Sunday, September 18, 2011

‘Taking on Transformation’ of ALA, a response

I wish to respond to a couple of points in Mr. Fiels’s column on reinvention of the ALA (Executive Director’s Message, “Taking On Transformation,” American Libraries, July/August 2011).

First, building awareness among people with disabilities that libraries can meet their information needs. I was diagnosed at age 39 with Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I turned primarily to my public library for information about my condition.

I welcome the trend exhibited by ALA Annual Conference programming to focus upon services to people with ASDs. I would like to see this dialog continue with specific recognition given to adults who have ASDs.

The second area in which I wish to comment concerns student members of the ALA.

Why are community-college level programs prohibited from forming chapters? Four-year institutions have priced master’s programs out-of-reach to those of us who are are drawn to library service but who are unwilling to incur massive debt.

I believe that chaptering at community colleges should be part of reinventing ALA. I likewise believe that there should be an avenue whereby unchaptered student members can apply to ALA Student to Staff.

Submitted to American Libraries magazine

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