Speaker. Writer. Doctoral student in media studies at CU Boulder. MA PoliSci, MA LibSci.

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Congrats to the 41 Projects that made it to the refinement stage of the Knight News Challenge!

Congrats to the 41 projects that made it to the refinement stage! Check them out! 

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Support Free For All: Inside the Public Library on Kickstarter

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Free for All: Inside the Public Library is the first major documentary project about our nation’s most beloved and most threatened public institution. It captures dramatic personal stories from library users across America, highlighting thediverse communities that depend on public libraries and the surprising ways libraries are reinventing themselves to serve more people than ever.

ABOUT THE PROJECT Big decisions about the future of the American public library -decisions that will resonate for generations - are being made NOW in local communities across the country. How these decisions will be made and who will make them are questions at the heart of our documentary.

We’re an experienced team of award-winning filmmakers who are passionate about public libraries and their role in our democracy. Many people think of libraries as quaint book repositories growing obsolete in our digital age. We’re on a mission to dispel that myth.

The reality is that people are using our local libraries more than ever before. If you haven’t been in a library lately, you’ll be astonished to discover what’s going on inside them. Libraries are providing digital media labs for youth, computer and internet access, literacy programs, job search resources, creative maker-spaces, baby yoga classes, senior technology training, romance book clubs, tools for genealogy buffs, rare databases for scholars, safe spaces for kids after school, and whew, much, much more. At some libraries, you can even check out fishing gear, cake pans, heirloom seeds, power tools, a painting or a laptop, along with the latest bestseller.

America’s more than 16,000 public library branches are a vital lifeline for millions of people. But in many communities that lifeline is in danger. Despite record-high usage, over 50% of U.S. public libraries have faced cuts or closures since the recession. Many are debating survival options like branch closures, severe reductions in hours, charging fees, or privatization. 

Intended for PBS broadcast in 2016, FREE FOR ALL: Inside the Public Library will be a rollicking and visually stunning mosaic of faces, architecture and stories that brings to life the astonishing diversity of the American library experience and the urgent issues libraries face today. This feature-length documentary film chronicles “a day-in-the-life of the American library” from open to close in public libraries large and small. It features a handful of the millions of dramatic stories unfolding within them, including an Illinois immigrant teen struggling to understand her new country, a retired Louisiana fisherwoman in search of new adventures, a California actor who’s recently become homeless, and a young Nebraskan entrepreneur with big dreams.

Work with Schools, Yorkville Branch, class visit (ca. 1910) - New York Public LibraryWork with Schools, Yorkville Branch, class visit (ca. 1910) - New York Public Library

OUR GOAL

Free for All: Inside the Public Library seeks to inspire, entertain, and spark dialogue and action about the future of public libraries. We feel it is urgent to complete production now, so the film can begin to have impact as soon as possible while critical decisions are being debated. That’s why we’re asking for your support now to complete shooting our film — and for your help in expanding the national conversation about the future of our public libraries.

WHERE WE ARE

We have received Research and Development funding awards from the National Endowment for the HumanitiesCalifornia Humanities, the San Francisco Foundation, the Creative Work Fund, the Eastman Fund, and others. With this support, we’ve been able to spend the past two years studying the issues, learning from library experts, traveling to libraries to discover stories and characters, and beginning to film them. We’ve formed key partnerships with Urban Libraries Counciland other national library organizations who are helping us develop a comprehensive outreach strategy designed to maximize the film’s impact and engage audiences of all ages, community groups, and policymakers.

WHAT WE NEED

We urgently need $75,000 so we can finish filming library stories across the United States. As you can see from the trailer, we’ve already shot some compelling moments with our participants in several communities. But we’re not done yet. We still have to shoot over 60% of the film and traveling is expensive. We’ve applied for additional grants, but grant cycles take time, and funding is limited. Your support now will guarantee that we can continue filming around the country in libraries like yours, and complete principal cinematography in late 2014/early 2015, in time to meet our goals.

This Robert Dawson original, signed print of the library built by ex-slaves could be yours!This Robert Dawson original, signed print of the library built by ex-slaves could be yours!

WAYS YOU CAN HELP

DONATE

We’re asking for your support now so that we can move quickly to continue production this fall and remain on track for a release date in 2016:

  • Pre-Production and Early Production: January 2012 – August 2014 (completed)
  • Final Production: November 2014 – April 2015
  • Editing, other Post-Production and Distribution/Outreach Work: May – September 2015
  • Release: 2016

HOW THE MONEY WILL BE SPENT

The $75,000 you are contributing towards will allow us to get back on the road around the country, starting in November, with our cinematographer and a sound person. It will pay for the rental of state-of-the-art equipment, air and ground transportation, hotel rooms, food, and other production expenses.

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I had the honor of delivering the keynote at the Lexington County Public Library this week.

10/18/2014 update: I was very impressed with the administration and staff at the library. There were so many great things about this trip but I want to point out two. First, each branch provided a passive programming idea that was on display throughout staff day, you can see the photos on Flickr. Second, I especially enjoyed how much they got into the Star Wars theme for their staff day event, having a fun theme really brought everything together!

References
  • ALA supports FCC proposal to fund digital literacy training through public libraries. (2012, April 3).District Dispatch.
  • American Library Association. (2011). The state of America’s libraries: A report from the American Library Association. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.
  • Aspen Institute to Advance Recommendations of the Knight Commission. (2010, May 18).Knight Foundation.
  • The Aspen Institute. (2014) Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries, Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, Washington, D.C.
  • Becker, S., Crandall, M. D., Fisher, K. E., Kinney, B., Landry, C., & Rocha, A. (2010). Opportunity for All
  • Clochesy, J. M. (2008). The experience of diversity by generation: how to bridge the differences. Diversity Factor, 16(4), 1
  • DiMaggio, P., & Hargittai, E. (2001). From the ‘digital divide’ to ‘digital inequality’: Studying internet use as penetration increases. Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University: Center for the Arts and Cultural Policy Studies.
  • Federal Communications Commission. (2010). Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan. Washington, D.C: Federal Communications Commission.
  • Genachowski, J. (2011, November). FCC & “Connect to Compete” tackle barriers to broadband adoption, Face Sheet for Chairman
  • Genachowski Remarks on Broadband Adoption, Speech presented in Washington, D.C.
  • Hoffman, J., Bertot, J. C., Davis, D. M., & Clark, L. (2011). Libraries connect communities: public library funding & technology access study 2010-2011. Chicago: American Library Association..
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services (2009). Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills (IMLS-2009-NAI-01). Washington, D.C. Retrieved from
  • Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century.
  • Jones, C., Ramanau, R., Cross, S., & Healing, G. (2010). Net generation or Digital Natives: Is there a distinct new generation entering university? Computers & Education, 54(3), 722–732. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.09.022
  • The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. (2009). Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age. Washington, DC: The Aspen Institute.
  • Lippincott, J. K. (2007). Student Content Creators: Convergence of Literacies. EDUCAUSE Review, 42(6), 16–17.
  • Margaryan, A., Littlejohn, A., & Vojt, G. (2011). Are digital natives a myth or reality ? University students ’ use of digital technologies. Computers & Education, 56(2), 429–440. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2010.09.004
  • Pita, K. (2012). Five Generations in the Workplace. Fairfield County Business Journal, 48(8), 27.
  • Prenksy, M. (2001), “Digital natives, digital immigrants”, On the Horizon, Vol. 9 No. 5, pp. 1-6.
  • Rainie, L. (2013). Who’s not online and why?. Washington, D.C: Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.
  • Rheingold, H. (2012). Net smart: How to thrive online. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Richtel, M. (2012, May 29). Wasting Time Is New Divide in Digital Era. New York Times Online. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/30/us/new-digital-divide-seen-in-wasting-time-online.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all)
  • Saveri, A., Rheingold, H., & Vian, K. (2005). Technologies of cooperation. Palo Alto CA. Retrieved from http://www.rheingold.com/cooperation/Technology_of_cooperation.pdf
  • Selwyn, N. (2009). The digital native – myth and reality. Aslib Proceedings, 61(4), 364–379. doi:10.1108/00012530910973776
  • Thoman, E., Jolls, T., & Center for Media Literacy. (2008).Literacy for the 21st century: An overview and orientation guide to media literacy education. Santa Monica, CA: Center for Media Literacy.
  • Wheeler, t. (2014) The Facts and Future of Broadband Competition. Speech at 1776 Headquarters, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-329161A1.pdf
  • Usdan, J. (2012, July 23). FCC Chairman Announces Jobs-Focused Digital Literacy Partnership Between Connect2Compete and the 2,800 American Job Centers. Broadband.gov. Retrieved from http://blog.broadband.gov/?entryId=1718810
  • Zickuhr, K. (2010). Generations 2010. Washington, D.C: Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.
  • Zickuhr, K. (2013). Who’s not online and why? Washington, D.C: Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.
  • Zickuhr, K., Rainie, L., Purcell, K. (2013). Library services in the digital age. Washington, D.C: Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.
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Some great passive programming ideas from my recent visit to the Lexington County Public Library System in South Carolina.
See the full set on Flickr
Some great passive programming ideas from my recent visit to the Lexington County Public Library System in South Carolina.
See the full set on Flickr

Some great passive programming ideas from my recent visit to the Lexington County Public Library System in South Carolina.

See the full set on Flickr

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Download latest report from Aspen Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries

The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries is a multi-stakeholder forum to explore and champion new thinking on U.S. public libraries, with the goal of fostering concrete actions to support and transform public libraries for a more diverse, mobile and connected society. It focuses on the impact of the digital revolution on access to information, knowledge and the conduct of daily life. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and managed by the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, the Dialogue seeks to shape and advance a renewed national vision for public libraries in the 21st century.

The report

Background readings

Strategies for Success and Action Steps

Knowledge, networks and the public library - background paper

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msnbc:

Over the course of a lifetime, assuming she works full time, a woman will lose approximately $435,049 in earnings due to the wage gap. Multiply that by 69 million working women, and that’s an enormous sum of $29,811,746,430,000.
msnbc:

Over the course of a lifetime, assuming she works full time, a woman will lose approximately $435,049 in earnings due to the wage gap. Multiply that by 69 million working women, and that’s an enormous sum of $29,811,746,430,000.

msnbc:

Over the course of a lifetime, assuming she works full time, a woman will lose approximately $435,049 in earnings due to the wage gap. Multiply that by 69 million working women, and that’s an enormous sum of $29,811,746,430,000.

Comments

Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time?

The answer, researchers say, is not yet entirely clear. “We know how children learn to read,” said Kyle Snow, the applied research director at the National Association for the Education of Young Children. “But we don’t know how that process will be affected by digital technology.”

In a 2013 study, researchers found that children ages 3 to 5 whose parents read to them from an electronic book had lower reading comprehension than children whose parents used traditional books. Part of the reason, they said, was that parents and children using an electronic device spent more time focusing on the device itself than on the story (a conclusion shared by at least two other studies).

But when it comes to learning language, researchers say, no piece of technology can substitute for a live instructor — even if the child appears to be paying close attention.

Even literacy advocates say the guidelines can be hard to follow, and that allowing limited screen time is not high on the list of parental missteps. “You might have an infant and think you’re down with the A.A.P. guidelines, and you don’t want your baby in front of a screen, but then you have a grandparent on Skype,” Mr. Snow said. “Should you really be tearing yourself apart? Maybe it’s not the world’s worst thing.”

Read more

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explore-blog:

Harvard psycholinguist Steven Pinker, wise and witty as ever, on what cognitive science is teaching us about the art of writing with style – from when and whether to use the dictionary to why much of what you’ve been taught by traditional writing manuals is now being proven wrong. 
explore-blog:

Harvard psycholinguist Steven Pinker, wise and witty as ever, on what cognitive science is teaching us about the art of writing with style – from when and whether to use the dictionary to why much of what you’ve been taught by traditional writing manuals is now being proven wrong. 

explore-blog:

Harvard psycholinguist Steven Pinker, wise and witty as ever, on what cognitive science is teaching us about the art of writing with style – from when and whether to use the dictionary to why much of what you’ve been taught by traditional writing manuals is now being proven wrong. 

Comments
Comments
I would like to know how you think libraries play a part in education, both formal and life-long. Thanks Lemony!

The Librarian By Day Notebook

The part libraries play in education is the part bubbles play in champagne.  They may seem at first to be merely a shimmery addition, but they are the central feature of the entire enterprise and the reason, joyous and astonishing, to keep imbibing.

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mollymwetta:

Cheers to that.

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