I recently found out I’m going to be a part of the Public Library Association’s Digital Literacy Committee! I’m very excited, but also a tad bit nervous since this is my first professional committee experience. My first lesson was to update my LinkedIn. I never saw the importance of maintaining my profile since I haven’t been looking for a job for quite a while, but I’ve quickly realized its value as a networking tool.
I’ve noticed a huge need for digital literacy within various library audiences. As patrons apply for jobs, proficiency in navigating computers and Microsoft Office software is necessary. As the Internet facilitates information overload, it’s essential for all citizens to be able to critically analyze sources and suss out credibility. As children start getting ready for schools, technology becomes a part of school readiness.
There are active ways to teach digital literacy skills either through presenting classes or providing resources. But one thing I’ve noticed is equally important is a more passive approach. Have stations out for patrons to play with – play is an integral part to learning. At my library we have children’s iPad stations and AWE stations. We often get questions from parent patrons on why we have technology in the children’s area. Instead of simply having signage in place with the names of the apps, I included a description that explains how the app can help build their child’s early literacy skills. If your library allows it, place resources around this area to help patrons learn how to use media mindfully.
Through meeting the group online I’ve found out about larger digital literacy initiatives such as the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and digital initiatives through broadband companies (Comcast, IBM, etc.). Net Neutrality is being threatened by the current administration – how are our patron’s access to the internet going to be affected? We are meeting at ALA midwinter for the first time and I am earnestly anticipating what we are going to talk about. I’ve definitely created some new neural connections and I can’t wait to see how this opportunity unfolds.
I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction, but this book was quite different. I found myself a little spooked but more amused by Anne Jacobs, a dichotomous feeling which is always fun to find in a character.
The descriptive diction reminded me a little bit of Pond by Claire Louise-Bennett, as well as, the two female protagonists who are fiercely independent and somewhat isolated. However it is a loose thread that connects those two stories.
This summer was kind and mild. Opportunities flourished professionally and personally. A slight lull at the end.
Nothing brightens my day quite like seeing Christian Robinson’s work. Whether it is one of his picture books or a post from his Instagram account. His energy and optimism shine through his colorful scenes. His stories celebrate diverse characters and help children explore different perspectives -whether a school building’s first day of school, the life of a great jazz singer, or a ghost befriending a human girl.
A constant source of inspiration, one of his Instagram posts helped me create an art-focused station for my tech-heavy summer program, Star Party. Gotta embrace that A in STEAM!
Christian Robinson’s insta post/space collage station from Star Party
I packed two books for my vacation last week and they were both quick, engaging reads that I finished (well I lost one book) before my flight back home. I found myself at the airport bookstore not wanting to splurge on a new hardcover title, but wanting a story I wouldn’t regret purchasing. And there it was, The Circle by Dave Eggers. I hadn’t visited Eggers words in years, but knew instantly this was the book to get me through my afternoon of traveling. I almost read this book in 2013 – fresh out of college and probably just as naïve as the main character, Mae. I’m glad I waited until now. Now I can fully comprehend how eerily real this story is – personal data freely available to larger organizations in the name of progress, a false sense of community, and information overload. I appreciate science fiction for its prophetic ability. Many current technological concepts can be found in books written in the 1960s and 1970s.
The following stories are contemporary science fiction books with a focus on the effects of technology on society similar to The Circle.
Super Sad But True Love Story by Gary Schteyngart: Lenny Abramov is neutoric, unsexy, and trying with everything he has to be hip enough to attract a young love interest. But what is a book-loving guy to do in a post literate society where social rank and appearance is king?
Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankel: After getting fired from his dating website job for creating an algorithm that is too perfect, Sam has a lot of time on his hands. When his girlfriend’s beloved grandma dies, Sam creates a computer program that allows her to keep communicating with her grandma. It doesn’t take long for a new business to form, but how can Sam justify the ethics of this kind of artificial intelligence?
Touch by Courtney Maum: Sloane Jacobson is invited to forecast new tech trends at a conference. She’s the best at her job and she can only see that there will be an anti-electronic movement in the future. What will her quest for human connection reveal?
I have a couple of friends that just don’t like to read. They don’t really see the point of it. It boggles my mind, but they are still my friends. I don’t hold it against them. In fact, they are reading – they listen to podcasts and audiobooks, read articles and the news, and take part in discussions and performances. Many parent patrons let me know that they do not view graphic novels as part of their kids’ reading time claiming that there are too many pictures. But why? Sometimes text can be overwhelming to early readers (and let’s face it, to some experienced readers, too!) and maybe they aren’t developmentally ready for text only chapter books. Some readers need to listen to retain the structure of and themes within a story. Some readers need visual information to really reinforce the context of the printed word. Reading is more than text.
RuPaul’s Drag Race. The library is open.
Reading is one of many forms of communication. It does not have this narrow definition of processing text printed left to right on horizontal lines on multiple pages of a physical paper bound together. Egyptians had hieroglyphics. Many early Central American and South American cultures recorded and read their history in a visual format. Some drew symbols to share information, while others communicated through quipu, various colored threads knotted in different ways, or other craft-like formats. Many cultures prided themselves on a rich oral storytelling tradition with words and sometimes instruments. This form of telling stories emphasized community and sharing. Then as a tool of colonization, Western explorers decried visual language and storytelling rituals as savage and proclaimed written language as proof of higher status. But they still loved their Shakespeare and political cartoons. Go figure.
Ye Old Englishman
While many people still view text as king, visual and oral communication are a huge part of our lives. Green tells us to go, award ceremonies for entertainment are huge events, we share stories every chance we can– at the dinner table with family and friends, in storytime, in movies, songs, and plays. Stories are everywhere. They reflect cultures and individuals, truths and deception. The power of stories is an incredible force in connecting people and expanding worldviews. Literacy is important and reading is just a portion of that. There’s a reason that the Public Library Association and Association of Library Services for Children include singing, playing, writing, and talking as early literacy skills. Along with reading, these activities reinforce how to communicate.
One of my book club reads
The wind is starting to nip more. The trees are finally radiating bold red, gold, and orange. Teas are bought and drunk in abundance. My cat is won’t stop cuddling in the morning. There is just something about winter that speaks to my soul.