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Alice Hagemeyer

Page history last edited by Ellen Perlow 13 years, 5 months ago
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Alice Hagemeyer 
Alice Lougee Hagemeyer, First Deaf Librarian for the Deaf Community in the United States.
Alice Lougee was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska in 1934 (Nebraska Library Commission, 2007). She attended the “rigidly oral” Nebraska School for the Deaf [NSD]. There she learned American Sign Language [ASL] from older students and adults. There were few library resources at NSD. Alice majored in Library Science at Gallaudet College [now University] in Washington, D.C. She married Theodore Hagemeyer, a fellow 1957 graduate of Gallaudet in 1958. Upon graduation in 1957, Alice began to work at the District of Columbia [DC] Public Library, first as a clerk, then as a cataloger. She later pursued graduate studies to become a librarian at the University of Maryland College of Library and Information Studies [CLIS] from which she graduated in 1976. She was awarded the CLIS Alumna of the Year Award in 1987.
Alice Hagemeyer worked as a professional librarian at the District of Columbia Public Library [DCPL] for 34 years, from 1957 to her retirement in 1991. Upon her graduation with a professional degree from the University of Maryland in 1976, Alice became the DCPL’s first full-time Librarian for the Deaf Community. She joined the American Library Association, determined to change the public’s lack of awareness of Deaf culture, as well as Deaf people’s “lack of enthusiasm for libraries” (DeafPeople.Com, 2007). In 1974, she initiated Deaf Awareness Week, later called Deaf Heritage Week at the DC Public Library and at libraries across the nation during which Deaf culture programs are held at DC Public Library and at libraries across the nation. She established a Deaf Culture forum in the American Library Association. In 1979, Alice established The Red Notebook for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Central Library of the DC Public Library as a “first stop” resource for information about Deaf culture. The resource, arranged in a binder to allow for frequent updating, went online in 2001: See: http://www.folda.net/ with the slogan: “Deaf Awareness begins @ your library.” In 1980, the National Association of the Deaf honored Alice with its President’s Award. Alice also is responsible for initiating the TTY/Telephone Reference Service at the District of Columbia Public Library (Lang, 2000, p. 214).
In 1986, Alice Hagemeyer co-founded Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action or FOLDA. FOLDA became an official section of the National Association of the Deaf [NAD] in 1994.
Alice Hagemeyer chaired the National Association of the Deaf Ad Hoc Committee on National Deaf History Month to officially establish March 13-April 15 in the United States as National Deaf History Month as to honor the achievements of the Deaf community and Deaf culture. She spearheaded the initiative, including endorsement by the American Library Association. The resolution also calls upon public officials, educators and librarians to celebrate with activities to highlight the contributions of the Deaf community to American society.
In June 2007, Alice Hagemeyer was awarded the highest honor given by the American Library Association – honorary membership. The text of this award reads:
“Alice Hagemeyer, the first Librarian for the Deaf Community, District of Columbia Public Library, was nominated for her passionate, lifelong interest in promoting information about the language, culture and achievements of Deaf individuals. Through her leadership she has brought the library community and the Deaf community together to expand the concept of diversity to include both Deaf individuals and people with disabilities. 
Early in her career, responding to a scarcity of books written about Deaf experiences, Hagemeyer created "The Red Notebook," a comprehensive resource on Deaf issues used by libraries nationwide to encourage Deaf people to be resourceful in using their library.  "The Red Notebook" is now available electronically as "Deaf Awareness Begins @ your library." 
In 1980 Hagemeyer founded a unit within the ALA, now known as the Library Service to People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing Forum, of the Libraries Serving Special Populations Section, of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies [ASCLA].  She also is the founder of Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action [FOLDA].
Hagemeyer has worked with several committees that focus on Deaf issues within the ALA and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). She chaired NAD's Task Force for National Deaf History Month, and served as co-coordinator of the Center for the Book's first celebration of National Deaf History Month at the Library of Congress.
Hagemeyer has received many honors and awards, including NAD President's Award; ALA/ASCLA's Exceptional Service Award; the 1987 University of Maryland College of Library and Information Services alumnus of the year award; and was elected to ALA's National Advocacy Honor Roll in 2000.
Hagemeyer is currently outreach coordinator for the National Literary Society of the
Deaf” (American Library Association, 2007).
“The ALA and NAD, [Alice] notes, are working on having the U.S. President proclaim March 13-April 15 as Deaf History Month—“but that will take time” (DeafPeople, 2007). For updates, please check: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/proclamations/

The cover of the January 1992 issue of Deaf Life features a picture of Alice Hagemeyer. (A tribute to Alice Hagemeyer, 1992).


American Library Association. (2007, March 1). ALA [American Library Association] names four honorary members [press release]. Chicago: American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/pressreleases2007/march2007/hm07.cfm
Berke, J. (2008, March 6). Deaf History Month. Retrieved June 15, 2008, from http://Deafness.about.com/cs/events/p/historymonth.htm
DeafPeople.Com. (2007, August). Alice L. Hagemeyer. library activist. Retrieved June 15, 2008, from http://www.Deafpeople.com/dp_of_month/hagemeyer.html
District of Columbia Public Library. (2004). D.C. Public Library: a pioneer in Deaf awareness. District of Columbia Public Library Annual Report (p. 4). Washington, D.C.: District of Columbia Public Library.
Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action [FOLDA]. (2007). Welcome to the red notebook. Retrieved June 15, 2008, from http://www.folda.net/home/index.html
Gallaudet University. (2007, October 18-20). Class of 1957: Golden anniversary. Retrieved June 15, 2008, from http://1957.gallaudetalumni.com/
Lang, H. G. (2000). A phone of our own: The Deaf. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. Retrieved from http://www.nad.org/site/pp.asp?c=foINKQMBF&b=2640317
National Association of the Deaf. (2007, March 9). High hands to Alice Hagemeyer. NADezine, 9(3), June 15, 2008. Retrieved from http://www.nad.org/site/pp.asp?c=foINKQMBF&b=2640317
Nebraska Library Commission. (2007, July 13). Minutes. Retrieved June 15, 2008, from http://www.nlc.state.ne.us/commis/minutes/commin72007.html
A tribute to Alice Hagemeyer: "Librarian to the Deaf community." (1992, January). Deaf Life, 7, cover.
U.S. Library of Congress. (2006, March 14). News from the Library of Congress: National Deaf History Month to Be Celebrated on April 10. Retrieved June 15, 2008, from http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2006/06-061.html
Williard, T. (2005, July 6). Library council votes to support National Deaf History Month. DeafWeekly, 1(38), June 15, 2008. Retrieved from http://www.Deafweekly.com/backissues/070605.htm
Ellen Perlow

17 June 2008


Posted by Ellen Perlow


History of Deaf Culture



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