Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How Public Libraries Transform Lives and Communities @ americanliteracynews

How Public Libraries Transform Lives and Communities
americanliteracynews.com: 12.27.2014 By Courtney Young, President, American Library Association, editorial@mediaplanet.com

Reading Fundamentals Access to a varied and often refreshed collection of books is vital to keeping men and women of all ages engaged while enriching our communities.

Libraries have always played an invaluable role in my life, and I’m not alone.

Knowledge is power
Billions take advantage of free resources offered by our nation’s libraries each year. My earliest library memory is of San Antonio Public Library’s summer reading program. That summer I learned that knowledge is power.

Each trip to the library pulled me deeper into a world of opportunities, paving the way for my role as the president of the world’s largest and oldest library association – the American Library Association. "Libraries provide the foundation for literacy and transform lives through education and lifelong learning."

My story is not unique. Indeed, libraries provide the foundation for literacy and transform lives through education and lifelong learning. I have witnessed job-seekers secure employment opportunities by using free library resources and the expertise of librarians.

In their early literacy services, libraries build children’s confidence by providing parents and caregivers with free story hours and book clubs. Last year libraries circulated more than 2.4 billion items, more than 34 percent of them were children’s materials.

A plethora of resources
It’s not just books making the difference in children’s lives. According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2011 only 32 percent of American eighth grade students performed at or above the proficient level in science. Libraries benefit STEM learners by introducing underrepresented learners to important concepts and skills, including authentic scientific practices.

Adult learners also find support at libraries.  Libraries transform lives through programs such as Project Read, which helps English-speaking adults improve basic skills, Literacy Link, which teaches reading and writing skills to functionally illiterate adults, and the American Dream Starts @ your library, which improves literacy services for adult English language learners.

You don’t have to read between the lines to see the essential relationship between libraries and literacy. It is as simple as A, B, and C.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Literacy: Spanning the U.S. - Middletown NY :: Menlo Park CA :: Racine WI

Literacy:  Spanning the U.S.
Holiday Fund: Unlocking stories helps adults learn to read, write and find success
The Almanac: 12.15.2014 by Mike Goodkind, Project Read volunteer.

Project Read-Menlo Park literacy tutors are finding that the personal stories locked inside their students can be sprung loose to become fascinating, valuable tools in the quest for literacy.

For the 30th anniversary of the Menlo Park literacy program next year, Program Director Roberta Roth expects Project Read to produce a book of student stories that will inspire, educate, and keep alive the sagas that had hitherto been untold to the community.

Project Read students speak more than a dozen native tongues from all over the world but share a common goal of wishing to read and write English.

Margarita Joachin, with help from tutor Susan Speicher, recently presented a short self-published book chronicling her journey from El Salvador. The book was a gift for her daughter.

Carmen from Latin America recently wrote how she and her husband worked two full-time jobs each for 13 years to buy a house.  READ MORE !

Since 1965, the Racine Literacy Council Adult Literacy Program has provided one-to-one tutoring in Racine County to thousands of adults wanting to learn English as a second language or to improve basic literacy skills. The countywide program now includes group tutoring and classes in computer literacy, citizenship, the written portion of the driver’s license test, financial and health literacy. The program is student-centered and stresses personal goals as they relate to learner’s employment, family and self, and civic engagement or responsibilities.  READ MORE !

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Literacy: Spanning North America :: Brampton Ontario :: Grove OK :: Bellingham WA

Literacy:  Spanning North America

In each case it can be the route out of poverty and isolation, not just for the learners themselves but for the next generation. If a parent has not earned a high school diploma or GED by age 25, it is almost a guarantee that their children will be raised in poverty. There is a direct correlation between education and earning potential. Each level of education corresponds to a higher level of pay and a lower level of unemployment. People without a high school diploma are twice as likely to be unemployed; full-time workers with a high school diploma earn almost $10,000 more per year than those without, and this gap increases with additional education.  READ MORE !

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Romero & Biddle: We need to address the school-to-prison pipeline

Romero & Biddle: We need to address the school-to-prison pipeline
Orange County Register: 12.15.2014 by Gloria Romero & Rishawn Biddle

The deaths at the hands of police of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and the decisions not to prosecute officers in either case, should jolt reformers into demanding transformation of both our failing public education and criminal justice systems – whose dysfunctions disproportionately affect poor, minority communities.

If we do not educate, we will incarcerate. Some school reformers have embraced the moment; too many have not. For example, a respected American Enterprise Institute reform leader, Rick Hess, tweeted that Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Mo., was “not his beat.”

Likewise, criminal justice reform advocates have talked plenty about ending police brutality but have failed to emphatically tackle the school-to-prison pipeline. This prompted Steve Perry, founder of Capital Prep Magnet School, to plead, “What do I need to do to get y’all to picket a school where no kids can read on grade level, and few could read the picket signs?” He followed that with “It’s so easy to parade, I mean march, in a circle outside of Yale, in a city w[ith] some of the worst schools in the state, but then what?”

Perry is right: What happens in our schools ends up in our streets, and vice versa. The U.S. spends $228 billion badly on criminal justice because we spend $595 billion abysmally on our schools. In California, 70 percent of prison inmates do not have a high school diploma.

Schools funnel too many children into our criminal justice system, accounting for three of 10 cases referred to juvenile courts in 2011 – the second-largest source of referrals, after law enforcement. Yet, juvenile court judges are ill-equipped to deal with matters that should be handled by schools.

Traditional school discipline policies exacerbate this. Poor, black and Latino children are suspended at disproportionately higher rates than their white and middle-class peers, allowing districts to obscure an underlying reason for misbehavior: students’ struggles with literacy. A 2006 Stanford study found that a third-grader who is functionally illiterate is more likely to engage in behaviors leading to suspension and expulsion.

A 2004 Princeton study found that black male high school dropouts faced 2-1 odds of landing in prison by age 34. The average U.S. prison inmate had literacy scores 18-22 points lower than the average nonincarcerated adult, according to a national assessment of adult literacy.  READ MORE !

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merriam-Webster Announces "Culture" As 2014 Word Of The Year

Merriam-Webster Announces "Culture" As 2014 Word Of The Year

Merriam-Webster Inc., America's leading dictionary publisher, has announced its top ten Words of the Year for 2014. This year's list was compiled by analyzing the top lookups in the online dictionary at Merriam-Webster.com and focusing on the words that showed the greatest increase in lookups this year as compared to last year. The results, based on approximately 100 million lookups a month, shed light on topics and ideas that sparked the nation's interest in 2014.

The Word of the Year, with the greatest number of lookups and a significant increase over last year, is culture.  Culture is not associated with any one event, but instead dominated the headlines this year, on topics ranging from "celebrity culture" to "rape culture" to "company culture."  In years past, lookups for the word culture spiked in the fall, as students encountered the word in titles and descriptions of courses and books, but this year lookups have moved from seasonal to persistent, as culture has become a term frequently used in discussions of social phenomena.

"Culture is a word that we seem to be relying on more and more. It allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue, or group with seriousness," explains Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large for Merriam-Webster. "And it's efficient: we talk about the 'culture' of a group rather than saying 'the typical habits, attitudes, and behaviors' of that group. So we think that it may be the increased use of this newer sense of the word culture that is catching people's attention and driving the volume of lookups."

1.     Culture
2.     Nostalgia
3.     Insidious
4.     Legacy
5.     Feminism
6.     Je ne sais quoi
7.     Innovation
8.     Surreptitious
9.     Autonomy
10.    Morbidity

Monday, December 15, 2014

Libraries Boost Communities' Economy: Ken Detzner, Secretary of State of Florida

Libraries boost communities' economy: My Word
Libraries' return on investment to local communities is tenfold.
Orlando Sentinel: 10.24.2014 by Ken Detzner, Secretary of State of Florida

The public library is a place of learning, a hub for educational resources and a community center. Children discover new worlds as they're read to, young adults learn new skills and librarians assist patrons needing educational or business support.

Not only have libraries historically proved to be beneficial to the areas they serve, a recent return on investment study conducted by the Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development, University of West Florida, provides the hard numbers demonstrating the economic value of public libraries. The overall return on investment that libraries offer, the business and educational support that is provided, and the essential services provided show that libraries are not only places of learning, but they add economic value to their local communities.

For every $1 Floridians invest in Florida public libraries, they receive $10.18 in economic return. This means that with nearly $500 million of public money invested into Florida public libraries during fiscal year 2012, more than $5.55 billion was returned to Floridians in economic value.  READ MORE @

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Literacy: Spanning the U.S. - Somerset Co NJ :: Ocean Co NJ :: Dona Ana Co NM

Literacy:  Spanning the U.S.

Despite feeling nervous, Kotroczo gave it a chanceREAD MORE !

The Literacy Volunteers hope to target that part of the population and serve more than 400 learners each year with more than 100 volunteers, who teach them reading, writing, math, personal health literacy, financial literacy, citizenship and GED preparation in history, math, science or English. Tutoring sessions are given on a one-to-one basis and in small groups.  READ MORE !

Saturday, December 13, 2014

When the Prison Doors Slam Shut On a Teen: Hope in Literacy :: Public Libraries Online

a way out for
at-risk youth
When the Prison Doors Slams Shut On a Teen:

Hope in Literacy
Public Libraries Online: 12.11.2104 by Marybeth Zeman

Promoting literacy for incarcerated teens is a challenge. Encouraging reluctant readers to read is only one of many obstacles. Ask Karlan Sick, the current chair of Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT), a nonprofit library services organization that supports school libraries at the New York City school programs for incarcerated youth. Sick, a retired public librarian, recognizes the literacy needs of incarcerated teens stating,  “while detention centers are mandated by law to have schools,” libraries are not.[1]

Former executive-director of LIT and a former school librarian in a juvenile detention center, Jessica Fenster-Sparber, observes that “jails, detention centers, and prisons provide a unique opportunity to address young people’s literacy gaps…excellent school libraries are in dire need at these sites.”[2]

The Challenges

There is a lot more to consider than just encouraging reluctant readers to read. Challenges include:
1.Collection development.
2.Institutional compliance and cooperation.
3.Inclusion of incarcerated teens as part of the public library’s young adult/outreach services.
4.Collaboration with school, correctional facilities and public libraries.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Give up guns for books, Malala Yousafzai tells governments :: Irish Times

Malala Yousafzai
Give up guns for books, Malala Yousafzai tells governments
Youngest Nobel peace prize recipient receives standing ovation at ceremony in Oslo
Irish Times: 12.11.2014 by Alexandra Topping

The Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai has used her Nobel peace prize acceptance speech to launch a searing attack on “strong” governments that had the resources to begin wars but not to enable universal education.

Speaking at the Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo she said: “Why is it that countries which we call strong are so powerful in creating wars but are so weak in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is so easy, but giving books is so hard?”

Raising her voice in the silent room, where she was given a rousing standing ovation at both the beginning and end of her speech, she added: “We are living in the modern age and we believe that nothing is impossible. We have reached the moon 45 years ago, and maybe we will soon land on Mars. Then, in this 21st century we must be able to give every child a quality education.”
“I tell my story, not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls,” she said, pointing to her “sisters” in the crowd.

Mr Satyarthi, (60), dedicated his prize to children in slavery. He founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan – or the Save the Childhood Movement – in 1980 and has protected the rights of 80,000 children and brought attention to a scourge that continues today. It was a momentous day, he told the audience when “a young courageous Pakistani girl has met an Indian father and an Indian father met his Pakistani daughter”.  READ MORE !

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

To fight fundamentalism and gender violence, 'throw books,' not bombs, Nobel laureate Ebadi says

To fight fundamentalism and gender violence, 'throw books,' not bombs, Nobel laureate Ebadi says
News at Princeton: 12.08.2014 by Ushma Patel

With passion and humor, Iranian human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi called for an intellectual response rather than military action against religious fundamentalism in a talk Thursday, Dec. 4, at Princeton University.

"What counts is to eliminate the grounds that these type of people thrive on," such as illiteracy, said Ebadi, who spoke in Farsi with friend Shirin Ershadi serving as translator. "Western countries should use the budget that they allocate to fight groups like ISIS to building schools. Instead of throwing bombs on ISIS, we have to throw books at them.

"We have all witnessed how the terrorists are scared of schools. Look at what happened to Malala Yousafzai," said Ebadi, referring to the Pakistani teenager who was shot by the Taliban for advocating for girls' education and who was a co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace PrizeREAD MORE !

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Literacy: Spanning the U.S. - Stoughton MA :: Nashville TN :: Omaha NE

Literacy:  Spanning the U.S.

This was the fitting title of a video shown at the annual Potluck and Recognition Dinner hosted by the Stoughton Public Library and organized by the Literacy Volunteers of Stoughton.

Volunteers from the community try to help the students from other countries meet that challenge. Daniel Guillen from Venezuela knows that mastering English will help him.

“I always thought it was really important that people know how to read and write,” she said earlier this month at the center. “I thought maybe I could do something here. I wasn’t quite sure what, but I thought I would try it.”  READ MORE !