FCC explores capping the Universal Service Fund.

American Library Association • July 30, 2019

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Possible threat to the E-Rate program

Universal Service Fund logo

Bob Bocher writes: “ALA, along with other organizations, submitted comments July 28 to the Federal Communications Commission on its May 31 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks information about placing an overall funding cap on the Universal Service Fund. USF is the fund that supports E-Rate and other programs (Connect America, Lifeline, and Rural Health Care) that provide affordable internet access to low-income and rural areas. The E-Rate program is critical to ensure affordable broadband connectivity and internet access for schools and libraries. It also supports such network enhancements as Wi-Fi connectivity hotspots.”...

AL: The Scoop, July 30

50 years of the CSK book awards

Dewey Decibel CSK episode

The Coretta Scott King (CSK) Book Awards, which honor African-American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults, celebrates a 50th anniversary this year. To commemorate the occasion, the Dewey Decibel podcast invited five past winners and honorees to participate in a panel discussion on the awards at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., in June. Episode 40 revisits that panel and features authors Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds, and Angie Thomas; author and illustrator Christopher Myers; and illustrator Ekua Holmes, talking about the history and importance of the awards....

AL: The Scoop, July 29

Biking through history at the library

Chicago’s Newberry Library organized a “Visualizing the 1919 Riots in Today’s Chicago” ride that took bicyclists to sites of the riot’s key events

Noah Lenstra writes: “Library-led tours can be a highly engaging—and surprising—addition to your programming lineup. Building upon surging interest in bicycling, local history, and active transportation, librarians at the Newberry Library in Chicago, the McCracken County (Ky.) Public Library in Paducah; and the Maine State Library in Augusta have all expanded upon this idea to offer bicycle-based history tours. First, these programs depend upon partnerships. Do not go out and try to do this by yourself. You can then organize a bike history tour in many different ways.”...

Programming Librarian, July 30; Chicago 1919, June 29; WZZL-FM, Reidland, Ky., Aug. 28, 2018; Kennebec (Maine) Journal, June 17

Boston science librarian creates a lush personal garden

Nasim Parveen in her garden. Screenshot from video

John O’Rourke writes: “It began with a packet of seeds. Growing up in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nasim Parveen was mesmerized by the lush flowers she saw growing in neighbors’ gardens. After her father bought her a packet of seeds, she returned from school one day to see that those seeds had produced plants with purple blossoms. Thus began her lifelong passion for plants and gardening. A librarian at Boston University’s Stone Science Library, Parveen has plied her green thumb from one continent to another. And for the past 17 years, her passion project has been her quarter-acre backyard garden at her West Roxbury home.”...

BU Today, July 29
ALA news

Circulating musical instruments: A hit in Halifax

Cynthia Gatto, collection development manager for Halifax (N.S.) Public Libraries, in front of the musical instrument lending collection

An instrument-lending program in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is hitting a high note with novice and seasoned musicians alike. The Halifax Public Library program that allows patrons to borrow musical instruments started in 2018 with 150 instruments, and about 50 more have been donated by the public over the last year. Instruments in the collection include guitars, acoustic bass guitars, violins, keyboards, bells, and djembes (an African drum), but ukuleles and bongos are the most popular. There are currently about 600 people waiting in line to check out instruments from the library....

CBC News, July 28; July 11, 2018

LC restores ancient Buddhist scroll

One segment of the Gandhara Scroll

The Library of Congress has restored and made available online the Gandhara Scroll, a manuscript dating back to around the first century BCE that offers insight into early Buddhist history. The scroll is one of the world’s oldest Buddhist manuscripts. The scroll originated in Gandhara, an ancient state located in what is now the northern border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The scroll tells the story of buddhas who came before and after Siddhartha Gautama, the sage who reached enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in eastern India around the fifth century BCE and the religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded....

Library of Congress, July 29

A heavy hoax: The lying stones of Johann Beringer

Fake fossil insect from Lithographia Wirceburgensis

Alexandra K. Alvis writes: “Fake fossils are a difficult issue for modern paleontologists: There is a booming black market in forgeries, and well-intentioned researchers of the past have even managed to accidentally fool the curators of today. One historical case of forged fossils stands out as particularly sinister. The victim was a certain Johann Bartholomew Adam Beringer (1667–1738), a professor at the University of Wurzburg. The perpetrators: Beringer’s very own colleagues, J. Ignatz Roderick and Georg von Eckhart. This sordid tale resulted in unfortunate endings for all three of the parties involved, but also produced a curious monograph titled Lithographia Wirceburgensis.”...

Smithsonian Libraries: Unbound, July 25; Scientific American, Nov. 15, 2014; Live Science, Jan. 8; History of Geology, Aug. 14, 2010

What is a digital pop-up library?

Digital pop-up library

Amy Hooper writes: “In Evanston, Illinois, four new libraries have appeared. But they look nothing like libraries and everything like, well, posters with instructions to access a Wi-Fi hotspot. Because that’s exactly what they are. ‘How can a Wi-Fi hotspot anchor a library?’ I hear you ask. My thoughts exactly. So I did a little digging and found … not a lot. It seems that these strange but rather clever libraries are still a relatively unknown phenomenon in both the tech and library worlds. What I did find out is this: Evanston Public Library is one of a dozen or so libraries in the US to offer mobile hotspots that provide access only to the ebook collection.”...

Tech Soup for Libraries, July 29
Latest Library Links

Counting data librarians

Number of data librarians at R1 universities

Rebecca Springer writes: “How many data librarians does the average research university have? As data science methodologies are embraced by more and more academic fields—and as funders and administrators increasingly prioritize big data projects—academic libraries are staffing up to meet a growing demand. ‘Research data services’ is a term that encompasses a broad range of support functions that help students and scholars conduct research with data. With so much development in this space, I wanted to take stock of current staffing levels for data services roles. I searched the online staff directories of the 131 US universities currently classified as R1.”...

Ithaka S+R, July 29

Henry County libraries celebrate Shark Week

Shark Week at Henry County (Ga.) Public Library System. Screenshot from video

The Henry County (Ga.) Public Library System is celebrating Shark Week with this promotional video, “Sharks in the Stacks” (1:47). Shark Week is the Discovery Channel’s idea for promoting a week of shark documentaries and films, July 28–August 4. The library is offering prizes to patrons who find a hidden shark picture in the stacks....

Terry Alexander YouTube channel, July 29
Dewey Decibel podcast

How to make Windows easier on your eyes

Change cursor size and pointer color

Lance Whitney writes: “Do you ever have trouble seeing the text, menus, cursor, or other elements in Windows? Maybe the text is too small, the cursor is too thin, or the screen doesn’t have enough contrast. Whatever the problem, you can customize and resize different elements by adjusting the Ease of Access Settings in Windows 10. You can change the size and color for the text, apps, and cursor; enable color filters or a high contrast mode to make the screen easier to read; and use a magnifier to zoom in on parts of the screen. The Windows 10 May 2019 Update throws in some new tricks, such as the ability to tweak the size of text through a slider bar.”...

PC Magazine, May 31, July 29

13 dark and twisty tales

Cover of A Cut-Like Wound, by Anita Nair

Emily Martin writes: “Has anyone else noticed that many horror and thriller movies have come out this summer? That’s because dark and twisty stories aren’t just for the colder months. A lot of us want to immerse ourselves in this genre all year round. With that in mind, here’s a selection of 13 great dark and twisty novels that will have you asking, ‘what the heck did I just read?’”...

Book Riot, July 30

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