Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Check out the above comic created by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Comics have often been thought to be made for kids, and thus they have been subjected to much heavier censorship than traditional novels.  Everyone seems to know that novels can and do contain adult themes, and we are fine with that, but society is for some odd reason not as accepting of adult themes in comics.

It is for this reason important that those of us who are anti-censorship (even if you are not a comic fan) remain vigilant to assure that freedom of speech applies to all.

4 Opinions on E-books

I keep hearing that E-books are the future, and I believe it to be true.  Many libraries, included the one I work at, are working hard to keep on top of e-book technologies to provide users with options for their various e-book readers and/or mobile devices.

Yet at least at my library we have found the usage of our e-books surprisingly low.  But an article that I read recently seemed to shed some light on the low uptake of e-books. Shrimplin, Revelle, Hurst, and Messner discover that there are 4 types of opinions regarding Ebooks in their article: “ Contradictions and Consensus: Clusters of Opinions on E-books” (Shrimplin, A. K., Revelle, A., Hurst, S., & Messner, K. (2011). Contradictions and Consensus — Clusters of Opinions on E-books. College & Research Libraries72(2), 181-190).

  • Book Lovers – have an emotional attachment to print books and do not use e-books unless the have too.
  • Technophiles – are the other end of the spectrum and have a strong emotional attachment to technology and prefer E-books on their brand new tablet.
  • Printers – Sometimes print e-books. Unlike “book lovers” they would use e-books if usability were improved.
  • Pragmatists – are comfortable with print or e-books and use whatever they can to get information.

I haven’t seen the actual data but it certainly rings true, having helped students who only want E-books, and other students who absolutely refuse to use an e-book even if it is the best book available.

Do schools kill creativity.

Do Schools kill creativity? Of course they do.

I know this video is pretty old by now and many people have seen it.  But i just rediscovered it and realize how true it is.  Even as someone who has benefited from this education system, and works in the education system, I know it is true and find it sad.

I have seen how true it is in my own family.  School always came easy for me.  I got excellent marks without really trying that hard.  My younger brother, who is a professional musician, barely graduated high-school.  Yet when he got to college and was able to study his passion (music) he was on the dean’s list and graduated with honors.  Unfortunately, the high school system does not regard artistic, or musical genius, and in fact squashes the talents of creative people who don’t see the point in regurgitating historical dates and mathematical formulas.

First Sole Author Publication: Subject Guides in Academic Libraries: A User-Centred Study of Uses and Perceptions

My first Sole author publication just came out in the December issue of the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Science 35(4).

Unfortunately, my institution does not have access to this particularl journal.  But if you are a student or staff at an institution that does you can find it here: Subject Guides in Academic Libraries: A User-Centred Study of Uses and Perceptions.

P.S. I am finally finished the class I was taking at the U of A. So I should have more time to blog in the next few months.

An Unplugged Space???

A colleague recently posted a link to an American Libraries column titled “An Unplugged Space.” The authors explore the idea of creating spaces in libraries which would not only be quiet spaces, but technology free spaces.

I think this is an important debate, but I do have a few disagreements with this piece.  First of all, the authors are proposing that libraries should offer their users a physical space for quiet contemplation free from noise and also free from any form of communication. But I wonder if students are really so incompetent that they are incapable of being able to decide for themselves if they wish to study with their phone on or with it off?

Do libraries want to be perceived this way? In an age where libraries are already seriously behind the times in providing users with high-quality content customized for their mobile devices, I don’t think this is something libraries can afford.

I would argue quite the opposite. Libraries should be creating spaces that are more friendly for mobile devices.  In addition, libraries should be at the forefront of creating mobile sites, making apps, and utilizing qr codes, and other mobile content as it arises to provide content/information/help to users right on their smartphone or tablet.

The author points out that a policy of asking students to “turn off communication devices when they enter the classroom” is quite common, and suggests maybe libraries could or should do the same. But I also disagree with professors asking their students to turn their cellphones or mobile devices off at the door. Teachers should be embracing mobile technology into their instruction. It isn’t only libraries, but also professors who are falling behind the times in their pedagogy.

I think libraries are so far behind on mobile technologies, we should be investing more energy on catching up, not investing energy to get us further behind.  Just my thoughts on the matter.  Feel free to comment if you disagree.