ASCLA Bridging Deaf Cultures @ your library Interest Group Section
The Proactive Challenge:
Dissecting the recent
ALA's State of American Libraries 2015 Report
in conjunction with the proposed
Resolution Considering the Creation of the Deaf Culture Digital Library
as prepared by
Alec C. McFarlane, President
National Literary Society of the Deaf, Inc.
The enclosed ALA report gives way to the proposed Resolution (the Resolution) by first outlining the role and duty of the library and the role that the ALA plays in the larger system. The proposed Resolution itself, then, gives away to the role and duty of the library under a specific and particular creation; henceforth known as the Deaf Culture Digital Library (DCDL). And finally, the combined roles of ALA, DCDL, National Deaf History Month (NDHM), the many NPO's and Organizations Serving the Deaf (OSD's) and the American Library system as it may be, are the things that the NLSD seeks to harness under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP); where literature, reading, and writing are pathways to governmental participation and the emancipation of citizens.
Consider this a two part piece where the proposed Resolution is a stand-alone, single-page document, that can be submitted to your state librarian, your legislative representatives, and your local Organization or Association for immediate action. The Resolution summarizes the purpose of the DCDL and provides the document sets necessary to justify and understand the law, its intent, and the process of its creation; the links enclosed provide a full and searchable history. Your legislator, if they agree to sponsor the idea, will craft state, commonwealth, or territory-specific law.
This proactive challenge is intended for professionals, as well as the grassroots membership, this is for people. leaders, and organizations that want to effect change. In order to illustrate the concept of how we can effect change, we use the ALA system and the ALA 2015 report as an example. The NLSD has a role and a duty to use these platforms to effect proactive change.
NLSD Plan of Action:
The whole point of NLSD's, as well as ALA's, existence is one of proactive and procreative means. Where the problem --whatever it may be-- has a solution that must somehow be found, we are the seekers. We seek solutions. In the modern sense of complex systems, simplicity is often lost to overwhelming power, enormity and complexity --in this instance-- of the deaf community set adrift, and apart from, the larger community. We contend that this drift is caused by the lack of true understanding and true discourse, a battle for information & credibility, if you will. We often forget the simple basis upon which we all stand, we forget the simple foundations that open, public, and free information and resources provide.
Managing complexity often comes in the form of a librarian, archivist, historian, or the like,... but also in the form of architects, engineers, and builders. In the latter, as builders, we manage complex projects by foundational basis; focusing on the first subset of components that give way to the next all the while understanding the relationships of each. So plain and obvious, right? Well, then, in this case we go to the problem of note; the disaffected deaf community. The long running institutional failure of the NAD and the many state associations for the deaf have given birth to things like DGM or Deaf Grassroots Movement. The disaffect has given rise to as many as 85 individual Hunger Strikers across the nation --in 2015 alone-- protesting the lack of ASL language access in deaf schools situated in --but not limited to-- Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Illinois. The disaffect includes the creation, in recent years, of aspirational organizations like the National Deaf Freedom Association (NDFA), and We The Deaf People (WTDP). This is not to single anyone out, but to ask, what has caused this proliferation? What do later-forming organizations have that earlier formations do not?
More importantly how do we address causation? How do --or do not-- these new formations answer causation? How do these formations --new and old-- answer to membership and civil rights? Our proactive plan has always considered the power of the larger library system, and its role in effecting understanding, but what is that? How can we answer causation? How can we answer to our rights? We begin by answering the question; What is an Anchor Institution?
We will let the ALA speak for itself, all the while we will demonstrate the NLSD's role in the scheme...
ALA Website :http://www.ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2015
PDF link: http://www.ala.org/news/sites/ala.org.news/files/content/0415_StateAmLib_0.pdf (31 pages; 21 page multimedia report and 10 pages w/resource links)
All boldface italics are direct quotations. All Highlights and commentary by ACM.
ALA's State of American Libraries 2015 Report:
"Libraries provide people of all ages and backgrounds with
unlimited possibilities to participate in a media- and technology enriched
society. As community anchors, libraries touch people’s
lives in many ways and stand as protectorates of the tenets of a
democratic government. This report discusses current issues,
developments, and practices of academic, school, and public libraries."
Highlighted portion: Literally, 'the protectors of a democratic government'. When we speak of having a fulcrum, or of having the ability to leverage the power of something, we are talking about the literal levers of government, of democratic representative government of, by, and for, the people. Consider that the Library of Congress was created in 1800, American Library Association in 1876, National Association of the Deaf in 1880, NLS in 1931, and DCDL --in Maryland-- in 2014. We know that hopscotching through history does not really help us here, anchor institutions, as explained on page 5, do help us here --in part-- by maintaining continuity. The problem, of course, is that no one is maintaining the continuum of the deaf, for this we want the DCDL. We are not talking about your democratic right to vote, we are talking about the democratic right to information.
We begin with Anchor Institutions and the concept behind the same where, in addition to the economic benefits, "the mission of anchor institutions includes creating a more democratic, just, and equitable society." Now let us be clear, "community anchors include libraries, museums, faith-based institutions, community foundations, municipal entities, and other nonprofit organizations."
And the piece closes out, at the bottom of page 5, saying; "In this report, we celebrate the importance of academic, school, and public libraries as proactive community anchors. Libraries are democratic community anchors with unlimited possibilities to promote education, equity, social and racial justice, place, and community."
Words often become blurred and meaningless, but consider again; Libraries are democratic community anchors with unlimited possibilities to promote education, equity, social and racial justice, place, and community. These are all words of obligation, and it follows that this is another word of obligation: "public". The obligations of public institutions are also the obligations of (to and for) the public; this means that people must participate in order to effect change for themselves and the larger community. The balance of responsibility of a public institution --an Anchor Institution-- thereby counter balances the responsibility of the many private organizations (other Anchor Institutions) in order to hold them in account the rights of the people, of the membership of their organizations. There are, for instance, practical requirements of an organization working in partnership with a public library or museum.
Diversity in children’s literature. Last year there was an upswing in conversations and a groundswell toward activism to address the dearth of diversity reflected in children’s literature— both in content and among writers and illustrators. In his April 2014 white paper, The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children, Jamie Campbell Naidoo explores the critical role libraries play in helping children make cross-cultural connections. He calls on libraries to include diversity in programming and materials for children as an important step in meeting the needs of their communities.
After "children", the keywords 'diversity' and 'inclusion' are inherent to good governance, and good governance comes from grassroots that band together to form organizations. The organization is where the grassroots grow in a membership-based organization, where people grow in understanding, in sharing, in opportunity created by meetings, associations, and common need. Common needs come from cross-cultural connections, and this is where the deaf need to be present in order to contribute.
Without follow-up, without follow through with new people, new connections, and new members, things simply will not happen, or will be very slow to happen. And without knowledgeable people or sources to carry and follow through, your chances of success are further minimized. This justifies a professional class, but at the same time we know that proactive success depends on the true masses, on grassroots, of participatory government of the people. The professional class represents the leadership class, but leadership seems to be a lost art. A shepherd without sheep, or sheep without a shepherd; it is the same difference, and especially where the larger deaf community and its many OSD's are more akin to cats --or crabs-- than sheep.
Here we note the organizational structure of grassroots is important because grassroots (people) need soil (organizations) and water (structure, money, power) in order to prosper, to grow. The proactive element of a NLSD consultancy is to put water where it is needed; to the membership, to governance; to member-driven action & participation. The most important thing an organization can do is train, empower, and enable its people to act.
"Public Programs. The breadth, variety, and number of programs presented in all types of libraries are growing tremendously. In 2012, there were 92.6 million attendees at the 4 million programs offered by US public libraries, according to Public Libraries in the United States Survey: Fiscal Year 2012. This represents an increase of 54.4% in attendance from 10 years ago."
What this means --to give some context to the numbers-- is that out of about 123,000 libraries in America, there were 4 million programs and almost 93 million people who went to these programs! We call that impact! Social and cultural impact. We are saying at the NLSD that the deaf community and OSD's can impact this metric significantly with programs taken up by, and hosted by, the many OSD's on a regular basis. Assuming a once-a-month regimen, it would still take years and years before a single OSD would be able to reach every library in their state, or even every library in their city! Many OSD's do have programming, but beyond some major once a year, or 'special' type-things, there is no regular or consistent programming interface for the larger community.
People of the 'outside world' do not know our story, they do not know deafness, and thus the story must be told. The point often lost is that these "platforms" --public libraries and museums, when utilized-- have far greater impact than any protest, rally, hunger strike, or petition could have for the simple reason that they are proactive; they bring forth solutions.
Suppose you don't know ASL or Deaf Culture? Who is going to be teaching whom? The Deafhood Foundation is for the Deaf only? Ok, so... Next? We need people who go out and engage the community in a open and public forum. We will achieve little speaking to each-other as closed societies; we will achieve little speaking in rarefied and specialized forums aka NAD, RID, Gallaudet, CEASD, unless we radically expand the audience. The National Deaf History Month is a months-long celebration, running from March 13 to April 15, that gives all OSD's (anybody, in fact) in America a public platform to celebrate deaf history, deaf culture, deaf linguistics; to highlight artistic creations, to launch programs, even to launch drives for the creation of ASL as a recognized language in America, not as a political campaign but as an educational campaign.. Regular, consistent. and dedicated programming, mentoring, and community/governmental involvement is proactive advocacy.
"Equitable access. The library’s role of promoting equitable access to information, and being a welcoming place to all who enter its doors, continues to be critical to our communities. According to the 2013 Program for the International Assessment for Adult Competencies (PIAAC), one in six American adults struggle with basic English literacy. This amounts to a staggering 36 million people ages 16–65 who struggle on a daily basis to perform such basic tasks as completing a job application, understanding a medication label, or reading a simple story to their children."
One in Six is 18%. This statement says that about 18% of our entire adult population is functionally illiterate. This is not about the deaf. nor blind, nor the disabled, just regular folks who cannot read. Take special note of the age brackets: "...a staggering 36 million people ages 16-65..." The dropout age is 16 and the retirement age is 65 and this means, simply, that the public library and other public anchor institutions are the go-to resource for this class of people who are no longer in the school system. This is about the public means of taking care of the public masses, taking care of ourselves, and we cannot forget how we are part of the system. The most important point we want to emphasize here is that illiteracy is not a problem based on hearing or speech, and further that as a public-policy matter this is relevant to all NPO's and our larger arguments for education, communications access, employment opportunities, and more.
On page 15 the ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) , the ALA demonstrates its support for diverse communities and among those include the disability community. Under law --under the ADA-- deafness is defined as a disability and for better or worse that is the fact under which we operate. That said, the DCDL in conjunction with the NDHM can help modify the perception by removing the disabling elements and focusing on the diverse --and enabling-- elements. Reframing. The NLSD's job, encapsulated, is reframing the library for the organization, the grassroots, the consumer, and the citizen, one book at a time.
National Issues and Trends
"In March 2014, ALA and the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library, joined forces to file a friend of the court brief in Riley v. California and United States v. Brima Wurie, two appellate cases consolidated by the US Supreme Court to permit it to examine the constitutionality of warrantless cellphone searches after police arrests. In the amicus brief, both organizations argued that such searches violate the Fourth Amendment. In June, the US Supreme Court agreed, unanimously ruling that the Fourth Amendment requires police officers to obtain a warrant before they can lawfully search an arrestee’s cellphone."
This outtake is a simple way to illustrate the depths of the ALA's involvement in the everyday matters of public interest. The ALA took the time to argue for the Fourth Amendment on behalf of the citizens of this country (not just ALA members), and their arguments carry weight in that they use the full force and power of the information held in their networks and the Library of Congress. This is also an illustration of the lobbying and advocacy efforts of a 501(c)(3) organization --just one of many. Another important element we cannot overlook is the 'joined forces with' part; the PPP element of working with other organizations with similar interests. We, as part of the larger deaf community, want to attract the kind of support that the ALA and other national social-interest, social-action, NPO's offer. Finally, cellphones are communications devices of modern prevalence, and of notable benefit to the deaf in terms of both text and video capacity.
Associations and affiliations of the years past, for example between the NAD and the AGB, are largely symbolic; essentially these are associations where 'you do your thing and I will do mine', and where the result creates special spheres of interest that are maintained, separately. What these symbolic affiliations fail to grasp is the larger common ground among not only the deaf, but society at large --refer back to the 18% illiteracy rate. This entire divide among those otherwise deaf represents cognitive dissonance. The library, unlike private NPO's, does not have the luxury of choice in whether or not to maintain a proprietary database. The public library, as such, has a duty to maintain open, non-proprietary information systems. Nonprofits, such as the JSTOR databases (http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/01/library-services/many-jstor-journal-archives-now-free-to-public/), represent other private sources that do not always have the duty or obligation to share data, and this can be counterproductive. NLSD advocates to make information accessible; with the DCDL being the primary vehicle for this solution.
"Workforce bill passes. In July, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a law that authorizes public libraries to be eligible providers with access to federal funding for effective job training and job search programs. In a statement, ALA President Courtney Young applauded the presidential signing of the act and thanked Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Representative Rush D. Holt Jr. (D-N.J.) for their efforts to include libraries in the legislation. ALA will keep a close watch on the Department of Labor’s implementation of WIOA over the next year. In October, ALA hosted a webinar on “$2.2 Billion Reasons to Pay Attention to WIOA,” an interactive event that focused on how public libraries can make use of the act’s provisions."
The thing here, as was noted some time ago with Indiana's case (IND-HB 1367 c.2012 Hear Indiana and the Outreach Services for the deaf - then situated at ISD) is that the Library can function in many educational, medical, outreach, and even occupational functions, including things like job training, and job searches. This fits squarely with the needs of the larger deaf community because this is an enabler. DGM's platform of demands, for instance, includes job opportunities, job training/education, and communications access. The library has a basic obligation to provide all three, and more.
The DCDL's specific role in the larger picture should be clear; the DCDL can enable specific training. When the DCDL is created under the authority of the State Librarian and as part of the State Library, there is a built-in capacity to develop, create, or otherwise accept program-specific grants. These grants are often community driven, where a NPO or OSD works in partnership with the Library to develop a program or service and then seek grant or other special funding to enable the same. The partnership also makes possible funding, and even fundraising, opportunities for both the OSD, the Library Friends Groups, and the library itself. This is considered an all-around win.
Back to the specific case at hand, the libraries providing job training and search, the DCDL --as set up under the state library system-- would basically be responsible for setting up and maintaining a dedicated office with personnel to provide specific job service support. Whatever functions the library itself may be limited, it can and will always refer to the other OSD's who are part of the resource directory listing that the library is obligated to develop... and where the library knows better than anyone the power of PPP's. The DCDL creates a specific area of expertise that will often the require the services that the many OSD's provide. In other words, the many OSD's in America have roles to play in creation and content development of the DCDL.
"E-Rate. The big win occurred at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) through the adoption of two landmark orders to improve the E-Rate program, which provide financial support to libraries and K–12 schools for advanced telecommunications services. The FCC increased the total E-Rate fund from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion annually and made important policy changes to make it easier for libraries and schools to deploy high-speed broadband technologies and develop the network infrastructure inside their facilities.
The American Library Association spent a considerable amount of time on E-Rate policy advocacy in 2014, working with several partners in the library sector and beyond."
This is a significant bump in funding --$1.5 Billion-- that goes to libraries and schools, and this has wide-ranging implications for several industries tied, but not limited to, telecommunications for the deaf. This means that advanced telecommunications are a big element of what the ALA and the larger Library System are part of; as user, consumer, content curator, content creator, and as protector. Any technology or IT related endeavor has an ever-growing place and role in this evolution of information management and retrieval programs, and businesses in both for-profit and non-profit endeavors are part of the equation.
"ALA Policy Revolution. ALA launched the Policy Revolution! initiative in 2013 to reposition the library community in its national public policy advocacy. Decision makers and influencers do not have a good understanding of how contemporary libraries contribute to the array of national policy goals such as education, employment, entrepreneurship, community engagement, and individual empowerment—The E’s of Libraries. Thus the first goal of the initiative is to develop a national public policy agenda for the library community. A draft agenda was circulated in January 2015 for public comment."
Some things bear repeating, and this I will: "Decision makers and influencers do not have a good understanding of how contemporary libraries contribute to the array of national policy goals such as education, employment, entrepreneurship, community engagement, and individual empowerment --The E's of Libraries." I've been saying this for the last 7 years, Alice L. Hagemeyer has been saying this for the last 40. We can say it again for another 47 years into the future and nothing will have changed. The fact will remain that the library and its related institutions have had a long running place in our government and they maintain a central role to play. This means that the DCDL represents a huge part of an untapped source. The NLSD aims to change that, to change the dynamic between the many organizations serving the deaf and the larger PPP ecosystem by enabling the DCDL, NDHM, and then by riding the wave we --and the proactive laws-- create..
*** *** ***
The second element of this package is the proposed Resolution for the DCDL made to the American Library Association. The proposed resolution outlines the objectives of DCDL which align with NDHM and the mission of the NLSD. Our work moving forward concerns all that the public-private partnership offers, the NLSD seeks to enable legislation, enable organizations, enable grassroots, and enable literature; the literal keys to creation.
*** *** ***
Proposed Resolution Concerning the Creation of the Deaf Culture Digital Library
As submitted January 7, 2016 to ASCLA and United for Libraries;
Two Divisions of the American Library Association
Whereas the 1979 White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services delegation voted to support the concept of a deaf-oriented Library under the auspices of the Library of Congress;
Whereas the American Library Association passed a resolution in 2005 calling for a presidential proclamation for the National Deaf History Month (NDHM) - March 13 - April 15;
Whereas the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) Council of Representatives (COR) passed a resolution in 2006 recognizing creation of the National Deaf History Month;
Whereas the State of Maryland has created, by legislation in 2012 and 2014, a state-level Public Library known as the Deaf Culture Digital Library (DCDL) that is about the deaf and for everyone;
Whereas DCDL, as implemented in Maryland, is a state-level Public Library that serves all four types of libraries, Public, Special, School, and Academic, thereby touching all four corners of the American Library System as it be;
Whereas the record makes clear the specialized and relative needs of the larger deaf community and the culture, language, education, employment, and life opportunities of socio-economic and governmental participation, we believe that the already-developed schema paves the way for the creation of a national library system under the auspices of the Library of Congress.
Points of Reference:
1. 1979 White House Conference on Library and Information Services
2. 2005 ALA Resolutions on the NDHM
3. 2006 NAD COR Resolutions on the NDHM
4. 2012 & 2014 Legislation creating the DCDL
Now, Therefore be it Resolved
That the American Library Association;
1. Endorse the conceptual creation of a central Deaf Culture Digital Library under the auspices of the Library of Congress, and as Resolved at the 1979 White House Conference, to be administered and carried out on the basic model given by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
2. Draft national model legislation for national and state level creations under the many State Libraries and under the authority of the State Librarian.
3. Enable the process of procreation by way of the association and its members, beginning in the states and working out to the International Community.
Mover: Alec C. McFarlane
Seconder: Alice L. Hagemeyer
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--This package is put together as a Public Service--
Content may be shared as long as source credit is given to the American Library Association, the National Literary Society of the Deaf, Inc.,
Alice L. Hagemeyer and/or Alec C. McFarlane as may be appropriate. Please share the same via cc:to firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Alec C. McFarlane
President - NLSD
National Literary Society of the Deaf, Inc.
2930 Craiglawn Road
Silver Spring, MD 20904
301-563-9062 MD Office
818-643-3690 CA Office
ALA Member #2004704
ASCLA SIG: Bridging Deaf Cultures @ Your Library
United for Libraries Member
Alice L. Hagemeyer
ALA Honorary Member
American Library Association
ALA The American Library Association (ALA), the voice of America’s libraries, is the oldest, largest and most influential library association in the world. Its approximately 56,000 members are primarily librarians but also trustees, publishers and other library supporters. The Association represents all types of libraries; its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information. See: www.ala.org
ASCLA Association of Speiclaized and Cooperative Library Agencies
Mision: The Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) enhances the effectiveness of library service by advocating for and providing high quality networking, enrichment and educational opportunities for its diverse members, who represent state library agencies, libraries serving special populations, library cooperatives, and library consultants. See: www.ala.org/ascla
United for Libraries
United for Libraries is a national network of enthusiastic library supporters who believe in the importance of libraries as the social and intellectual centers of communities and campuses. No one has a stronger voice for libraries than those who use them, raise money for them, and govern them. By uniting these voices, library supporters everywhere will become a real force to be reckoned with at the local, state, and national levels. See: www.ala.org/united
National Literary Society of the Deaf, Inc.
The National Literary Society of the Deaf (NLSD) was founded in 1907 by a troupe of Kendall students out of Gallaudet University Campus who wanted to promote literature & books, reading & debate. The NLSD is a Center for the Book Partner at the Library of Congress (LOC). Originating NLSD documentation including original founding membership rolls and several versions of the Bylaws can be found at Gallaudet University Archives.
Alice L. Hagemeyer
Alice L. Hagemeyer is an Honorary ALA member and lifelong NAD member and recognized as one of the 15 visionary leaders from Gallaudet University. Hagemeyer is the founder of the FOLDA (Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action) a public service arm of her private publishing and programming company, Library for Deaf Action (LDA). FOLDA published the Red Notebook, still found in some libraries today, see: www.folda.net. Ms. Hagemeyer was a graduate of Gallaudet University in 1957 and earned her MLS from the University of Maryland in 1976. She was the first Deaf librarian at the DC Public Library (1976-1991). When not advocating something, somewhere, Ms. Hagemeyer dedicates her time to writing books.
Alec C. McFarlane
Alec C. McFarlane is a master builder & remodeler of more than 30 years and has been the principal of New Image Associates , a private construction consulting firm since 1993. More recently he was president of DFL:PR or the Deaf Library Friends of Puerto Rico from 2009-2010 and this work would spur the next seven years of advocacy work; including stints as the president of LDA or Libraries for Deaf Action and a role as the vice president of the board at FOLDA, and then as president of the NLSD in 2013. Besides the ALA, McFarlane is a member of CML or Citizens for Maryland's Libraries (http://www.citizensformarylandlibraries.org/) and he serves on the Administrative Board of ASL Access, a 501c3 service organization (www.aslaccess.org)
Glossary of Abbreviations:
ACM - Alec C. McFarlane - Author
ALA - American Library Association
ASCLA - Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies, a division of the ALA
United _ United for Libraries, a division of the ALA
NGO - Non Governmental Organization
NAD - National Association of the Deaf
COR - NAD's legislative body; Council of Representatives
PPP - Public-Private Partnership
NLS - National library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
DGM - Deaf Grassroots Movement (Loose alliance of Facebook groups)
NDFA - National Deaf Freedom Association (Pending 501c4 PAC)
WTDP - We The Deaf People (Pending 501c4 PAC)
OSD - Organizations Serving the Deaf
NLSD - National Literary Society of the Deaf
RID - Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
CEASD - Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools & Programs for the Deaf
ASL - American Sign Language
DCDL - Deaf Culture Digital Library
OIF - American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom
ADA - American's with Disabilities Act
NPO - Non Profit Organization
AGB - Alexander Graham Bell Association
WIOA - Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
PDF - Public Document Format
FOLDA - Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action
LDA - Library Friends for Deaf Action
NDHM - National Deaf History Month
ASLA - ASL Access Organization
CML - Citizens for Maryland's Libraries
Report on the 2015 American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco
June 25 - July 2, 2015
By Alec C. McFarlane
United for Libraries (United) and Association of Specialized and Cooperative Agencies (ASCLA) Division Member
ASCLA Special Interest Group Leader: Bridging Deaf Cultures @ Your Library
Lets call this The Report That Almost Didn't Happen, I only had about 72 hours to get and go to San Francisco... and only because of perseverance, of raw determination, of one Alice L. Hagemeyer and because of the generosity of Ron and Catherine "Kay" Hirano. Due to the depletion of prior funding support, I was unable to attend the last meetings in Philadelphia or Chicago, and to get back into the groove was extremely important. To them I dedicate this report.
In accordance with our larger objectives at the ALA I needed to find somebody to bring to San Francisco, somebody who would benefit from exposure to the ALA system. On a short notice I was able to get Dan McClintock to join me for the expedition, all 1,083 miles by Dodge from Los Angeles and back. McClintock is notable on his own in that he is one of the co-founders of a new nonprofit dedicated to the performing arts: the DTG or the Deaf Talent Guild, appearing soon at theaters near you. As an actor, writer, organizer and artist McClintock was taken by the Comic Section of the ALA Exhibits; fertile seeds have been planted. Dan would tell me; "I was impressed by the businesses that do preservation of films and TV Media archives (as well as) the conversion of print books to digital media. I saw how wide and diverse the literature section was at the ALA Conference and that impressed me as well." It actually requires something of an artists mind to capture the immense possibilities of such a gathering in just a few days but I believe McClintock and DTG will be engaging people at Libraries and Museums in the near future as well as promoting the many talents that people bring to the performing arts, careers that often start in a Library or a Museum.
New ALA Member:
We also welcomed Michelle Aguilar as a brand new ALA and ASCLA member. Michelle and her husband Oskar Aguilar were Alice and my hosts while at the last ALA in Anaheim, escorting us around town after hours. In return we got the Aguilars guest passes to some ALA events and the exhibits. Michelle was attracted to what she saw and she has since followed that through by becoming a member and getting sponsorship for her attendance to the conference here in San Francisco. With a background in education, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and government contracting, grant writing, as well as social work and counseling, Aguilar will be looking closely at other divisions within the ALA to find things relevant to her work and objectives. Expect to be seeing her and hearing her name for a good long time around the ALA.
On ALA Formulae:
Last minute plans are not part of the ALA formulae, but the interpreting services as run by Karen Aguilar and the services of the ALA Staff made everything possible for me and my friends. Up to and including one very-last-45 minutes-before-the-meeting interpreting request. I personally managed four ALA programs and four other important meetings. For comparison, my previous –and well planned ALA meeting schedule would have had anywhere from 16 to 24 meetings, programs, and events over a four or five day period; both within and without the ALA auspices. While we have less than 6 months to plan for Boston, I am now developing plans for an off-site program and I expect to be able to get meeting space for the ASCLA SIG Bridging Deaf Cultures @ Your Library (BDC). At this meeting I expect to outline the work we have accomplished to date and the work we envision for the DCDL or the Deaf Culture Digital Library. We are now working on a National scale, with at least 5 states, territories or commonwealths that have formed or are forming groups to support DCDL legislation in their jurisdiction. This includes several strong groups in California alone as well as others in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Boston, Massachusetts and others. We want to find ways to build upon what we have; to form a working committee to produce a proposal we can send to the ASCLA Board and on through the ranks of ALA.
With almost 25,000 official registrants of the ALA conference, it is literally impossible without advance planning and coordination to meet people, but I would be fortunate to catch a few notable people like Mike Marlin, the Director of the California Braille and Talking Book Library. Marlin has long been an important advocate and sounding board for me and I have kept him in the loop with our work on the Deaf Culture Digital Library (DCDL). In addition I would meet Orkid Sassouni, who has worked for 14 years at the Deaf Services Center of the SFPL Library as a Technical Assistant. She is currently attending the Library School at the University of North Texas hoping to earn her MLIS degree. In the Academic arena I would also meet Jaime N. Smith, a Metadata and Catalog Librarian from Gallaudet University.
ALA Programs Beehive at Moscone:
Given the situation I faced without advance planning, my first order of business was to get Aguilar and McClintock into the thick of things to the extent possible. The meeting choices were basically made on Aguilar's needs of the moment and they focus largely on Digital Content and Preservation. I gave McClintock an Exhibit Pass and set him loose. All of the meetings Aguilar and I attended had relevance to my work with the DCDL and therefore I make a rundown here:
The first meeting we made together was “ aming and Enhancing Visual Literacy: Using the New ACRL Framework to Develop Effective Art Instruction.” While the technical details and the graphic presentation made the point, Aguilar and myself had trouble getting beyond our existence; we are deaf and visual and the program lost some of its flavor after the main points were made. The points we took to heart were those of uniformity and means of projection: how can you best guide, in a technical system, a person to the collection of work you wish to present? This is beyond mere visuals, but of enabling people to find the content they seek or one wishes to promote. The IT backbone of any library system, again, is not the mere stacking of books on a shelf. I can see this as a field upon which many deaf people can find employment; think win-win they do technical stuff while collecting and staging relevant materials for, say, the DCDL.
The second program I attended was “Libraries and Book Collections as Essential Cultural Institutions: A Historical and Forward Looking Perspective” and this featured three authors and their books: Matthew Battles, Sasha Abramsky, and Scott Sherman. The three authors were fascinating characters and the room seemed far too small for their prominence, but one, a New York Post reporter, had my attention. Scott Sherman, the Post reporter, had written a book "Patience and Fortitude: Power, Real Estate, and the Fight to Save a Library" (Melville House) about the NYPL 42nd Street Public Library and a Bloomberg donation dedicated to the Remodeling of the Structure and the Re-Arrangement of the Collections. The $300 Million Dollar story was and is worth reading for many reasons, but as a United for Libraries member and a Library Friend I stood up near the end of the program and asked why we hadn't heard about the NYPL Library Friends. Sherman said, frankly, that the Library Friends had no influence. The story was about power, about shenanigans of the operators (supposedly the plans of renovation and reorganization were NOT publicly disclosed by the bigwigs in charge in a timely manner), and of big-name big-influence donors and actors. In other words, everything that is wrong with the picture.
I speak as a United member when I say that this book, this episode, needs not only a deeper look but a broader context: precisely what is it we do? And more precisely what is missing in what we do as Trustees, Friends, and Foundations; how can it be that Library Friends have no voice on 42nd Street? I will argue that this is a vast and untapped source, and yes, this is it: the voice of the people and the matter of a participatory democracy in action is to be found in Library Friends and their ability to corral and exemplify the voice of the people. And the voice of the people surely can raise $300 million dollars, they did more than that for President Barack Obama more than once. If you ask me it was a waste of money, not because of Obama, but because of a ludicrously expensive political system. As a builder of more than 30 years, I can build more than ten grand libraries with $300 million or do 300 grand library remodels (a million bucks a piece is 'grand' if you ask me).
The third program I attended was the “Preservation Showdown” where there was a panel supposedly pro and con on the question of digital preservation. While a lot of valid points of relevance, of duplicity, and of sheer fragility were illustrated by the panelists, it was never a question of whether items should be digitally preserved but of whether some things were either possible or practical. The case point for the materialists, or those who want to preserve original content, products, and materials, is that there is no substitute for tactile engagement. Seeing a picture of a Mountain is not the same as being there. The case point of digitization is that to digitize is to make forever and further to digitize is to enable analysis & distribution. My question at the same event was relative: the technology of digitization is maybe 50 years old and I have things that are more than 300 years old. How do I preserve the digital element itself? The answer I got was Open Source; non-proprietary software and language platforms. As long as we stick with the Open Source stuff, we have a future... or at least that is what they said.
Dinner Outing with the Hiranos:
The ALA is no stranger to big events, but the Gay Pride Parade was as big as they come: more than one million people were supposedly within a 10 block area of downtown San Francisco. The results of the SCOTUS decision were on full display in San Francisco. It is within this context I would get a 2 hour plus meeting with Ron and Kay Hirano and Michelle Aguilar at the Golden Era vegan restaurant at 395 Golden Gate Avenue. The food there was exemplary and we ordered individual plates and a lot of spring rolls to go around. The Golden Era is highly recommended. The prevailing topic we had during our dinner was of the Bay Area Deaf Community and its history. Ron Hirano's professional career was as a Designer/Draftsman, Engineer, and Project manager. Ron is also an Author, whose family was interred in a Japanese Concentration Camp during WWII, and who has been a lifetime resident of the Bay area; he was even a graduate of the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley in 1952.. Ron is now an Octogenarian with commensurate historical knowledge and curiosity. The dinner was like attending another program at the ALA where the many aspects of the deaf community and Hirano's life actually weave a beautiful tapestry. Part of Hirano's life can be read in his book: “The Life Story of Mother Delight Rice and Her Children” (ISBN 978-0-98840070-0-8) Delight Rice, who received a Honorary Doctorate from Gallaudet in 1955, the same year Ron would graduate from the same school. Rice would live in Berkeley until her last days; she would pass away at 81 on October 9, 1964.
Our meeting would reinforce the celebration of life, food, drink, and friends. We ended our meeting with an agreement to follow up on Berkeley and plans for DCDL.
Closing Days at ALA:
The fourth program I attended was on Monday the 29th of June and related to “Providing Context for Digital Collections” and this was a highly technical presentation by the people at the heart of digital manipulation; people making things work. These same people, highly adept IT professionals, basically ran over the current programs, programming language, and methodologies I couldn't repeat if I wanted to but they also verified, indirectly, that Open Source programming language was key.
The sum of the parts of digitization, for me, is that anybody who does not believe in evolution need only look at 50 years of digital history to see the folly of Moore's Law. Not that he was necessarily wrong but that the law was not new. The realization, for me, is that the “Digital” in the “Deaf Culture Digital Library” will probably be moot –or otherwise fall out of use in far less than 50 years; the word will literally disappear from the vernacular simply because digital is the existence; we lose the need to identify what it is.
Sacramento or Bust:
On the matter of deafness, of culture, and of the library, these things are here to stay and these things represent our keys, which gives way to our succeeding trip to Sacramento where we met with a local deaf advocate. At the Oak Park Brewery, 3514 Broadway, Sacramento. We, McClintock and I, had a great meeting with Kate “Jc Wordsmith” Shepherd over beer and grub on the down and dirty politics of Sacramento. Actually, according to Shepherd, the Mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, was instrumental in the creation of the Oak Park Brewery to begin with. The local lesson of Sacramento, where this location is maybe 1.4 miles from the California Capitol itself, is that degradation, poverty, and other social ills of variety impact people near and far. The Brewery itself is a wonderful remodel and repurpose of a building and grounds that directly contributes to the overall appearance of the neighborhood and its character. This theme of economic revival resonates at the library where new, remodeled, and re-purposed Library and Museum buildings likewise contribute to the economic revival of a community. Think nothing less than Minnesota and something like a 7 to 1 return; where the Minneapolis Public Library actually contributed something like $7 for every $1 the legislature invested in Library Funding. This is about the community: people, businesses, and activities that take place around a Community Center. I believe Shepherd will help us work with people in Sacramento to get the DCDL on the Legislative Agenda in January 2016 when the new legislative session opens.
California School for the Deaf, Former:
The return trip included a stop at the California School for the Deaf that once existed on the Berkeley University Campus and has since been relocated to Fremont. The scene where the school is located is remarkable, not for the trip there but for the view you get when you turn around! Located off to the NW corner of the Berkeley Campus Map, it is off the beaten path. This school is relevant in that it was closed in the 1980's on the pretense of geological faults, but where these very same buildings are not only in existence today, but still in use by the University. At least one building dates to 1932 and in this context there are people looking at the former California School for the Deaf buildings as possible Library or Museum facilities celebrating Deaf History and Culture. Specifically California Deaf Culture that began in 1860. All of the digital-oriented programs were perused, in part, on this pretext: how can California Deaf Culture and History best be preserved?
Our visit to the University offices yielded the fact that most staff and facility were not on grounds at this time of the year but I got the necessary contacts and basic information sources I would need to begin evaluating the potential of this property, something I am doing by way of my company, the New Image Associates Construction Consultants and the first step is to verify the status of the property with the University. Of interest is whether or not there are current plans for the property or whether they may be part of any long term plans under development. In my initial report to the interested parties, I will make note of the practical location barriers for a Library setting. The location is not only off the beaten path, but up a steep hill; matters that are not conductive to a public library setting. On the other hand I will note that it can be made conductive to a Museum setting given that these are often destinations of unique value in and of themselves. My conclusion will basically say that there are valid grounds to present for making at least one of the three buildings a viable Museum of Deaf Education, Culture & History.
With so much more in the Bay area to see I was tempted to hang around another day or two, but with no advance notice, planning, or permissions I decided that we would head on down South to Los Angeles where I am now based. There is a lot more coming, keep an eye on this space.
This is a quick post, I just received this link and I intend to return to the subject matter. This is the Master Document with all relevant links to various committees, papers, languages, and much more. The CRPD, as you may recall, has yet been ratified in Congress. Last I was there on Capitol Hill, Kerry was chair and Harkin and McCain testified in support, among others. It is in legislative limbo for all I know at this point in time.
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,