Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Friends sale at Lakeport Library

Friends of the Lake County Library book bags

Jan Cook at the Lake County Library emailed me an event calendar that included this exciting lead: Friends of the Lake County Library will conduct its fall book sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 3 at Lakeport Library, 1425 N. High St. For $15, people can stuff a book bag with books, CDs, videocassettes and DVDs. The photo comes from Dewey Lake's Facebook page.

Arguing con in debate over Internet privacy

Toastmasters debate: Introduction of participants
Aug. 13, 2009: Toastmasters Club No. 8731, Tenacious Talkers, hosts a debate.
 I face an interesting assignment for LIBT 117 in the Cuesta College Library/Information Technology Program. Not only did our teacher assign each of us a topic, but also whether we would argue pro or con.

This exercise reminds me of a debate I moderated for Tenacious Talkers, Club 8731, Toastmasters International. A coin toss determined whether the debators would argue pro or con during the debate.

What made the debate particularly challenging was that the coin toss occurred on the evening of the debate. The debaters had to prepare arguments for both sides in anticipation of having to argue pro or con.

Thus, arguing con in the matter of privacy, my position is, “Resolved: Individual citizens don’t need the right to privacy in order to discharge their rights as citizens.” I will blog my progress as I work on this assignment.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Keep your pets safe on Halloween

My black cat Starfire pummeling a ball of yarn
Shown: my beautiful black cat
Starfire pummels a ball of yarn.
It is understandable that trick-or-treaters who came to our door a few years ago concluded that we had “a million” cats. The two small kittens in our household at the time easily created enough mayhem between them to attribute to 40 cats.

“The gremlins,” as I called them, had a knack for evading notice while plotting their various heists. The continual openings and closings of the front door on Halloween, combined with the kittens' innate stealthiness, made perfect conditions for a jailbreak.

With the revelers on our doorstep, two silvery flashes abruptly darted outside.

“Kittens!” I shouted, alerting members of my household that the kittens had escaped. The human inhabitants pelted past the trick-or-treaters in pursuit of the feline fugitives.

I later learned of the impression formed by the kittens' antics concerning the quantity of cats in our household. Thankfully, as we approach this latest Halloween, the sole feline member of our household is a mature adult.

Much about Halloween that gives it its appeal: the opportunity to dress in costumes and go door-to-door asking for candy, could frighten a domestic animal. What I view as children's usual “strikes,” their noise and unpredictability, are amplified at Halloween.

There are also a lot more cars on the road to shuttle children to and from neighborhoods.

Owners of black cats may have additional concerns about ritual killings around Halloween.

“It makes no sense to hype up the problem, it doesn't happen very often but there is a danger,” according to writer Larry Chamberlain, who pointed out that real Wiccans would not harm cats as many are cat owners themselves (www.best-cat-art.com/cats-and-halloween.html).

Snopes.com, circa 2005, determined that there was inconclusive evidence whether Satanic rites involving cats were “a real, widespread phenomenon, or largely a self-perpetuating Halloween myth.”

It did note that some people acquire cats to use as “living decorations” around Halloween-time, only to discard or abandon them afterward. Snopes.com cited, in comparison, the acquisition of rabbits and chicks for the Easter holiday.

The conclusion of the writers at Snopes.com was that it was a prudent precaution for shelters to be extra careful with feline adoptions just before Halloween and that “If Halloween policies also help dissuade those who might inflict harm on adopted pets, so much the better.” The complete article can be read at www.snopes.com/horrors/mayhem/blackcat.asp.

Even without the inconclusive danger of abduction and killing of animals, there is so much activity on Halloween that an animal could easily be frightened.

It would be much better to adopt a tactic similar to addressing the stress of moving house. Confine the animal to a single “safe room” where the coming and going of trick-or-treaters won't give it a chance to escape or, if it is of a timid nature, will not frighten it.

Author’s note: This piece was originally published Oct. 26, 2010 in the Lake County Record-Bee. I am sharing it again out of continued interest in a safe Halloween for animals.

The chief difference in my circumstances now and when I originally wrote the piece is that the “sole feline member of our household” is our black cat Starfire.

There seems to be as great a concern, or greater, that these beautiful animals’ black pelts prevent them from ever being adopted than there is that they may be the victims of abuse.

At www.thisdishisvegetarian.com, contributor John Melia states that “Despite the superstitions that haunt them, black cats can make wonderful household companions.”

Melia directs readers to a top-10 list of reasons to adopt a black cat. Compiled by the Marin Humane Society, it is shared online by SFGate.com.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Victim-blaming in journalism?

Reproduction: dictionary definition of "alleged"
Dictionary.com definition for ‘alleged’
Steve Buttry makes an interesting argument about the phrase, “alleged victim,” when reporting on a crime: “It’s a blame-the-victim term we should banish forever from the journalism lexicon.”

Victim-blaming is an important issue for me, because I’ve witnessed the backlash against me and another person when we wrote about being targeted by bullying.

Buttry was writing about how journalists cover cases of sexual abuse: according to him, almost the only type of stories where “alleged victim” appears. Again, this issue matters to me, having been “groomed” and narrowly escaped abuse by a Catholic priest.

With both sexual abuse and bullying there are people who, when confronted by charges against a person they respect, will react to the accuser with a viciousness that rivals the alleged abuse. I don’t want to be part of that.

This issue is also important to me because of my occupation.

As an editor on the autism spectrum I strive to use language respectfully. The journalist’s use of language can similarly make a powerful impression in matters of sexual abuse and bullying, perceptions of guilt or innocence.

Buttry’s post and comments left in response to it create an interesting dialogue about the impression of “alleged victim” and what words should be used instead.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Ann Coulter defends ‘retard’ tweet by claiming to be victim of bullying


In a radio show appearance on Thursday, columnist Ann Coulter claimed to be the victim of “bullying.” The reason? Being justly held accountable for the use of offensive language.

During the Monday presidential debate, Coulter stated in a Twitter post, “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.” According to Tommy Christopher at mediaite.com, Coulter “crossed lines of decency untrod even by her standards.”

John Franklin Stephens, a Special Olympics athlete and global messenger, authored a response to Coulter that was dignified and respectful: “I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.” In his post, he challenged Coulter’s attempt to “belittle the President by linking him to people like me.”
“Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. 
“No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.”
I appreciated Stephens’ response because I have been the recipient of this labeling.

During childhood, my possession of traits characteristic of the autism spectrum were not formally diagnosed. With no explanation for my differences, I was often at odds with the people around me.

On one occasion, an adult member of my family told me that I was retarded, and I am sure the term “retarded” was among the many playground taunts I had to endure.

Coulter’s use of the R-word was inexcusable and in her radio appearance on Thursday, Coulter compounded the offense. “Liberal victims are the biggest bullies of all,” she told radio host Alan Colmes.

Colmes, in response, emphasized that “This is not a left/right issue.”

Having been the target of genuine bullying -- physical abuse, name-calling and ostracism -- I found Coulter’s statements doubly offensive. Her remarks easily demonstrated just who the “bully” is.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Journalism Accelerator Q&A on social media strategy

Journalism Accelerator logo: "JA" white on green background
Journalism Accelerator has posted a summary of a recent Q&A about social media strategies. I participated as a blogger and as a social curator for small sites such as Yarn Bombing @ Your Library.

My fellow featured panalist was SocialNewsDesk founder Kimberly Wilson.

The emphasis of our discussion was on social media management, upon free tools (such as Google alerts and analytics) versus professional management.

One area particularly of interest to me was when Wilson described an anti-bullying petition set up at the television station where news anchor Jennifer Livingston was bullied by a viewer for her weight.

“The newsroom wanted to rally around Jennifer and give the community a place to come together,” Wilson said, talking about a customized App for the station’s fan page.

As a survivor of bullying, I support the use of social media to engage the community.

My perspective was that with the small scope of my volunteer activities, I do not need to invest in professional services. By doing it myself, I gain valuable skills with which to benefit an employer.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

‘Your e-Book is reading you’

The rise of digital books has prompted a profound shift in the way that people read, according to a recent article by Alexandra Alter for the Wall Street Journal:
“In the past, publishers and authors had no way of knowing what happens when a reader sits down with a book. Does the reader quit after three pages, or finish it in a single sitting? Do most readers skip over the introduction, or read it closely, underlining passages and scrawling notes in the margins? Now, e-books are providing a glimpse into the story behind the sales figures, revealing not only how many people buy particular books, but how intensely they read them.”
Reader satisfaction has largely been gauged by sales data and reviews, according to the article. These figures offer “a postmortem measure of success but can’t predict a hit.”

Alter reports, “That’s beginning to change as publishers and booksellers start to embrace big data, and more tech companies turn their sights on publishing.”

I located this article via the Twitter stream for my Cuesta College course on Internet ethics. Implications addressed in the article include concerns for privacy as well as the effect on creativity.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

DFNewsCat / Ask a Manager mash-up

video

“When a job applicant shows up without an appointment.”

This video is a mash-up of the DFNewsCat specialty, “Cats reacting to news situations. Because,” with the Ask A Manager column by Alison Green.

The origin of the DFNewsCat / AskAManager mash-up has been compiled with Storify. Basically, an Associated Press political editor made a comment about social media being a “time suck.” Everything else followed from that point.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Review: Aspie Girl’s Guide to Being Safe with Men

Book cover: The Aspie Girl's Guide to Being Safe with Men

Debi Brown has written an informative and essential book, The Aspie Girl’s Guide to Being Safe with Men (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2013). I consider it must-reading for teens and women on the autism spectrum.

According to Brown, girls and women on the autism spectrum frequently are not part of the close-knit social groups that teach their non-spectrum peers essential “rules” about dating. Brown offers a severe  indictment of this form of knowledge transfer:
“A cultural knowledge system reliant on folks having good social networks is not a fair system and is not going to work for most Aspie girls. This is a selfish system, which puts more weight on appearances and not embarrassing people who would rather not give explicit information than it does upon keeping girls and women safe.”
Sexuality “don’ts” fail to provide explanations of what to do instead. Brown offers, as an example, somebody telling her, “You don’t have to French kiss someone if you don’t want to.” She explains that this was not enough information:
“I could not act on this to alter my behavior. A positive instruction as to what to do instead was needed, for example: ‘If someone comes to kiss you, turn your cheek, so their kiss hits your cheek instead of your mouth.’”
Brown provides groundwork for being safe in relationships by explaining how people form networks of safe people they can turn to for help.

She then offers insight into navigating intimate relationships: how to understand what is happening in order to choose if this is something the Aspergian woman wants. She provides detailed information about human sexuality including birth control and protection from sexually-transmitted disease.

Addressing readers who may be in an unhealthy or abusive situation, Brown offers insights that will hopefully aid growing awareness and an ability to find help.

I believe for example that I narrowly escaped being abused by a Catholic priest, Father Don Kimball. A forcible massage fit the “grooming” by sexual predators that Brown describes in her book.

With straightforward candor, Brown helps make sense of what may be happening during situations of abuse. At all times she reassures the teen or woman in this situation that she is not at fault.

And finally, “it is not always possible to stop something really bad happening, even if we know all the rules and even if we act perfectly, sensibly, intelligently and with great skill.” With sensitivity and care, Brown talks about what a teen or woman should do if she has been raped and how to find emotional healing.

Learn more about The Aspie Girl’s Guide to Being Safe with Men at www.jkp.com/catalogue/book/9781849053549.

Disclosure of material connection: I received a review copy of this book.

Ashland Daily Tidings supports Ashland Library Levy

Ashland Library
Library in Ashland, Ore. Image by Curtis Cronn

In an Oct. 15 editorial, the Ashland Daily Tidings urges readers to “Renew the library levy.” It urges Ashland residents to continue with an “increasingly passé idea of investing in and supporting valuable community services.”

The editorial offers a concise recent history of library funding and management:
“Measure 15-113 would renew a 2008-approved levy of 21 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value that allows the Ashland library to be open 40 hours a week instead of the 24 hours common at other county-owned libraries. The four-year levy, which also would augment other library services, would raise about $440,000 in 2014 and increase in increments to about $480,000 by 2017.
“The owner of a typical Ashland home assessed at $241,000 would pay $50.61 per year or a little more than $4 a month.
“Jackson County voters in 2000 approved a $39 million bond measure to build or remodel 15 county library branches, including Ashland's. But within a few short years, the county saw timber-related revenues shrink and its budget do the same. So county officials cut funding for the libraries, resulting in a temporary closure at one point, before bringing in a private company to manage the libraries.
“Operating on a reduced budget, the libraries are open each week for periods ranging from eight hours in Butte Falls to 24 hours at the main library in Medford. Oh, yes, and then there's Ashland's library, open 40 hours a week.”
The editorial makes a case that Ashland supports education and lifelong learning. “The belief that knowledge is important permeates who the community is and what its priorities are.”

The levy plays an important role in maintaining library access in the community, as the editorial clearly states. I thank the Ashland Daily Tidings for its support of the Ashland Library.

Seeking work in Ashland, Ore.

I feel very blessed that my husband and I are employed during this depressed economy, when so many people are not. I am, moreover, very grateful to the Lake County Record-Bee in Lake County, Calif., for nurturing me as a writer, editor and, most recently, a social media professional.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

‘What’s the difference between a columnist and a blogger?’

Steve Buttry poses an interesting question, blogging at The Buttry Diary: “What’s the difference between a columnist and a blogger?”

I think Buttry has successfully highlighted some differences between columns and blogs. I am new to blogging, having first had my opinions aired in the Lake County Record-Bee.

This entry expands upon comments I left in response to Buttry’s piece.

Buttry cites an observation by Teresa Schmedding, president of the American Copy Editors Society, that the gap between bloggers and columnists is narrowing. Buttry offers an analysis of areas in which the two are similar and different.

I am pleased to see that some of the practices I adopted since I started to blog are highlighted by Buttry in his blog: “To me, the best approach for a columnist today is to be a blogger who occasionally turns some of the blog into print columns.”

As cited by Buttry, when I blog I can incorporate multimedia: images, video, embedded tweets. They break up text and add a unique dynamic to the piece.

A point I raised in the comment I left at his blog was that columns benefit from an additional reader’s input (i.e. an editor or proofreader for the print or online section that the column is destined for) as part of the publishing process, whereas when I blog, I serve as my own editor.

My second observation was that columns are published by a branded, respected source of journalism. (Some bloggers may also have this advantage if the blogging platform is hosted by the media company).

This statement was not meant to give offense and in a follow-up comment, I stated I was simply identifying a factor: A media company’s reputation drives viewers to the site and those bloggers benefit. It doesn’t mean that they are “better” in any way and as Steve stated during this dialogue, there are negative factors to the association too.

As Buttry put it, “A mediocre columnist for a respected brand starts out with an audience. An excellent independent blogger works his or her ass off to build an audience.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New reporter at Lake County Record-Bee

Lake County Record-Bee reporter Berenice Quirino began work Monday. She makes her byline debut in the Wednesday edition with her coverage of a Clearlake City Council candidates’ forum at Yuba College’s Clear Lake Campus. Welcome, Berenice!

Best game of bowling career

Display monitor: Game scores for Record-Bee "Killer Bees"

I had the best game ever of my U.S. Bowling Congress career on Oct. 16: first “Turkey” (three consecutive strikes), first time I broke 100 and bowled more than 50 pins above my average.

Oct. 20 update: League stats from Oct. 16 were posted tonight at Lakeside Family Fun and Event Center. The Killer Bees took third place for handicap series. I took first place in women's handicap game and second for handicap series.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Book sale raises more than $500 for Middletown library

Tote bag full of books
My $5 worth of books from Friends of the Middletown Gibson Library book sale
I got an update this weekend from Fran Rand, secretary with Friends of the Middletown Gibson Library. Saturday’s book sale raised more than $500 for new materials for the new Middletown library. Being able to fill a bag full of books for a cost of $5 was a deal that couldn’t be beat. Way to go, everybody!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Middletown library move planned for January

Wooden blocks with engraved metal nameplates
Book title plaques for
library patron wall
During today’s book sale I picked up informative handouts about the new Middletown library.

Latest estimate for its completion time is late November or into December, according to the message from director Gehlen Palmer in the August 2012 Library News, a publication of the Friends of the Middletown Gibson Library.

According to Palmer, library staff and county workers are planning the move in January.

“We have what we feel is a unique idea for getting materials from one building to the other,” Palmer states. “We will be asking our library users to come in to the Gibson Library, check out their maximum number of books on their card and then take them home to read or simply walk them across the street and return them at the new library. We are asking for the aid of our community to help us accomplish our move, and we very much appreciate their help and support.”

Middletown craftsman Phil Cianfarini has constructed a patron wall “bookshelf” that will hold 102 “books.” People and organizations can purchase engraved nameplates that will go on the spines of the “books.” Some of the “books” and nameplates can be viewed at the Middletown library.

The cost of a plaque for a person or family is $100 and the cost of a plaque for an organization or business is $200. The newsletter notes that all money raised will buy learning materials for the new library.

For more information or to reserve a space on the patron wall, contact Palmer during library hours at 987-3674. Payment can be sent to Friends of the Middletown Gibson Library, PO Box 578, Middletown, CA 95461.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Cat Blogging: Free and reduced-fee adoptions

For Friday Cat Blogging at MotherJones.com, Kevin Drum shares a picture of his cat Domino chasing a piece of string, “widely accepted by scholars as the best cat toy ever invented.”

My contribution to Friday Cat Blogging is  to pass along notices from animal agencies in Jackson County, Ore. and Lake County, Calif.

Jackson County Animal Shelter, Southern Oregon Humane Society and Committed Alliance To Strays will offer free cat adoptions on Oct. 13 and 14. Shelters will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and all the adult cats can be adopted for free.

In Lake County, Lake County Animal Care and Control will waive the county portion of its adoption fees from Oct. 15 through 21.

Cats will cost $76 and $86 and dogs will cost $121 & $131. According to Lake County Animal Care and Control, these costs include vaccines, microchips, altering and, for dogs, it includes the license as well.

‘Deserving’

Does it bother anyone else when charities make reference to “deserving” recipients? Does this imply that some people are not “deserving”?

Originally posted to Facebook

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Almost time for Vineyard Run for Literacy

Nearly time for the Vineyard Run for Literacy, scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 14 at Steele Wines, located off Highway 29 at Thomas Drive in Finley.

This is an event my family has taken part in nearly every year. On-site registration begins at 8 a.m. Registration can also be completed online at www.rdysetgo.com.

Participants can choose from 5 and 10K runs or a 5K walk. The suggested donation is $20 per person or $30 per family.

Participants can also ask others to sponsor them. (I'm accepting pledges, payable to Lake County Literacy Coalition.)

Sponsor sheets and pre-registration forms are available at Westamerica Bank, Lake County Library branches and the Lake County Visitors Center.

Proceeds benefit the Lake County Literacy Coalition. For more information, call 707-263-7633 or email lcmorrison@pacific.net.

Cunningham: Accessibility covers four groups

At 21Times.org, author Katie Cunningham addresses a belief held by business owners and website administrators concerning accessibility: that there are so few people with disabilities in the world that, statistically, it is highly probable that none of these are using the product or site. She states:
“The idea of the disabled being a small number usually begins with the misconception that web accessibility is all about the blind. Though many of the efforts towards an accessible web aim at the visually impaired, there’s actually more to it than that.”
Accessibility, according to Cunningham, actually covers four groups: people with visual, physical, hearing and cognitive impairments. Cunningham explains issues of accessibility as they pertain to each one.

“One side of accessibility that most people forget is that anyone, at any time, can suddenly be under the umbrella of the disabled,” Cunningham states.
“It could be as simple as leaving your headphones at home the day you have to do some video training at your desk. It could be an injury to your dominant hand, making navigating websites and typing quickly impossible. You can forget your glasses at home. You might be on a painkiller and find yourself having to navigate your insurance company’s online forms.
“Or it can be time.
“As we age, we start to fit into the above categories. Our hearing might go, or our vision. We might develop arthritis or Parkinson’s, hurting our ability to mouse and type. We might even develop dementia or Alzheimer’s, where our cognitive abilities slowly fade.”

Cunningham’s essay offers a thoughtful perspective on accessibility and making a case for its value. As a woman on the autism spectrum, this issue of of direct importance to me.

My thanks to Twitter user M. Edward Borasky for sharing the link.

Katie Cunningham is the author of Accessibility Handbook (O’Reilly Media). Her bio notes that she is a Python developer for Cox Media Group and lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two children.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Buttoned Up.com provides executive function suggestions

Diagram of brain showing areas that control intelligence, judgement and behavior; memory and lanaguage
Buttoned Up
This morning I proofread an informative column about executive function for the  Lifestyles section in Wednesday's Record-Bee. During lunch, I found a link to the column, or to a similar counterpart, at getbuttonedup.com.

The authors, Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore of Buttoned Up, address developing executive function in children but I think the advice is applicable for people of all ages who find it difficult to self-regulate.

I certainly found much of benefit to myself when proofreading the column. Faced with distractions, particularly by distractions that are more interesting than the task at hand, I sometimes struggle to retain focus. I believe the suggestions in this column can be of benefit to me.

Among its recommendations: create an environment that is conducive to focus, take greater control with routines, reward the child when he or she overrides his impulses (a self-reward could be mental acknowledgement of a job well done), emphasize reading directions as a necessary first step and use incentives to amplify lessons.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Highlights of Maker Faire, via Generation T

People wearing slashed, refashioned, T-shirts
Maker Faire marching band T-shirts/Generation T
With the Oct. 2 blog post, Generation T highlights refashioned T-shirts viewed at Maker Faire, “a two-day celebration of technology, engineering, sustainability, and DIY.”

While new to Make magazine and to Maker Faire, I am no stranger to DIY.

I am delighted to see textile arts like knitting, crochet and T-shirt repurposing included within the scope of the Make community.

Perhaps I may attend a Maker Faire myself, where my refashioned “Cat on a Swing” and “No Bully” T-shirts will similarly highlight the style and creativity displayed by these Maker Faire-goers.

Study finds DSM autism update may have little impact


Disability Scoop offers hopeful news in regard to proposed changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). An Oct. 2 summary by Michelle Diament cites “the largest study yet examining proposed changes to the autism diagnosis.”

The study was published Oct. 1 in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Proposed changes to the DSM brought widespread concern in the autism community “after a study earlier this year suggested that a significant number of people currently diagnosed with autism may not qualify under the new definition.”

The new study, however, “suggests that those fears may be largely unwarranted.” Among 4,453 children diagnosed with autism under DSM-IV criteria, the study found that 91 percent would still qualify for diagnosis.

Disability Scoop quotes Catherine Lord, the study’s senior investigator and the director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s Westchester campus:
“I know that parents worry, but I don’t believe there is any substantial reason to fear that children who need to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, and provided with vital services, will not be included in the new criteria in this updated manual.”
As explained by Disability Scoop:
“Under the DSM proposal, autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified would be folded under one umbrella diagnosis of “autism spectrum disorders,” with clinicians indicating a level of severity associated with an individual’s condition. To qualify for an autism diagnosis under the new criteria, a person would have to exhibit specific types of deficits in socialization and behavior.”
But the true test, as stated in the Disability Scoop summary, “will come when clinicians of varying pedigrees will be left to interpret the changes.”

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Last sale at old Middletown library

People looking through boxes of books at Middletown library
Image added Oct. 13: ‘Friends’ book sale, Middletown library
The Middletown Library is holding its semi-annual booksale, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Saturday. According to Fran Rand, secretary of Friends of the Middletown Gibson Library (FMGL), this will be the last book sale at the old library.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

‘We Are United for Libraries’

At the ALA Membership blog, contributor Sally Gardner Reed asks, “when libraries cost so little and deliver so much,” why aren’t all politicians running on pro-library platforms?
Logo: United for Libraries
United for Libraries

According to Reed, for more than 100 years, libraries have ensured that “all people in the community have access to the resources they need and want to be self actualized and self governing people.”

This has certainly been the case for me.

Whether it was ensuring my early access to Internet technology or pursuing information I needed, I consistently turned to the library.

Learning to weave? I went to the library. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome? Again, I went to the library.

The problem, as identified by Reed, is that community leaders simply do not understand the core roles played by libraries. “The all too prevalent belief that libraries have been obviated by the internet lends testimony to their ignorance.”

Reed emphasizes the importance of constituents making the case for libraries. “That’s where friends of the library groups, trustees, foundation members and active library patrons come in.”

Reed is executive director of United for Libraries, formerly known as the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations. She invites library supporters to make use of toolkits, webinars, practical guides and networking opportunities.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

TV anchor chastises bully


Television anchor Jennifer Livingston of WKBT-TV stands up to bullying in a video shared by Todd Wasserman on Mashable.com.

As related by Wasserman, Livingston read a letter from a viewer who took issue with the fact that she is overweight:
“‘Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain,’ the viewer wrote. ‘I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.’
“Livingston’s husband, fellow WKBT anchor Mike Thompson, posted the emailed letter on his Facebook Page and received an outpouring of support. Emboldened by this, Livingston singled the writer out as a bully. ‘The truth is I am overweight,’ Livingston said. ‘You can call me fat and yes, even obese on a doctor’s chart. To the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? Your cruel words are pointing out something I don’t see? You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family, and you admitted that you don’t watch this show so you know nothing about me besides what you see on the outside — and I am much more than a number on a scale.’
“She continued: ‘We are better than that bully. We are better than this email. We are better than the bullies that would try to take us down.’”
It disturbs me, reading comments that were left in response to this video, that an incident of bullying should be minimized, particularly by someone self-identifying as having been bullied in the past.

I also do not accept the excuse that Livingston’s public status makes it OK to attack her, any more than any other rationale advanced for blaming the victim.

As stated by respondent Charlene Martin, “It’s none of anyone else’s business as to how much she weighs, only how well she’s doing her job.” And the writer of the email, who does not watch the show, was in no position to do that.

My thanks to Livingston for standing up to bullying and my thanks as well to a Record-Bee co-worker for sharing a link to the video on the Record-Bee Facebook page.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy Banned Books Week

"I Read Banned Books" Banned Books Week banner
Slide image for Banned Books Week
Happy Banned Books Week, everybody. What is your library doing to celebrate? Banned Books Week takes place from Sept. 30 to Oct. 6.