Library handwriting workshops.

American Library Association • September 17, 2019
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Libraries take the lead in teaching cursive

A participant in a cursive workshop at L. P. Fisher Public Library in Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada, practices the alphabet. Photo by Jenn Carson

Marcus Banks writes: “At the Richland Library Main Makerspace and Woodshop in Columbia, South Carolina, patrons can use a band saw, learn their way around a sewing machine, or join a ‘build-a-thon.’ But in 2019, one teenage user expressed a different goal: To sign her name, rather than print it. That led Teen Services Supervisor Jennifer Naimzadeh to decide that her branch should offer workshops in cursive writing. Supporters of cursive point to a study from 2012 finding that reading and writing cursive may help prevent the reversal and inversion of letters by students with dyslexia.”...

American Libraries Trend, Sept./Oct.; IntechOpen, Apr. 18, 2012

Sparking a love for learning

Dinah Wade

Dinah Wade (right) has spent hundreds of hours learning how to respond to a fire: how to hook up a hose to a hydrant, identify different types of smoke, and administer CPR. But it’s her training as a librarian and former classroom teacher that kicks in when she meets a nervous kid on the scene of a call. Wade is library media specialist at Freedom Intermediate School, serving 5th- and 6th-graders in the city of Franklin, Tennessee—and a volunteer firefighter with the nearby Williamson County Rescue Squad. She started her fire training in 2007, the year she married a career police officer who also volunteers with the station....

American Libraries Bookend, Sept./Oct.

Library renamed after first African-American director

Priscilla Gardner

The Jersey City (N.J.) Free Public Library was renamed the Priscilla Gardner Main Library at a September 16 ceremony in honor of Priscilla Gardner’s five decades of service. Gardner (right), who is retiring this month, became the library’s first African-American director in 2002. She began as a junior library assistant in 1969 and spent 30 years working at the Miller branch, which she managed from 1987 to 1999. Mayor Steven Fulop said the impact that Gardner made on the city will last a lifetime....

Jersey City (N.J.) Patch, Sept. 16

Texas library gets grant to start an e-sports program

Pottsboro (Tex.) Library Director Dianne Connery. Screenshot from KXII-TV broadcast

Pottsboro (Tex.) Library has received a $49,657 IMLS grant to start a scholastic e-sports program. Library Director Dianne Connery (right) says the program will help young people learn problem-solving, collaboration, and communication—all while playing video games. The library will form an e-sports club through the North America Scholastic Esports Federation. Students will compete in local and national e-sports tournaments, access clinics and workshops on game skills, and enter challenges based on analytics and creativity. The funds will purchase gaming computers, headsets, and faster internet capability....

KXII-TV, Sherman, Tex., Sept. 12; North America Scholastic Esports Federation, Aug. 16
ALA news

LC launches website on the US Constitution

Constitution Annotated website

In celebration of Constitution Day, September 17, the Library of Congress is launching a new website for Constitution Annotated, the authoritative source for how the Supreme Court has interpreted the nation’s governing document. With advanced search tools and a modern user-friendly interface, the new website makes the 3,000 pages of the Constitution Annotated accessible for the first time to online audiences. For more than a century, the Constitution Annotated has served as the official record. Prepared by attorneys in the Congressional Research Service, it explains the Constitution and its interpretations in layman’s terms....

Library of Congress, Sept. 16

National Archives releases its digital preservation framework

The world’s first computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator. National Archives Identifier 594262

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero writes: “The National Archives and Records Administration is releasing the entirety of its digital preservation framework for public comment. This framework consists of our approach to determining risks faced by electronic files and our plans for preserving different types of file formats. We’re in the process of shifting the entire government off paper and onto all-electronic record-keeping, and we play a major role in helping the agencies get to that point. Our new strategic plan is the roadmap.”...

AOTUS Blog, Sept. 16

Steal this book? There’s a price

Ebook piracy flag. Art by Brian Stauffer

Richard Conniff writes: “According to publishing industry experts who track the rapid growth of book piracy, real copyright theft happens in a bewildering assortment of venues, including ‘piracy libraries’ that turn up in Google searches, illegal PDFs on eBay, counterfeit physical copies on Amazon, private file-sharing groups on Facebook, and person-to-person sharing via thumb drive. Since 2009, when ebooks and book piracy became a phenomenon, income for full-time authors has declined 42%. A 2017 Nielsen survey estimated that book publishers lose $315 million in sales per year to piracy, which works out to about $31.5 million authors no longer earn.”...

New York Times, Sept. 15
Latest Library Links

Why people believe fake videos

Fake video of Nancy Pelosi. Screenshot from CBS This Morning broadcast, May 25, 2019

Christye Sisson writes: “Lots of people—including Congress—are worried about fake videos and imagery distorting the truth, purporting to show people saying and doing things they never said or did. As someone with a background in the nuts and bolts of photographic technology, I was truly shocked that people seemed to be persuaded by images and video that I could easily identify as altered. Sociologists and social psychologists have shown that if the image or manipulation supports what someone already believes, they often accept it unquestioningly. But there may be another reason people believe what they see online.”...

Fast Company, Sept. 14; MIT Technology Review, June 12; CBS This Morning YouTube channel, May 25; Psychology Today, Apr. 23, 2015

The youngest librarian in India

Yashoda D. Shenoy

Twelve-year-old Yashoda D. Shenoy (right), a student at Thirumala Devaswom High School, Kochi, India, has been running her own library since January 26. One day she realized that for many, the prospect of having to pay a public library fine may discourage people from reading. Her solution was to start a library. With 3,000 fiction and nonfiction books and 140 members, the library is one of the most talked about ventures in India. Shenoy runs the library from 4–7 p.m. and her parents play librarians in the morning when she goes to school. The library is on the first floor of their house, sharing space with her father’s art gallery....

The Hindu (Chennai), July 27; The News Minute (Bangalore), July 14

25 of the best YA ghost books

Cover of Open Mic Night at Westminster Cemetery, by Mary Amato

Kelly Jensen writes: “What makes YA ghost books—and ghosts in general—so fascinating is the range of stories that are possible. Ghosts can be good or evil. They can be scary or friendly. They can be real or imagined. They can be something as deep as the afterlife of a beloved person who has died, completely invisible to any eye. Here are 25 incredible YA ghost books. These, like all good ghost books, range from being dark and disturbing to being lighter and more fun. I’ve included books for every kind of reader, from those who are itching to be scared to those who want a real emotional investment in the characters.”...

Book Riot, Sept. 16
Dewey Decibel podcast

A map of forbidden books

Segment of world map of forbidden books 2019

Brendan Brown writes: “At the end of September every year, ALA and Amnesty International partner to host Banned Books Week. They highlight books previously and currently challenged in bans across the United States. In the spirit that people should be able to read whatever they want, we present a map that shows nearly 50 countries with books currently banned (or were banned in the recent past). The map shows that, unfortunately, freedom of information is still being curtailed around the world. Below the map you’ll find a brief description of each book and why it’s too dangerous to read.”...

Global English Editing, Sept. 16

Photo of Indiana taco bookmark goes viral

Taco used as bookmark

David Moye writes: “Here’s some food for thought: Tacos make lousy bookmarks—especially for library books. But that seemingly obvious bit of knowledge didn’t stop a photo of, yes, a taco in a library book from going viral this past weekend. On September 14, Amanda Mae Monson, a former librarian with the La Porte County (Ind.) Library, tweeted out a photo that whetted the appetites of taco lovers while turning the stomachs of bookworms. Monson said the taco pic came from ‘an actual book found in the book drop at my library in Indiana a few years back.’”...

HuffPost, Sept. 16

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