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Lodi American Association of University Women members tour library, learn about programs

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Posted: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:03 pm

The Lodi Branch of the American Association of University Women met at the Lodi Public Library where Behjat Kerdegari, reference librarian, took us on a tour of the library renovations and invited us back for the reopening which will occur soon.

Yvette Herrera, the literacy and volunteer manager, talked about the literacy program and of its importance in this Women’s History Month. She said that literacy is of utmost importance to people and women in particular. She shared her own story of a father who only went to 4th grade, then worked in the fields so his twin sister could get an education. That sister is now retiring after 36 years as a professor at CSU Long Beach.

Herrera said that 128 of the 213 learners in the Lodi Public Library Literacy Program are women. When asked why she wanted to learn to read, one woman said that she wanted to learn to read and write so she could get a divorce from her abusive husband. She learned to read and write and then went to court, divorced her husband and got full custody of her children.

Some tutors cannot leave their books or materials at their learners’ homes or the husbands will burn them, to prevent their learning and becoming independent.

“Imagine coming to a new country and not being able to complete the forms at the doctor’s office because you cannot read, or even decipher the letters on the paper,” Yvette said.

She said there is currently a waiting list of eight to 10 people awaiting tutors. She asked people to volunteer a minimum of two hours a week. She will hold a training session on May 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Bud Sullivan Room for people who volunteer to tutor. People should contact her if they are interested in serving as a literacy tutor.

Nanette Green, AAUW program chairperson, talked about the long history of AAUW’s support for the Lodi Public Library. AAUW started the Friends of the Library and Green said that many of us currently belong to the Friends. AAUW members have also been active on the Library Foundation Board and on the Board of Trustees for many years. Herrera announced that the Library Board of Trustees decided to name the foundation office the Nanette Green Foundation Office in honor of Green’s valued service. The ceremony to name the office will take place at the Lodi city council meeting today.

The next AAUW meeting will take place on April 15 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the United Congregational Church. The program will feature the talents of the AAUW members. For information about the program, contact Nanette Green at 367-4238. For information about membership, contact Rhonda Baumgartner at 369 0812. The website is www.aauwlodi.org.

— Source: Suga Moriwaki

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