Last week’s #medlibs chat was about conference codes of conduct and it was co-hosted with officers from the MLA Relevant Issues Sections. http://bit.ly/1mkgcnB
I was on vacation when I participated in the chat so forgive me for the tardiness of this post.
Increasingly, professional and tech conferences are adopting anti-harassment policies and codes of conduct. The Relevant Issues Section of MLA would like to explore having one for MLA meetings.
For background, check out:
Why ALA Needs a Code of Conduct: describes ALA’s new Code of Conduct and provides historical context
Sample conference anti-harassment policy: from the Ada Initiative, which supports women in open technology and culture
The discussion centered around previous incidents at library meetings (including MLA) where attendees felt harassed (by fellow librarians and/or vendors). The moderators asked the #medlibs participants about having a code of conduct at MLA meetings. It was noted that some speakers no longer will speak at meeting without a code of conduct policy and that those who have been harassed need to know they can report problems.
For some reason the code of conduct discussion slid into a discussion about breast feeding at meetings and the need for child care at meetings. I can kind of see how the topic of breast feeding sort of made it in the discussion because that could be something is harassed about. However the issue of child care at the meetings was kind of out of left field for me given the pre-determined code of conduct topic.
There was a group of people who thought that MLA need to provide child care at the meetings for working single parents. I did note that MLA usually includes information from the hotel on finding a sitter during the meeting. But, this was not what they meant, they wanted to child care. While I am not a single parent, I do have three kids and those three kids were all in child care at one time and I can tell you first hand that it is flipping crazy expensive and I am living in Cleveland where our cost of living is pretty reasonable. I can’t imagine the costs of providing child care at an annual meeting. When I brought up the cost barrier there were some who thought we could get a vendor to sponsor it or that we could add it to the cost of registration. (The registration aspect confused me, I wasn’t sure if they meant the person who selected it paid or if it was spread across the entire registrants to supplement those who needed it.) After being on two NPCs and fundraising for one of them, I personally don’t see a vendor paying for it. It took a lot of work to get the conference wide wifi to get paid for.
So my questions for you, readers…..
- What are your thoughts on a code of conduct policy for MLA meetings?
- What happens if somebody violates the code of conduct? (Are there teeth to the policy?)
- Is child care needed at MLA’s annual meeting and how should it be paid for?
- Instead of having official MLA child care, is there a better child care option for single parents to attend meeting other than the hotel babysitter info that is provided?
- What about the MLA online annual meeting conference package? Would that help single parents who couldn’t travel to the meeting?
I look forward to your thoughts and comments and don’t forget to join tonight’s #medlibs chat. The chat will be open mic (meaning no moderator?) on whether existing CE meets what we need for research http://bit.ly/1lzS8h3.