ASCLA President’s Report 2009
By Carol Ann Desch, ASCLA Past President

It has been an honor and privilege to serve as President of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) from 2008-2009.� I am pleased to report that this was a busy and productive year for the Division.� ASCLA produced a strong slate of educational and networking opportunities for ALA members interested in the work and future of state library agencies, cooperative and multitype library systems, libraries serving special populations and independent librarians.�� Individual members of ASCLA continue to donate time, energy and considerable expertise toward the goal of enhancing the effectiveness of library service for all Americans.


Leadership and Planning

  • After a comprehensive national search, ASCLA and RUSA have successfully hired a new ASCLA/RUSA Executive Director.� Susan Hornung will begin her position on July 27, 2009.� She will be attending Annual Conference in Chicago. This appointment fills the position vacated by Barb Macikas on May 1, 2009.
  • Liz Markel, Marketing Specialist, joined the ASCLA staff in July 2008 bringing fresh ideas and enthusiasm to ASCLA’s membership promotion, educational programming, event planning and marketing efforts.
  • ASCLA leadership met at Midwinter 2009 to discuss the Division’s future in preparation for developing a new ASCLA strategic plan and fully participating in ALA’s 2015 planning.
  • ASCLA continued its participation in the Emerging Leader initiative, supporting costs for one 2009 Emerging Leader, Ethan Anderson. Ethan is one member of an Emerging Leader Team working on an ASCLA project to develop the timeline and resources needed to regularly update the Library Networks, Cooperatives, and Consortia report data. ASCLA/ICAN chair, Deborah Littrell, is serving as the Team mentor. The existing data was collected from over 200 library networks, cooperative, and consortia a few years ago through a project administered by the ALA Office for Research and Statistics (ORS) and funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The continuation of this project was turned over to ASCLA.
  • ASCLA’s Membership Committee has developed a new membership promotion plan. Implementation began at ALA Annual Conference.

Awards and Scholarships

  • For the tenth year, ASCLA awarded a $2,500 ASCLA Century Scholarship. The 2009 scholarship recipient is Amy Sonnie, a Master’s student at San Jose State University.� The scholarship will fund services or accommodations that are either not provided by law or otherwise by the university that will enable the student to successfully complete the course of study for a Master’s or Doctorate in Library Science and become a library or information studies professional.
  • ASCLA raised an additional $1,145 for the Century Scholarship program at Midwinter by hosting a silent auction during the popular ASCLA/COSLA Reception.� A similar event will be held during Annual Conference (see ASCLA/COSLA reception below for more information).
  • The 2009 Francis Joseph Campbell Award was presented to Ray LaHood, current U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary for his leadership and advocacy benefiting the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped digital talking books transition. Before becoming Secretary of Transportation, LaHood served for 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 18th District of Illinois (from 1995-2009). The Library Service to People with Visual or Physical Disabilities Forum, of the Libraries Serving Special Populations Section (LSSPS) presents the award.
  • The ASCLA/Keystone Library Automation System (KLAS)/National Organization on Disability (NOD) Award was presented to Margaret Kolaya, director of the Scotch Plains Public Library, and Daniel Weiss, director of the Fanwood Memorial Library, both in New Jersey, for the development of “Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected.” Donated by Keystone Systems, Inc. the $1,000 award and certificate is given to a library organization that has provided services for people with disabilities. Kathleen Hegarty, Chair of the ASCLA Awards Committee, commented on the choice of “Libraries and Autism” for the award:� “This outstanding project has launched a virtual campaign to make libraries aware of people on the autism spectrum and, most notably, to train librarians to serve this growing, underserved population. Its accessible website offers valuable background information, a superb customer service training film, and supportive materials and graphics, all of which can be downloaded. State sponsorship, able project leadership, the involvement of the autism community, and highly effective promotion have contributed to the success of an initiative that has had national impact.”

Programs and Pre-conferences

  • Two pre-conferences, nine programs and two special events were held at the 2009 Annual Conference in Chicago. Topics ranged a wide variety of topics including: customer service the Trump Entertainment Resorts way, funding for digitization, major trends in LSTA and the newest trends in physical delivery and large print, revitalizing the library experience to making the most of collaboration and innovation, community hospice programs, the theory of multiple intelligences, and broadband services to career opportunities in correctional libraries.
  • A condensed version of ASCLA’s “Be My Guest: Customer Service from the Best” pre-conference was selected as an ALA Virtual Conference program for 2009.
  • ASCLA has two institutes planned for the 2010 Midwinter Meeting in Boston: “Universal Design: One Library for All People” and “Tips for Librarians Who want to Become Expert Consultants”

Partnering for Success

  • 2007 ASCLA President Marilyn Irwin led a small group of dedicated ASCLA leaders in developing and submitting a three year $605,951 Laura Bush 21st� Century Librarianship Program grant application to the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.� If funded, the IMLS grant would provide funding for ASCLA and ALA to build upon the successes of the ASCLA Century Scholarship program.� The IMLS grant would provide financial support for some 30 individuals with disabilities to obtain an MLS.
  • The ASCLA Legislation Committee partnered with COSLA, the ALA Legislation Committee, the ALA Washington Office and others to develop and implement strategies for 2009 reauthorization of the Museum and Library Services Act and to increase federal funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) program.
  • ASCLA continued its work on the Library Support Staff Certification Program, partnering with ALA and� other ALA Divisions and units on this important initiative.
  • Two ASCLA representatives will participate in the “Forum on the Future of Government Information” on July 10.
  • ASCLA partnered successfully with COSLA to offer well-attended dessert receptions open to all ALA members at both the Midwinter and Annual Conferences. The 2009 Annual Conference reception is scheduled for Sunday, July 12, 9:00-11:30 pm at the Chicago Marriott in Room Chicago D. All conference participants are invited to partake in delicious desserts and bid on exciting items from PBS, Lonely Planet publishers,, and the Illinois Library Association, among other donors.

Communications and Publications

  • Emily Inlow-Hood, new editor of Interface, ASCLA’s quarterly newsletter, has taken this highly valued publication online in an appealing and accessible new format. Interface is renowned for its relevance and extensive resources.� Visit:
  • ASCLA is working with the Library of Congress to revise the 2005 publication, Standards and Guidelines of Services for the Library of Congress Network of Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
  • COSLA and ASCLA formally agreed this year to work together to update the information in the appendices to the 2000 publication “Functions and Roles of State Library Agencies” for posting on the COSLA and ASCLA websites.
  • Under the leadership of the Web Services Manager and Will Reed, ASCLA Website Task Force chairperson, the revision of the ASCLA website, a year-long project, will be completed by the Fall.
  • ASCLA promoted two new online toolkits designed to help library staff and trustees better serve customers with specific needs in a respectful and productive manner.
  • Think Accessible Before You Buy: Questions to Ask to Ensure that the Electronic Resources Your Library Plans to Purchase are Accessible.
  • Toolkit for Serving Patrons with Special Needs


ASCLA sections were hard at work as well, insuring that the goals of ASCLA’s Strategic Plan as well as their individual section missions were being met.

  • Independent Librarian’s Exchange Section (ILEX) is assisting ASCLA in planning an institute for the 2010 Midwinter Meeting in Boston entitled� “Tips for Librarians Who Want to Become Expert Consultants.
  • Interlibrary Cooperation and Networking Section (ICAN) was extremely active during 2009, working to offer education and networking opportunities for librarians who work in cooperatives, networks and service delivery.
  • ICAN continues its work with OITP through the joint task force:� ASCLA-ICAN/OITP Task Force on Regional Library Cooperatives and High-speed Broadband.� The task force is charged with exploring the role of regional cooperatives in supporting development of broadband services in public libraries.
  • ICAN’s two newest discussion groups, Collaborative Digitization and Physical Delivery, continue to grow and bring in new audiences.
  • ICAN planned one preconference and three annual conference programs for ALA Annual Conference:
  • “After the Grant Runs Out: Funding Collaborative Digitization” (preconference)
  • “Future Perspectives: Collaboration and Innovation”
  • “Moving Mountains: Latest Trends in the Physical Delivery of Library Materials”
  • “Transforming Library Service Through Broadband Access: The Role of Regional Library Cooperatives (cosponsored with ALA OITP)”.

Library Services to Special Populations Section (LSSPS) accomplished the following:

  • Library Service to Prisons Forum (LSPF) continues to work with the ASCLA Standards Committee to revise the 1992 Library Standards for Adult Correctional Institutions.
  • Four programs and a social function were organized for the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago:

o “Do You Belong in Jail? Career Opportunities in Correctional Libraries”
o “Large Print for All: Bigger is Better”
o “Libraries and Hospice: Developing a Vital Community Partnership”
o “Multiple Intelligences@Your Library: A Tool for Better Services”
o�� LSSPS Annual Dinner

State Libraries Agency Section (SLAS) focused on growing the section. Activities included:

  • The LSTA Coordinators and Youth Consultant Discussion Groups had strong participation at their meetings.� The section is focused on reinvigorating the General Consultants group, the only forum within ALA for state library staff involved in consulting work with local libraries.
  • Given the need to reauthorize the Museum and Library Services Act in 2009, the SLAS conference program organized for Chicago could not be timelier!� The program presented in partnership with the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services and research consultants Himmel and Wilson: “What Can $930 Million Do for Library Services Nationwide? The Impact and Future Directions of LSTA”.