Privacy concerns and learning analytics.

American Library Association • September 11, 2018
University of Denver

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Balancing data collection with patron privacy

A University of Arizona researcher is tracking students to predict academic success

Greg Landgraf writes: “The University of Arizona in Tucson made big news in March when it revealed that it was tracking swipes of ID cards given to every student and used at almost 700 campus locations in an attempt to predict which students are likely to drop out. It’s an example of learning analytics, the use of data to understand and optimize learning and learning environments. And while the goals of learning analytics projects may be noble, the practice has raised alarms among privacy advocates.”...

American Libraries Trend, Sept./Oct.; UA News, Mar. 7

Mobile kitchens for teaching food literacy

Mobile food programs, like this one at Camden County (N.J.) Library System, are teaching food literacy and delivering nutritious meals in food deserts

Lara Ewen writes: “The Books and Cooks mobile kitchen—a Lakeside Foodservice Creation Station that cost about $9,000—travels to each of Camden County (N.J.) Library System’s eight branches, as well as the One Stop Career Center and Camden County College. Additionally, CCLS Director Linda Devlin’s staff receive food protection training from the Camden County Environmental Health Division, and programming is supported through partnerships with eight local organizations.”...

American Libraries Trend, Sept./Oct.

Sponsored Content

Legally using images in libraries

Are you legally using images in your library? Can you use that perfect image from Google on a poster or on your website? Perhaps you’ve scanned a cartoon for presentation slides. Or you’re unsure how to use book cover images in catalogues and bibliographies. ALA Editions author Lesley Ellen Harris (Licensing Digital Content: A Practical Guide for Librarians) addresses these issues and more. She sets out important concepts about copyright law and image use, and provides tips on educating staff and patrons about copyright.

Simple ways to up your design game

April Aultman Becker, dean of library and research technologies at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, used Microsoft Publisher to design this series of bookmarks in her previous role as education coordinator at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center Research Medical Library

Pixelated photos, inappropriate font choices, and other design depravities—including clip art—often hamper libraries’ attempts to communicate effectively with their patrons. In an age when even preschoolers have access to desktop publishing software, the public has become more sophisticated about what constitutes good design. And an amateurish poster slapped together over the course of a few minutes in Microsoft Word isn’t it. You don’t need to become a Photoshop pro, but you need to tweak your approach a bit....

American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct.

Shaping digital citizens

On My Mind, by Kara Shelton Watson

Kara Shelton Watson writes: “Over the years teachers have asked me how I got involved with cyberbullying prevention at school. I tell them that I believe that digital citizenship falls naturally under the domain of librarians, as we place high value on using and creating information ethically. In schools, we have a curriculum that teaches students the concepts of citizenship, community, and social justice through varied disciplines. And in the school library, these ideals come together.”...

American Libraries column, Sept./Oct.

Getting ready for the 2020 Census

Complete Count Committees. Image by Kentucky Youth Advocates

Gavin Baker and Larra Clark write: “The upcoming 2020 Census will have repercussions for communities—and libraries—around the US. Library staff members and supporters can help keep their communities informed by participating in a Complete Count Committee. State, local, or tribal governments or community-based organizations form the committees and invite public officials and community leaders to participate. Libraries have major stakes in their communities being fully represented in the 2020 Census.”...

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 11; District Dispatch, Apr. 4

Emilio Estevez’s The Public premieres in Toronto

Emilio Estevez in the Toronto Reference Library while promoting his new film, The Public. Photo: Jennifer Roberts / The Washington Post

Emilio Estevez (right) has directed six films. His seventh, The Public, had its world premiere September 9 at the Toronto International Film Festival. Estevez has been a fan of libraries since doing most of his research for his 2006 film Bobby in Los Angeles Public Library’s downtown branch. The Public was inspired by an essay that the filmmaker read several years ago by a librarian explaining how cuts in the social safety net had made him and his colleagues de facto first responders....

Washington Post, Sept. 10; American Libraries Newsmaker, Mar./Apr.
ALA news

IFLA Global Vision Ideas Store

IFLA Global Vision Ideas Store

In 2017, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions began to explore the challenges faced by libraries around the world. Your contributions informed the IFLA Global Vision Report Summary, which identified 10 opportunities to address common challenges. With the Global Vision Ideas Store, IFLA is offering every librarian a chance to contribute to the collective vision for future libraries. Submit your ideas before September 30....

IFLA, Aug. 26

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries

Reading Animal Farm for pleasure. Illustration by Chris Riddell

Author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell remind us in this pictorial essay that reading for pleasure is a really important thing to do—and that libraries create literate citizens: “I suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things that one can do. I’m making a plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things. Everything changes when we read.”...

The Guardian (UK), Sept. 6
Dewey Decibel podcast

Libraries are the best type of social infrastructure

Cover of Palaces for the People, by Eric Klinenberg

Eric Klinenberg calls libraries and parks “social infrastructure.” They’re spaces and organizations that shape the way people interact. His new book, Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life, tells us how public institutions can not only enrich our day-to-day lives but can save lives. He talked to Sabri Ben-Achour on Marketplace Morning Report....

PBS: Marketplace, Sept. 11; New York Times, Sept. 8

Dragons, myth, magic: 23 fantasy series for adults

Cover of The Poppy War, by R. F. Kuang

Silvana Reyes Lopez writes: “Fantasy is a good way to get your head outside your usual setting. You can step inside magnificent worlds, meet wonderful monsters and creatures, or fight alongside heroes and villains. If you crave stories that take more than one book, check out these fantasy book series for adults. The list is divided into new fantasy series, waiting for the sequel series, and completed fantasy series.”...

Book Riot, Sept. 10
Latest Library Links

Fast internet is a problem for 24% of rural Americans

High-speed internet

Fast, reliable internet service has become essential for everything from getting news to finding a job. But 24% of rural adults say access to high-speed internet is a major problem in their local community, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year. An additional 34% of rural residents see this as a minor problem, meaning that roughly six in 10 rural Americans (58%) believe access to high-speed internet is a problem in their area....

FactTank, Sept. 10; Pew Research Center, May 22

The 10 best free PC games

League of Legends

Gabriel Zamora writes: “If you have some time to kill, you can’t go wrong with a free game, especially if you’re playing on a PC, which has far more free-to-play options than consoles. But with so many games to sample, it can be daunting to find a game worth downloading. You could stick to free Steam games, but if you don’t mind venturing outside the comfy convenience of Valve’s online store once in a while, read on to see 10 free titles you can snatch up for your PC.”...

PC Magazine, Aug. 8, Sept. 7

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