More good news for librarians! Also, this is opposite day.
Joy Resmovits at HuffPo reports, “Librarian Positions Cut In Schools Across The Country” [emphasis added]:
Weiss Suits’ story is just one of many. As school districts work to accommodate budget shortfalls, teachers aren’t the only education professionals to be let go or reshuffled. Librarians, said Nancy Everhart, president of the American Association of School Librarians, along with arts teachers and music program directors, are more vulnerable.
"Anything that is not a classroom where you have 30 kids in front of you for six, seven hours a day is probably a soft target in today’s economic times," she told HuffPost.
And as advances in technology and the wealth of information available online can appear to make rooms filled with books obsolete, librarians find themselves on the chopping block more and more often.
I suppose the word “appear” makes this passage sting slightly less, but I would have liked more on the usefulness of media specialists and how they are vital to the mission of schools.
When you count the families all over this country who don’t have computers or can’t afford Internet connections and rely on the ones in libraries to look for jobs, the consequences will be even more dire. People everywhere are unhappy about these closings, and so are mayors making the hard decisions. But with roads and streets left in disrepair, teachers, policemen and firemen being laid off, and politicians in both parties pledging never to raise taxes, no matter what happens to our quality of life, the outlook is bleak. “The greatest nation on earth,” as we still call ourselves, no longer has the political will to arrest its visible and precipitous decline and save the institutions on which the workings of our democracy depend.
According to entrepreneur/motivational speaker Seth Godin, librarians of the future will “take the world of data, combine it with the people in this community and create value”:
We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.”
Hardly Vannevar Bush country, but still interesting as a challenge. I’ve been doing a lot of work with data and data curation lately, but I’m not sure that the future library will head down the Wisdom-Knowledge-Information-Data food chain. I heard a great presentation from a computer scientist yesterday about knowledge management and trust: I imagine that will be as much a part of the future library as atomized data that can be recombined into new facts or interpretations.
These two guys get it: no one is free until all of us are free. How excellent that these two champions use a position of influence to enlarge the human spirit, our capacity to feel for one another.
But in a world where no active American athletes in a major male team sport has declared his homosexuality, it remains rare for athletes to chime in on the issue of gay rights. Recent exceptions, beyond Avery, include Grant Hill and Jared Dudley of the Phoenix Suns, who recorded a public-service announcement decrying gay slurs in sports.
Raspberry Pi is not a delicious dessert, but a foundation that’s trying to build cheap computers “to promote the study of computer science and related topics, especially at school level, and to put the fun back into learning computing.” This sweet computer costs $25 bucks, is smaller than a deck of cards, and runs Ubuntu.
I am forbidden to buy anymore bikes or computers until I clean up the chop shop I have assembled in my tiny apartment, but I’m tempted to try to build one like this myself.
The smart phone in your pocket is a snitch. Malte Spitz from the German Green Party sued Deutsche Telekom to get access to the GPS location data his phone had produced over a year-and-a-half period. The surprisingly revealing results are available as an interactive map.
The data, which ZEIT ONLINE has made available for download and acts as the basis for our accompanying interactive map, were contained in a massive Excel document. Each of the 35.831 rows of the spreadsheet represents an instance when Spitz’s mobile phone transferred information over a half-year period. Seen individually, the pieces of data are mostly inconsequential and harmless. But taken together, they provide what investigators call a profile – a clear picture of a person’s habits and preferences, and indeed, of his or her life.