Tag: education

Budget Cuts

‘Book Poverty:’ The Epidemic of Closing Libraries

March 7, 2019 is World Book Day, and fewer children than ever are reading. Budget cuts and library closures are serious threats to childhood literacy—and marginalized communities have been impacted the most severely.


Cartoon depicts library budget cuts leading to closings

Image Via Cagle Cartoons


Libraries offer more than just books—if books are ever ‘just’ anything. Just a whole world small enough to fit into your backpack? Just a $2,000 plane ticket for the low low price of $0.00? Just a work of art as enduring as any hanging up in a museum (and one that you can take home without being arrested)? Libraries are a safe community space offering accessible resources, like adult education, language classes, and research databases. These programs are open to seniors, children, and disadvantaged members of the community—an opportunity that exists regardless of socioeconomic status when so few opportunities do. Will libraries in wealthier communities have more funding? Yes. But libraries remain an integral community feature.

Or, rather, they would if they were staying open.


Library Closed for Budget Cuts

Image Via Baristanet


In the U.K., the number of library book loans dropped from 255,128,957 in 2011 to 157,387,109 in 2018—a shocking 38% decrease that, unfortunately, isn’t as shocking as book-lovers might think. In the wake of 700 library closures since 2010, Library Campaign chair Laura Swaffield said there was only one surprise: “that the decline in book loans isn’t even larger.”

When the libraries go, so do the librarians: over 700 full-time library employees faced termination last year alone. While 3,000 volunteers have taken their places, this is a stopgap measure and not a solution. The problem is the drastic budget cuts, and—like so many other problems—money may be the only solution.

It’s either the solution, or it’s yet another problem. Given the £2 million proposed cuts for 2019, it looks like the latter. In the U.K., only 25% of eight to eighteen year olds read daily. If that statistic sounds dire, it gets even worse: that’s a full 20% drop from just four years earlier. As libraries lose money, children lose interest in reading—because some of them lose access to engaging, affordable books. This phenomenon, “book poverty,” describes the grim reality for disadvantaged young people: one in eight poor U.K. children doesn’t own a single book. Childhood literacy is widely known as “the single most important factor” in the success of a child’s education; yet when it comes time for budget cuts, it’s considered one of the least important criteria for funding.


Encyclopedic volumes on benefits of libraries, brochure of downsides

Image Via Cagle Cartoons


Featured Image Via K-12 Insight.

Prof. Alexander Holds Baby

Professor Holds Student’s Baby During Class, Goes Viral

A math professor at Morehouse College in Georgia has gone viral for holding a student’s baby during his lecture!

The baby’s father, Wayne Hayer, couldn’t find anyone to watch baby Assata. Since he had class, he faced a choice: stay at home to watch the baby or head to class and further his education.

Hayer explained these circumstances to his professor, Nathan Alexander, who shockingly offered to carry Assata for the entire duration of the class. Alexander wanted his student to be able to “take good notes,” so he volunteered to take her off her father’s hands despite his fears that she would “start crying” during the lesson, according Buzzfeed News.


Professor Alexander



Professor Alexander’s fears were put to rest when Assata turned out to be the perfect student! Alexander reported that, in a surprise turn of events, the arrangement went “perfectly” as the young learner was “extremely well behaved.”

I’m not sure about y’all, but when I first heard about this story, I expected it to be about a mother who brought her child to class—it’s awesome that Assata’s father takes an active role in her childcare!


Baby Assata
                                                                          Assata, her mother, and her grandmother


The baby’s mother, Firda Amalia Hayer, wrote on Facebook:

Seeing the outpouring of support from friends, family, and strangers for Assata and Wayne is a sight to behold. I can feel the genuine love and enthusiasm. We never asked for attention; all that I’ve personally asked for is authenticity in your love and support. We are new parents. Wayne works two jobs and is a full-time student. He’s rarely at home because he’s out there providing for us…

Morehouse College (where Assata has begun her higher education earlier than most) is an all-male, historically black liberal arts college. One of its most famous alumni is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!


Why the World Needs Book Nerds in 2019

Reading books by great authors, especially dead ones, is one of the coolest ways any of us will ever get to understanding some of the world’s most original minds. Therefore, we do it; we read so that we can experience multiple lifetimes and adventures outside the realm of what is practical. It’s therapeutic- reading is a true form of meditation, storytelling in general. We define experiences by the stories we tell ourselves and others. Being able to tell a good story can potentially affect millions, for good or bad. That’s fucking powerful. It’s more powerful than money, sex or fame- even though some writers are egomaniacs who secretly hope their work will lead to those things (I probably fall into that category to be fair).

Regardless, first and foremost, it’s about the work. It’s about creating something no one else has ever thought about forming and using that unique ability to help other people. Help them to understand their world and connect with the people around them. How can anyone study to be a scribe? Honestly, you can’t. You either have it or you don’t. Scribes are rock stars.


Image Via Bucketlist127.com

Most people who study literature at the college level end up having to take a major literary figures class; people like William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer and John Milton used to fall into this category but now writers like Toni Morrison, Frederick Douglass, Louise Erdrich, Herman Melville are taking up the mantel. Deservingly so. For the sake of contemporary relevance and diversity, it makes sense to switch it up as time goes on. Sorry, Will, Fair is foul, and foul is fair (this quote only sort of makes sense here, don’t read into it).

Besides, Herman Melville was a boss. Moby Dick; or, The Whale is crazy and hilarious, with a ridiculously grandiose style; long sentences, excessive alliteration, one chapter is written like a play. Enter Ahab. Melville had a vision; he wanted to make fun of capitalism, meditate on life, death and a boatload of other stuff (pun intended). People didn’t understand him, and he didn’t gain true fame until after his death… Who doesn’t want to be misunderstood and then rediscovered long after they are gone?


Image Via Pinterest.com

In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Frederick Douglas recounts how he used to dare white kids he could read/write better than them (even though he couldn’t) just so he could learn how to be better. At one point the man even gets in a fight with his slave ‘master’- a straight up fist fight with  Covey so that said ‘master’ would know to never beat him again. Shit is powerful. Douglas’ slave narrative brought a lot of attention to obvious issues back then; Frederick Douglas has said that “knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom.” He understood the power of storytelling as one of the most accessible forms of academia, so did Toni Morrison when she wrote Beloved, for which she won the Noble…


Image Via Flickr.com

It’s damn near impossible and relatively foolish to try and group the best authors ever into a category, especially because popular Literature changes. It’s still great, just different. Even though they are competitive as fuck, great authors pay homage to writers who have come before on a regular basis with a simple phrase or metaphor. They aim to say something constructive about society and inspire change. Protagonists were created to show us how to be good and antagonists to show us what it means to lose one’s way (side note: check out our article dealing with literary role models). Literature used to be society’s main source of entertainment. Huge and monumental paper bricks were created, and people ate it up… then the first movie came out and reading became less and less cool. The Wizard of Oz switched to color and people be trippin’. And now, no one reads. Except for us. And sometimes we don’t even like it.

Book Nerds are a dying breed; the media tends to steer toward the visual stimuli as many of today’s leaders seem damn near illiterate. It’s exhausting, and sometimes us readers may be tired and lack the ability to use our imagination the way we need to; that’s why people don’t read, everyone wants the television to do the work for them. This is not to say television isn’t great, it’s awesome, but when you read, you become the director. Those who have the patience and the time to use their minds to create a perfect mental image which aligns with whatever narrative they have in front of them, feel the reward of true storytelling. The type of auto-pilot reading that rocks your world and blurs the rest of the room as you sit on your bed, floor, patio, bathroom sink, wherever. People read in weird places (note to self: article idea). These people can tell their non-reader friends about a book they just read in an undeniably exciting way. Enthusiasm exuberates off them in the most obnoxious and commendable of ways. The world needs these kinds of people…


Image Via Thebookfridge.blogspot.com

Storytelling is what grounds us as human beings; while most of the contemporary population may crave sweet new tech, some of us crave the smell of fresh pages. Sometimes they’re not even fresh. Barnes and Noble will rip you off. A better smell is one of old, stained pages previously the property of a single mother, father, janitor, chef, taxi driver, bartender, space lawyer or aspiring writer. Unsung heroes. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of kindle because it robs us of the traditional page-bending style of reading; where the physical condition of a novel is a direct reflection of the love it has been shown. Reading is a tradition rooted in humanity, it comes from US.

So, embrace this year’s Goodreads reading challenge: make your goal 365 mofo’n books, talk about the best new and old novels with anyone who will listen. They need to hear it. People were binging at the library before Netflix even existed- I thought Bird Box was only okay.  Think about finally becoming adequately caffeinated enough to write the world’s next great novel that shows us something about ourselves. Actually, yeah. Do that.


Image Via Giphy.com

2019 will forever be known as the year of the book nerd.

In predicates, clauses, and active verbs we pray,






Featured Image Via Seriousreading.com 


10 Quotes To Spark Your Back to School Spirit

Back to school season is upon us and whether you’re a freshman entering high school, a senior finishing their last year of college, or a teacher, now is as good a time as any to re-energize your batteries! Here are 10 inspiring quotes on education that will spark your back to school spirit!





“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

– Nelson Mandela



“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”

– Thomas Paine



“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

– Confucius



“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”

– Malcom X



“Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.”

– Jane Austen



“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.”

– Nikos Kazantzakis



“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”

– Baruch Spinoza



“A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.”

– Theodore Roosevelt



“Wisdom…. comes not from age, but from education and learning.”

– Anton Chekhov



“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”

– Malala Yousafzai




Feature Image Via Unsplash/Syd Wachs

Cornell University uris library nice picture high quality pretty

10 University Libraries so Nice You’ll Want to Take out More Student Loans

Man, oh man, remember college? Those were the days. I remember staying up all night binge reading, and flirting (in my head) with librarians. Oh, and weekends. Oh boy, that’s when I’d come alive. I could binge read two whole books on a really good weekend. Wild times. Also, I had tons of friends.


Anyway, if you didn’t already, these magnificent university libraries will make you ache for your glory days.


1. George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University


George Peabody Library

Image Via Johns Hopkins University


Containing over 300,000 books, the George Peabody Library dates back to 1857. It’s a towering stack of historically significant and rare books. Also, you can get married there. And you should, and invite me.


2. Uris Library, Cornell University


Uris Library

Image Via Wikipedia


Having opened in 1891, Cornell’s Uris Library looks very much like a 19th-century construction. More specifically, it looks like the sort of place you’d find Charles Dickens poking his head around, or maybe Emily Dickinson hidden in the stacks. It looks like you could suffocate in the books, which is the way I want to go.


3. Suzzallo Library, University of Washington in Seattle


Suzzallo Library

Image Via Digital Photography Review


The University of Washington’s Suzzallo Library is not only home to one of the world’s largest books—the Bhutan Book, whose pages are turned once a month by library staff—but also to one of the coziest-looking reading rooms on the planet. Doesn’t it make you think of Hogwarts?


4. Fisher Fine Arts Library, University of Pennsylvania


Fisher Fine Arts Library, University of Pennsylvania


This 1891 library has long attracted the attention of architects. Frank Lloyd Wright once said of it, “It is the work of an artist.” It is in fact, having been designed by celebrated Philadelphia architect Frank Furness. The reading room is designed to allow an enormous amount of natural light in, and I’m sure the students appreciate Furness’ foresight.


5. Butler Library, Columbia University


Columbia University

Image Via Wikimedia


Having opened in 1934, this gorgeous library cost only $4 million to construct. It was during the Great Depression, after all. Containing 2 million books, this library makes me wish I had been smart enough to get into Columbia.


6. Klarchek Information Commons, Loyola University of Chicago


Klarchek Information Commons



Standing out from the crowd, Loyola’s Lake Shore campus in Chicago is home to the extremely modern Klarchek Information Commons (the IC). It opened in 2008 and is notable for its scenic location. It gives library-goers the opportunity to overlook Lake Michigan from the comfort of their fully-furnished reading space. I’m jealous.


7. Hale Library, Kansas State University


Kansas State University

Image Via Kansas State University


Hale Library looks like a sort of rural paradise. The bright stonework and differently-shaped roofs (I’m not an architect) make it look like a kind of mirage you’d stumble upon scouring the hillsides of the midwest. Maybe a nice country couple will welcome you in for a nice cup of joe and a bowl of grits. I don’t know, I’m doing my best here. It’s a nice library, in any case.


8. William W. Cook Legal Research Library, University of Michigan


Cook Library

Cook Library in 1935. Image Via University of Michigan


This one opened in 1931, just a year after famed lawyer William W. Cook’s death. He had not wanted any buildings on campus to be named after him, but since he died before the library’s completion, the university decided to ignore his wishes. Yikes.


9. Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Wilson Librar

Image Via UNC Chapel Hill


The Louis Round Wilson Library served as UNC Chapel Hill’s main library until 1984, but it still houses several special exhibitions. As of right now, they are currently exhibiting “Sounds of ‘68: Revolution in the Air,” where they are displaying classic LPs from people like Frank Zappa and Aretha Franklin. Groovy.


10. Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, University of Chicago


Joe and Rika Mansueto Library

Image Via ArchDaily


The most modern library on the list, Joe and Rika Mansueto Library opened on UC’s campus in 2011. From the outside, it looks kind of like a gigantic robot cockroach, but in a good way. From the inside, it looks like an enormous, naturally-lit reading area. That’s what you’d hope from a good library.


Feature Image Via Wikipedia