School librarians win a victory in Washington State.

American Library Association • March 30, 2018
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Victory for Washington State school libraries

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signs SB 6362

The Washington Library Association is celebrating Gov. Jay Inslee’s signing of SB 6362 on March 21, which added a line item to the bill with an allocation of $20 per student statewide specifically for library materials. The line item is being heralded as an important addition to the McCleary school funding order that the legislature passed in January that allocated another $1.2 billion for K–12 education. WLA Executive Director Kate Laughlin said this means “school libraries now have a place from which to negotiate in the future.”...

I Love Libraries, Mar. 29; Washington Library Association

Sustainability Task Force online forums

Sustainability Task Force online forums

In 2016–2017, the ALA Executive Board appointed a Special Task Force on Sustainability, charged with developing recommendations for implementing sustainable practices by ALA, the profession, libraries, and the communities they serve. The task force will hold a series of online forums, April 16–30, that will target certain populations and a general forum for those who have not had an opportunity to contribute. Attendance at each forum will be capped at 100....

Office of ALA Governance, Mar. 28
University of Nebraska

Money Smart Week, April 21–28

Money Smart Week logo

During the week of April 21–28, more than 1,000 of our nation’s libraries will be participating in Money Smart Week. Library events will focus on such diverse financial issues as first-time home buying, obtaining renovation loans, preparing a personal spending plan, the property tax appeal process, evaluating financial aid packages, choosing the proper Medicare plan, and the basics of wills and trusts. Libraries are also offering programs that week on options for tax-free savings and charitable tax strategies....

Public Awareness Office, Mar. 27

Congress to fund an OER textbook pilot program

Open Educational Resources logo

Three times since 2013, members in both houses of Congress have introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act, which would create a federal program to fund the creation of open educational resources on a nationwide scale. Each time, that bill has faltered in committee. Meanwhile, advocates tried for a one-time appropriation for OER funding in the annual federal budget. Last week’s omnibus appropriations bill included $5 million for a pilot program of creating and expanding OER textbooks that will save students money....

Inside Higher Ed, Mar. 28

Security staff in K–12 public schools

Percentage of public schools with security staff present at school at least once a week, by school level and type of security staff: School years 2005–2006 and 2015–2016

The use of school-based security personnel not only affects the level of reported school crime, it may also affect the school environment. For example, the presence of security staff may be associated with schools’ reporting of crime incidents, and with staff and students’ perceptions of the school environment. Schools employ different types of security staff, and the responsibilities of these security staff vary. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of school security staff provides important context for evaluating school crime and safety....

National Center for Educational Statistics, Mar.

CRS reports and climate change

CRS report on the 2015 Paris Agreement

Arianna Skibell writes: “Last week, Congress included a provision in its omnibus spending package requiring the Congressional Research Service to make its reports open to the general public, not just Capitol Hill. CRS is already taking heat from an inside-the-Beltway circle of current and former employees who argue that in an effort to dodge partisan politics and scorn, the agency fails to provide objective, expert, and reliable analysis to lawmakers, often in the realm of climate science.”...

E&E News, Mar. 27
ALA news

Guantánamo prison library policy censored

A soldier shows a child’s book in the Detainee Library at Guantánamo on November 4, 2014. Captives with borrowing privileges don’t browse the stacks. The military delivers a selection to the captives, who can also request a title to find out if it is in the collection. Photo by Miami Herald

Carol Rosenberg writes: “The US military took more than four years to process a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the Guantánamo guidelines for censoring prison library material—and censored the guidelines when it processed the request. The paperwork the military released appeared to leave out three pages of the prison’s procedure for handling the Quran. The Miami Herald sought the November 27, 2013, document in a December 10, 2013, FOIA request. The US Southern Command apparently released the document, with redactions, on March 21, 2018, but didn’t put it in the mail for five more days.”...

Miami Herald, Mar. 28

Not your grandmother’s free speech

Women’s March signs

Tara Lane Bowman writes: “Protest placards have come a long way since the days when signs beseeched readers to elect a candidate in an upcoming election (‘I Like Ike’). The act of carrying a sign is a First Amendment right that engages any literate bystander. It would be enough to carry a message that states exactly what it is that a protester stands for or against. However, the Women’s Marches show that modern protests require more than physical presence and traditional signs of dissent.”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, Mar. 28
Latest Library Links

Publishing industry confronts sexual harassment

Original cover of Mario and the Hole in the Sky, by Elizabeth Rusch

Alexandra Alter writes: “The list of prominent authors mired in harassment scandals has grown in recent months, and now includes best-selling children’s book authors, prominent political journalists, and a National Book Award-winning novelist. As allegations of sexual harassment sweep through the publishing industry—resulting in canceled book deals, boycotts by bookstores, and expulsions from writers’ conferences—publishers, agents, and editors are grappling with how to tackle the issue.”...

New York Times, Mar. 27

The public internet option

Cover of the ACLU’s Public Internet Option report

As the FCC in the Trump era dismantles vital rules protecting net neutrality and users’ privacy, Americans need an internet provider that they can trust and is accountable to the public, not profits. Municipal governments can provide this by offering broadband service themselves and implementing the net neutrality and privacy protections that are no longer required of private companies by federal policies. The internet has become a crucial utility, yet quality broadband service in the US is far from universal....

American Civil Liberties Union, Mar. 29

Bookmobiles are still a thing

Bookmobiles in the US. Source: IMLS

Jen Fifield writes: “In 1995, there were nearly 1,000 bookmobiles operating across the United States. Now there are fewer than 650. Despite the decline, their services remain vital, especially in rural areas where people often live far from their library branch and have limited internet access. Bookmobiles help close this gap by creating a traveling branch, said Michael Swendrowski, a board member of the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services and owner of Specialty Vehicle Services, which helps libraries design bookmobiles.”...

Stateline, Mar. 28
Dewey Decibel podcast

How to evaluate a scientific paper

Don’t throw away that scary cellphone just yet

John Timmer writes: “Last night, a fellow editor emailed me a link to yet another study purporting to show that cellphone use could be associated with cancer. This one was worth looking at in more detail, however, because it purported to see an increase in a specific cancer. A quick glance at the study identified significant issues with its primary conclusion. So we thought we’d describe how we went about evaluating the paper, since it could help more people identify similar issues in the future.”...

Ars Technica, Mar. 23

Is April Fools’ Day funny anymore?

Fake story by Madison Capital Times, April 1, 1933

Daniel Funke writes: “On April Fools’ Day, real news organizations used to publish fake news. The Madison Capital Times reported in 1933 that the dome had toppled off the Wisconsin statehouse. In 1977, The Guardian published a lengthy travel feature story on the fictional San Serriffe islands. PC Magazine covered a fake bill banning the use of the internet while drunk in 1994. But in 2018, April Fools’ Day feels different. With that in mind, what could this year’s biggest April Fools’ Day hoax possibly be?”...

Poynter, Mar. 30; Madison (Wis.) Capital Times, Apr. 1, 2013; The Guardian (UK), Mar. 31, 2017; Museum of Hoaxes; The Onion, Mar. 16

It’s time for an RSS revival

RSS feed

Brian Barrett writes: “The modern web contains no shortage of horrors, from ubiquitous ad trackers to all-consuming platforms to YouTube comments. Unfortunately, there’s no panacea for what ails this internet we’ve built. But anyone weary of black-box algorithms controlling what you see online at least has a respite, one that’s been there all along but has often gone ignored. Tired of Twitter? Facebook fatigued? It’s time to head back to RSS.”...

Wired, Mar. 30

Video creation tools for making tutorials

Landing page for Screencast-o-Matic

Daniella Smith writes: “At first, creating tutorial videos was hard for me because I wanted them to be professional. Eventually, I gravitated towards letting students present the tutorials. I did this because I learned that some of the students were charismatic and the other students loved to watch them. Today, I don’t bother with a fancy studio to create and share videos. Here are some of the ways that I create and post videos. Most of the time, I keep it simple and limit the tools because I need to work fast.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Mar. 29

12 of the best horror comics

Cover of Infidel, by Pornsak Pichetshote, Aaron Campbell, and Jose Villarrubia

Steph Auteri writes: “While part of the terror of reading a horror novel is the way in which your imagination interacts with the text, there is something special about an artfully rendered full moon swallowing up the sky, or a beautifully drawn phantom creepy-crawling its way up someone’s body as they sleep. Working together, writer and artist create something that brings horror to a whole new level. So which are the 12 best horror comics to start with?”...

Book Riot, Mar. 29

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