Chicago Public Schools vs school libraries




Harold Howe, author of Thinking about Our Kids, has said, “What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education.” They must not think much about education in Chicago these days. They have taken school librarians out of the library and assigned them to classroom teaching. I learned of the problem from a report on National Public Radio. I lived in the Chicago area for more than 20 years, and during the last 15 years or so of that time, I was married to a suburban elementary school teacher. We lived through a strike. … Continue reading






Bad news from a good undergraduate paper




Ever since I came across an online article claiming Benjamin Franklin as America’s first environmentalist, I have been looking for information that I can use in one of my other blogs. I just took notes on another online article called “What Would Ben Franklin Do? Influences of America’s First Environmentalist “ by Lauren Siminauer and noticed that at the time of publication she was “finishing her bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology at the University of Virginia. I have written quite a lot about research, sources, and using the library for writing term papers. Since Simenauer has essentially gotten one … Continue reading






Statistical literacy: an important part of information literacy




The mass media often misuse statistics when they report about such subjects as health, science, education, and the economy. Media outlets seem to be more concerned with pushing agendas than accurate reporting. Even if there is no agenda, emotionally vivid language in headlines and teasers create and maintain interest in the story. I’m not writing media criticism, though. This post is as much about research and any of my others.  Not many Americans know much about statistics. And journalists have no more training in statistics than most of the rest of us. Badly understood and misused statistics also influence public … Continue reading






Encouraging college students to use the library




Classes have started at colleges and universities. Some time at the beginning of every term, academic librarians conduct tours of the library and visit classes to offer library instruction. Or perhaps meet them in the library’s own classrooms. What are they trying to accomplish? What happens when they don’t get through to students? The results can be comical. They also help perpetuate a cycle of ignorance. After all, some students who never catch on graduate anyway. And some of them wind up teaching somewhere. … Continue reading






Research for ordinary people




Scientists in their labs or historians poring over manuscript collections and archives are researchers. Many of them become well known in their profession, and maybe even with the general public. People who search the web for sites that they then pass on to a writer are also researchers, very likely making $2 an hour somewhere in Asia. They are at the low end of status and responsibility for Internet work. What does either kind of research have to do with most people? Everyone does research. Not everyone does it professionally. For most people, that research is not likely to result … Continue reading