Today's Library Users of America (LUA) finds itself tackling the complexities of the contemporary library environment. The question has to be addressed: "What is the work of LUA?" Our mission has changed. Once upon a time, the work of LUA was essentially concerned with what was going on with NLS and its regional libraries. Certainly, NLS remains the centerpiece of recreational reading for the population of print-impaired people. However, this era of electronic information processing in which we are now living has changed the landscape of library service.
As LUA's current president, I have found it difficult to reinvigorate LUA or organize it to confront today's advocacy issues with regard to the printed word and library access. I am no different from most who are involved with the new industry of library. I, too, am confused about the diverse and complex directions the field has taken. We seem to be struggling with the transition from an almost exclusive focus on NLS and analog issues to digitized access to libraries, their materials and programs. Our scope of interest and attention has been inflated to a bewildering extent. Even five years ago, who would have thought about access to the burgeoning world of voice-over-Internet protocol (VOIP) virtual reference? Who could have known the shape of the battlefields on which we fight for accessible textbooks for our students? Who envisioned our access to digitized reading materials from commercial publishers? The one constant is access to braille library materials, and even that landscape seems to be changing with services such as Web-Braille. In short, the entire industry of libraries has been turned on its ear (no pun intended), and LUA cannot define its place in this environment without your input. I implore everyone to do what you can to attend convention this year, and come to LUA's program sessions. Or, even better, join LUA; dues are $12 per year. We must have access to your thoughts on LUA's place in the world of 21st century library service for print-impaired people.
For additional information about LUA, contact Pat Price, treasurer, 5707 Brockton Drive #302, Indianapolis, IN 46220-5481; phone (317) 254-1185; e-mail [email protected]
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