Libraries Connect Deaf Communities
This is the 2022 theme of Alice L. Hagemeyer, a leader of Bridging Deaf Cultures, an interest group of the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services. . The goal is to promote public awareness of local communities in the nation, the public library about library values for people with disabilities, the deaf culture with its many aspects. E.g., Family, heritage, literary, sports, prison, health, and other cultures. This also supports “Library Connect” – the theme of Patricia M. Wong, president of the American Library Association (ALA).
The ALA Annual Conference. June 23-28, 2022 https://2022.alaannual.org.
During the week (between Sat, Sun and Mon) the Public Library Association, one of eight ALA divisions, will sponsor a deaf culture presentation on library strategy for inclusive deaf community engagement. Alice L. Hagemeyer will be the moderator with the presence of three deaf panelists. Karyn Choe, Alicia Deal, and Alec M. McFarlane. The fourth panelist will be Laurent Clerc Holt (hearing), 5x great-grandson of Laurent Clerc. Holt has been doing as part of his larger effort to raise the profile of Laurent Clerc, the first deaf visionary leader in American deaf education.
Deaf History Not To Be Forgotten in America
In April of 1817, Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (hearing) co-founded American School for the Deaf (ASD), the first-of-its-kind public school for deaf students that opened in Hartford, CT. Two American educators (hearing), Horace Mann and Samuel Gridley Howe liked the idea of using public funds when they established the first public school for the “normal” and the blind respectively in the 1930s.
In June of 1864, Clerc was a guest of honor at the inauguration of National Deaf-Mute College, which is now Gallaudet University. Today it remains the only accredited liberal arts university for deaf students in the world.
In August of 1880, two of Clerc’s former deaf students and colleagues at ASD, Thomas Brown and Edmund Booth were involved with the success of the NAD founding. behind the success, At that time many states already followed ASD to build their first school for the deaf in the US.
Fun Facts: Organizations Serving the Deaf
Tribute to the alumni of the State School for the Deaf for giving back
Ausma Smits (Illinois), founder of the International Deaf History (IDH) in 1991.
Ausma untiringly did the “plowing and planting” to make it all happen. She called the meeting of historians at The Deaf Way Conference, drafted the Bylaws, set up groundwork committee meetings, and invited some key individuals for consultation and feedback.
Retired Gallaudet History Professor, Ausma (widow of John Miller) is now living in Arizona writing her book memoir.
By Alice L. Hagemeyer, Editor FOLDA E-NEWS. January 6, 2022. www.foldadeaf.net
This week is extremely important to the deaf community.
Preservation is how we can continue to access our history even decades later.
Preservation is how we have access to the past years after an event has happened.
This year, the 2020 theme for Preservation Week is "Preserving Oral History." During this week many libraries will be participating in the national campaign to help raise awareness to the public about the importance of preservation and strive to enhance knowledge of preservation issues.
The week, which began ten years ago, is an initiative of Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association (ALA); Library of Congress (LOC) and Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
In the years since its inception, the week has garnered the support of twelve corporate sponsors and partners to help bring about recognition and progress. The week will continue to bring awareness and action towards preserving deaf history as we move forward to the future.
Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future – Ray Bradbury, award-winning author of more than three dozen books (1920-2012).
In terms of preservation, here in Maryland we already have the FOLDA collection.
It provides a rich history of the deaf community in addition to library resources.
The world could learn a lot about deaf people from browsing it today. One interesting fact that could be learned from FOLDA is that the DC public library was the first public library in the world to purchase the TTY. The TTY was basically the phone of deaf people before text messaging and instant messaging was used in computers.
Before the purchase of the TTY, the deaf had no access to the library in the same way that hearing people did. Hearing people could use the library to make phone calls, well now deaf people could too.
In 1974, some staff at DC public library learned sign language, and that was followed by a full week of deaf cultural activities which included a song in sign language, "I Hear Your Hands," presented by Rita Corey. The late Mary Jane Rhodes, a hearing mother of a deaf adult, a volunteer at the NAD, and Dr. Robert Davila from Gallaudet campus made a speech during this program. During the program, the late Frederick C. Schreiber was the first deaf person to call the library from his office at the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) in Silver Spring, MD.
Preserving deaf cultural history is as important now as it has ever been. Events like the one with DC public library would be lost without proper preservation of history. Even major events like the founding of the deaf university, Gallaudet University, must be preserved alongside the smaller events to provide a comprehensive picture of deaf history.
Deaf Culture Preservation Week provides us with an opportunity to look back on the past and work together to preserve it for the future. Without dedication to preserving the past, there will be no future for the deaf community.