Friday, February 18, 2011

Library Thief Sentenced to 15 Years!

It turns out Librarians aren't fibbing when they tell patrons the Library Police might come and get them if they don't return their books. The Library Police will definitely come to get you if you check out books with the intention of selling them for profit:

"A Baltimore woman will spend a year in prison for withdrawing thousands of dollars in library books and reselling them.

Evelyn Whye, 53, obtained a Prince George's County library card and went to work. In December 2008, she spent three days hitting various libraries, and she wasn't looking for Dr. Seuss. Whye was after expensive text books, the kind that can break a college student's bank account."

Read the whole story from NBC4: Book Closed on Maryland Library Thief.

(the Library Police!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Scott Turow wants to protect America's Libraries

Writing in the Huffington Post, author (and president of the Author's Guild) warns against funding cuts to public libraries as state and municipal governments struggle to close large budget gaps:

"Those governments are cutting everywhere they can and public libraries nationwide have been one of the biggest and least deserved losers in the process.

Widespread public access to knowledge, like public education, is one of the pillars of our democracy, a guarantee that we can maintain a well-informed citizenry.

But libraries seem to be losing out in the funding battles, due, in part, to the mistaken belief that they are somehow anachronistic in an age when so many Americans have instant computer access to information through the Internet. This is, frankly, a let-them-eat-cake-attitude that threatens to destroy a network of public assets that remains critical in our country."

Contact your legislator and tell them not to be a Marie Antoinette!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ask a Librarian -- on your iPhone

Did you know there is a librarian waiting to answer YOUR question -- 24 hours per day?

Just visit the Ask a Librarian page and scroll down to LRC Live to begin chatting privately to a librarian.
iPhone users can download a direct link to their phones and add LRC Live as an app.
Great for research emergencies!

Friday, February 04, 2011

More face-to-face, less face-to-screen?

Professor Sharon Marshall, of St John's College, reflects on the uses -- and abuses -- of BlackBoard in the 21st Century college learning environment (in the Chronicle of Higher Education).

She observes:

"My ideal class—students sitting in a circle, or around a seminar table if we're really lucky, discussing, reading aloud, exchanging hard copies of student papers—had become, in a sense, a figure of nostalgia. It was something I did with students "back in the day."

Gradually it became clear that, given the choice, most students preferred to live online, rather than engage with actual humans in a classroom, even when there was a seeming sense of community or camaraderie among classmates. Being online all the time had become learned behavior that was hard to give up, even for only 55 minutes."

And asks:

"Because technology plays such a huge role in our lives when we are not in school, is it really necessary that we duplicate those experiences and environments when we actually have the opportunity to connect in more direct and immediate ways in a synchronous classroom?"

And concludes:

"The flip side of technophobia is the kind of unexamined technophilia that welcomes everything new and different, whether or not it improves life or teaching, or the lives of students and teachers. I want to find a place, a stance, somewhere in between, a both/and strategy that allows my students and me to, dare I say it, extract the best of both worlds."

Do we have the balance right?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Google does art

Google announced today that it would take its popular street view indoors, making the collections of 17 prestigious galleries available for view online. The art will be digitized through the "gigapixel" process, allowing for extraordinary zoom.

Don't want to wait for Google? Or can't find your favorite painting (or sculpture or print or drawing) -- try ARTStor. the Library's subscription database of online art images. ARTStor provides download capability as well as background information, history, provenance source and rights.