People in every community come from all walks of life, as the saying goes. It is true but when the public library tries to reach out to unserved and underserved populations of the diversity, like the Deaf, the administration and the library trustees know about the values of library friends and local membership "advocacy" organizations.
Long history short, if it were not for the support of D.C. library friends; the D.C. Association of Deaf Citizens (DCAD), and FOLDA in the 1980s, I would not have succeeded with my job as the first-ever Librarian for the Deaf at D.C. Public Library for 15 years (1976-1991).
And I also wanted to give back, so I retired early to become a full-time library advocate in 1992 for supporting the FOLDA mission to promote library access and quality deaf cultural resources for all and internationally.
The result. Members of organizations serving the deaf community (OSD) in most states have seen library values for the Deaf in their needs of communication access to the world of knowledge and quality deaf cultural resources. More public libraries offer free ASL classes for the staff and the public, hire interpreting services and welcome OSD to use the room for their meeting and program.
Ultimately, today I want to relive the memories of the many for giving back in the late 20th century and early 21st and to share them with the new generation the history of the National Deaf History Month since 1974 and the Red Notebook Concept a.k.a Deaf Culture Digital Library (DCDL) since 1976.
Thus, I have begun recording what you could find in the FOLDA collection, from the reports of the White House Conference on Library and Information Services of 1979 and 1991 to the countless activities that help bridge deaf culture at the library. And when ready to update the FOLDA website, I would like to invite volunteers from the deaf community to help post them on the FOLDA website from their homes.
If interested to help FOLDA, please inform the NAD Deaf Culture and History Section https://www.nad.org/members/sections/deaf-culture-history-section/ or your state deaf association https://www.nad.org/members/state-association-affiliates/. Thank you!
Alice L. Hagemeyer, founding president of the FOLDA