Literacy

A Palin Flub Becomes a ‘Word of the Year’

At the start of the year the word “refudiate” didn’t exist. In mid-July Sarah Palin, Alaska’s former governor, changed that when she used the word in a Twitter message, somehow mashing up “refute” and “repudiate,” while trying to say something like “reject.”

Full piece here.

The Desk Setup: A Look At Librarian Computers

The Desk Setup

Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)

Plan to teach immigrants spurs flap

A public librarian in Nebraska resigned due to confusion over whether or not she should be teaching illegal immigrants English. “A lot of people are afraid of changes and growth. ... I don't know if that was the case with this or not,” Shafer said. “I didn't mean to do any harm. I just tried to do good.”

Read all about it. http://omaha.com/article/20101024/NEWS01/710249869

When 103-Year Old Dies, Her Reading Circle Mourns

When Elizabeth Goodyear died late last month, at 103, a handful of friends, all more than two generations younger, sat vigil. They toasted her over dark chocolate, the elixir Ms. Goodyear had savored daily since she was 3 years old, and Champagne, a more recent favorite.

Two years ago, a front-page article in The New York Times featured Ms. Goodyear, a lifelong lover of books, and the small group of people who would stop by her apartment, in Murray Hill, to read to her after she lost her sight. Those readers became a family to Ms. Goodyear, who had outlived her relatives and loved ones.

It all began about seven years ago, after Alison West, a yoga instructor who lives in Ms. Goodyear’s building, posted a sign seeking readers in yoga studios downtown and sent an e-mail that was forwarded again and again.

“Liz has no family at all, and all her old friends have died, but she remains eternally positive and cheerful and loves to have people come by to read to her or talk about life, politics, travel — or anything else,” the message read. “She also loves good chocolate!”

Young women in their 20s, many of them Ms. West’s students, started to visit. Read more in the NYTimes blogs.

How's Your Samizdat?

Great word for Banned Books Week...samizdat.

from Anu Garg's A.Word.A.Day PRONUNCIATION: (SAH-miz-daht)

MEANING:
noun: An underground publishing system used to print and circulate banned literature clandestinely. Also, such literature.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Russian samizdat, from samo- (self) + izdatelstvo (publishing house), from izdat (to publish). Coined facetiously on the model of Gosizdat (State Publishing House).

One Man's Opinion: How to Raise Boys Who Read

WSJ.com - Opinion: How to Raise Boys Who Read. The authors hint: Not with gross-out books and video-game bribes.

Fight for Libraries As You Do for Freedom

A very powerful op-ed piece by novelist Karin Slaughter in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"My father and his eight siblings grew up in the kind of poverty that America doesn’t like to talk about unless something like Katrina happens, and then the conversation only lasts as long as the news cycle. His family squatted in shacks. The children scavenged the forest for food. They put cardboard over empty windowpanes so the cold wouldn’t kill them.

Books did not exist here. When your kids are starving, you can’t point with pride to a book you’ve just spent six hours reading. Picking cotton, sewing flour bags into clothes — those were the skills my father grew up appreciating.

And yet, when he noticed that I, his youngest daughter, showed an interest in reading, he took me to our local Jonesboro library and told me that I could read any book in the building so long as I promised to talk to him about it if I read something I didn’t understand. I think this is the greatest gift my father ever gave me. Though he was not a reader himself, he understood that reading is not just an escape. It is access to a better way of life."

Read more: AJC.

Sony Has Dave Farrow Reading Aloud to Promote Its Readers & Help Canadian Libraries

Dave Farrow, who overcame dyslexia and ADHD to become a world-famous speed reader and Guinness World Record holder, is living and reading in a front window display at the Sony Centre in Toronto. For every book he reads, Sony will donate 2 Reader™ digital books to public libraries across Canada. Watch live on Facebook.

Beginning this past Tuesday, consumers were and are invited to view Farrow's progress and additional world record attempts online (also via Facebook). If you're in the Toronto area, you can also visit the newly renovated Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in person at One Front Street East in Toronto at the south-east corner of Yonge and Front Streets, where Farrow will be reading and living from September 7 through 24th. Consumers who visit the Sony Centre can receive an in-person demonstration of the new Reader Pocket and Touch Editions, "relief-read" for Dave Farrow, enter to win great prizes, and enjoy free frozen yogurt bars from 10:30-1pm daily.

Read more: SONY BRINGS DIGITAL READING EXPERIENCE TO LIFE WITH THE GLOBAL LAUNCH OF ITS STYLISH NEW LINE OF READERS - FierceMobileContent http://www.fiercemobilecontent.com/press-releases/sony-brings-digital-reading-experience-lif...

September 8 is International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day, traditionally observed annually on September 8, focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs. More than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education.

Celebrate International Literacy Day by joining IRA on either September 7 or September 8 for webinars on Building Support for Effective Reading Instruction featuring IRA President Patricia Edwards, Richard Carson (Rotary Representative to the OAS) and Instructor Judy Backlund (IRA member and Rotary Club President). The webinar will be held twice, so choose the time that works best for you!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. EST
This is a virtual event. Go to this URL to join the Tuesday webinar...or

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. EST
This is a virtual event. Go to this URL to join the Wednesday webinar.

Other live events, fact sheets, celebration ideas and award certificates can be found at the IRA Website.

Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age

Many students simply do not grasp that using words they did not write is a serious academic misdeed.

Excerpt:

“This generation has always existed in a world where media and intellectual property don’t have the same gravity,” said Ms. Brookover, who at 31 is older than most undergraduates. “When you’re sitting at your computer, it’s the same machine you’ve downloaded music with, possibly illegally, the same machine you streamed videos for free that showed on HBO last night.”

Ms. Brookover, who works at the campus library, has pondered the differences between researching in the stacks and online. “Because you’re not walking into a library, you’re not physically holding the article, which takes you closer to ‘this doesn’t belong to me,’ ” she said. Online, “everything can belong to you really easily.”

Full story in the NYT

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