Magazine article American Libraries

The Equity Struggle Must Continue

Magazine article American Libraries

The Equity Struggle Must Continue

Article excerpt

As my presidential term ends at the close of this year's Annual Conference, I am pleased to report that it has been an honor to share my experiences and observations within the pages of American Libraries. This opportunity has not only provided a means of communicating what I've learned through my travels, but has also served as one of the many vehicles to express my vision of true equity of access for all in library services and programming. The promotion of equity as a key action area and core value has been the focus of the Association's ALAction 2005 process and I have been heartened by the positive nationwide member response.

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It has also been inspiring to see how our nation's library system is regarded internationally as the gold standard of the profession not only because of its long history, but also due to the positions that librarians and library workers have collectively taken throughout the years on civil and human rights matters as they relate to information and access. The value of libraries and library services to minorities, to low-income individuals, and in rural communities cannot be underestimated. A recent Gates Library Foundation report, Toward Equality of Access: The Role of Public Libraries in Addressing the Digital Divide, highlights the importance of all libraries to these populations as well as the lack of available resources (AL, Apr., p. 28). With increasing frequency, the current budgetary environment threatens to diminish access to services that underserved populations rely upon.

While we face many challenges, I see a profession that is progressively more vibrant and visible than at any time that I can recall in my professional career. Libraries have become so high-profile and library workers and supporters so increasingly vocal that we are making waves across the nation. During my college and university campus visits, I became reassured about the future due to the commitment and passion of library school students.

I was impressed by the tenacity of Tamika Maddox, a University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences graduate, who was successful in her goal to have a plaque erected in the school's lobby in honor of Virginia Proctor Powell Florence, the first African-American woman and second African American to receive professional training as a librarian in 1923. …

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