April 29, 2016

Preschool STEM Lab | Field Reports

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Children are naturally curious about the world around them. Science programs and activities are a great way to capture their interest and encourage the development of early literacy skills. Many science activities and materials are easy to incorporate into library programs; you may find that you’re already including elements that increase STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) knowledge, for example, talking about color mixing or identifying and playing with shapes.

Roger Rosen Appointed Senior Advisor for National Policy Advocacy

The leader of Rosen Publishing assumes key role in advancing the thinking and learning of youth in our digital society.

Ideas from the Labs at DC Public Library

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They “break it better” at Dream Lab, Fab Lab, Studio Lab, and Memory Lab. Here’s what that means, and how it’s an approach that can transform other programs, too.

Library Robot Coming to Welsh University

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At Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom, users will soon have a novel means of consulting the catalog at the college’s Hugh Owen Library. Rather than typing their request, or asking a reference librarian, students can be led to the title they’re looking for by a robot with access to all of the library’s holdings.

Findaway Expands Preloaded Launchpad Tablet Line to Teens and Adults

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Digital technology solutions provider Findaway has announced the debut of the Playaway Launchpad tablet for teens and adults, featuring a selection of pre-loaded interactive learning apps, brain games, comics, and casual games. The new line of pre-loaded tablets was developed with feedback from librarians following the success of the original Playaway Launchpad for children, which debuted in April 2015. Findaway founder and CEO Mitch Kroll noted that the tablets, which start at $99, could help libraries bridge the digital divide.

How To Talk Code | Digital Literacy

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Last summer, Bloomberg BusinessWeek devoted an entire issue to “What Is Code?” a single article by Brooklyn-based writer and programmer Paul Ford. Ford’s breakdown of key concepts pulls back the curtain on the fundamentals of computer programming and makes a compelling argument that any smart person can learn the basics—and that the basics are worth learning even for those who aren’t planning to become professional coders. It is, in part, a case for coding as a new frontier in digital literacy. There’s a growing interest in this type of education among kids, teens, businesspeople, career changers, and the generally curious. And a growing number of public libraries are already responding to this need within their communities. Here’s a look at ways in which a few libraries have made their programs a success.

Building Blocks of an Innovation Space | Field Reports

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The maker movement and 3-D printing technology catalyze innovation and promote entrepreneurship by emphasizing “making” over “consuming” and facilitate experiential learning and rapid prototyping. To many, library Maker spaces are also often the only facility within their reach that offers open access to 3-D printing and scanning equipment. For these reasons, creating a Maker space for patrons is often an ­attractive project.

LYRASIS, DuraSpace Boards Approve Intent to Merge

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Following a months-long analysis by an exploratory committee, the boards of not-for-profit, open-source digitization and repository software and service providers LYRASIS and DuraSpace on January 27 unanimously approved an “Intent to Merge” agreement. The two organizations have begun seeking input from their respective members as well as the wider research, library, archives, and museum communities, as part of a due diligence process that will “determine the feasibility of a combined organization…. [and] include a deeper assessment of the individual organizations and how they might partner effectively.

Knight News Challenge Winners to Develop Open Data Training Program

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Anne Neville knows the value of open data. Neville, director of the California Research Bureau at the California State Library, has spent the last six years directing the State Broadband Initiative at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in Washington, DC. She’s passionate about digital equity, and supporting the critical work public libraries do to make information accessible to communities.

Conducting Small-Scale Usability Studies | Field Reports

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We knew there were problems with our library website at Fitchburg State University (FSU). Users either couldn’t find what they wanted or were unaware of the site’s existence. This was particularly a problem owing to the limited number of librarians available to assist. While there was some consensus among librarians regarding these design problems, there was little agreement as to how these problems could be ­addressed. We decided that usability testing was needed before making changes, but we didn’t have the budget to develop an expensive usability lab with one-way mirrors, sophisticated eye-movement testing devices and the like. Despite this, with a little creativity, we were able to design a solid and reliable usability study with limited resources.