Sunday, February 27, 2011

ALA: Protect School Libaries Funding

I received this email from the American Library Association (ALA) President, Roberta Stevens, that the federal government wants to cut funding for school libraries. Please read below for further details on how you can stop this action:
Dear ALA Members,

I am writing to you today to enlist your participation in an association-wide advocacy campaign to protect funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution (CR), H.R. 1, funding the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011. The House version zeroed out the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program. Action now moves to the Senate, which is drafting its own version of the CR.

This is the time to reach out to your U.S. senators by phone or email – and, importantly, to urge others in your communities to do so as well.

The request to your senators is straightforward. In the Continuing Resolution for 2011:

1. Maintain the 2010 funding level of $213.5 million for the Library Services and Technology Act.

2. Maintain the 2010 funding level of $19.1 million for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program.

Beyond these basic requests, I urge you to share with your senators how you are using this federal funding and how the constituents of your state benefit educationally and economically from library services during these challenging times. Provide examples of how you assist the public with online job searching, preparing resumes, small business development, accessing online information and training, etc.

Inform your senators about the role school libraries play in ensuring students graduate with the skills they need to be successful in today’s workforce. The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program increases the literacy skills and academic achievement of students by providing them with access to up-to-date school library materials; well-equipped, technologically advanced school library media centers; and well-trained, professionally certified school librarians...

The ALA Legislative Action Center ( can assist you with contacting your senators. If you need further help, call Jeff Kratz or Kristin Murphy with the ALA Office for Government Relations at 1-800-941-8478.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

U.S. Labor Union Protests Coverage on YouTube

If you are following the U.S. labor protests, I recommend these websites, Democracy Now! and The Young Turks. These programs are the only news media that cover a balanced depiction of what's happening around the world. Support workers' rights!

Democracy Now: “Democracy Uprising” in the U.S.A.?: Noam Chomsky on Wisconsin’s Resistance to Assault on Public Sector, the Obama-Sanctioned Crackdown on Activists, and the Distorted Legacy of Ronald Reagan

Democracy Now: Billionaire Right-Wing Koch Brothers Fund Wisconsin Governor Campaign and Anti-Union Push

The Young Turks on the Wisconsin Labor Protests

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The New American Shame

From the New York Times, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) created a chart that compares various social and economic measures among developed nations:

The United States ranks near the bottom in terms of community well-being. We ranked worst for income inequality, unemployment rate, food security, life expectancy at birth, prison population, and student performance (math). I hope the American population wakes up and realize enough is enough. Our level is democracy is average, at best, while the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. Overall, we are declining quickly compared to the rest of the world.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Christine Hassler: 20-Somethings and Career Advice

The Huffington Post ran a special article on career development for Generation Y college graduates. The author, Christine Hassler, states that we must become more realistic with our present circumstances:
Let me be clear that my intention is not to blame or point fingers at 20-somethings or their parents. Everyone has been doing the best they could based on their own experiences. And I truly think parents believed what they were telling their children (or at the very least wanted to believe it). But now with two-thirds of graduating seniors moving home and 16 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds unemployed (nearly double the national average) according to the MacArthur Research Network, it seems like the message about becoming independent in our 20's got lost in translation somewhere.

Hassler encourages 20-somethings to become more financially savvy and independent. They cannot wait for their dream job to come or continue to live off their parents' income. She wants 20-somethings to feel empowered and accomplished with their lives.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Detroit Free Press: Criminal System Fails Indigent

I found this editorial on the Detroit Free Press. It discusses the poor state of the criminal justice system for indigent individuals and families.
Michigan must establish uniform standards and oversight of its public defense system -- and assure adequate funding. It is now one of only a handful of states that rely almost entirely on counties to pay for and run their public defender systems.

Shifting public defense spending from local governments to the state; creating, measuring and enforcing statewide standards for indigent defense; and adequately funding such a system were among the most important recommendations unveiled last week in a sweeping report on how to overhaul Michigan's court system.

Although criminal justice is not my background, this editorial also provides policy analysis and recommendations for why the state needs a more just criminal system.