The Riverdale (Ill.) Public Library is now open for business, an unremarkable event were it not the first time in three months after trustees shut the building down, refused to answer questions about why, and even set police on residents seeking an explanation. All the while, residents in the town of 13,000 just south of Chicago continued to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes to underwrite a library that had locked them out. And its future financial stability remains as opaque as ever.
Better Government Association, Mar. 16
Ryan Whitwham writes: “Computers are shrinking rapidly. You can build a pretty capable little machine powered by a device like the Raspberry Pi, but that’s still huge compared with IBM’s latest machine, the world’s smallest computer. Each one is smaller than a grain of salt, but it packs more computing power than you’d expect. IBM is touting this as a significant advancement for blockchain technology, but not the same blockchain that’s used to track Bitcoin transactions.”
Extreme Tech, Mar. 19
Will Oremus writes: “A political operative reportedly hoodwinked Facebook users into giving up personal data on both themselves and all their friends for research purposes, then used it to develop psychographic profiles on tens of millions of voters—which in turn may have helped the Trump campaign manipulate its way to a historic victory. But there was no data breach and Facebook’s security wasn’t compromised, then why isn’t it just Cambridge Analytica that’s in the barrel this week? It’s partly because the stakes in this particular data scandal are so high.”
Slate, Mar. 20
On March 19, the University of Texas at Austin Faculty Council adopted a resolution objecting to the further removal of books, journals, and other materials from the Fine Arts Library. In an unusually packed meeting, faculty and students lined up to oppose previous decisions to remove the materials and to describe how their research or ability to complete assignments has been stymied by the move. They claim UT officials have essentially dismantled the fine arts library and expressed concern that the remaining collection is in jeopardy.
Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman, Mar. 19
Catherine B. Soehner and Ann Darling write: “At some point in our work life, we all must confront that most dreaded situation: the difficult conversation. There are numerous examples from all rungs of the organizational ladder. We might find people who are not fulfilling the requirements of their positions, who are regularly negative, who bully people, or who are frequently late for their shift. As a leader, you must have difficult conversations with these people to address, and hopefully remedy, these behaviors.”
American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.
Margaret Kingsbury writes: “I love both historical fiction and fantasy, so books that combine both are like honey. While it seems like these genres should be quite different—since one is based in fact and the other completely fictional—I actually find them to be quite similar in feel. Both require a massive amount of world building, both have immersive settings that become as much a character as the protagonists, and both require a lot of research. Here are 10 of my favorites by women authors.”
Book Riot, Mar. 20
Rachel Metz writes: “Billions of us count on social networks to help us keep in touch with friends and family, to get the latest news, and to share silly memes. But as we’re increasingly learning, this connectivity comes at a price. So what can you do if you feel that Facebook and Twitter are taking advantage of you? Fight back, of course. Here are some ways to do that right now.”
MIT Technology Review, Mar. 20