Yesterday, in the stately Trustee Room of the New York Public Library, the Aspen Institute released its report "Rising To The Challenge: Re-envisioning Public Libraries." It was based on the results of their Dialogue on Public Libraries. (Full disclosure: I've been a member of their Working Group and I even helped out with the draft report a bit, including one of its sidebar stories.)
Readers of this blog will not be surprised that I'm clearly in synch with the central foundation of the report that "public libraries [are] at the center of the digital age", our era.
The project was led by Amy Garmer of Aspen, who also wrote the report and who deserves enormous credit for this work. As Deborah Jacobs, Director of the Gates Foundation Global Library Initiative said, Amy Garmer is now the most influential non-librarian in the library world.
She begins the report by setting the stage this way:
“The process of re-envisioning public libraries to maximize their impact reflects:
Principles that have always been at the center of the public library’s mission—equity, access, opportunity, openness and participationThe library’s capacity to drive opportunity and success in today’s knowledge-based societyAn emerging model of networked libraries that promotes economies of scale and broadens the library’s resource reach while preserving its local presence
The library’s fundamental people, place and platform assets”
In addition to these points, another strategic, but infrequently stated, point was made in the report -- there needs to be a new model for sustainable funding for library services that recognizes and supports their fundamental role in our society and economy.
As part of the event surrounding the report’s release, there was a panel discussion with some more interesting observations:
Linda Johnson, CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library, said that we need to understand that libraries are not centers for books but for learning -- and centers of enjoyment.
Ralph Smith, SVP of the Casey Foundation and Managing Director of its Campaign For Grade Level Reading, said he had learned over time that libraries have a unique combination of "hi tech and hi touch" which is what is required for education these days.
Nashville/Davidson County Mayor Dean said that "building libraries is the most popular thing I do. Demand always outstrips supply."
Although not directly related to this event, the Atlantic Magazine also had a recent article about the public library of Columbus, Ohio, titled “Not Your Mother's Library”.
What immediately stood out were two contrasting word clouds. The first had the words people associated with past libraries, the libraries of their childhood. Then the second had the words they used to describe the library of the future …
Click headline to read more and access hot links--
Leaders are often put in precarious positions when it relates to truth. They are expected to withhold sensitive information and be authentic, not disclose everything about direction and motivate. It is dangerous balancing act that often times results a systemic mistrust of leaders and leadership by employees. A recent study (find study by McKinsey) showed that less than a 33% of employees believed what their employers and leaders were saying. 33%! Essentially, that means that employees don’t believe 2/3 of what they are told. Is there really any question why the rumor mill/grapevine/water cooler talk is so powerful? Given the nature of the social media, any slip of leaking information of a new product or potential merger could mean the difference between a blockbuster new initiative and an idea that is picked apart before it sees the light of day.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is alleged to be one of the great intellects of conservative jurisprudence, but his comments during oral arguments over a challenge to the 1965 Voting Rights Act displayed all the mental acuity of a third-tier talk radio bozo.
Shelby County, Ala., is making the case against the voting law. Section 5 of the act empowers the federal government to negate new local and state voting rules if they would lead to discrimination against minority voters. It has been enforced primarily in Southern states that had a long, dismal history of preventing African Americans from voting. Shelby County contends the problem has been remedied and so Section 5 is no longer justified.
Georgia's U.S. Rep. John Lewis begs to differ. Lewis was severely beaten in Selma, Ala., during the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" police riot directed against peaceful civil rights marchers. The horror of that scene as it played out on America's television screens led directly to congressional approval of the Voting Rights Act. MORE
In the name of "national security,' our government spends billions every week on military weapons and action in other nations.
Nadine Hack's insight:
Bernice King, the daughter of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta Scott King is in the unique position to know how profoundly devastating it is to lose a family member to gun violence. Her article suggests many actions we can take to prevent others from experiencing such tragedy.
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