Thursday, January 10, 2013

Who do you want to be?


Who do you want to be?


I want to make this speech of U.S. President Barack Obama read all of the young people and thinking about their future and the future of their children.

So said Obama

We must be grateful to librarians as they - the defenders of truth and knowledge, personal information, literacy, independence of opinion and most of all, reading.

The Gospel of John begins, "In the beginning was the Word." Although the Bible refers to the symbolic meaning of this word, we understand that this is the crucial importance of language, writing, reading, communication, and books as a means of transmitting culture and communication between people.

Library - this is not only a place where books are collected here, we can always find out about great ideas and concepts that help to American history and the history of mankind to move on. That is why since ancient times all who tried to gain power, wanted to control the human mind and, therefore, sought to control the library and books. When destroyed the great library of Alexandria, limited dissemination of knowledge in the Middle Ages, books were burned or imprisoned writers from the former communist countries - the idea was to control the word, control what people hear, read and what they think. In other words, to control them and imprison, or at least imprison their minds.

It is very important to think in a time when truth and science has always been challenged by political ideologies, when the language is not used for education, and for whipping confusing when there are those who reject our schools teaching about evolution, when the false science confronts the problem global warming and funding research to save lives.

In a time when the fashion for banned books returned, libraries remind us that telling the truth is not one who shouts loudly, and one who has the right information.

We Americans are a religious nation, I am religious. Americans have discovered that our faith is not contrary to the facts, and that our freedom depends on the ability to comprehend the truth. That's what they do library.

When we persuade a child, any child, to cross the threshold, the threshold of the precious library, we forever change his life for the better. This is a big deal.

In my life, there are times when I feel lost, uncertainty, but they are inferior to the sense of excitement when I come to the library to see the book, all human knowledge is given in a certain system and available to me. I understand the importance of librarians and thank you for what you are doing. I want to work with you, I want to be sure that the libraries will remain centers of knowledge where we are free to read and discuss what we want without fear that Big Brother we will glance over his shoulder to see what we do.

Perhaps some of you have heard that I was giving a speech at the Democratic convention last summer. This caused a certain resonance. Each of those present there was to draw attention to what I say: "We do not like the FBI, popping nose in library science, regardless of whether it occurs in states that voted for Republicans or Democrats."

For years, libraries have fought for the right to privacy and our freedom. In our history, there have been dark times, when the United States did not follow their beliefs. The question "Who will fight against restricting freedom?" Remained open. Librarians have always stood for its protection. When political groups tried to censor great works of literature, you were the only ones left on the shelves of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Catcher in the Rye", defending our access to various points of view, for free information.

Since then, we have to worry about what the government is watching us in the libraries, but you get up and speak clearly about our right to privacy. You protect the most important freedom that we have, and we are grateful to you. But, in addition to gratitude, you also deserve our protection.

I worked with Republicans and Democrats, because I wanted to be sure that the Patriot Act, which helps us track down terrorists without jeopardizing our civil liberties. This is a problem that Washington has always considered only one side: either we protect our people from terrorism or defend our principles. But I do not agree with that. I am convinced that it is possible to combine both approaches. If we continue to do in the old way, it would mean that we have too little demand from ourselves and from America.

I believe that the use of new technologies, you can find the terrorists before they strike, without giving up the protection of the civil rights for which we are fighting in the first place.

I know that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies were forced to give them some librarians record reading requirements. I hope that we can work out a resolution, like some of the decisions of the House, which would require the FBI obtain search warrants from a particular judge in a particular court, like all other criminal investigations.

In the Senate, we are developing a bipartisan bill Safe Act, the purpose of which - to prohibit the federal government to dig in emails and library records of readers without permission. Issuance of such permits - this is one side of the issue, the other is that such investigations are not authorized judicial authorities, jeopardize the rights of all Americans and undermine the foundations upon which America. We do not like it.

Besides the question of federal agents prowling around our libraries, in my speech was raised another issue that caused great interest, and I want it in more detail. Did I mention that the people of Illinois, I have met, are aware that the government can not solve all their problems. And did I mention that in the old Chicago-area parents are trying to keep the tradition of educating children, tell them that at the time they were told by their parents. Children can not achieve much, until you set for yourself this very high bar, turn off the TV and do not believe that only a book of their younger years can become lighter.

Some took it as referring only to the "black" community. I believe that talking about the basic rules, the anxiety of doubt, about the care that must be common to all Americans. So I believe that if we want to give our children the best opportunities in life, if we want to open the door for them while they are young, and teach them the skills necessary to succeed in life, our most important task as citizens, as educators and parents - to make sure that every child can read and America did it well. Therefore literacy today - the main value in the knowledge system.

Why do I need to read

Just a few generations ago it was possible to come to the labor market only with a good attitude and desire to work. If you have not graduated from high school, it did not matter, because you could get a job in a factory or on a farm and still hope to find a job that would pay the bills and support the family.

But such a system in the past. The technological revolution has broken down the barriers between countries, and connected people around the world, resulting in new jobs and industries require more skills and knowledge.

Wherever create software, wherever conducted computer manufacturing, wherever conducted financial investigations, if there is the Internet, where corporations can create jobs. Countries such as China and India continue to modernize its economy and to educate their children longer and better. This leads to the fact that these children have increased levels of skills, intense competition is growing American workers. New jobs are not designed to be difficult for them to work, and to show that you already know and how quickly you can learn what you do not know. They require progressive thinking, perception of subtleties and nuances of the business and good communication.

But before our children can go to an interview for this job, fill out the forms, get the necessary level of education, they should be able to choose a book, read it and understand it. Reading - is a basic skill that makes it possible to further study, on mastery of language and understanding of our history to the discoveries in science and in technology. Without this it is impossible to become a true citizen.

In the system of knowledge is a skill necessary for survival. How can we let our children into the world, if they can only read at the fourth grade? How can we do this? I do not know. But we do this day after day, year after year. Today, one in five adults in America can not read a simple story for children. Over the past 20 years, more than 10 million Americans have finished the 12th grade, never learned to read, even at a basic level. Issue of literacy begins before high school. In 2000, only 32% completed the 4th grade were tested in reading. Things were even worse in the various quizzes on reading and reading the discussions. Children from low-income families to gain 27 points below the average reading level, and the children from wealthy families - 15 points more than the average value. Only one of the 12 white seventeen teenagers capable of reading a newspaper, understand the content of her research topic, it is important to Hispanics - one out of 50 African Americans - one out of 100.

In the new economy, teaching our children only enough so that they can read the unmodified version of the "Dick and DzheynĂ…. Meanwhile, it is planned that in 10 years the average level of literacy required for all U.S. jobs will increase by 14%.

Currently, not enough to be able to read the words on the page. Be literate in the XXI century. so accurately and adequately understand the meaning of the text. And we still see that along with the children receiving school education, there are children who do not attend school. These are children and adolescents who come to the service provision spetspomoschi and refuse to work because there are required skills that they do not possess. Others turn to the next-door and find the courage to ask: "Can you read this for me? '.

We have to change our national mindset. We live in an economy in the XXI., But our school system, our family and our culture are still in positions of XX century. and in some cases the XIX century.

The government should play a crucial role in the development of skills of our children. I can not give here a list of all the activities of education reform, but I can say that all of this would be meaningless if our school system will be designed for agricultural, only passing in the industrial age of America, where there are schools in Chicago, lets students from classes at 13.30, because they can not afford to hold classes, where the teacher's work continues to be paid at a lower rate, where schools are not rebuilt and properly funded. In this situation, we can not be sure that our kids can be competitive in today's global economy. The government will have to work hard to create a first-class education system, but one thing it can not solve the problem. If we are going to set for our children high standards and show inspirational role models, each of us must be involved.

To improve the performance of schools and reform the education system, it is necessary to do a lot, but this is not the case that we can turn to a number of experts in Washington to solve the problem. We're going to start with the home, with parents, with libraries. We know that children who start learning from kindergarten, better know the language and become better readers, experiencing fewer difficulties in the future. We know the more children read at home, the better they cope with tests for reading throughout their lives. We have to invest in literacy programs in family and early childhood education, so as not to leave children with no training before they start school. We must invest in the child's hand book early and often. I know, easier said than done. Today the work of parents - still difficult profession in the world. And no one to thank parents for their work. Even their children. More precisely, especially their children, as I judge, and from personal experience.

Most of you are making great efforts, weaving between work and family responsibilities in trying to be everywhere at once. When you get home, you can try to seat the children for reading, but you have to compete with the fruits of the technological revolution - television, movies and video games, which are found in every room of your home. Children aged 8-18 years spend watching TV 3 hours a day, 43 minutes they spend reading.

Our children see these temptations, not only at home, but everywhere else - friends, on TV, in popular culture that glorifies anti-intellectualism. As a result, we have a president who boasts of his success in the computer shooter. All this affects our children. It is so easy for a child - to put the book and pay attention to something else. And it's so easy for our peace of mind - to pretend that we, seating child watch "training" film, to fulfill their parental responsibilities.

We know - it's not the right thing for our children. And as parents, we have to find the time and energy to instill in children a love of reading. Turn off the TV, we can find time to read to our children, talk to them on the read.

Library - a key tool to help parents in this. Realizing that we are under pressure and tight schedule, television culture, we still have to think bigger, as we always do in America, and find ways to put the book into the hands of children.

First printed product, which now they bring home, all the more often a prescription your doctor. It would be much better if, instead of him, and before him, they brought home a library card to the library or the first copy of the book "Good Night, Moon." I remember her for the phrase: "In the great green room there was the phone ...". I love this book.

Get the book should be as easy as rent a DVD movie or go to McDonalds. What if the children's lunch "Happy Meal" toys will be put in place of a book?

Library has a special place in our knowledge. It was and is a place where parents and children come together to read and learn. We must often take the children to the library.

We must be sure that our policy will not cover the library because they will spend a few extra dollars in taxes. Politicians prefer to give money to people who they do not want and did not even inquire about them.

Open the doors

Each of you has a role to play. You can attract more children to the library through the activities that many of you are already doing: organizing book clubs and quizzes, help with homework and promote your services in the community.

In the coming years it is our task and duty. As a librarian or a parent, each of you remember the face of the child who has read his first book. During the presidential campaign this year, a journalist from the "Chicago Sun Times" asked me to talk about the nature of my faith. It was an interesting suggestion. The reporter asked about how to develop my faith. Then she asked me an unexpected question: "Do you believe in heaven? And what sense do you mean by this term? '. I replied that I can not know what awaits us after this life, but I know that when I sit in the evening with my children three and six years, and I read them a book, and then puts them to sleep, for me it is a small island paradise , who supports me.

It was about a year ago, and now I'm interested in watching my six year old daughter (she will soon be seven), which now reads independently. While my four year-old sitting on my lap, she is bent over a book. I suggest reading it - she says she can handle herself.

And when I look at it, I am happy because I know that each of the books they read helps her potential. This applies not only to me. So it is with all parents. We most of all want to bring a sense of beauty in our children, to make available to them all the possibilities and to their question, "Who can I be when I grow up?" Answer: "To those who you want to become."

This desire is as old as America itself. From the moment when the first settlers came to these shores, generations of parents to sacrifice their children to have better opportunities. We can not know whether our children will become rich or successful, we can not know whether they will be more successful than their parents, but America can give them a chance to give each child the opportunity to try their hand.