Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stop Looking At Your Phones ('The Britishes')

Neil Gaiman: Libraries are cultural 'seed corn'

Neil Gaiman with ‘a little empathy machine’. Photograph: Lebrecht Music and Arts Photo Li/Alamy

A feral child who was raised in libraries

Toby Litt: You’ve described yourself as a “feral child who was raised in libraries”. What age were you when you were first drawn into a library, and why do you think they hooked you?
Neil: I was probably three or four when I first started going to libraries. We moved up to Sussex when I was five, and I discovered the local library very, very quickly. But I wasn’t really hooked until I got to the point where I was old enough to persuade my parents to just take me to the library and leave me there, which would have probably been about seven or eight. And at that point it was like being given the keys to the kingdom.
 Read the article....

A Field Trip to America's Public Libraries - The Atlantic

Duluth Public Library (Deborah Fallows) 
As we’ve been crisscrossing the country visiting towns and cities for our American Futures project,
I always look forward to stopping in the town's public library. Every
town has one. They’re often lovely buildings. (Thank you, Andrew
Carnegie!) They offer a first pulse of the town. (Are they vibrant and
bustling?) The librarians are as knowledgeable as the newspaper editors
and as welcoming as the Chamber of Commerce. Who wouldn’t love a
library? Read the article....

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

When Library Time Means Screen Time -

Fifth graders in a school library in Brooklyn.Credit James Estrin/The New York Times

Lately, my 4-year-old
and I have been having a conflict about the library. One of us wants to
go. This is not a debate that is playing out according to plan.
If you guessed that I
am the one pushing to visit our local branch of the Brooklyn Public
Library, you’re mistaken. I wish I were. I’ve always loved going to the
library. I’ve been a bona fide bookworm for most of my life. As a little
girl, I loved the hush of the library, the promise it held. Although
the Dewey Decimal System was daunting, I could usually find what I was
looking for: books by Judy Blume and John Bellairs when I was young;
biographies of old-timey stars like Natalie Wood and Joan Crawford when I
hit my teens. And now, as a mother, it’s about the pleasure of loading
up on books with my children to take home; rediscovering old classics
like “The Snowy Day” and newer ones like “Traction-Man Is Here.” 

Or rather, it should
be about that. Recently, I’m very surprised to hear myself muttering to
my partner, sotto voce: “I don’t want go to the library.” I tell my
children that we will have to go another day, when really, I’m putting
it off until winter arrives and our choices are much more limited.
Right now we have the park, the playground and the ball field, areas
that are decidedly computer-free. Because, thanks to an influx of
computers at our local library, library time has come to mean screen
time.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Poverty and class: the latest themes to enter the US banned-books debate | Mary O’Hara | Society | The Guardian

Young readers in Florida enjoy the freedom to choose their library
books, but campaigners are attempting to restrict content that deals
with the challenges of low income. Photograph: Paul Hennessy/Polaris 
Late last month, for the 32nd year in a row, Banned Books Week was marked across the US. Spearheaded by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom,
the annual salute to the freedom to read has become a fixture. It aims
to counterbalance perennial challenges to the content of books and
efforts to get them banned, usually from schools and libraries.

The ALA collects information on which books are objected to and
reports on prominent recurring themes that tend to generate moral or
ideological indignation. Subjects such as religion, race, gender, sexuality and allegations of sexually explicit content or offensive language frequently top the list. Read article...

Learning a language – 10 things you need to know | Education | The Guardian

Panellists describe the importance and joy of reading for pleasure in another language. Photograph: Holger Burmeister / Alamy
1. Make realistic, specific goals

You have decided to learn another language. Now what? On our recent live chat
our panellists first piece of advice was to ask yourself: what do you
want to achieve and by when? Donavan Whyte, vice president of enterprise
and education at Rosetta Stone, says: “Language learning is best when
broken down into manageable goals that are achievable over a few months.
This is far more motivating and realistic.”

You might be feeling wildly optimistic when you start but aiming to
be fluent is not necessarily the best idea. Phil McGowan, director at
Verbmaps, recommends making these goals tangible and specific: “Why not
set yourself a target of being able to read a newspaper article in the
target language without having to look up any words in the dictionary?” Read article...