American Library Association • November 18, 2014
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FCC chairman wants more broadband funding

FCC building

The head of the Federal Communications Commission is seeking a major increase in funding to help boost internet-access speeds at schools and libraries and expand their Wi-Fi networks. Noting that 63% of schools lack high-speed broadband connections, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said November 17 that he wants to raise the annual amount the government spends to wire educational faculties through its E-rate program to $3.9 billion a year from $2.4 billion. ALA President Courtney Young released a statement November 17, saying that the proposal “will go a long way towards changing the broadband dynamic.”...

Los Angeles Times, Nov. 17; Office for Information Technology Policy, Nov. 17

FTRF kicks off 45th anniversary celebration

Chris Crutcher

The Freedom to Read Foundation will kick off a year-long celebration of its 45th anniversary on November 20 with a live Google Hangout On Air. The event, headlined by YA author Chris Crutcher (right), will be an opportunity to hear about FTRF’s past successes, current projects, and future goals. Speakers will also reveal plans for the upcoming 12 months, including several fundraising events around the country and a collectible tribute book. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate via Q&A.....

Freedom to Read Foundation, Nov. 17

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Lilead Project survey results

Lilead Project logo

Maria R. Traska writes: “More than five years after the start of the Great Recession, school libraries in the US are in crisis, their budgets constricted and their staff short-handed or nonexistent. Professional staff positions are left vacant or filled by uncertified personnel, materials budgets slashed. Many library programs have been eliminated. Most of these actions are taken at the administrative level, outside the control of both library supervisors and building-level school librarians. The Lilead Project, the first national survey of district school library supervisors conducted in more than half a century, reveals that supervisors are expected to do a lot more with a lot less and are forced to pick up most of the slack themselves.”...

American Libraries feature
University of Alabama

Highland Park High School: Six books require permission

Brave New World is one of the books requiring parental permission

Highland Park (Tex.) Independent School District officials released a list of six books November 14 that require parental permission for students to read for class. They are The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler. For years, Highland Park High School teachers have sent home permission slips for certain books. But the practice is attracting greater scrutiny as parents and community members debate whether some books are too mature for teenage students....

Dallas Morning News, Nov. 14

17 apps that teach coding

Move the Turtle app

“Today as I was going through my bookmarks, I came across an excellent visual created by Sean Junkins where he features a bunch of powerful apps to help you teach coding in the classroom. Unfortunately, the visual does not render legibly when turned into a large infographic. So instead, I am sharing with you the apps featured in it. I really like how Junkins arranged these apps into different categories that will help you target different areas in the teaching of coding.”...

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, Nov. 17
ALA Midwinter Meeting

The best drone for every beginner

Syma X5C drone

Sean Hollister writes: “So you want to be a drone pilot? This is where you start. Not with a crazy $1,200 semiautonomous eye in the sky, but a cheap miniature quadcopter. Chinese companies are pumping out truckloads of mini quads right now, and while they can’t find their own way home, they can teach you the basics of how to fly a speedy four-propeller craft for under $100 even in a tiny space. The hard part, I found, is picking the right one.”...

Gizmodo, Nov. 14

Five browser extensions for news junkies

NewsHub app

Yohana Desta writes: “Unless you’re a journalist, it’s tough to keep up with breaking news. Keeping one eye on Twitter and constantly refreshing the homepage of your favorite news source is effective, but tiring. Thankfully, there are some helpful shortcuts. Browser extensions can help the news junkie who’s always attached to a computer keep up on everything he or she needs to know. From global alerts to headline highlighters, these five extensions will work around the clock to keep you informed.”...

Mashable, Nov. 10

Online presentation creation tools

Projeqt demonstration

Brad Sietz and Caroline Sinkinson write: “Educators regularly use software tools to create materials for real-time discussion with an audience (conference presentations, classroom instruction). In today’s computing environment, software is increasingly web-based or cloud-based and does not have to be downloaded or installed on a computer in order for it to be used. Online presentation creation tools are no exception. Many of them produce durable teaching artifacts that can be accessed after the initial delivery for ongoing learning.”...

ACRL Instruction Section Tips and Trends, Fall

How to read for pleasure: Step-by-step instructions

Bookish problem #132: Feeling disappointed with yourself when you realize you only read two books last week

Tara Kehoe writes: “Reading for your own enjoyment takes practice. I know it sounds a little crazy, but folks practice their hobbies all the time, and why should recreational reading be any different? It can be hard today to turn off distractions and just read. So here is a practical guide. Follow it and you (or those you are trying to encourage) will soon discover the enjoyment of reading for pleasure.”...

YALSA The Hub, Nov. 17

36 expert Google search tips

Etymology Google search example

Brandon Widder writes: “Google’s most valuable asset has always been its phenomenal search engine. Unfortunately, Google isn’t one to automatically recognize punctuation and grammar within search queries. However, the symbols and punctuation listed here are exceptions to the rules, ones that allow you to better refine your search results when used in conjunction with your desired search terms. Just don’t add any spaces between the symbol and your search phrases. Otherwise, Google will ignore your commands.”...

Digital Trends, Nov. 9

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