Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Ferguson Municipal Public Library is a Haven

A wonderful story on how the public library can serve as a safe temporary school while a town is in turmoil. The community came together to help the children, and the library was immediately identified as the location to do it. Congratulations to all how participated. By Nancy Chandross NBC News When Ferguson, Missouri, elementary school teacher Carrie Pace learned schools would remain closed all week after violence erupted on their city’s streets in the wake of the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, it never occurred to her to sit at home and wait it out. “[I was] just looking for something to do, looking for a way to help,” said the 31-year-old art teacher. Pace decided to start reaching out to other teachers to see if she could organize programs for the kids of Ferguson. She immediately thought of the library. It started small at first. Pace and her teacher friends began to email parents and post on social media, inviting kids to come to the Ferguson Municipal Public Library. Initially just 12 showed up, but by Thursday they had 60 volunteers and roughly 150 kids, with some spilling out to another space in a nearby church. “We’ve essentially taken over the library,” said acting principal Antona Smith. They are offering math, writing and literature classes just like in school. "They’re having full academics and teachers are coming with full curricula ready to teach!” And the kids, from pre-k to high school, are ready to learn. Soon after, local food banks and even neighbors began dropping off food to ensure breakfast and lunch could be offered to the students. Teach for America and other educational groups are now also among the volunteers. “There’s just been an outpouring of support,” Pace said, as the nation watched the developing turmoil in Ferguson. “I had someone call me from Michigan and say, ‘What can I send to you?’” The generosity is a stark contrast to the violent and racially-charged protests in Ferguson that caused the school closures. “We don’t talk about it, when they’re in here this is safe quiet space,” Smith said. Volunteers will pull kids aside if they seem upset, but she said most are just enjoying being back in class. “It is wonderful. I’m looking at smiles and laughter, that’s what’s going on.” Smith, who is an educator, drove 20 miles from Kirkwood, Missouri to help. “I’m also a parent. My last two children are in elementary school … they had their first day of school. Kids in Ferguson haven’t.” So she says she’s thrilled to pitch in and organize the classrooms at the library. “It is an amazing thing to see. There’s a lot of learning going on.” There’s also a lot of appreciation. Smith and Pace have been receiving a steady stream of heartfelt “thank yous” from parents. Pace said some of the parents were left without childcare this week and needed somewhere for their kids to be while they’re at work. “It’s expensive and we have a lot of families that are in need and it’s a really difficult situation," she said. Sign up for The Nightly newsletter from Brian Williams and the Nightly News team. The library programs are helping to bridge that gap while also getting the learning started. “Our community values education - as all parents do,” Pace said. Schools are expected to open Monday, and until then, Pace is glad she’s been able to help provide a place where kids could learn. “I hope that it’s healing in some way, if nothing else I think it is a total breath of fresh air for the kids who can be here.” And, she thinks the kids will be happy to get back to their usual schools Monday, with a jump start from this week’s classes. “They will be so ready!” she added. First published August 21 2014, 1:55 PM

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

5 Things That People Don’t Realize their Librarians Do

by Rebecca Tischler, Head Editor, INALJ Tennessee

Many people still have the stereotypical image of a librarian stuck in their head: an older kind of frumpy woman wearing glasses on a chain, her hair up in a bun, shushing people with one hand while stamping books with the other. Many of my Jr. High classmates predicted that I was going to be a librarian because I liked to read, and, during those years, I was very quiet and wore glasses. I still love to read and always have something to read, but since I’m much more comfortable with myself, I don’t know if people would still say that I look like a librarian. Ironically, I did become a librarian, but for completely different reasons (part of it is the sheer variety involved in the profession).

As a librarian, we help to teach people how to become self-sufficient on the computer, find the answer to patron’s questions (no offense Google, but while you may come back with a million answers, we librarians come back with the right answer), develop graphic designs for advertisement, act as a social media managers, handle reader’s advisory, teach information literacy classes, act as storytellers, and teach children, to name just a few of our duties. We wear many many caps.

And here are five things that you may have been unaware that librarians do (just a few of their caps), or that libraries offer.

  1. Librarians are teachers. Many libraries have computer classes, which can include teaching a room full of people how to use Microsoft Office, how to use the internet safely, how to set up accounts and stay safe on social media, or how to use photo manipulation programs. Some libraries even teach computer programming classes. Librarians also do a lot of one-on-one tutoring if there isn’t a class that specifically covers the need of the patron.
  2. Librarians are tech savvy. Whatever computer classes librarians are teaching, or when we have to help a patron troubleshoot their own technology, we have to be computer and technologically literate in order to help. We have to know the basics of computer technology, at the very least. Most times, however, we know more, and if we don’t know the answer off the top of our heads, we know how to find it.
  3. Librarians are advertisers. Libraries mostly manage their own public relations and advertise their own services and events (and generally with almost no budget). They write the press releases, network and make connections, as well as create their own logos and graphic design. And many of the librarians are self-taught when it comes to graphic design software.
  4. Librarians are event planners. Libraries have dozens of events every year, and the staff has to create budgets and event plans, and bring in volunteers or paid presenters. They plan the activities, the topic, the refreshments… everything. Most of the decorations are probably also made by the staff and, sometimes, the librarian is also the presenter if the librarian’s outside hobbies coincide with the event’s topic.
  5. Librarians are researchers. Librarians not only know how to organize and find information. We know how to collate and analyze information. We see the patterns and can extract information from it. For example, have you ever gone to the library looking for the next book that you would love, and asked one of the librarians what they would recommend? If so, you were probably asked about what type of books you liked, if you have favorite authors, of those favorite books or authors, what was it that drew you in (location, characters, humor…), etc. These were all questions that help the librarian gather information to analyze your taste in books in order to hopefully provide you with your next favorite read.

With just those 5 things, librarians have to learn graphic design, communications, interviewing techniques, public relations, writing, event planning, budgeting techniques, DIY crafts, computer literacy and information literacy. And yet, there is so much more to librarianship that even just the 5 items discussed above. This in no way means that the librarians are ready to march into those other professions fully prepared, but we do have to study and learn multiple professions so that we can act as librarians. Librarianship is much more than just reading books, and organizing them. Libraries provide classes, events, public space, and access to computers and technology, just to name a few.

Libraries are more than just free bookstores.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Coronation Street Supports Libraries

I am a big Coronation Street fan.  I have been known to gossip about the characters with some of my regular patrons here in Lincoln.

The UK has experienced a large number of public library closures due to Council budget cuts. In Canada, the fight to save the Weatherfield library is being shown on the Street. They are highlighting the important role of public libraries for everyone, especially those who are disadvantaged.  They are also celebrating the feisty librarians who make a difference in their communities.

In Canada, we are fortunate that our politicians are continuing their support of public libraries and what we do.  Let's hope that the citizens of the UK continue to fight for their libraries!

Here is the Corrie library protest on Youtube.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

It All Started at the Lincoln Public Library

Here is a great success story which started right here at the Lincoln Public Library! Rubert is today an avid user of the library and its resources.

A graduate at last

58-year-old happy to hit the books

Grimsby Lincoln News

BEAMSVILLE — It was not that long ago that Rubert Payea had to choose his food by looking at the pictures.                            
"I couldn't be sure if I was buying cat food or tuna," said the now 58-year-old who last month officially became a high school graduate.
The journey to literacy began with recovery for Payea.
When he was one year sober, his sponsor told him it was time to get his life back on track. They happened to be in a church parking lot across from the Fleming Library.
"I looked at the library and I said to myself, it would be nice to read all those books," recalled Payea.
It took a lot to step through the door. He was hesitant, ashamed of the fact that at his age, he couldn't read even simple, three letter words.
But he took the steps anyway.
Staff at the library told Payea about their neighbour, the Niagara West Adult Learning Centre. They said the agency could help him. They told him he could learn to read.
And he did.
It didn't come easy. It has taken years for Payea to get to where he is now. He kept at it and now enjoys writing mysteries.
He credits his accomplishment to tutor Sue Minchin, who he was worked with for close to seven years.
"She knows where I am going to have problems before I even get there," said Payea. "She makes me fell comfortable."
Minchin has also been patient with Payea and encourages him to problem solve for himself. His whole life friends and family have helped him to spell, but have never really taught him to spell. When he asks Minchin how to spell something, she responds by asking him how does he think it should sound.
"That's not exactly true," said Minchin, when Payea mentioned he still has trouble with big words. "You think you can't, but you can."
It was Minchin's encouragement that saw Payea achieve something he never thought possible — earning his high school diploma. When Minchin learned Payea was only a half credit shy of completing the curriculum she got on the phone.
"When I found out it was just a half credit, it seemed so minimal," said Minchin. "I thought it was important because of all of his hard work."
Now that Payea has his diploma he is looking at higher education.
"Now that I have my Grade 12 college is often on my mind," he said. "I'd like to learn more about computers."
In his time at the centre, Payea has gone from pupil to tutor. He is considered the computer "guru" and is the go-to guy for any computer-related question.
"I've always been good with my hands," said Payea, who was a woodworker and antique dealer in the past. "Now today, I'm good in the brain too."
In 2004, Payea was at the same reading level as a Grade 1 student. Today, his reading is between 75 and 95 per cent accurate. He is an avid mystery writer and keeps a blog on his journey to literacy. Follow Payea's blog at www.freewebs.com/rubertsleapinreading