Tag Archives: Education

Establishing a Distinctive Sense of Purpose

Last week I attended the Public Library Association (PLA) conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. One of the session I attended was Who We Are, What We Do, and Why it Matters: Establishing Our Distinctive Sense of Purpose, presented by Valerie Gross.

education-pillarsValerie discussed how simply modifying what you say about the library can raise the recognized value of the library, and thus, your likelihood of increased financial support. She used the example of upgrading the library’s image from “generic” to “brand name.” The generic and brand names products you buy in the store are often times virtually identical, except in price. You don’t need to change what you’re doing; you just need to change how you’re marketing it. This alone can make it easier to get new or more funding, simply by changing how people perceive the library. Continue reading


Gloomy Outlook for School Libraries

That’s one of the predictions from ALA’s The State of American Libraries 2013 (report found at ala.org).


Sequestration is adding to the problem of shrinking state budgets. Unfortunately, this means cuts in aid to education which often means reduced funding for school libraries.

At a recent meeting of the North Dakota Southeast Library Media Association, the general consensus was that, even in North Dakota, flush with new oil revenues, school librarians have to do more with less.

Here are more statements from ALA’s report:

“The number of school librarians declined more than other school staff from 2007 to 2011.”

“In 2011, salaries for new school librarians have contracted by about $900.”

“Cuts to school librarian positions betray an ignorance of the key role school librarians play in a child’s education, especially in this era of Google, when today’s students are flooded with an unprecedented volume of information.”

Other topics covered in the report: technology in schools, networking, filtering, digital textbooks, and gaming.

So, what’s the deal? As a nation, are we de-valuing school libraries and school librarians? Is it just a money issue? Investing in the successful future of our kids seems the wisest and easiest of choices.

“There is no problem a library card can’t solve.” –Eleanor Brown, Author

Literacy — A Fundamental Human Right


This UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) statement about literacy sums it up:

“Literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning. It is fully essential to social and human development in its ability to transform lives. For individual, families, and societies alike, it is an instrument of empowerment to improve one’s health, ones’ income, and one’s relationship with the world.”

The millions of adults and children who are illiterate are victims of discrimination; their basic human rights are being violated.

Lifelong learning is a process and should be the basis of educational policies. Learning does not stop when we graduate; hopefully, it colors our everyday activities and is not limited by age or gender. Literacy not only has academic applications, it also informs our consumer decisions, our on-the-job choices, and our decision making in a democratic culture.

North Dakotans are fortunate that we have good schools, open to all, and a government that supports education. The ND State Library uses state revenues to provide educational opportunities and materials for all ages, online and onsite, in a variety of formats both concrete and virtual. Take advantage of these free resources and keep those brain cells active.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”  George Orwell, Author