Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard/AP
In this Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 photo, Jess Wood reads 'The Little Engine that Could' to her daughter, Wynn Wood, 2, at the Eugene Public Library in Eugene., Ore.

Readers write: Institutions versus professionals, cover to cover, helping girls

Letters to the editor for the April 10, 2017 weekly magazine.

Institutions versus professionals

Regarding the Feb. 15 article “The fight against fake news is putting librarians on the front line – and they say they’re ready” ( I think it’s worth making a distinction between libraries as operating institutions and librarians as professionals. The public library where I work – I’m a reference librarian – is not very political. And if you ask me a question, I’m not going to give you a partisan answer because I’m acting as an agent of a government institution. 

But when I’m acting as an individual, such as when I attend American Library Association conferences or do work for ALA divisions and committees, it’s no more unusual for me to be political about library-related issues or issues in which libraries are representative of their constituents than it is for a doctor to advocate laws relating to public health. My library has neither a mandate nor the lobbyists to influence legislation; the ALA has both, and the same could be said for the state library associations.

M. Alan Thomas

Addison, Ill.

Cover to cover

I have just finished enjoying the March 20 issue. The People Making a Difference article on the Nem Adom Fel Foundation was heartwarming and very interesting. Also, the cover story, “A pole apart,” was fascinating. I must also mention Sue Wunder’s fun piece, “Gratitude in an age of automatons,” on the Home Forum page. Thanks to everyone for such outstanding work.

Karen J. Leitz

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Helping girls

Regarding the March 27 People Making a Difference article “So girls don’t have to stay home”: Julie Phippen is an amazing person, and I am so pleased that her hard work creating menstrual supplies for women in developing regions has been brought to people’s attention. A menstrual cycle should not hold anyone back.

Deb Spitzley


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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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