March 21, 2018

Feedback: Letters to LJ, April 15, 2017 Issue

“Libraries can assist in dispelling growing animosity and bring communities together, even if that’s over a nice bowl of soup”

A nice bowl of soup!

As a librarian and a huge fan of soup, I loved the programming on how to bring people together over simple ideas like shared meals and panel discussions (Michael Stephens, “Chaos & Caring”). By and large, people’s vitriol is amplified through our media outlets but lessened in person. Current discourse can be helped through personal experience: talking to someone [people] wouldn’t normally encounter and seeing them as real, not as a straw man or monster. While we can’t completely mend the opportunistic and cynical nature of our political discourse, libraries can assist in dispelling growing animosity and bring communities together, even if that’s over a nice bowl of soup.

—Name withheld

Plainfield’s case

I would like those who commented to know why Plainfield desperately needs to expand the library (Lisa Peet, “Plainfield Library District Referenda Lose to Robocalling”). Taxes have not been raised since 1990…. Community growth has been staggering. In 1990, our library district served a little over 14,000 people. Now census figures show that the district is serving a little over 75,000 people. That is a 436% increase in population served. In 1990, there were five public schools in Plainfield, and now we have 30. That is a 500% increase. The library is bursting at its seams. Some of us who choose to leaf through a book do so sitting on the floor.

If the library did not provide the ability to renew and hold books online there would be unsafe conditions due to building capacity. They have gone to a three-week checkout period, another crowd-reduction strategy. In addition, the library has cut hours and reduced programs to accommodate inadequate funding and insufficient space….

—Name withheld

Career starter!

I am a registered nurse in the State of New York. For the past year or so, I had a very difficult time finding a job. I went to hospital after hospital and applied everywhere but could not even land an interview. That was until I saw a flyer at the Fordham Branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL). I met with Robyn Saunders (Movers & Shakers 2017), senior career counselor, department head, Career, Education, and Information Services (CEIS), Bronx Library Center, NYPL; told her my situation; and showed her my ­résumé…. She not only helped me with my résumé but also passed it around to various individuals working in HR in many institutions. Within about a month, I was given a position at Montefiore Medical Center….

I am so truly thankful to Robyn Saunders, as well as to the staff of CEIS for their dedication to helping me and countless others achieve our dreams. It is because of all of them I am able to start my career and, like all of them, work hard to make my community a better place…. I am forever grateful.

—Juan Garcia, New York

The value part

I think there should be more emphasis put on the “value” part of the equation (Steven Bell, “Librarians Are Not Worth Waiting For). If people are willing to wait for Starbucks, it’s because the brand delivers something that the Quickie Mart can’t. Therefore, students who won’t wait don’t see the value in what librarians do. Considering that many students now don’t actually experience a librarian until they get into college, it makes sense: they don’t know what a librarian does. I also believe that librarians should take time to explain the economics of information to their communities. The interaction of money and information is key to understanding Google as well as ­Academic Search Complete.

—Nathan Pease, Adjunct Research Libn., ­McNairy Lib., Millersville Univ., PA


The publisher of A Portrait of Bowie: A Tribute to Bowie by His Artistic Collaborators and Contemporaries (LJ 3/1/17, p. 86) is Cassell: Octopus, not Cassell: Sterling. The price of Denene Millner’s My Brown Baby: On the Joys and Challenges of Raising African American Children (LJ 3/15/17, p. 104) is $16, and Mai Neng Moua’s The Bride Price (LJ 4/1/17, p. 100) was published by the Minnesota Historical Society, not the University of Minnesota. In our feature on debut novels “Great First Acts” (LJ 3/15/17, p. 74), the author of Sorry To Disrupt the Peace is Patty Yumi Cottrell. LJ regrets the errors.

This article was published in Library Journal's April 15, 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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