In 1990, the American Library Association adopted Policy 61, Library Services for the Poor.
This “Poor People’s Policy” was developed to ensure that libraries are accessible and useful to low-income citizens and to encourage a deeper understanding of poverty’s dimensions, its causes, and ways it can be ended.
In 1996, members of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) (SRRT) formed the Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty Task Force to promote and implement Policy 61 and to raise awareness of poverty issues.
Since then, the task force has …
- mounted major conference programs
- secured policy-support from ALA Presidential candidates
- initiated a SRRT resolution on poverty-related subject headings
- distributed resource information
- encouraged the ALA Office for Literacy & Outreach Services (OLOS) Advisory Committee to create a Poverty Subcommittee
- published a first-ever statement on class and libraries in American Libraries
- inspired the publication of Poor People and Library Services (McFarland, 1998), edited by former task force chair Karen Venturella
- and coordinated poverty-focused surveys of ALA units and members in 2007.
To date, the potential of Policy 61 is only partially realized, and much work remains to be done. Won’t you join us?
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The Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty Task Force is one of several issue-oriented task forces within the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) of the American Library Association.
SRRT has worked effectively to make ALA more democratic and to establish progressive priorities not only for the Association, but also for the entire profession. Concern for civil and economic rights was an important element in the founding of SRRT and remains an urgent concern today.
SRRT believes that libraries and librarians must recognize and help solve social problems and inequities in order to carry out their mandate to work for the common good and bolster democracy.