History of the Policy

Proposed ALA policy, "Library Services for People with Disabilities" history as of December 2000

2000 Midwinter Meeting

The ADA Assembly presented the completed proposed policy to the ASCLA Board of Directors prior to the 2000 Midwinter Meeting. The ASCLA Board endorsed the policy at Midwinter meeting as presented by the Assembly.

Spring 2000

The ALA Policy Monitoring Committee reviewed the policy in the spring of 2000, Committee chair Donald Sager reported (via email) that the committee does "not anticipate any conflicts with existing policies." All divisions were. provided the draft before Annual and had an opportunity to send their questions and comments to the ADA Assembly. BARC reviewed the policy for fiscal impact and noted that funding was included in the FY2001 OLOS budget to cover costs of implementing the policy.

2000 ALA Annual Conference

Questions surfaced early at Annual Conference. The ADA Assembly took seriously all concerns that were presented to them. Each responding group was contacted and questions or requests were addressed. The most common difficulty was with the use of the word "must" throughout the proposed policy. After discussion, the ADA Assembly decided to retain the wording as it was. The thinking was that most of the instances of "must" reflected the obligations that libraries have to uphold federal disability rights law, including the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If was felt that the remaining occurrences of "must" were in keeping with the Library Bill of Rights and other cornerstone documents of the American Library Association.

At the 2000 ALA Annual Conference, Council directed ASCLA and the ADA Assembly as follows: VOTED, That CD#64, Resolution on Library Services for People with Disability Policy, be returned to ASCLA and that requirements be changed to strong recommendations in those sections not relating specifically to ALA meetings and publications.

Reviews and Rewrites after Annual Conference

After Council referred the policy back to ASCLA and the ADA Assembly for revision, Council concerns, council debate, and unit concerns that emerged during Annual Conference were examined and methodically addressed. The process and redrafting extended through the summer and into September. The ADA Assembly particularly revisited the "must" language that was a concern of many Councilors, as evidenced in the Council transcript. Members of the rewrite team reviewed federal disability rights law and determined which items are required of libraries.

Fall Meeting of all Division Executive Committees

The revised proposed policy was brought before the division leadership at their fall meeting (October 5-8, 2000). There were no major questions or objections. The few minor questions that came up were addressed in a subsequent revision by the ADA Assembly revision team and reviewed by Assembly members via e-mail.

Review by ALA Legal Counsel

Paula Goedert, ALA Legal Counsel, reviewed the 11/17/2000 version of the policy. Her firm made a special effort to examine the policy in terms of compliance with federal disability rights law. We have incorporated all of her suggestions for changes. ASCLA and the ADA Assembly have been assured that everything in the current version is accurate in terms of federal law.