Gwen Mueller is an IT Professional, #dnd Gamer-girl, #coffee drinker, geek in Secondary Education, editor on tumblr #education, curating #science, and #tech resources to inspire lifelong learning with 1/4 cup of #fun.
At a conference held here at the University of Pennsylvania last week, librarians talked about the chances and challenges that open online courses throw their way. The conference, “MOOCs and Libraries: Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge?,” was organized by OCLC, a library cooperative that runs the WorldCat online catalog and provides other services and library-related research.
Lynne O’Brien, director of academic technology and instructional services at Duke University, said the “rapid uptake” of MOOCs had taken many people by surprise. As she put it, “These courses don’t seem to fit anything of the model that we have for how to do online education well.” She’s been hearing from instructors that “the process of preparing courses for this environment made them rethink” how they teach their on-campus courses. “Faculty have said it’s a huge amount of work but that it’s also a wonderful opportunity,” she said.
A Wikipedian in residence is a Wikipedia editor who has an on-site placement at an institution. It turns out there are many such Wikipedians at archives and museums around the world, including the National Archives, but there has never before been one at a presidential library.
• Students who have access to a full-time, certified librarian scored higher on the PSSA Reading Test than those students who do not have such access. This finding is true for all students, regardless of their socio-economic, racial/ethnic, and/or disability status.
• For several student groups that tend to experience achievement gaps—economically disadvantaged, Hispanic, Black, and those with IEPs (Individualized Education Programs)—Reading and Writing results are markedly better when those students attend a school with a librarian and library support staff, according to the research. In fact, they benefit more proportionally than the general student population.
In what may come as a pleasant surprise to people who fear the Facebook generation has given up on reading — or, at least, reading anything longer than 140 characters — a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project reveals the prominent role of books, libraries and technology in the lives of young readers, ages 16 to 29.
“We found that about 8 in 10 Americans under the age of 30 have read a book in the past year. And that’s compared to about 7 in 10 adults in general, American adults.”
“We heard from e-book readers in general [that] they don’t want e-books to replace print books.”
“We found that [younger people are] very interested in the idea of preloaded e-readers — being able to check out an e-reader at a library that already has some popular titles on it.”
It’s no secret that copyright law needs a significant overhaul to adapt to today’s complex information ecosystem. Unfortunately the near-term prospects for comprehensive reform are dim. However, participants at a conference last spring at Berkeley Law School on “Orphan Works and Mass Digitization: Obstacles and Opportunities” believe that modest but still meaningful reforms are possible.
Because of term extensions, copyright is a significant impediment to reuse of most books published in the 20th century, even though an overwhelming majority have long been out of print. DPLA planners want to provide public access to literatures of the century just past, but it is impractical to clear rights on a work-by-work basis. (It would cost an average of about $1,000 per work, and that’s not counting any royalty payments.)
While library budget cuts continue, demand for library services has soared. Lower income and unemployed patrons often turn to local libraries as their only source of Internet access.
At the same time, libraries have sought to accommodate Americans’ ever-increasing demand for access to digital materials, a mission that has put them at odds with the publishing industry, which is struggling to retain its viability as many American readers shift toward reading books electronically and purchasing those titles from online retailers rather than traditional bookstores.
Nothing disturbs print-centric researchers like the idea of kicking books out of a library to make room for computers. The New York Public Library set off a fierce debate recently with its plans for a major reorganization. The proposed overhaul, known as the Central Library Plan, includes selling two midtown branches and moving many of the three million books now housed under the main reading room at 42nd Street to a remote-storage facility in New Jersey. The library shares the facility in a consortium arrangement, called Recap, with Columbia and Princeton Universities.
Across America, libraries used to reach out to readers by sending bookmobiles into school parking lots, street corners and rural byways. Now, those rolling reading rooms are becoming scarce — too costly and outmoded, some say.