If you're reading this column, congratulations! You have mastered a skill denied to some 40 million adults.
You are literate.
About a year ago (October 1997), the teacher's journal Phi Delta Kappan reported on the results of the First International Adult Literacy Survey. The adults (ages 16-65) were tested on their ability to understand text information. The news wasn't good: 20.7% of US adults are at the lowest reading level. Just 3.8% of US adults were at the highest level.
On occasion, libraries are called upon to decide weighty matters.
Recently a local Rotary newsletter editor who shall remain nameless (except to admit that it was me) stuck in filler material from another newsletter. Among these "odd facts" was the statement that "Marilyn Monroe wore a size 16."
September 26 through October 2 is the American Library Association's Banned Books Week. This is the 17th year of its observance.
At the end of last year, all of Colorado's public libraries were asked to submit a list of all of the library materials that had been "challenged" (complained about) by library patrons.
Eighteen public libraries reported 68 challenges to materials, exhibits and even library architecture around the state. (The full report can be found at http://douglas.lib.co.us/97challenges.html.)
On Thursday, September 4, from 7-9 p.m., Sybil Downing will speak at the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock. The event is sponsored by Hooked on Books.
It happens that I've met Ms. Downing several times. In 1994, she served as the Chairwoman of the Colorado State Board of Education. I knew she had a keen interest in libraries. What I didn't know was that she used libraries a great deal, churning research into first class historical fiction and non-fiction.