ASCLA Bridging Deaf Cultures @ your library Interest Group Section
Ladies and Gentlemen
Attendees to the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia
ASCLA Special Interest Group: "Bridging Deaf Cultures @ Your Library"
The enclosed attachment underlies the precarious position we are in, and by that I mean that we are in our infancy both as a SIG within the ASCLA and as a new library prospect. The bill is a PDF of the proposal put forth in the Maryland General Assembly by Delegate Eric Luedtke; HB 653 on the 31st of January 2013 (Right, not January 31, 2014, we all understand the clerk was busy at the time). The historical references are MD HB 390 and SB 571 of 2012 and you should have access to some of this information via the following ALA link: http://connect.ala.org/node/156827 (the BDC site) or MD.gov. The record will show that Mr. Luedtke was our first supporter next to Ms. Montgomery, and further that they have both spoken and acted on behalf of the deaf community --not as a singular but as part of a whole. I have been championing this law, along with Alice L. Hagemeyer, in Maryland since our first formal proposal to the MAPLA or the Maryland Public Library Administrators in January of 2011 was presented. This says, of course, nothing of Alice's work since maybe 1974. While this bill --at the moment-- is rather weak until cross-filed in the Senate, the historical record should be conductive to its passing. Operative words: Should be. And this is only at the state level: for Maryland.
In regard to this Mid-Winter Meeting, I owe everybody here an apology... and also much appreciation. People came because people cared, and the issue is obviously very much alive in the minds of ALA members/attendees. I was unable to make the trip to Philadelphia and I can tell you just one thing: it had nothing to do with the weather -- I was born in the South Side of Chicago. In any case I set up this meeting and I am the BDC Chair or Leader and have been since its inception. I am a relatively new ALA member now having been here for the past three years, but it has been an education in itself. The first rule, of course, is to be on time, and for that I wish not to waste your time any further. The DCDL bill and this Mid-Winter meeting have a direct relationship: continuity. This bill was filed after the fact of this ALA meeting.
At the Chicago 2013 meeting we had more than 50 people there and related reports should be available to all of you via the same BDC link. Anyone who does not have access to these reports can ask me, but in lieu of a lot of attachments and links I am trying to keep this simple. The Chicago meeting, for me, showed broad interest within the four types of libraries and therefore I wanted to take this to the next step. The question naturally is what that "next step" would be, and I am including Mike Marlin here because he is a friend and one of the people who would know a thing or two about how to work our way up the ALA ecosystem. And by no way the only; there are an incredible amount of talented people swirling around and within the ALA and we need to bring together some of these minds and take the DCDL up through the ranks of the American Library System. The key reason here, of course, is that deafness knows no boundaries. Further, as Mike will tell you, the needs of the blind and the needs of the deaf are different, as with a host of other things. The NLS has its historical roots going back to 1931 and it provides a critical need and service, and a close reading of this bill shows the DCDL in Maryland will also supplement the NLS by helping coordinate deaf related things that are of interest to their deaf-blind members -- among other things.
While we are on the subject of the NLS it is worthwhile to recall that the NLS got it's last installment of a particular, 6 year, $75 Million Dollar IMLS grant back in 2011 or 2012 and that grant was specifically and purposefully designated to convert their collections to digital format. Without limitation this includes large print format, audio books, and Braille readers. This kind of funding would be almost immeasurable in terms of impact upon the deaf community, and especially where ASL or American Sign Language (and it's many variants, dialects, and origins) is not a written language. Never mind the fact they are developing written form(s) of ASL, the language --in it's many forms and roots-- can only be captured in video as art; as a real time thing akin to an ancient spoken language recording... only it (ASL) is something like the third most studied foreign language in American academia.
Man on the street: You get the picture? If not, try talking underwater, through glass, or at a Rock Concert. (Standard presentation icebreaker)
My understanding is that we need membership to set up a committee or a task force and to put forth the necessary proposals for consideration at the ASCLA board level, and naturally because this SIG is under the ASCLA. It follows that this report, or proposal, if accepted by the ASCLA board, could then go on to the Councilors and forthwith. This is an oversimplification but yet without the schematics we need people.
In Philadelphia I was going to lay out my case, and ask people to step forward with ideas and suggestions of their own with the hopes we would produce a list of people who were interested in working further on the concept. This is still doable via email as we go along with the matter of building the structure or concept; building a framework for the next meeting. We should have another slot reserved under this SIG at Las Vegas for the Annual, and all and any advice, comments, or suggestions, either private or public as in emails or postings at BDC are welcome at any time. I am an ASCLA pre-conference programming planner and I have posting privileges within the ALA Connect system, and I am also a member of United for Libraries. Furthermore I should say this: I am first a Library Friend.
Now, further disclosure is in order where I am also a candidate as a Friend-at-Large on the United for Libraries Board. My candidacy and biographical information should be accessible, but again do not hesitate to ask for, or of, anything. The motive at United parallels the motive here at ASCLA, to wit, I want to make OSD's or 'Organizations Serving the Deaf' key players in the implementation of the DCDL nationwide. For those of you who share the principles of a PPP or a Public/Private Partnership: I believe this is a key element that is critical not only to the creation of the library, aka the DCDL, but for the deaf community itself where the OSD's out there are largely weak and ineffective. This is, of course, not a singular to the deaf community but a matter to be found anywhere. People, working with their Organizations, bring forth things to the world stage... so to speak. The matter of recreating or transforming the library, as in the Molly Raphel initiative, depends a lot on the community and my board position would be to facilitate that by bringing forth partnerships of various nonprofits, the community, and the library. This is trivial only if I cannot show that the deaf exist in every corner of the earth: and I like to say the deaf should be world leaders given that "Deaf Culture" is considered a singular no matter where you come from. Further this would still be trivial only if we weren't having problems today. This speaks no less to Barbara Striplings initiative on the Declaration for the Right to Libraries, and where equality is unambiguous.
To be honest, I have no idea what I will have to do as a United Board member (yes, it's a 3 year, no miss commitment) , or how much of an agenda I would be able to push, but the win-win prospect seems pretty plain to me. And, no, this is not a personal campaign platform (only United members can vote for me) but part of a cohesive plan that I have been carrying out for a while that is largely public record, up to and including this SIG. This is why I'm here at the ALA and that is why I am fortunate that Alice L. Hagemeyer is my mentor. This is all bigger than me, or Alice, and she always says she loves the library because you are always welcomed as a person, a "people first" matter that precedes any given handicap, race, religion, or whatnot..
This brings us a full circle. Those of you who are interested in making this a national project, understand this: we need you.
(1) The "attachment" referenced here is the same as posted before on this BDC site and as at this link: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2014RS/bills/hb/hb0653f.pdf
(2) Maryland State Delegate, Eric Luedtke, Maryland State Senator, Karen Montgomery, and Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards were included as recipients in this original send on 02/05/14.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The word only recently came to me, the Maryland General Assembly has proposed again to consider the Deaf Culture Digital Library as in HB 653 and as filed January 31, 2013 by Delegate Eric Luedtke:
We will need to cross-file this bill in the Senate and we are hopeful that State Sen. Karen Montgomery --who was a prior sponsor of the same basic bill-- will refile for us this year. The point with this law is the creation of a new library, not only in Maryland, but in the rest of the nation as is the ALA's general mandate.
The ASCLA LSSP SIG "Bridging Deaf Cultures @ Your Library" was created by Alice L. Hagemeyer, Honorary ALA Member, with the intent of advocating for a Deaf National Library aka the Deaf Cultural Digital Library (DCDL).
The DCDL is under consideration in Maryland and we want to push this beyond those borders. The purpose of this meeting is to form a Task Force or similar in order to advocate for the DCDL through the ranks of the ALA and Nationally. All types of libraries are involved, and all types of members are needed.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The long awaited report has been released today by the Maryland Department of Education, under which the Library serves. This report means that we can engage again with our legislators in Maryland and share this nationally. This is a model that we will be promoting and that the library community should be watching.
As good as this may be, we believe there is room to strengthen and improve upon this and there may yet be changes --improvements we hope-- at the legislative level and the law may well have an impact nationally. Our Legislative sponsors, Delegate Eric Luedtke and Senator Karen Montgomery have expressed interest in making Maryland the first in the nation to pass such a law and we are optimistic given our legislative history of this bill.
Comment at will, we understand this is just the beginning,
Ladies and Gentlemen
The recently uploaded file:
Commentary on Bridging Deaf Cultures @ Your Library Program in Chicago
Was eBlasted out to our key supporters, including, but not limited to our legislative sponsors that include Maryland Senator Karen Montgomery, Maryland Delegate Eric Luedtke, and Maryland Delegate Craig Zucker (just to name three of 14 sponsors of our bill). Only yesterday, Alice Hagemeyer and I brought her family in tow to an annual picnic for Delegate Zucker. Mr. Zucker was a co-sponsor of the Maryland Bill to create the DCDL or the Deaf Cultural Digital Library. Senator Montgomery and Delegate Luedtke were the two sponsors from each house; where the bills were cross-filed in the House and Senate. (See: MD SB 571 and HB 390 from 2012).
At this picnic there were a large variety of people, including the Montgomery County Executive, Mr. Lebbett, and the Montgomery County Sheriff, along with a large delegation of legislators, staffers, and residents of Maryland's 14th District. This letter and its references will be shared with many of these people that we have just met; part of our ever-expanding network of people.
Maybe people like you.
The recent posts below are all shared here as part of our ongoing work with libraries and my committee work and involvement with other committees. Also the letters and postings that I have shared here all tie back to the same concepts of access; and there are several.
There is the matter of access to information, and there is the matter of Universal Access, and the matter of Cultural Access, among others that all ties in to the same thing. If you think about it the needs of access between a deaf person, a prisoner, a foreigner are largely the same.
In addition to being a leader here at the ASCLA Bridging Deaf Cultures @ Your Library I am also serving on the DCWG Accessibility subcommittee and am a participant on the DCWG Universal Access subcommittee. I have tried to follow the various forums to see what is common and my objective is to take this above and beyond (but don't worry, I've already been told I can't change the world but I pretended I didn't hear.)
That said, I do want feedback and commentary here and anywhere. The pursuit of the DCDL or the Deaf Cultural Digital Library is no different in that it is inclusive and knows no boundaries.