April 22, 2017

New Mexico Librarians Use Lyric Analysis To Examine Indigenous Hip-Hop

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Delores Tucker is often remembered for her criticism of “gangsta rap,” but she can also be credited with prompting a new form of hip-hop scholarship. In 1997 the activist and politician used several Tupac Shakur lyrics to issue a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the artist’s estate. Teresa Neely, then a doctoral student, heard the news and recognized the lyrics as being taken out of context. To her it was a sign that Shakur’s words needed to be studied as a whole to be understood.

Public Partners | Collaboration

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While librarian-to-librarian collaborations between school and public libraries are nothing new, public libraries are now ramping up their efforts for deeper strategic engagement and collaboration at scale, embedding public library services within schools’ daily operations and combining catalogs and access services. Such deeper integration requires both sides to take into account a range of complex issues—commanding all-in support from library leadership and a strong working relationship with local educational administrators.

Conference Catch-Up

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The 2017 conferences held by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L), in March and April respectively, covered trends ranging from diversity to emerging technology.

Knight Foundation Issues Innovation Report, Grants

Knight Foundation Developing Clarity

On March 30 the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (KF) announced the award of nearly $1 million to support five innovative library projects. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (CML), NC; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA; Peer 2 Peer University, Chicago; Richland Library, Columbia, SC; and Southwest Harbor Public Library, ME, each received between $35,000 and $250,000 to help realize a range of creative concepts addressing the digital information needs of their communities. Simultaneously, KF released a report, “Developing Clarity: Innovating in Library Systems,” examining opportunities and challenges within the lifecycle of library innovation.

Protecting Patron Privacy

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Recently, I was teaching a privacy class for librarians, and the topic turned to the privacy versus convenience trade-off—the occasional annoyances of using privacy-enhancing technologies online. An audience member laid out what she felt I was asking of the group. “You’re telling us to start selling granola when everyone else is running a candy store.”

Diverse Consortium Chicago Collections Welcomes Jeanne Long, DPLAfest

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These are exciting times for Chicago Collections (CC), an online member consortium of libraries, museums, historical societies, and other cultural heritage organizations in and around Chicago. CC named a new executive director, Jeanne Long, in February, and is gearing up to cohost the annual gathering of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) in April.

One-Stop Shop | ER&L Preview 2017

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With content divided into seven distinct tracks—Managing e-Resources & Licensing, Collection Development & Assessment, Organizational Strategies, External Relationships, User Experience & Promotion, Scholarly Communications & Library Publishing, and Emerging Technologies & Trends—the annual ER&L conference in Austin, TX, offers attendees deep-dive presentations, case studies, and panel discussions on every aspect of electronic resource management (ERM).

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.

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.

Easy Pass | Product Spotlight

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Many libraries work with local cultural institutions to provide patrons with free or reduced-cost access. These print passes can be checked out in-house by patrons just like other resources, complete with circulation limits, due dates, and fines. Some software companies are simplifying pass management with web-based tools to help patrons discover and check out museum passes and event tickets or make reservations.