STEAM programming kits.

American Library Association • May 30, 2017
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Taking STEAM programming on the road

Kenosha (Wis.) Public Library outreach van

Heather Thompson writes: “Early this year, I learned that my library was one of the lucky recipients of an ALSC Dollar General Literacy Foundation ‘Strengthening Communities Through Libraries’ grant. We used the funds to create STEAM programming kits to be used alone or in different combinations for outreach programs. Our vision was to take these kits into after-school care sites serving disadvantaged populations and deliver the same type of STEAM programs we would at the library. That’s how we ended up doing 50 extra STEAM programs that reached hundreds of kids in just five months.”...

ALSC Blog, May 27

Short story dispensers at Penn State

One of Penn State’s Short Edition dispensers

Pennsylvania State University became the first educational institution in the world to collaborate with Short Edition, a French-based company that produces dispensers to print free short stories. The goal of the partnership is to foster discussion on creative storytelling and promote the arts and humanities. There are four dispensers in Penn State’s libraries. Since being installed on May 9, the dispensers have printed more than 1,000 stories. Readers can request a one-, three-, or five-minute story, which is then printed on paper....

Penn State Daily Collegian, May 25
University of Nebraska

Library oral history helps to solve artifact mystery

San Bernardino’s mystery artifact

A mystery artifact (right) has been sitting on a shelf in the Arda Haenszel California Room of the Norman F. Feldheym Central Library in San Bernardino, California, for longer than anybody can remember. One day, local history volunteer Sue Payne set out to determine the purpose of this black metal object. The answer lay in an oral history she had recorded in 1997 of Haenszel, a long-time beloved San Bernardino teacher, renowned researcher, and prolific writer of San Bernardino County history....

Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, May 29

Lemonade stand aims to help Berkley Public Library

Mia Maguire. Screenshot from newscast

One little girl is hoping that cups of lemonade will help keep the Berkley (Mass.) Public Library doors open. Mia Maguire spent the afternoon of May 27 selling lemonade outside the library, which is threatened with closure at the end of the year. “I’m raising money because the library might close because there’s not enough money. So, we’re donating money and giving it to the library,” said Mia. She raised $625 by the end of the day....

WFXT-TV, Boston, May 27; Inside Edition, May 29
Latest Library Links

Canadian librarians use Facebook for postcard project

Transcribing a postcard message. Screenshot from video

Snapshots through time—this is what two librarians at the University of Prince Edward Island say they are hoping to offer the public by transcribing messages on vintage postcards. The project started when the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation asked the university to help scan some 1,000 postcards it had collected for digitization. Librarians Mark Cousins and Meghan Landry began transcribing the messages on the back, but found they needed help with some. So they turned to Facebook. Watch the video (2:23)....

University Affairs, May 23; Historic PEI Facebook page; UPEI YouTube channel, Apr. 7

Peering into peer review

Peer-reviewed hoax paper

Barbara Fister writes: “A recent hoax has gotten a lot of attention, including here at Inside Higher Ed. To demonstrate that the field of gender studies is prone to accepting utter nonsense as scholarship, two wags got an article published in a peer-reviewed journal and then pointed and laughed. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but what can we conclude from these kinds of hoaxes? Anyone who has participated in peer review knows it isn’t a foolproof guarantee of quality.”...

Inside Higher Ed: Library Babel Fish, May 24; Inside Higher Ed, May 22

Neil Gaiman hopes to raise $1 million for refugees

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman (right), bestselling author of American Gods and Neverwhere, has offered to stage a dramatic reading of Dr. Seuss’s Fox in Socks if fans pledge $1 million to help refugees. Gaiman made the offer after accepting a challenge to read out the menu of the Cheesecake Factory restaurant chain in exchange for $500,000 worth of pledges to the UN Refugee Agency. While donations are flooding into a fundraising page set up by comedian Sara Benincasa, they still have a way to go. The deadline is June 20....

The Guardian (UK), May 24

Colm Tóibín urges authors to lose the flashbacks

Colm Tóibín

At the Hay literary festival in Wales on May 28, Irish novelist Colm Tóibín (right) issued a rallying call against what he sees as the scourge of modern literature: flashbacks. He said the narrative device was infuriating, with too many writers skipping back and forward in time to fill in all the gaps in a story. Tóibín was taking part in a panel discussion on Jane Austen, who, he said, wrote complex, layered characters without ever contemplating a flashback....

The Guardian (UK), May 28
ALA Annual Conference

Nazi book thefts

Cover of The Book Thieves, by Anders Rydell

Noah Charney writes: “The scale of book theft during the World War II is immense, far dwarfing the already boggling numbers of Nazi art thefts. While some have estimated that 5 million art objects changed hands inappropriately during World War II, most of them stolen or appropriated by the Nazis, few have discussed the Nazi practice of looting books, rare and otherwise, from the libraries of conquered Europe. The Book Thieves, a new book by Swedish journalist Anders Rydell, focuses on just this.”...

Salon, May 28

What to do if your laptop is not charging

Laptop battery not charging

Brian Westover writes: “Sometimes when you connect your laptop’s AC adapter you get nothing. No glowing lights and no battery charging. What went wrong? Why won’t it work, and what is to be done? Between the wall outlet and your battery are several steps and parts that can all fail. Some are easy to fix yourself with a software tweak or a new battery, but some problems may require a visit to a repair shop or even a system replacement. Knowing which is which can save you hours of frustration.”...

PC Magazine, May 30
ALA News

How computer girls pioneered programming

Women computer operators program ENIAC, the first electronic digital computer, by plugging and unplugging cables and adjusting switches

Josh O’Connor writes: “Like many women in the 1930s, Jean Jennings Bartik had studied mathematics. During and after World War II, Bartik and other women actually worked as ‘computers.’ They calculated by hand the trajectories of military rockets and artillery shells depending on how much soldiers elevated the weapon. Each different weapon required a whole table of trajectories for the calculation, and each calculation took more than 30 hours. In 1945, Bartik heard about a new job, working with something called ENIAC.”...

Timeline, May 16

Lola the Librarian

Screenshot of Nancy Lombardo in the Lola the Librarian video

Nancy Lombardo writes: “In the early 2000s, Molson Beer came out with a wonderful ad featuring Joe the Canadian. Joe stood on a stage and expounded on what a Canadian is and is not, with music playing and images flashing behind him. Shortly after that, I decided that we needed to make a similar ad about librarians. I found myself saying, ‘My name is Lola and I’m a librarian!’ This year, some Utah Library Association members got together and made the video (1:53) a reality.”...

Eccles Health Sciences Library Blog, May 24; Eccles YouTube channel, May 18

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