Low literacy rates highlight need for school librarians

From K-12 Daily

“Education advocates are trying to breathe new life into a trio of bills introduced by Michigan lawmakers earlier this year that would ensure all students have access to school libraries and certified media specialists.All three bills stalled after being introduced in May, but officials representing The Education Trust-Midwest–a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization–announced its support of them last week in an effort to increase awareness of the issues still surrounding poor literacy rates among children throughout the state.“Michigan’s literacy crisis is well recognized, and addressing the needs of students requires many forms of support,” Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest, said in a statement. “Ensuring that all Michigan students have access to school libraries, trained specialists and a wide range of resources to support student learning is good policy.”Poor literacy rates were at the core of a failed 2016 federal suit, in which plaintiffs argued that the state of Michigan was depriving children in Detroit’s public schools–97 percent of whom are students of color–of their constitutional rights to liberty and nondiscrimination by denying them access to basic literacy. Nearly all students consistently performed well below grade level in reading and writing–skills which the suit argued are necessary to function properly in society.”



Behold! The Library of Congress’s audacious plan to digitize and share the nation’s treasures

From Boing Boing Newsletter

” The Library of Congress has published its latest digital strategy, laying out a bold plan to “exponentially grow” its collections through digital acquisitions; “maximize the use of content” by providing machine-readable rights data and using interoperable formats and better search; to support data-driven research with giant bulk-downloadable corpuses of materials and metadata; to improve its website; to syndicate Library assets to other websites; to crowdsource the acquisition of new materials; to experiment with new tools and techniques; and to preserve digital assets with the same assiduousness that the Library has shown with its physical collection for centuries.The LoC has a curiously outsized role in the digital era: because it contains the Copyright Office — and because the Copyright Office is patient zero in the epidemic of terrible internet law that reaches into every corner of our lives — the Library has become a political football, with Congress vying to put it under Congressional oversight (and in reach of heavily lobbied Committee chairs) and/or to tear out the Copyright Office.”


Humboldt County: Library receives two grants

From Times-Standard

” The Humboldt County Library recently received two grants from the California State Library to purchase new materials.The first, the Rural Libraries Initiative grant, allowed the library to purchase almost 300 titles, with adult books on subjects pertaining to veterans and people over 50 years of age, and young adult and children’s books about mental health, early literacy, and diversity.The second, the Rural Libraries AV Collection Development grant, a partnership with Midwest tapes, awarded the library $3,000, doubling this year’s DVD and Blu-Ray budget.”


No, I Can’t Braid Your Hair: Why Librarians Need Boundaries Too

From Literary Hub

“With the advent of social media and online identities, we’re given unlimited access to people’s daily lives. Jenny got a roast beef sandwich at the deli and the meat was kind of dry. Daniel is tweeting about our bad president again! Oh look, Karen posted a picture of her dog wearing a cowboy hat (thank you, Karen, more of this, please). We see everyone’s lives 24/7 and it’s a very strange form of strange intimacy. But there are limits when it comes to access. Lines that shouldn’t be crossed. This holds true when it comes to interacting with your library staff.Boundaries! We need them.Boundaries are extremely important in librarianship. Ask any librarian—we’ve all experienced occasions when an appropriate question suddenly morphs into “Can you help me remove this Band-Aid?” When you work in public service, especially when you’re answering questions all day, the line of acceptability begins to blur.Because we spend so much time assisting others, it’s easy to lose track of how we “work.” We aren’t the only profession in the public service industry who has this problem, for sure, but librarians really never leave our work behind. When I’m home, I’m still answering questions. Out at the bar? Ready reference. I answer questions online, with my friends, through Twitter, via text message. If I’m not careful to give myself a break, I wind up exhausted.”


Anaheim: Getting Creative

From Anaheim Magazine

” Walk through Anaheim’s Central Library, and you’ll stumble upon a row that looks a little bit different. The books here aren’t glossy or hardbound. They come in all different shapes and sizes, and many of them are simply stapled or bound paper. But don’t judge them by their cover. They’re just as, if not more, interesting than your standard book or magazine.This particular aisle is filled with zines—short for a do-it-yourself magazine. A zine can be any kind of printed writing, photography or artwork that is independently made and self-published. There’s no limit to what content zines can include, and they’re a great form of self-expression and self-exploration. Here in Anaheim, we’re lucky enough to have the only library zine collection in the county. They’re available for anyone with a library card to check out and enjoy.We love to promote local artists and writers, and the zine collection is a perfect place to showcase Anaheim talent. One of the writers featured in our collection is 22-year-old Anaheim native Francisco Aviles Pino. Pino grew up in Anaheim libraries. A first-generation American, he came here from Mexico with his family at age 6. As his family struggled financially for much of his childhood, Pino said the library was his space to learn, grow and even have some fun. He spent nearly every afternoon at Sunkist Library after school. The librarians became his role models and mentors—even when they were scolding him for causing trouble.”


A dream for decades, new Felton library breaks ground

From Santa Cruz Sentinel

“Ground has been broken on the new Felton library that promises to serve as a community hub for the rural San Lorenzo Valley — something for which area residents have called for decades.But some residents say the project is worth the wait, now combined with an adjacent Nature Discovery Park in what is said to be the state’s first pairing of a park and library to provide a one-stop educational and environmental hub.“It’s very heartening to see you can stick with something for all those years and all of a sudden it’s happening,” said Nancy Gerdt, a Felton resident and chair of Felton Library Friends. “I’m still kind of reflecting — at some point it seems magical. A lot of people believed in this core idea and never really gave up.”
The 8,900-square-foot building will house new teen and children’s areas, programs and an expanded collection. The library is on track to open its doors early in 2020 after an $8.3 million bid for the project was awarded to Thompson Builders in August.Design of the Nature Discovery Park is ongoing, but the park is expected to open with the library early in 2020.For more than 60 years, Felton’s library has been housed in a 1,250-square-foot historic church. But the cozy 19th-century building barely has enough space for its books, let alone after-school study sessions and community meetings.”


San Diego County: Ramona Library launches Rural Arts Project

From San Diego Union Tribune

” Ramona Library is among four branches of the San Diego County Library system participating in the Rural Arts Project, a series of fine and digital art workshops.A grant from the California State Library enables people of all ages to receive free, high-quality art instruction. The Ramona and Potrero libraries are hosting the series this fall, and the Borrego Springs and Campo libraries will launch their workshops in early 2019.“The Rural Arts Project aims to bridge a gap in art experiences that is often seen in backcountry and rural areas,” said Chelsie Harris, Ramona Library manager and Rural Arts Project coordinator. “We’re so excited to be hosting this project for the benefit of these communities.”Quality art education is not always readily available in backcountry locations, especially for children and teens, said the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts working paper, “Leveraging Change: Increasing Access to Arts Education in Rural Areas.” When art education was analyzed in the context of rural communities, researchers found “access to arts education to be significantly impacted by a number of factors, including lack of transportation, limited financial resources, and unfavorable arts policy.”Ramona Library is partnering with The Art Center of Ramona to bring workshops to the public for free.”