Monday, August 24, 2009

Libraries, literacy, and community

Crossposting from the Daily Gumboot where this article originally appeared, only because I know a different group of people read my blog and it's an important issue. If you have thoughts to share why not check out the original post on and comment.

Literacy, both reading-and-writing and community literacy, are critical components of a strong community.

Informed discussion, enlightened imagination, and literal comprehension are the pillars of an active and engaged people. They enable organization, planning, and debate; all of which are critical to a healthy and functioning society.

Public Domain - Vancouver Public Library 04CC -publicdomainarts on flickr

It is difficult to overstate the importance of libraries and literacy.

While it is true that communication tools have led to improved access to information, the effectiveness of that access in terms of promoting local community development and community literacy is greatly diminished by the quest for monetization and the decentralized and isolated nature in which we receive it.

One of the great defining aspects of libraries, beyond providing access to a wealth of information, is that they are communal in nature. Scan the offerings at your local library and you will find activities, courses, support, services, and events that help build strong communities at a grassroots level.

Helping parents raise literate and informed children, helping students and teachers with research and access to information, and opening our eyes to publications from around the globe that provide insight into every aspect of our lives. All provided not for profit, but for our collective good.

Libraries serve as a critical grounding during a time where we are all-to-easily distracted by links of the day, explosions on television, and celebrity gossip publications.

They reveal and support the best in us all. The loss of any of these services would be detrimental to our communities, yet at the moment we find that loss a very real possibility.
BC provincial public libraries have not yet received their 2009 annual operating grants from the provincial government, nor have they been told how much money they will be receiving – both of which usually happen earlier in the fiscal year. There have been strong indications that the Province has decided to stop funding libraries and that this funding may be cut from the current and subsequent budgets.

With articles in community publications across the province, the reaction to this holdback by media points to the importance of libraries to our communities.

Hopefully that coverage leads to informed debate and action that results in a long-term plan to support libraries and the communities of British Columbia.

It’s our chance to support those that support us, to bring positivity to a political debate that is all-too-often debased with uninformed comment, and to steer our representatives towards a very real way they can support the communities from whence they came.

You can find out more about what funding means to British Columbia’s libraries, and how you can become engaged through the British Columbia Library Association. If you're interested they have an official response and list of other resources as well.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Toronto, we really do love you...

Coors pulling B.C. billboards as frosty mugs from Toronto call new beer ads tasteless.

"colder than most people from Toronto."

The billboard, which was part of Molson Coors' "Colder than . . ." summer beer campaign, went largely unnoticed by anyone east of the Rockies until a Toronto newspaper carried a complaint from a Toronto resident who saw the ad while on vacation.

Within hours of the story, Molson Coors backtracked and cancelled the campaign after it received complaints from people who thought the ads offended residents of Canada's largest city.

Via Vancouver Sun

If only the ad was for a beer worth drinking.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eastside Culture Crawl

Last night I had the great pleasure to meet a bunch of artists involved in the Eastside Culture Crawl to talk social media and how they might use these tools for promotion.

WendyD and the promotions/advertising board are already doing a good job maintaining a website and using twitter to connect the community to artists and the Crawl. Some of the artists are onboard with social media and self-promotion too, and are maintaining blogs and personal websites.

I had a good time and wanted to give a shout-out to the cool people I met last night. Obviously a group who work hard on creative pursuits, they brought great questions and an insight into what matters for artists.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

RIP Les Paul

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Les Paul, the guitarist and inventor who changed the course of music with the electric guitar and multitrack recording and had a string of hits, many with wife Mary Ford, died on Thursday. He was 94.

Les Paul was one of the most influential and important figures in modern music and recording.

Take a minute today to think about music.

Monday, August 10, 2009

First anniversary lessons

Things I have learned in my 1 year of marriage:
  1. I’m a pretty lucky guy.
  2. There is nothing I hate to watch more than movies in the romcom genre. I even hate the name, romcom... ugh.
  3. Having someone around to remember things for you is great.
  4. If you get your spouse’s birthdate wrong on 1 extended medical form because of the whole mmddyy or ddmmyy thing you will have to battle for months to convince them that yes that is your wife and yes they should update that field so that you can actually claim something.
  5. A bird in the hand is worth about $20 if you adopt it from the bird-rescue, but it might crap in your hand. (this has nothing to do with marriage...)
  6. Having friends is more important than you think.
  7. Having family isn’t important, having supportive and accepting family is.
  8. Sharing a bank account makes you more fiscally responsible.
  9. Good wine can solve any problem other than needing to sober up.