From Outreach to Equity: Innovative Models of Library Policy and Practice

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  • Description
  • About the Authors

"At a time when our public is challenged on multiple fronts, we need to recommit ourselves to the ideal of providing equal access to everyone, anywhere, any time, and in any format . . . By finally embracing equity of access, we will be affirming our core values, recognizing realities and assuring our future." —Carla D. Hayden, ALA President, 2003–4

The many assumptions about current library outreach services—that they're off-site, depend on special funding, and are administered by specific staff—no longer reflect the realities of providing equitable library services to the audiences who most need them. Providing equity of access is the business of every department in the library. Growing from the leadership initiative of 2003–04 ALA President Carla Hayden, this multifaceted guide answers both "why" and "how." Following successful models from around the country, any library can take steps to improve access to information for all, encompassed within the library's service delivery system. Quality service appears in a wide variety of programs. Learn from the specifics:

  • Serve immigrants and refugees inspired by the "InfoBUS" example
  • Connect prison inmates to library services
  • Build community around local information and referrals
  • Bridge the digital divide
  • Incorporate multilingual materials
  • Hire and train with an eye to outreach
  • Pair up advocacy and outreach to leverage results

Gain authoritative, detailed, and practical guidance for policies, practices, and model programs that integrate "outreach" services into the daily fabric of every area of the library.

Robin Osborne

Robin Osborne, MLS, is outreach services consultant for New York's Westchester Library System. She facilitates partnerships between public libraries and community agencies and has alsodeveloped online products to provide information to diverse populations. Some of her projects include a Spanish-language website, a bilingual community information directory, and www.firstfind.infohref>, a virtual library of easy-to-read websites.

Carla D. Hayden

Carla D. Hayden, ALA's 2003-04 president, is executive director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. Her presidential initiative focused on Equity of Access.