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Concept paper on PLA Constitutional reforms

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  • adnan adil
      Some colleague suggested to forward this as email text due to problems in opening attachment. Apologies for duplication: Dear Professional Colleagues,
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 25, 2013
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      Some colleague suggested to forward this as email text due to problems in opening attachment. Apologies for duplication:

      1.       Why we need Constitutional amendments?

       

      a.       National Professional Associations reflect ‘nation-wide collective wisdom’ of the community through its ‘constitution. This legal framework enables such support system or platform where concerns, issues, problems and future agendas of diverse (within profession) communities are dealt efficiently. We need to ask ourselves does prevailing PLA constitution empower us to carry out this gigantic task. Future of the PLA is in the hands of its every member not the ‘office bearers’ only. There is a need to have ‘well thought-out’ document which can at least address what issues and challenges LIS community is facing and what policies or infrastructure can be put in place to address these.

      b.       PLA as an organization does not enjoy a ‘greatest and sweetest’ history; there is a compelling case of overview what went wrong in the past and how we can avoid it in future. Revival of the PLA is an example where ‘collective wisdom’ reached on logical outcome. Regular constitutional review or making amendments is a sign of ‘vibrant organization’.

      c.       Despite by service-oriented profession; librarianship is facing ‘recognition and class crises’ along with other problems in our society. Before we go out in society to explain ‘how wonderful and useful we are’; there is a need of clarity first within ‘representative professional body’; what it is which makes us useful for the society, employers and to the people through formulating ‘professional standards’; and quality indicators.

      d.       History is always in making. Future generations will rate us on the base of ‘evidence’ PLA is producing through different activities such as constitution which is not in line with current and future scenarios. Are we really talking about the real issues in a proper way in a world, whose pace has increased incredibly? Where we are in a global job market? Is professional development and support system is satisfactory? Should not PLA take role in leading the ‘change’ through increasing its ‘capacity’?

      e.       Socio-economic and political situation in different parts of the country has resulted in ‘divide and differences’ unfortunately. Such national associations play a vital role in promoting cohesion and unity in professional colleagues from different parts of the country. Taking on board representatives from all branches to discuss diverse issues faced by this profession is a way forward for all. PLA represents all library colleagues of Pakistan hence it should have capacity at least to ‘listen and highlight’ the problems prevailing in different places.

      f.         Globally, Librarianship is dominated by females; do PLA has any support and advice system which can tackle the female-specific issues like ‘sexual harassment’, discrimination, better working conditions, black mailing etc. LIS literature in recent years has highlighted such issues; but is it enough to have ‘research papers’ on these topics. Don’t we have a ‘moral and professional obligation’ to tackle these issues? Being a national level association, whose ‘office holders’ are elected through votes. No other professional group enjoys such legitimacy to be the ‘flag bearer’ or in position to devise policies.

       

      2.       How to do this?

       

      Following suggestion is not meant to replace the existing ‘legal and formal’ procedure to incorporate amendments into PLA constitution. This process is to develop consensus and to carry out a ‘listening exercise’ by seeking suggestions from PLA members; translating these proposals into ‘formal legal language’ and to communicate it with members well before meetings of the General body or Executive Council. This will make the voting process much clearer and easier. As Secretary General PLA (Mr Shahid Soroya) has recently announced on mailing lists that ‘special committee’ can be formulated to carry out this dedication-needing task. Expanding further on this idea; following modality can be opted:

      1. Proposed ‘Constitutional Reforms Committee’ should have members from each Branch---better to involve all maximum segments including candidates from both contesting panels in recent PLA elections.
      2. ‘Reform Committee’ should announce its ‘operational strategy’ including communication mediums, meeting schedule, time limits before next meeting of General Body. Travel and accommodation allowance from PLA budget can also be opted for members from far off places. Final version of any ‘proposed legal amendments’ should be circulated at least one month before the Conference /general body meeting so all PLA members should have considerable time to ponder over it.
      3. This ‘Reform Committee’ should also engage a professional lawyer, who should translate the ‘raw ideas’ from PLA members into legal language. Proposals for amendments can be given with the consent of just two registered members (actual proposer & consent giver). No duplication of ‘actual proposer’ and ‘consent giver’ should be allowed just to minimize the number of ‘suggestion entries’. However, there should not be any limit in suggesting any items in one proposal (one proposal can have several amendments). Legal expert should evaluate and give opinion about any ‘proposed amendments’ in conjunction with PLA Constitution, Societies Registration Act XX1 1860 or any other prevalent national legislations impacting these proposals.
      4. These ‘proposed amendments’ will be subject to approval through vote or referendum.
      5. ‘Reform Committee’ can also forward its own recommendations but these should be arriving as a result of unanimous decision. ‘Healthy and proper debates’ within committee should be encouraged. Any conflicting views can be left for voting. This committee’s views will not replace actual spirit of the suggestions made by the members but will aim to provide a ‘refined work’ after thorough engagement with community and its own intellectual rigor.
      6. Script after transformation of suggestions into legal language should be sent back to ‘proposer’ (only his / her concerned one) for consent so that his / her views are not miss-interpreted or miss-represented.

       

      3.       What are the suggestions?

       

      It is always nice to improve existing legal framework however, sometimes, ‘out of the box’ suggestions, can also bring influencing changes. New governance structures and models are needed to accommodate emerging needs for the betterment of Librarians in Pakistan.

       

      a.       Membership:

       

      a.1 PLA regular membership should be based on ‘rollover’ model. It means not all memberships will end on 31st December instead it should end at the first anniversary of obtaining it. One fix same membership year for all does not encourage potential new members. Existing model means don’t expect new members in last quarter of the year.

       

      a.2 To promote the ‘PLA membership’, business partnerships with Alumni Associations of LIS schools should be enhanced. It means flexibility to introduce such ‘membership offers and models’ where professionals can obtain memberships of both bodies at discounted price (saving money for one colleague but benefit to both bodies). Further details can be worked out.

       

      a.3 Discounted rates for PLA members in LIS conferences, workshops, CPD trainings or social gatherings so members do feel that their PLA membership is of worth. Some Associations do offer annual memberships if you attend theirs conferences or events. More aggressive ‘business sense’ is needed to attract members.

       

      a.4 Membership cards and regular newsletters should be introduced.

       

      a.5 Mentioning PLA membership as a recognized CPD (continuing professional development) activity while recruiting on library jobs in public or private sector.

       

      a.6. Top three position holders of M.A. Library Sciences program from each LIS school should be given free PLA membership for two years.

       

       

      b.       Conflict Resolution Council

       

      In case of any electoral dispute before, during or after the elections; this Council should be consulted before bringing any dispute in ‘court of law’ formally. But this Council should have a deadline to deal with issues (like 3 months) and in case of its verdict, un-decided or even not doing anything; matter can go to court. This forum will provide a platform for ‘conflict resolution’ before PLA being abused due to un-necessary delays. For this purpose, fair, reputed and distinguished LIS professionals and academicians can sit on this council. This Council should be formulated from the ‘Winning’ and ‘losing’ panels of outgoing PLA bodies in each Branch on the ratio of 60-40% so the balance remains same. Chair can be any very senior distinguished professional.

      c.       Income generation through Courses and training events

       

      c. 1. PLA should formulate a ‘Training and Courses Section’ to arrange, support or coordinate trainings and workshops across the country on its own or with the collaboration of ‘other training providers’ and Alumni Associations. ‘LIS CPD courses accreditation’ by PLA has lots of potential of income generation. This is not to discourage non-PLA training providers but to introduce concept of ‘recognized trainings’.

      c.2 PLA logo can be provided to non-PLA training providers on per-certificate basis; for example, on the 30% of each delegate registration fee. Or 10% of each delegate’s fee and 20% discount for PLA registered members.

      c.3 There is need of ‘culture shift’ in the area of LIS related CPD trainings. PLA-certified training should be considered legitimate and preferable. PLA is missing out big avenue of income through this source and no organization can survive without adequate finances.

      d.       PLA Accreditation Council

       

      To ensure the quality and standardization in LIS education in Pakistan; this Council should be recognized as legitimate and true representative of PLA. Professional accreditation / recognition of library science related programs should be main portfolio of this council. This Council should communicate with HEC on issues like consultation on ‘starting new degrees’ in LIS in private sector Universities. This Council should work in collaboration with HEC and it should be able to devise its tools and ‘quality parameters’ apart from formal HEC criteria of assessing Universities on the basis of land occupancy, financial stability, faculty, faculty education etc only. Membership of this council should be on following grounds:

      1. LIS professional with profound background at least 15 years of experience in teaching, professional librarians in prestigious institutes. Tenure for each member should be at least 5 years.
      2. One nominated member from each LIS school should be its member to provide valuable feedback. Prominent and distinguished LIS academicians should sit on this forum so that LIS community in Pakistan take benefits of their insights, intellect and experiences.
      3. Council should have at least 45% of its membership belonging to professional working librarians. This forum will officiate and promote the essential partnerships between academicians and practitioner of LIS.
      4. Other professions in Pakistan do have ‘various models of recognizing degrees’. Further analytical investigations can be conducted at two levels:

      ·         In Pakistani scenario: cases of PMDC (Pakistan Medical & Dental Council), Bar Councils, Pakistan Engineering Council, Para Medical Staff Association etc.

      ·         Foreign scenario: Cases of American Library Association, Cilip, Alia etc. It’s not about blindly following examples of developed countries but to analyse before adopting an innovative approach in Pakistani context. 

      e.       Accreditation can be at two levels.

      1. Institutional level.
      2. Individual level

       

      1. There is also possibility of ‘income generation’ through this council for PLA.
      2. This council should also take into account ‘demand and supply’ principle of LIS market.
      3. Accreditation of courses and degrees by this council is not to establish a parallel system with HEC but to formulate a ‘proper forum’ to deal with quality related issues in LIS education. Every professional organization on the globe keeps this area under its umbrella rather than ‘sourcing it out’ to Government or any other body.

           

       

      e.       Special Groups

       

      There should be some special sections / support groups under the umbrella of PLA. Following specialism should take priority:

       

      e.1 Support group for female colleagues: keeping in view the religious and social fabrication of our society; females feel hesitation to convey certain issues to their families, colleagues, seniors and PLA office bearers of opposite gender. This group can be formulated Branch wise and credible, distinguished and senior females professionals should be taking ‘lead on this sensitive and important task’. This group should promote awareness among colleagues how ‘law of the land’ protects them and what strategies to adopt if they are facing blackmailing, sexual harassment, bullying, victimization and discrimination from their own LIS colleagues.

       

      e.2 International co-operation group: PLA as an professional body should promote collaboration, partnerships and active communication with ‘international LIS associations’ on various issues. Dedicated section is needed to carry out this sophisticated task.

       

      e.3 Speciality based interest groups: Although it is not possible to establish one section for each type of library. However, generic classification can be followed like Government sector Libraries, Private Sector Libraries, Health Libraries, and Public Libraries etc. Much discussion is needed among the PLA members on this.

       

      f. Information management and ‘communication mediums’

       

      Recent technologies have made it possible to store ‘organizational information’ in electronic form for future generations. Technology can also be used as ‘one of the tools’ in communicating with PLA members. Following suggestions can be opted:

      f.1 One comprehensive website for PLA can be considered encompassing all the sections (all Brach Councils) on a single platform. Email addresses containing ‘domain name of PLA’ can be opted for office bearers so ‘PLA related communication’ should be retained within PLA remit.

       

      f.2 Professional services for maintaining website can be hired.

       

      f.3 In my recent memory, previous PLA Punjab Branch (under Ehsan Tehmai) lost all its web content as its website was not properly handed over. Such personal arrogance / un-ethical behaviour should not be allowed to repeat again. It makes no sense at all that despite by claiming ‘custodians of the information’ in digital age; PLA can’t maintain its own national platform.

       

      g.       Admin Support and office locations

       

      Clerical and administration support along with ‘physical office space’ is necessary to carry out ‘the business of PLA activities’. Offers from sincere LIS professionals can be considered as a starting point. I remember Ch. Nazir Sahab (DG, National Library of Pakistan) offering physical space for PLA in National Library, Islamabad. There are many sincere senior professionals who can provide ‘human and physical resources’ using their capacities for this national cause. I am hopeful that if PLA Branches advertise ‘expression of interest’ for such things; many senior level colleagues would be happy to host PLA offices.



       
      Dear Professional Colleagues,

      Please find attached my 'concept paper' for PLA reforms. You can take it as 'wish list', 'day dreaming' or 'building castles in the airs'. But I am always optimistic. Because PLA office bearers are the professionals who enjoy the 'trust and confidence of the members ' through votes. Rather than exploring 'who is right one to bring the change'; I think its the responsibility of all of us.

      I am giving these suggestions being new 'life member of PLA' and to pay back something to this noble profession. I will not claim any 'copy right' or 'intellectual credit' for this document. Everyone is free to amend, extend, edit, improve or use these in upcoming General body meeting.

      We all have witnessed the 'revival of PLA' through sincere enthusiasm in recent years. In my opinion, these reforms are about 'survival of PLA'; which is the biggest and legitimate platform of LIS in Pakistan.

      All the best

      Syed Adnan Adil
      Knowledge, Research and Information Services Manager
      Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust

      National Health Services
      London

      Modernization of Pakistan Library Association through Constitutional amendments

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    • rana javed
      Dear Professionals,                   I appreciate Syed Adnan Adil for providing very positive input for cause of our Professional
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 25, 2013
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        Dear Professionals,
                          I appreciate Syed Adnan Adil for providing very positive input for cause of our Professional Association.Same must be the spirit from all the educated Professionals so that we might make PLA an active and live Association.I also have certain suggestions which need to be considered by the present PLA Bodies.
        1-Membership:
                        PLA membership must be necessary for every LIS Professional in Pakistan.The professional without PLA membership must not get even the job as is the case with Pakistan Engineering Council..
        Regular membership must cease to exist as i have observed presently regular membership is problematic in the sense that it is sought only for the purpose of casting votes and gives us non serious members,therefore every member must be permanent member of PLA.
        One relevant thing which needs to be cleared is that we must not go for any new PLA Council but we must make present PLA strong by managing to get approved a Resolution from legislative assembly of Pakistan that no LIS Professional without PLA membership will get any job in Pakistan.
        2-PLA Office
                   PLA has a history which reflects handwork and potential inputs from our representatives who managed to achieve many things for us.problem is only that we have no such setup which keeps all records intact at one place.There must be a separate PLA Office with permanent staff deputed to keep records.
        3-Fund Generation
                        There must be some sources of fund generation for PLA other than relying on booksellers.When PLA will organize functions based on bheek from booksellers how could it work for self respect of our community.There must be some other sources of income.Also we must not rely on income generated from regular membership as its major hurdle in making PLA a strong and vibrant body.I can argue with all those who want to have defence of regular membership.
        4-Procedure of Elections
                         Present procedure of elections relying on postal nominations and postal balloting is totally obsolete and outdated and it must be immediately revised.If we get elected representatives as result of postal balloting they majority of times are not real representatives but....Postal balloting enables bosses to collect envelopes and manipulate results as they like.Further it has many other disadvantages also,ones who want postal balloting can have debate either personally or on forums with me I will defend this suggestion that there must not be postal balloting at all.
        Secondly there must be e-voting option available to all interested professionals,it would enable even our professionals abroad to have their say in process of representation.
        I have floated these suggestions as merely suggestions on the groups so that all either in favor or against these can share their views enabling present PLA Bodies to either handover these suggestions to their reforms committees or ignore all these suggestions in toto


         
        With Best Regards,
         
        Rana Zia Javed Joyia
        Head Reserve/Oriental section DRSM Library
        Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad
        Mobile#0300-4382511
        Office# 051-90642076
        e-mail   ranaziajaved@...


        From: Shahid Soroya <shahidsoroya@...>
        To: plagpk@yahoogroups.com; librarianwelfare@yahoogroups.com
        Cc: librarianwelfare@yahoogroups.com; Libcoop <libcoop@yahoogroups.com>; dlispu <dlispu@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, February 25, 2013 7:56 PM
        Subject: [plagpk] Re: [librarianwelfare] Concept paper on PLA Constitutional reforms

         
        Thanks Adnan, 

        Your concept paper is source of guidance for us. Lets wait for suggestions from other corners and then soon will place in PLA meeting. We need comprehensive input on electoral process.

        Regards

        Muhammad Shahid Soroya 
        Regional Librarian
        Allama Iqbal Open University, Lahore
        Ph.D Scholar (CSAS, PU, LHR)
        M.Phil, MLIS, LLB (PU)

        Secretary General (2012-2014)
        Pakistan Library Association (www.pla.org.pk)
        President (2012-2014)
        President
        Pakistan Librarians Welfare Organization (www.librarianswelfare.org)
        SLA-PAM International Membership Award Winner 2007
        PAM Information Ethics Ambassador 2009
        Patron
        International Journal of Information Management Sciences


        --- On Sun, 2/24/13, adnan adil <syedadnanadil05@...> wrote:

        From: adnan adil <syedadnanadil05@...>
        Subject: [librarianwelfare] Concept paper on PLA Constitutional reforms [1 Attachment]
        To: plagpk@yahoogroups.com
        Cc: librarianwelfare@yahoogroups.com, "Libcoop" <libcoop@yahoogroups.com>, "dlispu" <dlispu@yahoogroups.com>
        Date: Sunday, February 24, 2013, 12:40 PM

         
        Dear Professional Colleagues,

        Please find attached my 'concept paper' for PLA reforms. You can take it as 'wish list', 'day dreaming' or 'building castles in the airs'. But I am always optimistic. Because PLA office bearers are the professionals who enjoy the 'trust and confidence of the members ' through votes. Rather than exploring 'who is right one to bring the change'; I think its the responsibility of all of us.

        I am giving these suggestions being new 'life member of PLA' and to pay back something to this noble profession. I will not claim any 'copy right' or 'intellectual credit' for this document. Everyone is free to amend, extend, edit, improve or use these in upcoming General body meeting.

        We all have witnessed the 'revival of PLA' through sincere enthusiasm in recent years. In my opinion, these reforms are about 'survival of PLA'; which is the biggest and legitimate platform of LIS in Pakistan.

        All the best

        Syed Adnan Adil
        Knowledge, Research and Information Services Manager
        Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust

        National Health Services
        London



        --- On Thu, 2/21/13, Shahid Soroya <shahidsoroya@...> wrote:

        From: Shahid Soroya <shahidsoroya@...>
        Subject: [plagpk] PLA Constitution
        To: "Shah" <librarianwelfare@yahoogroups.com>, "rafiq" <libcoop@yahoogroups.com>
        Cc: "Ajmal" <plagpk@yahoogroups.com>
        Date: Thursday, February 21, 2013, 2:43 PM

         
        Dear Colleagues,

        We have been reading/listening criticism on different practices of PLA, specially, electoral process, membership and voting rights and also who can contest in election. There are certain issues which need your attention as member PLA. I have already circulated one Email and requested for suggestions. This is reminder, come forward, discuss changes and we shall constitute the committee for thorough revision and put up for approval in General Body Meeting.

        Regards,

        Muhammad Shahid Soroya
        Regional Librarian
        Allama Iqbal Open University, Lahore
        Ph.D Scholar (CSAS, PU, LHR)
        M.Phil, MLIS, LLB (PU)

        Secretary General (2012-2014)
        Pakistan Library Association (www.pla.org.pk)
        President (2012-2014)
        President
        Pakistan Librarians Welfare Organization (www.librarianswelfare.org)
        SLA-PAM International Membership Award Winner 2007
        PAM Information Ethics Ambassador 2009
        Patron
        International Journal of Information Management Sciences


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