There’s nearly always something about libraries in the news. This article stood out because librarians are often asked what we think about the future of books, reading, and libraries.
A New York Times opinion piece asks “Do School Libraries Need Books?“ The article offers a variety of viewpoints -not at all limited to school libraries – from a school headmaster, an associate professor of English at the University of Maryland, a former high school English Teacher, and a couple of authors concerned with life in the digital age.
Here are a couple of excerpts that may provoke reflection about college students and reading:
“…knowledge is proximate. In the digital world, that proximity is less about geographical locale than about licensing, digital rights management, and affordability; but all the more reason for students (and teachers) to know that not everything is always within reach of a mouse.”
“The digital natives in our schools need to have the experience of getting lost in a physical book, not only for the pure pleasure but also as a way to develop their attention spans, ability to concentrate, and the skill of engaging with a complex issue or idea for an uninterrupted period of time.”
“…the fact that books are not connected to the electronic grid is becoming their greatest asset. They’re a space apart, a private place away from the inbox where we can go to quiet our minds and reflect.”
SCC student ambassadors Vivian Bui, Joseph Crenshaw, Angelica Duran, Natalie Medina, Donald Peat, and Shinesh Prasad have made a powerful contribution to the early success of their peers these first 2 weeks, helping the new kids find call numbers for their textbooks, add courses with permission numbers, print from D2L, search for classroom locations, manage cranky copy machines, and change eservices passwords. Then they brought brownies! It doesn’t get any better.
New students seemed especially happy to get help from their peers. Brilliant program.
Shinesh fixes the printer with the wave of a hand.
The NYTimes.com paywall went up today. The new limits in summary: 20 free articles a week, and 5 clicks a day from search engine results. The truck-sized loophole: links coming from outside sources (blogs, Facebook, etc.) will always work.
Plenty of people are weighing in on the big questions: Will people pay for quality journalism? Will people simply skip the Times in favor of free sources?
This may be a good time to remember that current SCC students, faculty and staff can always get the Times for free via the library databases. You will find a link on our databases page that allows you to get full-text articles from 1985-present using the EBSCOhost interface. Or, for more complete coverage, try LexisNexis Academic. Or, if you prefer to turn the pages, we have the most recent six months of the paper in the Periodicals section of the library.
Find more information about the candidates for statewide office and about propositions 13 through 17 on the June 8 primary ballot in the downloadable Easy Voter Guide, also available in hard copy in the SCC library.
The SCC library just added 3174 titles to the ebook collection, bringing the total number of ebooks in the library catalog to over 18,000. These run the gamut of disciplines, with lots of scholarly titles. Browse the list and see for yourself. The list is sorted by call number, but call numbers correspond to subjects. Find call numbers for your subjects.
Ebooks are generally read online, although you can print a limited number of pages at a time, per publisher restrictions.
If you get a “not available” message, just wait a bit till another user takes a break and closes the ebook.
Kindle and its cousins offer a different kind of ebook experience, as well as content more suited for entertainment. We’ve got a Reader article on that.. Several recent magazine articles cover the handhelds; here’s one from Academic Search Premier (library database). If you have one, bring it to the library to show it off!
Virtual classrooms, such as those in Second Life, probably aren’t going away any time soon, but colleges that use Second Life are increasingly hosting their own rival environments, according to recent news from The Chronicle of Higher Education. Instructors want more control than Second Life allows as well as fewer problems with clumsy avatars, inconvenient obstacles, vandalism, and random inappropriate activities.
Led by researchers at Duke University, Open Cobalt plans an initial release of its teacher-friendly virtual world in April. Open Cobalt will store data on your computer, reducing worry about a host going out of business. View Open Cobalt in action.
OpenSimulator provides another alternative, although similar to Second Life. Colleges can host their own world, rent access from an intermediary, or score free “land” from the non-profit Immersive Education Initiative. OpenSimulator allows in instructors to limit access to students.
In response to these challengers, Second Life’s owner, Linden Lab, is designing a virtual world that will better meet teacher’s requirements.
But are virtual classrooms even here to stay? How might they be improved to provide value? Are there better ways to harness the power of the Web for education? Take the poll and leave your comments below.
This is just a note to let staff and faculty know about an exciting upcoming workshop on October 2 at Folsom Lake College. If you came to (or were interested in but missed) the Classroom 2.0 event last Spring, this looks to be similar but with a more specifically community-college focus.
This will not be a traditional conference with presenters and spectators, but rather an “unconference,” so come ready to share what you know and learn more about using Web 2.0 and emerging technologies in education.
Visit the workshop wiki to learn more and add your name to the list of participants.
Many SCC faculty are making use of recent campus events as a teachable moment for critical thinking. To support that momentum, the library would like to share a sample of significant information resources.