Spring 2017 Issue– Libraries and Technology

Bridging the Distance by Youth Services Librarian Claudia Haines

 

Homer, Alaska is a small, rural town that sits on the shores of Kachemak Bay. Its winter days are dark and cold while summers seem endless. The town is filled with both old-timers who are here for the long haul and newcomers who might be here only a season or maybe three. Regardless of how long they stay, or how long they’ve been here, Homer families have something in common. They are mobile.

To make a living, families or just one parent, come and go. Some parents fly north to the North Slope oil fields every two weeks for work. Many families spend summers commercial fishing for salmon, herring, or halibut. Coast Guard families are regularly stationed in Homer for three years while one parent works at sea as part of their military service. To stay in touch, Homer’s families quickly adopted digital technology despite connectivity challenges, device costs, and even access to electricity.
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Inventors Making Good at DIY Girls– by SJSU Alumna Sylvia Aguinaga

DIY Girls have a Go Fund Me campaign active right now for their travel expenses to MIT for Eureka Fest. Please take a moment to read this article on the important ways girls are using technology and innovation and consider making a donation to fund their dreams. Thanks so much!

At DIY Girls, I work as the Director of Curriculum and Program Manager for several initiatives. We empower girls through creative application of technology, engineering, and design.

One of my favorite units is our Making for Good series in which 4th grade girls brainstorm a community problem and think how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) can be used as a solution. Our girls become inventors. They are given the space to design whatever they want. They engage in the creative process and complete the unit with a working prototype of their invention.
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Not so Neutral on Net Neutrality by Student Madelynn Dickerson

You are not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the current rush of political news, policy changes, and calls to political activism that have resulted from the transition to a new administration these past months. Things are changing so quickly, and news is released at such high speeds. In the U.S. federal government, new cabinet members and appointees are only just getting their office furniture arranged and starting to communicate their positions and priorities for a huge range of important issues. One of those important issues, especially for those in library and information fields, is net neutrality. With the appointment of Ajit Pai as the new head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), many observers fear that net neutrality is at serious risk.

It was not much more than six months ago when American Libraries Magazine proclaimed, “ALA and Libraries Win the Day on Net Neutrality.”
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Becoming a Media Mentor: The Right Philosophy for the Right Time (a Book Review) by Student Megan Smith

“Media mentorship” is only one aspect of working with youth and families, but one that is garnering more attention with a growing body of work in the professional literature. After Lisa Guernsey coined the phrase in her 2014 TEDxMidAtlantic talk, discussion among librarians has focused on finding solid research and developing relevant services. Naidoo’s Diversity Programming for Digital Youth: Promoting Cultural Competence in the Children’s Library (ALA Editions, 2014) and Family Engagement in the Digital Age: Early Childhood Educators as Media Mentors (Routledge, 2016) edited by Chip Donohue, PhD are two recent titles that offer distinct perspectives on media mentorship.

However, for a front-line public librarian working in youth services, time constraints, budget limitations and a schedule filled with traditional offerings such as story times and sing-a-alongs among other responsibilities means this aspect of our job can easily be neglected. It can also be daunting if we do not posses what we perceive as “strong” technology skills. Perhaps parents have never approached us for media guidance, so therefore we don’t offer it. Families in our communities may be so technology ‘poor’ or technology ‘rich,’ beginning to meet their needs in an engaging way seems difficult.
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The New Digital Branch of The Salinas Public Library– by SJSU Alumnus Eddie Hamelin

Technology has changed everything in our everyday lives – including how we access information from our public library. The Salinas Public Library (www,salinaspuliclibrary.org) is like many other public libraries in that it offers its patrons the ability to access information from the library from the comfort of their homes. The digital branch (http://www.salinaspubliclibrary.org/digital-branch) offers users the ability to check out books, movies, and magazines as well as learn a new language, how to invest, and even fix a car! There are research materials for students of all ages. There are online resources to help map out your family tree and help your child with their homework.

Though technology is a wonderful thing and the digital branch offers much for the patrons, there are still some, for various reasons, who need the tactile feel of a book in their hands. There a few but growing number, of patrons who will only use the digital branch and only come to library if they need to or if there is a library program that they are interested in attending. For libraries, the challenge is the cost of maintaining and ordering materials for a digital branch, which can become difficult and expensive over time.
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A Look Up at the Clouds: An Overview of the Encyclopedia of Cloud Computing by San Murgesan and Irena Bojanova–by Student Hope Hills

What is cloud computing, anyway?’ Many people both inside and outside the LIS sphere have asked. I too was wondering that same thing, so here we are all pondering together. But of course, asking this question may only begin the conversation about the latest buzz surrounding cloud computing. Here, I will attempt to offer a succinct overview of this new ready reference book by Murugesan and Bojanova (2016) entitled, Encyclopedia of Cloud Computing.

The book is designed to help answer the question of what cloud computing is, while informing information professionals of the labyrinthian, trending subject. A caution here, this is an encyclopedia, so you may find it necessary to carefully peruse the content section to scour the topic that you are most inquisitive about right now. Later you can always refer to another section as more questions surface for you. That is the beauty of ready-reference—it is usually always ready, willing and able to answer your most pressing information questions quickly.
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