February 25, 2017

Academic Libraries

Western Sydney University Offers No-Cost Digital Textbooks

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Australia’s Western Sydney University (WSU), in collaboration with ProQuest, announced on February 12 that it will begin providing first-year students with no-cost access to digital textbooks through WSU’s library.

Adopting a Founder’s Mindset: Leading like an Owner | Leading from the Library

Steven Bell

It’s good when library leaders talk about having a start-up mentality or entrepreneurial spirit. One thing is missing though: Ownership. These leaders have little of their own to lose if things go bad. Thinking like an owner may make a difference.

Librarians Mobilize Resources, Information, and Solidarity in Response to New Administration

Image by Rebecca McCorkindale

The results of the 2016 presidential election caught many by surprise. With the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, and his immediate remaking of American policy through executive orders, public and academic librarians began to mobilize. From book displays addressing resistance and inclusivity, to graphics proclaiming that all are welcome in the library, to topical LibGuides, to online groups organized by discipline or principles, library staff and supporters across the country joined forces with like thinkers to do what they do best: share information where it’s most needed.

Beyond Fake News | Peer to Peer Review

Photo credit: Kagenmi via ThinkStock

Over the course of the fall semester, I had the opportunity to visit a handful of classes to speak on news literacy. I began by posing the question, “Does the news media take sides?” Though a small sample, nearly 100 percent of students I polled distrusted the media. I found this wariness of the mainstream media echoed throughout classes I visited — on campuses ranging from rural Humphreys County to just a few miles outside downtown Nashville—as I quizzed students on their news habits.

DIY Usability: First-Click Testing | The User Experience

Emily Mitchell and Brandon West

Although every library would benefit from running usability studies, not every library has a dedicated staff available to conduct those studies. Anecdotally, librarians seem to feel incapable of undertaking usability studies for reasons including time, budget, and expertise.

Healthy Choices | ACRL Preview 2017

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The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) convenes in Baltimore, March 22–25, 2017. This year’s ACRL conference highlights themes of leadership and change, but a closer look also shows a healthy—and hopeful—regard for the well-being of the academic library system from top to bottom.

OER’s Road Ahead is Paved with Publisher Platforms | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

Academic librarians are pleased with the progress they’ve made in leading their campuses to recognize the value of Open Educational Resources (OER). Now publishers are responding to OER with new learning platforms. It may be time for a new strategy.

Libraries Preserve Protest Posters

Signs from the Washington, DC, march
Photo credit: Julia Kedge

In the wake of the record-breaking attendance at the January 21 Women’s March on Washington, and sister marches in over 60 cities on all seven continents, social media reported that protesters were abandoning their signs after the event. Not all of those were destined for the recycling bin, however: archivists in several cities came out to collect and preserve them.

Academic Libraries Respond to Immigration Ban

Photo credit: Kristin "Shoe" Shoemaker via Flickr

On the afternoon of Friday, January 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order placing a 90-day entry ban on immigrants and visitors from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States. Travelers, visa holders, and refugees from those Muslim-majority countries were stopped and detained at airports in the United States and abroad, and in a number of cases sent back overseas. The ban affects U.S. students and professors among others, stranding those traveling abroad. Academic organizations across the country have condemned the order and urged Trump to reverse it, joining the voices of citizen protesters nationwide.

Introducing VR | Field Reports

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To support the changing needs of faculty and students researching mass media, popular culture, and video games, the University of North Texas (UNT) Media Library, Denton, began developing a game collection in 2009. This collection first included console games and in-house access to gaming PCs and then grew to include tabletop games in 2010. Because virtual reality (VR) headsets and devices are a natural fit, we included VR equipment on our wish list until 2015, when we finally had funding for an Oculus Rift DK2 ($350).