Reading...a Topic of Controversy?

Since our RIF story stirred up so much interest and debate, I thought LISNewsterz might enjoy another story on that very hot topic.

Here's one woman's opinion on the subject of reading. The woman is Theodora J. Kalikow, President of the University of Maine at Farmington. She concludes, like her mother before her (who wouldn't let her bring Mad Magazine into the house), that "Reading is dangerous. But not reading is even more dangerous."


Bush Budget Would Eliminate RIF

And who doesn't love RIF? Since 1966, it's been a dynamic program providing books to underprivileged children and encouraging them to read; now its very existence is threatened.

According to Kevin Howell of Publishers Weekly, RIF's CEO and president Carol Rasco tells us that if Bush’s budget is approved, 4.6 million children will not receive 16 million free books in 2009. RIF has been funded by Congress and six Administrations without interruption since 1975. It is the oldest and largest children’s and family nonprofit literacy organization in the U.S.

Here's the website to take action on this issue: RIF Support.


The Digital Divide And Skills

As some librarians worry about the digital divide between rich and poor they sometimes miss a key component of that. The digital divide leads to a divide in skill sets as well. Not only will someone on the short side lose out on technological access, but they will lack the skills needed to find, assess, and ultimately utilize information.

More from Science Daily.

Librarians on the streets to find common ground with book lovers

Striking Librarians in Victoria BC are spending a few hours this week and more next week walking the downtown streets, talking books to people. "We don't stop caring about literacy in Victoria because we can't be doing the jobs we love," Andersen said yesterday, as she walked downtown, asking people what they've been reading.

Australian Toddlers given free book in literacy bid

Good News For Some Youngsters In Australia: Victorian toddlers will be given a free book when they turn two in an effort to improve childhood literacy.

The $2.1 million Young Readers' Program, funded by the State Government, will give parents visiting Victoria's maternal and child health centres a book for their toddler. A literacy pack with a rhyme booklet and information on libraries will also be given to parents of four-month-old babies.

Experts say the initiative will raise basic education

Mini libraries are big success at UK schools

A Neat Idea From The UK: John Newby, regeneration assistant at Back on the Map, who organised the mini libraries, said: "Quick Reads are a fantastic way to encourage people to read, whether they just don't have the time, are out of the habit of reading, or are put off by the thought of picking up a longer book."

The Question Box- Internet for the Third World

How's this sound?

Press a button, ask a question, get an answer.

That's the simple idea behind The Question Box, a project out of UC Berkeley to place some form of Internet access to villages in Africa where Internet access simply doesn't exist.

More from via BoingBoing.

Quick Reads for World Book Day

Coming up later this week (March 6), World Book Day is being observed by Quick Reads with the publication of ten new 'quick reads'..."fast-paced, bite-sized books by bestselling writers and celebrities for adults who have lost or never had the reading habit, or avid readers wanting a short, fast read." Read (quickly) all about Quick Reads.

Is That A Poem in Your Pocket or Are You Really Glad to See Me?

Well, there's a day for everything, and now there's going to be a day for "A Poem in Your Pocket."

Formerly celebrated only in New York City, you're now invited to Celebrate the first NATIONAL Poem In Your Pocket Day! The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends on April 17. More ideas from

Anyone care to share what poem you might keep in your pocket?


Buiding libraries for Darfur refugees

<a href="">Book Wish Foundation</a>, a new nonprofit devoted to providing reading relief for people in crisis, is fundraising for the costruction of libraries in the Treguine, Bredjing, and Gaga refugee camps in eastern Chad, and in the nearby village of Hadjer Hadid, Chad. More than 60,000 refugees from Darfur live in the camps, 20,000 of them students. The cost of each brick library (approximate dimensions 49' x 23'), including 10 tables, 80 chairs, 5,000 books sourced locally, and 12 locking metal cupboards, is estimated at $36,881.


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