By offering and spotlighting affordable course materials, academic libraries can prove their value while helping to create a more equitable learning experience for students. In Affordable Course Materials: Electronic Textbooks and Open Educational Resources, published by ALA Editions, ALCTS and editor Chris Diaz have gathered a range of experts to describe affordable text initiatives that promise to improve student learning and student retention.
Israel’s National Library will launch an online database called Ktiv on August 6 aggregating tens of thousands of digitized Jewish manuscripts belonging to collections across the globe. The archive contains nearly 4.5 million images from 45,000 manuscripts—slightly more than half of all known volumes. They include prayer books, biblical texts and commentary, philosophy, literature, and scientific writings, in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic.
On August 3, ALA,American Indian Library Association, Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Chinese American Librarians Association, Reforma, and the Joint Council for Librarians of Color issued a joint statement on equity, diversity, and inclusion. It begins: “Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of our associations, as we believe that as a profession we must continue to support the creation of a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society.”
The program proposal submission deadline for the 2018 ALA Annual Conference, to take place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, June 21–26, has been extended to September 5. Programs are one-hour educational sessions on a topic relevant to the library profession, and submissions are open to anyone, regardless of ALA membership status. Your ALA account information will be required to access the submssion site.
RUSA will move its Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ) journal to open access beginning with the Fall 2017 issue. The decision to move RUSQ from subscription to open access was based on many factors, most notably the open access movement strongly supported by librarians, as well as broader worldwide access.
ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions will host a new iteration of its four-week facilitated eCourse, “How to Implement a Digitization Program” with Susanne Caro, starting on October 2. Through hands-on exercises and instructor interaction, attendees will learn about assessing different materials for digitization getting a buy-in and resources for their projects. Registration is through the ALA Store.
Dana Goldstein writes: “Poor writing is nothing new, nor is concern about it. More than half of first-year students at Harvard failed an entrance exam in writing—in 1874. But the Common Core State Standards, now in use in more than two-thirds of the states, were supposed to change all this. So far, however, six years after its rollout, the Core hasn’t led to much measurable improvement. The root of the problem is that teachers have little training in how to teach writing and are often weak or unconfident writers themselves.”
Thanks to their exquisite designs, many academic libraries become the most iconic buildings on campus. From the traditional-style libraries at Queens College at Oxford University to the sleek modern structure at Loyola University in Chicago, Architectural Digest surveys 18 of the most beautiful college libraries around the world.
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) is requiring readers who want to leave comments to take a quiz that asks them what the story is actually about. The creators hope that making people take a 15-second quiz will ensure that commenters actually understand the news and give them time to calm down before leaving an angry message. The quiz is currently only on NRKbeta, the technology section of the website.
The Escondido (Calif.) Public Library board of trustees will discuss the issue of outsourcing public library services again at their next meeting on August 8. City officials are exploring whether there are cost savings to be gained from turning public library services over to Library Systems & Services, a private for-profit company based in Maryland. Many residents voiced opposition to the plan at a July 11 meeting. The city has posted a fact sheet and cost analysis on its website on the issue.
Book lovers of all ages will find something to enjoy at the 2017 Library of Congress National Book Festival on September 2. More than 100 authors, illustrators, and poets will be presenting from the festival stages at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., among them David McCullough, Dav Pilkey, Kate DiCamillo, Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess, Roxane Gay, Alice McDermott, Margot Lee Shetterly, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Scott Turow.
Lucas Maxwell writes: “What’s a Ninja Librarian, you ask? Slow down! I’ll tell you! I recently attended an awesome librarian’s conference in Harrogate, UK, where I met current School Librarian of the Year Amy McKay. Amy ran a brilliant session on using creative ways to get teens reading and using the library in general. She’s sneaky in that many of her programs combine fun and learning. Therefore she is a true Ninja Librarian.”