Valerie J. Gross


The complete definition of education:
  • Information about a subject matter
  • Knowledge acquired by learning
  • The activities of educating or instructing or teaching
  • Activities that impart knowledge
  • The process of acquiring knowledge
  • An enlightening experience
The Universal Value of Education: 

·        “Education is the key to lifting individuals out of poverty; everything else is secondary.”

·        “Education is the solution to the world’s problems.”

·        “Your work, at some point, is complete, but never your education.”

·        “Our highest priority is education." (Most elected officials)

"Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” (President John F. Kennedy)

“Even as we cut out things that we can afford to do without, we have a responsibility to invest in those areas that will have the biggest impact in our future, and that’s especially true when it comes to education.” (President Obama)


  Suggested Phrases Education Enterprise
Phrases that will position libraries as a key component of the education enterprise.

  • We are a key component of [your city / county / school system / college / university]  strong education system.
  • We are a vital educational institution.
  • We are a cornerstone in the education process.
  • We are partners in education.
  • We are education.
  • We deliver equal opportunity in education.
  • We deliver public education for all.
  • We deliver high-quality public education for all ages.
  • We deliver excellence in education.
  • We provide equal access to world-class education for all.
  • Line of work? Education.

Various documents incorporating the Three Pillars and strategic vocabulary

  • HCLS Examples here (sample position descriptions, interview questions, public hearing testimony in support of budgets, strategic planning questions)
  • Urban Libraries Council examples: Letter to FCC in support of E-rate (June 9, 2014); ULC Conversation: Libraries as Education Leaders (Conference Agenda, October 16-17, 2014); Letter from ULC President & CEO Susan Benton to ULC Library Executives accompanying the Partners for Education Leadership Brief setting forth the advantages of the word education vs. learning (February 5, 2015).
  • Somewhere at LAX -- skit
  • PLA Conference (April 7, 2016) presentation.
  • Texas Library Association (April 21, 2016) presentation.

'Phrases to eliminate from our vocabulary (Would you invest stock in a company that says its goal is to "remain relevant"? Investors run from uncertainty.)

  • We must remain relevant.
  • Our future is uncertain.
  • Nobody values our jobs.
  • No one knows what we do.
  • People think the public library has no value.
  • The library’s relevance is shrinking.
  • Do we have five years to live?
  • We might be extinct in 20 years.

 Powerful phrases to replace the eliminated ones (Say these and funders will invest.)

  • We deliver high-quality public education for all.
  • We deliver high-quality public education for all through a curriculum that comprises three pillars: Self-Directed Education, Research Assistance & Instruction, and Instructive & Enlightening Experiences.
  • We design and deliver a world-class curriculum for the benefit of everyone our diverse community.

 Sample Success Stories; Examples of Influence (Please click here)

 What we're up against How Others See Us

The following quotes reflect precisely what the "libraries = education" vision described in Transforming Our Image will eradicate, once and for all:

 Library Hotline, May 24, 2010

 “Why are libraries so expensive? It’s such a simple idea. Get a cheap place where people can donate used books, some volunteers to organize them according to the Dewey Decimal system, then some volunteers to loan them out. It could be done in an old building with folding tables and used bookshelves.”


Library Hotline, April 23, 2012

ALA: U.S. Libraries Battle Budgets

American libraries are struggling with budget cuts . . .

Staffing cuts happened at every level in 2011 . . .

GOVERNING  the states and localities, July 2013

Can Libraries Survive the E-Book Revolution?

What will a library be useful for a decade from now?

We'll become less and less relevant. At some point, we'll perish.

December 2013

Pew: Users Don’t Know What Libraries Do

Almost a third said they know not much or nothing.

Newsweek, August 5, 2010

Farewell, Libraries?

E-books outselling hardcovers  . . .

Libraries from now on will look smaller and less crowded

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