Diversity & Outreach Columns ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services


New Things to Come for Bookmobilers!

By Jan Meadows, Bookmobile Supervisor, Pikes Peak Library District.

Here it is the end of January already! One month of the New Year already gone! We had better all fasten our seat belts because 2004 promises to be an even faster ride than 2003. Bookmobile and Outreach Services folks, this is your year.

First, it is the inaugural year for the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS). The Association needs lots of support to get up and running and it will need everyone to contribute to the effort. It is my hope that all will view the Association as a living, changing and hopefully growing entity. The steering committee did not carve it out of a slab of marble. It can be all that we want it to be. I have not seen a mission statement but I would like it to include something to the effect that ABOS is dedicated to equitable service for everyone at libraries, committed to promoting equitable service delivery and offering strong support to Bookmobile/Outreach staff. I hope ABOS will be a place where everyone can share their ideas, listen to other people’s ideas and come to a consensus that everyone will uphold. As in any group, no one will always have everything the way they want it, but if we respect each other and work within the system instead of abandoning it when things don’t go our way, we can build an Association that is held in high esteem in the Library World and will be a strong voice for Bookmobile and Outreach Services.

The Public Library Association National Conference (February 25 – 28) is right around the corner. I will not be able to attend (so many conferences, so little money!) but if you go and learn something that would be of interest to bookmobile/outreach staff I would be happy to have you send the info to me and I will include it in this column. Or if you would like to take over this column for a month to report on all the great info you picked up at PLA I would gladly let you do that! We need to share the news!

From Outreach to Equity: Something for Everyone @ Your Library
Innovative Models of Policy & Practice,an ALA publication, will be launched at the ALA Annual Conference. This book presents successful models of library practices and policies that support equitable service delivery in libraries. It is organized by types of service: Services Outside Library Walls, Outreach Inside the Walls, Technology, Technical Services, Staff Development and Advocacy. ALA President Carla Hayden has called upon the profession to embrace equity of access. This puts your outreach service in the limelight. Check out this book and share it with your administration. Bookmobiles and Outreach Services are prime “vehicles” for your library to provide equitable service delivery. It’s your time to shine!

It is also your time to share. Go to www.ala.org/olos and click on “What’s Happening in Outreach @ Your Library”. Submit what you are doing at your library.There were lots of articles submitted for the book that, due to size limitations, were not used, so I know there are many great things going on out there in library land. This web site is the perfect place for you to tell about your service and to get new ideas from other people.

At the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, June 24 – 30, there will be a Bookmobile session, “Automating Your Bookmobile – Satellites and Beyond”. Tom Walker, Systems Manager for the Charleston County Public Library (SC) will take you down the techie highway to bookmobile automation. Come and bring your IT people with you, there will be time for questions. Mark your calendar now for Sunday, June 27, 10:30 a.m. to noon!

This is the third year in a row that Bookmobiles have had a session at ALA. Do you have an idea for a program for the 2005 ALA conference? Send it to me at jmeadows@ppld.org. We want these sessions to be relevant to your interests and needs.

The first joint conference of The Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Service (ABOS) and The Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) will be October 13 – 16 in Columbus, OH. If you have never been to a National Bookmobile and Outreach conference before, you don’t know what you are missing. This is the formative year for ABOS so this is the conference you must attend!

OLOS would also like to start a calendar of Bookmobile conferences on the OLOS web site. Ohio is having one May 26. I know Indiana has one and have heard of others through the years. How great to have one place where we can look up where all those bookmobile folks will be getting together. Send your info to Beatrice Calvin, Communications Specialist, ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services at bcalvin@ala.org.

Is there any doubt that 2004 will be an active, terrific year for bookmobile and outreach services staff? I think not! So here’s wishing you all a Happy, Creative, Successful Year!!

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