Posts tagged ‘Libraries’
Posted by Robert J. Lackie
Libraries are increasingly essential in these tough economic times. People are flocking to our nation’s libraries for job and career information, small business research and e-government services as well as support for formal and informal education and lifelong learning. Congress made across-the-board cuts to federal programs in its FY2011 budget, and libraries fill the gaps made when other agencies and services. Unfortunately, libraries are also receiving federal budget cuts.
Even if you can’t make it to Washington for National Library Legislative Day on May 9, you can join us by contacting your representatives and senators during Virtual Legislative Day. Please contact your elected officials with the following requests:
- Fund the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) at $232 million, the level last authorized in December 2010;
- Preserve the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program with its own budget line and appropriate the program at its FY2010 level of $19.1 million;
- Maintain funding for the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Compendia Branch at $2.9 million in order to preserve publication of “Statistical Abstracts” and other publications;
- Fund the Salaries and Expenses work of the Government Printing Office (GPO) at $42,173,000 to preserve public access through the FDLP and FedSYS.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (School Libraries):
- Support student performance by including an effective school library program as part of ESEA through the LEARN Act to include:
- A school library staffed by a state-certified school librarian;
- A school library with up-to-date books, materials, equipment, and technology, including broadband connectivity; and
- Instruction by librarians for students and staff on digital and computer literacy skills, including collaboration between classroom teachers and school librarians to develop and implement the curriculum and other school reforms.
While these issues are the most urgent at this time, there are many other critical pieces of legislation impacting libraries. For full list of key issues that will be discussed at National Library Legislative Day, click here. ALA has also drafted issue briefs on the following areas: Access, Appropriations for Libraries, Broadband & Telecommunications, Copyright, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Government Services & Information, Surveillance & Privacy and the WILL Act
Visit http://capwiz.com/ala/issues/alert/?alertid=44989511&queueid=[capwiz:queue_id] to learn more and send your congressman and senator a message.
by April Bunn
San Diego has a high today of only 59 degrees, so it’s not the warm getaway I expected, but it’s still a welcome relief from the piles of snow I left behind in New Jersey.
The 2011 ALA Midwinter Meeting is underway and today the convention center was full of dedicated librarians today, scurrying off to one meeting or another, or visiting the over 450 exhibitors.
I am always impressed at how well ALA does a conference. Every person I spoke to was helpful and friendly and the speakers here are always interesting- Neil Gaiman, Nancy Pearl, and Ten Danson are on the line up for tomorrow. I am really looking forward to attending my first Youth Media Awards on Monday morning.
As Vice President of NJASL, I’m here with our President Elect, Fran King and President, Judith Everitt to attend the Affiliate Assembly meetings for AASL. I respect all of you that are attending this conference and participating in multiple committee meetings to better yourself and this profession.
In these tough times, it is crucial that we network and advocate every step of the way.
Posted by Robert J. Lackie
The American Library Association (ALA) has announced in October 2010 a partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to make “Money Smart Week @ Your Library” a national initiative from April 2-9, 2011, and things are beginning to heat up now in late December—at least for this national initiative!
Celebrating its 10th year in 2011, Money Smart Week’s mission is to promote personal financial literacy (Note: Money Smart Week is a registered service mark of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago). Throughout the 10-year history of Money Smart Week, libraries have been instrumental in facilitating and hosting quality Money Smart Week events. For instance, libraries of all types in Illinois (and Chicago), Indiana, Iowa (and Quad cities), Michigan, West Virginia, and Wisconsin participated in Money Smart Week in 2010, partnering with community groups, financial institutions, government agencies, educational organizations, and other financial experts to help consumers learn to better manage their personal finances.
ALA and the Federal Reserve hope that even more librarians and their libraries will be participating in the first ever national Money Smart Week this spring, from April 2-9, 2011. Events will take place at member libraries across the country and will and cover topics from learning how to apply for a mortgage to teaching young people about credit. We all, librarians included, can benefit from that! Watch this site ( http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/education/msw/index.cfm ) for information on joining the initiative, for news, and for important links you can use right now.
I will be posting again later this week requesting info from all Library Garden readers on programming ideas, as I am now, as of this month, on the Academic Money Smart Week @ Your Library Committee for ALA.
If any of us ever did doubt that the traditional stereotype of the librarian is alive and well, here in 2010, right here in New Jersey, doubt it no more. Convincing evidence to confirm this is easily found. I’ve been reflecting on this since I read an article by Brad Parks from the April 11, 2010 Newark Sunday Star-Ledger. His headline was compelling “Budget Imperils New Jersey’s Libraries.” I was eager to read this story, as I am everything written in the NJ press about the impact of and reactions to Governor Christie’s proposed 74% budget reduction to NJ library funding. Parks’ editorial supports the library communities’ struggle for funding restoration, but even though he touts the value of libraries in promoting literacy and democratic access to information, he chose to open his article by evoking traditional librarian stereotypical images.
Reading the first words of his story made my heart sink: “In both stereotype and practice, New Jersey’s librarians are a fairly unexcitable bunch, more prone to shushing than they are to hyperbole. So take this into consideration was you read this from Edison Public Library director Judith Mansbach. ‘If this goes through, it’s going to be devastating.’” The three column article decries the proposed cuts and mentions the May 6th librarian rally in Trenton that many of us, myself included, later attended. (Some of us even got quite excited – imagine that.) Parks returns to the library stereotype by ending on this note: “Needless to say they could use your help. So if you value your local library – or literacy in general- please make your view known to your legislators. It’ll be one time your librarian won’t shush you for raising your voice.” I sincerely appreciate Mr. Parks’ support and thank him for asking readers to complain to NJ legislators about the ghastly cuts, but ask why could he not resist the cutesy and clichéd reference to librarians’ shushing that devalues our profession?
Post rally, Karen Sudol picked up the theme in her article: “Librarians Demand Christie Not Close Book on Services” in the May 7th Star-Ledger (p. 22). She begins: “Librarians accustomed to saying “Shush” and “Quiet, please,” spoke up at a Trenton rally yesterday in protest of a proposed 74 percent cut in state funding. ‘I think we’re going to dispel all of the shushing rumors that librarians are just quiet little people,’ said Patricia Tumulty executive director of the New Jersey Library Association which organized the two-hour event. ‘We’re strong advocates for the people of New Jersey to have good library services.” Pat’s advocacy and leadership continue to be strong, although I’m sad to say the “shushing rumors” are firmly ensconced in the press and popular culture, much to the detriment of our professional image.
This example is one of countless newspaper articles, blogs, cartoons, television shows, commercials, novels, advertisements, motion pictures, etc. in a broad range of mediated discourse, that continue to evoke the librarian stereotype. Librarians, usually female, are consistently portrayed as bespectacled, mousy, unassuming, sexually repressed introverts who primarily engage in three behaviors – shushing (as we see above), stamping and shelving books. The male librarian stereotype, although less prominent, is also unflattering to the profession. Usually portrayed as prissy with the ubiquitous horn rimmed glasses and bow tie, he is distinctly feminine and also therefore accorded the low status of the female librarian, deserving little respect.
This stereotype has persisted as remarkably intact since the early 1900s, despite the information age that has transformed the profession as one now immersed in sophisticated digitized systems and online services, Some, even within our field, may dismiss stereotypical texts and images as harmless, cute, or funny, and chide others to get a sense of humor. As one who has studied the librarian stereotype in depth, and published several journal articles on the topic in Library Quarterly, I have come to view these media representations as far from harmless, with serious, anti-intellectual, and anti-feminist messages. In these hideous budget times in NJ, and across the nation, it is appalling to me to see how frequently the stereotypical librarian image appears. In another recent example, on May 11th, Library Journal reported on “Jay Leno’s Bad Library Joke” . If you click on this link you can see a video of Leno saying: “People here in Los Angeles are upset [at] their mayor’s proposed plan to cut the budget of libraries…this could affect as many as nine people.” The LJ link includes the letter from city librarian Martin Gomez who points out that over 17 million people use the LA libraries every year and that the budget cuts are no laughing matter.
Perhaps I should not be so appalled at these stereotypical images and low blows to libraries. After all, thinking of libraries as dusty, unused places (instead of vital community centers) and librarians as unproductive, fussy old biddies who shuffle around the library shushing, stamping, and shelving is useful to the powerful elite who use this ill-informed view as justification to cut already low salaries and benefits for public librarians, fire librarians, reduce hours and close libraries (including the library for the blind and handicapped). This 74% cut is sadly going to occur at a time when NJ citizens’ need is greatest for what libraries have to offer: equal access to information to all, free to all.
By Marie L. Radford