Friday, November 12, 2010

Libraries: Have the Power to Change the World

Commentary: Technological and economic shifts have only made libraries more valuable
Washington Post: November 8, 2010 by Roberta Stevens

Today's challenging economy demands strategic investments. While the job market continues to recover, one of the best uses of public and private funds is to help ensure that people are digitally literate and are improving their employment skills.

Increasingly, the local public library serves as the community technology hub for training, digital literacy and, yes, even books.

While some believed the Internet might retire the library, the reverse has occurred. Over the past decade, libraries have embraced technology resources, and library visits and circulation have grown by 20 percent. The recession has only increased the demands on the public library.

Yet providing the full range of services to the public is possible only when libraries remain open. Locally, fiscal 2011 funding cuts have led to reduced staff and services and fewer operational hours in libraries in Arlington, Fairfax and Montgomery counties and the District.

As businesses in the D.C. area know, increasingly employment and government information is online -- and sometimes online only. Libraries open doors for millions of Americans who may lack Internet access or the skills to survive and thrive online. Sixty-seven percent of libraries, in fact, report helping library patrons apply for jobs online last year.

The 2010 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study conducted by the American Library Association and the Center for Library & Information Innovation at the University of Maryland found that in two-thirds of U.S. communities, public libraries offer the only free public access to computers and the Internet. Maryland and Virginia libraries report similar percentages statewide.

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Here's a message to elected leaders as they balance budgets: Today's libraries are an essential service and provide resources to ensure a competitive workforce.

All of us -- parents, families, seniors and businesses large or small -- must speak up to keep libraries open and available. The time to act is now: Phone or e-mail local officials supporting libraries and become a "friend of" your library.

The resources in your local library have the power to change the world; but the doors must be kept open. READ MORE !

Roberta Stevens is president of the American Library Association.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Libraries Around the World

Libraries Around the World
PRI’s The World: November 4, 2010

In the Geo Quiz we’re looking for one of the world’s oldest libraries that’s open to the public. 1368 is good year to start your search. This was the age of knights and crusaders, and the Ming Dynasty. And it’s when one King Charles V established a royal library. It packs in over 14 million books. Can you name it? …and tell us about great libraries you’ve had a chance to visit around the world.

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Now we want to tell you about one of the world’s newest libraries in Bhutan. Bhutan is a tiny kingdom sandwiched between two giants — India and China. It’s also perched high in the Himalayas — isolated for much of its history.
By Lisa Napoli

The village of Ura looks like it came out of a fairy tale a cluster of farmhouses in the midst of a valley of green. Most everyone here in this tiny community works the land. The children here represent the new, modern Bhutan: They’re learning to read, and in English.

So when a non-profit group announced it wanted to help the village start a library, the reaction was lukewarm. The library is only the second free lending library in the entire country. The other one is ten hours away in the capital Thimphu.

Kesang Choden came from there to help the villagers get the library up and running. She’s with the Bhutan office of the nonprofit group, Read Global. Choden says books aren’t the only thing in short supply in Ura.

“There’s just two stores, and those are grocery stores. You just get necessities. Like salt and oil. It’s very difficult for them to even get a pencil. Very difficult.”

Choden says some parents were worried by the idea that their kids would borrow books to take home. They were afraid the children might destroy them, and they’d have to pay. The sad part is that the parents here maybe because they’re illiterate don’t see the importance of a book. They don’t encourage their children to read. That’s the sad thing, right?

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Mostly, though, it’s kids who pack this place every day.

When we read more, we learn more, no? The children of Ura are so excited about the library that the staff is putting in extra hours. Kesang Choden doesn’t seem to mind.

Read Global hopes to open several libraries in other villages across the country by the end of the year. READ MORE !

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

6 Million Free Books Inside Boxes of Cheerios

Cheerios Serves Up 6 Million Children's Books Inside Boxes this Fall

Nov 3: Starting today, Cheerios, through its Spoonfuls of Stories program, is again bringing books to the breakfast table, by providing 6 million children's books, written in both English and Spanish, FREE inside Cheerios boxes.

Since Spoonfuls of Stories' inception in 2001, Cheerios has distributed almost 50 million children's books inside boxes. Families can see which book is inside through a special cut-out window on the front of the box, so they can select the specific book they want, or collect all 5.

Or: Check Out The Books @ Your Local Library

All the World - Elizabeth Garton Scanlon
Beach Lane Books, 2009

Chaucer's First Winter - Stephen Krensky
Simon & Schuster, 2008

Jump ! - Scott M Fischer
Simon & Schuster, 2010

No T. Rex in the Library - Toni Buzzeo
McElderry Books, 2010

The Purple Kangaroo - Michael Ian Black
Simon & Schuster, 2010