Magazine article American Libraries

President's Message: Something for Everyone @ Your Library

Magazine article American Libraries

President's Message: Something for Everyone @ Your Library

Article excerpt

Just before the start of my presidential term, I asked our divisions, round tables, units, and caucuses to provide information on their work and activities in the areas of equity and access.

I asked several questions of each group. They included: How does your unit define equity of access? What initiatives related to equity of access or recruitment and retention of librarians are planned, under way, or completed in your unit? What programs or activities will your unit undertake to support the 2003-2004 equity-of-access initiatives? Who are your unit's natural allies in your equity-of-access activities? The responses to these inquiries varied from group to group and provided invaluable insight into our organization's status and direction in terms of equity-of-access issues.

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Reforma, one of ALA's 24 affiliate groups, recognizes that its role in promoting library services to the Latino and Spanish-speaking community is more vital now than ever. The group is committed to providing services to everyone regardless of income, language, or geographic area. The Chinese-American Librarians Association (CALA), another ALA affiliate, provides mentoring programs, continuing education, and professional development opportunities. CALA also publishes a journal, directories, newsletters, guides to ethnic resources, and lists of electronic resources.

Several of ALA's 11 divisions are also bringing equity issues to the forefront. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is concerned about services and access for future generations. ALSC President Cynthia K. Richey addressed the importance of equity of access to children in her September 2003 ALSConnect Online column. Equity was also a hot topic for ALSC during the joint ALA/CLA Annual Conference in Toronto, where the idea emerged of giving awards to e-books, and the problems that may arise from their inclusion since many children do not have access to e-readers or computers.

As toddlers grow into young adults, the challenges become a bit different, with a predominant focus on freedom of information. The primary concerns for the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) are securing materials that promote literacy; making sure that young people have access to all types of information, regardless of the nature of that information; and stimulating creativity among this ever-changing population. …

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