Applications are now open for the 2017 Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship, sponsored by the Freedom to Read Foundation, and four half scholarships for students to attend “Intellectual Freedom and Censorship,” a two-credit graduate course offered through the University of Illinois iSchool, sponsored by the Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund. The Conable scholarship provides funding for an LIS student or recent graduate to attend the ALA Annual Conference. Apply by April 21.
Freedom to Read Foundation, Mar. 15
Police in Charleston, South Carolina, are looking for whoever is responsible for racist and anti-gay graffiti at three buildings, including the Hurd branch of the Charleston County Public Library, named for one of the victims of the 2015 Charleston church shootings. Workers found the graffiti when they arrived March 13. The remarks were sprayed at three buildings, including the building named for Cynthia Hurd, one of nine people shot to death at Emanuel AME Church. Hurd had been manager of that library when she was killed.
Associated Press, Mar. 14
Santa Fe (N.Mex.) Public Library workers told police a man and woman who had been causing trouble at the Southside branch may have urinated on three copies of the Quran and damaged former President Bill Clinton’s 2004 autobiography, My Life. Library workers also suspect the couple may have taken books by conservative commentator Ann Coulter and copies of the Bible and “laid [them] around the library,” according to a police report. The couple are said to have caused trouble when they first starting visiting March 2.
Santa Fe New Mexican, Mar. 13
Maryann James-Daley writes: “This year’s Interactive and Convergence tracks at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, highlighted how technology, government, science, style, and storytelling can inspire and enrich. At the ‘Humans, Robots, and Microbes: The Challenge of Mars’ panel on March 10, NASA scientists Monsi Roman, Robert Ambrose, and Kimberly Hambuchen and National Geographic Mars miniseries producer Jonathan Silberberg discussed the challenges and opportunities that lie among microbes, humans, and robots in getting to Mars.”
AL: The Scoop, Mar. 14
A total of 60 electronic libraries are to be established across Ghana as part of the country’s 60-year anniversary celebration. The establishment of the e-libraries will help deprived areas in the country to develop skills in computer education, as well as replace the old educational system with a contemporary one where computers are more practical. Each library will have five functional areas: an e-zone, a children’s corner, a librarian and an assistant, a traditional book library, and a mobile library.
Ghana Web, Mar. 13
James M. Lang writes: “Like every teacher these days, I am in a constant battle with cellphones and laptops for the attention of my students in the classroom. The answer is not banning all devices from the classroom. But a new book on the nature of distraction and attention has helped me see some pathways forward. The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World (MIT, 2016) represents a collaboration between neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and psychologist Larry D. Rosen.”
Chronicle of Higher Education, Mar. 13
Julie Beck writes: “The theory of cognitive dissonance—the extreme discomfort of simultaneously holding two thoughts that are in conflict—was developed by the social psychologist Leon Festinger in the 1950s. This doubling down in the face of conflicting evidence is a way of reducing the discomfort of dissonance, and is part of a set of behaviors known in the psychology literature as ‘motivated reasoning.’ Motivated reasoning is how people convince themselves or remain convinced of what they want to believe.”
The Atlantic, Mar. 13
Megan Cottrell writes: “Mary Hall was walking through the library recently when she saw a familiar sight: a toddler having a meltdown while waiting in the checkout line. Thankfully, Hall, assistant director of the Bedford (Ind.) Public Library, had an ally she knew could come to the rescue: Bridget, a beautiful Golden Retriever therapy dog. Since she loves children, Bridget is a regular library visitor and helps out at library programs, including a weekly trip to 3rd grade classrooms, where kids can read stories to her.”
American Libraries Trend, Mar./Apr.
As part of the recent consolidation of Bexley Seabury in Chicago, the seminary has donated the Bexley Hall rare book collection to the Newberry Library, where it will be complemented by existing materials on religion. Bexley Seabury, a federation of Bexley Hall and Seabury-Western Theological seminaries, is one of 10 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church. The collection consists of more than 325 titles and 120 bound volumes containing approximately 1,200 19th-century pamphlets.
Newberry Library, Mar.
The ACRL Student Learning and Information Literacy Committee has published a new white paper, Global Perspectives on Information Literacy: Fostering a Dialogue for International Understanding. The paper includes chapters written by information literacy experts from around the world, including Africa, Canada, Europe, Oceania, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, and seeks to share individual international perspectives that demonstrate how information literacy is viewed, taught, and conceptualized.
ACRL, Mar. 13
There’s a new effort to bridge what some call the “book gap” and it’s putting books in the hands of hundreds of children in Houston. On a recent morning, dozens of kids crammed inside their school library at Browning Elementary School. They were excited because they were getting their very own library to take home. It’s a pilot project, called My Home Library, from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. To start, it distributed mini-libraries to more than 500 children.
Houston Public Media, Mar. 13
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