Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bridges Out of Poverty-- Workshop

Today, I was sent to participate in a workshop, Bridges Out of Poverty at the Hudson River Museum. The program ran from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. it was presented by a lady named Terie Dreussi Smith. I got there in time to have a section of muffin, half a croissant, and a cup of coffee. Several of my colleagues also went. I often see these events as a chance to gab with colleagues and find out a little bit about libraries in different places. A lot of these events exist for networking.

As a presentation it was kind of interesting. The presenter suggested several books as she was doing her talk. Many of them are classics on poverty issues. I am going to list a few of them. Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities, Rick Bragg All Over But The Shouting, and Paolo Freire Pedagogy of the Oppressed. She also talked about a book which creates a better framework for explaining poverty than the ones beings used now; The Persistence of Poverty: Why the Economics of the Well-Off Can't Help the Poor (Hardcover)
by Charles H. Karelis.

We watched a few video clips as part of the presentation. One which was particularly entertaining was a clip on a movie on social class in the United Staes, People Like Us

I think the talk was aimed at administrators who were going to create policies or pick up programs to help poor people in their agencies. The focus of the program was not how to turn poor people into middle class people, but to help poor people improve their economic stability. I am really not sure how effective this would be.

We got a lot of statistics. One of the most striking is that 49% of poor people spend more than half their income on housing. Also poverty is increasing inside the United States. As more globalization and deindustrialization occurs there are less and less middle class jobs in the United States. Jobs are moving overseas.

Something else which she said was the need for sometimes extreme entertainment for poor people. Because so many people who are living on the edge are so close to losing the roofs over their heads, not having enough to eat, and they can't afford to buy a lot of things, they often turn to public sources of entertainment.

The public library gets a lot of people who are very poor. Some people will come in who appear to be on public assistance or disability, are retired and living on a fixed income. They often borrow four or five different dvds every single day and return them the next day.

I really am not sure what I will do with the information I received from the program. I am hoping that we will get back our GED program, the afterschool tutoring program for little kids and maybe some more programss on helping people get jobs. Hopefully the recent work on improving the Job Information Center might help.

Things are getting harder lately. Gas and food prices are rising. The middle class is struggling in the United States right now. For people who are already poor it is probably really rough.

There is a websites for the seminars. The seminars apparently were done at Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queensboro Public Library.

I have noticed that a lot of consultants have been moving into the nonprofit sector recently. Recently we did a film program with Healthfirst a Medicaid Part D provider.

No comments: