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Public Libraries and Controversial Science

The public library should not shy away from such controversial scientific topics like the anti-vaccination movement. After all, we are in an excellent position to provide people with accurate information. The Hartford Public Library chooses to embrace these controversies and play their role!

In an effort to bring science into every day conversation, the Connecticut Science Center and Hartford Public Library present an ongoing series of facilitated lunchtime discussions in Downtown Hartford. “Beyond the Podium: Lunchtime Science Conversations” explores science issues that are currently part of a national dialogue including stem cell research, the vaccination controversy, environmental issues and how the brain works in the technological age.

via Connecticut Science Center, Hartford Public Library Partner to Increase Engagement in Scientific Conversation, Inquiry – Hartford Courant.

I love this! In a world where science denial is such a polarizing issue, public libraries can help establish fact from fiction. It is, after all, a big part of what we do… helping patrons to learn by connecting them to the best information possible. Wow… what a radical idea.

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Texas State Library provides free IT workshops for rural public libraries

TSLAC is doing face-to-face workshops designed specifically for small and rural public libraries around Texas this month. I particularly love their logo and workshop name: You Can Do I.T. Clever! The schedule for upcoming workshops is below.

Coming up soon:

4/1/2015 : Andrews (Andrews County Library)
4/2/2015 : Rocksprings (Claud H Gilmer Memorial Library)
4/20/2015 : Saginaw (John Ed Keeter Public Library)
4/21/2015 : Canton (Van Zandt County Public Library)
4/23/2015 : Alpine (Alpine Public Library)
Here are photos of our recent workshop hosted at the wonderful Llano Library (Thanks to Tommi Myers for the pic):

And to give you a feel for Carson’s skills, here’s a video of his TEDx Talk on libraries a couple years back:

via I.T.’s a hit! | Library Developments.

Library consultant Carson Block is conducting the training. Here is a TedTalk he gave on libraries.

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Texas Teen Book Festival Dates have been announced!

Attend the 2015 Fest

Join us for a FREE one-day festival celebrating young adult literature!

SATURDAY, September 26, 2015
8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
St. Edward’s University
3001 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Schedule coming soon!

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter at @TXTeenBookFest #TTBF15

Authors & Panels

Coming soon, but check out our exclusive 2014 interviews on our blog.

Books

You may bring 3 personal copies to sign for every 1 title purchased at the festival. CASH, CHECKS (made out to BookPeople), and CREDIT CARDS will be accepted.

Food

St. Edward’s South Congress Market of Ragsdale will be open all day for attendees to dine and purchase food and drinks. Menu to come.

Writing Contest

A new component for this year’s gathering is the Texas Teen Book Festival Writing Contest, sponsored by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books! More information HERE.

St. Edward’s Admission & Tours

Visit the St. Edward’s Admissions Tent outside of the Main Building for more information and campus tours.  The Admissions Office will also have a booth in the Exhibitor Hall.

Goals

Have fun!
Connect teen readers to local and award-winning authors
Encourage interaction between aspiring writers and established authors
Bring together teens who enjoy reading and to encourage struggling readers
Support, promote, and celebrate recreational teen reading
Promote life-long reading

Event & Parking Map

TTBF Event Map

via Attend the 2015 Fest |.

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The Journal of Radical Librarianship

From Flickr user, library_mistress, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

A scholarly journal just for me? Perhaps someday… No, a group of librarians in the UK got together and formed the Radical Librarians Collective to offer a radical approach to library and information issues, particularly to challenge the marketization of libraries. They are against neoliberalism in libraries, not liberalism in the political sense but in the economical. In The Library With The Lead Pipe borrows a definition from Lowes’ The Anti-Capitalist Dictionary for neoliberalism:

Neoliberalism can be defined as the belief “that markets are inherently efficient and that the state and public sector have no essential role to play in economic development apart from facilitating the expansion, intensification and primacy of market relations.”

They recently decided to create an academic journal with the hopes that these theories could be shared more widely.

The Journal of Radical Librarianship is a new open-access journal publishing a combination of peer-reviewed scholarly writing and non-peer-reviewed commentary and reviews. We’re looking for work on the subject of radical librarianship and related areas. Broadly speaking, anything that investigates the political aspects of librarianship or takes a critical theory-based approach to LIS.

via In the Library with the Lead Pipe » A radical publishing collective: the Journal of Radical Librarianship.

They are looking for submissions on radical librarianship which they suggest is “anything that investigates the political aspects of librarianship or takes critical theory-based approach to LIS.” Contact them with questions about submission ideas.

We have a similar group here in the us called the Radical Reference Collective. I met up with some of them at ALA one year for drinks and learned more about their organization. Their mission, slightly more broad, I think, than the Radical Librarian Collective is:

Mission Statement: Radical Reference is a collective of volunteer library workers who believe in social justice and equality. We support activist communities, progressive organizations, and independent journalists by providing professional research support, education and access to information. We work in a collaborative virtual setting and are dedicated to information activism to foster a more egalitarian society.

An upcoming post I am working on will go more into this, but it is difficult to do what we do and not become political. Whether we are talking about why libraries are so important or the campaigning for funds to keep the doors open, politics is a big part of librarianship. I look forward to seeing what this journal has to add to libraryland and following the efforts of radical librarians everywhere!

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MOOC from EdX with Stan Lee and Michael Uslan on The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture

The Smithsonian and EdX are offering a free MOOC called The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture co-taught by Stan Lee and Michael Uslan. It begins on May 5th and run for 5 weeks. Go here to learn more and register!

From Superman® and Spiderman®, to The Avengers® and The Hulk® and beyond, who are these heroes? And, how have they evolved from folklore and myth, across all cultures and religions?

Learn from Smithsonian and industry experts including:

Stan Lee, who created the modern superhero template. His early comics featuring Spiderman, Iron Man®, The Hulk, Thor®, and The Avengers led Marvel to success. He continues to reinvent himself to create modern global superheroes and appear in cameos in superhero films and TV, such as Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Michael Uslan, executive producer of top grossing, award winning movies, including The Dark Knight series, Lego® Movie, the animated Batman films and Batman® VS Superman.

In this course, we explore the following questions:

  • Why did superheroes first arise in 1938 and experience what we refer to as their “Golden Age” during World War II?
  • Why did the superhero genre ebb and flow in popularity over the decades?
  • How have comic books, published weekly since the mid-1930’s, mirrored a changing American society, reflecting our mores, slang, fads, biases and prejudices?
  • Why was the comic book industry nearly shut down in the McCarthy Era of the 1950’s?
  • How did our superheroes become super-villains in the eyes of the government, clergy, educators, and parents of the mid-20th Century?
  • When and how did comic books become acceptable again, and eventually become valid teaching tools in universities and schools?
  • When and how did comic book artwork become accepted as a true American art form as indigenous to this country as jazz?
  • Finally, when and how did comic books become “cool” and the basis for blockbuster movies, hit TV series, top-selling video games, and acclaimed animation, while also impacting fashion and style- and even the moral and ethical codes of children- around the globe?

via The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture | edX.

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MOOC on Public Library User Experience

The School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is hosting a MOOC on Public Library User Experience that sounds pretty interesting.

The objectives of the course are:

Students completing the Customer Service Module will be able to:

  • Identify overarching principles that guide high quality public library service.
  • Describe trending options for experiences and spaces in your library that engage patrons and create a third place or refuge for the public.
  • Recognize the need for ongoing staff training that can build relationships and keep a safe environment for learning.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the diversity in audiences and the techniques available to reach out and provide great service.
  • Recognize the importance of programming as a commitment to library customer service that will create experiences beyond patron expectations.

Students completing the Youth Programming module will be able to:

  • To become aware of the past, present and potential future of library services for children and young adults.
  • To develop skills in assessing needs and utilizing goals and objectives to plan services and programs, and in evaluating services and programs.
  • To build specific programs appropriate for various age groups and to observe and conduct model programs in real settings.
  • To become aware of the potential of technology as well as other media in providing information services, in meeting educational needs, and in promoting total literacy.
  • To develop a philosophy of service for youth.

Students completing the Technology module will be able to:

  • Describe the basic library system components (OPAC, Circulation, Cataloging, Acquisitions, Serials) and how they serve us.
  • Identify current Discovery Systems and evaluate their impact on the traditional catalog for library users.
  • Show familiarity with technology standards (from MARC to OAI-PMH) that make a library work.
  • Understand how inventory control works with barcode/RFID technologies to ensure that both staff and library users can find what they want — and keep it safe.
  • Recognize basic networking strategies for cabled and for wireless access along with management and security concerns for all users.
  • Demonstrate awareness of current and upcoming library technologies and place these technologies in context for the public library community.

Students completing the Community Engagement module will be able to:

  • Identify community issues and challenges, including illustrating an area where community engagement is lacking and would be beneficial.
  • Describe the role their public library can play in identifying and addressing the issue.
  • Recognize the types of relevant community partners that can help support and enhance a community engagement project.
  • Describe and assess potential community engagement methods based on an analysis of community need and available resources.
  • Create a plan of action for their public library to take when implementing a community engagement project.
  • Evaluate the steps, resources, and knowledge needed to set the community engagement plan into action.

I had to learn more about how they combined subjects in the School of Informatics and Computing. Apparently it is the first program like this in the US and it combines computing, social science, and information systems. Fascinating! With the Rutgers School of Communication and Information recently dropping “Science” and calling the degree a Master of Information, we are probably going to see many changes like this in the way we define an education in information.

Anyway, this MOOC sounds interesting. You can enroll for the course here.

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Free webinar series on technology tools from the Texas State Library

This is a series that TSLAC has been doing for several years now. I just registered for the first one in late April on Social Media. They topics they are going to cover are

  • Social Media: Needs Analysis
  • Social Media: Marketing Strategy
  • Social Media: Engaging Patrons
  • Online Fundraising
  • Arduino (mail order kits for building digital and interactive devices

The archive going back to 2010 is also available. Register for the current series or view the archive here.

Please join us for a special series with technology trainer, Christine Walczyk, all about popular online tools. The series is meant to be short on talk about library context and higher concepts. It’s really all about the tools themselves! Our aim is to demonstrate how to use one tool in each webinar in under 60 minutes with time for Q&A built in.

Christine Walczyk is currently a PhD candidate at the University of North Texas in Library & Information Science as well as an independent technology/library consultant with Trainers-R-Us.. She has 10+ years in libraries and is a former software trainer.

via Webinars | TSLAC.