Diversity in systems of knowledge

I recommended following this excellent blog about community health and libraries: Bringing Health Information to the Community.

This latest post points to MentorNet, which supports diversity in the science and engineering fields.  I’m also reading an article from the August issue of Information Outlook on Protecting Traditional Cultural Expressions. You must be a member of Special Libraries Association to read it, but it gives a good introduction to the complexity of the issue of copyright, intellectual property, and traditional and indigenous cultures.

In conjunction, both articles call for a new, cooperative worldview that respects, protects, and learns from multiple systems of knowledge.

Guatemala Book Fair declared annual event

This August article from Criticas announces the organizers’ intentions of making the Guatemala book fair an annual event. Unger writes:

Guatemala suffers from the reputation of being “El país de no lectores” (“the country without readers”), so FILGUA set as its objective “Vamos por un país de lectores” (“Let’s become a country of readers”). Still reeling from 36 years of civil war, with the by-product of ensuing gang warfare, violent crime, and femicide, Guatemala is not an easy place to build readership. FILGUA, however, has provoked understanding of the need to address issues of literacy, the promotion of reading, and the paucity of public libraries in the country, while at the same time raising the importance of eliminating value-added taxes on books.

At an event held in the National Palace of Culture, honoring the more than 80 attending writers, host Jerónimo Lancerio, the Minister of Culture and Sports and a Sakapultec Maya, was presented with a petition signed by 154, mostly rural, library directors urging increased government spending and the creation of new libraries. Immediately after the fair, a bill addressing the promotion of reading was introduced in the Guatemalan Congress. Indeed, there was a sense during FILGUA that after years of neglect, the Guatemalan government would begin addressing literacy issues, this in a country ranking second to last in spending for education in Latin America.

Good signs for the future of reading and libraries in Guatemala.

Hurricane Gustav library links

Here’s a quick roundup of library-related Hurricane Gustav links. Please add yours by commenting on this post.

Louisiana Library Status Blog

Library Director’s Blog: Lafayette (Louisiana) Public Library: Gustav Eve – August 31 – 9pm

ACRL Guest Blog Post: Loyala University Prepares for Hurricane Gustav

Gulf Coast Braces for Potential Category 3 Hurricane

LibraryThing Hurricane Gustav Thread (not quite library related, but a community of book lovers)

Lakeview area quiet… (library as pick up site)

How to change the world

I’m reading David Bornstein’s How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas. It profiles 20 or so social entrepreneurs and outlines trends and history of social entrepreneurship. I have a certain feeling of gestalt today – reading about citizen sector on 4th of July while enjoying the fruits, literally, of my labor from my veggie garden.

Just finished reading about Gloria De Souza of the organization Parisar Asha. Here’s a quote that struck me:

There was nothing particularly novel about environmental education. The approach was well established in the United States, Canada, and Europe. … His (Ashoka’s) interest was not just in de Souza’s teaching ideas, but her ability to adapt them to India’s specific circumstances–then market them.

Here’s a bumper sticker for you: Ideas are just as good as their ability to spread.

New directions in my life

I haven’t been writing much because I’ve been putting other things in motion in my professional life.  I’m excited to share that I am the new editor of Interface, the membership journal of ASCLA (The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Libraries).  I’ve also just accepted a position on the American Library Association’s International Relations Committee, Americas subcommittee.  The next two years will be busy, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.  I hope to find time to write more about these experiences here.

Chinese American Librarians Association Coordinating Donations

The Chinese American Librarians Association has set up a website for donations to support earthquake recovery efforts in China.

You can also read from American Libraries a report on the status of select libraries in China after the  earthquake.

The Library Project Organizes Donation Program for China

Of course, as soon as I say nothing is happening yet with rebuilding schools … I come across this:

The Library Project has created a program, “Earthquake Affected Regions“, to help rebuild the educational system that was affected as a result of the earthquake. It is projected that hundreds of elementary schools have been damaged in the Sichuan and Shaanxi Provinces. The Library Project will be providing books and libraries for elementary schools and orphanages as they are rebuilt or repaired.