Libraries in Tough Times

15 01 2009

Audio from The Diane Rehm Show last week:

11:00 (second hour)
The Role of Libraries in Economic Hard Times

Libraries today have become multimedia centers, offering not only books but DVDs, e-books and Internet access. They can also be an especially important community resource during times of economic hardship. A look at the future of libraries in a slowing economy.

Guests–
Carla Hayden, executive director, Enoch Pratt Free Library and past president of the American Library Association

Jim Rettig, President of the American Library Association. He is also the University Librarian at the Boatwright Memorial Library at the University of Richmond, Virginia.

Ginnie Cooper, Chief Librarian for the District of Columbia Public Library. She is the Former Executive Director of the Brooklyn Public Library.

American Library Association advocacy link.

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8 responses

16 01 2009
writestuff444

I always wish I had become a librarian…I love them! passionately, the smell of them, the feel of them, I am at my happiest when I enter the library door and stretched before me, I see the racks in the distance, book upon book, thought upon thought…I’m so glad we have libraries in our world, may they always be cherished

16 01 2009
Nance Confer

I would be very happy if my DD wanted to become a librarian.

She lives there anyway, so why not?

Actually, a few times, library patrons have asked her for help and she was able to direct them to the book they wanted. . . so maybe my daydream isn’t impossible. 🙂

Nance

16 01 2009
JJ

Me too, to all of the above.

For you book and library lovers, I came across “The Book Whisperer” yesterday with her “rabbit hole” post about five places she goes online to fall in and get lost (all news to me, can’t wait to go play) —

December 31, 2008
Reading Rabbit Holes by Donalyn Miller

. . . I have some gems in the rabbit hole—Websites that make my eyes glaze over with reading bliss, and surprisingly, enhance my classroom instruction and my conversations with students about books.

Here are my top five reading rabbit holes (ranked in order of the number of hours I spend on them). Be careful, you might fall in!

Go wallow in the whole post for much more about sites like:

. . .Goodreads, a social networking site for readers. Create virtual bookshelves of the books you have read, want to read, and are currently reading. . . .Spend hours writing reviews, taking the never-ending book quiz, or surfing the lists and reviews of other readers. . . or simply celebrate the books you read.

Jen Robinson’s Book Page. . . regularly links to the hottest news and best sites in the kid lit blogosphere . . .

Teenreads, the Holy Grail of book review sites for teens. . . podcasts, polls, contests, monthly reviews, authors’ interviews and tons of other features [including] over 300 book recommendations for teens by teens.

Happy New Year! Think about all of those unread books stretching across the year before us…

16 01 2009
JJ

Also from the Book Whisperer —

. . .Many gifted readers self-educate themselves through books. Power reading is the only way these kids can still feed their brains. These kids are hungry to learn, yet receive so little real challenge from their coursework in school. Books become their university.

Some gifted readers survive years of meaningless reading instruction by developing split-personalities (I call them underground readers) with one reading identity for school and one for the rest of their lives. Consider these kids the Clark Kents of the reading world—mild-mannered and compliant in our classes—these students breeze through assignments and pull their own books out of their desks when they finish. Too bad these gifted readers cannot fly until the school day ends.

Last week, I attended our state’s gifted and talented conference, eagerly searching for some fresh ideas to keep my gifted readers challenged and engaged. The program sessions disappointed me. Although the math and science offerings embraced concepts like compacting and acceleration, so many of the sessions for gifted readers were simply enrichment and fun activities—more language arts and crafts.

[Heads up Rolfe!] My gifted readers would rather read and discuss Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf than make another diorama.

While strong national support exists for fostering the talents of gifted math and science students, it seems we need an educational movement that develops the talents of verbally-gifted people.

Look no farther than the oratory power of our present-elect and see the amazing potential of one who possesses a talent for words.

See also What Earning It Means in America

Something Sarah Palin won’t like reading

Parents are our first and best teachers

Youth Wins War of Ideas

The only thing that ACTUALLY justifies public libraries and public education supported with taxes for the common good (whether we personally use them or not) is the importance of intellectual engagement to liberty and quality of life, indeed, to securing life itself:

If there’s a common cause for Bush and Palin’s less-than-complex worldview — one that should disturb the security minded of both parties — it’s their profound disinterest in understanding or even experiencing other countries and cultures.

Disinterest in culture and language, not only can make human life not worth living, it can get us killed:

What is it with Hitler? The Christian Right needs a course in metaphors, not miracles.

“Hey Mr. Cunningham” (To Kill a Mockingbird by home education fan Harper Lee)

17 01 2009
JJ

From the NYT Inauguration special arts section:
The Great Library Jefferson Began, and How It Grew

Here’s another post extolling Mr. Jefferson and the virtue of libraries. Time to celebrate the Smart, the Curious, the Well-Read American!

(Harper Lee and Bruce Springsteen think so, too.)

19 01 2009
JJ

Daniel Pink:
“. . .All this means big trouble in Ivy City. . .Private college costs have soared, faster even than health care costs, for the past 20 years. But have these colleges improved at the same rate? Have they improved at all? What’s more, the students who make it to elite colleges are generally those who’ve proved most adroit at conventional (read: outdated) schooling. That could become a liability rather than an advantage.

. . .One of the earliest self-organized clusters of free agents was Benjamin Franklin’s Junto, formed in 1727, which created a subscription library for its members, which in turn became the first public library in America.”

Wikipedia on “Junto”:

Our debates were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute or desire of victory; and to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were after some time made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties.

23 01 2009
Daryl Cobranchi

I always wish I had become a librarian…I love them! passionately, the smell of them, the feel of them…

Read the above slowly and tell me it’s not hilarious. And just a bit sexy. 🙂

23 01 2009
JJ

Good point . . .:D

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