Magazine article American Libraries

What They Said

Magazine article American Libraries

What They Said

Article excerpt

"It touches on all the things libraries are and should be in the 21st century. Every day I hear we live in an information economy, and this program shows that the most important place for getting hooked up with reliable information is the library."

GREG LUCAS, California state librarian, describing Fresno County's Library without Walls--an effort to inform and educate county residents who don't use the library or its services--as among the more innovative programs in the state, in "Fresno County Librarians Leave the Branch Behind, Hit the Road," Fresno (Calif.) Bee, Nov. 27.

"Closing libraries is the equivalent of eating your seed corn to save a little money. They recently did a survey that showed that among poor white boys in England, 45% have reading difficulties and cannot read for pleasure. Which is a monstrous statistic, especially when you start thinking about it as a statistic that measures not just literacy but also as a measure of imagination and empathy, because a book is a little empathy machine. It puts you inside somebody else's head. You see out of the world through somebody else's eyes. It's very hard to hate people of a certain kind when you've just read a book by one of those people. So in that context, as far as I'm concerned, closing libraries is endangering the future. You know, at least with the libraries there, you're in with a chance."

NEIL GAIMAN, author, on why closing libraries in the name of financial prerogatives is shortsighted, in "Neil Gaiman: Libraries Are Cultural 'Seed Corn,"' The Guardian, Nov. 17.

"If a parent or caregiver thinks, 'Oh, I now see why we sing these songs,' they're more likely to do it at home or to try it at home. Or they may recognize a behavior that a child is doing that is connected to here which will, one, bring them back more, and, two, have them then maybe be motivated to try on their own to expand that and have some confidence in their abilities to teach their children."

ROBIN DUGAN, children's librarian at the Mount Airy branch of Carroll County (Md.) Public Library, on how adopting five practices--talk, sing, read, write, and play--into the library's youth programming can impact children's literacy in "Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play: How Libraries Reach Kids Before They Can Read," NPR, Dec. 30.

"How amazing would it be to share our South Side community with the world? The library would be that gateway. …

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