Monthly Archives: May 2008

Another Kind of Literacy

Libraries are always making the big push for literacy. Of course, it’s our mission, we are all about reading, it’s a survival skill and it’s in our best self interest because if people don’t read, we have no reason to exist.  However I think libraries should think about delving into a new area of literacy, financial literacy.  Isn’t it just as important to understand the implications of your credit card interest rate as it is to be able to read the bill?

The country is in crisis from the collapse of the housing market.  Lots of people took on more debt than they could handle or took huge risks thinking they could turn a quick profit.  Why?  No financial literacy skills.  There aren’t many classes in the schools and if your parents didn’t teach you about credit and mortgages and investing, who will? Perhaps this is a new area librarians could explore, teaching finance along with reading.  Financial literacy is vital, yet ridiculously neglected, life skill.   To that end, I’ve found a great personal finance blog,  www.getrichslowly.org.

It’s advice is sane, conservative and sound. no get rich quick schemes or tricky investments.  Good place to check out if you are trying to get your financial life in order. There are interesting articles, calculators, reader commentary and book recommendations. Best of all, it’s free. 

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A Dog’s Eye View

I just finished listening to, the “The Art of Racing In the Rain”  by Garth Stein on a Recorded Books CD.  Awesome story!  The book features the musings of Enzo, an evolved mutt who is sure that once he leaves his doggie life behind, he will be reborn as a man.  He saw it on a National Geographic special on TV and surely NatGeo wouldn’t lie!

When Enzo is not filling up his days watching TV, (the Speed Channel being a particular favorite) he is commenting on the peculiarties of his human family, Denny, Eve and Zoe with wry humor.  Denny is trying to pursue his dream of becoming a race car driver while he and Eve are raising daughter Zoe.  When the family is struck by tragedy, Enzo, who is the only one who knows the truth, finds himself horribly frustrated by his inability to assist Denny.

Poignant, funny and a great read for race fans and dog lovers.

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Everything is on the internet, so why?

Recently the question was asked, why do you need a new library?  What brought the town board to even consider the matter? 

Our circulation of items has increased 14% between 2004 and 2007.

The number of library card holders in that same time has increased by 5%,  currently about 9536.  60% of Parma/Hilton residents have a library card. 

Our computer use has increased by a whopping 218% !!! 

The American Library Association has a set of guidelines for building size according to population, usually about 1 sq ft per capita.  The population in the Town of Parma is about 15,000, our building is currently about 8,000 sq ft.  

The Library does not own the parking lot, it belongs to the Methodist Church.  On an average day we have about 300 visits to the Library and there are only 43 spaces available between us and the church. 

Anyone who has spent any time in the library knows the lack of elbow room is a big factor. We have not been able to host larger programs because of fire codes, the staff have to navigate around a series of obstacles to do their jobs and there isn’t just a good comfy place for people to settle in and hang out.  We don’t even have space for a public copier.

All this activity is squeezed into a space that the community has clearly outgrown.  Thus, we are attempting to get a new building.  The thought behind partnering with the community center is that a two for one building will be cheaper in the long run, especially when you consider maintenance costs.

There you have it, in a nutshell.

 

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The Survey

The results of the community survey came out and the issues of interest to most people seem to be parking and cost to develop the site for the community center/library project. 

I think the survey will not be given much weight because people were not given enough time to participate. It was done by a volunteer (Sarah Warmbrodt) as a project for college and had to adhere to her professor’s timeline for grading.  It seemed like a pretty thorough and well organized survey though and was presented in a very professional manner. 

We have a copy in the library for the  public to view in case you are interested.

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Overheard at the Library

Overheard at the Library…

An intense discussion of presidential politics and the upcoming election. From what I caught of the conversation they felt Obama had the best chance of winning, however they were also very sure that the country was not ready for an African American president and that he would most likely be assassinated by racists. 

The participants in this mini caucus were two ten year old boys!

 

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