ASCLA Bridging Deaf Cultures @ your library Interest Group Section
News from the Library of Congress
Press contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217; Alec McFarlane, National Literary Society of the Deaf, email@example.com
Public contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221
Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 11, 2016
Library Hosts Discussion/Workshops on Deaf Cultures
National Literary Society of the Deaf Co-Sponsors “Telling America’s Stories by Bridging Deaf Cultures @ Your Library”
The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the National Literary Society of the Deaf (NLSD) will co-sponsor an all-day discussion/workshop on "Telling America’s Stories by Bridging Deaf Cultures @ Your Library" on Tuesday, April 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Montpelier Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.
During the morning session, NLSD, a reading-promotion partner of the Center for the Book, will demonstrate how historical events and forces have shaped the ways that deaf people define themselves as a culture today. The afternoon portion of the program will be devoted to workshops.
"This program is a fine example of how the more than 80 partners of the Center for the Book work with us to sponsor programs that support our mission of promoting books, reading, libraries and literacy," said John Y. Cole, the center’s director. "The National Literary Society of the Deaf is helping us reach a community that is not always well-understood by the general population. Deaf culture has evolved into a flourishing culture that is thriving in today’s society."
"The National Literary Society of the Deaf Inc. is honored to be a reading-promotion partner of the Center for the Book," said Alec McFarlane, president of the society. "Our program examines deaf history and culture and their impact upon America, one author at a time."
The schedule of events follows.
10 a.m. – noon
- Brief history of the NLSD by Ricardo Lopez, former president
- Author presentations by well-known writers in the field: Myron Uhlberg is an acclaimed children’s book writer who is the child of deaf parents; Harry G. Lang is a deaf professor who retired after 41 years at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology (sponsored by their respective publishers, Peachtree Press and Gallaudet University Press)
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Book sales; optional tours of Library
2 – 4 p.m. Brief presentations and discussions covering the following topics:
- "Copyright and Fair Use," by Chaim Levinson, U.S. Copyright Office
- "A Researcher’s Perspective: Finding Historical Documents at the Library of Congress," by Dr. Harry G. Lang, author of 10 books
- "Deaf Cultures and American Parents," by librarians Alice Hagemeyer and Noah Beckman
- A Dramatic Presentation: "Deaf Culture by the Seas: A Famous Seafaring Adventure from 1816," by Wesley Arey, National Deaf Grassroots Movement
- "The Library of Congress Internship Program and Other Internship Possibilities," by Travis Painter, Library of Congress.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions.
The Library’s Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," is a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners and through the Young Readers Center and the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit www.loc.gov.
The National Literary Society of the Deaf was founded in 1907 by a group of students of the Kendall School at Gallaudet University, who wanted to promote literature and books, reading and debate. The society promotes deaf culture, books and literacy through programs and exhibits, particularly at public libraries.
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National Library Legislative Day - ALA 2015 Priorities Carried Forward Digest and Highlight with Updatesby Alec McFarlane on Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 11:57 am
National Library Legislative Day - ALA 2015 Priorities Carried Forward
Digest and Highlight with Updates
by Alec C. McFarlane, President, National Literary Society of the Deaf, Inc.
Updated March 7, 2016
This report digest is intended for the NLLD 2016 meeting coming this May 1-3. There is no way to properly make these Legislative Day Priorities (henceforth the 'papers') any shorter than they are, these papers are concise. While this summary relates last years priorities, they are relevant on their own in many ways*. You are, of course, encouraged to check out the single-page outline & bullet-point format the ALA uses for each of the 8 legislative priorities. The larger relevance I want to share is the place and position that the Deaf Culture Digital Library (DCDL) would play in existing law, in the library system, and in the community. This is where we want to create a position paper, backed by the ALA, state library associations, and others, in support of the DCDL & the National Deaf History Month (NDHM) for the 2017 NLLD Priority List; one sheet dedicated to the concept and carried by the grassroots members for distribution to their representatives on Capitol Hill. While I speak of the DCDL in the Library system, and of the NLSD, the role proposition is interchangeable with any NPO
*Update: A Legislative Alert from the ALA Washington Office, District Dispatch, came out today, March 7th, and it proves that the relevance of the subjects is unchanged; LSTA and IAL federal funding are now under threat and there are new letters written up in support of this funding worth almost $200 Million. The Apple iPhone & FBI controversy is also in play. You can find links in the supplemental section; item #3, and other updates as noted.
In conjunction with the Proactive Challenge and the Proposed Resolution for both the DCDL & the NDHM, I want you to consider six broad matters; (1) the modern relevance of the Library and the many Library Associations, (2) the fact that about 6 of the nine papers noted here deal with some area of education, (3) the fact that the library is directly involved in --financing and implementing-- education and literacy programs. I want you to consider external facts where (4) the actual percentage of deaf schools with school librarians is... who knows? Who has that data? And why does it matter? (5) I want you to consider how open and transparent information systems from the government are lacking; think, for example, of the National Institute of Health -NIH- and the fact that hearing tests, CI trials, medical studies, brain & cognitive studies are largely hidden, inaccessible, or otherwise in non-public silos. Finally, (6) I want you to consider how we can put proactive legislation into the state and federal docket; What can we do that will have the greatest impact upon society?
The thing to remember is that the DCDL and the NDHM have a developmental history we can trace back to at least 1974. These concepts have national organizational seal-of-approval history and a state legislative history. And yet nobody knows about them, nobody. My challenge to others is to show me something with more impact. When we say impact, we are talking about state-wide and nation-wide levels, and when we talk about the DCDL/NDHM we talk about the impact found in 123,000 libraries, 17,500 public museums, governmental bodies, and the business world. Case point? NBHM; National Black History Month. Go to any library, museum, government office, or bank in America in February and tell me where you see the NBHM celebrated. The NDHM was ratified a decade ago at the NAD and not even the NAD has bothered to observe or promote the NDHM. While a history month is one thing, it is part of the larger system and the library that serve as platforms. And what are these platforms? The ALA Priorities demonstrate;
Key outtakes from each paper:
- The first and second papers cover the most important elements where libraries are key to education; these two pages are dedicated to showing how libraries contribute to education. And a tidbit of exclusive information you won't find in the papers themselves, the Department of Education was borne of the Library. These two opening papers are literally stand-alone documents you can take anywhere to argue for, and to demonstrate the role of libraries in education.
- The third paper deals with Literacy and its importance in a persons future life trajectory. The key here is found inInnovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), where federal funding is currently the only source of funding for literacy programs. The ALA Annual State of Americas Libraries Report for 2015 notes American adult illiteracy rates at one in six, or 18% (16-65 years old), and this covers a demographic that is no longer in the education system.
- The fourth paper related to the Library Service and Technology Act (LSTA) where we are reminded of the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS) is the federal grant making body that supports public libraries and museums among the 58 states, territories, and commonwealths. Because this sum represents the first part of matching funds, the total value to the community is almost $400 million.
- The fifth paper asserts the value of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and explains in no uncertain terms that "Public access to information by and about the government is a basic tenet of democratic society and has long been a core principle of librarianship" and to improve public access to information.
- The sixth paper talks about fair access to science and technology work, research papers, and studies made by taxpayers, as with the NIH and more; The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2015 (FASTR). This is relevant where the DCDL is a state level library that serves all four types (public, private, school, & academic) and is funded with state and federal tax dollars.
- The seventh paper on Net Neutrality emphasizes the role in job searches, job training, resume writing, and computer literacy, this is where net neutrality is about enabling the person-on-the-street. From the libraries view, this is part of their charge, and yet this fact is not popularly known. People think of net neutrality as an obscure matter of government vs corporations, but in fact the ALA is fighting for the people & the basic tenets of government o/b/f the people.
- The eighth paper covers the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015, in contrary to the Patriot Act, and the fact that the library is literally holding a finger in the dike of private information that exists behind --right now-- a huge wall of privacy.
- The ninth paper declares the ALA's support for the Marrakesh Treaty as it relates to Copyrights and communications access. "This 2013 accord will make available to 4 million U.S. blind and other people with print disabilities access to critical educational and other print materials in accessible digitized formats." This is in our area of interest, communications access, digital access, format access. Copyrights already cause problems with captioning of movies and multimedia, and this is where the larger battles go to universal access... and ultimately the matter of deafness within the context of universal access.
Scroll down to "Related" and find the "2015 NLLD Issue Briefs" (9 page pdf)
In this section I take out excerpts and highlight relevant points of interest from each paper.
National Legislative Day Priorities;
Paper #1; Provide Dedicated Funding for Effective School Library Programs in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
ALA Position: The American Library Association urges Congress to maximize K-12
students’ academic achievement by providing dedicated funding in ESEA for “effective
school library programs.”
Why should effective school library programs be explicitly included in ESEA?
Research shows that effective school library programs foster higher student achievement.
Effective school library programs create sophisticated 21st century learning environments that
equip students with the skills they need to succeed in college and at work.
School librarians are experts in their schools’ curricula, interdisciplinary education methods, and
digital literacy instruction.
Without direct funding, school libraries and librarians will continue to be counterproductively
eliminated from school budgets by financially stressed school systems.
To be over-simplistic, education enables jobs. The library is the class that covers all 'classes', the library is the active element of the class versus the instructive element of the class. People go to the library to apply, practice, perfect, and supplement their knowledge. This funding bill passed for FY2016, but it appears to be an annual battle.
Paper #2; National Library Legislative Day, Supplemental Background: School Libraries
ALA Position: The American Library Association urges Congress to maximize K-12
students’ academic achievement by providing dedicated funding in, the Every Child
Achieves Act of 2015, for “effective school library programs.”
Why should effective school library programs be explicitly included in the Every Child
Bullet point, select;
Because “No Child Left Behind” failed to highlight the direct correlation between an effective
school library program and increased student academic achievement, library resource budgets
now are being eliminated or slashed to mitigate the effects of budgetary shortfalls. In fact,
school libraries are some of the most underfunded classrooms in America and fully 40 percent
of school libraries, serving hundreds of thousands of children, do not have full-time, state certified
school librarians on staff.
Actually this bullet point excerpted was the last, and the fact that 40% of school libraries do not have a full-time, state certified school librarian on staff, is our larger concern. While I do not have any statistics, I will hazard a guess that 75-80% of all deaf schools do not have a state certified school librarian. Alice L. Hagemeyer has been to and encouraged almost every American school for the deaf in her lifetime, but very few ever picked up on the idea of a real library with a real librarian at its helm. And most library programs that did rise up would only fall again when the creator/instigator/actor left. Making this law, making libraries built-in anchors for any school or academic system dates to Alexandria, if not before.
Paper #3; Maintain “Innovative Approaches to Literacy” Funding for School Libraries
As in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
ALA Position: The American Library Association asks all Members of Congress to support level funding of $25 million in FY2016 for the proven and effective Innovative Approaches to Literacy program.
What does this bill mean for libraries and the public?
Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) grants fund literacy programs in schools nationwide. Fully half of the funding is targeted to libraries in underserved schools via the Improving Literacy through School Libraries program.
Exposure to books is an essential part of early childhood literacy and greatly increases a child’s likelihood of success in high school, college and in 21st century jobs.
Research has proven that access to quality literacy resources has a direct and positive relationship to lifelong reading behavior and motivation, and encourages families to read together. IAL is the only source of federal funding for school library materials targeting literacy.
Early childhood is the key here, "Exposure to books is an essential part of early childhood literacy and greatly increases a child's likelihood of success in high school, college, and in 21st century jobs." There is no reason why these funds cannot apply to deaf children and deaf children's programs, and when they talk about libraries in this context, they are talking about the 0-5 age group. This fact is lost to LEAD-K and other deaf organizations with CA SB 210 c.2015. The idea would have far greater impact in California if it were made part of the library system; implemented as a regular program hosted by an OSD at, or as part of, the library.
Paper #4; Support the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)
As in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
ALA Position: The American Library Association asks all Members of Congress to support funding
the Library Services and Technology Act at $186.6 million for FY2016. Including $186.6 million in
LSTA funding in the FY2016 “Labor, HHS” Appropriations bill will keep libraries contributing at the
core of tens of thousands of communities in every state in the nation.
Bullet points, select:
The Library Services and Technology (LSTA) Act is the only federal funding program for libraries.
The majority of this funding goes to each state through the Institute of Museum and Library Services
in the form of a population-based matching grant.
Each state determines how best to use its own LSTA funding. States previously have issued grants
to libraries, for example, to: update technology resources and services, create summer reading
programs, assist job seekers to build resumes and apply for jobs, and develop services for
LSTA also supports: improved access to library services for Native Americans, Alaska Native
Villages, and Native Hawaiians; National Leadership Grants to support activities of national
significance that enhance the quality of library services nationwide and fund pilot programs for
coordination between libraries; and, the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians program, which
develops and promotes the next generation of America’s indispensable librarians."
This excerpt is useful to remind people of the system under which we operate, and namely where the IMLS is the federal grant making body and where the states then match those funds and determine their use. The last bullet point of note is theLaura Bush 21st Century Librarians program which develops and promotes the "next generation of America's indispensable librarians". This is where we not only need deaf teachers, deaf principals and superintendents, but deaf librarians; people to help develop, manage, and disseminate data & systems. It goes without saying that the future of the library is in the clouds, Information Management and Systems by many names are coming about, but the library is where it is managed for the public good.
Update: This funding is again under threat, and why? (See; Supp #3)
Paper #5; Support Freedom of Information Act Reform
Cosponsor and Pass H.R. 653 and S. 337
ALA Position: The American Library Association encourages all Members of Congress to
demonstrate their support for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reform by cosponsoring
and passing H.R. 653 and S. 337.
What do these bills mean for libraries and the public?
Public access to information by and about the government is a basic tenet of democratic
society and has long been a core principle of librarianship;
These bills move us one step closer to ensuring that all non-classified government
information is available to members of the public in an accessible format.
If passed, H.R. 653 and S. 337 would:
Codify the presumption of openness, requiring that records be released unless there is a
foreseeable harm or legal requirement to withhold them;
Improve public access to released records;
Clarify and reform the use of agency-assessed fees for documents; and
Strengthen the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS).
Public access to information. This is redundant, but necessary. The redundancy has made the word, or words, 'Public' or 'Public Access', almost invisible and meaningless, but the entire basis for the DCDL and the NDHM rely upon the principles of public access to information and the ability to drive subject-matter data.
Paper #6; Support Public Access to Taxpayer-Funded Research
Cosponsor and Pass S. 779 and H.R. 1477:
The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2015 (FASTR)
ALA Position: The American Library Association encourages Members of Congress to
demonstrate their support of open access to taxpayer funded research by cosponsoring and
pushing for passage of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2015
What does this bill mean for libraries and the public?
Each year, U.S. taxpayers invest hundreds of millions of dollars in publicly-funded research
and have a right to expect access to the resulting published data, analyses and articles;
FASTR will assure that the tax-paying public—including students, teachers, journalists,
scientists, entrepreneurs and established businesses alike—will have prompt access to this
critical information without paying for it twice.
This bill passed if I remember correctly and part of the result is that organizations like the JSTOR database (http://www.jstor.org/) and government entities like the NIH, HHS, and NOAA would have to open their libraries to the public domain. The paid-for part is part of the sales drive here, where taxes have --in fact-- paid for all of these productions and the data therefore belongs to the public. My argument and terminology use is slightly different where I prefer the term "citizen" to taxpayer given that most people do not produce any income the first 20 or last 20 years of their lives, and practically speaking this is half of their lives. Put simply, we can't make things public-domain fast enough. This law passed and there are now roll-out dates where data becomes public.
Paper #7; Support Strong “Net Neutrality” Protection ALA Position:
The American Library Association is fundamentally committed to the equitable free flow of information on the internet. ALA supports laws and regulations, like the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2015 Open Internet Order, that preclude internet service providers from manipulating, blocking, or charging additional fees for online information. ALA urges all Members of Congress to oppose any resolution or bill that would undermine full “network neutrality” or weaken the ability of the FCC to foster, protect and preserve a truly open internet.
Bullet Point, select:
Libraries are at the forefront of providing a wide variety of digital information to patrons. Many millions of Americans lack adequate internet connectivity and, for the vast majority of these individuals, the local library’s network is the only internet connection available through which they may apply for jobs, file government forms, attain a GED or other certification, or build digital literacy skills.
This is, by now, a mantra, the local library is the only network available to many people. It is the only place many people have to go after they have lost all their things, their home, their car, or job. Alternately they never had a house, a car, or a job and they are not sure where to start. The public library is a social safety net, a place where people can learn & practice new skills, where they can reinvent themselves and discover new opportunities. This Mission is chiseled into the walls of the Library of Congress.
Paper #8; Support Real Privacy and Surveillance Law Reform Now!
Why are libraries on the front lines of the fight for privacy/surveillance law reform?
Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act became, and remains, known as the “library provision” of that
law because of intense and ongoing librarian opposition to the sweeping power it grants the government to
compel libraries, without a probable cause-based search warrant, to divulge personal patron reading and
internet usage records, and because the “gag orders” associated with Section 215 and “National Security
Letters” (NSLs) impede judicial and public oversight of such activity. Libraries and librarians also have long
defended privacy as a human right and a foundation of the freedoms of inquiry, thought, speech and dissent
at the core of our democracy. We will continue to work for changes to other privacy-eroding parts of the
USA PATRIOT Act, and many other relevant statutes and Executive Orders, after the important but modest
reforms made by the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 become law.
And I repeat "... Libraries and librarians also have long defended privacy as a human right and a foundation of the freedoms of inquiry, thought, speech and dissent at the core of our democracy." The word lost to my friends is 'dissent', people forget about the right to dissent all while dissenting. The Freedom Act is a modest answer to the Patriot Act, and you wouldn't know it, but the ALA is advocating for Americans and the Public.
Paper #9; Support Copyright “Recalibration” to Assure Maximum Non-Infringing Information Access
ALA Position: The American Library Association urges all Members of Congress to:
1) Support immediate Senate ratification of the US-backed “Marrakesh Treaty;” and
2) Cosponsor and pass pending and future legislation to limit the potential for copyright to be
misused to restrict learning, scholarship, research, journalism and other established noninfringing
uses of copyrighted material, or consumers’ use of their own cell phones and
other electronic devices, that do not now require (or should not require) prior permission of
the copyright owner.
What is the “Marrakesh Treaty” and why is its rapid ratification important?
This 2013 accord will make available to 4 million U.S. blind and other people with print disabilities
access to critical educational and other print materials in accessible digitized formats. Signed by
the U.S. only after assuring that it would require no changes in U.S. copyright law, the Marrakesh
Treaty requires no implementing legislation and should not be delayed by proposals for potentially
desirable but unnecessary changes in the law.
And I repeat: "This 2013 accord will make available to 4 million U.S. blind and other people with print disabilities access to critical educational and other print materials in accessible digitized formats." The last four words are relevant to us; "...in accessible digitized formats". The blind use the digitized format of almost everything in order to convert electronic or printed matter into sound; technology can be leveraged to do the same for the deaf. The key element is how we incorporate "universal access" into the system and how we advocate for the inclusion of systems beneficial to the deaf, but not in isolation.
These Legislative Summary sheets should be studied as examples for the many OSD's and NPO's of the country, where the many objectives of the larger deaf community can be realized by aligning with, and improving, existing systems and elements of creation. The record demonstrates that we are not really utilizing the larger system, we are not even making full or proper use of our existing OSD's. Which would be more important? A deaf-oriented PAC set up to support certain political candidates, or a deaf-oriented community association set up to support certain educational and foundational principles before the legislature?
Making the DCDL and the NDHM built-in components of the American Library system would mean that all deaf schools and all deaf academia would have better access to funding and the larger body of knowledge; things that are now hidden in silos or otherwise compartmentalized. The DCDL, being about the deaf and for everyone, will allow this larger body of knowledge to be made available to the public. The element most often lost in the idea of a law "for the deaf" or services "for the deaf", is that we forget. We forget we are talking about working "with" the world: we must remember the larger picture where access and acceptance depend upon other people understanding deafness. The DCDL is not a library designed for deaf services, although that is certainly an important component, it is a library designed to address the 'other' 60 million people who are not Deaf and to serve the 320 million people we live with in America; a bridge to be built on applied understanding.
The DCDL can pave way for deaf culture accreditation requirements in medical and audiological schools. The DCDL can pave way for language rights and recognizing ASL as a language. The DCDL can pave the way for babies, children, teenagers and adults to learn ASL. The DCDL can pave way for proactive citizenry; where people know, understand, and appreciate deafness. The DCDL can institute job training programs, job search support, resume writing classes. The DCDL can institute deaf literacy programs and computer literacy programs. The DCDL can build and provide Outreach Services. The DCDL can build world class libraries with state certified librarians in every school for the deaf and for any school that needs support services for its students of various hearing levels. The DCDL can build information highways that tie academia, schools, and private libraries to the public domain These things all make way for better education, communications access, jobs, and so much more.
(1) State of America's libraries Report 2015 - ALA
This report was the basis of my paper, The Proactive Challenge
(2) The Library Card
The Atlantic Montly by Deborah Fallows, March 2016 Issue
This link provides a free flowing look at the roles libraries play and the things that libraries actually do, and have been doing, as part of the American community
(3) Updates as of March 7, 2016
The ALA Washington Office and the District Dispatch show LSTA and IAL funding is being challenged and the Apple iPhone is a matter of privacy
http://www.ala.org/offices/wo - The Washington Office, General Link
http://www.ala.org/news/taxonomy/term/628 - District Dispatch link to iPhone vs FBI concerns
The Deaf Culture Digital Library and why it is important to Librarians: Three Principles
by Alec C. McFarlane, President
National Literary Society of the Deaf, Inc.
March 9, 2016
The Deaf Culture Digital Library (DCDL) is a dream borne of a librarian. That librarian's name is Alice L. Hagemeyer and about 40 years ago she had an idea. That idea came about as a direct result of her work at the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL); work that would be carried out in a building noted for its design by Ludwig Meis van der Rohe. After graduating from Gallaudet College in 1957, Alice would go to work at this library and she would later become a librarian in the same building situated --literally and figuratively-- in the seat of our government. Hagemeyer is a name you can find in the annals of the ALA, she is your Honorary member. She earned that distinction and all its attributes by patient, insistent, and diligent work that I can only relate to you as a mentoree who first met her in 2008.
The first principle of Alice's work in the Public Library is that "we serve people first". She means, of course, that it doesn't matter who or what a person is, what a person's station in life is, or any some such. As a non-discriminatory principle, Alice understood her place and that of the deaf community; she could not advocate for the deaf. In fact she could not advocate at all as an employee of the DCPL. As a programming librarian, she did everything with the public in mind; she wanted the public there even where the programs were about the deaf. If the program audience had 50 people who could hear and 50 who could not, who do you think the interpreters were there for? Everybody understood this deliberate design in consideration of the deaf, but she understood, also, her role in the larger scheme; to expose the public to the deaf and to deafness. Alice would eventually retire from the DCPL in order to dedicate her life to advocacy. She wanted to create two key elements that she knew would spur action, growth, opportunities, understanding, and so much more. The first element is the DCDL; to be known as something about the deaf and for everyone, a model that borrows from the creation of NLS. The second element came first, where Alice would chair an ad-hoc Committee at the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) to create a resolution the National Deaf History Month (NDHM) in 2006. Something that would later be ratified by both the NAD and the ALA. The end-note at this point in time is that DCDL became a permanent law, a state library branch, in Maryland in 2014, and further that the NDHM would remain in presidential-proclamation limbo. The pathway to the people has been perilous.
The second principle of Alice's work in the Public Library is where the word 'deaf' is defined as a noun; "...people of various hearing levels." This is an inclusive term. We have an extensive and well documented history over --at least-- the last half century where the social, political, and legal basis is on record as both adversarial and controversial. Not that this is special or unique, but that by definition many of the commonly used terminologies are exclusive. We believe we can show how this fractured status has not really been beneficial for any of us in the long run. This is a record we believe demonstrates too many instances where we are creating problems for want of solutions. For instance, most anti-discrimination laws are essentially adversarial, the ADA is adversarial, the DCDL is not. Alice has always understood all too well that she did not have "the" solution, but that she had a pathway to "a" solution. And this is not about the library as much as it is about the public library in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). This is not about the library as much as it is about the roles we all play in that PPP. The Proactive Challenge was written to emphasize these roles that still originate, or anchor, at the Library. (Proactive Challenge, full text and proposed resolution: http://connect.ala.org/node/249779)
The third principle of Alice's work is based on governance, on parliamentary procedure, as found in the ALA and just about every other organization since 1876. Is anybody surprised that Roberts Rules of Order were formalized at the same time as the ALA was organized? While we need not preach the virtues of governance, we have noted its absence. In particular and specific to the Deaf Community --as otherwise capitalized to signify a cultural and linguistic minority-- and further as it relates to their "counterparts" within the same general community of people otherwise deaf, we have noted that this absence of governance has denied the larger citizenry. After all, we must ask, what is all this "Deaf and Hard of Hearing" stuff? Who is deaf? Who is Hard of Hearing? What are the differences? Why do we need two terms? What does it mean in context of Holcomb's book "Introduction to American Deaf Culture" where at least 150 identities are listed for one otherwise deaf? What does this mean in context of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and their TOPS Handbook that makes the argument that ones "level of visual acuity has no correlation to ability"? (Paraphrased for simplicity) What does this mean in the larger context of discrimination and classification? What does it mean in the context of the SCOTUS cases DOMA and Obergerfell? We contend that two classes of people essentially represents discrimination; we apply our claim universally because we cannot ask for what we cannot give. Inclusion is not a list of comma, separated, communities. Governance, on its face, is blind.
The DCDL is important to librarians because they are the ultimate executors and guardians of all that we know, and have yet to know; "The Library provides Congress, the federal government and the American people with a rich, diverse and enduring source of knowledge to inform, inspire and engage them and support their intellectual and creative endeavors." to quote David S. Mao, the Acting Librarian of Congress. We want to enable people and organizations, we want the DCDL to be part of a proactive catalyst that makes education, jobs, communication access possible by way of understanding, common social bonds, and the opportunities afforded by the same.
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 email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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.