Meet the ASCLA Board of Directors: Lori Guenthner, Designated Director of Special Populations

Throughout the coming weeks on this blogspace, we’ll be profiling members of the ASCLA Board of Directors, and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn a bit more about these amazing leaders! Does something in their replies pique your interest? Reach out to them via their contact info at the end of the post. A little networking goes a long way towards improving your personal and professional life.

Lori Guenthner
Youth Services Coordinator, Maryland State Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped
ASCLA Designated Director of Special Populations

Lori Guenthner
Lori Guenthner
  • Why did you join ASCLA? I joined ASCLA because its members are like me: librarians, library agencies and staff serving populations with special needs.
  • How has ASCLA helped you in your career? ASCLA has given me leadership opportunities – serving on the board and chairing the membership promotion committee.
  • What are some of the ASCLA activities you’ve participated in? I’ve participated in ASCLA LSSP (Libraries Serving Special Populations) Library Services to People with Visual or Physical Disabilities that Prevent Them from Reading Standard Print Interest Group. I am a member of the Maryland e-Content Advisory Committee so I like discussing accessible technology. I’ve also submitted webinar ideas.
  • Are there any hot topics in your area of library work? How can ASCLA help? A current hot topic in my area of library work is inclusion in children’s programming. I’d like to see ASCLA partner with ALSC or YALSA to offer webinars/conference programming on inclusion.
  • Tell us about your current role at your library, and a little bit about your career path, too. I work with children and young adults, from birth to age 21. I present story times and organize the summer reading program (and a lot of other things). I started in the public libraries as a generalist. I’m not sure where my career path will lead, but I love working with people.
  • Describe a rewarding experience in your library career. The most rewarding experience for me is getting a phone call or email from a young person excited about the National Library Service program.
  • What are you currently reading and/or listening to? I just started reading The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison and I hope it’s better than Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
  • One fun fact about me: I went to college to be a journalist.
  • Any hobbies? Running.
  • Who is your hero? My hero is my dad. He’s the one who would get me ready for school each morning.

Reach Lori at lguenth -at- 

Maryland State Library’s Jill Lewis wins ASCLA award for library services to blind and physically handicapped

Read the original press release.

Jill Lewis
Jill Lewis

CHICAGO — Jill Lewis, former director of the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (MDLBPH), is the 2013 recipient of the Francis Joseph Campbell Award—an annual honor presented by the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA).

The award, which consists of a citation and a medal, is presented to a person or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of library service for the blind and physically handicapped. Keystone Library Automated Systems (KLAS) and the Southern Conference of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS/BPH) provide support for this award.

Lewis, who retired from the library in 2012, was selected for her significant impact on library services in Maryland. Under her leadership, the library developed partnerships that provided a vibrant community center to serve library users with print disabilities. The center includes adaptive technology, cultural programs and an interactive children’s reading center.

Lewis served as the director of the MDLBPH from October 2003 until her retirement in May 2012 and was previously the acting director and collection management librarian. She has also worked as a reference librarian at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the Library of Congress, where she conducted a study of educational reading services for individuals with print disabilities and prepared publications for the Reference Section. She earned her M.L.I.S. from the School of Library and Information Studies, The University of Alabama.

Lewis was previously recognized for her important work with the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland (NFBMD) and a Governor’s Citation for Outstanding Service in May 2012. She has been active within ALA and ASCLA since the 1990s and serves on the board of the Montgomery County (Md.) Public Library.

Lewis will receive the Francis Joseph Campbell Award at the ASCLA/COSLA Reception, 5:45 – 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29 in Field 20A-C, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, as a part of the 2013 ALA Annual Conference. Add the event to your conference schedule. All conference attendees are invited to this networking and awards event.

ASCLA, a small, mighty and growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), is a diverse organization of librarians and support staff who work in academic and public libraries, state agencies, specialized libraries and cooperatives, as well as those who are self-employed. Our division’s work centers on member-driven interest groups that represent the diversity and important work of our engaged and active members. Learn more about ASCLA and how to join this innovative division.

2013 Programs, Preconferences and Institutes: Proposals due June 1, 2012

The deadline for a call for ASCLA proposals for institutes at the ALA 2013 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle and programs and preconferences at the ALA 2013 Annual Conference in Chicago has been extended to June 1, 2012.

What’s this all about? Midwinter Institutes are ticketed full or half-day workshops held the Friday of the Midwinter Meeting. Annual Preconferences are ticketed full or half-day workshops held the Friday of Annual Conference. Programs are part of the ALA Annual Conference, are included with conference registration, and are held Saturday through Monday of the conference. Check out what ASCLA’s doing at this year’s Annual Conference.

What’s the best way to propose a program? We encourage members with programming ideas to partner with one of our ASCLA interest groups to sponsor the program. Review our list of interest groups and learn how to join a group at the ASCLA website.

More information about the proposal process–including some important notes about overall scheduling changes to both Midwinter and Annual–is in this post in ASCLA’s ALA Connect space. Please check out this post before making your submission.

Learn more about ASCLA, and join this small and mighty group of ALA members who are making a difference for library users from all corners of the world!

We look forward to receiving your proposals!

ASCLA Webinar: “Serving Blind & Visually Impaired” registration ends TONIGHT!

There are just a few hours left to reserve your seat at tomorrow’s webinar “Serving Blind and Visually Impaired in Your Library”, brought to you by the accessibility experts at the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) and presented by internationally acclaimed Leadership Strategist and ADA consultant Buna Dahal.

This awesome webinar will be valuable for:

  • public and academic librarians;
  • library staff who want to learn how to effectively communicate and provide outstanding customer service to this community;
  • reference librarians who identify and delivery materials in the most appropriate format for this community;
  • web developers who want to gain a practical understanding of Section 508.

The webinar will cover the Service Frontiers in BVIP Initiative for blind and visually impaired patrons; the legal and functional definition of blindness; the do’s & don’ts of blindness while serving blind and visually impaired patrons; how to identify 3 key resources—and potential partners—who serve the blind in your communities; and how to match your current library materials and services to the needs of the blind and visually impaired.


Webinar details: Thursday, April 5, 2012, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Central Time

Individuals can register online now.

Individual rates start at $40 for ASCLA members.

We also offer group rates: $38/person for multiple logins, and $99 for a single login.

State Library Agencies who are members of ASCLA save even more on these group rates!

>>>>>More group rate information and registration forms available at the ASCLA Online Learning page.

Registration will remain open through midnight tonight (Wednesday)!

Questions about registration? Contact or 800-545-2433, option 5.

And if this topic is of interest to you, why not join ASCLA’s Universal Access Interest Group? ASCLA membership isn’t required in order to participate in this or any of our other interest groups, but we’d love to have you as a member if you aren’t already. Add ASCLA to your membership at

Transform Your Library: Top-Notch Service for All Users!

Is your library reaching all of its users with effective services, a welcoming environment and knowledgeable staff? ASCLA, a division of ALA, offers expertise in serving special populations. Take advantage of this expertise: enroll in one of our upcoming webinars or online courses to gain valuable knowledge that will help transform your library’s services to Latino populations, the blind and visually impaired, and people with disabilities. Learn more below, or visit our online learning page to find out about all of our upcoming opportunities.

Questions? Contact or (800) 545-2433, option 5.

WEBINAR: Serving the Blind and Visually Impaired in Your Library
Thursday, April 5, 2012, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Central Time
The need for services to the blind and visually impaired is relevant to all libraries. This webinar will introduce the Service Frontiers in BVIP Initiative for blind and visually impaired patrons. During the session we will review the definition of blindness; explore disability etiquette; and learn where the blind are and how to attract them with our library services. Service Frontiers in BVIP is a first-of-its-kind in the U.S. and we will create a successful model for public libraries around the country. This program will focus on developing partnerships –between libraries and the blind & visually impaired community– which will promote an ongoing exchange of needs, ideas and solutions for improving library services to this underserved population.
Who Should Attend:
Public and academic Librarians; library staff communicating and serving this community; reference librarians identifying and delivering information materials to this community; web developers interested in gaining a practical understanding of Section 508.
Buna Dahal, internationally acclaimed leadership strategist, ADA consultant, and secretary for the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado
starts at $40 for ASCLA members. Single-login group rates are $99.

ONLINE COURSE: Improving Library Services to People With Disabilities
Apr. 23 – May 18, 2012
Two live course chat meetings: Thursday, May 3 & 17, from 3-4 pm CENTRAL/Chicago Time
REGISTER NOW. Previous course offerings have sold out!
Library services to people with disabilities are provided by all levels of library staff.  From the part-time aide charging out library materials to the library director determining policies, staff skills and attitudes are crucial for a satisfactory library experience. All libraries have a plan for serving people with disabilities, whether it is the installation of ramps or the creation of special needs story times. But improvements are always possible. Library staff who enroll will review the current level of service to people with disabilities then explore materials and sources that provide additional support or new ideas.
Who Should Take This Course:
This course is designed for all library staff, including support staff, general professional staff, age-level or subject specialists, managers and administrators.
: Kate Todd has worked as a children’s librarian for The New York Public Library and as Emerging Technologies Librarian for Manhattanville College, where she also taught “Technology for Special Education” in the graduate School of Education. She also taught the popular ALSC online course “Children with Disabilities in the Library.”
starts at $130 for ASCLA members. Group rates for multiple registrations from the same library, library system or network are available!

WEBINAR: Creating a Latino Friendly Library
Thursday, May 17, 2012, 2:00 – 3:30pm Central Time
Latino communities continue to grow and we continue to puzzle over how to get this significant segment of our communities into the library. This webinar will introduce practical and simple techniques that libraries of all sizes can use to begin the process of making Latinos feel welcome and comfortable in the library. Participants will learn how to work with and challenge the language and cultural barriers that keep Latinos from using the library.
Who Should Attend:
Anyone whose library serves Latino/Spanish-speaking populations and who is interested in implementing a plan to bring more Latinos into the library and make them feel welcome.
Yolanda J. Cuesta, lead consultant at Cuesta MultiCultual Consulting
starts at $40 for ASCLA members. Single-login group rates are $99.