Thursday, October 30, 2014

How Andrew Carnegie Built the Architecture of American Literacy @ City Lab

Free To All
How Andrew Carnegie Built the Architecture of American Literacy
The philanthropist covered the U.S. in libraries between 1893 and 1919. How many survive—and the forms they've taken—points to what kind of structures make a city center.
City Lab: 10.28.2014 by Kriston Capps

Earlier this month, the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., ditched its plans to move into the Carnegie library in Mt. Vernon Square. The last of several meetings with the city's Historic Preservation Review Board had yielded another round of modifications to the museum's plans to adapt the building. But the Spy Museum had run out of time.

"We loved the opportunity that was put forth to make a home in a historic part of the city," says Jason Werden, communications manager at the International Spy Museum. "It was a lot to juggle, but it was something that was going well for a long time."

D.C.'s Spy Museum had hoped to erect an addition, one designed by the Philadelphia architecture firm MGA Partners with the landscape firm OLIN, that would surround the existing 1903 Carnegie library on three sides. The plan would've seen the building joined by two glass pavilions on its east and west ends, along with glass walkways around its north face, while adding even more space below grade.

The plan proved to be too much for District preservationists. Yet modern glass pavilions and basement tunneling are not necessarily out of the ordinary for a Carnegie library today. Across the nation, the libraries that Andrew Carnegie built have been transformed and reused as historical museums, city halls, art centers, and even bars and restaurants, sometimes by dramatic means.

It is a testament to Carnegie's philanthropic investment in cities—the largest in U.S. history—that so many of these buildings are still in use. Yet no one can say exactly how many are standing now. Despite the important roles the libraries continue to play in towns and cities, our understanding of these buildings as a piece of civic infrastructure is far from cohesive.
A $1 Billion Program for Invisible Infrastructure

"It can be really hard to tell whether a library is a Carnegie library," says Abigail A. Van Slyck, author of Free to All: Carnegie Libraries & American Culture, 1890–1920 and dean at Connecticut College. "You essentially have to have a document. Or they have to have named it 'the Carnegie library.' Or put it in the cornerstone."

Between 1893 and 1919—a three-decade run that librarians refer to as the Golden Age of the American public library system—Carnegie paid to build 1,689 libraries in the U.S. These seeded the DNA for nearly every American library built before the end of World War II. That may explain in part why there is no central accounting for Carnegie's libraries, which were built without any oversight from a formal program or foundation: Even libraries that aren't historical Carnegie libraries share their aesthetic philosophy.  READ MORE !

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Literacy: Spanning the U.S. - Hampton Roads VA :: Wayne Co PA :: San Diego Co CA

Literacy:  Spanning the U.S.

Literary Joy In Peninsula Pages
Peninsula literacy agency helps adults discover joy of reading
Daily Press: 10.14.2014 by Leah Price

Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price helps mark 46 years of service by Peninsula READS to Hampton Roads by presenting Paula L. Bazemore, executive director, with a proclamation that celebrates the agency's achievements.

The love of books and reading — my guess is that's what brought you to this page. I also guess you enjoy a story, real or fiction, that will entertain, enlighten or enrich your life in some way. I do too. Books are important to me. Reading is important.

But what if the words on this page appeared to you as nothing more than lines and squiggles? What if you couldn't read?

That might seem an improbability in our country, in an age of public education. But according to — citing data from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy — 32 million adult Americans cannot read at all. If you look deeper into the numbers, you'll see that 21 percent of adults read below fifth-grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates cannot read. That's a whole lot of people barricaded from the joy of reading, and learning.

If you're like me, you wonder how those numbers can be that high.

Paula L. Bazemore, executive director of Newport News-based literacy group Peninsula READS, explained via email that the causes of illiteracy — throughout the country and in Hampton Roads — are multi-faceted.

They stem from poverty, unemployment and other socio-economic conditions, she said.  READ MORE !

Enriching people's lives with the gift of literacy for 28 years
News Eagle: 10.13.2014

HAWLEY - Newly hired Executive Director, David Sutton of the Wayne Pike Adult Literacy Program (WPALP) welcomed volunteer tutors and guests at the 28th Annual Tutor Recognition Luncheon. The affair, where volunteers are recognized and the Student of the Year is announced, was held September 18 at the 1st Presbyterian Church in Hawley.

Board President Annette Petry expressed heartfelt gratitude for the volunteer tutors who worked so hard throughout the year.

WPALP volunteer tutors continue to help students improve skills and attain educational goals.  With one on one instruction geared for students’ needs along with a combination of encouragement and mentoring, real life changes are made possible for many adults who come to the Wayne Pike Adult Literacy Program seeking help.  READ MORE !

San Diego Council on Literacy

WS Radio: 10.10.2014 by Drew Schlosberg

UT San Diego Community Spotlight

Jose Cruz, President and CEO of the San Diego Council on Literacy (SDCOL), and Michael Leake, SDCOL Board Chair, chat about the extent of illiteracy in San Diego County and community-based approaches to literacy solutions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Babbling Day - October 21

Small Talkhow to develop
your child's language skills
from birth to age four
Nicola Lathey & Tracey Blake
The Experiment, [2014] ©2013
Babbling Day – October 21

Babbling back to babies helps them to speak faster: Researchers prove that attentive mothers aid child development
Mothers who interact with their babies speed up their language skills
Parents who do not respond to their child's gurgling inhibit development
US researchers studied 12 mothers and their babies over a six month period
Daily Mail: 8.28.2014 by Jenny Hope

It may just sound like baby talk, but mothers who hold a ‘conversation’ with their infants are actually teaching them to speak more quickly.

Researchers found new mothers who respond enthusiastically to their baby’s babbling are helping to speed up the child’s language development

They say parental feedback is a vital process that enables mothers and babies to become mutually engaged in ‘talking’.

It enhances the ability of children to communicate – unlike cases where mums did not respond attentively.

A new study, by US academics at the University of Iowa (UI) and Indiana University, serves as evidence that speaking to infants at a very early age is vital for their development.

The authors say parents who babble back at their newborns – even if they don’t understand what they’re trying to say – are a key part of the process.  READ MORE !

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Literacy: Spanning the U.S. - Delaware Co PA :: Colusa Co CA :: Smyth Co VA

Literacy:  Spanning the U.S.

Adult literacy champions praised in Delco
Philadelphia Tribune: 10.01.2014 by Louis Bolling

The Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) recently announced its 2014 Champions of Adult Literacy.

Kristin Ball Motley, pharmacist and owner of Health Care Solutions of Delaware Valley; State Rep. Joe Hackett and the nonprofit organization Clarifi are the 2014 Champions of Adult Literacy.

These community leaders will be honored at the 2nd Annual Champions of Adult Literacy Awards reception and fundraiser, Thursday, Nov. 13, at Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack.

“I feel very blessed that I was nominated for this award for doing work that I love,” Ball Motley said at the press conference announcing the Champions. “I am honored.”Ball Motley and the other honorees were chosen for their valuable work helping adults in the areas of health literacy, adult education and financial literacy. Their efforts are especially important to the adult students that seek free literacy instruction in English as a Second Language (ESL), basic literacy skills and GED.  READ MORE !

Adult literacy program reaches 28 years
Appeal Democrat: 9.24.2014 by Lizzie Jenkins

Colusa will celebrate 28 years of helping adults learn to read by recognizing the students, tutors and faculty who have helped make the program successful.

Part of California Library Literacy Services, a California State Library program celebrating 30 years this month, Colusa Library will celebrate 28 years of being involved in the program at 6 p.m. Friday at the Colusa Scout Cabin.

California Library Literacy Services is launching an awareness program — Together, California Reads — to encourage libraries statewide to spread the word to Californians about the literacy program in their areas. In conjunction with Colusa's event and the statewide campaign, the Colusa County Board of Supervisors has deemed September Adult Literacy Awareness Month.

"I think that (the Colusa Library Literacy Program is) a program that's really needed," said Rodney Irons, a library employee who has been involved with Colusa's program since January of this year.

Colusa County has the lowest literacy rate in the state after Imperial County, Irons said — 34 percent of Colusa County adults lack basic literary skills, easily more than the 25 percent overall adult illiteracy rate in California.  READ MORE !

Smyth County's literacy organization shuttering its doors
SWVA Today: 10.13.2014 by Linda Burchette

A longtime literacy program in the county may be ending, but its impact will not be forgotten anytime soon and its work is expected to continue through its volunteers.

Smyth County Advancement of Literacy Education (SCALE) announced this week that after 26 years of service, several years of budget cuts and months of discussion it will be shutting its doors on Oct. 31. The organization is being dissolved and its materials distributed to other local programs.

“Things have been going downhill ever since the recession began,” said Tracy McCarty, program coordinator. “When I was hired I was told there was only enough money for a year and a half, but we made it four more years. We definitely made great strides and the community really pitched in with fundraising but it just wasn’t enough. I think the board of supervisors (budget cut) was just one of many factors.”

SCALE was among several local programs whose funding was cut by the county board of supervisors in recent years, losing nearly $14,000 in 2013, 25 percent of the organization’s budget.  READ MORE !

Friday, October 17, 2014

Reading saved this ex-con's life

Reading saved this ex-con's life
Literacy saved A.J. Briscoe’s life. Now a free man for the first time since he was 14, he’s using books to inspire high-risk kids.
Star Tribune: 10.11.2014 by Gail Rosenblum

A.J. Briscoe woke up on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, to relentless rain. The downpour forced him to cancel a meeting at his favorite coffee shop because his van had broken down the day before. So he worked from the dining room table of his small, impeccably decorated home in north Minneapolis, marveling that weather and car repair were the biggest headaches of this “amazing” day.

Liberation Day.

For the first time in 22 years — since Briscoe was 14 years old — the former Vice Lord and five-time felon was free of any kind of state supervision. Twenty-two years of reporting his daily actions, of submitting to unannounced visits, of living only where other people said he could were over.

Now Briscoe can vote for the first time. Leave the state without asking permission. Fully pursue his dream to become an entrepreneur and literacy advocate for young people of color, to stop them from being sucked down the intoxicating pipeline that entrapped him.  READ MORE !

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Literacy – Spanning the US: Chicago IL:: Tulsa OK :: Richmond CA

Literacy:  Spanning the U.S.

Talking lit with the women of Literacy Works
WGN Radio: 9.28.2014 by Courtney Crowder [Audio]

Literacy Works
Rick Kogan is joined by Christine Kenny and Betsy Rubin of Literacy Works, a Chicago-based nonprofit working to strengthen adult literacy and provide knowledge-sharing opportunities for professionals and volunteers.

From the organization’s website: “Over 600,000 adults in the Chicago region cannot read or write well enough to meet the demands of today’s economy or attain their own goals. Literacy Works’ vision is that one day, all people will be able to realize their full potential through the ability to read, write and interpret the world. This ideal inspires our team and drives our work.”

Literacy tutor, student become friends
Tulsa World: 9.12.2014 by Nour Habib

Despite studying English for five years in school, Patricia Marti has not quite completely mastered the language.

“You have to live in the city to catch the language,” said Marti, a native of Venezuela who has only been in the United States for about a year.

Marti moved to the U.S. with her husband when the engineering company he works for transferred him to Tulsa. A pathologist in her country, Marti wants to start practicing here.

To do that, she’s working on her English. She has taken classes at Tulsa Community College, has joined English clubs and attended conversation circles. But the most useful tool for Marti so far has been the library’s literacy tutoring program.

“It’s a whole hour just for me,” she said.

Marti heard about the Tulsa City-County Library’s Ruth G. Hardman Adult Literacy Service through a friend. She added her name to the waiting list in January and was paired with her tutor in March.

The literacy service matches volunteer tutors, who have attended a library training workshop, with anyone 16 or older who reads at or below a sixth-grade level.

English Language Learners, like Marti, are also paired with a volunteer, if they know enough conversational English to communicate with the tutor.

Suzanne Rausch signed up to become a tutor in March and was paired with Marti.

Rausch, who has a background in journalism, said she and Marti started out just getting acquainted.
“Now, we’re friends,” she said.  READ MORE !

LEAP celebrates 30 years of educating Richmond adults
Richmond Confidential: 9.30.2014 by Candese Charles

Hugs and congratulatory handshakes were exchanged last Sunday as the Literacy for Every Adult Program (LEAP) celebrated 30 years of teaching in Richmond.

As several hundred attendees bounced from information tables to carts of free books, music from the Hilltop Ukulele Lovers Academy played throughout the quad of the Civic center.

“I owe it all to LEAP to be honest,” said Kendell Biggers, a 2010 LEAP graduate and GED recipient. “If it wasn’t for LEAP I would just never finish school. I am pretty sure of that.” Biggers is now a student at Contra Costa College.

Graduates, students, and LEAP staff joined Biggers as they thanked program coordinators and returning staff for the years of service to the community.

At the Civic Center, parents, children, and LEAP members enjoyed  a day of celebration that included literacy workshops, interactive story-telling, making original picture books, and a reading and poetry workshop hosted by Richmond’s 2014 Poet Laureates — Donte Clark, Brenda Quintanilla and Lincoln Bergman.

Formed in 1984 LEAP is one of the first library literacy programs in California funded by the state. The costs of sharing its free programs are also subsidized by the Richmond Public Library. READ MORE !

Friday, October 10, 2014

Nobel Peace Prize 2014: Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2014

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 is to be awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.  Children must go to school and not be financially exploited.  In the poor countries of the world, 60% of the present population is under 25 years of age.  It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected.  In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.

Showing great personal courage, Kailash Satyarthi, maintaining Gandhi’s tradition, has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain.  He has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights.

Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzay has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations.  This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances.  Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.

The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.  Many other individuals and institutions in the international community have also contributed.  It has been calculated that there are 168 million child labourers around the world today.  In 2000 the figure was 78 million higher.  The world has come closer to the goal of eliminating child labour.

The struggle against suppression and for the rights of children and adolescents contributes to the realization of the “fraternity between nations” that Alfred Nobel mentions in his will as one of the criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Top 10 Fairytales via The Guardian

The top 10 fairytales
From Hans Christian Andersen to Angela Carter’s Bloody Chamber, Marina Warner picks her favourite fairytales
The Guardian: 10.08.2014 by Marina Warner

by Michael Foreman
Consolatory fantasies or wise counsel? Materialist lies or emancipatory dreams? Popular trash or the fundamental structure of imaginative literature? Fairytales still provoke vigorous argument. Advocates point to the way they ignite the imagination and spark hopes of liberty. Detractors attack their suspect artistic quality and their damaging social and moral effects. Both take up their positions on ethical grounds, because fairytales continue to dominate family entertainment in books and other media. They matter because young minds and the shaping of values are at stake. Yet what they mean and what effects they have remain open questions.

A ferocious tale of family strife, cannibalism, magic and restoration, it crystallises the stark character of the Grimms’ collection (interestingly, it was collected and written down by the great romantic dreamer-artist of spooky children, Philipp Otto Runge).
Andersen can be mawkish and morally mean, but this story is as near-perfect a fairytale as can be: the boy Kai, in frozen thrall to a cruel, enchanting mother figure, is saved by the loyalty and courage of Gerda.  READ MORE !

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Literacy – Spanning the US: Contra Costa CA :: Wilkesboro, NC :: Atlanta GA :: Wisconsin

Literacy:  Spanning the U.S.

Contra Costa Juvenile Hall kids enjoy Bedtime Reading Program 
Mercury News: 9.07.2014 by Tom Barnidge

The Late Show, as it's called, begins at 10 p.m. A volunteer starts reading aloud into a P.A. system just as listeners are climbing into their beds. The 45-minute narration might feature anyone from Harry Potter to Katniss Everdeen to Winnie the Pooh, but the listeners are always the same -- youth offenders at Contra Costa Juvenile Hall.

Betty Frandsen founded the Bedtime Reading Program more than 22 years ago after getting to know some of the residents while playing cards with them as a volunteer.

"The kids told me they couldn't sleep because they lie alone in their cells and think about the horrors they've been through -- everything from parents who beat them to seeing their father or mother killed," she said. "I thought talking to them when they're trying to get to sleep might help."

About 140 youths, ages 13 to 20, are housed at the facility -- classified by gender, age and seriousness of offense before being assigned to one of seven units. Their criminal charges run the gamut, from probation violations to residential burglary and worse, but for the most part they share a fondness for the reading program.

"Kids can opt out," said chief probation officer Phil Kader. "They can ask us to turn off the speakers in their room. What we find is a high percentage prefer to listen."

They not only listen, they learn to value books. Juvenile Hall librarian Nadia Bagdasar said outsiders might be stunned how much they read -- "It's about six books per resident per week," she said -- and there's little doubt the bedtime program is a big reason. It's also why the library is named for Frandsen.  READ MORE !

25 years of teaching adults to read celebrated on Friday
Journal Patriot: 9.15.2014 by Frances Hayes

Twenty-five years of teaching people to read was celebrated Friday evening by staff, board members and friends of Wilkes Literacy.

Tommy Smithey, a local contractor and former student of Wilkes Literacy, praised the organization on Friday night.

“I was illiterate until I was 56,” said Smithey. “And then I learned to read three years ago because of Wilkes Literacy.

“Learning to read is the biggest accomplishment of my life.”

Smithey said he was one of 17 children and had many chores as a child. “Surviving was the most important thing. I was in trouble in school all the time and never really had the opportunity to learn to read.”

Three years ago, he began weekly tutoring sessions at Wilkes Literacy, then located on School Street, Wilkesboro.

“I could read blueprints, but I could not read words,” said Smithey, a successful local builder.

After about a year that changed. Now Smithey enjoys reading and frequently reads outloud to family members and friends.  READ MORE !

Guest column: Let’s not take literacy for granted
Neighbor Newspapers: 9.18.2014 by Austin Dickson

The ability to read is akin to breathing. If you breathe easily, you don’t think about it.

But if you struggle with breathing — with asthma, allergies or sensitivity to summer smog — you have a profound understanding of its importance in daily life.

More than 800,000 adults in the 10-county metro Atlanta region are low-literate. Their lack of basic reading skills hinders them from getting a job or a better job, and from day-to-day activities that many of us take for granted — like getting directions or reading a note from their child’s school.

This enormous social challenge isn’t limited to metro Atlanta. An estimated 1.2 million Georgians over 18 do not have a high school diploma and in many Georgia counties, more than one-third of adults don’t have a high school credential. Low literacy rates soar in these areas.

Gov. Nathan Deal has proclaimed this week, Monday through Friday, as Literacy Action Week. Throughout the state, hundreds of paid and volunteer teachers work with adult learners not just this week, but each week, to advance students towards stronger employment, high school equivalency completion, more fluent English, U.S. citizenship, vocational training, technical college or the university system. GED instructors at technical colleges, retired teachers in local libraries and volunteers at civic centers or religious congregations all work diligently to improve adults’ basic literacy.  READ MORE !

Far too many adults in Wisconsin lack literacy

How do you help children learn to read, write and do arithmetic?

You help their parents — too many of whom lack these skills.

It’s an often overlooked yet important strategy that can boost student performance in Madison schools and across Wisconsin. It also is key to helping adults gain employment, earn higher wages and pull their families out of poverty.

A national campaign this week seeks to highlight the importance of adult education and family literacy. Parents in literacy classes in Madison, Eau Claire, Oconto, Marinette and Milwaukee will be meeting in the coming days with state lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats — to show their success.

Early childhood education helps young people get off to a strong start. Yet “all of those things about early childhood and third-grade reading proficiency have to depend on parents who are engaged and reading — and so many times the parents are not,” said Michele Erikson, executive director of Wisconsin Literacy Inc.

One of every three Wisconsin citizens 16 or older lacks the literacy skills necessary to function above a basic level, according to Erikson. Understanding an error on a billing statement, signing up for health insurance or following directions on a medication label can be a struggle.

“Literacy isn’t just reading and writing anymore,” Erikson said last week. “It’s about connecting to computer skills and to the work force. It’s understanding how to communicate with your health provider, your doctor. It’s about getting engaged in your community and involved in your child’s schools.  READ MORE !

Saturday, October 4, 2014

New Quick Reads titles announced for 2015!

New Quick Reads titles announced for 2015!

The books, which are sponsored by Galaxy® for the fifth year running, will be published on 5 February 2015:
•Roddy Doyle – Dead Man Talking
•Jojo Moyes – Paris for One
•Sophie Hannah – Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen
•Fanny Blake – Red for Revenge
•Adèle Geras – Out of the Dark
•James Bowen – Street Cat Bob

Some Quick Reads titles are available in North America
Amazon UK – sellers may ship outside the UK

What are Quick Reads?
1 in 6 adults of working age in the UK find reading difficult and may never pick up a book.  People’s reasons for not reading are varied but are often based in fear. Some people say they find books scary and intimidating, thinking they are ‘not for them’ or that books are difficult or boring.

Quick Reads sets out to challenge these beliefs and to show that books and reading can be for everyone. Each year we commission big name authors to write short books that are specifically designed to be easy to read.  They are the same as mainstream books in every respect but are simply shorter and easier to tackle for adults who are less confident in their reading skills. The books are then sold through major retailers, online booksellers and are loaned from libraries.

Quick Reads is making real, lasting changes to people’s lives.  Since 2006 we have distributed over 4.5 million books, registered 3 million library loans and through the outreach work hundreds of thousands of new readers each year, often in some of the hardest to reach communities, are introduced to the joys and benefits of reading. Quick Reads is a unique collaboration and we are
very grateful for the support of everyone involved.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Share Halloween Photos - American Folklife Center

Cover of Jack Santino Brochure,
American Folklife Center, 1982.
From engraving by Francisco Goya
Share your photos of Halloween, Día de los Muertos, and related holidays with AFC and the World!
Folklife Today: 10.01.2014 by  Stephen Winick

Between October 22 and November 5, 2014, AFC invites you to document in photographs how you, your friends, your family, and your community celebrate, perform, and experience traditions of the season. To participate in this event, take photos of traditional festive, religious, spiritual, and social practices related to these holidays. Then share them online with a description, using the tag #FolklifeHalloween2014.

If you wish your photos to be considered, also please include AT LEAST the following information with the photos you share.
1.Title: Give your photo a title
2.Short Description including photographer and location: Include a brief description. What is significant about the image? Where was it taken? Who is the photographer?
3.License: For a photograph to be eligible for potential inclusion in the collection, it must be licensed under a Creative Commons license.

To recap:
•Take and share photos showing how you celebrate Halloween and related holidays between October 22 and November 5
•Use the #FolklifeHalloween2014 tag to make it easy for us and others to find your photos
•Upload your photos to Flickr  and add a Creative Commons license for potential consideration for the collection. (AFC may also include other tagged and licensed photos, but will primarily look on Flickr.)
•Be sure to title and describe your photos and include information on where they were taken and who took them.