President's Column
Midwinter News
Sunday, February 10, 2013
by: Denice Adkins

Section: President's Column

February 2013

February 15, 2013
Dear Reformistas,
I know that not all of you could attend ALA Midwinter, and even if you could, you probably couldn't attend every REFORMA meeting. Here is a recap of some of the more significant items. I apologize, because this is a long message! However, much of it is important, and I'd like to make sure that everyone has a chance to know what's going on with our association.
By popular demand, the Reformanet listserv is being reinstated. Many people missed it! We are currently negotiating how and with whom to set up the listserv, but look forward to it soon!
Treasurer Sarah Dahlen presented our financial picture, and it is bad. We are currently spending more money than we are generating, and in a year, we could be bankrupt. 

Graphs provided by Sarah Dahlen, REFORMA Treasurer

This led to some discussion of ways to reduce expenditures and ways to increase revenues. The Treasurer and the Finance Committee have been charged to bring two proposals to the ALA Annual Meeting: a proposal for a dues increase, and a proposal to modify the chapter-national dues allocations. In the interests of transparency, we would like to have chapters and members contribute to this discussion.
Right now our major expenditures are for the Association Management System (AMS), the Office Manager position, and our Web Coordinator position. Ironically, spending on the AMS is what makes it possible for the Web Coordinator and Office Manager to use their time more efficiently in service to the association. Another major expenditure was the print-based newsletter. The newsletter was converted to an online-only format (using the AMS) last year, reducing the amount of money REFORMA spends on printing and mailing. We will be asking presenters to provide their own computers for ALA programs, borrowing data projectors, and will explore holding meetings in less expensive venues such as public libraries rather than ALA hotels.
It has been approximately 14 years since our last dues increase. Because we are sensitive to members' salaries, we are proposing only raising dues by $10 per income category for members, with a larger increase for institutions and corporate members.
One proposed change would be to increase the number of income categories. Right now our top level is for librarians making $60,000 and above; currently, a librarian making $60,000 pays the same dues as a library manager making $120,000.
Another proposal is increasing dues for student members. Students are currently free for three years, and the proposal is that their dues would increase to $10.
The current dues allocation, which has been in effect for at least 20 years, is that chapters retain two-thirds of member dues and send one-third of those dues to National. In the past five years, National has taken on increasing responsibilities (e.g., Office Manager and AMS). These responsibilities support chapters as well as National. The proposed change is to modify the allocation to be a 50-50 allocation, with chapters keeping half of their member dues and national receiving half.
What Benefits Does REFORMA National Provide to Chapters?
  • The AMS allows members to pay their annual dues online, and since the vast majority of members prefer to do that, the burden of work has shifted to National and (through automation) the AMS.

  • Chapters have more control over and access to their membership information through the AMS. They can use the AMS to connect with Reformistas in their area who aren't aware of chapter activities, and chapters can get a "" email address to send out their mailings. The AMS can also be used as a chapter or committee communications tool.

  • The Office Manager provides a central point for chapters with questions, training and orientation for new chapter presidents and board members, as well as keeping REFORMA connected with ALA, the media, and the public.

  • Financial reporting at the National level allows Chapters to take advantage of the non-profit status when doing fundraisers.

  • National provides a national platform, support, and liaison role to the American Library Association for local chapter issues such as English-Only legislation, immigration legislation, dismantling school programs. These are issues that impacted California, Colorado, and Arizona chapters in the recent past.
What Benefits Does REFORMA National Provide to Members?
  • National coordinates and provides programs at ALA Annual for the education of Reformistas and all library workers, sharing our distinctive skills, talent, research, and competencies with a national audience.

  • National connects members with an international platform through our relationships with the Asociación Mexicana de Bibliotecarios, A. C. (AMBAC), the ALA International Relations office, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

  • National provides a springboard for members to get involved in national initiatives such as Noche de Cuentos.

  • National supports members seeking elections to ALA offices.

  • National works with chapters to provide advocacy for local issues (e.g., protests against the elimination of the Mexican American Studies department at Tucson Unified School District).

  • Through the AMS, members can sign up for National committees and participate in the full association of REFORMA and its work.

  • National provides ongoing information on what is happening in the library, education, and social justice arenas, particularly relating to equity of information and library access for Latinos. This includes model library programs, award recipients, scholarship information, regional initiatives affecting Latinos, and relevant publications.
Our Fundraising and Finance Committees, along with members and chapters, devised many additional ideas for fundraising. None of these will take the place of dues, but they would help supplement association income. Here's a brief list of those ideas – and if you have other ideas, please send them in!
  • Online Store: selling REFORMA-branded items like t-shirts or bags, or donated artwork from Latino artists who support REFORMA goals.

  • Webinars/eBooks: creating webinars for librarians who have questions about serving the Spanish-speaking community and/or publishing ebooks focusing on our areas of expertise.

  • Donating Royalties: Lucia Gonzalez arranged with her publisher to donate all royalties from her book _The Storyteller's Candle_ to the Pura Belpre fund. Other authors may be interested in doing the same.

  • Raffles: Suggestions included iPads and other items, with chapters taking responsibility for selling a certain number of tickets.

  • Membership Increases: Engaging in an "each one reach one" campaign, challenging all members to bring new members to REFORMA, engaging in outreach to library schools, and engaging in outreach to libraries with high Latino population ratios who may not have connected with REFORMA.
After RNCIV and JCLC2, the question on everyone's lips was, "When is RNCV going to be held?" Now we have an answer! The Executive Committee approved a motion from the combined Southern California chapters (LIBROS, Orange County, and Los Angeles) to host RNCV in either Fall 2014 or Spring 2015.
The combined Southern California Chapters' proposal was accepted because 1) it is easier to hold conferences in areas where we have strong Chapter representation, 2) these chapters have enthusiastic new members and veteranos y veteranas who have experience on previous RNCs, and 3) these chapters have nobly offered to create a sustainable RNC schedule. In the ideal situation, we would alternate RNCs between West Coast (where most of our membership is) and the rest of the country (Central/East Coast). Academic librarians also suggested that we might alternate conferences between fall, spring, or summer.
The newly established REFORMA Educational Foundation, represented by President Cesar Caballero, reported on their activities. They held a Gala Fundraising Dinner at the ALA Annual conference in Anaheim, and made money. Now they are working on 1) continuing the fundraising impetus at annual conferences and 2) seeking ways to grow funds. The purpose of the REFORMA Educational Foundation is to support REFORMA's educational mission (e.g., scholarships, programs).
The REFORMA Educational Foundation and the Midwest Chapter have been in planning for the second Gala Fundraising Dinner at ALA Annual in Chicago. Mark your calendars for Friday, June 28, 7:00-10:00 p.m. More details will follow!
This is just a brief recap of some of the more important business-related  issues we covered at ALA Midwinter in Seattle -- and of course, it doesn't even cover the exciting parts (Noche de Cuentos, Estela y Raúl Mora Awards, Pura Belpré Awards).
Please feel free to discuss these issues with your chapters, among members, on the discussion forums, and on the forthcoming listserv. We want to hear your opinions!
Denice Adkins, REFORMA President (2012-13)
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