Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Are Libraries Necessary . . .

Are Libraries Necessary, or a Waste of Tax Money?
Fox News Chicago: June 28, 2010 by Anna Daylantes

Chicago - They eat up millions of your hard earned tax dollars.

It's money that could be used to keep your child's school running. So with the internet and e-books, do we really need millions for libraries?

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But should these institutions -- that date back to 1900 B.C. -- be on the way out?

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But keeping libraries running costs big money.
In Chicago, the city pumps $120 million a year into them.
In fact, a full 2.5 percent of our yearly property taxes go to fund them.

That's money that could go elsewhere – like for schools, the CTA, police or pensions [sic]

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So we decided to check it out. We used an undercover camera to see how many people used the library and what were they doing.

In an hour, we counted about 300 visitors. Most of them were using the free internet.

The bookshelves? Not so much. READ MORE !

Monday, June 28, 2010

Opportunity & Access :::

Opportunity and Access: The Power of Today's Public Libraries
Huffington Post: June 24, 2010
by Paul LeClerc
President, The New York Public Library

Anyone who hasn't been living on the far side of the moon knows and acknowledges that success today depends on information: access to it and the skills to exploit it.

And it's been recognized, at least since the time of Jefferson--who said that information is the currency of a democracy--that a more just society is founded on the notion that its people will have free access to information.

Nonetheless, communities across America are now contemplating cutting the budgets and even closing the doors of the one organization whose sole reason for existence is to provide everyone with free access to the ever-expanding universe of information today: public libraries.

The most benign interpretation that could be given to a policy of reduced funding, and therefore limited access, to public libraries is that they are no longer relevant to American society, that the dream of universal free access to information that Andrew Carnegie had when he paid for 1,500 public libraries to be built across the nation has been realized.

Those who see libraries from this perspective tend to have the money to buy whatever mode of information access they desire, be it e-book readers, iPads, physical books, or computers and hand-held devices with Internet access, wherever they are.

In other words, paying for information--if only indirectly by paying for the devices and platforms that make it available--is seen by some as the new paradigm. If physical public libraries are no longer relevant to me, how could they possibly be to others? So why continue to pay for them to be open five or six or seven days a week?

If you look at how the American public is actually using its neighborhood libraries today, however, you come up with a radically different picture.

"Opportunity for All," a remarkable new study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and published recently by the Institute of Museum and Library Services--a federal agency analogous to the two National Endowments--shows that, in the last year, an astonishing 169 million (69%) Americans 14 years of age or older visited a public library.

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This impressive report offers dramatic proof of the relevance of public libraries today. It proves that "public libraries stand out as one of the few community institutions that can address the computing and information needs of all kinds of users, from seniors who have never touched a keyboard to young entrepreneurs launching a new eBusiness strategy."

So, with more people using libraries and for more different reasons than ever before, does curtailing access to public libraries by cutting their budgets make any sense at all, from any point of view?

Or, put another way, does it really advance the welfare of any community, state, or indeed the nation, to deprive its citizens of free, ample, and cost-effective access to information through public libraries in an era when information itself is not only the foundation of our democracy but that of our economy itself?

Jefferson or Carnegie wouldn't have thought so. Neither should anyone determining the budget of a public library. READ MORE !

ALA 2010: Library Journal Helps Launch
Library Journal: June 28, 2010 by Norman Oder

In an effort to map and chronicle the full range of cuts, closings, and diminished library services nationally, Library Journal, in partnership with Mandy Knapp and Laura Solomon (contributing author and web designer of, has launched

The dynamic website, which relies on reader contributions, has begun to tracks—via links to articles, announcements, and press releases—the myriad cuts and changes affecting public libraries around the country. READ MORE !

Friday, June 25, 2010

Slow Reading

Slow Reading: An Antidote for a Fast World? June 23, 2010 by Malcolm Jones

Forgive me for the lateness of this post, but I have an excuse. Monday was the International Day of Slowness, and I’m just getting back up to speed. I’m not kidding. You can look it up. I personally find this purely serendipitous, since I discovered the IDOS while researching Slow Reading. I took it as an omen that I was onto something good. But I digress.

I’m supposed to be talking about Slow Reading. But to get there, we have to see the context. The phrase “slow reading” goes back at least as far as the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who in 1887 described himself as a “teacher of slow reading.” The way he phrased it, you know he thought he was bucking the tide. That makes sense, because the modern world, i.e., a world built upon the concept that fast is good and faster is better, was just getting up a full head of steam. In the century and a quarter since he wrote, we have seen the world fall in love with speed in all its guises, including reading—part of President John F. Kennedy’s legend was his ability to speed read through four or five newspapers every morning. And this was all long before computers became household gadgets and our BFFs.

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“You see schools where reading is turned into a race,” Thomas Newkirk, an English professor at the University of New Hampshire, told the Associated Press last week. “You see kids on the stopwatch to see how many words they can read in a minute. That tells students a story about what reading is. It tells students to be fast is to be good.”

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This may be a movement largely without leaders or organization, but it does not lack for heroes, and wouldn’t you know, they’re all writers. In 2004, Carl Honoré published In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement Is Changing the Cult of Speed. He was inspired to write his book when he caught himself about to buy a collection of “one-minute bedtime stories” to read to his children.

John Miedema, author of Slow Reading, likens the movement to the Slow Food movement, which is as much as about taking your time as it is about consuming locally grown food. Both movements encourage increased mindfulness in the conduct of routine activity. “It’s not just about students reading as slowly as possible,” Miedema says. “Slow reading is about bringing more of the person to bear on the book.” READ MORE !

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Literacy & ALA 2010 Conference

Literacy Programs & Events
ALA Conference: June 24 - 29, 2010
Washington DC

June 25:
Committee on Literacy4pm: WCC 159A/B

June 26
Listen Up! Using Audiobooks to Motivate Boys to Become Readers
As educators, we must explore more varied avenues for meeting their literacy needs.
8am – 10am: Washington Convention Center -144A-C

Tools to Promote Family Literacy and Advocacy
1:30pm – 3:30pm: Embassy Suites -Capital A/B

June 27PRIME TIME Family Reading Time: A Model Program for Strengthening Families & Building Communities
8am – 10am: Washington Convention Center -203A/B

Time to Act: An Agenda for Advancing Adolescent Literacy
Carnegie Corporation’s recently released report focuses on the essential literacy skills adolescents must learn and master.
10:30am – Noon: Renaissance Washington -Congressional Hall C

HELP! My Patron is a Cyber Patient: Learn to Help Patrons Identify Their Health Information Needs - also address health information literacy
4pm – 5pm: Washington Convention Center -209A/B

Japanese Paper Theater: Interactive Culture for Your Library PLA
Parents’ Choice Award-winning authors demonstrates how the traditional Japanese storytelling format called kamishibai (paper theater) can inspire children to develop literacy.
4pm – 5:30pm: Washington Convention Center -140A/B Children & Young Adults

June 28
Money Smart Week: Promoting Financial Literacy in Your Library
10:30am – 11:30am: Washington Convention Center -152A

The American Dream Starts @ your library
Libraries have a long tradition of offering literacy services and programs for adult English language learners. In the 21st century, times have changed, immigration patterns have changed, and libraries have changed!
10:30am – Noon: Renaissance Washington –Auditorium

Día is Diversity in Action
Día as a tool in dually reaching the Spanish and international community for literacy
1:30pm – 3:30pm: Washington Convention Center -103B

Poster Session IVSunday, June 27, 2010: 11:00am - 12:30pm
Cultivating Literacy: How to Be the Gardener of a Grassroots Lending Library Project

Pop Top Pavilion: Monday, June 28: Graphic Novel Monday
Great Graphic Novels for Teens: Ground zero for a cultural shift in American publishing.
9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Superbooks: How Graphic Novels Can Save Your Library with Amazing Circulation
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Reading and Teaching with Graphic Novels: Navigating the Resources
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Graphic Novel Editors: The Masters of Design
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Library Advocacy Day
Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 11:00 a.m Upper Senate Park

Library advocates from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. will meet at Upper Senate Park on the U.S. Capitol grounds. ALA will host a rally to begin at 11:00 a.m. and feature guest speakers, photo ops, and a chance to cheer on libraries! After the rally, participants will meet with their elected officials and their staffs in their Capitol Hill offices. For this year only, Library Advocacy Day will replace National Library Legislative Day (NLLD).

Health Literacy Missouri leads effort to educate on health care

Health Literacy Missouri leads effort to educate on health careColumbia Missourian: June 15, 2010 by Elisa Essner

COLUMBIA — Martin Ratermann has told his story many times — twice before a sizable crowd. But in a crowded conference room Tuesday, he still teared up as he recalled again the medical nightmare from which he's only recently emerged.

Doctors diagnosed Ratermann with stage 4 rectal cancer in July 2008. It was a cancer that was preventable, he said, but seven years of symptom dismissal by both him and his doctors resulted in what several physicians told him was the worst case they'd seen.

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Ratermann's feelings are not unique. Low levels of health literacy — a person's ability to obtain basic health information and use it to make appropriate medical decisions — impede patient care at facilities across the state and nation.

Low levels of health literacy also cost Missouri residents $5.2 billion annually, according to research done at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patients unable to navigate preventative care options often resort to more expensive emergency services because they don't know what else to do.

Nearly 250 health professionals from across the state met Tuesday in Columbia to discuss various initiatives aimed at improving health literacy. Coordinated by the newlyformed nonprofit, Health Literacy Missouri, the summit focused on collaboration and partnership. READ MORE !

Friday, June 18, 2010

Collection Primer for Adult Ed - The ABC's of Adult Ed

The ABC's of Adult EdLibrary Journal: June 1, 2010 by Lucy Roehrig

According to the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy it is estimated that 93 million adults in the United States have basic or below basic literacy skills. Those individuals found most lacking in literacy skills were adults living in poverty, adults lacking a high school diploma, seniors and the elderly aged 65 and older, the more than one million incarcerated adults, and foreign-born adults who came to this country at age 19 or older. The struggle to read and write greatly increases the difficulty of finding a job in today's tough market.

Statistics from the National Commission on Adult Literacy indicate that 80–90 million U.S. adults today—about half of the adult workforce—do not have the basic education and communication skills required to get, or advance in, jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage. Future job growth, according to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics will be in professional sectors that require postsecondary education or training, such as computer systems, health care, and social work. About 40 percent of job openings over the next decade will require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree, and the major decline will be in the manufacturing industries, where many of the adults with low to no literacy would otherwise be employed. The job outlook for people who can't read well is grim.

Attracting challenged readers

Libraries are an essential component in assisting adult basic education students, as well as in providing up-to-date materials to help them improve themselves. But adults who cannot read or struggle with reading are some of the hardest to reach for any library.
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Some challenged readers may be intimidated by librarians and the library itself. Others may not perceive that illiteracy is a problem until they face a situation such as the loss of a job, the need to help their child with homework, or an emergency that makes them aware of this deficit in their education.

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Libraries as learning environments
Creating a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere for learning is especially important to bringing the adult basic education student and tutor into the library. Many libraries have a literacy center, either within their community or in the building; others offer on-site tutoring for adults, or at least space for tutors to meet with students. Family literacy programs are also quite popular within libraries and schools.

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A collection primer for adult ed

Adult Basic Ed Students
For the Tutor

Going on to Higher Education
AV Material
Free Adult Ed Websites
Adult Literacy Sites

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Consult the National Center for Family Literacy for more information on starting a center in your area. If you are looking for a place that offers literacy assistance for any age group, go to the National Institute for Literacy's literacy directory.

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Lastly, if you are interested in more information on professional materials and web sites about literacy, please see Paul Deane's “Literacy Defined” (LJ 9/1/04;).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

National Bathroom Reading Month: June

National Bathroom Reading Month: Number One Yahoo – The Spark: June 4, 2010 by Liz Gill

The Bathroom Reader’s Institute started a movement more than two decades ago devoted to providing quality reading materials tailored to the unique needs of bathroom browsers. Although none of our colleagues currently relies on the official book, we have assembled what may be the beginning of a Canon of the Commode, in hopes that our suggestions might make your quality time even better.

National Scavenger Hunt @ the Bathroom Reader Institute.

Grand prize: A shiny new iPad and 10 Uncle John Bathroom Reader books of your choice.
3 lucky runner ups will get another ten books each—and each and every book will be signed by Uncle John’s himself !

Scavenger Hunt ends on June 30
Submissions due by July 5
Winners announce on July 12

The rules are simple –click here for complete rules:

Keep an eye out for the daily task, posted on BRI's blog, Facebook & Twitter.
Follow the rules and complete each required task.
Don’t send it to BRI right away!
Email your complete set of answers/submissions at the end of the contest by July 5

~ The person with the most items “collected” will be our final winner.
~ If there is a tie, we will do a random drawing for the winner.

P.S. Due to the different contest rules in different countries, our lawyers are only allowing us to open the scavenger hunt up to US residents. We apologize to our fans in other countries.

The first 4 tasks:
1. Take a picture of your bathroom.

2. Send BRI the headline and link of the 1st Neatorama blog post of 2010.
3. What is the age of the woman who bungee jumped with her dad in one of BRI's earlier blogs from this year?
4. Take a friend or loved one to a home supply store, go to the bathroom department, and photograph the two of you having a "lightsaber fight" with plungers. (If you get in trouble, then we don't know you.)

other sites of interest:
Top 10 Bathroom Books: a list of even more recommendations.
The Little Loo Library - articles about selecting periodicals for your washroom.
Top 10 Bathroom Reading Material: even more inspired ideas, these from readers.
The Best in Comic Books: helps you start your comics shelf (in any room).

Regarding the bathrooms: a privy to the past
Kate Klise – Harcourt, 2006

Friday, June 4, 2010

Library Advocacy Day Video Winners

Library Advocacy Day Video Contest

The American Library Association held a video contest for Library Advocacy Day. Videos were created and uploaded to Vimeo and tagged "library advocacy day."

ALA Day on the Hill is June 29: 11 am @ Upper Senate Park, Wash DC.

Winners were announced June 1, 2010.

First: Imagine from Joyce Valenza

Second: Baldwinsville Public Library from Julia E. Schult
Honorable Mention: Questions of the Heart from Rachael Harrington

You can also watch other entries @ Vimeo

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mission Readiness - Alarm Bells on Reading

Alarm bells on reading
Times Record: June 3, 2010 by Robert J Winglass
retired Marine, lieutenant general, Bath

Your May 19 editorial, “Reading remains key to success,” is right on target. Although Maine’s fourth-graders rank third nationally, our students still do not meet the “proficient reading” standard. No state does. This should send off alarm bells for parents, grandparents like me, teachers and all concerned citizens.

Improving literacy of our nation’s students is key to all their future successes. As a retired Marine lieutenant general, I would add that our national defense also depends on improving literacy of today’s children.

A recent national report from “Mission Readiness: Military Leaders for Kids” reveals that 75 percent of Americans, ages 17 to 24, are ineligible to serve in our military for three primary reasons: 1.) They did not graduate from high school. 2.) They are physically unfit. 3.) They have a criminal record. For young Americans who do graduate and attempt to enlist, 30 percent still fail the military’s entrance exam. This is a national security issue and should be a concern of all regardless of views on military service.

To solve this problem, we must help more young people succeed academically. The best tool to do so is high-quality early learning. Research shows that high-quality early childhood education can improve graduation rates by as much as 44 percent. Graduating from high school ensures that young people are prepared for the ‘career’ pursuit they choose.

Congress has an opportunity to help make certain that more kids read at grade level and graduate from high school by providing incentives to states to increase access to high-quality early education programs like pre-kindergarten in the reauthorization of the public education bill. Our schools need to move toward a pre-K through grade 12 focus. Our country’s future success, as well as our national security, depends on young people who are both prepared and qualified.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Best Library - Librarian Blogs

The Best of Library and/or Librarian Blogs

Top 10 of the Top 25 Librarian Blogs
@ May 29, 2010 by alexis

Never Ending Search
2. Bright Ideas
3. Connie Crosby
4. The Daring Librarian
5. The Dewey Blog
6. Annoyed Librarian
7. No Shelf Required
8. Social Networking in Libraries
9. Peter Scott’s Library Blog
10. Resource Shelf


Best Library Blogs @ Salem Press: June 2010

General Library Blogs
First place: Libraries and Transliteracy

Quirky Library Blogs
First place: Awful Library Books

Academic Library Blogs
First place: No Shelf Required

Public Library Blogs
First place: Agnostic, Maybe

School Library Blogs
First Place: Bib 2.0


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Why Closing More Public Libraries . . .

Why Closing More Public Libraries Might Be The Best Thing (…Right Now) May 27, 2010 by AndyW

In Roman times, there was a uncommon military discipline practice called decimation. Meant as a way to punish cowardly or mutinous soldiers, it was a brutal practice in which groups of ten would draw lots; one man would be selected to be killed by the other nine men through clubbing, stoning, or only with their hands and feet. This ‘removal of a tenth’ punishment sent a clear message to the survivors: your actions (or lack of action) put you at risk for a disgraceful death. It was warning to all, a vicious lesson that the cruelty of the battlefield is nothing compared to the cruelty of your fellow countrymen.

With this emergence of a seemingly constant cycle of state and local budget crises occurring around the United States right now, this would be the perfect opportunity for the library profession to engage in some introspection. There is no better time than the present to engage in critical evaluation of the librarian as a profession, the public library funding models, the state of advocacy, and the current vision and path of the public library. I do not believe that the status quo of these aspects create a stable future continuity. This is the right time to get our proverbial house in order so as to secure the future of the institution in ten, twenty, fifty, and one hundred years from now.

First, there needs to be a philosophical shakeup in the librarian professional ranks.

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Personally, in the future, I think that the main focus of librarianship will rest on two areas: transliteracy and customer service. For me, transliteracy is the best umbrella concept to the multi-disciplinary knowledges that the future of information will require. With information storage occurring in a multiple of mediums (audio, video, and written recordings, for example), the ability to navigate the formats will become a necessity. As to the latter, customer service is perhaps our most touted and most overlooked professional criteria. People skills are a sorely overlooked basic requirement of librarianship. A librarian could be well versed in every item in a library, but it wouldn’t matter a single bit if they lack the social skills to communicate this information with the patrons. Our jobs exist because of the people who come there, not the materials; otherwise, they could just hire a watchman to mind the building. I’m not aware of any library programs that teach any aspect of this vital skill, whether it is managing different personalities, conflict resolution, or other forms of social diplomacy. And this needs to change.

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Second, the current public library funding models need to be re-evaluated (and in some cases, restarted completely). Whether it is a dedicated tax line or levy, allotment of public funds, greater care and consideration need to be established between the library and those who write the checks for the funds.

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With less public libraries, it will be the time to see which funding models thrive or flounder. These financial schemes can be evaluated and replicated in places that are looking to start or restart their libraries. Furthermore, it can create a chance to examine the relationships which impact library funding. In studying this aspect further, the profession can look at ways to instruct librarians (both old and new) as to how best to pursue their government financial minders. With perpetuity in mind, the profession can work towards creating the relationship that will result in a lasting funding scheme.

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Third, library advocacy needs to move to a more consistent feature as part of the profession. The present prevalent format (desperate reactionary advocacy) should not be the status quo. It cannot continuously be an act of survival, content in the notion that the library get just enough funding to fight another day. While generally on a longer timeline, it begs compassion fatigue as the library funding needs to saved yet again.

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Fourth, the current vision and path of the public library needs some prolonged and serious discussion. This is already occurring in different places at different levels, but even with the amount of communication technology present, there seems to be people missing out on these dialogues. Even then, there is emphasis on particular aspects (such as Web 2.0, specific forms of outreach to niche communities, age based collection development, and so forth) rather than the library as an institutional whole. This is the conversation that really needs to happen before those in the profession attempt to fill in the details.

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In my reckoning, it will take a catalyst such as the closing of more public libraries to reach this time in the wilderness. This modern decimation of our shared public institution should be the time to draw a new lesson: that it is not the end of the dreams of Franklin and Carnegie, but it is the beginning of a new era in the public collection and dissemination of knowledge. To step forth into this future, we must break from some practices of the past. If it takes the closing of libraries today in order to secure the future of libraries tomorrow, as painful as this would be, it just might be the right thing for the librarian profession.

Additional thoughts on this idea: The World Without Public Libraries