LBC In Action
Upcoming LBC Events:
In recognition of National Blood Donor Month, Librarians Build Communities (LBC), a Membership Initiative Group of the American Library Association (ALA), has organized a community blood drive during the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago. Conference attendees are encouraged to join LBC in this life-saving event on Saturday, January 31, 2015, and Sunday, February 1, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the end of aisle 4800, ALA Exhibit Hall, McCormick Place West (MPW) - Level 3, Halls F1, F2. Special thanks to LifeSource.
ALA and LBC recognize there are many restrictions regarding blood donations. Among those is the ban on accepting blood donations from men who have had sex with another man since 1977. This effectively removes all gay and bisexual men from being eligible blood donors. However, the FDA has recently announced plans to relax the ban to allow donations by gay and bisexual men if they have not had sex with another man in the past year.
From the onset, this ban has been controversial. While the government has imposed exclusions that limit or restrict the donor pool, the ban on accepting blood donations from gay and bisexual men is deemed by many as unjustified and discriminatory, unfairly prohibiting healthy men from donating much needed, life-saving blood.
In an effort to educate the library community about the issues regarding blood donations, the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT)* is sponsoring the discussion panel “Blood Donation: Facts, Fear, and Discrimination,” on Sunday, February 1, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., McCormick Place West, room 183C. Speakers will be Dr. Magda Houlberg, Chief Clinical Officer, Howard Brown Health Center; Dr. Robert Garofalo, Professor, Northwestern University Feiberg School of Medicine; and the Hon. Mike Quigley, Congressman, Illinois 5th District.
LBC supports the GLBTRT’s panel discussion and encourages ALA members to both donate blood and attend the panel discussion to be informed and have their voices heard.
Organizations in need of blood to save lives experience sharp declines in blood donations during winter months due to winter holiday travel, inclement weather, and illnesses.
For information on LifeSource, visit http://www.lifesource.org/; on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table, which serves the information needs of the GLBT professional library community, http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/; and Librarians Build Communities and how you can become involved and use its resources to sponsor community events year-round,http://www.ala.org/groups/lbc.
Brian D. Hart, MLIS
Tezeno Lynette Roberson
Dallas Public Library - Northwest District Manager
1515 Young Street
Dallas, TX 75201
* An opinion piece is also available on the GLBTRT blog.
Past LBC Events:
Librarians Build Communities Casino Social
Librarians Build Communities celebrated Membership Initiative Group status on June 30, 2014 at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. A group of founding members and supporters gathered at the Laguna Champagne Bar on The Palazzo casino floor. It was a great way to close out the conference and kick off a new phase of LBC!
Boys and Girls Club Library of Ada County, August 2013
While the seed Kristi Brumley, a 2012 ALA Emerging Leader who also worked with Librarians Build Communities, returned home to Boise, ID inspired to find a way to put LBC into action in her own community. A former Peace Corps volunteer, she's alwasy had a heart for service. Leveraging her connection with the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Idaho led to a meeting with Rotary Club representatives who helped with donations and spreading the word. Thirty-five librarian volunteers at the Pacific Northwest Regional Library Conference donated 3 hours to sort, process and shelve donated books, create signage, and decorate the Boys and Girls Club library.
While the seed was planted the summer of 2012, the work continued through January 2014. Kristi used additional funds to purchase new books and also got a donation from Barnes and Noble! While she still visits the Boys and Girls Club to volunteer and calls on her community partners to help, the library is so well organized that it’s largely self-managing. “The neat thing was how many people got involved; it became a community effort.”
Mid-Winter Day of Caring: Seattle Homeless Outreach, January 2013
Ann Crewdson, Children’s Section Supervisor Librarian for King County Library System, has a heart for service and a heart for young people. Working in Seattle-area public libraries, she encountered the homeless daily. When ALA’s Mid-Winter Meeting was scheduled to take place in her city, she immediately sought an opportunity to help.
Utilizing ALA conference services, social and news media, she assembled a group of approximately 75 librarian volunteers who engaged in activities including attending presentations on best practices in services to the homeless, visiting local homeless assistance facilities, packing hygiene kits, and serving meals. The positive feedback from the participants proved that the Seattle LBC event fully lived up to that year’s Mid-Winter Meeting’s theme of “Community Engagement and the Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities.”
Librarians Build Communities in Alaska, March 2012
The Alaska Library Association hosted an LBC event in March 2012 during their state conference. A group of librarians gathered at a local senior center with laptops to teach technology skills, with some backup craft supplies and plans for the non-technically inclined. Sadly, the seniors in question didn't show up for the event, a reminder that even well-planned events don't always go quite as planned. Still, the librarians gathered were excited to help out and had several different options ready to meet the needs of the group they planned to help.
New Orleans: 2006, 2011, 2012
“My experience with Libraries Build Communities was one of the most fulfilling (and sweaty!) I’ve had while wearing my ‘librarian hat’. I lived in the suburbs of New Orleans as a child, so returning in 2011 to see my former home still in pieces 6 years later was very heartbreaking. But I got to help rebuild it! I spent an entire day working with St. Bernard Project at a home owned by a man named Kevin. The conditions were hard, few actual tools, no gloves, no bathrooms or running water. But I – we – fought through that, knowing that 6 years earlier the conditions were even worse; knowing that soon the conditions would be infinitely better.”
- Carol Simons (Retired), 2006, 2011, and March 2012
“I volunteered my time in June 2011 in New Orleans. I was assigned to a school that hadn’t received any damage from Hurricane Katrina, but needed work done because it had sat vacant for many years and it was going to be used as a school. I spent my time scraping old paint off the walls and applying new paint. These rooms were going to be used as classrooms. What I will remember most about the experience is the gratefulness of the school community. Summer school was in session and as students walked from class to class passing by us, the huge smiles and 'thank you's they had were amazing. I have never heard a teenager express so much joy in regards to school, ever! When ALA is in New Orleans again, I will gladly take a road trip down there and help again.” - April Pavis, MLS Teen Services Librarian, Loudoun County Public Library
“In June 2006, after Hurricane Katrina, 900 library volunteers assembled to help New Orleans rebuild in a program called Libraries Build Communities. I was one of the volunteers in New Orleans that June. This was a special time for me because my heart went out to the people of New Orleans after Hurricane
Katrina ripped through the city and destroyed so many lives. The Libraries Build Communities program was a way that I could help rebuild the city in a small, personal way and be part of something good. I had the opportunity to work with the Archivist and her staff at The Newcomb College Research Center on Women, Tulane
University. I joined seven other librarians who decided to choose this project. We represented the East, Midwest, West and places in between. I learned a great deal about emergency preparedness that day from the people who experienced a life changing emergency first hand." - Rene Myers, Children's Servi
ces Assistant, Springdale Public Library, Springdale, AR
"I have been fortunate to join other librarians from all over the United States in this project over the years. I have had the privilege to work with librarians in places such as New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. I have had the honor to help school libraries, public libraries and academic libraries. Each experience has helped me grow as a professional. I was able to learn something about the library that I was assisting them as well as the city I was visiting. In turn, I hope that my service helped the library that I chose to meet their goals and helped them learn about other libraries. This form of outreach helps both participant and host library. I am honored to be of service to the libraries that I have helped and I hope to continue the Libraries Build Communities volunteer opportunity for many years to come at ALA Annual.” - Karen H. Canary, MLIS, Ely Library, Westfield State University, Westfield, MA