Access and Advocacy Definitions provided by ALA Accessibility is defined by ALA as stocking materials and building libraries that meet the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Source: The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/ascla/asclaprotools/accessibilitytipsheets/ The AASL definition of advocacy is: “ [the] on-going process of building partnerships so that others will act for and with you, turning passive support into educated action for the library media program. It begins with a vision and a plan for the library media program that is then matched to the agenda and priorities of stakeholders .” http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslissues/aasladvocacy/definitions.cfm
Different definitions of access and advocacy
Access, from the 21 st Century Learner: “All children deserve equitable access to books and reading, to information, and to information technology in an environment that is safe and conducive to learning .”
How accessible is an all-English library to an English Language Learner?
How accessible are Internet resources to a student who has never used a computer?
Can a student who lives in an area without public or private transportation access the library?
Advocacy: promoting the library through community outreach, especially towards those with high levels of non-library users; also called civic librarianship
Is it better to advertise, tie in, and wait, or to reach out to patrons where they need it?
Will more members of the community see the library as their ally if the library runs a campaign through prominent community members or if it directly affects their own lives?
Use of alternate definitions Advocacy through work and problem-solving is called “civic librarianship,” and has a number of books written about it: McCook’s, Kathleen. A Place at the Table: Participating in Community Building . McCabe, Ronald. Civic Librarianship: Renewing the Social Mission of the Public Library . Molz, R. Kathleen and Phyllis Dain. Civic Space/Cyberspace: The American Public Library in the Digital Age . Kranich, Nancy. Libraries and Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty. Also, a look through “Access to Resources and Services in the School Library Media Program: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights" (ALA 2OO8) brings us this definition of a all-serving, all-accessible and multi-lingual school library: "Under these principles, all students have equitable access to library facilities, resources, and instructional programs…. Resources in school library media collections are an integral component of the curriculum and represent diverse points of view on both current and historical issues. These resources include materials that support the intellectual growth, personal development, individual interests, and recreational needs of students….To support these efforts, and to ensure equitable access to resources and services, the school library media program provides resources that reflect the linguistic pluralism of the community.“ http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/statementspols/statementsif/interpretations/accessresources.cfm
What would these definitions look like in action? Accessibility Fogelin, Adrian, Katherine Bowers and Kary S. Kublin. “The Front Porch Library: Bringing the Library to the Neighborhood.” Florida Libraries . Fall (2009) 20-22. This article details the practical solution to access in a poor neighborhood with little access to cars or public transportation: creating a library for the community. The library created is designed specifically for children to learn both recreational reading and the process of going to a library. The “front porch” in the title refers to the library itself, which is in the author’s living room. Books are donated and have no return date, so poor families don’t have to worry about return fees. This solution may be better suited to public libraries, but the idea—create a children’s library center in a low SES area, without late fees and with donated books—can be incorporated anywhere, even in an administration building. Advocacy Krashen, Stephen and Shin, Fay. “Summer Reading and the Potential Contribution of the Public Library in Improving Reading for Children of Poverty.” Public Library Quarterly . 23, no. 4 (2004). This source details the educational benefits of getting children to read during summer breaks. Children from higher SES gain months of literacy during the summer; those lowest tend to lose literacy. The contributing fact is that high-SES children have easy access to books in the home, while low-SES children do not. One study that had low-reading, low-SES children enrolled in a summer school reading program, which involved children picking their own books from the school library, saw the children gain a year’s worth of literacy within the program. These programs can both alleviate literacy loss and create library users who see the library as a helpful, necessary resource for students.
What would these definitions look like in action?
Kranich, Nancy. “Civic Partnerships: The Role of Libraries in Promoting Civic Engagement.” Resource Sharing & Information Networks . 18, no. 1-2. (2005) 89-103.
While focusing mainly on the role of the public library, this article offers advice and practical applications of committing one’s library to civic engagement of the populace. Advice given to schools is to engage in information literacy, create standards for civic engagement and knowledge, and offer classes in civics on the internet. Some of the other points made in the article-- such as teaming up with local organizations for immigration, government and youth services, or creating a commons by allowing the library to be used by any organization, or creating partnerships across educational bodies like museums and public broadcasting stations—could be useful in fostering stronger ties to the community.
Access Adamich, Tom. “The Purpose of the Cataloging for Matters of Equitable Access: Spanish- Language Cataloging and "Everyday" Approaches of Non-Native English Speakers.” Knowledge Quest . 37, no. 5 (2009). 42-47. Since there is statistically lower support of English at home than there are for other immigrant groups, creating a school catalog and collection in Spanish is especially important. Putting in titles, descriptions, and access points in Spanish is seen as also crucial to keeping the same level of access for Spanish speakers. This article also offers tips on how to create equitable collection policy and programming within the school library . Keeping a multilingual and multiformat catolog is an important part of creating equal access for all students.