Thursday, July 13, 2017

Public Libraries & Adult Education via NCAL

Point of View NCAL: 7.12.2017 by Gail Spangenberg
President, National Council for Adult Learning

“Soon after the skill of writing was developed, more than 5,000 years ago, the need to save what had been written led to the phenomenon of the library.  To understand the library’s history and role in society, no resource is more important than Marshall McLuhan’s and Robert K. Logan’s 1997 seminal text, The Future of the Library.”

An up-to-date national survey should be done to fully understand the current role and nature of public library involvement.  NCAL or some other group could do this with only modest funding. But, in the meantime, we hope this blog will help re-energize thinking about the matter.  We invited author Robert Logan and librarians Leslie Gelders of Oklahoma and Greg Lucas of California to share their thoughts about the subject. We appreciate and thank them for the prose they contribute below, especially their call for stronger funding. As always, readers are welcome to offer their own thoughts and experiences.

Director, Oklahoma Literacy Resource Office,
Oklahoma Department of Libraries
Public library literacy programs are in a state of transformation in Oklahoma. Where one-to-one tutoring was once the norm—and it still remains important—literacy programs here  are developing new services and partnerships to address the changing needs of our communities and those seeking literacy services. For example, our public libraries have two new areas of focus: Health Literacy and Citizenship.  READ MORE @

State Librarian
California State Library
The most cost-effective use of a taxpayer dollar is to help someone become a stronger reader. No other investment of public funds comes close in terms of the dividends paid and the yield in human capital.

Teach someone to read and they probably won’t go to prison. In California, that saves over $70,000 a year right there, the current annual cost of incarcerating an inmate. Teach someone to read and they can take a written test, which means they’ll get a better paying job.  It will cost the government less to take care of their family and that individual in the better paying job will pay more in taxes so that more investments can be made to create stronger readers.  READ MORE @

Prof. Emeritus – Physics – U. of Toronto
Fellow University of St. Michael’s College
Chief Scientist – sLab at OCAD
Author (with Marshall McLuhan) of The Future of Libraries:
From Electric to Digital Media, published 2016
Libraries are the custodians of our historic heritage. They deserve the proper care and support of the government because an informed public is the bedrock of democracy.

Too often administrators of the public purse become obsessed with balancing their budgets and take actions that do not preserve our heritage, which is the most important thing our society possesses.  READ MORE @

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