Handy list of some free online language-learning materials, reference tools, broadcasts, and other helpful links.
One of these days, I really ought to brush up on the languages I started in school. Though I’ve also wanted to learn to at least read Russian…
There seems to be a sense that if libraries can’t please everyone all the time, if they don’t have as much market share and mindshare as possible, they are not demonstrating their value and … and what? They’ll be closed? I can’t think of a single case in which that happened. Libraries ought to pay attention to the student experience, to the role libraries can play in learning, to the little human things that can make a library visit pleasant or a pain, and they should use imagination when it comes to what they can accomplish. But why does it matter so much whether students recognize our brand and find it valuable for their own self-interest? When did being liked become our mission?
It struck me how much the arguments made for MOOCs are similar to the public library movement of the 19th century. MOOCs are for the people, they are meant to spread knowledge, they help the poor and disenfranchised get a leg up by assimilating a body of knowledge created by great minds. They are free to all and a terrific opportunity to advance the reputation of that site of learning.
It’s an excellent question. In the end I think it depends on the situation, which makes it hard to require of all librarians.
I’ve periodically wished I could read Russian due to certain materials in our collection, but the occasions are infrequent enough that actually learning Russian doesn’t seem like it would be worth the time I’d have to divert from other work-related things. (And what are the chances that Russian would be useful in my next position? Fairly small, I should think, though it’s certainly something that could be included on one’s resume.)
On the other hand, for someone on a public service desk in a linguistically diverse area, learning one of the non-English languages would be valuable.
It’s not as though students aren’t interested in e-books. According to the eBrary survey, “the vast majority of students would choose electronic over print if it were available and if better tools along with fewer restrictions were offered.” Those latter points are key: better tools and fewer restrictions. Despite some of the improvements to note-taking in textbook apps like Inkling and Kno, it’s still not quite as easy to mark up a digital text as it is a printed one. And oftentimes the content in these books is “locked down,” so students can’t share their notes or share their books with another.
No language has spread as widely as English, and it continues to spread. Internationally the desire to learn it is insatiable. In the twenty-first century the world is becoming more urban and more middle class, and the adoption of English is a symptom of this, for increasingly English serves as the lingua franca of business and popular culture. It is dominant or at least very prominent in other areas such as shipping, diplomacy, computing, medicine and education. A recent study has suggested that among students in the United Arab Emirates “Arabic is associated with tradition, home, religion, culture, school, arts and social sciences,” whereas English “is symbolic of modernity, work, higher education, commerce, economics and science and technology.” In Arabic-speaking countries, science subjects are often taught in English because excellent textbooks and other educational resources are readily available in English. This is not something that has come about in an unpurposed fashion; the propagation of English is an industry, not a happy accident.
» via Salon
Choose your future. Choose your life. Choose your library.
Truth, Lies and the Internet, a just-published report from the British think-tank Demos, shares that, despite their feelings of efficacy, young people are not careful, discerning users of the Internet.
The researchers note that young people who do not apply fact checks, and who are unable to recognize bias and propaganda, will not seek a variety of sources and are likely vulnerable to the pitfalls and rabbit holes of ignorance, falsehoods, cons and scams and that (chillingly) the potential danger of these deficiencies is that young people are more likely to be seduced by extremist and violent ideas.
I feel like I’ve heard this before… but I suppose having an official report saying it is useful in getting others to believe it if they don’t already.
There will never be enough words to write about libraries and my very personal encounters with their books. Beyond the family influence, the happy accidental encounters, and various events from my life; libraries are and will always be the main constant in my professional and human achievements (because I don’t see how one could develop in the absence of the other).
…With online instruction, instead of trying to cram as much information as possible into a single one-shot, librarians can design instructional modules that can be assigned to students at logical points in their learning. Online instruction doesn’t need to take up valuable class time, perhaps making it a more attractive option to faculty whose syllabi are already packed with content. Instead of designing a one-size-fits-all instruction session, librarians can create multiple experiences that appeal to different learning styles. Students can also customize their learning experience, focusing more on topics they don’t understand and skimming areas in which they are already proficient.
Shortly after I began my career as a librarian, the Web made its appearance to the general public. Even with the broad scope afforded me through my educational background, I didn’tbelieve the Web would amount to much. I could not imagine that this unimpressive resource would shake the very concept of the library as it had been known for hundreds of years.
The shaking hasn’t stopped yet. College librarians are faced with the challenge of expanding digital media and study space while reducing print media. That reduction includes withdrawing books from the shelves, which, in effect, means selling, recycling, giving away, storing off-site (for those who can afford it), discarding, or shredding texts. Suddenly college librarians, among the world’s greatest lovers of books, are viewed in certain corners as book destroyers.
It is a college-altering moment, and during such moments it’s good to take stock of the basics. Most librarians know Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science, published in 1931 by S.R. Ranganathan, an Indian mathematician, philosopher, and librarian. They are still influential, though librarians have modified his language to accommodate new media and contemporary usage. And so I consider Ranganathan’s laws here, and how they might apply to the fluctuating state of college libraries.