April 24, 2014

The State of Readers’ Advisory

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Does your library offer a readers’ advisory (RA) service? If so, you’re in good company—and a lot of it! All of the public librarians who answered a survey recently developed by LJ with NoveList and the RUSA/CODES Readers’ Advisory Research and Trends Committee said that they conducted personal RA in-house. Methods varied, however.

Best Small Library in America 2014: Pine River Library, CO

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“Lots of libraries are there for the community, but here in Bayfield, the community built the library,” says Amy Dodson, director of the Pine River Library (PRL), CO, selected as LJ’s Best Small Library in America, 2014, cosponsored by Library Journal and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and recipient of the award’s accompanying $20,000 prize. Hired by the PRL trustees in May 2013, Dodson was awed by not only the support for PRL in the very diverse Bayfield community but also the community’s willingness to donate hours of volunteer work as well as lots of important gifts in kind and then vote the funds to pay for a strong staff and an experienced and innovative director.

Texas Successfully Appeals IMLS Funding Cuts

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) successfully appealed an October 2013 decision by the Institute for Museum and Library Science (IMLS), restoring $6.5 million in federal matching funds designated to support library activities across the Lone Star State.

University of Oregon Science Libraries Back Up Fossils with 3D Printer

image courtesy of UO Science Library

At the University of Oregon (UO), staff at the Science Library have only had an in-house 3D printer for a few months, but have wasted no time putting the new equipment to use. At the beginning of January, the library printed a 3D model of a rare fossil in the UO paleontology department’s collection—the remains of a 5-million-year old saber toothed salmon.

Gale, Libraries Team To Offer High School Diplomas

For years, adults who had dropped out of high school had only one venue to prove that they’d mastered the same skills that a diploma reflects: passing the general educational development (GED) test. While it’s better than nothing, though, in practice, a GED is not a complete replacement for a diploma, since it’s treated as a lesser substitute by colleges and employers. Now, Gale Cengage Learning is partnering with the country’s first accredited online school district, Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE), to offer a way for adults to earn a full high school diploma through libraries across the nation: Career Online High School (COHS).

New Study Identifies Half-Life of Journal Articles

How do you judge how much a scientific study or academic article has been used? You can see how frequently it’s cited, but since researchers and academics read and are influenced by plenty of things that don’t get formally checked in their work, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Researcher Philip Davis is trying to provide some new answers to that question by taking a look at ‘usage half-life,’ in an effort to learn more about the academic publishing life cycle.

Silent Films Preservation Study Underlines Difficulties of Film Archiving

Douglas Fairbanks in "The Mask of Zorro" (1920) by 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ocarchives/6752052115/
NonCommercial License

A recent study commissioned by the Library of Congress found that, of the more than 11,000 silent films produced by American movie studios between 1912 and 1929, just 14 percent (1,575) survive today in their original domestic release. Another 11 percent are still technically complete, according to the study conducted by film archivist David Pierce, but only in imperfect formats. Some are repatriated foreign release versions that lack the original English subtitles and may have been edited to appeal to foreign audiences, which Pierce compares to imperfect retranslations of novels, where the story remains the same, but nuances may be lost. Others may be preserved on smaller format, 16 or 28 mm film stock, which can negatively impact image quality.

Opening Up | Next Steps for MOOCs and Libraries

The Hyperlinked Library MOOK

Since the term was coined five years ago, massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have been a subject of much debate in educational circles. In their brief life span, the courses, in which up to many thousands of students can participate, have demonstrated the promise of new technology to democratize education by some and been declared failed experiments by others. MOOC professors, though, say that it’s too early to judge how MOOCs perform, and that after just a few years, even those in the know are still figuring out what MOOCs really are and what shape—or shapes—they’ll take in the future. Whatever MOOCs look like going forward, though, libraries—in the academic and public sphere alike—will play a key role in helping to determine their design and success. In just the few months since we looked in LJ at the MOOC environment (“Massive Open Opportunity,” LJ 5/1/13), the quickly moving field has evolved significantly.

A MOOC of Our Own

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Massive, open, online courses (MOOCs) have dominated the conversation in higher education since their sudden arrival in spring 2012. The MOOC movement is evidence of the profoundly disruptive change that is widely seen as coming to higher education. If there is any unit on a university campus that has survived and thrived on disruptive change, it is the library. Libraries in institutions actively offering MOOCs applied this background to figuring out how to manage intellectual property questions. However, for libraries in universities not offering MOOCs, there seemed to be no role, other than to watch and read about the movement in wonder, amusement, and occasional envy. For the Z. Smith Reynolds Library (ZSR) at Wake Forest University (WFU), however, this was not enough. So when WFU was not contemplating offering any MOOCs in 2012, the library decided to experiment with an open, online course on its own.

MOOCing at the Public Library

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While much has been written about the role of academic libraries in supporting massive open online courses (MOOCs), the inclusion of MOOCs in a public library setting is largely unexplored territory. This past summer, the Ridgefield Library included a MOOC as part of its adult summer reading program. Based on this experience, the Ridgefield Library plans to continue as a meet-up destination for MOOCs as part of its mission to be “an intellectual and cultural center” and to support lifelong learning for all ages.