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Letter from the Flat World Library Corporation

This post also appears as a "cleaned-up" column.

Judging by the plans I hear from vendors at this AASL conference, I wouldn’t be surprised to read this letter in the not too distant future…

October 7, 2007

Superintendent Dennis Wormwood
Left Overshoe Public Schools
Left Overshoe, MN 56034

Dear Superintendent Wormwood:

We at the Flat World Library Corporation can offer you a complete library program at a very attractive price.

For considerably less than you currently pay for your K-12 library program, we can provide a full range of library resources AND library expertise – all online.

For only pennies a day per student, FWLC will:

1. Provide a full range of reading materials (periodicals, picture books, fiction and non-fiction titles), videos and reference sources that are tailored to your state standards, your district’s curriculum and your digital textbook series. These resources are being continuously updated, and are available, of course, in a wide range of lexile ranges to support your differentiated instruction efforts. Our filters allow you to specify access only to the materials supporting your community’s views on issues ranging from abortion to gay rights to evolution. Select from “university community” to “small town Kansas” in your settings.

2. Provide ready reference services, student research help, readers’ advisory service, and curricular planning advice through our real-time connections (video, chat or e-mail) to our experts in Bangalore, India. These highly-qualified MLS certified professionals will be available 24/7 to both your staff and students from school or home. (Do you currently get service from your library staff outside of school hours, in the summer or on weekends?)

3. Allow teachers to submit student work for comment and assessment. Our staff will give each project a grade, check for plagiarism, and provide a report for each child to share with parents about the technology skill level of that student. We can even help your teachers design assignments and assessments so they are free to lecture.

Just think of the advantages:

- No musty books from the 1950’s cluttering your library shelves, driving up your insurance rates. No more lost or missing books. No gum under library desks.
- No library facilities. Turn that old library space into those badly needed special education classrooms.
- No annoying librarians who want more money for materials, support staff, and staff development (or a living wage and health insurance). Our highly-skilled Indian workers are delighted with their $5 per hour jobs!
- Your entire library program can be maintained by a single, semi-competent technician in your district.
- You can justify your district’s expensive, unpopular 1:1 computer/student initiative.
- No ugly book “challenges” since all materials have been “tailored” to your parents’ religious views.

Please read the attached study (scientifically-based research conducted by FWLC’s very own research department) that empirically demonstrates that the FWLC product can dramatically improve student performance where it counts - on high stakes tests. (FWLC has been approved by the DOE for Title II, III, IV, and IX funding – unlike traditional library materials and librarians.)

AND take advantage of our offer by December 31, and we will throw in absolutely free, 50 of MIT’s $100 laptops for families in your district that qualify for FRP meals! Act today!

Coming soon – special pricing for regional and state-wide purchases.

Bob Screwtape,
President and CEO
Flat World Library Corporation
300 Gates Drive
Redmond WA

Will you, as a librarian, be prepared when this letter appears in YOUR superintendent’s mailbox in the next couple years?

(Oh, and please don’t kill the messenger!)


The only saving grace in such a future environment will be that the cost will be a big number - and maybe scare the small-minded buyer. But many decision-makers would go for it without consulting the media/tech folk — that’s the shame of our current situation.

I was very interested to see the Adolecsents Read! newsletter from New York Life Foundation efforts at revitalizing high school libraries. Results like this will have to be highlighted to make our decision-makers see there are other avenues.

Comment by KM Perry — October 8, 2005 @ 8:52 am

Speaking of big numbers… yesterday 9 colleagues and I went to an International Baccalaureate PYP promo at the state dept. of education. IBO staff claimed it was not a “silver bullet.” Have to admit it was a nice curriculum. Pricetag??: The number I’m hearing for 4 elementary schools in our small district is $1,500,000. Hmmmm. Our school board, and administraters are besides themselves to jump all over it. That IB school certification may not be a “silver bullet,” but the higher powers think it’s a panacea. They are hoping it will help market our schools, two of which didn’t make AYP. Hmmmm. (Hope the ditrict filter is set to “small town Kansas” so they can’t see this blog comment.)

Comment by John Dyer — October 8, 2005 @ 10:30 am

More Flat Libraries

Doug Johnson, library and technology guru, has been pondering the impact of the flattening of the world on school libraries. In the very interesting format of an advertising letter for an outsourcing takeover of a school library, Doug Johnson covers ma…

Trackback by Infomancy — October 8, 2005 @ 3:20 pm

Please take a look at Chris Harris’ comments on libraries in a flat world on his Infomancy website. Chris, you’re way ahead of me!

Libraries in a Flat World
Libraries in a Flat World II

On second thought, just put Infomancy in your RSS feed!



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Reader Comments (3)

angry librarians :) lol
April 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Snx for you job!
It has very much helped me!

March 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDavaRitiamhip

Interesting coomunity! Thanks. rulezzz

April 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBypeteeddyKek

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