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Archive for September, 2010

I’m sitting here listening to someone try to convince a single mother who just returned to college and is here with her young daughter that she, does indeed have something to contribute to the conversation. She came with her teacher, but her teacher has not reached out to her to draw her in (or direct her to a table where she can participate. I commend her teacher for inviting her here and exposing her to this experience, but being in the room does not equal being at the table.

Fortunately, she is in capable hands. He is a facilitator/ non-profit consultant from El Paso working on the teen pregnancy issue.

With so many moving parts, how can the organizers have support mechanisms to prevent anyone from being left out?

BTW, in the time it took me to write this, a spontaneous group of three formed when an outsider pulled up his chair and suggested, “let’s form our own group!” and another gentleman joined them.

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A community that can boast it has been named one of the most recession-proof cities in the country could easily rest on its laurels. And indeed there is much to celebrate in San Antonio. The “eds and meds” effect described in the National Journal Magazine article (September 11, 2010) explains how the economy’s emphasis on jobs in education and health care have buffered this city from some of the drastic boom and bust economies or the “hares” in this article’s “tortoise and hare” metaphor. But according to the popular Mayor Julien Castro, this is only half of the story. He cited distinguishing traits of SA that are not the City’s source of pride:

  • the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation with high repeat pregnancies,
  • 40% drop out rate
  • low rates of literacy
  • low average income

Judge Nelson Wolff, County Judge further charged the group to find ways to build a children’s hospital, figure out how to stop the flow of inmates and to rehabilitate the 4,000 that are incarcerated, to pull up those who (despite their best efforts) have still not been lifted up. Reflecting on the many positives in San Antonio, he challenged the group to not forget the many shortcomings that need to be addressed, but to build on the community’s assets. For example, as the City Manager pointed out, SA is one of the few communities to have a AAA Bond rating.

Nice to see that they are starting from a position of strength, but also that they are realistic about the challenges.

A good start to the day!

If you are interested, follow the webcast at:

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This video pretty much shows the spirit of librarians and their commitment to libraries – they will survive. But we need libraries that do more than survive. Libraries are vital to our democracy (blah, blah, blah, if you’ve read anything I’ve written on this blog, you’ve already heard all of my arguments so I’ll not bore you further.)

The point is…BECAUSE libraries are vital to our democracy, shouldn’t they do more than survive? You are still surviving as you take your last few breaths. How close to the thin line between surviving and dying do we want to push our libraries/democracy?

Sigh!

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