Magazine article American Libraries

Comment Enabled

Magazine article American Libraries

Comment Enabled

Article excerpt

There's More to Michigan I enjoyed reading Kathy Rosa's "Referenda Roundup" (AL, Jan./Feb., p. 44). However, I noticed that where the author wrote about proposals in the state of Michigan, the map next to the piece showed only the lower peninsula of Michigan, while other states had a full map of their state.

The Upper Peninsula has nearly 16,400 square miles of land and is home to more than 300,000 people. It is a beautiful and historically important piece of Michigan. Just because it may not have as many residents as the lower peninsula, it does not mean it is not deserving of being on a map of the state.

I hope that you will correct this issue in the future and respect all citizens of Michigan.

Joshua Pikka


Never Too Cool for School

I applaud Barbara Stripling's message "Advocating for School Librarians." (Jan./Feb., p. 6). From 1975 to 1993 I was a school librarian/media specialist; then I was downsized along with every school librarian/media specialist and our supervisor in the district. What a jolt, not to mention a life disrupted. Fortunately, I had a backup plan and am now a public librarian on the other side of the country. Twenty some years later, that school district has still not replaced its librarians/media specialists, making do with teacher aides.

School librarians/media specialists provide all the services and resources Stripling mentions and more: We love those kids, and they respond to our efforts. There is no greater satisfaction than to learn that a student did well after a session with the librarian/media specialist, or to hear one or another of the kids say, "Wow, he knew just where to look." I miss that.

Please continue to advocate for school librarians/media specialists. The country needs more of them.

Bill Chase

Greenville, South Carolina

Conference Footprint

In the November/December 2013 issue of American Libraries, Will Manley recounts a recent unsuccessful effort to put ALA squarely on a course of environmental responsibility by redirecting Association investments from fossil fuels to solar and wind initiatives. He then suggests measures that local librarians can take, in the absence of leadership by our national Association. I'd like to suggest another.

Nearly five years ago, editorializing in LITA's Information Technology and Libraries, I called upon ALA and its members to recognize the environmental irresponsibility of continuing to sponsor large national meetings to which up to 20,000 attendees travel, many by air. Using some back-side-of-napkin assumptions and calculations, I estimated that the average carbon footprint for each attendee who traveled by air to Midwinter 2009 in Denver was 0.3635 metric tons. The total for 8,850 attendees amounted to more than 3,200 metric tons. And these calculations considered only air travel, nothing more.

Innumerable reasons may be offered to demonstrate that the day of huge in-person national Association meetings has passed, but I remain convinced that the most compelling of these is that such gatherings demonstrate our inexcusable hubris and obstinate blindness to their environmental costs.

Will the "ALA brass" howl when we abandon the meeting cash cow and instead choose a more sustainable course? Probably. Will what we do lead to the end of air travel? …

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