Association of College & Research Libraries

Turock urges support for equity

Betty Turock

No ones knows better than college and uni- versity librarians that the information superhighway is not about the fu- ture; it’s about now. You have been at the cutting edge of information tech- nology for decades strug- gling to keep students and scholars current in their disciplines. But the public is not nearly as well versed. When asked by an AT&T survey team, “Can you help me find the information superhighway?” members of the public responded, “Just turn left on Forty-Second Street” and “I travel it all the time, but I can’t tell you how to get there from here.” Decisions are being made now by legislators and policy-makers that will affect the quality of library service in higher education well into the next century. Unless we take on the job of informing the American public what is at stake, those decisions will be made without informed public participation— and they may not be the decisions we desire. As part of ALA Goal 2000, I have focused my year as president on ensuring that all libraries are major access points to the information su perhighway. I am meeting with media in 10 cities to take this message to the American people. I will also host a summit called “A Nation Connected: Defining the Public Interest in the Information Superhighway” that I hope will become a model for other such discussions. But I cannot do it alone. I need—ALA needs— college and university librarians to play a leadership role in achieving ALA Goal 2000. As members of ACRL, you have already made a strong financial contribution. But ALA cannot succeed without your individual commitment as well. We need you to:

become members of the Library Advocacy Now! Network and to provide advocacy training for academic librarians;

urge administrators to make information technology a priority for libraries;

visit or write state legislators and Congressional representatives to urge their support for libraries on the information superhighway;

sponsor a summit on your campus;

participate in “Log on @ the Library Day”;

collect signatures for the Equity Petition.

Our libraries need your commitment now. Together we must make certain that librarians are partners in designing, implementing, organizing, and navigating the information superhighway.—Betty J. Turock, President, ALA

Copyright © American Library Association

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