Sci-Hub essentials.

American Library Association • May 31, 2016
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Sci-Hub: What it is and why it matters

Sci-Hub logo

Marcus Banks writes: “Sci-Hub is a website that makes more than 48 million scholarly research articles available online to anyone for free. However, many if not most of these articles are still under copyright and are therefore normally kept behind paywalls. Journal publisher Elsevier sued to have it shut down. For these reasons, Judge Robert W. Sweet of the Southern District of New York ordered Sci-Hub to cease operations in October 2015. But that’s not the end of the story.” Read all the articles in the June issue....

American Libraries feature, June

Concern over changes in Shawnee Mission school libraries

Ray Marsh Elementary School librarian Jan Bombeck

Jan Bombeck (right), librarian at Ray Marsh Elementary in Shawnee, Kansas, addressed the district’s board of education at its May 23 meeting, stating concerns about plans to change the functions of libraries in the schools to include Makerspaces. The plans do not require teachers, now to be called “innovation specialists/innovation station teachers,” to have any sort of librarian certification—only an elementary teacher certification. Changes to school libraries were part of a 2015 bond issue....

Shawnee (Kans.) Dispatch, May 30; Shawnee Mission (Kans.) Dispatch, May 26

Middletown library’s book carts go race-car red

Shane Grant, of the Russell Library maintenance staff, with Adriana (left) and Sabrina Indomenico, owners of Santostefano Auto Body. The auto body shop painted the carts for free

The newly painted book carts in the children’s room of Russell Library in Middletown, Connecticut, are as sporty as a red Corvette. You have to be creative in times of budget cuts. Shane Grant, on the library’s maintenance staff, worked out a deal with a local auto body shop to have six of the old book carts repainted for free. The bright red carts, full of books, were wheeled down Main Street during the annual Memorial Day Parade on May 30. Like ALA, Russell Library is also marking its 140th anniversary this year....

Hartford (Conn.) Courant, May 28
Libraries Transform

South Carolina State Library legislative scuffle ends

South Carolina State Library, Columbia

A controversy involving the State Library of South Carolina ended quietly last week after a House–Senate committee, trying to reach a compromise on the state budget that takes effect July 1, removed a proposal that would have restricted the agency’s virtual library. State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis (D-Charleston) had proposed prohibiting the library from using its state appropriations “to license reference products where the same information is easily found in free online products such as Wikipedia.” The proposal also would have barred the library from licensing databases of articles from newspapers and magazines....

The State (Columbia, S.C.), May 28

Jackson County mulls breaking privatization contract

Jackson County (Oreg.) Library Services website

Officials at Jackson County (Oreg.) Library Services estimate that a third of the money they give to a private company to operate 15 branches goes to overhead and profits, curtailing both employee salaries and library services. Library officials have been expressing growing unease over the contract with Library Systems and Services, formerly known as LSSI, which manages all its branches and came under control of the Argosy Private Equity firm in 2015. They are exploring options for getting out of the contract....

Medford (Oreg.) Mail Tribune, May 27

Elsevier and the University of Florida

For articles by University of Florida authors published by Elsevier, the university’s institutional repository (IR@UF) will enable access to the full published article online on ScienceDirect

Ellen Finnie and Greg Eow write: “Elsevier and the University of Florida announced May 19 a pilot that links UF’s institutional repository with Elsevier’s platform. By employing an automatic deposit of metadata about Elsevier-published UF articles into the repository, with pointers to Elsevier’s site for access to the articles themselves, users will be able to discover and access final copies of Elsevier journals. Our experience tells us that this pilot is a kind of collaboration that takes us down the wrong path.”...

IO: In the Open, May 31; Elsevier, May 19

A knitting club for tweens

Knitting club, Pointe-Claire Public Library, Montreal

Kate Eckert writes: “Hand knitting has been around for thousands of years, though in modern times its popularity has waxed and waned. Waldorf schools around the world have long recognized that teaching young children handicrafts helps develop their motor and analytical skills. Many libraries have started their own knitting circles. Here are several reasons to start a knitting circle for tweens at your library and a step-by-step list on how to get started.”...

ALSC Blog, May 28

The summer screen time conundrum

Teen with a screen

Hannah Byrd Little writes: “We are about to begin summer break and chances are, after the initial trip to the beach or mountains; if you are a parent you will hear the phrase ‘I’m bored.’ With teenagers, however, you might not hear a single word for hours because they are ‘glued to a screen.’ It is essential to teach our students to self-regulate and put the devices away for a time. I think librarians can help parents with education and alternatives for their teens during the summer.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, May 31
Latest Library Links

From the crime lab to the library

The Digital Forensics Laboratory at UNC SILS

Mark Wolverton writes: “Four decades after the PC revolution brought word processing to the desktop, the first generation of early adopters is retiring or dying. So how do archivists recover and preserve what’s left behind? ‘People around the world have information stored on disks that are less readable with every passing day,’ said Christopher Lee, a researcher in the University of North Carolina SILS in Chapel Hill. Increasingly, archivists are finding inspiration in the field of digital forensics: extracting evidence from computer drives, smartphones, tablets, or even GPS devices.”...

Nature News, May 30

What’s in a genre?

This kind of romance, not THAT kind. [Left: Thomas Mallory, The most ancient and famous history of the renowned prince Arthur King of Britaine, STC 806; Right, Clare Richards, Renaissance Summer (New York: Harlequin Silhouette, 1985)]

Meaghan J. Brown writes: “Shakespeare’s plays are organized in the First Folio into three genre categories: Comedies, Tragedies, and Histories. Later scholars added a fourth, describing certain late plays like The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale that contain elements of both comedy and tragedy, along with fantastical features like magic, as ‘romance plays.’ In organizing the 403 plays that make up the Folger’s Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama, we needed a few more than those four categories.”...

The Collation, May 26

Shelf evaluation: Bill Ott’s home library

Bill Ott’s pulp-paperback bookshelf

Bill Ott writes: “I started collecting vintage paperbacks decades ago and have concentrated my efforts on anything by the hard-boiled giants of the era (Chandler, Cain, Hammett); anything with an especially lurid jacket, no matter the author; anything that panders in a particularly juicy way to the underworld sins of drugs and sex; and classic works of English and American literature reincarnated in the pulp style. What makes this last category so wonderful is the campy juxtaposition of 1950s culture against 19th- or early-20th century subject matter.”...

The Booklist Reader, May 27

Chinese university converts showers to study spaces

Shower stalls at Taizhou University Library converted to study spaces

A Chinese university has come up with a novel approach to overcrowded libraries by converting an unused public showers into dozens of tiny self-study booths. With students at Taizhou University in Zhejiang province fighting over a place for quiet revision towards exam time, the institution needed to create more study spaces. The bizarre choice of study location has become an unexpected hit with students, with reports saying all the shower cubicles have been reserved until the next school year....

Daily Mail (UK), May 30

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