Paula J. Schwanenflugel and Nancy Flanagan Knapp write: “However measured, reading levels can be a generally useful guide to whether a particular text is going to be far too difficult for a particular reader. Unfortunately, though, the ubiquity and precision with which these reading levels are now being tested and reported has led to their increasingly inappropriate use, especially in schools. Such misguided policies and practices are based on three prevalent myths about reading levels.”
Psychology Today, Feb. 28
Sheila Garcia writes: “In 2014, following widely reported incidences of police brutality leading to the deaths of two African Americans, the Black Lives Matter movement dominated headlines as the grassroots initiative grew into a national network of activists. In response, a group of librarians created the #Libraries4BlackLives initiative, meant to provide libraries with resources to foster dialogue on racial equity. I had the chance to interview Jessica Bratt, one of its founders.”
Rory Litwin writes: “Print-on-demand, or POD, is a technology that allows publishers and individuals to have books printed one-at-a-time. I designed a survey to find out what librarians think about POD, how knowledge that a book is POD would affect their treatment of books that are printed this way, and how they believe they can tell if a book is POD when they encounter it. I ran the informal survey and have some results that I will share here. I will say a bit about my methods and share some numbers.”
Library Juice, Mar. 11
Nearly 40% of US colleges are seeing declines in applications from international students, and international student recruitment professionals report “a great deal of concern” from students and their families about visas and perceptions of a less welcoming climate in the US, according to a survey conducted in February by six higher education groups. The highest reported declines involved applications from the Middle East, while many universities also reported drops in applications from China and India.
Inside Higher Ed, Mar. 13
Troy Lambert writes: “History buffs get excited whenever an agency announces the digitization of a huge collection of newspapers, birth and death records, and other archives. Such was the buzz when the State Historical Society of Iowa announced it was partnering with a Cedar Rapids business, Advantage Companies, to digitize 12 million pages of Iowa newspaper history. However, the reality of creating a digital archive is much more complex, and making it available online is harder than you think.”
Public Libraries Online, Mar. 9
Fidget spinners (simple anti-stress devices) are very popular these days. Here is how QE Adventures used the 3D printers at Charlotte Mecklenburg (N.C.) Library to make them. They tested out the library’s Idea Box makerspace and made a handful of different spinner designs, which cost about $1 each to make. The process was fun, easy, and much cheaper than buying a spinner online. Watch the video (3:28).
QE Adventures YouTube channel, Mar. 5
Have you already started planning for this year’s Día celebrations? El Día de los Niños / El Día de los Libros is a celebration of children and reading across all language and cultures. While it is intended to be celebrated all year long, April 30 marks a special day of nationwide events. ALSC has a number of online resources ready to support your events.
ALSC Blog, Mar. 13
Maureen Schlosser writes: “Thomas Edison once said, ‘To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.’ Supplying children with junk in the library is easy to do, but how can the library inspire children to invent something interesting and useful? Why not start with some of these five picture books?”
Knowledge Quest blog, Mar. 13
Laurel Byrnes writes: “The term ‘cabinet of wonder’ comes from the German word wunderkammer (‘wonder chamber’). The Renaissance idea of creating a collection of (formerly) animate, inanimate, and botanical objects came from a human desire to place mankind somewhere within the larger scheme of things. Ferrante Imperato, an apothecary of Naples, produced a written account of his own huge cabinet of wonder in the form of the 28 volumes that comprise his 1599 work Dell’historia Naturale.”
Biodiversity Heritage Library: News and Notes from the BHL Staff, Mar. 13
Nicole Hennig writes: “In the early days of podcasting (around 2004), most podcasts were created by white men on topics related to technology. Now podcasts exist for all kinds of audiences: young and old, various races and ethnicities, LGBTQ audiences, and people with disabilities. Because podcasts aren’t restricted by traditional broadcast regulations, a huge variety of programming for diverse audiences is available, both by established media outlets and by individuals and organizations of all types.”
American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.
In the 11th episode of the Dewey Decibel podcast, American Libraries goes looking for love and finds it in the most unexpected places. Dewey Decibel senior love correspondent Terra Dankowski talks to three librarian couples—Elizabeth Westenburg and Evan Williamson; Amy Call and Ellen MacInnis; and Annie and Dan Bostrom—who found each other thanks to ALA. Host Phil Morehart also looks at ALA’s I Love My Librarian Award.
AL: The Scoop, Mar. 10
ACRL has published The First-Year Experience Cookbook, edited by Raymond Pun and Meggan Houlihan. This new addition to the ACRL Cookbook series compiles lessons and techniques for academic librarians to adapt, repurpose, and implement in their libraries. The book provides librarians with a series of innovative approaches to teaching and assessing information literacy skills during a student’s first year.
ACRL, Mar. 10