Miles of information for medical librarians

Three weeks ago I posted about the MLA proposes dues increase for 2012-2013. I am not as interested in how I will vote, but on if I can vote since I am not attending MLA.

I was interested and based on comments on the post others were interested as well so I sent an email to MLA. I received a quick response, thank you MLA, but was surprised:

” Dues shall be determined by majority vote at the Annual Meeting after discussion and amendment of any proposed change in the dues.” Article III Section 5

This is straight from the MLA Bylaws (accessible with MLA password only).  According to the email the change to the Bylaws so dues are determined by majority vote at the Annual Meeting was done by a mailed vote in 2008. I could not find any reference to the 2008 mail vote.  I do not question the 2008 vote was done, I just am not sure why and wanted to find more information. If you have more information please let me know. There may be a reason why the voting only occurs at the meeting, so please post a comment if you have more information.

I can understand the justification/need to increase dues, and in this post I am not questioning or debating on whether the dues should be increased or not. I do not understand and I am questioning the limiting of the voting to only those who attend the meeting. The vote should either include every member, or the Board should have the power to increase dues following specific criteria–after all we do vote on board members, which is done outside of the meeting, to lead the organization.

What do you think? Should there be more options for people to vote on MLA dues changes? I am curious to hear from others in the poll below:

 

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Comments on: "Must be present to be counted" (2)

  1. I was on the Board from 2006 to 2009, and I can recall at least one board meeting (and I think two) where this was discussed at great length. (Bear in mind that I’m not on the Board now, and I’m typing this from memory, so you shouldn’t consider it any kind of official response). There were many opinions offered as we wrestled with the issue. On the one hand, the Board has been working very hard for several years to make participation in all aspects of the association more effective and useful virtually. The question of a dues vote is a thorny one however — the experience with dues increase votes in the past has been that they tend to result in some of the most lengthy and heartfelt discussions at the annual meeting before the vote is taken. This is good, because it means that people really have a chance to hear and consider all sides of the issue before taking that vote, and there was general agreement among the board members that this kind of discussion is necessary for a vote of as much importance as a dues increase. Some people on the board made the point that with all of the communication tools that we now have, it is possible to have that kind of deep discussion virtually. Others pointed out that although the tools are there, they were not really being taken advantage of. And so the final consensus (although I think all of us were still somewhat conflicted) was that until we reached a point where the communication tools were really being used effectively for substantive discussion, it would be better to hold the vote among those who could be present for the discussion. Not a perfect solution, to be sure, but at least, at the time, what seemed to be the best among the available options.

    Not wanting to speak for others who were on the board at the time, I think it is safe to say that we all saw this as temporary, and MLA has tried to encourage more virtual discussion. The fact remains, however, that only a very small number of members take advantage of that. The MLA Connections blog, for example, gets very few comments. At the annual meeting this year, the organizers are going to be pushing the use of Twitter very heavily and I think that’s going to be a very useful experiment to see how much substantive discussion can be had among both those at the meeting and those participating from home.

    Anyway, that’s what I remember of the rationale for keeping the dues vote at the annual meeting for the time being. And I have no doubt that the Board will continue to wrestle with this question. I think we’ll get to the point where the membership are making enough use of those tools that we can have the same depth of conversation online and can currently be had in person. But I don’t think we’re there yet.

    • alisha764 said:

      Thank you! I was not even thinking about the debate part of the vote. It is, in my opinion, very important to make sure voters hear information from all sides and discuss before voting. In the rush to figure out if I could vote, I forgot about the importance of the debate. I appreciate you reminding me.

      So the next question is how do you work this into a virtual world so everyone can participate? Is it possible to have voters hear and join the discussion via a web conference (I know it would be MANY people and could be too much), Twitter, or another online tool? Perhaps the board could record a short video to post on the MLA Connections blog in addition to the written explanation. Or even record the discussion at the annual meeting then have those who did not attend have to watch the board video, and meeting discussion before they could vote. Just some thoughts on how this might be accomplished.

      I agree it is a tricky area. I must also admit that while I follow the MLA Connections Blog I do not post on it often. Then again, there is usually not much posted on the blog except for job announcements and information around the annual meeting.

      I think it is great MLA is providing Twitter tutorials for the next annual meeting. As a member of the Technology Advisory Committee, I will actually be helping with this effort and I’m looking forward to it.

      Again, thank you for the comment and additional information. Your comment proves why it is necessary to hear all sides of the debate first. While it is difficult to provide this to members not attending the meeting, I would like MLA to explore some options. I think there might be a virtual solution somewhere.

      Thank you,
      Alisha

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