues of CLA liability, finances, etc. CLA shall assign an appropriate unit(s) in the association to monitor and recommend further action(s) based on the guidelines developed.

 

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