Librarians' holiday gift guide.

American Library Association • December 9, 2016
McGraw Hill

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2016 holiday gift guide for librarians

Cotton twill tablet pillow in khaki

Alison Marcotte writes: “When it comes to holiday shopping, buying a gift card and calling it a day can be tempting. Finding that perfect, unique gift for a librarian or hardcore reader can be exhausting. But don’t fret—you can show you care with this assortment of special somethings for the book-loving doodlers, comic nerds, fashionistas, hostesses, and storytellers in your life.”...

American Libraries feature, Dec. 8

New proposal for copyright reform

Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (left, R-Va.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) have released a proposal that would give the US Copyright Office more autonomy, although it would stay in the legislative branch. It would subject the Register of Copyrights to the same congressional nomination process as other government officials. Currently, the Copyright Office is part of the Library of Congress, and the Register is selected by the Librarian of Congress, with no review from lawmakers. A December 8 statement on the proposal by the Library Copyright Alliance statement recommends against deferring the appointment of a new Register of Copyrights and that any reform “should not interfere with the long-standing legal requirement of depositing copies of works.”...

Billboard, Dec. 8; House Judiciary Committee, Dec. 8; District Dispatch, Dec. 8

Video: Libraries Ready to Code

Screenshot from Libraries Ready to Code video

On December 8, ALA and Rosen Publishing released the video “Libraries Ready to Code” (3:33) as part of the Libraries Ready to Code project launched earlier in 2016. Introduced during Computer Science Education Week, the video depicts coding activities in public and school libraries and underscores how libraries can increase exposure and access to computer-science learning opportunities for youth. The video will be used as an advocacy tool to increase the awareness of library coding activities....

District Dispatch, Dec. 8; ALA YouTube channel, Dec. 8; Office for Information Technology Policy, Apr. 13

Libraries become unexpected sites of hate crimes

One of seven books about Islam or the Quran that were recently defaced at the Evanston (Ill.) Public Library

Recent weeks have seen a spate of hate crimes targeting libraries, their books, or patrons—offenses library officials said they had rarely seen before. These crimes coincide with a recent report by the FBI that attacks against American Muslims surged last year. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom is starting to formally track them, according to OIF Director James LaRue, who said it was difficult to know whether the uptick was “a blip or a trend.”...

New York Times, Nov. 14, Dec. 8
ALA news

ACRL debuts Framework for Information Literacy sandbox

ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

The ACRL Framework Advisory Board has launched the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy sandbox. The sandbox is an openly accessible platform and repository for librarians and their educational partners to discover, share, collect, and use ongoing work related to the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education in practice and professional development. Visitors can both browse and contribute by searching for materials tailored to their needs....

ACRL, Dec. 8

Fake news and K–12 information literacy

Cover of Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning

Hannah Byrd Little writes: “Following the November presidential election, there was great concern about fake news on Facebook and in Google searches. And then, in what seemed to be perfect timing, a Stanford group released the study Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning on November 22. The report, conducted by Stanford History Education Group, showed that students all the way to college age are not recognizing the basics of evaluating a source.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Dec. 8

How to spot fake reviews on Amazon and other sites

Sample Fakespot product grade

Justin Pot writes: “Many product reviews on Amazon and other sites are fake. Scummy companies have been known to hire fake reviewers to praise products and boost sales, meaning you never know for certain that a review can be trusted. But there are tools that help spot such nonsense, and you can learn to recognize fake reviews with time. If you’re browsing Amazon or Yelp and suspect the reviews you’re seeing are fake, there’s a quick way to support your suspicion:”...

How-To Geek, Dec. 6
ALA Midwinter Meeting

Six elements of an effective online instructional video

Instructional video

Richard Rose writes: “Designing online instruction is still as much art as science and cannot be reduced to a notebook of formulas. That is a good thing. It means someone who has developed an intuitive creative sense about what works best can still distance themselves in quality from those who are merely following artificial design rules and arbitrary, often outdated, institutional standards. Here are six dimensions that must be well-tuned for a successful online instructional video project.”...

Campus Technology, Dec. 7

The best gaming desktops of 2016

Alienware Aurora desktop

Joel Santo Domingo writes: “What kind of PC can make major 3D games look and run better than they do on the Sony PS4 Pro or the Microsoft Xbox One S? If you have deep pockets, your answer could be a custom-built hot rod. But a couple of well-informed choices will go a long way toward helping you get the right gaming desktop from a standard PC manufacturer, even if you’re not made of money. Here’s how to buy your best gaming desktop, regardless of your budget, and our top 10 picks in the category.”...

PC Magazine, Dec. 8
ALA Midwinter Meeting

Why do dwarves sound Scottish?

The dwarf warrior Gimli from Lord of the Rings

Eric Grundhauser writes: “In the game Hearthstone, when the dwarven Innkeeper greets players with a hearty ‘Welcome to the Inn!’ he sounds like he’s channeling some cartoonish ideal of the Scottish accent. And he’s not alone. Standard fantasy dwarves speak with a Scottish or generally Northern European brogue, but how can that be true when such a race never really existed? The same can be said for the lofty English tone of the elves, or the working-class Cockney of many orcs and trolls. Why is this?”...

Atlas Obscura, Dec. 7

25 best short story collections of 2016

Some short story collections of 2016

Each year, Electric Literature polls its staff and regular contributors to pick their favorite books of the year. Whichever books get the most votes make the final list. Here are the 25 amazing, diverse, innovative, and moving story collections from 2016 that the website recommends....

Electric Literature, Dec. 8

The secret life of a librarian

Illustration for The Guardian by Michael Driver

As part of a series in The Guardian, an anonymous librarian reflects on what he’s learned in 40 years on the job: “I love my job so much that work-life balance has never been an issue. Plus I am very happy to take my work home with me because I never leave the library without a big stack of books, CDs, and DVDs. The only regret I have about my long career in public libraries is that I have not been able to convince more librarians that they should be less book-focused and more people-focused.”...

The Guardian (UK), Dec. 5

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