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The effort to attract members to the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting continues. It is a tough job in this economy, and especially when the conference is held in Dallas, not every librarian's favorite destination. Still, publishers have filled the Midwinter program with authors galore and ALA has scheduled the usual load of committee and unit sessions, many of which look suspiciously like programs. Among them are some great sessions that should be a magnet to the growing constituency of ALA members who are politically activist librarians not just advocating for libraries but for social justice and much broader political change. They represent a kind of "Occupy ALA"--or at least "Occupy Midwinter"--movement.
For activist librarians
The meeting dramatically raised my hopes for a more politically active ALA when it was announced that three librarians from the front lines of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York will present a program on their experience building the People's Library there. Featured are Betsy Fagin, Mandy Henk, and Zachary Loeb at a "Special" in ALA's Master Series: "A Library Occupies Occupy Wall Street" (Sat., Jan. 21, 8:30-9:30 a.m.). Fagin, a 2004 ALA Spectrum Scholar, earned her MLS at the University of Maryland. Henk, a librarian since 2003, has worked reference and done instruction, but her main focus is Access Services. Loeb …