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Decades of civil strife have left their mark on Jaffna, the heartland of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. Bombed-out buildings are a reminder of the fierce battles waged over the historic city.
The most potent symbol of the struggle, and the uneasy peace since fighting ended last May, is Jaffna’s public library, which was torched in 1981 by an anti-Tamil mob. Nearly 100,000 books and manuscripts, including irreplaceable palm-leaf Tamil texts, went up in smoke. It was an act of cultural vandalism that fed the Tamil resistance movement.
Eventually the library was rebuilt by Sri Lanka’s government and reopened in 2003. It has plenty of new books in Tamil and English on its wooden shelves. But restoring the spirit of the library presents a far greater challenge, says the chief librarian, S. Thanabaalasinham.
C.S. Monitor has the full story.
I've spent a good part of the last day at the first annual Bookmark Collector's Virtual Convention BMCVC, where one of the presenters was Jen Funk Weber, who has created a program called Needle and ThREAD, Stitching for Literacy.
-a two-sided bookmark based on the old chicken/frog joke-
From her website: "In an effort to promote both literacy and needlework, Funk & Weber Designs is designing bookmarks. A minimum of 10% of profits from sales of Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy bookmark patterns will be donated to libraries, schools, and/or literacy programs." Sounds like a wonderful program to be shared in libraries.
Check out her Bookmark Challenge Kit.
Bigger kids striving to get their younger peers to read
The K is for Kids Foundation was started by Karen Clawson as a county-wide spin-off to Laurel Oak Elementary School’s Bring a Book, Bring a Friend Fun’raisers. Parents and supporters of the school would bring books to an event to help stock the school’s media center.
“We started by telling our friends and telling our families and it grew from there,” said Clawson. “What we did for one school, we were able to do for eight school libraries last year.”
What would a transliteracy READ poster look like?
Would it be someone holding a laptop? A smartphone or other mobile device? Or seated at a computer? Or a wifi router? Or e-reader?
And, more importantly, why haven’t we seen one yet?
I want to take a picture of me with my laptop with the banner page of my favorite blogs. That’s my READ poster.
Motoko Rich's essay in the NYTimes "The Book Club With Just One Member", discusses the personal side of reading and how 'sharing' books, via GoodReads, Shelfari, Twitter, Facebook and book groups socializes the previously solitary occupation of reading.
You are invited to read others opinions and post your own about book groups, etc. here on the Arts Beat Blog.
From the embattled frontline of the Anglo-American books world there seems to be nothing but bad news. Borders has fallen. Waterstone's, once a mighty citadel, is beseiged. Well-known literary agents are scurrying round town in search of life-saving mergers. Advances have hit rock bottom. The celebrity memoir is going the way of the dodo. The ebook is the future. Libraries, comprehensively digitised by Google, have become mausoleums of an ossifying tradition.
But in his column in Guardian UK, columnist Robert McCrum finds the upside of publishing in 2010. He tells us that all is not lost; that the magic of the English language has gone beyond all those locations where the sun never sets and has completely encircled and embraced the globe. The emergence of English as a global communications phenomenon with a supra-national momentum that gives it an independence from its Anglo-American roots is at once thrilling and decisive.
Library cats have garnered nationwide media coverage recently. Not wishing to offend canine loving readers, today's post gives library dogs equal time. Libraries across the country from Swampscott, MA. to San Jose, CA. are making exceptions to that arcane "No Dogs Allowed " rule for a program proven to help struggling young readers.
Profile of 'Bridge to Terabithia' author Katherine Paterson, who is to be appointed the national ambassador for young people's literature today. Story in the New York Times.
She discusses her lonely childhood growing up as the daughter of missionaries in China, and her subsequent travels in Japan. "Books", she said, were "where the friends were."