Great Library Ideas: Experience Bags

Experience Bags
I thought this idea from Laurel County Library was pretty clever, and unlike some of the other Great Library Ideas I’ve mentioned here, also cheap for a library to implement. Laurel County’s Experience Bags are curated collections of books and other media, selected according to a particular theme like “Weekend with the Undead” or “Going Back in Time: The Roaring Twenties.” There are more details available on the library’s blog.

Comics Connector: Connecting Classrooms and Libraries with Comics Professionals

cbldf_web_kelly_2As part of Children’s Book Week, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has launched Comics Connector, a directory of comics creators and industry professionals who are willing to make library and classroom visits. The directory includes information about whether and how far the individual is willing to travel and whether they require travel expenses or honorariums. So far it’s just the U.S. and Canada, and not all states and provinces are represented yet, but if this takes off, it could be a great resource for teachers and programming librarians (via BoingBoing).

The 2015 Hugo Controversy FAQ for Librarians

Image Credit: Cory Doctorow, CC BY 2.0

So the Hugo Awards are awarded annually at WorldCon, which this year is being hosted in my very own adopted hometown of Spokane. Except this year, long before the luminaries of sci-fi and fantasy are due to arrive, the awards process has already turned into an absolute clusterf*ck. On the other hand, this year’s awards may well prove to be the most talked-about Hugo Awards yet. Yay, us?

In any case, apart from a very brief news item in Library Journal, the mess hasn’t yet made much of an appearance in the usual library-related blogs and publications. I do think it has some important implications for librarians though, so here, in as neutral of terms as I can muster, is my 2015 Hugo Controversy FAQ for Librarians (and related book nerds). Continue reading The 2015 Hugo Controversy FAQ for Librarians

Chuck Wendig’s letter to publishers

I’m a big fan of Chuck Wendig’s novels, but his blog posts are likewise entertaining. Last week, he posted an open letter to publishers in which he rails against DRM and overpriced ebooks, and sticks up for libraries and independent booksellers. On libraries:

Help libraries. Help them. They’re customers. But even beyond that, they’re the drug dealers of the book world. They’re the ones giving out free samples of your work (which, to be clear,they paid for) and fostering a love of stories and a culture of books. Libraries areWilly Wonka factories where they make new readers instead of weird-ass child-endangerment candy.(Seriously, the government needs to step in and shut Wonka down. Last I heard he was drowning kids in a corn syrup river or something. He’s like a fucking Batman villain, that guy.)

Also, “DRM is for assbadgers.” The man certainly has a way with words. More on his blog.

Great Library Ideas: The Library Minecraft Club

Minecraft headSchool Library Journal has an interesting article on school libraries running Minecraft servers for student clubs. And given the number of people I’ve seen playing Minecraft at the public library with their meager one hour allotment of computer time, I imagine this could easily be ported to public libraries as well.

I’ll fully admit that I’ve been skeptical of the educational merit of computer games on the whole, but Minecraft actually has some neat things going for it, in case you need to persuade a recalcitrant administrator. Just getting one’s head around Redstone Circuits alone provides a basic foundation for logic, electronics, computer programming, and, OMG, Boolean operators.

C’mon, librarians, if you can’t sell the higher ups on Boolean operators, hang up your MLIS, dust off your resumé, and find a new career. Besides, you know, you can make the kids check out some books and shit when they come to use your computers.