Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who will you record this holiday season?

November 28th, this coming Friday, we celebrate the first annual National Day of Listening. It's an event conceived by StoryCorps, the folks who travel around the country in an Air Stream recording studio capturing conversations -- oral histories -- for the Library of Congress.

Exploring their site, listening to the excerpts they've posted, is a few minutes well spent -- exciting, moving, inspirational. Got me thinking of all the people I'd like to record.

Who will you record this holiday season?

StoryCorps provides a Do-It-Yourself guide and on-line video, a question-generator, toolkits for teachers and librarians, and great excerpts. Visit them here.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bush Administration Targets FMLA

Bush Administration Targets Family Medical Leave Act

From the AAUW Two Minute Activist:

With only two months left in office, the Bush Administration is rolling back protections for which AAUW fought for more than a decade to enact. This week, the Department of Labor released regulations that will make it harder for most workers to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. These regulations will take effect January 16, 2009-just four days before President Bush leaves office-but you can act now by urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make expanding FMLA a priority in the 111th Congress.

Since the FMLA was enacted in 1993, millions of workers have been able to take unpaid leave to care for their families and themselves without the fear of losing their job. While the new regulations contain a few good provisions for military families, they make it harder for most workers to reap the benefit of this act. Workers will have less time to give notice of their need for leave, while at the same time, they will need to fulfill increased requirements for requesting leave. Workers will have a tougher time using paid leave in conjunction with FMLA leave, leaving many workers unable to afford to take leave at all. In addition, employers will have greater access to health information on workers and their families, jeopardizing their medical privacy.

In these tough economic times, losing a job could mean financial disaster for many families. Rather than making it harder for American workers to take the leave that they need to care for themselves and their families, we should be expanding the FMLA to ensure that all workers are covered and can afford to take the leave by making it paid.

AAUW's member-adopted Public Policy Program has long supported flexible workplace policies to address the family responsibilities of employees. AAUW believes that creating work environments that help employees balance the responsibilities of work and family is good public policy - good for workers, good for families, and good for business.

Take Action! (click this link and scroll down to send a quick message to Nancy Pelosi.)
Urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make expanding FMLA a priority in the 111th Congress so that America's families don't have to choose between keeping a job and caring for themselves or a loved one. Simply scroll down and follow the instructions to compose and send your message.

For more information, read AAUW's position paper on family friendly workplaces.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

AAUW Conference Call Available Until Monday

United States Capitol (2002)Image via WikipediaListen and Give Feedback to Replay of
Post Election Analysis Conference Call

If you weren't able to join AAUW's Public Policy and Government Relations Department on the phone last night for the AAUW Post Election Analysis Conference Call, then you can call in and listen to a recording of the call.

Hundreds of AAUW members joined AAUW's Executive Director Linda Hallman and the Public Policy and Government Relations Department staff on the phone last week to hear about the post-election environment and what it means for AAUW's public policy agenda. The call covered both legislative and grassroots components: a look ahead at AAUW's legislative agenda for the 111th Congress, and the role that you can play in moving our agenda forward.

The call was recorded and will be available for playback until Nov. 17. To listen to a replay of the call, call toll free 1-888-203-1112 and use the passcode 61901065. The call starts approximately two minutes into the recording, so don't worry if you don't hear the program immediately.

If you've listened to the call, we'd like to get your feedback. Please fill out our online survey at this link.
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Gov. proposes state budget 21% cut for libraries Take Action.

New York State Governor David Paterson opening...Image via WikipediaFrom our friend Al Ahlstrom

As a library user and interested citizen, I urge you to follow through with this appeal from our library system NOT to cut libraries in the state budget. The governor plans a 21%(!) cut. Please follow through with this instruction and see the rationale for our protesting such a cut. Thank you.

Al Ahlstrom

Governor Paterson released his proposed cuts today and libraries were front and center: Governor Paterson has proposed a $20 million cut to library aid - that's a 21% cut to library and system funding that has been static for a decade.

Did that wake you up?

Take action:

* Take 5 minutes out of your day this week to send a letter through NYLA's automated faxing program - the letter is already written for you - it does not get any easier.

* Take 5 more minutes to call your legislator Here are some talking points:

  • Libraries have already contributed their fair share toward reducing the state's budget deficit. Library Aid has already been reduced twice this year from $102 million to $99 million.
  • Between 1998-2006, libraries and library systems received no increases, while other educational institutions received generous increases.
  • Library use is up dramatically in every community across the state. [use stats from your own library here - circulation, program attendance, door count, computer usage]
  • Library systems are the backbone of our libraries and information infrastructure. They are an example of how the library community has long been a champion and role model for regional cooperation, resource sharing and providing services in a cost-effective and efficient manner, that saves libraries of all types and their patrons money.
There is still room on the bus to Albany for the Rally next Tuesday, November 18th. Register online

Your voice matters - make sure it is heard. Thanks in advance for your time!


Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Coordinator of Member Information
Mid-Hudson Library System
103 Market Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
845.471.6060 x239
FX: 845.454.5940
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Give Thanks to All Our Veterans; Remember the Often Forgotten Women Who Serve

The fact that today is Veterans Day has hovered in the background as I worked. I knew I wanted to post something in remembrance but the words weren't there yet.

I found myself thinking about Mary, a colleague of mine years ago, and the other nurses I know who served in the Vietnam War. After the war, they seemed to gravitate to assignments in the Emergency Department or the Intensive Care Units -- places where their competency and composure, well tested under fire, kept the daily threat of chaos at bay. These fine nurses served us well as soldiers and continued serving us as civilians.

As I reflected on them this afternoon, two things happened.

First Patty Hankins, a professional photographer and AAUW member in DC, posted a link to her memorial photos. They included her lovely photo of the Vietnam Women's Memorial sculpted by Glenna Goodacre honoring all the women who served in the Vietnam War.

Then, I saw this brief slide show:

President-elect Barack Obama and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth shared a moment of silence at 11 a.m. this morning after laying a wreath at the Soldiers Memorial in Chicago.

These images captured what I wanted to say.

Today women stand side-by-side with their male colleagues in many military roles unavailable to women in Vietnam. We fought for the right for women in the military to take their place alongside men, just as we fought for the vote and continue fighting for pay equity, comparable worth, Choice, and childcare.

Today we honor and remember all our veterans -- men and women who serve us at great personal sacrifice. May we keep you in our minds and hearts everyday and care for you as you care for us.

Many thanks to Patty Hankins for permission to use her photo in this post. I encourage you to visit her site to see more of her photos available for sale.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Join Thanksgiving Food Collection for local Food Pantries

Turkey, Stuffing, Gravy, and Cranberry Sauce -...Image by Old Shoe Woman via FlickrLet's make this Thanksgiving food collection an AAUW special project for November.

Locally, Hanneford's food store's pitching in to help the urgent needs at our Food Pantries. I know Rondout Valley Food Pantry expects to provide 150 meals, a huge jump from last year.

So together with the Kingston Public Library, AAUW members (and pass this on to friends also) can purchase these Thanksiving food gift boxes for ten dollars while doing their own shopping. Hanneford's (I don't know about the other groceries, maybe, ask!) has a prepared holiday box with *everything* except turkey for Thanksgiving. Cans of corn, green beans, gravy, cranberry sauce; boxes of stuffing and brownie mix, plus spaghetti and tomato sauce for another meal.

When you come to shop for your holiday, you also pick up the very visible box in the front of the store. When it comes time to pay your own bill, the charge of $10 for each box can be added at the register. Final step, then you bring the gift box to Kingston Library.

Margie Menard, the Library director, is an AAUW member and will alert the staff to accept the boxes.

For those of you planning to come to book club or branch meeting, you can deliver the gift box upstairs to the book group at 1 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 18 and to the branch meeting that same night at 7 p.m. in KAL.

The boxes will be distributed to People's Place in midtown Kingston, and to the Rondout Valley Food Pantry that serves Stone Ridge, Accord, Marbletown and south residents.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

Learning about RSS

A few of us are meeting tomorrow morning at the Muddy Cup to learn about RSS. What's RSS? Here's a simple video description.

So, roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, butter your bagel and learn about something new!

Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008
Muddy Cup in Kingston

Monday, November 3, 2008

November Book Discussion: Memories, Dreams, Reflections, by C.G. Jung

Correction: The book for November is Memories, Dreams, Reflections, by C.G. Jung.

We are meeting at the Kingston Area Library Nov. 18th at 1pm.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Kingston AAUW in the News

New York seal.Image via Wikipedia
Friday night forum - an excerpt from an article in the Catskill Daily Mail

Barber also took part in an Oct. 24 “Meet the Candidates Night” at the Saugerties senior center in neighboring Ulster County. Of the 22 candidates running for New York State Legislature in Greene, Ulster and Dutchess counties who were invited to the event, 10 RSVP’d and seven turned out to discuss their positions on campaign finance reform, healthcare, the economy, the environment and education.

The Kingston chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) sponsored and hosted the event, and they identified the five topics as vital issues of concern.

“I really think events like this are extremely important because first of all, it is very expensive for the candidates to run their campaigns, and the ads that they put out on the radio and so on — they just don’t do it. We need a lot more of these so that people get to know who is running and what they’re running for,” said Palenville resident Irene Miller, who coordinated the event. “We need to know what a candidate’s record is, and what their background is so that we can make good, informed decisions.”

Miller is a member of the AAUW and the New York Citizens for Clean Elections.

Other Greene County candidates who attended the forum include Assemblyman Pete Lopez, an incumbent in the 127th district who is running unopposed, and Assemblyman Tim Gordon, who is seeking re-election against Steve McLaughlin in the 108th district.

“It’s one thing to vote, and everybody should vote, but if you just go in and pull a lever, it doesn’t mean anything,” said Miller. “It’s important to know what you’re voting for, because it’s the only way we can have a democracy, and it’s the only way we can control what’s going on in our lives.”

The AAUW provides a powerful voice for women and girls through advocacy, education and research. It was founded in 1881 and today the organization boasts 100,000 members nationwide with 1,300 branches and 500 college and university partners.

“The candidates who came were very good. They all gave their positions openly and thoughtfully, and I think it was really a wonderful exchange for the audience,” said Miller, “The issues covered at the event are very important, and the voters got to hear each candidate’s position first-hand.”
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