Tuesday, February 6, 2018

You’re a Researcher Without a Library: What Do You Do? | Medium

Research | Access | Libraries | Open Access

by Jake Orlowitz  | Nov 15, 2017

Investigating solutions for frustrated scholars, nonprofits, independent learners, and the rest of us.

Wikimedia Commons

 

 The world of publishing is evolving frantically, while it remains frustratingly fragmented and prohibitively expensive for many. If you’re a student who just left your academic library behind only to discover you are now locked out of the stacks; a startup researching water usage in Africa and keep hitting paywalls; a local nonprofit that studies social change activism, but all the latest papers cost $30 per read… This article is for you.

Local Library

Citizens, taxpayers, cities, states, and nations pay a lot of money to provide free services. Use them! Public libraries often subscribe to costly databases; the annual investments for these licenses are only worth it if they are of use to the libraries’ constituency. The good news is that most people have a library nearby, many of the resources are fully available online (especially the databases), and a library card is often free or inexpensive. Also, libraries have librarians, who are pros at finding what you want (or something even better).

Bad news is that your local library may not be that local, and you may need to jump through some hoops to get your library card. Not all local libraries can afford masses of scholarly journals either, although many have at least some access. Read more...

The unexpected role librarians are playing in Sacramento’s homeless crisis

Homelessness | Public libraries | Mental health training

by Cynthia Hubert  | January 29, 2018 (updated January 30, 2018)

A homeless man waits for the downtown library doors to open on Jan. 26, 2017. Librarians and other staff members are receiving training to help them understand and deal with mental illness, which affects many more homeless people than others according to studies. Randy Pench rpench@sacbee.com

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article197270849.html#storylink=cpy
For many of Sacramento’s homeless men and women, the public library is a haven from harsh weather, a primary source for bathroom facilities, a place to rest from the stress of the streets.

Sacramento library director Rivkah Sass welcomes them all, she said, as long as their behavior is not disruptive to staff members and other patrons.

But as the homeless crisis deepens in the capital city and around the country, libraries increasingly are seeing people with untreated mental illnesses that cause them to act oddly, or put themselves or others in danger.

“Clearly, there just are not enough services for people who need to address their mental issues, and they end up with us because we are the last free, public open space available to them,” Sass said.
Read more...

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article197270849.html#storylink=cpy

Rosa Parks Was My Aunt. Here's What You Don't Know About Her.

Civil Rights | Black Heistory Month | Women's History

by Urana McCauley as told to Liz Dwyer | February 2, 2018

Urana McCauley  
After that NAACP event, that’s when I started asking her questions about what she witnessed, what she endured, and what life was like for black people back then. That led to her telling me a lot of stories. She’d tell me what her life was like when she was a little girl growing up in Alabama. One of the things that people don’t understand about my aunt is that she was an activist her whole life and she started questioning things at a young age. I think part of it was her upbringing with her grandfather, Sylvester Edwards. He would sit up at night with a shotgun — in case the KKK might come by and try to kill them — and talk to her about black resistance and the key figures in it: Crispus Attucks, Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey. That laid the foundation for my aunt to feel like, "This isn’t right. I should be doing something and becoming an activist." Her whole life became dedicated to change.

When she was 10, a white boy pushed Auntie Rosa, and she pushed him back. Auntie Rosa’s grandmother told her, "You need to be quiet, you need to stop being so vocal." She was told, as black people, we’re not allowed to do those things to whites. Her grandmother was concerned that she’d get hurt, that she could even get lynched. But Auntie Rosa told her grandmother, "Let them try to lynch me." She was that bold, even when she was young. Read article...

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Slow Info: Where Libraries, Reading, and Well-Being Converge

Slow information | Libraries | Mental health | Productivity

by Oleg Kagan  | January 23, 2018

Like when you lie down in the forest and look up at the trees.


Most people would agree that the level of stress is high in our society; many are worried about the present and the future. I posit that part of that anxiety is stoked by the speed at which many of us feel we are expected to absorb and respond to a panoply of information streams. A reaction to this reckless acceleration is the “Slow Information Movement” (SIM), founded by librarian Vanessa Kam, though the term “slow information” has been around since at least 2009. Based on a synthesis of my rudimentary research, “slow information” inclines towards the poles of certain dichotomies:
  • Currency: Enduring over new
  • Latency: More time between inputs over “one thing after another”
  • Density: Higher information density over lower
  • Length: Long-form over short
  • Speed: Deliberate over fast
Read more...

Thursday, January 25, 2018

What changes will 2018 bring to libraries? – directly from library experts

Library Trends | Public libraries | Services | Innovations

Princh.com | Jan2018


2017 has ended and now is the time for libraries to take a look at their performance from the previous year and find new ways to add more value to their services.
To get more insights about the ways libraries should change in 2018, we have talked with 3 library experts for their insights and advice:
It is time for #libraries to take a look at their #performance from the previous year and find new ways to add more value to their #services. Click To Tweet

1. Laurinda Thomas, Team Leader, Libraries and Community Spaces – ‎Wellington City Council, New Zealand

I want 2018 to be the year that Libraries put a stake in the ground about what they stand for and stretch their ideas about how we do tha

Hearing other voices in a world of fake news

While “fake news” isn’t a new idea, the awareness of the public about mis- and dis-information is probably at an all-time high. More libraries will step up to the plate on educating people how to be media savvy, break out of their “media silos” to hear other voices, and help people understand how to work and communicate in a digital world that generally tries to reinforce our confirmation bias’ rather than expose us to a range of ideas and experiences.  Read more...

The Lost Giant of American Literature | American Archives

African-American writers | American novelists | Podcast

by Kathryn Schulz | January 29, 2018


William Melvin Kelley wrote about white people thinking about black people.
Photograph by Carl Van Vechten / Carl Van Vechten Trust / Beinecke Library, Yale


There were arrows, so we followed them. This was one afternoon last summer; my partner and I had spent the day at our local public library, working steadily through breakfast and lunch and what the British would call teatime, until suddenly hunger clobbered us both and we packed up and headed out to the car. Home was maybe four miles away. In my mind, I was already constructing enormous sandwiches. The arrows appeared two miles in, lining the side of the road where, that morning, there had been nothing but marsh grass. They were shin-high, wordless, red on a white background, pointing away from the sandwiches. My partner, who is usually more hungry than I am but always more curious, swung the car into the other lane and began to follow them.

The arrows led down a state highway, across an interchange, onto a smaller road, past a barn and some grain silos, then along one of the Chesapeake Bay’s countless tributaries. A sign warned us that we were in a flood zone. My partner, who grew up one county over, remembered the place from childhood—at seven or eight, she’d had a memorable encounter in the area with a trailer full of cockatiels—but she hadn’t been there since. The arrows ended at a large gray shed with a red roof. A spray-painted sign indicated that it was open twice a month, on Saturdays, in the summer only. We parked across the street, next to a boat, and headed for the door. Read more...

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Book Riot’s 2018 Read Harder Challenge

Book lists | Reader's Advisory | Reading

This year’s Read Harder challenged is presented by Libby.
Meet Libby. The one-tap reading app from OverDrive. By downloading Libby to your smartphone, you can access thousands of eBooks and audiobooks from your library for free anytime and anywhere. You’ll find titles in all genres, ranging from bestsellers, classics, nonfiction, comics and much more. Libby works on Apple and Android devices and is compatible with Kindle. All you need is a library card but you can sample any book in the library collection without one. In select locations, Libby will even get your library card for you instantly. Learn more at https://meet.libbyapp.com/. Happy Reading. Read more...

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How You'll Know Net Neutrality Is Really Gone

Net Neutrality | Access

The FCC has repealed the rules governing internet providers. Here are five changes consumers should watch for.


Monday, December 18, 2017

What public libraries will lose without net neutrality

Net neutrality | Public Libraries | Access 

A Q&A with NYPL president Tony Marx and associate director of information policy Greg Cram 

 By


The FCC will vote on a measure today that would repeal net neutrality and pave the way for the end of the free, open internet as we’ve always known it. Librarians aren't happy about it.
Yesterday, The Verge published an op-ed written by the heads of the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Library, and the Queens Library systems, which called the measure “appalling,” and argued that the end of an open internet would contribute to inequality of education and opportunity, widening “the already yawning digital divide.” Later, in a phone call, the New York Public Library’s CEO and president Anthony Marx and associate director of information policy Greg Cram broke the issue down further, explaining exactly which library resources an open internet protects, who would be hurt the most by net neutrality’s rollback, and why handing the internet to ISPs could threaten the basic foundation of American democracy. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

What stake do public libraries have in this issue? 

Greg Cram: So, for fiscal year 2017 [the New York Public Library] provided 3.1 million computer sessions — and that’s sessions across all of the branches — using 4,700 computers. And in addition to that, we provided 3 million wireless sessions. For the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 we had 16.2 million pageviews on our digital collections.

Anthony Marx: That gives us a little bit of the sense of the scale of how much of the library goes across wires, and the simple fact is that the poorest of New York rely on the library as the only place they can go and get free use of computers and free Wi-Fi. It’s one of the reasons why the library is the most visited civic institution in New York. We have also, in recent years, been lending people what we call hot spots, which are Wi-Fi boxes they can take home, typically for a year. That gives them digital access at home — broadband access — which something like 2 million New Yorkers can’t afford and don’t have. We’re still doing thousands of those. We’d like to do more and we’re exploring how to do more, because in this day and age, if you don’t have internet access that works and goes fast enough, you can’t do your homework, you can’t do research, you can’t apply for jobs, you can’t find jobs. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Media Literacy E-Resources | Reference 2018

Reference | Media| Information literacy

By Gary Price & Mahnaz Dar on November 1, 2017

The fight against “fake news” isn’t new to librarians, but with patrons anxious about identifying misinformation, these resources are more crucial than ever. Moving beyond the basics, these free tools provide creative avenues for honing media literacy skills, from uncovering politicians’ suppressed tweets to accessing the latest in facial recognition software.

Court Listener



Read more...

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic

Happy Potter |British Library | Exhibits


Journey to where magic and myth began
Have you ever wanted to delve into Divination, ponder the peculiarities of Potions and discover enchanting creatures? Now you can.


We unveil rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the British Library’s collection, capturing the traditions of folklore and magic which are at the heart of the Harry Potter stories. Marvel at original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay, both on display for the first time.

See the gargantuan 16th-century Ripley Scroll that explains how to create a Philosopher’s Stone. Gaze at Sirius in the night sky as imagined by medieval astronomers. Encounter hand-coloured pictures of dragons, unicorns and a phoenix rising from the flames.

Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with this extraordinary new addition to J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. Link to exhibit: https://www.bl.uk/events/harry-potter-a-history-of-magic

Istanbul’s Libraries: A Refuge in Uncertain Times

Public Libraries | Turkey | Advocacy | Libraries abroad

By Kaya Genç


Last month, the Turkish Statistical Institute announced that the number of public library memberships in Turkey increased by 24.1 percent in 2016, compared to the previous year. In a time of terror, political uncertainty, and a coup attempt, Turks took refuge in libraries.


Some Istanbul libraries owe their existence to taxes; others to banks; one to an English monarch. SALT is located in the previous headquarters of the Ottoman Bank, which was founded in 1856 on the orders of Queen Victoria, a friend of the westernizing Sultan Abdulmecid. The building opened at a time when Turkish-British commercial ties were at their peak. Today, its library houses 110,000 books. Last year, it served more than 47,000  readers.

On a recent weekday the library was bustling with bright-eyed readers, and every seat were occupied. A hush fell over after I entered the reading room. On a desk by the entrance, a young man pored over a book; he checked a page number, and he typed a footnote to his thesis; in the little garden outside, two young girls smoked rollies. SALT is paid for by Garanti, a private Turkish bank. This is part of a trend. Read more...

Say goodbye to Google: 14 alternative search engines

Search engines | Internet | Research

|

Well it’s been a big week for search, I think we can all agree. 

If you’re a regular Google user (65% of you globally) then you’ll have noticed some changes, both good and bad.

I won’t debate the merits of these improvements, we’ve done that already here: Google kills Right Hand Side Ads and here: Google launches Accelerated Mobile Pages, but there’s a definite feeling of vexation that appears to be coming to a head.

Deep breath…

As the paid search space increases in ‘top-heaviness’, as organic results get pushed further off the first SERP, as the Knowledge Graph scrapes more and more publisher content and continues to make it pointless to click through to a website, and as our longstanding feelings of unfairness over Google’s monopoly and tax balance become more acute, now more than ever we feel there should be another, viable search engine alternative. Read more...

First Drafts, Conversations, Stories in Progress Ta-Nehisi Coates 10:39 AM Five Books to Make You Less Stupid About the Civil War

Racism | US History | Civil War

29th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, U.S. Colored Troops in formation near Beaufort, South Carolina, 1864 Library of Congress
 
On Monday, the retired four-star general and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly asserted that “the lack of an ability to compromise lead to the Civil War.” This was an incredibly stupid thing to say. Worse, it built on a long tradition of endorsing stupidity in hopes of making Americans stupid about their own history. Stupid enjoys an unfortunate place in the highest ranks of American government these days. And while one cannot immediately affect this fact, one can choose to not hear stupid things and quietly nod along.

For the past 50 years, some of this country’s most celebrated historians have taken up the task of making Americans less stupid about the Civil War. These historians have been more effective than generally realized. It’s worth remembering that General Kelly’s remarks, which were greeted with mass howls of protests, reflected the way much of this country’s stupid-ass intellectual class once understood the Civil War. I do not contend that this improved history has solved everything. But it is a ray of light cutting through the gloom of stupid. You should run to that light. Embrace it. Bathe in it. Become it.

Okay, maybe that’s too far. Let’s start with just being less stupid. Read more...
 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Expert Picks — Books and Films You Should Check Out Before Traveling Abroad

Travel books | International | Reader's advisory


Foreign ambassadors to the U.S. share their book and movie recommendations for visitors to their countries. Be sure to read and watch them before you go!

Illustration by Jana Walczyk

Cultural immersion is a large part of what makes traveling to a foreign country so rewarding, but you can take in the culture before you even set foot on a plane. We asked international ambassadors in Washington, D.C. to pick the book and film they believe first-time visitors to their country should consume before they arrive. Their choices range from the very popular to the relatively obscure, but they all offer a good starting point for travelers who long for a truly rewarding experience.

We have created a digital guide to these ambassador’s cultural picks, which we will continue to expand upon as more ambassadors contribute. This list can serve as both a resource for readers to learn about other countries and a cultural guidebook for travelers.
Without further ado, here are the picks for each country (in alphabetical order). Some choices include commentary from the ambassadors themselves.

Note: "H.E." stands for His or Her Excellency, the official title for ambassadors to the U.S.
Happy reading and viewing!

Austria

H.E. Wolfgang A. Waldner recommends:
The Tobacconist (translated into English by Charlotte Collins) is set in 1937 just before the German occupation. It follows 17-year-old Franz, who moves to Vienna to become the apprentice in a tobacco shop. Its quiet wisdom and sincerity resonated with me very deeply."
The Third Man, the British noir from 1949, feels as fresh as ever. Shot entirely on location, you see the city [of Vienna] in ruins and split up into French, American, British and Russian sectors with spies and suspicious officials everywhere. The catchy film score, performed by Anton Karas on a zither, sets the perfect tone."

Azerbaijan

H.E. Elin Suleymanov recommends:
Ali and Nino recounts the love story of a Muslim Azerbaijani boy and Christian Georgian girl in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku from 1918 to 1920.

Bhutan

Ambassador and Permanent Representative H.E. Kunzang C. Namgyel recommends:
Treasures of the Thunder Dragon: A Portrait of Bhutan is a blend of personal memoir, history, folklore, and travelogue, creating a portrait of the Himalayan kingdom.
Travelers and Magicians is about Dondup (Tsewang Dandup), a Bhutanese official infatuated with American culture, who is bored with life in his tiny village and dreams of visiting the United States.

Read more...