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Poor People and Library Services

Comments by the book's editor, Karen Venutrella, as recently posted in the Vincentian listserv.

In 1996, nearly 40 million United States citizens were reported to be

living in poverty. This enormous number set in conjunction with the

rapid growth in demand for more information technology presents

librarians with a wrenching dilemma: how to maintain a modern facility

while increasing services to the economically disadvantaged.

A compilation of fifteen, original chapters exploring library services

to the poor and economically disadvantaged members of our society. The

contributions include chapters on the theoretical issues involved in the

connection between poverty and libraries. The majority of chapters

offer examples of library programs that seek to address the needs of

poor people. Chapters are organized within the following subheadings

"Theory and Background," "Poverty Programs for Children," "Ensuring

Access to Technology for Low-Income Groups," "International Organization

and Neighborhood Coalition," "Suggestions for Action, Shelters and

Public Housing," and "Rural Poverty Programs."

The book includes a foreword by Sanford Berman, Head of Cataloging

at Hennepin County Library and longtime library activist on social

justice issues. Contributors include John Buschman (Information

Services librarian at Rider University), Khafre Abif (Youth Services

librarian at Montclair Public Library), Kathleen de la Pena McCook

(Professor & Director of the School of Library & Information Science at

the University of South Florida), Elizabeth Segel (Co-director of

Beginning with Book at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh), Wizard Marks

(a neighborhood activist in Minneapolis), and many others. Appendices

include ALA's "Policy on Library Services to Poor People," "The Library

Bill of Rights," and a list of poverty related organizations.

The book is edited by Karen Venturella, Multimedia Resources librarian

at Montclair State University, and was published by McFarland in June of

1998. To order call 1-800-253-2187 or visit McFarland's website at The ISBN is 0-7864-0563-5 and the cost is $26.50.

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