Category Archives: information activist

Please Give to the Robbins Public Library

Many of you may have heard about the air conditioner being stolen from the William Leonard Public Library in Robbins, IL (note this library doesn’t even have a website but a wordpress created when they were to close a few years ago).  This library proudly serves in one of the most under-resourced communities in Chicagoland.  This community, who just three years ago would have closed if not for a generous donation from an NBA player, plays a vital role in the community.  This week we are experiencing another round of 90+ and even 100 degree days.  This library and its community need an A/C unit.  Please make a donation here.  Every penny counts!!!

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Filed under digital divide, information activist

Chicago Information Deserts

You may have read my post over at Libraries and Transliteracy where I introduce the concept of information deserts.  Well I have been conducting some research on information deserts in Chicago, and I thought I would share some of my initial findings:

Of the 843 census tracts considered, 237 are considered information deserts.  The deserts are home to 776,729 residents.  In other words, about 27% of Chicago’s population lives within an information desert.   The southern part of Chicago has the vast majority of information deserts.

Some racial and ethnic groups are far more likely to live in an information desert.   African-Americans are the most likely to live in an information desert compared to whites or Latinos.   467,373 African-Americans live in an information desert compared to the 72,515 whites.


I still have some more research to do, but the study revealed some interesting findings.  I did not think that so many people lived in such information poverty right here in Chicago.

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Filed under digital divide, information activist, information deserts

Our Voice

This whole HarperCollins issue along with constant attempts to cut our funds has got me thinking.  Libraries and librarians have been learning to find and use our collective voice over the last few years, but is it enough?  Are we rising to the occasion quick enough, or with enough force and power?  I think about all those who protested recent events in Wisconsin, and while I know that librarians were present, it was not a massive turnout on our part.  We have so avoided politics because of our ethical desire to inpart unbiased information to the patron, but is it time to rethink this method?

Yes we should always provide fair and unbiased information to patrons, but that doesn’t mean that we should just roll over politically and economically.  We have been using our voice, and launching advocacy campaigns that have helped improve some of our funding crises, but is that all we can do?  Is it wrong to educate our public?

We have a story!  We have a voice!  We have pride in what we do!  Now is the time for us to rise up!  If we don’t do it soon we soon could face the realization that the publishers have eliminated us from the growing eBook business.  Moreover, funding may be so drastically reduced that we cannot afford to even purchase print copies.

It’s time for us to stand up.  It’s time for us to take a stand!  If you are in leadership and you are not willing to be human enough to stand up, then now is the time for you to stand down.  There are so many voices in our profession that are worried about their “image” or “brand” that they are not willing to do anything but complain in private and off the record.  It is to you that I say that going silent, turning a blind eye or deaf ear is condoning the behavior.  It is your story that will be lost in history.  To those willing to stand; to those who have been standing for a long time, let us fill the world with our voice; let our story be heard.

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Filed under advocacy, information activist