Readers of the World, Unite!

“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” –Jorge Luis Borges

“The library is a public good. It belongs to everyone but only for as long as you’re willing to defend it.” – article

Sigh. I’m afraid it’s confession time again, folks. If you can stand it.In a post a while ago, I admitted to my shame that I once nearly killed someone.

But now … well … you may find this one truly disturbing. Reader discretion is strongly advised!

No help for it though, so I’ll just spit it out — I Love Books. I’ve always loved books, for as long as I can remember.

See, I knew you’d be shocked. Not even Jerry Springer has had the nerve to tackle this supremely sordid perversion!

I mean, who reads these days? It almost seems like necrophilia may be more socially acceptable than being a … bookworm. Which may be part of our problem.


The library is the last, best socialized institution in America today and you’re about to lose it

Daily Kos * Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:09 AM PST

by Democrats Ramshield

As an American librarian I am glad to be living in the European Union where library funding isn’t under attack to the extent that it is back home in the United

States, because readership, literacy and an open based knowledge system that is publicly funded is still valued. In America, library budgets have become low

hanging fruit for conservative local and state politicians.Louisiana is the worst case in point where Gov. Bobby Jindal has eliminated state library funding

all together. Not only does it beg the question will your state be next but it asks the question what will you do when they come for your library and your kid’s

summer reading program? Do you really know how many books it’s really going to take to make that special child or grandchild in your life a lifelong reader.

Do you think you have anywhere near those numbers of books in your private collection?

Please let’s remember the voluminous studies that have been done year after year, decade after decade that show us that prison inmates for the most part are

functionally illiterate and that teen pregnancy is directly linked to literacy rates.

Christian Science Monitor: November 18, 2013

block quote

Louisiana residents choose libraries over jail to receive funds Residents of Lafourche Parish in Louisiana recently voted down a proposal that

would have used money currently going to local libraries to build a new prison.

block quote end…

Literacy statistics and juvenile court

85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.

More than 60 percent of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate.

Penal institution records show that inmates have a 16% chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help, as opposed to 70% who receive no

help. This equates to taxpayer costs of $25,000 per year per inmate and nearly double that amount for juvenile offenders.

Illiteracy and crime are closely related. The Department of Justice states, “The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is

welded to reading failure.” Over 70% of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.…

According to UNICEF:Nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names and two thirds of them are women.”

People who don’t grow up as lifelong readers grow up in an America living under a form of de facto censorship and what it means is that the censor, by withholding library funding, limits access to reading materials to children from a young age. So they don’t get to see the other side of the coin and wind up developing a one-sided point of view which has been historically associated with sexism, homophobia, racial bigotry and other forms of intolerance and hate. If we don’t support libraries, we support going backwards in a type of devolution of the past which is exactly what the Tea Party types mean when they say they want their country back.


My question to you Mr or Mrs Progressive America, just how far back in time will you let the haters take us? Will you let them take us back to a point in time

when women didn’t have the right to choose, a time before the civil rights movement would let anyone who chose to sit at the lunch counter, or when a time at

the back of the bus was reserved, a time when people were hated for who they are or for who they loved or for what God they believed in, that is their

America. But it’s not our America, it’s not the progressive America that we’ve come to love and aspire to, because that America is supported by your

neighborhood library as an open knowledge learning center, where everyone is treated the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s the mayor or a homeless person, you

can expect to receive the same level of service. You can expect to have access to a collective repository of everyone whose ever thought and everyone

whose ever written, that’s why I became a librarian and a reader and a listener and someone who you can count on to resist censorship in all of its guises.

That includes false arguments related to library funding.

Source: From the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy – U.S. Illiteracy Statistics (as of 2013)

block quote

Percent of U.S. adults who can’t read: 14 %

Number of U.S. adults who can’t read: 32 Million

Percent of U.S. adults who read below a 5th grade level: 21 %

Percent of prison inmates who can’t read: 63 %

Percent of high school graduates who can’t read: 19 %

block quote end…

The library is a public good. It belongs to everyone but only for as long as you’re willing to defend it. Public libraries due to budget cuts are cutting their

operating hours, their services and yes too many are shutting their doors. Therefore this action diary asks you in support of your local library to write a letter to the editor today and to do it for yourself and do it for the special children in your life. Do it for your community and tell them that you support full community library funding today, tomorrow and forever.

**Updated information regarding the functioning of the library as an adult education center, made at the request of a reader.

The library as a children & adult learning center

One of the best parts about being a librarian is the information sharing. So I am pleased to have the opportunity to share with you my experience of working in the library as a children’s and adult education center. You always hear these wonderful stories about adults who have come into the library, people of great skill and are essentially completely self educated. Though many librarians hold multiple graduate degrees and often PhDs as well, particularly in academic

libraries. I can honestly say some of the most educated people I have encountered were self-educated lawyers. I am from Washington State back when I was living in the U.S. and Washington is one of those states that allows you to be a lawyer without going to law school. So I worked with a number of lawyers who were basically self-educated people who served an apprenticeship under another lawyer who helped them. So they came to the law library with their

learning contracts and we worked with them. I have to tell you this was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my working life. So you see libraries really

do work. They really are great adult learning centers.

I will end on this positive note which is basically if we build it they will come, not only now but for generations to come, in terms of the best library

system the world has ever seen. We can definitely do this work together. A library’s job is information sharing, but its survival comes down to you sharing our message at home with family, friends and your community, which is libraries are a real American success story. They always have been and we can’t possibly afford to lose it.

(This diary is written by an American ex-pat living in the European Union, a business librarian with a graduate library degree (MLS) and a Master’s degree in business administration in marketing).


Here we go again! I cannot paste the text of this article into the post. Clipboard problems? Damned if I know! In my next life, I need to be a techie. If I can’t be a lilac bush.

About l. l. frederick

I'm pretty ordinary, so I find any number of things in the world interesting, among them: books, music, flowers, food, social justice, politics and (sometimes!) people. As for my writing, I've decided that I can be subtle and tasteful when our only problems are esthetic ones. Or when I'm dead, whichever comes first. In the meantime, read at your own risk.
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6 Responses to Readers of the World, Unite!

  1. I sense this is a deliberate part of the elite agenda – dumbing the worker bees down to keep them docile and compliant.

    • No doubt! Remember, it was illegal to teach slaves to read in the pre-Civil War south… as it tended to make slaves restive, and ‘unfit’ for their place in the hierarchy.

      Also, why “waste” all the money on libraries that could just as well fund propaganda? So much more effective in keeping this viciously unequal system tottering along! Thank you as always for your comment. – Linda

  2. This post reminded me of something I read about librarians that I’m sure would provoke repubs (it they read) in Amy Goodman & David Goodman’s book (2008), Standing up to the madness: Ordinary heroes in extraordinary times. I don’t remember the details (and I can’t find it in my poorly organized book cases), but what I do remember is that librarians as a group stood up to the government when they were ordered to release information about their clients after the Patriot Act was enacted. Despite backlash, the librarians continued to refuse to share information and they didn’t give in and were finally victorious.

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