Make the library a space where children on the autism spectrum are welcome.

American Library Association • March 11, 2016
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Sensory storytime for the spectrum

Librarian Carrie Rogers-Whitehead (pictured) created Salt Lake County (Utah) Library’s sensory storytimes with special activities to engage kids on the autism spectrum

Megan Cottrell writes: “Across the US, the number of kids diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder is rising, from 1 in 80 kids in 2010 to 1 in 45 kids in 2015. In response, parents and librarians are working together through programming and awareness to help make the library a space where children on the autism spectrum are welcome. So Carrie Rogers-Whitehead at Salt Lake County (Utah) Library created a sensory storytime for children on the autism spectrum.”...

American Libraries trend, Mar./Apr.

In Practice: Supporting professional development

In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

Meredith Farkas writes: “Libraries are commonly seen as places that encourage learning and personal growth for patrons, yet sometimes the learning and growth of the library’s own staff may be overlooked. In this era of lean budgets, a library’s professional budget would understandably see cuts. However, that doesn’t mean the library should give up on supporting professional development for its employees.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.
AL Direct 10th anniversary

Fight cuts to library services

Dear Appropriator letter

Kevin Maher writes: “The fight for Congressional funding for FY2017 has begun in Washington, D.C., and Congress is again looking for programs to eliminate. This year, President Obama’s budget proposes slicing nearly $1 million from LSTA’s key Grants to States Program. While ALA is working in Washington to protect critical library funding, members of Congress respond best when they hear from constituents. Senate letters must be completed by March 14, and House letters must be completed by March 18.”...

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 10; District Dispatch, Mar. 8

ALA, AASL support school librarians in Houston

First-grader Kylee Dennings reads on a bean bag in the classroom library as part of HISD’s reading initiative. Photo by Steve Gonzales

ALA and AASL are assisting efforts in Houston to maintain and expand school librarian positions, as a proposal mandating a certified school librarian in every school in the Houston Independent School District is currently under scrutiny. ALA and AASL came out in support of this proposal in an op-ed published in the Houston Chronicle on March 4. Written by ALA President Sari Feldman and AASL President Leslie Preddy, the op-ed reminds administrators of the critical importance of certified school librarians....

Office for Library Advocacy, Mar. 9; Houston Chronicle, Mar. 4
Libraries Transform

Engaging students through gamification

A billboard showing the game Conquest of the Realm, for maps

In 2015, teacher-librarian Tasha Squires of O’Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois, entered the Follett Challenge, an annual contest from Follett School Solutions that showcases schools with innovative methods for learning 21st-century skills. O’Neill Middle School won the grand prize—$60,000—and has used the funding to enhance its reading and writing program. Here, Squires explains how she used gamification to engage and excite students....

American Libraries trend, Mar./Apr.

2016 James Madison Award

Seamus Kraft

ALA President Sari Feldman presented OpenGov Foundation executive director and cofounder Seamus Kraft (right) with the 2016 James Madison Award on March 11, during the 18th annual Freedom of Information Day hosted by the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Kraft has been widely recognized for a number of breakthrough initiatives aimed at opening government access and transparency to the public, including America Decoded, which publishes legal codes, legislative data, and existing laws for states and cities....

District Dispatch, Mar. 11

What it feels like to be a dyslexic reader

What a Wikipedia entry looks like to a dyslexic reader

Tanya Basu writes: “The letters constantly flicker around, and everything seems jumbled. The words seem to make sense at first and then they don’t, and just when you think you’ve figured out the word, it seems to morph into a totally different one. The letters jumble so often and at such a frequency, it’s enough to make you want to give up and not read. Welcome to what it feels like to have dyslexia, an umbrella category of disorders that make it difficult to discern words and sometimes images while reading.”...

Science of Us, Mar. 8
Latest Library Links

The skeuomorphic library

It’s been more than a quarter of a century since students were likely to have actually seen the Reader’s Guide, much less used it

Barbara Fister writes: “I have students read Vannevar Bush’s 1945 article ‘As We May Think’ every spring. Bush describes the mechanical means of storing and retrieving information and how that cannot replace the way people actually think. The library is full of skeuomorphs, design elements that belong to an earlier era, passed along as cultural touchstones for those of us who remember a paper-and-print past, a set of arcane rules that must be learned by those who come into an academic library with only the web and their cellphones as their cultural templates.”...

Inside Higher Ed: Library Babel Fish, Mar. 8; The Atlantic, July 1945

Five apps to watch at SXSW 2016

KnowMe creates short video clips

Karissa Bell writes: “South by Southwest Interactive has finally arrived. But while you can plan for the sessions, keynotes, and parties, there’s one element about the conference that attendees may still be wondering how to prepare for: their smartphones. Each year SXSW serves as the launchpad for one app to go super viral—if only briefly. Twitter, Foursquare, and Meerkat were all breakout apps at the festival in years past, but what’s in store for SXSW 2016?”...

Mashable, Mar. 11

Top 10 graphic novels for 2016

Cover of Invisible Ink

Sarah Hunter writes: “From historical fiction to memoir to suspense, this year’s top 10 graphic novels, reviewed in Booklist from March 1, 2015, to February 15, 2016, reveal the rich potential in a wide-ranging form that’s only getting better as the years go by.” For example, Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Secret Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist, by Bill Griffith: “The creator of Zippy showcases his personal connections to the pop culture of the past, particularly his mother’s affair with a cartoonist.”...

Booklist, Mar. 15

Urban fiction for teens

Cover of Endangered, by Lamar Giles

Dawn Abron writes: “If you work in a diverse library district, you probably have adult patrons asking for books by Zane or Sister Souljah. Chances are you begin blushing or lowering your already hushed voice as you read some of the urban fiction titles out loud to patrons. We aren’t always comfortable directing teens to the adult urban fiction section, so a good alternative is urban fiction for teens or books that feature teens of color. Here are some suggestions.”...

YALSA The Hub, Mar. 11

Why academics should care about what they wear

Dressing the part

Ben Barry writes: “Academics get a bad rap for their sartorial choices. It’s not that academics don’t care about clothes. Some of us feel pressured to don a deliberate uniform. Choosing rumpled jackets or stretched-out sweaters is our way of telling the world we’re too focused on matters of the mind to care about what we put on our bodies. But our fashion choices matter. What we wear can be another tool to educate students, colleagues, and the public. Our clothing choices reflect our values, identities, and knowledge.”...

Chronicle of Higher Education, Mar. 9

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