October 24, 2014

Feedback on Literacy, Library Horror Stories, and More

“Libraries are ideal settings for literacy services.They are easy to access…information-rich environments where new readers can thrive”

Literacy in libraries

Thanks so much, Rebecca Miller, for bringing this issue forward (“Bold on Literacy,” Editorial, LJ 3/1/14, p. 8). California’s Library Literacy Service will celebrate its 30th anniversary this fall. Currently 97 library jurisdictions annually serve 22,000 adult learners with 10,000 to 12,000 trained volunteer tutors in more than 500 locations around the state. Libraries are ideal settings for literacy services. They are easy to access in communities and are comfortable, information-rich environments where new readers can thrive.

Our most recent annual statewide outcomes show that of those adult learners who set the goal, 72 percent were able to share a book with their child and 65 percent were able to help their children with homework. Also, 65 percent were able to complete a job application, 57 percent wrote a résumé, 50 percent interviewed for a job, and 31 percent actually secured a new job or were promoted at work.

Hooray for all the library staff and volunteers around the country who make this important work happen!

—Carla Lehn, Lib. Programs Consultant, California State Lib., Sacramento

Librarian horror stories

I enjoyed Michael Stephens’s “Reflective Practice” (Office Hours, LJ 1/14, p. 52). I also agree with him. I graduated from an SLIS while working full-time in a public library. While what we learned in school was important and the professors tried their best, the tasks we are not hired to do were never expounded. In my 12 years of service, I have cleaned and plunged my fair share of toilets and continue to do it all with a master’s degree and I am keeping it mild—I have done much worse…. I know every librarian has and does. Maybe Librarian Horror Stories 101 should be added to the curriculum, or would that scare off our prospects?

—Adam T. Southern, Reference Libn., Maury Cty. P.L., Columbia, TN

Threat to the net

Wonderful editorial, Rebecca Miller (“A Commons at Risk,” Editorial, LJ 2/15/14, p. 8). It’s great to see the library community get four-square behind net neutrality. Libraries are, after all, one of the last truly democratic institutions we have. The threat to net neutrality is another dark manifestation of corporate dominance of American culture and our economy.

LJ would do well to follow up with an article about how the Internet is provided in Europe and Canada, where I suspect there is more competition among [Internet service providers] and where Internet speed is reportedly faster than in the United States.

—Joe Garonzik, Mktg. Dir., Genealogical Pub. Co., Baltimore

Netflix neutrality

How do you handle a company like Netflix, which currently uses a minimum of 35 percent of the entire Internet bandwidth capacities in the [United States] and at night uses over 50 percent of the available network capacity (Rebecca Miller, “A Commons at Risk,” Editorial, LJ 2/15/14, p. 8; Ian Chant, “Court Strikes Down Net Neutrality,” LJ 2/15/14, p. 12ff.). If you can’t get on the network or your search is slow, and we know that one company is using a third of the entire bandwidth available…then how is that fair to all the other content providers?

Let us not even dwell on who pays for the network and who pays to upgrade the network. Net neutrality is a good idea but not when one company monopolizes the total capability.

—James Hirschy, Managing Partner, Centarus Partners, LLC, Bellevue, WA

Bravo music librarians!

I just read Tanisha Mitchell’s “Backstage at an Opera Library” (LJ 12/13, p. 65) and thoroughly enjoyed it. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO), I have a deep appreciation for all the work that goes on behind the scenes to produce the amazing artistic performances that we see and hear.

I had the great good fortune this fall to be given, along with several members of our Indianapolis Public Library staff, an in-depth tour of the music library at the ISO. Wow! The knowledge and understanding of music exhibited by our music library staff, and the myriad highly technical tasks they perform to insure that the orchestra and its artistic leadership are prepared when we settle into our seats for a performance are impressive! My hat is off to them—unsung heroes to be sure in the public eye—but critical to the success of the orchestra. I would love for Tanisha to visit them next!

—M. Jacqueline Nytes, CEO, Indianapolis P.L.; Lib. Svcs. Ctr., Indianapolis

Optimizing?

Instead of “weeding,” how about “optimizing the collection,” the process of making the collection the best it can be (John Berry, “The Weeding War” Blatant Berry, LJ 11/1/13, p. 10)?

—Mary Jo Finch, Dir., Westbank Libs., Austin, TX

Correction

The price of the paperback of Amy Lucas’s Your Complete SAT Math Prep Course with Amy Lucas is $29.95, not the price listed in the LJ review (LJ 3/1/14, p. 104). We apologize for the error.

This article was published in Library Journal's April 1, 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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