ALSC and equity of access presidential initiative

The ALSC Board of Directors approved this Statement on Equity of Access, as part of ALA President Carla Hayden's Presidential Intiative, in April 2004.

The Association for Library Service to Children is committed to equity of access by improving and ensuring the future of the nation through exemplary library service to children, their families, and others who work with children.

Through myriad committee functions we strive to:

. Select outstanding materials on a wide variety of topics in oral, print, and electronic formats that reflect the multicultural, diverse heritage of the population and its interests.

. Disseminate information in traditional and non-traditional formats and appropriate to varying needs and abilities that is vital to survival, well-being, and life-long learning.

. Expose children to a broad range of sound, songs and stories to ground their spirits, compel their curiosities, and invigorate their imaginations.

. Promote research opportunities that add to the knowledge base of child development, education, linguistics, pediatric medicine, and social work as they relate to children’s learning and information seeking behavior.

. Form alliances with other agencies/organization who serve youth to ensure that libraries are known as community access points to information and programming.

. Provide high quality, continuing education opportunities to members to ensure that issues and trends are discussed and brought into the scope of delivery of service to children, families and others who work with children.

Through our Membership Communication Plan we have developed specific strategies for the recruitment and retention of librarians, specifically those who work with children and families as well as administrators who are responsible for developing goals and long range plans for local libraries. In addition, we partner with other ALA divisions/affiliates (PLA, AASL, YALSA, Reforma) and national organizations (PBS, W.C. Kellogg Foundation, etc.) to guarantee that local library staff, children and their families are exposed to important information regarding early literacy learning.

The Association for Library Service to Children recognizes that the greatest barriers to equity of access are:

. Little cultural history of library usage

. Lack of resources to purchase the scope and depth of materials needed

. Lack of library staff training to address disability and cultural issues

. Lack of multicultural, multi-lingual library staff.

To this end, we are working within our Communication Plan to address and resolve these issues, recognizing and realizing that these will be ongoing issues that will be addressed in a variety of ways over several years.

Approved by the ALSC Board, April 2004