Searching for Dummies

Anonymous Patron writes " New York Times: Beginning in the early 1990's, schools, libraries and governments embraced the Internet as the long promised portal to information access for all. And at the heart of their hopes for a cultural and educational breakthrough were superbly efficient search engines like Google and those of its rivals Yahoo and MSN. The new search engines not only find more, they are more likely to present usable information on the first screen.

Higher education is fighting back. Librarians are teaching "information literacy" and establishing alternative Web indexes. Graduate students, in the front lines as teaching assistants, are starting to discuss joining Wikipedia rather than fighting it, as many instructors still, quixotically, do."


High schoolers and the never-opened book

Interesting column from the Detroit Free Press, in which a community college instructor offers her observations regarding the epidemic of non-reading in her state and nationwide.

Over and over, my students -- all adults -- tell me that too many school districts neglect to include provocative selections within their curriculum. The collection of choices made and the way reading materials are handled fail to inspire. Why educators would undertake such a questionable course is murky, but the results are not. Michigan community college students struggle to speak in complete sentences and are challenged when asked to write coherently. Will they perform any better during job interviews? Is this next generation of workers prepared to create cutting-edge products and services?

She also comments:

It's easy to buy picture books featuring the gentle antics of big red dogs, but it's much more difficult to pick out thought-provoking selections for a 16-year-old when a parent hasn't read a book since high school -- if ever.

Thanks to Reading Today Daily for the link.

Spending on books dwarfed by Computers

The BBC Reports Schools spend more than five times as much on computer-based resources as on books, an analysis suggests. The figures, reported by the Times Educational Supplement, also suggest schools spend two and a half times more money on exam fees than on books.

Ministers said numeracy and literacy hours had led to a rise in standards.

Woman helps fill new jail's library shelves

Amanda Allen is quite the super patron. She is the founder of Motor City Kids Book Drive, a nonprofit group that brings books to inner-city kids.

Allen, a Port Huron native, wants to expand the organization into St. Clair County. She decided to start by bringing books to the jail after hearing inmates didn't have many reading choices.
"It will help us because we have plenty of time on our hands while we're here," he said. "I'm not just sitting around, I'm trying to better myself. It would help if we got a couple of books to better ourselves."

Exam measures students' 'information literacy'

Darla writes "The Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers
a test
to determine a person's 'information

Students "really do know how to use the
technology," said Dolores Gwaltney, library media specialist at
Thurston High School in Redford, Michigan, one of a handful of high
school trial sites for the test over the next few weeks. "But they
aren't always careful in evaluating. They go to a source and accept it."


Reading is for the Dogs

The Reader's Shop writes " reports Whitehall Library in Pittsburgh, PA is participating in a program sponsored by a local dog obedience club. The program is aimed at children who need help with reading skills and is based on "the idea is that children will read to an unbiased listener who can't correct them or make fun of them." Participating as part of the "Reading Education Assistance Dogs" or READ program, Whitehall Library joins 750 programs in 45 states. More Here Or @ The National Geographic"


Pew Report on College Graduate Literacy Skills

According to a recent study conducted by the American Institutes for Research (funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts), "twenty percent of U.S. college students completing 4-year degrees - and 30 percent of students earning 2-year degrees - have only basic quantitative literacy skills." More on this study can be found in the press release, including links to the fact sheet and final report.


The grubby literati in America

Fang-Face writes "An interesting look at the state of literacy in the U.S. and a recent movement decrying the slipping standards thereof. Titled
Who Reads in America?, By Mark Schurmann, Pacific News Service, and posted to, this article intimates that literacy is becoming an underground counterculture."

Starbucks Canada Announces Second Annual Lattes for Literacy Day

From A PR Newswire: On Thursday, January 19th, 2006 Starbucks
cafes across the country will be hosting the second annual Lattes for Literacy
On Lattes for Literacy Day, 100% of all Starbucks latte proceeds will be
donated to ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation and Frontier College, two important
Canadian charities that are working to ensure that all Canadians have the
literacy skills they need to succeed. The charities will use the funds to help
support youth literacy programs in Canada. The programs address statistics
that show that many Canadians lack the skills needed to meet everyday reading

Wheeled Library Sets on Bulgaria-wide Tour

Not Many Details Here, but The Sofia News Agency reports from Bulgaria where Classic and modern books will be delivered even to the remotest parts of Bulgaria through the mobile library to set off by June.

The idea, which will be implemented for the first time in the country after the example of other states, was presented by Deputy Culture Minister Nadezhda Zaharieva.

Every seventh Bulgarian or 13% of the country's population is illiterate, according to latest surveys. The worrisome percentages of illiteracy among Bulgarians is pertaining mainly to the ethnic minority groups, such as Roma population where 60% of the youth lacks basic education.


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