Jessamyn's take on the ALA/Walgreens "Partnership"


An Anonymous Patron sends "us a link to Jessamyn's ALA council list posts about the controversial partnership between ALA and Walgreens which came together as a way to inform patrons about the new prescription drug card."


I am not too concerned about the ALA / Walgreens partnership for a number of reasons.

1) The pamphlet referred to is produced by Medicare and is authoritative. It is fairly clear and describes how to get any of the cards.

2) In Florida the available cards carry no signup fee as far as my research as of last week shows. I am an RN and my parents are old enough to qualify for these so I have taken a critical look at the program.

3) Those who would benefit most from the cards, those whose incomes are low enough to qualify them for the $600 credit towards prescriptions pay no fee no matter which card they select. If they do not sign up for the card they will not receive the $600 credit.

4) Few if any people outside the library community have any idea what the American Library Association is. Since it offers virtually no services to non-library and non-librarian community members it really makes little difference to the end users. The @ your library program is probably the only program that the public has seen. As most people don't know that librarianship requires an MLS, and that library schools are accredited by the ALA the work of the ALA is virtually unnoticed by the public.

5) The ALA does not offer medical advice and few patrons come to the library realistically expecting medical advice. Medical information yes, but advice no. I'm sure there are anecdotal instances of patrons showing a librarian a rash or lesion, but most people are bright enough to know medical diagnosis is not available at the library.

6) The pamphlet contains authoritative sources for further information: the Medicaid card program toll free number and web site. Librarians can certainly assist patrons with accessing either of these resources.

7) Scotto's plumbing and McDonalds sponsor the upkeep of the little league field near my house; I don't think they are the only providers of food or toilets to little league players.
Although I seldom have anything nice to say about the ALA (or the Democrats, Republicans, United Way or France) there is not some grand conspiracy. Walgreens & The ALA got together to distribute authoritative information about a program that may be valuable to some patrons. Complaints arise when the GBLT association, or the Christian Community Corps or other groups distribute literature at the library, but those groups’ literature remains. Mercedes sponsors the PBS program I am watching, that does not mean I am going to rush out and buy a Mercedes. (Not on a librarian's pay).

I would like to know how much Walgreens kicked in. If the ALA can accept money from Michael Moore they can certainly accept if from a pharmacy chain. Big business is not the enemy.

For the record I use a local independent pharmacy when I get any prescriptions filled. I also import maintenance medications for my family from Mexico and Ireland when I travel. Drug company representatives also give me samples from time to time.

I think the points she makes are good--especially since she doesn't seem to know the details of the arrangement. However, this arrangement doesn't look too healthy either:

Fahrenheit 9/11 will be shown at ALA in the Auditorium at the Convention Center, Sunday night, June 27, at 10 pm, two days after it opens nationwide. There will be a $10 donation that will go to ALA's efforts in the areas of the First Amendment, Intellectual Freedom, and the struggle against the USA PATRIOT Act.

If ALA gets the donation, what does Michael Moore get? And since when is he the expert on intellectual freedom? Follow the money, folks.

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