Two Tier Higher Ed, What Millennials Want, and Library Workers Professionals Too | Reader Feedback

Letters to the editor, web comments, and other feedback from readers from our August, 2018 issue

Library Journal logoTwo-tier higher ed
[In response to “Higher Ed Must Innovate Its Way Out of the Student Debt Crisis,” From the Bell Tower, Steven Bell, 6/14/18], from my academic library post, I see a bifurcation in higher ed. Prestigious research universities...with large endowments and reputations that attract students who can afford to pay are doing fine. At public colleges there are steps happening, such as New York’s Excelsior scholarship, that make me think public demand may begin to restore the funding long cut from state school systems and make public college tuition affordable to the masses again. Meanwhile, small private institutions without famous names are struggling...; several have already closed. At public and smaller private colleges alike there is a push to drive students toward online classes geared to the working adult learner.
Combine these trends, and we may end up with a traditional arts and sciences–based, classroom-based model at the high end and a largely online, vocationally oriented model for everyone else. Those who can afford four years of personal growth and intellectual development will get it; everyone else will get a glorified trade school mainly designed to teach marketable skills with as little personal attention as possible. You are correct that academic libraries will do just fine at high-end research universities, while being slashed to the bone elsewhere. It is already happening. —Nicola Palumbo, Rockville Centre, NY

Losing LibraryLinkNJ
LibraryLinkNJ will not be saved [in response to “NJ Library Co-op Faces Looming Shortfall,” Bob Warburton, 6/21/18]. The New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) will not save it because it only cares about its 41¢ per capita bill, which always fails. The NJ State Library will not save it. [It] killed off other library consortia over the years so this is par for the course. There is no grassroots effort under way to save seven librarian professionals from unemployment. Another library resource gone because of weak leadership in NJLA and indifference from the state library. It will be the people of NJ who suffer.... —Name withheld

What millennials want
I agree with your article [“Missing the Mark: Time To Refocus Our Advocacy Approach,” Editorial, Rebecca T. Miller, 5/15/18, p. 8], but why would you end with the quote from Vailey Oehlke’s piece, “if libraries = democracy; and democracy = important; then libraries = important.” In days past this was true, but Oehlke also quotes Yasha Mounk, who writes that “over two-thirds of older Americans believe that it is extremely important to live in a democracy; among millenials, less than one-third do.”
If only less than one-third of millennial[s] value democracy, why would we think showing democracy is the way to show value? What do the millennial population and younger groups find valuable? That is what we need to position ourselves to be viewed as valuable now and in the future. —Rosella M. Garcia, Hobart, IN

Diversity 2.0 at last
[With regard to “We Need Diverse Books Presents: Life Cycle of a Diverse Book | BookExpo 2018,” Stephanie Sendaula, 6/7/18], I’m so glad we have finally made it to “Diversity 2.0” since many of us have been clamoring for diverse books for well over 20 years. It takes so long for concerns to get a voice (like #metoo), so I’m glad the voice is finally being heard. Hurray for diverse books...for publishers for finally taking notice...for new authors and perspectives. Hurray for the movements that insist on representation. —Name withheld

Include library workers
The request form [“Register for the 2018 BookExpo Galley & SigningGuide,” 5/3/18] ...excludes library employees who are not librarians. Many support staff are professionals who do readers’ advisory, read, select, and recommend titles for our libraries and patrons. Say “Hello” to the 66 percent, the rest of library workers. —Valeria Fike, Coll. of DuPage Lib.,Glen Ellyn, IL

CORRECTION In the News+ section of LJ 6/1/18, p. 14, the logo accompanying the article “Aurora PL Removes Controversial Poem” was that of the Aurora Public Library, Ontario, CA, rather than the Aurora Public Library in Illinois, which was the subject of the piece. LJ regrets the error.

LJ welcomes letters and will publish as many as possible. Those that exceed 250 words may be excerpted by the editors. “Name withheld” refers to letters written anonymously, or in the event we could not reach the writer for authorization to publish their name.

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