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State librarian to speak at annual UOP literacy event
California State Librarian Greg Lucas. - photo by Photo Contributed

STOCKTON — Greg Lucas, who oversees the California State Library’s vast collection, from historical documents to digitized books, will be the featured speaker Thursday at University of the Pacific’s 2015 Beyond Our Gates Dialogue, “Connections and Common Ground in Literacy.”

“People build libraries and libraries build community,” Lucas wrote recently in Western City Magazine. “Anyone who believes libraries are a withered vestige from sepia-tinted yesteryear hasn’t been inside their neighborhood branch lately.”

On any given day at a public library, parents may be singing with their toddlers at story time, nurturing the early literacy skills young children need to become strong readers. Immigrants may be practicing English while high-schoolers practice for the SAT. Job seekers may be filling out employment applications and seniors may be opening their first email accounts.

The Dialogue is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10, at the San Joaquin County Office of Education’s Wentworth Education Center, 2707 Transworld Drive in Stockton. The event is free and open to the public.

“Libraries connect people to resources—and to each other,” said Jennifer Torres Siders, community relations director for University of the Pacific. “We’re working closely with our local libraries to improve early literacy in San Joaquin County, and we want to help more residents access library services.”

According to the 2014 Literacy Report Card, released by Pacific last September, library circulation in San Joaquin County is well below the California average. Local residents borrow about 2.7 books and other materials per capita, compared to 6.1 statewide.

Now in its fifth year, the Beyond Our Gates Dialogue event invites state and national leaders to share their innovative perspectives on literacy and learning with a Central Valley audience. For more information about the event or to RSVP, contact Jennifer Torres Siders at

About Beyond Our Gates

Beyond Our Gates represents University of the Pacific’s commitment to work with community partners to improve the social and economic health of Stockton and San Joaquin County. 

University President Pamela A. Eibeck convened a series of public forums in 2010 to discuss the community’s most urgent problems and to begin considering solutions. Through these conversations, education emerged as both a challenge and an opportunity in enhancing quality of life. Beyond Our Gates strives to support education through such projects as Reading By Third, the Tomorrow Project academies for elementary and high school students, and through ongoing community engagement via the Beyond Our Gates Community Council. For more information, visit