Libraries, immigrants, and digital literacy

Immigrants to the US generally come with some skills and resources, but not necessarily everything they need to succeed here. For example, many arrive with limited or no facility in the English language. Many also lack adequate computer skills needed to get and perform jobs. Libraries offer both language instruction and computer instruction, but helping patrons with limited English learn digital literacy presents new challenges In the days when most immigrants arrived by ocean, they arrived in major ports and tended to stay there. If very many of a particular group of immigrants left the port of entry, they usually … Continue reading

Why good writing matters

Many people don’t like to write. That especially applies to students and the seemingly unending number of papers they have to churn out. What’s the point? You write something only one person (the teacher) will ever see. And then you get it back with all kinds of markings pointing out spelling errors, grammatical errors, and other mistakes. It’s especially galling when it’s not even a paper for English class! Why good writing can seem useless I have certainly written lots of papers. As a sometime instructor at the college and graduate school level, I have assigned and graded lots of … 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