ALA and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine have partnered through the Libraries Transform public awareness campaign to create a free toolkit for Health Literacy Month, which is observed in October. The toolkit will provide key messages, program ideas, and downloadable marketing materials, including bookmark templates and social media graphics, for libraries to use as they promote health literacy in October and throughout the year.
Raymond Pun writes: “Supporting campus sustainability efforts through information literacy can be a fascinating experience for instruction librarians. For the past two years, I have been embedded in California State University, Fresno’s First-Year STEM program, a grant-funded project aimed at supporting graduation initiatives and retaining underrepresented communities and women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”
First-person shooter games. Military training exercises. Those are the applications most often associated with the words “virtual reality.” But as new library offerings at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh demonstrate, VR represents an amazing, state-of-the-art resource that can enhance just about any discipline, from cartography to psychology, architecture to English.
The Taliban, who banned popular entertainment during their 1996–2001 regime, raided Afghanistan’s state-run film company and burned several movie reels—but many more were hidden and are now being digitized. Habibullah Ali hid thousands of reels showcasing the country’s rich cultural history, knowing that he faced certain death. Ali and his colleagues hid some 7,000 films across the Kabul premises of Afghan Film, and soon they will introduce young Afghans to a side of their country they’ve never known—peace. Watch the video (3:55).
Sara Stevenson writes: “English language learners are an integral part of our library program. Their ELL teacher sends them to the library frequently, and they are avid readers of graphic novels. Graphic novels are perfect for English language learners because they are high interest, and the images can fill in, giving clues when they don’t know a word. Rather than stopping to look up the meanings of every few words, they can intuit meaning.”
Julia Smith writes: “Come one, come all! The circus is back in style, and it has something for every age and reading preference. Fact, fiction, fantasy, and fleas, we’ve got whatever you need, so step right up. Here are 12 recent books. For example, If You Ever Want to Bring a Circus to the Library, Don’t! by Elise Parsley, in which spunky Magnolia dons ringmaster attire and sets up a circus. This over-the-(big)-top behavior lesson is filled with acrobatics, a high-wire routine, and plenty of laughs.”
Lawrence Krauss writes: “As a child, I expected to be driving in a flying car or vacationing in near-Earth orbit or on the moon by now. What I didn’t expect was the internet. Of all the technological developments that have changed the way modern society functions, perhaps none has presented such a disruptive challenge to society. It has changed everything about how we communicate, shop, get entertainment, and receive our news. Yet nowhere in mainstream science fiction was the internet imagined.”
Nicholas Gibbs writes: “For medievalists, the most unusual element of the Voynich manuscript—Beinecke Ms. 408, known to many as “the most mysterious manuscript in the world”—is its handwritten text. Although several of its symbols (especially the ligatures) are recognizable, the words formed by its neatly grouped characters do not appear to correspond to any known language. However, it is now clear that each character in the Voynich manuscript represents an abbreviated word and not a letter.”
ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions will host a new session of its 90-minute workshop, “Hosting Your Own Comic Con: The Ultimate All-Ages Program” with Katie LaMantia and Emily Vinci, on November 9. LaMantia and Vinci will teach you the ins and outs of hosting your own Comic Con that will draw new and returning patrons into your library. Registration is through the ALA Store.
Building a learner’s STEAM skills will be the focus of an upcoming webinar from AASL, featuring Jennifer Fee, manager of the BirdSleuth K–12 program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Taking place on September 12, at 6 p.m. Central, “Beyond Book Readings: Building Science Literacy with Hands-On Activities” will highlight best practices for engaging diverse learners in science education through narrative nonfiction books and outdoor, hands-on activities.
To coincide with this year’s ALA Banned Books Week theme, “Words Have Power,” the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom is harnessing the power of social media to ignite conversations about the freedom to read. During September 24–30, readers are encouraged to complete banned book–themed tasks on Twitter for a chance to win literary prizes in the Rebel Reader Twitter Tournament. One winner will be randomly selected every day of Banned Books Week and announced on OIF’s Twitter feed.
Eric Hellman writes: “Sometime in October, probably the week of October 17, version 62 of Google’s Chrome web browser will be declared stable. When that happens, users of Chrome will get their software updated to version 62 when they restart. One of the small but important changes that will occur is that many websites that have not implemented HTTPS will be marked in a subtle way as ‘Not Secure.’ Unfortunately, many libraries, and the vendors and publishers that serve them, have not yet implemented HTTPS.”