Friday, October 31, 2008

Stop Reading!

I caught myself saying something to my seven year old son that I never thought I would utter: "Stop Reading!" It was followed by, "Go to sleep!" It was going on 9:30pm, his bedtime was 8:30pm and he had school the next day. It just doesn't seem right for a librarian to say, "Stop Reading!" The next morning my son was up before the sun was rising ....reading. I had to coax him away from his book to eat breakfast, to get dressed, to go to school. He triple checked his backpack to make sure the book was really in there before leaving the house. He finished the 225 page book in two days. My son has always enjoyed books, but this was his first time experiencing the almost magical connection of reading a really, really great book - all by himself. He preferred reading this book over TV and even video games. If you are lucky, you have come across such books, and you know the joy they bring. What is the title of the "best book ever written"? According to my son, it is: "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid" by Jeff Kinney.

Happy Reading

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Brother Can You Spare a Dime

As I write this, on October 15, 2008, CNN is reporting the DOW down 733 points after a week of losing 1,000 points. Americans are worrying about their homes, jobs and retirement funds. What about Libraries? Libraries in Illinois are funded by property taxes, and, as all the news-watchers out there know, the eye of this current economic hurricane is the mortgage crash and plummet of home values. A concurrent fall of income into our Libraries seems almost inevitable. In a way, I feel lucky. My job is safer than most. After all, the Library isn't likely to go out of business. Cindy did a little research and found that the mighty Kankakee Public Library was open throughout the decade of the Great Depression, but we can't find evidence of what cutbacks may have been made. Indeed, statistics show that during economic downturns, greater demand is put upon public services such as Libraries as people come in looking for free entertainment, job search resources and so on. Whether this is just another recession, such as the one in the late 70's, or folks are headed back to the soup lines, certainly Libraries are going to be asked to do more with less.

Steve Bertrand
Assistant Director