Thursday, May 28, 2015

Information Equity and the American Library Association

On July 3, 1970, the ALA Council voted to establish the Office for Library Service to the Disadvantaged --which became OLOS. Dr. Jean E. Coleman was the first Director.

The merger of the American Library Association OLOS and the Office for Diversity means a fading of understanding about the foundations of OLOS. When Dr. Carla Hayden was ALA President she commissioned a history of Equity of Access and the American Library Association. 

Dr. Carla D. Hayden
Dr. Carla D. Hayden, CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore,
2015 Coleman Lecturer.
Dr. Jean E. Coleman  ALA Office for Library Outreach Services

​Downstream Access: Getting to the Table.
 ALA's efforts to establish a national agenda that focuses on equity of access through federal support of libraries has been the result of work beginning over eighty years ago. However, parallel consideration of downstream issues relating to equity for the individual and getting all people to the table where they can make full and capable use of the resources made available has also been essential. The American Library Association has demonstrated a long history of effort in this regard, but full commitment evolved only after the Association struggled from within. 
-----from Rocks in the Whirlpool: Equity of Access and the American Library Association which provides some of the historical context of the efforts of the American Library Association (ALA) to define, extend, protect and advocate for equity of access, focusing on central tendencies rather than internal debate.

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