Sunday, March 29, 2015

Literacy: Spanning the U.S. – Brawley CA :: Kalamazoo Co MI :: Tuscon AZ

Marjo Mello Honored as 56th Assembly District 2015 Women of the Year

Earlier today at the State Capitol, Marjo Mello of Brawley was honored as the 56th Assembly District’s 2015 Woman of the Year.  Selected for the honor by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, Ms. Mello joined women from all over the state to be recognized for their contributions during a special Assembly Floor Session.

“As the City of Brawley Library Director, Marjo has dedicated her entire life to making the library accessible for everyone in the community and has committed to expanding services and promoting literacy in the City and the entire Imperial Valley,” stated Assemblymember Garcia.  “As libraries transition from traditional print, Marjo has adapted the City’s approach to services by meeting changing times with innovative leadership and established the regions first mobile pre-literacy program,” said Garcia.

Marjo L. Mello joined the staff of the City of Brawley in 1987 and has led the department as Library Director since 1992.  Mrs. Mello has devoted her career to making the library a place for resources that are accessible and relevant to the community, promoting literacy in the City and the region.  She is remarkably gifted at resource management, including the oversight of a group of highly committed personnel, and quality inventory.  Mrs. Mello has a keen ability to prioritize approaches that provide for the City’s highest level of service to the public.  READ MORE !


Uwe and his parents moved to Tucson in 1979 to start a new chapter.  He found work polishing metal and was soon laid off.  READ MORE !

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Dollars and Sense of a Basic Education :: Huffington Post

The Dollars and Sense of a Basic Education
Huffington Post: 3.25.2015 by Ralph da Costa Nunez, PhD

Half of all homeless parents in New York City shelters don't have a high school diploma. In essence, this means they can't read or write at a level required to get a decent job, permanently sentencing them to low-wage, dead-end jobs or, as is the case for many, no employment prospects at all.

Despite policy declarations and expectations, how can we expect a homeless mother to move on from shelter to a home of her own without a job that pays a decent wage? In truth, shelters have become places where family economic and social instability festers if opportunities are not made available. Today, when average length of stay is over a year and over half the families who leave shelter return, would it not make sense to address the gap in a parent's education while they wait for a viable housing option to become available?

Irrespective of the competitive angling between the General Educational Development Test (GED) and New York's newly introduced Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC), it's clear that completing a high school equivalency degree makes sense for both homeless parents and the taxpayer. Studies of family literacy programs demonstrate that every dollar invested in adult literacy yields over $7 in higher incomes, tax contributions, reduced criminal justice expenses, and diminished reliance on public assistance. Those without a basic education are essentially relegated to being a permanent underclass -- which is both an expensive prospect for the city and a stain on our conscience. An individual who doesn't complete high school costs the city nearly $134,000, ironically for expenses like jail and shelter. On the other hand, those with a high school diploma or equivalency degree earn 65 percent more over a lifetime, providing a $193,000 benefit to the city. Education does pay, and can be the difference between residing in shelter or your own home.  READ MORE !

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Girls, Boys, and Reading :: Brookings

2015 Brown Center
Report on American Education:
How Well Are American Students Learning?
Girls, boys, and reading
Brookings: 3.24.2015 by Tom Loveless

Part I of the 2015 Brown Center Report on American Education.

Girls score higher than boys on tests of reading ability.  They have for a long time.  This section of the Brown Center Report assesses where the gender gap stands today and examines trends over the past several decades.  The analysis also extends beyond the U.S. and shows that boys’ reading achievement lags that of girls in every country in the world on international assessments.  The international dimension—recognizing that U.S. is not alone in this phenomenon—serves as a catalyst to discuss why the gender gap exists and whether it extends into adulthood.

Explanations for the Gender Gap
The analysis below focuses on where the gender gap in reading stands today, not its causes.  Nevertheless, readers should keep in mind the three most prominent explanations for the gap.  They will be used to frame the concluding discussion.

Biological/Developmental:  Even before attending school, young boys evidence more problems in learning how to read than girls.  This explanation believes the sexes are hard-wired differently for literacy.

School Practices: Boys are inferior to girls on several school measures—behavioral, social, and academic—and those discrepancies extend all the way through college.  This explanation believes that even if schools do not create the gap, they certainly don’t do what they could to ameliorate it.

Cultural Influences: Cultural influences steer boys toward non-literary activities (sports, music) and define literacy as a feminine characteristic.  This explanation believes cultural cues and strong role models could help close the gap by portraying reading as a masculine activity.  READ MORE !

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tea Party Case Against Kentucky Libraries Overturned Today ::: everylibrary

Tea Party Case Against Kentucky Libraries Overturned Today
EveryLibrary: 3.20.2015 by John Chrastka

State of KentuckyEveryLibrary is relieved that the Kentucky Court of Appeals held with reason and the law to overturn the Tea Party’s case against Kentucky libraries today. It is a significant loss for anti-library forces in the state, and around the country, affirming that the libraries followed the law when setting tax rates. It will hopefully clear the way for library leaders across the state who have been facing real uncertainty to again focus clearly on supporting education, business development and jobs skills, and community outcomes. In making its ruling, the Appeals Court was clear:

     While appellees/taxpayers argue that these provisions should only
      apply to library districts created by ballot and not petition, that
      interpretation defies logic and common sense given the circumstances
      that existed when the statute was originally passed in 1965.

This wasn’t a false alarm. Lawsuits like this are a tried and true way for anti-tax groups to advance their agenda. We must remember that the reason this got to the Appeals Court in the first place is that the libraries lost in the Circuit Court. Libraries will be a target of anti-tax lawsuits across the country again. The national advocacy ecosystem for libraries needs to be ready for the next one.  READ MORE !

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Literacy: Spanning the U.S. :: Columbia SC :: Palm Beach Co FL :: Greenville Co SC

One has only to multiply $12,300 by 56,000 to see the enormous cost of illiteracy to the Greenville community. Contrast that cost with the cost to educate one student at the Greenville Literacy Association — about $685 a year. There is a 216 percent return for investing in GED or high school equivalency courses!  READ MORE !

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pew Research Center :: Public Libraries and Hispanics

Public Libraries and Hispanics
Immigrant Hispanics Use Libraries Less, but Those Who Do Appreciate Them the Most
Pew Research Center: 3.17.2015 by Anna Brown and Mark Hugo Lopez

When it comes to public libraries, immigrant Hispanics pose both a challenge and an opportunity to the library community. On the one hand, this group, which makes up half of the adult U.S. Hispanic population, is less likely than other Americans to have ever visited a U.S. public library and is much less likely to say that they see it as “very easy” to do so. At the same time, Hispanic immigrants who have made their way to a public library stand out as the most appreciative of what libraries have to offer, from free books to research resources to the fact that libraries tend to offer a quiet, safe space. And they are more likely than other groups to say that closing their community library would have a major impact on their family. These are some of the findings of this latest installment of the Pew Research Center’s reporting on the Center’s landmark 2013 Library Services Survey.

Seven-in-ten (72%) Latinos ages 16 and older say they have visited a public library or bookmobile in person at one point or another in their lives, the survey shows, a share below that of whites (83%) and blacks (80%). But this finding masks a large difference among Latinos. Fully 83% of U.S.-born Latinos say they have visited a public library at some point in their lives—a share similar to that of whites and blacks. However, among immigrant Latinos, a smaller share—60%—say they have visited a public library or bookmobile in person.

Some public library services can also be accessed remotely through library websites. Here, too, though, the survey finds a gap in use between U.S.-born Latinos (49%), blacks (48%) and whites (45%) who say they have accessed a public library website and immigrant Latinos (27%) who say the same.

This gap in use between foreign-born Hispanics and U.S.-born Hispanics, whites and blacks may reflect foreign-born Hispanics’ views of the relative ease of using public libraries. According to the survey, just one-third of immigrant Hispanics say they would find it “very easy” to visit a public library in person if they wanted to do so. By comparison, 60% of U.S.-born Hispanics, 67% of whites and 59% of blacks say it would be very easy to visit a public library in person.  READ MORE !

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Literacy: Spanning the U.S. – Wisconsin :: Florence SC :: Norman OK

intern with the Central Wisconsin Literacy Council

Noble, Oklahoma resident, Yolanda Valenzuela, is one of hundreds who have benefitted from the PLS Adult Literacy Services program.  READ MORE !

Friday, March 13, 2015

Once Illiterate, Teacher Now Inspires Others

Once Illiterate, Teacher Now Inspires Others
The Pilot: 3.10.2015 by John Lentz

A successful businessman and former teacher who hid his inability to read will tell his story next month at a Literacy Council fundraiser.

When Moore County Literacy Council Executive Director Beth Daniels began searching for speakers to participate in a fundraising dinner for her organization, she was impressed by the story of John Corcoran, of San Diego. Corcoran is a former business leader and English teacher for 17 years who, incredibly, hid his inability to read and write for decades before "guilt" drove him to begin literacy classes.

"I was looking for an adult who was on the same path as many of our learners, and Mr. Corcoran's story really stood out," said Daniels. "Society has made illiteracy a shameful thing, which is really sad because it inhibits people from coming forward for help. We have adults taking instruction from us today who have sworn us to secrecy because their family members don't know that they are unable to read."

The Moore County Literacy Council will host Corcoran for a fundraising dinner on April 16 at 6 p.m. at the Pinehurst Member's Club.

"I was illiterate for most of my life," said Corcoran, now 77. "I was one of those people who, in the second grade, ended up in the dumb row. I could not read, write or spell."  READ MORE !

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Help Us Secure Funding for Key Library Programs :: LSTA <> IAL

Help us secure funding for key library programs

District Dispatch: 3.09.2015 by Kevin Maher

The appropriations process is in full swing and library priority programs face tremendous scrutiny from Members of Congress in search of programs to cut or put on the chopping block. This is your time to be heard and let Congress know how important continued funding is for the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL).

You can make the difference. Members of Congress need to let the Appropriations Committee know of their support for continued funding. Contact your Senators and Representative and ask them to add their name to both “Dear Colleague” letters supporting LSTA and IAL currently being circulated. Many Members of Congress will only add their names if they hear from constituents. Note: these letters are due before the end of the month so you will need to call this week.

For a list of who signed the letters last year, view the FY 2015 Funding Letter Signees document (pdf).

Support Funding for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)
LSTA is the only source of funding for libraries in the federal budget. The bulk of this funding is returned to states through a population-based grant program through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Libraries use these funds to, among other things, build and maintain a 21st century library that facilitates employment and entrepreneurship, community engagement, and individual empowerment.

Please contact your Senators (202-224-3121) and Representative (202-225-3121) this week and ask them to sign on to a letter supporting LSTA being organized by the members listed below. Your Members of Congress will need to contact these offices by March 20 to add their name to the letters:
• Senate LSTA letter: Senator Jack Reed
(staffer Moira Lenehan-Razzuri)
• Representative LSTA letter: Rep. Raul Grijalva
(staffer Norma Salazar)

Support Funding for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL)
IAL is the only federal program supporting literacy for underserved school libraries IAL has become the primary source for federal funding for school library materials.  Focusing on low income schools, these funds help many schools bring their school libraries up to standard.

Please contact your Senators (202-224-3121) and Representative (202-225-3121) this week and ask them to sign on to a letter supporting IAL being organized by the members listed below. Your Members of Congress will need to contact one of these offices before March 20 to add their name to the letters:
• Senate IAL letter: Senators Jack Reed
(staffer: Moira Lenehan-Razzuri)
(staffer: James Rice)
 House IAL letter: Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson
(staffer: Don Andres)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Literacy: Spanning the U.S. – Nelson Co VA :: Grand Island NE :: Knoxville TN

"One of the interesting things students tell me when they start is the words don't make any sense. They all run together on the page," Hoffman said.  READ MORE !