March 29, 2017

Ian Chant

About Ian Chant

Ian Chant is a former editor at LJ and a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Scientific American and Popular Mechanics and on NPR.

ALA, PLA, and Cox Communications Partner for Digital Literacy

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Cable and Internet service provider Cox Communications has teamed up with the American Library Association, the Public Library Association, and three pilot libraries to launch a new digital literacy website and more.

Cultivating Curiosity in Libraries

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Teachers and those who study learning have long known that curiosity is important to the learning process and better outcomes. But what causes it, how to encourage it, and even how to define it have proved the concept more complicated than it first appears. Now, recent studies suggest that the desire to know more may be quantifiable, which could provide librarians and other educators with new tools for leveraging curiosity to improve how people process and relate to information.

Peer Navigators Bring “Lived Experience” to DPL Social Work Team

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Across the country, more and more library systems are embracing their role as de facto matchmakers between social services and the people who need to access them by hiring social workers as staff. Sometimes, though, people who need to interact with these organizations don’t want to find out about them from traditional social workers, but from people who have dealt with them as users. That’s where the Denver Public Library (DPL) Peer Navigators come in.

Queensland Library Releases Open Source Comics Tool

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A new tool from Australia’s State Library of Queensland can make a cartoonist out of even the least artistically inclined. The Fun Palaces comics maker lets users place a set of ready-made images into panels, then write their own word balloons to develop a fully fleshed out four panel comic.

User-Designed Libraries | Design4Impact

TeenHQ Grand Opening at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
Photo courtesy of San José Public Library

These days, collecting deep public input before the design phase of a new construction or renovation of a library is de rigueur, with methods ranging from focus groups to community outreach to social media. But a few libraries are taking it to the next level, not just finding out what patrons need or value and filtering that through the lens of librarian and architect expertise but also letting users directly drive design decisions in collaboration with the professionals.

The Future of the Planet | Designing the Future

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As society faces what many now call the Anthropocene age, the impacts of climate change and humankind’s role in it will influence, literally, everything.

The Future of Reading | Designing the Future

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While reading is often thought of as a solitary activity, some of our best book experiences can be social. That shared story­telling experience, says Bob Stein, creator of the Institute for the Future of the Book, is coming to traditional books in a transformative way.

The Pros of Cons

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With a slew of superheroes getting the big screen treatment in recent years, comic books are gaining even more cachet as a cultural touchstone. Big-budget blockbusters and critically acclaimed TV spin-offs have helped to spawn a new generation of comic book fans and reignited the spark in former readers, while alternative titles bring in fans who aren’t the superhero type (see “Picture the Possibilities,” LJ 6/15/16, p. 30ff.). Meanwhile, sf has long since gained mainstream acceptance without losing its ability to stir deep devotion (witness the plethora of Doctor Who merchandise), and anime and manga are reaching ever-larger portions of the American populace, particularly among teens and new adults. Board and card games, too, are seeing a dramatic resurgence in popularity alongside their high-tech counterparts, and once under-the-radar fanfiction and fan art are now far more widely known and accepted.

Cornell University Pops Cork on Wine Library

wine stacks at Cornell's new wine library

The seven foot tall stacks at Cornell University’s newest library are kept cool and dry, perfect for cardigan wearing. But that’s where the sense of familiarity might end for many LJ readers, as the space contains no books, and offers no borrowing privileges. The brainchild of Susan Henry and Kathryn Boor, the former and current deans of the university’s College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS), Cornell’s wine library was part of a $105 million renovation of the campus’ Stocking Hall. The new space will store wines used for teaching in the school’s Viticulture and Enology program.

Steps to a Secure ­Library | Library Security

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For a primer on managing disruptive patrons, knowing when to get law enforcement involved, and how to form the relationships that make that call easier, we spoke to Steve Albrecht. A retired police officer and security consultant, Albrecht is the author of Library Security: Better Communication, Safer ­Facilities (ALA Editions). (For more from Albrecht, see Playing It Safe: Author Steve Albrecht Tackles Security Measures for Libraries.)