Hanging Indents and the Reference Librarian: Offering Productivity Software in the Public Library
[Editor's note: The following article is winner of the second annual LITA/Endeavor Student Writing Award.]
This article explores ways to expand the public libraryís mission, and that of the reference librarian, to include offering word processing on public access computers. The author defines access to and the ability to use word processing software as a form of literacy and links this to the libraryís established role in promoting literacy. This article also provides anecdotal information about introducing this software at a public library system.
In the last decade, much has been written about the digital divide that separates the technological “haves” from the “have-nots.” As more information became available digitally, first on CD-ROM databases and then via the Internet, concerns grew over lack of access to valuable information sources for those without computers and Internet access. Public libraries took it as their duty to address this inequity by connecting public-access computers (PACs) to the Internet. This decision is relatively easy to justify; libraries are in the business, after all, of providing access to information regardless of format and providing access to the Internet is, in essence, providing access to information.
The Digital Divide: Take Two
There is another aspect of the digital divide, however, that is not so widely discussed nor so easily resolved; those without computers are unable to use today’s powerful productivity software for word-processing, spreadsheets, and other applications. Without these tools, it is difficult to compete in today’s working and academic worlds. Since these tools are now so widely used, there is an expectation that documents have a professional appearance. Documents such as letters to lawyers, school papers, story manuscripts for submission, résumés, and cover letters will not be taken as seriously if not produced on a computer and printed out neatly.
Libraries can address this need by providing productivity software on PACs, along with the Internet. In fact, many libraries do. However, there is some debate about this practice. “I did not go to library school to end up teaching people how to make hanging indents,” said one indignant librarian, as her library prepared to add productivity software to PACs. Productivity software, the argument goes, is not information. If the mission of the public library is to make information accessible to all, does providing this software fit into that mission? This paper defines the ability to use word processing software as a form of literacy, and provides an argument for offering this software on PACs.
The Need: Literacy
Literacy should be seen as a practice that enables people to understand and change their lives.
- Paolo Freire, Literacy: Reading, the Word, and the World
Traditionally, literacy has meant the ability to read and write. In recent decades, this definition has evolved along with society’s technological sophistication. The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 defines literacy as “an individual’s ability to read, write, speak in English, compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job, in the family of the individual, and in society” (National Institute for Literacy 1999). The definition from the U.S. National Adult Literacy Survey is even broader:
". . . using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential"(Fitzgibbons 2000).
In 1999 the Clinton Administration expressed that those without the skills to “communicate effectively, solve problems, and use technology” will be unable to “succeed in the workplace, family, and community” (National Institute for Literacy 1999). The number of adults in the United States without these skills is estimated at 20 million, higher than the number in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, according to a 1997 survey (National Institute for Literacy n.d. a).
According to Earl Shorris (2000), author of several books about poverty in the United States, there is another kind of illiteracy that also keeps people from leaving the “culture of poverty.” The lack of cultural literacy is one of the deficiencies that keeps the poorest from becoming part of society and experiencing the power that all educated citizens possess. To help bring this form of literacy to those entrenched in poverty, Shorris initiated the Clemente Course. Participants in the Clemente Course are exposed to the humanities, such as great literature, concerts, and fine art. While learning about the humanities, students also learn to “think reflectively, to enjoy their own innate humanity to its fullest” (48).
Yet another form of literacy is computer literacy. In simple terms, to be computer literate is to be able to use computer technology. On a deeper level, computer literacy is “the ability to make use of computer technology for investigation of the world” (Jones 1996). Learning to use technology gives people “a certain level of self-confidence, acquired with an understanding . . . that much of the world is self-explanatory and . . . that [if you can teach yourself to use technology] you can teach yourself most anything you want to.” Achieving computer literacy also helps the individual to acquire the skills mentioned previously, such as “using printed and written information to function in society” (Fitzgibbons 2000, 2).
Computer Literacy: More than Chatrooms and eBay
Literacy is a concept, a process, and a skill that has meaning in relation to the demand of the economy and society or individuals. . . .
- Shirley Fitzgibbons, Libraries and Literacy: A Preliminary Survey of the Literature
Understanding computer literacy requires a leap from considering computers as diverting, but ultimately unnecessary, technological luxuries to seeing them as key to an individual’s economic and social development. In fact, as pointed out in the Urban League’s 1998 report, Losing Ground Bit by Bit: Low-Income Communities in the Information Age, the high use of computers among mainstream Americans has intensified the inequities for those in poverty (Benton Foundation 1998). For example, a neatly hand-written high school paper was once acceptable, but now even elementary school children hand in perfect documents formatted on home computers. The proverbial playing field has grown more uneven.
Some scholars (Gallian and Greenfield n.d.) believe that computer literacy skills go beyond basic technological competence; the literate individual understands what technology makes possible. With this knowledge, the individual can use the computer to find and manipulate information as needed. Douglas (1999) agrees, noting that information literacy (the ability to find and use information) and computer literacy are linked. Lack of computer literacy can directly limit an individual’s information literacy.
Dertouzos (1998) is among the many who believe computer literacy, combined with access to computers, can truly transform lives. He foresees computers helping the poor become literate, take care of their health, grow food, and sell their services and crafts, but only if access is possible.
Computer Literacy and the Information Agency
Computer literacy is the ability to “not only . . . locate and collect information but also to evaluate and apply it in responsible and significant ways” (Gallian and Greenfield n.d.). In other words, computer literacy can be seen as part of the information transfer cycle (ITC), and firmly established as within the purview of an information agency such as the public library.
ITC consists of the following steps: creation, production, dissemination, diffusion, utilization, organization, and preservation (or destruction) of information (Achleitner 1995). Nearly all of these steps can take place using productivity software. For example:
- Creation: writing a paper, poem, story, or essay
- Production: producing a flyer for a concert, formatting an artist’s book or ‘zine
- Dissemination: producing a paper, brochure, news- letter, or presentation
- Diffusion/utilization: taking information from research and using it in original or critical work
- Organizing: creating a spreadsheet
- Preservation: writing memoirs or meeting notes
If all steps of ITC occur when using productivity software, this software can be called an information tool, thus strengthening the connection with the purposes of an information agency.
What Does Literacy Have to Do with Libraries?
Making information available is not enough. Making information useful is the key.
- Karen Quinn, Information Literacy: Learning How to Learn
The promotion of literacy is not new to libraries; urban libraries in the 1890s offered classes in English and citizenship to the growing population of immigrants. In the ’60s and ’70s, librarians increasingly regarded social responsibility, including literacy activism, as a professional duty (Fitzgibbons 2000).
Some library professionals argue that libraries should not be involved in literacy. White describes the idea of literacy as a library goal as a mission foisted on us “by nonlibrarians in the federal beaucracy” (2000, 30). According to White, supporting literacy is “neither an expertise we possess as a result of our master’s degrees, nor an expertise worth claiming” (2000, 30).
In a report from a focus group on literacy in libraries, Rodger quotes some librarians from the opposition: “Libraries are not educators. Education is a discipline that provides ongoing work with somebody. Literacy is a connection to what we do well . . . but we provide resources, not training” (1999).
On the other hand, if we consider literacy as a specialty, akin to youth services, it makes sense to become involved in this training. Teaching finger plays to children, reading stories, and singing “The Noble Duke of York” are activities similar to providing literacy services in that both types of activities work towards ushering patrons into the world of reading. In addition, both create new library customers. On a basic level, if an individual cannot read, what need does that individual have for a library? By promoting literacy, a library expands its customer base, and increased circulation is one factor that can lead to stable or increased funding. Literacy, then, is a self-serving issue for libraries.
Assuming that the chief mission of the library is to provide information, literacy services are still justifiable. If one is unable to use information due to illiteracy, the library is prevented from fulfilling its mission to all members of society. In order to move toward the goal of universal information access, the library must offer not just literature, but also the means to become literate.
If we consider public libraries the university of the people, as many have, we can turn to Ranganathan for inspiration. Among Ranganathan’s tenets of the library’s mission are helping all patrons in “perpetual self-education” and increasing the economic ability of all people to support their children and maintain lives of comfort, free from want (1996, 171). The promotion of literacy is certainly one way to meet these goals.
Although other institutions, public schools, and community colleges for example, often offer literacy programs, libraries are uniquely positioned to offer these services (Andersen 1998):
- Libraries are an accessible part of the community’s infrastructure.
- Libraries have public buildings throughout the community.
- Libraries diagnose community needs.
- Libraries have (or should have) connections with various community institutions.
- Libraries have resources (books, software) to enhance literacy studies.
- Libraries are, to many, more approachable than other institutions. An adult might be embarrassed to take literacy classes at a children’s school. An illiterate adult may feel too intimidated to take a literacy class at a college or university.
- Librarians are skilled at repackaging information to meet the needs of customers.
- Library schools, already focused on training librarians in public service, could be encouraged to offer units on basic education.
Today, many libraries tackle the problem of literacy. The National Institute for Literacy estimates that seven thousand United States libraries currently offer such literacy services as English as a second language instruction, family literacy, computer instruction, group and individual tutoring, collections targeted at low-level readers, and information about local literacy programs (National Institute for Literacy n.d. b).The American Library Association (ALA) actively supports literacy in libraries, pronouncing literacy services as essential to achieving the goal of helping people develop the skills needed in today’s information society (ALA 2001).
Computers: The Need
The gap between the number of computer owners and those without computers still exists. As seen in table 1, race, education, and income all greatly influence the incidence of computer ownership. Nevertheless, some writers believe that the digital divide is greatly exaggerated. Thierer (2000) points out that most Americans own televisions, and claims that an average television costs more than an entry-level personal computer (PC). If there is a digital divide, why can people afford televisions, but not PCs?
Table 1. Statistics from Falling through the Net (2000)
Percentage of Computers by Household
|$75,000 and above||86.3|
|High school graduate||39.6|
|Less than high school||18.2|
A quick consultation with consumer sources, however, reveal deficiencies in Thierer’s argument. The Wal-Mart Home Entertainment Gift Guide for December 2–24, 2001, features a color television with a twenty-five-inch screen for $189 and an entry-level PC for $898, a difference of $709. Additionally, a television is truly “plug and play,” requiring no special knowledge to operate. Conversely, a computer, no matter how simple and user friendly, can be intimidating to a novice.
However, there is good news. During the last two years of the twentieth century, a temporary golden age of economic optimism, more people became computer owners. In the years 1998 to 2000, the number of computer owners in every type of household grew. For example, the most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Falling through the Net Project (2000) indicate that computer ownership has increased 4.7 percent in households making less than $15,000, the lowest income bracket.
On the other hand, four-fifths of the households from this income bracket are still without a computer. Further, although more Black and Hispanic households had computers in 2000, the 18.4 percent gap between the number of Black households with computers and the national average is not statistically different than the gap existing in 1998. The 17.3 percent gap between Hispanic computer owners and the national average has not changed either. One must also wonder if computer ownership increases will continue, with the United States officially in a recession and unemployment rates rising daily.
In the 1990s, welfare reform legislature limited the amount of time an individual or family could receive welfare benefits. Welfare recipients, expected to find jobs to replace government support, are only allowed twelve months of job skill training. Imagine an individual, finished with one year of computer training, with no home computer on which to practice newly learned skills. The library, by providing PACs loaded with the most commonly used software, assists these individuals in maintaining or developing skills needed to transition from welfare benefits to employment.
If we look to the public to answer the question of why computers are needed, we see a variety of uses. Patrons surveyed at libraries offering word processing PACs list the following computer uses (Gordon, Gordon, and Moore 2001b):
- Research and type term papers to earn Theology degree
- Complete college degree
- Create current résumé and keep computer skills sharp while unemployed
- Complete school assignments
- Satisfy educational needs and explore the computer
- Assist with college assignments and personal projects
- Keep in the social and cultural loop
- Learn Word and Excel
- Write letters and text for stamp club presentations and spreadsheets for stamp collections
Libraries Can Do It!
An overwhelming 85 percent of Americans think it is important . . . for libraries to provide computers . . . to children and adults who don’t have their own.
—Laura Weiss, Buildings, Books, and Bytes
Libraries have the buildings, the infrastructure, the reputation, and often already have PACs. They have staff trained to be responsive to the public. Libraries have a commitment to providing literacy services. They have a public that looks to them to help meet their information needs. Libraries have a commitment to their communities to provide services to all. They can take one further step and provide productivity software on PACs.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. Libraries Project helps libraries establish computer services for the public. With grants for PC purchase and staff training, the foundation has helped thousands of U.S. libraries offer computers to their patrons (Rava 2000). In order to qualify for a grant, 10 percent of a library’s community must live at or below the poverty level.
Some libraries are partnering with Community Technology Network, a nonprofit organization, to offer computer workstations in the libraries, or to bring library staff and resources to community technology centers (Williams n.d.). Other libraries partner with local schools and community colleges to maximize limited funding and resources.
For some libraries, funding is not as much of an obstacle as is resistance by staff and administration. In these libraries there is sometimes a belief that offering productivity software is beyond the scope of the public library. The Public Library Manifesto of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) clearly states, however, that public libraries should fill the public’s “need for all relevant materials including modern technology” (Niegaard 1994).
How to Make It Happen: Anecdotal Experience
At City Library System, an anonymous library system with fifteen branches and a large central library upon which the following experiences are based, patrons have had Internet access for five years. One year ago the library opened a computer lab with limited hours in one of its branches, thanks in part to a Gates Foundation grant. Other than this lab, there was no productivity software on the library’s PACs. Concerned about the number of requests for these services, and by the fact that many similar-sized libraries were offering these services, City Library decided to offer these services.
A technology committee discussed the issue over the course of several meetings. After discussing the feasibility of adding this software with the computer department and checking with other library systems, the committee decided to offer these services at two branches on a trial basis.
A small committee of branch supervisors and reference staff was formed. This group coordinated staff and public issues related to the new software. Another small committee, made up of computer department staff, worked on the technology issues. The two groups communicated through email, Intranet, and in committee meetings.
The technology issues took months of planning and several days to implement and troubleshoot. Since the library uses the Pharos system to limit the amount of time that patrons have on the PACs, technology staff had to install Microsoft Office software to be compatible with the current set-up and congruent with current security measures. Despite the complications, the technology rollout happened on time.
The staff and public issues committee addressed the following issues:
- Training for staff and volunteers in using and troubleshooting Microsoft Office products
- Reference books for staff and public, printed “how-to” literature for the public
- Staff morale—some staff were worried about giving new duties to already busy librarians while others worried that offering these services distorts the mission of the library and the role of the reference librarian
- PACs are heavily used, and offering new services may force patrons to wait longer
- Evaluating the services, before and after, to assess impact on staff and areas for improvement
The training sessions for staff were based on training classes previously given by the computer lab coordinator. Drawing on her experience of the lab, the training sessions included common troubleshooting skills, and common patron questions, as well as a basic review of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications. Volunteers who help patrons with computers were invited to join the training sessions, but, as a whole, already had high computer skills and none signed up.
The committee ordered a variety of manuals for PowerPoint, Excel, and Word, in both English and Spanish. Emphasis was placed on books with visual format for quick reference, but the collection also includes at least one thick, definitive guide for each application. The collection attempted to reflect a variety of learning styles. These noncirculating books were kept at the reference desk. In addition, the committee made available laminated quick guides for each application. These sheets, provided by the Gates Foundation, are extremely simple guides showing the parts of a toolbar and how to open a new document. Several months after implementation of the new software, these collections were rarely used by patrons, although some staff members consulted the books.
Some staff were glad to offer this service to the patrons who had requested it so often. Others were relatively neutral and didn’t notice much difference in their workloads. Others, initially distressed about the new service, later claimed that the stress they anticipated never quite materialized.
Those opposed to offering productivity software on PACs were of two, sometimes overlapping, camps. The first camp is made up of reference staff who were not themselves technologically adept. Offering new computer services means offering some level of support to patrons using these services; these staff members did not feel capable of offering this support. Despite group and individual training, these workers felt overwhelmed and unprepared. They felt that suddenly their jobs required skills they did not posses.
The other group of reference staff members opposed to offering productivity software are those who felt the library mission, not to mention the job description of reference staff, does not include offering glorified typing facilities.
There is little that can be said to change the minds of those opposed to offering productivity software. It is useful, though, to recall other technological changes that have rocked libraries in the past. When the library catalog became automated, some staff were dismayed. Offering the Internet was another change that was difficult for library staff. Many libraries initially offered Internet, but prohibited e-mail (some still do). Libraries now recognize legitimate information needs for e-mail. It seems likely that productivity software will follow the path blazed by these other innovations.
Problems and Challenges
To successfully offer productivity software, libraries need to anticipate the challenges that may affect their staff and the public. The main problems are the possible increase in staff stress and workload, the quality of assistance available, and the limited number of PACs available. In addition, funding, as always, can be a problem.
Critics and Malcontents
It is tempting to dismiss the grumbling of those staff members who believe that productivity software does not belong on PACs. We can call them technophobes or accuse them of being elitist in claiming one service more important than another. Nonetheless, we would do well to remember that unhappy staff might not offer the best public service. Worrel points out that “resistance to change is inevitable . . . critics and malcontents must be made an integral part of the planning and implementation process, so that their complaints are dealt with openly. . . . Managers must ensure that employees have the emotional support and the necessary training to adjust to new work arrangements” (1995, 357). Libraries can embrace new technologies and new services, but the feelings and attitudes of staff must not be forgotten (Stapley 1996).
Training is certainly part of staff preparation, but equally important is the emotional reaction of staff members. Management should engage front-line staff in dialogues about the reasons for the proposed changes. Staff should feel safe to express negative opinions and management should be prepared to offer solid explanations and answer tough questions. Although total buy-in is an impossible goal, informed staff who feel their concerns are listened to may be more likely to accept unwanted change with grace. Listening to criticisms from staff members should go deeper than hand-holding. Worrell quotes Kramlinger in noting the value of feedback from staff members: “Everyone can be a source of useful ideas. . . . The people closest to the problem usually have the best ideas about solutions. . . . Library managers can learn much from clerks, paraprofessionals, and lower-level librarians. . . . The process of open dialogue improves ideas” (1995, 354). Figure 1 lists several reasons not to offer word processing (Orr 2001). Even if management decides to implement productivity software, the points raised by the dissenting librarian should be taken seriously. Is there a way to create more seating for patrons not interested in computers? Can more community activities be offered? Can volunteers be recruited to teach patrons clerical skills, leaving the librarians free to offer reference services?
Figure 1. Some Reasons for Not Offering Productivity Software on PACs
- PACs are already full of patrons using chat rooms and playing games on the Internet. There are not enough computers for searching legitimate Internet resources or even the library’s catalog.
- Since so much space has been allocated for PACs, there is less room for people to sit and read, less room for displaying books.
- There are many more dynamic ways of using library funds and staff. For example, offering more community activities, supporting local writers and cultural activities.
- Word processing does not promote a love of books and reading.
- Reference staff should not be spending their time helping patrons perform clerical tasks, but rather with offering the best reference service they can.
- Patrons can go to job centers or other locations to type résumés and cover letters.
- It would be more worthy of librarians’ time and expertise to work on creating online readers’ advisory, search guides, and offering search training to small groups.
- Librarians may not know how to use the software themselves and they are not there to teach clerical skills to patrons.
But I Don’t Know How!
Trying to help the public with productivity software will be nothing but frustration for staff members unacquainted with the software itself. Although classes and tutoring sessions are necessary, the most valuable training tool is practice. In the evaluation of the Gates Library Project, staff at small or underfunded libraries complain that they themselves have no access to PCs with productivity software (Gordon, Gordon, and Moore 2001). It is clear that staff must be encouraged and enabled to use the software themselves if they are to be able to assist patrons.
The Long Wait
Most libraries with Internet-connected PACs know that demand usually outstrips supply. Some libraries use waiting lists and often end up policing patrons to ensure that everyone behaves. When possible, volunteers can be used to handle this task, freeing reference staff to concentrate on other duties. Other libraries use time-out software that automatically shuts off the PAC when the patron’s time is up.
Whatever method is used, there is no satisfactory way of ensuring that every patron has immediate access to a PAC. If the staff is apprised of this likelihood, plans can be made ahead of time. Staff can brainstorm about how to handle disgruntled patrons and come up with ways to explain the shortage of PACs.
Money, Money, Money
Libraries fortunate enough to receive Gates Foundation money will be able to purchase PCs and software and have access to training and support materials. However, the money is finite, and libraries bear the ultimate responsibilities of maintaining the computers, upgrading them, and, eventually, replacing them. In addition, continuing education for staff and providing adequate staffing to handle the likely increase in library traffic (Gordon, Gordon, and Moore 2001c) will require continuing expenditure.
On the positive side, administrators can point to increased library use and a broader patron base when requesting adequate funds. Administrators surveyed by the Gates Foundation (Gordon, Gordon, and Moore 2001a) report an average 23 percent increase in patron traffic and a 15 percent increase in book circulation after introducing PACs with Internet access and productivity software. Serving more of the community more of the time means that libraries are more necessary and funding them is more important than ever.
Ray Bradbury and Productivity Software
Ray Bradbury’s classic book, Fahrenheit 451, is a perpetual favorite among high school teachers and library science professors. In Bradbury’s imagined future world, books are forbidden, and the job of firemen is to burn hidden stashes of contraband literature. Fahrenheit 451 is a rallying cry against censorship and a warning about the death of intellectual thought. Bradbury wrote this book on typewriters in the basement of his local library (Charles 2000). Where would today’s budding author type the manuscript that might become tomorrow’s classic literature?
Melodrama aside, Bradbury’s experience is a valuable touchstone for libraries to consider. If we have the ways and means to provide productivity software to our patrons, we must take that step. In doing so, we encounter true difficulties, but we also reinforce the public’s belief that the public library is the community’s learning center. Included in appendix A are several quotes to inspire the librarian charged with crafting a persuasive justification.
Achleitner, Herbert K. 1995. Information transfer, information technology, and the new information professional. In The impact of emerging technologies on reference service and bibliographic instruction, ed. by Gary M Pitkin. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood.
American Library Association. 2001. Leading the way for literacy. ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services OLOS. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001.
Andersen, Josephine. 1998. Social responsibilities discussion group paper: Literacy in libraries. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001, http://www.ifla.org/VII/dg/srdg/srdg3.htm.
Benton Foundation in association with the National Urban League. 1998. Losing ground bit by bit: Low-income communities in the Information Age. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001: http://www.benton.org/Library/Low-Income.
Charles, Ron. 2000. National Book Award winners announced. Christian Science Monitor. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001, www.
Dertouzos, Michael L. 1998. The rich people’s computer? Technology Review 102, no. 1: 22.
Douglas, Gretchen V. 1999. Professor librarian: A model of the teaching librarian of the future. Computers in Libraries 19, no. 10: 24.
Fitzgibbons, Shirley A. 2000. Libraries and literacy: A preliminary survey of the literature. International Federation of
Library Associations and Institutions. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001, http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla66/papers/122-139e.htm.
Gallian, Judith M., and Jerry Greenfield. n.d. Benchmarks for computer literacy: An intersection of liberal arts and applied information science. Miyazaki International College, Japan. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001, http://www.miyazaki-mic.ac.jp/faculty/Jgallian/JALT98/WCALL_Paper.html.
Gordon, Andrew, Margaret Gordon, and Elizabeth Moore. 2001a. Library staff support public access computing: Experience increased workloads, stress, and satisfaction. A report to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation U.S. Library Program: On a survey of library staff, volunteers, and administrators in five states. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001, http://www.gatesfoundation.org/libraries/uslibraryprogram/evaluation/default1.htm.
________. 2001b. Library patrons heavily use public access computers and other library services, and want more: A report to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation U.S. Library Program: On a survey of library patrons in five states. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001, http://www.gatesfoundation.org/libraries/uslibraryprogram/evaluation/default1.htm.
________. 2001c. Library administrators confirm value, complexities of public access computing: A report to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation U.S. Library Program: On a survey of library administrators in five states. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001, http://www.gatesfoundation.org/libraries/uslibraryprogram/evaluation/default1.htm.
Jones, Bruce. 1996. Computer Literacy. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001, http://communication.ucsd.edu/bjones/comp_lit_paper.html.
National Institute for Literacy. n.d. a. Reading facts. Accessed Aug. 20, 2002, http://www.nifl.gov/facts/reading_facts.html.
National Institute for Literacy. n.d. b. Fact sheet. Accessed Aug. 20, 2001, http://www.nifl.gov/newworld/LIBRARY2.HTM.
National Institute for Literacy. 1999. Policy update: Vice president announces new literacy effort to prepare workers for the twenty-first century. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001, http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/policy/updates/99-01-12.html.
Niegaard, Hellen. 1994. UNESCO’s 1994 Public Library Manifesto. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001, http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla60/60-nieh.htm.
Orr, Laura. 2001. Unpublished manuscript. Quoted with permission of author.
Ranganathan, S. R. 1986. Reference service. Bangalor, India: Sarada Ranganathan Endowment for Library Science.
Rava, Carol. 2000. Partnership with North American libraries gives millions access to the Internet: An independent assessment of the effort shows positive impact for libraries and patrons. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Accessed July 10, 2002, http://www.gatesfoundation.org/libraries/uslibraryprogram/announcements/announce-330.htm.
Rodger, Joey. 1999. Leadership, libraries, and literacy programs: A report of focus group research. Urban Libraries Council. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001, http://www.urbanlibraries.org/standards/leadship.html.
Shorris, Earl. 2000. Promoting the humanities, or: How to make the poor dangerous. American Libraries 31, no. 5: 46–49.
Stapley, Lionel. 1996. The personality of the organization. London: Free Association Books.
Thierer, Adam D. 2000. Is the “digital divide” a virtual reality? Consumers’ Research Magazine 83, no. 7: 16.
United States Department of Commerce. 2000. Falling through the Net. Accessed Dec. 8, 2001, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/fttn00/contents00.html.
White, Herbert S. 2000. Librarianship—Quo vadis? Opportunities and dangers as we face the new millennium. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited.
Williams, Cary. n.d. Library and Community Technology Access Project. Community Technology Centers Network. Accessed July 10, 2002, http://www.ctcnet.org/libprop.html.
Worrell, Diane. 1995. The learning organization: Management theory for the information age or new age fad? Journal of Academic Librarianship 21, no. 5: 351.
Appendix A. More Food for Inspiration
Literacy is a mode of behavior, which enables individuals and groups to gather, analyze and apply written information to function in society. Communities have a responsibility for creating a culture of literacy for their members, if they value development.
- Shirley Fitzgibbons, Libraries and Literacy: A Preliminary Survey of the Literature
Literacy is viewed as an avenue to human liberation and a catalytic force for social change.
- Barbara Kwasnick, Information Literacies for the Twenty-first Century
A librarian should be much more than a keeper of books; he should be an educator.
- Otis Robinson, “Librarians and Readers”
The public library as a passive, archival institution has been reshaped into a learning, information hub of the community.
- Renee Tjoumas, I nformation Literacies for the Twenty-first Century
[Public libraries should be involved in:]
- supporting both individual and self-conducted education as well as formal education at all levels;
- providing opportunities for personal creative development;
- stimulating the imagination and creativity of children and young people; [and]
- facilitating the development of information and computer literacy skills.
- UNESCO Public Library Manifesto
The microcomputer is an information technology tool and it is the responsibility of libraries to provide information.
- Alan E. Guskin, Carla J. Stoffle, and Barbara E. Baruth, Library Future Shock
For African Americans and other minorities, any lack of technological expertise could create additional barriers and make an already difficult job search more arduous.
- Tariq K. Muhammad, “Career Paths to the Next Millennium”
Computers and the Internet must be available to all, regardless of ethnicity or geography or income. Not because the technology is somehow special or revolutionary, but exactly because it’s so ordinary. Nobody expects the ordinary, familiar features of our national infrastructure—public libraries, telephones, highways, public transportation, immunizations, or post offices—to end poverty or to bestow social and economic equity. They’re just simple, basic tools for living in the modern world. Everybody should have them. That’s why they’re important, and that’s why they deserve public funding.
- Albert Fong and Josh Senyak, “Bridging the Digital Divide”
Appendix B. Related Works
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Rachel Mendez ( email@example.com) is a 2002 graduate of the School of Library and Information Sciences, Emporia State University, Kansas, and works as reference staff at the Multnomah County Library, Portland, Oregon.