Do Not Close the San Carlos School Libraries!

My wife and I do not have any children, but we do have nieces and nephews with children of their own. We are big believers in education. My entire career was built on the education I received in the New York City Public Schools, then Queens College and finally San Jose State University (SJSU).

We have supported the local school system through contributions to the San Carlos Education Foundation (SCEF) and our community has passed several ballot initiatives/parcel taxes to increase funding for the schools including the San Carlos School District Measure N which passed by the required 2/3rds vote in the March 3, 2020 primary election.

So, on Sunday morning May 17th, I was surprised to receive a text message from one of the neighborhood Moms asking me to draft a note to our school board before their budget discussion meeting later that week. Here is the message:

Social media post about plans to close the San Carlos School Libraries

This neighbor knew my background and was asking for help. I have direct experience with the mislead belief libraries are obsolete, library marketing, and the constant budget pressure on libraries of all types, specifically with seeing the closing of many corporate libraries first-hand.

Nevertheless, I wanted to review the current thinking and arguments discussing school libraries, so I started doing some research on this topic. A preliminary Google search was useful, but reviewing “School Library Journal” was more productive. See the image links below to explore this “bibliography.” Here is the letter I sent to the Board, which I am happy to report was read in full at the Board Meeting. The topic is still being reviewed.

Dear Board Members:

It has come to my attention that the San Carlos schools are planning to pink slip all the school library employees and close the school libraries. I have a deep background in libraries and information science including a master’s degree from SJSU and a more than 40-year career working in and with libraries of all types. My wife and I are long-term San Carlos residents and have supported SCEF for many years.

Critical thinking skills and evaluation of information sources are part of information literacy.

It is short sighted and ill-advised to eliminate this vital extension of classroom instruction in today’s educational environment. With the critical goal of improving literacy, school libraries educate students in evaluating and using information as they grow their critical thinking skills.

This area is not elsewhere covered in the academic curriculum. In an era of fake news, misinformation, disinformation, and outright propaganda, it is more important than ever for students to have an educated perspective on the world of information.

Moreover, librarians recommend tools and content to the students that are not found in commercially oriented search engines like Google. Understanding and being introduced to literature beyond the open web, eventually to the use of scholarly, even peer-reviewed sources, information literacy is a fundamental building block to success in higher education and career applications.

Librarian expertise goes beyond the traditional, including use of the latest technologies.

College professors and hiring managers often complain incoming students or workers do not have the knowledge or ability to do entry level research assignments. Eliminating school librarians/libraries only adds to this super important potential shortcoming. Do we want people coming out of San Carlos schools to lack the competitive and functional knowledge they need to succeed?

Libraries are often one of the most impactful and treasured resources of the school experience. Today’s students require the expertise and hands-on touch of the school librarians. The Board needs to demonstrate leadership and wisdom by making the right decision.

Please do not hesitate to be in touch if there are any questions or if further information is needed.

Sincerely yours,

George Plosker

…information literacy is a fundamental building block to success in higher education and career applications.

Chief Justice Roberts: Stop Messing with Voting Rights!

After the recent decisions about the Wisconsin Primary I posted this on Facebook. Continued thinking led me to write the open letter below to John Roberts, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Are there any adults in the room?

Dear Chief Justice Roberts,

To say I’m disappointed in your “leadership” would be a severe understatement. You have contributed to the disaster of politics in our country today by completely failing to show any adherence to the principles the United States is built on. You are going along with, even sanctioning, a flailing attempt of the Republican wealthy right and mostly white to hold onto power and act only in their own self-interest. At the same time, you are empowering a would-be despot who is completely incapable of serving as a leader on any level – intellectually, morally, or psychologically.

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Do You Believe In Science?

I’ve always been a science person. I remember reading Popular Mechanics and doing science projects when I was still in elementary school. When my neighbor received a really nice telescope as a Christmas gift, we were out in the freezing New York City weather trying to view the rings of Saturn. This was way before telescopes had GPS and finder devices, so it took considerable effort to find and focus the telescope on our target.

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PG&E Part III – Implement a Knowledge Based Culture

Many of the readers of this blog know I was employed by the “premium content” electronic publishing industry for almost forty years. In our positioning of products to our clients, we would often discuss the need for a knowledge-based culture. This was especially important with our corporate audience with the closing or absence of libraries.

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PG&E Part II – Learn From Industry Best Practices

In my last post we looked at the premise is PG&E responsible for the California wildfires. Numerous experts have pointed to a myriad of PG&E failures that have directly caused wildfires and put PG&E in a very tenuous position regarding their finances and future. But what can be done?

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Is PG&E responsible for California fires?

I woke up at 4:00 am the morning of October 27th. I went to my home office on the top floor and looked West out the window. All was black. Normally I can see lights from the homes on the ridge top and in the canyon as I look that way.

Continue reading “Is PG&E responsible for California fires?”