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Posts tagged librarianship

National digital library endowment proposal makes Education Week
May 13, 2015 | 6:25 pm

edWeekEndowmentLibraryCity’s proposal for a national digital library endowment has now made the leading publication in the field of K-12 education---not just philanthropy (Chronicle of Philanthropy) and libraries (Library Journal). Education Week has published a 1,300-word essay with a home-page link. Also to be reproduced in the print edition, the article is a collaboration between me and Jim Duncan, executive director of the Colorado Library Consortium. Jim is offering his personal views. The beginning: As a boy, Warren Buffett is said to have read book after book on money. Thankfully, he did not live in Los Angeles and rely on the library at Roy Romer Middle...

Cheap blind-friendly E Ink Kindles with read-aloud and audio nav capabilities: A how-to for Amazon
February 9, 2015 | 2:25 pm

Shaun Kane at RobotFestI hope that Amazon’s CEO never becomes a blind visionary. But if Jeff Bezos’s eyes should ever go downhill in a serious way---a risk for millions of aging baby boomers---he could still enjoy e-books on inexpensive E Ink Kindles. All he has to do is follow advice from Shaun K. Kane, the Colorado computer scientist in the photo, who has devoted years to accessibility issues. In the case of dedicated e-reading devices from Amazon, that doesn’t just mean the read-aloud which the earlier E Ink Kindles offered before the company yanked the feature away (despite Jeff’s original ballyhoo of text to speech, introduced...

No Paperwhite read-aloud for you! FCC again lets Amazon and friends diss people with disabilities
February 2, 2015 | 12:25 pm

ptaAmazonText to speech would cost a pittance to add to current E Ink readers like Amazon’s Paperwhite and the $200 Voyage. In fact, some earlier Kindles even came with read-aloud. No longer, though. With all the laws on the books, can’t Washington stop this dissing of people with disabilities? In one form or another, the Kindle is so common that it’s become “The Official E-reader of the National PTA.” Yet despite TTS’s potential benefits to millions of Americans, the Federal Communications Commission has just granted the e-reader industry another year’s exemption from the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. The...

The K-12 and economic cases for a national digital library endowment
January 24, 2015 | 11:00 am

President Obama wants expanded broadband, as indicated in his State of the Union address---a laudable goal. But what to use it for, beyond such purposes as, say, the faster downloading of YouTubes? Here's the latest version of LibraryCity’s call for a national digital library endowment and intertwined public and academic library systems online. Short of time? Read an executive summary. – D.R. The average 15-to-19-year-old in the U.S. spends only six minutes a day reading for fun, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What’s more, a just-released report from Scholastic, discussed later in this commentary, warns that the number of...

Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community
July 17, 2014 | 12:25 pm

textgirl2A friend of mine in his 40s is about to start teaching in Houston, Texas, and he recently shared a discovery. Many teenagers in Houston tote cell phones, but don’t know they can read library e-books for free on their phones. This would jibe with a 2012 poll showing similar ignorance among Americans at large. A bigger issue also comes up. Just how much do young people care about books in the first place? Americans 15-19 spend only about four minutes reading for fun on a typical weekend day. Too bad. Students who love books are more likely to excel in school....

Ebooks and public libraries vs. cruise ship subsidies in Miami-Dade
December 25, 2013 | 10:42 am

ebooks and public librariesJessica Nunez and her family are just the kind of people who could benefit from well-financed physical libraries, paper books, the digital variety, loans of e-readers, and technical support along with old-fashioned inspiration from dedicated career-librarians. “A lot of parents don’t have computers at home or they can’t afford ’em,” she told a TV interviewer in September after the besieged  Miami-Dade library system won a temporary reprieve from massive cuts in hours and jobs. Ms. Nunez herself is among the millions of cash-strapped Americans counting on public libraries to help them. But will Miami-Dade come through for the Nunezes? That remains to be...

National digital libraries for Carmela Hernandez and family—not just the American elite
December 6, 2013 | 2:15 pm

national digital librariesLibraryCity has just posted a major series telling how an initiative for national digital libraries could serve ordinary people here in the U.S., not merely the American elite. Sounds like a given. But it isn’t, alas. The Digital Public Library of America is a wonder, but judged by the Five Laws of Library Science, it is more for academics and others in the elite than for the country as a whole. I’m reminded of the old Literary Digest poll saying that Alf Landon would wallop FDR in the 1936 election. The Digest relied too much on well-off respondents and was out of...

Jim Duncan, Colorado Library Consortium executive director, speaks out in series on public libraries and the Digital Public Library of America
October 29, 2013 | 4:14 pm

Jim Duncan, executive director of the Colorado Library ConsortiumWhat kind of national digital library system---or systems, plural---should the U.S. create? Read Parts One and Two of a new series where Jim Duncan, executive director of the Colorado Library Consortium delves into the major issues. Is the Harvard-incubated Digital Public Library of America the solution with its “one big tent” approach for public and academic libraries? With museums even included? Or do we need intertwined but separate public and academic systems, so literacy issues, K-12 needs, related digital divide matters, and other national concerns do not fall through the cracks? Could a national digital library endowment, started mostly with philanthropic donations...

Family literacy and K-12 success: How a well-stocked public e-library system for the U.S. could help our students catch up with ‘The Smartest Kids in the World’
October 21, 2013 | 5:48 pm

smartestkidsvideoAmanda Ripley, who has written on education for Time Magazine and the Atlantic, is out with a new book that might upset some traditional PTA stalwarts and other boosters of after-school activities if they don’t pick up the nuances about literacy here. No, Ms. Ripley, a fellow at the New American Foundation, isn’t anti-PTA. She appreciates “the contributions” that a local PTA chapter can make to a “school's culture, budget, and sense of community." But in The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way (video here), she asks whether American mothers and fathers shouldn’t increase time for another activity---enjoying...

First all-digital public library system a hit in Bexar County, Texas—with hundreds of e-reader gizmos and an eager young crew to explain them
October 20, 2013 | 1:11 pm

bibliotechLast year LibraryCity.org knocked the library system in Rockford, Illinois, for planning to spend around a quarter of its $1.19-million collection budget on e-books. A third of Rockfordians were living below the poverty line in 2009 by one estimate. And yet the local library initially wanted to start out with just 50 Kindle e-readers---hardly the best solution for people too poor or technophobic to buy and use e-book devices. The local NAACP and other groups yelled foul, just as they should have. So what’s happening down in Bexar County, Texas? BiblioTech, the world’s first all-digital public library system, opened there September 14...

How to get the most out of library ebooks via the right gadget, text to speech, and otherwise
October 18, 2013 | 6:26 pm

FireVergeWant to hear text to speech from free library ebooks on your 50-mile commute? Even if you own an Android machine and the usual OverDrive app can’t do “read-aloud” unless audiobooks count? Also, what if you haven’t even bought an e-reading gizmo for library use, but want to? Which model to go with? In those cases and others, the guidance here is for you. Most tips will work even with low-cost, no-name tablets. But let’s pay special attention to the new Kindle Fire HDXes. They are among the top choices if you care more about reading than about tech and can stomach...

Was librarian David Faucheux the world’s first blind blogger?
February 25, 2013 | 11:25 am

librarian David FaucheuxWas my friend David Faucheux—a library and information science graduate—the world’s first blind blogger? Any librarians or others know the answer? I set David up in May 2004 on a commercial audio service, which he dialed up to submit recordings, often augmented with text. For the next four years David gave us an inimitable slice of America as seen through his own “eyes.” Where else could you have found such MP3s as Gaming the Shows: How to Be a (Blind) Millionaire? My favorite segment from David Faucheux, however, was Seeing eye dog etiquette—and a few recollections of Nader. Said animal, owned during David’s library...