Editorial

When I was a child my Uncle Tom gave me five cents for every book I read. Nightly, he read in his study, and was always happy to help me understand the meaning of a word. His loving attention made me feel important and made me realize reading was important too. I was fortunate. We enjoy a freedom that in some countries is limited by any number of factors—the precious gift of reading. And yet, I wonder how many of us set limits on sharing this gift?

We are the examples for the children in our society. If we don’t take the time to consistently love and inspire them, who will? If we spend precious leisure time watching television and less time reading (or pursuing something constructive that will last a lifetime) why should we expect our children to be any different?

In 1990, John Scully, then President and Chief Executive Officer for Apple Computer, Inc., said, “In the Information Age, the strategic resources no longer come out of the ground. Now, ideas and information that come out of our minds are the sources of strategic advantage.” He was alluding to the fact that corporations were already spending $30 billion a year on remedial training. Ray Marshall, former Secretary of Labor, once said in describing paths we as a nation can take, “…we could have illiterate workers, using leading-edge technology to compensate for their lack of skills.” Sound familiar? Cash registers today have pictures of hamburgers, french fries—symbols instead of numbers. Using technology to compensate for skill does not a truly “informed society” make, much less a competitive one. Mr. Marshall’s other scenario was, “…a well-educated society using leading-edge technology.” Today business requires people to make decisions, to have critical thinking skills to analyze data, and to make judgments on the basis of that analysis. But before we can be truly computer or information literate, don’t we have to be literate?

Hawaii is a leader in the United States literacy movement. Shining examples are the Learning to Read program, the Governor’s Council For Literacy, Cities in Schools, and the plethora of volunteer services listed in the latest Literacy Services Directory (State of Hawaii. 1993). Our neighbors’ efforts have been very productive. Collaboration works. In this issue of the HLA Journal we interviewed a pioneer in the promotion of literacy, Wally Amos. For some time now Mr. Amos has been reaching millions through his T.V. programs, his own writings, and numerous speeches, and giving freely of his time—traveling thousands of miles throughout the U.S. at his own expense to promote literacy.

We are also honored to have Graham Salisbury, a talented young–adult author, offer us an innocent and enlightened glimpse of the memories of his own childhood experiences in Hawaii and how they have become a deep well of inspiration for him. Janet Black, Diane Nahl, Ann Coder and Margie Smith have teamed up to write about the benefits of having Information Desk fieldwork incorporated into library school training—presenting an optional way for students to acquire the knowledge and attitudes they need, to better prepare them to enter the profession and to serve the public. Next, Ann Coder and Margie Smith offer insights into using bibliographic instruction to cope with the reality of fiscal cutbacks. And finally, Virginia Tanji has produced a bibliography of health statistics relating to Hawaii, an excellent tool for those seeking primary sources in this area.

This edition is dedicated to all who have taken the time after a hard day to turn off the television and inspire a child to read, reflect, and develop skills that last a lifetime.

James P. Adamson

Editor