Articles

By Steve ZaluskyYou may have encountered a book every once in a while that you not only disliked, but also found disgusting and even counter to your beliefs.  But would it every occur to you to try and prevent others from reading it?Perhaps you have a book that you absolutely love, but others hate it so much that they would try to prevent you and others from obtaining it.That these situations are not fantastic scenarios, difficult to imagine in today’s society, is proven by the number of book challenges reported to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF).  A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.More than 320 challenges were recorded by OIF in 2016, with many of the challenges having to do with language, depictions of LGBT characters, sexually explicit scenes and offensive political viewpoints. The 2016 list of top 10 challenged books also included a book found objectionable because of its author, comedian Bill Cosby. READ MORE
In West Ashley’s Avondale neighborhood, an alley behind the shops and bars near Magnolia Street has become an outdoor exhibition space filled with large and small murals. Artists have painted images ranging from an enormous turkey vulture to small cartoon-like figures on the sides of the buildings.On the Charleston peninsula, three murals by Shepard Fairey and several more on Huger Street by a variety of artists can be viewed. David Boatwright’s work — part art, part commercial signage — is scattered throughout the downtown area.In Columbia, a growing number of murals and sculptural pieces are adding a colorful dimension to a city so enthusiastic about public art that it has a dedicated nonprofit organization whose main purpose is to facilitate more of it.This deliberate approach adopted by Columbia now is taking hold in the Holy City where efforts are underway to introduce more curated public art to the shared environment, and not just downtown.One advocate is even calling for a “1 percent for art” program that would set aside money in every public building construction budget for the purpose of procuring artwork.  “I love public art,” said Mark Sloan, director of the Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art. “It does serve a vital role in terms of meeting people where they are. It’s in the public way; you have no choice.” READ MORE
More than 90 million U.S. adults have low health literacy. Health literacy, which measures someone’s ability to access necessary health services and understand health information, is crucial for maintaining a high quality of life. Public, school, academic and special libraries can play a key role in making health literacy attainable for all—which is why the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) are collaborating to raise awareness for Health Literacy Month this October. Library advocates can join the ALA and NNLM in highlighting how libraries promote health literacy by signing up for their free health literacy toolkit, which provides graphics, messaging ideas and striking data about health literacy and libraries. The toolkit is part of ALA’s Libraries Transform public awareness campaign, a nationwide movement spreading the word about how libraries and library professionals transform lives. Individuals with low health literacy skills often have higher health care costs and an increased risk of developing preventable disease. For those struggling to make sense of health information, the library is a key resource, providing free access to quality health information and databases that can improve one's quality of life. “NNLM recognizes that people trust their libraries and want to equip library staff with the knowledge to help their users navigate locating reliable health information,” said Lydia Collins, Consumer Health Coordinator at NNLM. “This is critical so that health consumers can make educated decisions, in collaboration with their health care providers, for themselves and their loved ones.” While library professionals can’t answer specific questions about medical conditions or treatment options, they can guide their community members to trusted health information to help them make educated decisions. Librarians can help locate quality information and resources around a variety of health topics, including nutrition, aging and rare diseases. And when health information can be difficult to understand, library staff can help people make sense of confusing information—from evaluating the accuracy of health news to providing multilingual health information for immigrant and refugee populations. Beyond that, many libraries partner with community health agencies and offer health-focused events and programs for the whole family, including exercise and cooking classes.While Health Literacy Month is observed in October, health literacy saves lives and improves health outcome year-round: you can always head to your local library for assistance getting health information for you and your loved ones. READ MORE
Built in 1906, Norrington Center, the oldest Carnegie library remaining on a college campus in Missouri - is now a state of the art academic commons that serves as a library and meeting place for the university.  Renovations included collaborative and quiet areas, tech-enhanced classrooms for distance learning, and a coffee shop. READ MORE
Flipped learning is a phenomenon that has swept through the halls of academia and kindergarten through twelfth grade schools. When done well, it frees up classroom time for deeper exploration and application of instruction that is delivered in advance, often using current technology tools. Flipped learning enables instructors, particularly those with limited time in class, the opportunity to assess whether a student understands a concept or has mastered a skill, and to focus on areas of greatest need for extra support. READ MORE
J.C. Geiger’s “Wildman” is a coming-of-age saga about a young man with a fondness for the trumpet whose road to success in business seems a foregone conclusion, even though he has barely finished high school. Instead, on the way to what has been billed the ultimate graduation party, he gets stranded in a ramshackle town with a dive bar and a cheap motel and finds adventures with a posse of offbeat characters, downing shots, jumping trains and even revising his wardrobe.It’s an odyssey that mirrors the author’s search for himself, with the common thread being the 1993 Buick Century that breaks down as the main character, Lance Hendricks, is ever so close to reaching an event that promises to reward him with a significant rite of passage. Geiger was in the Century when it broke down as he was traveling home despondent following a writing conference, stranding him in rural Washington state at a town with a dive bar/roadhouse/motel.“It happened at this major turning point in my life. I was pretty much broke. I thought I was going to give up on writing. I didn’t know what was coming next. And while I was there, stuck with my broken-down car, I basically started writing the outline of the book that would become ‘Wildman.’ READ MORE
Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast as a Category 4 storm near Rockport the night of August 25. Although soon downgraded to a tropical storm the following afternoon, Harvey was responsible for more than 60 deaths and up to $180 billion in damage, according to the latest estimates by the governor’s office. On September 6, the US House passed 419 to 3 nearly $8 billion in disaster aid, taking quick action to help victims of the devastating floods.Depending on their location, some libraries sustained significant damage from the ensuing flood waters, while others escaped with only a little cleanup required. The flood also affected many librarians and other library workers due to the damage to their homes. READ MORE
This past week, the American Library Association (ALA) told federal regulators that rolling back strong, enforceable net neutrality rules that keep the internet open would hurt libraries and the communities they serve. In comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), ALA reiterated the fact that 120,000 libraries depend on the open internet to carry out their missions and ensure the protection of freedom of speech, educational achievement and economic growth.This comment deadline was another stop in a longer fight. In 2015, the Obama FCC adopted strong net neutrality rules that prohibit internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from blocking, censoring or discriminating against any online content. The rules were subsequently upheld by a federal court. In May 2017, the new Chairman of the FCC announced a plan to do away with the rules, a move which greatly concerns us, along with thousands of businesses and startups, consumer advocacy organizations and millions of consumers. We filed initial comments and, today, had the opportunity to respond to arguments raised by other commenters and raise additional issues. READ MORE
The Vaughn Civic Centre (Ont.) Resource Library's sloped exterior cuts an impressive figure across the Canadian sky.  Inside the two-story facility, a plethora of tools for 21st century learning - 3D printers, a media suite, and audio and video recording studios - are available, while movable book stacks allow staffers and patrons to morph their needs. READ MORE
As summer slips away, the upcoming school year summons parents to start scrounging once again for school supplies.  The most valuable school supply of all, however, and one that doesn’t cost a single penny or even require any shopping, is as close as your local library.During September, the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country will celebrate Library Card Sign-up Month, encouraging the public to obtain a free library card that will save them money, while reaping rich rewards in academic achievement and lifelong learning.This September marks the 30th anniversary of Library Card Sign-up Month. Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year.Throughout the school year, public librarians and library staff will assist parents and caregivers with saving hundreds of dollars on educational resources and services for students. From free access to STEAM programs/activities, educational apps, in-person and virtual homework help, technology workshops to the expertise of librarians, a library card is one of the most cost effective back to school supplies available.   READ MORE

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