Get out of the library and into your community.

American Library Association • May 15, 2018
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Embedding librarians in the community

In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

Meredith Farkas writes: “The ways in which patrons seek information and use library resources have changed with the growth of the web. Academic libraries have seen a steady decline in reference traffic since 1998, and the 2017 Public Library Data Service Report shows an almost 10% decline in reference transactions from the previous fiscal year. According to the Pew Research Center, ‘librarian’ is still among the most trusted occupations in our communities, but many of our service models have stayed the same.”...

American Libraries column, May

Problem-solving games for computational thinking

Students assemble the Ultimate Shootout game from the littleBits Code Kit

With computing jobs projected to grow two times faster than other fields, coding skills are an increasingly important literacy area. Libraries play a vital role in introducing these skills to their youngest community members. Coding may seem like a daunting subject for those who haven’t studied it, but there are a number of games that introduce computational concepts through play, making it easy and fun to practice computational thinking and problem solving....

American Libraries column, May

Support intellectual freedom at Annual Conference

One year free ALA membership is one of the raffle prizes

Would you like to support contributions made to intellectual freedom on a personal level and come away with some great prizes? The Intellectual Freedom Round Table will hold a raffle at its breakfast fundraiser on June 23 during the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The raffle supports IFRT awards celebrating important contributions to intellectual freedom. Tickets can be purchased at the conference on June 22–23. Pictures and details of the prizes can be found on the IFRT raffle website....

Intellectual Freedom Round Table, May 15

What you need to know about the new ALA Connect

ALA Connect logo

Jenny Levine writes: “The new ALA Connect has launched, and we want to make sure you’re aware of some things that will affect ALA members, even if you’ve never used the site. ALA has set the default privacy levels for your profile information, but you have full control of what is visible; none of your contact information is available to anyone else unless you change that setting yourself. There’s a main ALA Connect site, and each division and round table also has its own Connect site. Except for the main address, all other URLs from the old system no longer work.”...

LITA Blog, May 11
ALA news

Nebraska public library project targets rural students

Nebraska Sparks grant

Five Nebraska public libraries will participate in a year-long project designed to help rural students be on an equal footing when it comes to internet access. The libraries in Bancroft, Verdigre, Genoa, Imperial, and Wymore have been selected to work together as partners to increase internet speeds at their facilities as part of a Nebraska Library Commission project that kicks off June 1. The commission recently was awarded a $25,000 National Leadership Sparks Grant by IMLS....

Norfolk (Nebr.) Daily News, May 14; Nebraska Library Commissoin, May 7

Academic libraries launch Data Curation Network

Data Curation Network banner

Backed by a $526,438 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the University of Michigan Library and seven other academic libraries have launched a Data Curation Network. The network helps institutions better support researchers who are seeking to meet a growing number of mandates to openly and ethically share their research data. The project, in addition to expanding member libraries’ data curation capacity, could serve as a model for how libraries can extend their services via cross-institutional networks....

University of Michigan Library, May 14

Finland’s cities are a haven for library lovers

Artist’s conception of Helsinki’s state-of-the-art Oodi library, which will stand opposite parliament and boast a cinema, recording studio, and makerspace

Finland is a country of readers, declared Finland’s ambassador to the UK Päivi Luostarinen, and it’s hard to argue with her. In 2016 the UN named Finland the world’s most literate nation, and Finns are among the world’s most enthusiastic users of public libraries—the country’s 5.5 million people borrow close to 68 million books a year. Nasima Razmyar, deputy mayor of Helsinki, stands ready to champion the institution that has given her so much, starting with the construction of Oodi, the city’s new central library, due to open in December....

The Guardian (UK), May 15
Dewey Decibel podcast

Secrets of a medieval manuscript stain

Stained fol. 69v from Recipes and Extracts on Alchemy, Medicine, Metal-Working, Cosmetics, Veterinary Science, Agriculture, Wine-Making, and Other Subjects (Northwestern Italy, 1425–1450)

Tom Avril writes: “The slim volume bound in animal skin represented the best the field of medicine had to offer 500 years ago: a compilation of remedies made from such ingredients as rabbit bones, ox tongue, and chicory. Yet at some point before the manuscript reached its current resting place, a library shelf at the University of Pennsylvania, an unknown liquid was spilled on its carefully lettered pages. Many of the words are no longer legible. Erin F. Connelly sees the unsightly blotches as a research opportunity.”...

Philadelphia Daily News, May 14

15 of the best dystopian novels

Cover of Brown Girl in the Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson

Emily Martin writes: “In our current political climate, is it any surprise that the hunger for good dystopian novels doesn’t show signs of waning any time soon? Here are 15 of the best dystopian novels to add to your ever-growing pile of TBR books (you’ll probably want to bump some of them to the top). Read them and feel better about the world you live in and simultaneously become terrified for what the future will bring.”...

Book Riot, May 15
Latest Library Links

Names are problematic

Some false assumptions about personal names

Eric Phetteplace writes: “A while ago I stumbled onto the post ‘Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names’ and was stunned. Personal names are one of the most deceptively difficult forms of data to work with, and this article touched on many common but unaddressed problems. Assumptions like ‘people have exactly one canonical name’ and ‘My system will never have to deal with names from China/Japan/Korea’ are apparent everywhere. These issues simply cannot be ignored because names are vital.”...

ACRL TechConnect blog, May 13; Kalzumeus Software, June 17, 2010

How I use tech to build relationships

School activity

April Wathen writes: “My role as a librarian at George Washington Carver Elementary in Lexington Park, Maryland, a Title I school, started five years ago. I have watched the title ‘librarian’ and the meaning of the word ‘library’ change entirely over the past few years, with the role of teacher librarian merging into something that simply cannot be replaced in a learning environment. To make sure we’re prepared for what lies ahead, we keep a close eye on our space and students by doing the following things.”...

eSchool News, May 15

The best graphics cards for 1080p gaming

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 Mini, ZT-P10600A-10L, 6GB GDDR5 VR Ready Super Compact Gaming Graphics Card

Josh Norem and John Burek write: “If you frequent gaming and hardware sites, you’ll see lots of buzz around ‘4K gaming’ on new high-end monitors, as well as the rise of more-affordable 1440p displays. Spend long enough in those parts, and you might assume that expensive, monster video cards rule the PC-gaming world. Not so! They are the eventual future when they get cheaper. For the near future, though, playing at 1080p, or ‘full HD’ will remain the sweet spot. Here are the best graphics cards for that activity.”...

PC Magazine, May 15

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