Libraries nourish creativity

“One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out” — Jeff Bezos So how to you go about inventing your way out of a tight box? It requires curiosity and creativity. Libraries themselves have been in a tight box lately. For centuries, they have functioned mostly as repositories of information. Rightly or wrongly, society seems to be coming to the conclusion that it does not need repositories any more. For the past several decades, libraries have been reinventing themselves into idea factories. Why did society start building large collections of books … Continue reading

Libraries and adult literacy

America has a problem with adult literacy. Too many adults read so poorly they can barely function. American libraries, therefore, are working to contribute new and innovative continuing education to boost adult literacy. Consider the following statistics: 5-6 year olds have a vocabulary of 2,500 to 5,000 words. Disadvantaged students in the first grade have approximately half the vocabulary of advantaged students. The educational outlook for 25-40% of American children is imperiled because of their inability to read well enough, easily enough, or quickly enough. Over a span of 15 years, more than 10 million American students reached 12th grade … Continue reading

Libraries open children’s minds

According to the Children’s Reading Foundation, “It takes hundreds of hours of ‘lap time’ for a child to acquire the pre-literacy skills necessary for learning to read early and well.” Twenty minutes a day is enough to accomplish that goal by the time a child is ready for kindergarten. Any adult with even the most rudimentary reading skills can do it. Even adults who can’t read themselves can hold a picture book and make up stories. But does every child receive that kind of attention? Alas, no. Here is one way the library can greatly help. Of course, a skilled … Continue reading

Ask your friendly librarian

In the early 1990s, my then 20-year-old step-son wanted to buy a used car. He found the choices and all of the questions he needed to answer overwhelming. I suggested he could get some good answers at the library, and he asked me to go with him. We walked into the library and straight back to the reference desk. I asked the librarian what information they had on buying a used car, and she quickly handed me four books. I gave them to my son and showed him to the copier. He looked through them, copied several pages, and gave … Continue reading

"85 reasons to be thankful for librarians," and counting

[ad name=”Google Adsense 728×90″] I found a fun page I’d like to pass along. It’s a semi-serious list of reasons not only┬áto be thankful for librarians, but to use the library. It also lists reasons to be grateful for all the print materials in the library, as well as the wealth of electronic information it offers. I say semi-serious because of the tongue-in-cheek writing style and because while most of the reasons relate to the real services librarians offer, some don’t. No. 7, for example, is “‘Sexy Librarian’ is still a popular costume at Halloween.” The list appears on a … Continue reading