Librarians and gaming.

American Library Association • September 27, 2016

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Librarians get their GAME on

Attendees at the Gaming As Meaningful Education conference, cosponsored by AASL and the ALA Games and Gaming Round Table, solve puzzles in an escape room challenge

Joshua J. Carlson writes: “At the inaugural Gaming As Meaningful Education (GAME) conference, librarians met to explore how games can be used in education and programming to inspire creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The conference was held September 23–24 in Rochester, New York, and was cosponsored by AASL and the ALA Games and Gaming Round Table (GameRT).” Day two of the conference started with a deep dive into games usage in schools....

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 26–27

A conversation with Jennifer Velásquez

Jennifer Velásquez

Cultivating a space in the library that teens can activate and own sends teens a strong signal they are valued and welcome. In the book Real-World Teen Services (ALA Editions, 2015), Jennifer Velásquez (right) stresses the need for a dedicated teen space and how library staffers can best serve their teens. (Read an excerpt from her book.) Velásquez is a lecturer at San José State University School of Information and coordinator of teen services for San Antonio Public Library....

American Libraries feature, Sept. 27

What banned books say about society’s fears

Stand up for your right to read: Banned Books Week

Sarah Begley writes: “For as long as humans have printed books, censors have argued over their content and tried to limit some books’ distribution. But the reasons for challenging literature change, and as Banned Books Week begins on September 25, it’s clear that public discomfort with particular ideas has evolved rapidly even in the last 20 years. When ALA started keeping a database of challenged books in the early 1990s, the reasons cited were fairly straightforward, according to James LaRue, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom.”...

Time, Sept. 25
Latest Library Links

UK libraries raise awareness of Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week in the UK

The British Library, the Free Word Centre, and Islington Libraries have come together alongside ALA to celebrate Banned Books Week in the UK for the first time. “We are promoting the week to raise awareness of the issues of censorship and free speech in the UK,” the British Library said. “We see it as an opportunity for all organizations working in literature and literacy to be part of this vital discussion and we hope to see Banned Books Week grow in the UK as it has done in the USA.”...

The Bookseller (UK), Sept. 26; British Library English and Drama blog, Sept. 21; Islington Libraries

Tennessee tries to remove Islam from 7th-grade curriculum

CIA map, 1993, Age of the Caliphs, 7th century. From the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center

Most of the Tennessee middle-school social studies standards involving Islam have been removed from new draft standards undergoing public comment in Tennessee through October 28. In 7th grade, where studies of Islam are concentrated in current standards, the whole section of “Islamic World, 400 AD–1500s” has been removed in the draft, which went online from the state board of education for public review and input September 15. Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions remain....

Kingsport (Tenn.) Times-News, Sept. 25; Tennessee Education Standards Review

Missing from the shelf

Cover of Missing from the Shelf

A persistent pattern of attempts to remove certain books from schools and libraries, combined with a lack of diversity in children’s and YA book publishing, narrows the range of stories and perspectives available to US students. Combining quantitative research with interviews from teachers, librarians, students, and authors, Missing from the Shelf: Book Challenges and Lack of Diversity in Children’s Literature describes instances of soft censorship playing out....

PEN America, Sept. 26
ALA news

L.A. juvenile detainees get a library

New library unveiled at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, California

Zoila Gallegos, a reading specialist with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, has worked at the juvenile lockup in Downey for the past nine years. A year and a half ago, she sent a letter to a county supervisor and asked for a library. On August 29, Gallegos watched as officials from the Office of Education and the county probation and library departments unveiled a new library at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall with 4,000 books and a full-time, on-site librarian....

Los Angeles Times, Sept. 26

Texas bans 15,000 books from state prisons

Shakespeare and Love Sonnets banned

Thu Huong-Ha writes: “Many states allow their prisons to decide case by case what books to let in, which often comes down to the discretion of mailroom clerks. But Texas keeps a database of 15,000 books that it forbids from prisons. Its guidelines are designed to keep out books that promote or instruct on criminal behavior. Among the banned books are some classic works of literature, including Dante’s Inferno, The Color Purple, Shakespeare and Love Sonnets, and White Oleander.”...

Quartz, Sept. 26; The Guardian (UK), Sept. 25; Texas Civil Rights Project, 2011
2017 Midwinter Meeting

Museum and Library Services Act of 2016

Instutute of Museum and Library Services logo

Acknowledging the critical role of libraries across the nation, the bipartisan Museum and Library Services Act of 2016 (S. 3391) was introduced September 23 by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). A coalition of library groups led by ALA’s Washington Office worked closely with the bill’s cosponsors to include their recommendations. The bill will renew the current $230 million commitment to programs administered by IMLS....

ALA Washington Office, Sept. 23

Nintendo for the win

Nintendo console

Claire Moore writes: “If your library circulates video games, you may also have a collection that gives DVDs a run for their money. We have witnessed a growing increase in the circulation of kids’, teen, and adult games. Nearing the end of the library’s fiscal year, I glanced at the top circulating games in the children’s library and wasn’t surprised to see that Mario dominated the list. Recent news from Nintendo includes the release of a mobile gaming app and a miniature console with games built in.”...

ALSC Blog, Sept. 26; Wired, July 14

Snapchat’s wild new Specs

Snap's Spectacles. Screenshot from video

Brian Barrett writes: “There are two important new things to know about Snapchat. First, it’s just Snap now. That’s easy enough. The second may be a little bit harder to process: The ephemeral chat mavens will sell video-grabbing sunglasses, called Spectacles, starting this fall. Spectacles (Specs, for short), will shoot circular videos. Whatever reservations you might (rightly) have about wearing camera glasses, don’t mistake Specs for Google’s Glass 2.0. They’ve got a lot more going for them than that.”...

Wired, Sept. 24; Spectacles YouTube channel, Sept. 23

Is the Voynich manuscript a hoax?

Collage of pages from the Voynich manuscript

For hundreds of years, the world’s best cryptographers have dedicated their lives to solving the mystery of the Voynich Manuscript, a 15th-century book written in a mysterious coded language that no one has ever managed to crack. Gordon Rugg of Keele University in the UK has spent more than a decade studying the manuscript, and argues in a new paper in Cryptologia that the elaborate “language” in the text would have been easy to fake, if the author had been familiar with a few simple coding techniques....

Science Alert, Aug. 24, Sept. 23; Cryptologia, Sept. 13

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