|New York State Library|
Libraries for the Future (LFF), a national non-profit organization, launched EqualAccess Libraries in 2003 thanks to a $1.05 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and contributions from other partners.
After working with a number of public libraries across the country, LFF realized that libraries needed training in how to be community-responsive — how to adapt and expand programming and services in new and innovative ways to meet community needs and interests — especially in this ever-changing digital age. With this as the focus, LFF developed the 4-day EqualAccess Libraries Institute.
Trainings were first held in Pennsylvania and Arizona. Then in mid-2005, EqualAccess came to New York through a partnership with the New York State Library, New York Library Association, and Public Library System Directors Organization. Three New York EqualAccess Libraries Institutes have been held from 2006 to 2008 in Albany, Tarrytown, and Geneva. To date, Massachusetts and Connecticut have also joined the list of states to offer EqualAccess trainings.
EqualAccess Libraries Institutes include the following three components:
- Guiding Principles
The seven principles define what it is to be community-responsive — the first being An EqualAccess Library goes beyond business as usual. Participants use these principles to evaluate the effectiveness of their attitudes and practices.
- Access Skills Framework
The framework of six core skills — from assessment to evaluation — provides participants with a roadmap for developing programming and services for any target audience.
- Access Programs
The three programs give participants a deeper understanding of specific target audiences (health consumers, Baby Boomers and older adults, and youth ages 10-18), as well as tips, tools, and resources for meeting these groups’ unique needs.