David Rothman describes why the BiblioTech library in Bexar County, Texas is a landmark achievement worthy of implementation and iteration in towns and cities throughout the US. His article describes the success of this variation on a library system detailed in a new book authored by Nelson Wolff, the visionary behind the country’s first all-digital public library system. Wolff is the judge of Bexar County, which includes the city of San Antonio. The title is roughly equivalent to the head of a county board. Judge Wolff and his wife, Tracy, are donors and fund-raisers for BiblioTech and other civic causes, and his book is a how-to pathfinder to “bridge the literacy and technology gaps.”
David Rothman continues his reporting on the status of Text to Speech applications that have yet to be added to E-Ink readers due to the FCC’s extension of vendor exemptions from complying with a key benefit for the disabled that is part of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.
Adobes laxness with e-book data shows the need for a library-controlled ecosystem for library e-books
David Rothman highlights the recent revelation of an Adobe e-book reader data collection privacy issue, and suggests this security vulnerability offers a key opportunity for libraries to collaborate with other organizations to diminish data breaches, increase reader privacy, and empower libraries as stakeholders in a new relationship with vendors and customers.
The LG Optimus Dynamic Android Phone, aka the LG 38c or the LGL38C, is a smartphone that David Rothman bought new on Amazon for $20, excluding shipping. Rothman calls out the importance of this device in relationship to its potential impact among among racial minorities and young families with children that also experience high poverty rates. He contends that low-end smartphones like the 38c may be a way to bring e-books to many low-income people in America and elsewhere, including the U.K., where so many libraries have closed. Rothman discusses the objective to inform librarians, tech-savvy volunteers and nonprofits to the possibilities, in terms of training and motivation and the creation of community groups, to promote smartphone technology for literacy and self-improvement. For the underserved who already own smartphones, David details the need to install the right e-reading software to expand capabilities of the devices for accessing e-books.
On tablets, summer reading and parental role models for young readers: How schools and libraries can together connect the dots
David Rothman discusses how his Washington, D.C. suburb and in countless other places, U.S. schools are buying tablets for students, and each city could potentially be a test bed for the ideas in this commentary. We’re talking about a partial solution to a national reading divide; well-off kids actually can make gains over the summer. Regardless of family income, however, more reading is likely to help. All the more reason to increase coordination between schools and public libraries to exploit e-book-related technology to the max!
Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community
Young people are heavy users of cell phones, but most do not know they can read library e-books for free on their phones. In this cutting-edge essay, David Rothman tells how libraries could use “cell phone book clubs” to reach out both to young cell phone users and their families, including low-income people and members of racial and ethnic minorities. The clubs would not only foster literacy, but also leverage technology and strengthen the connections between families and communities.
In this article David Rothman highlights the backstory on Amazon’s new list of America’s “Top 20 Most Well-Read Cities,” based on its sales of books, magazines and newspapers. As has been the case previously, the winner is Alexandria, Virginia, his hometown, which should be able to afford a book-rich public library system. This scenic Washington suburb on the Potomac River pays the city manager $245K a year. Yet the Alexandria library’s budget for books and other materials is well below the national average despite the needs of the city’s many African-Americans, Hispanics and and low-income people. Around half of Alexandria’s students qualify for free school lunches. Simply put, we’re talking about two different realities–Amazon’s and the actual Alexandria’s.
David Rothman is spearheading chronicling the progress of expanding low cost access to e-readers as libraries engage in mission critical outreach efforts to reach underserved communities. In this article, Rothman asks: Suppose you could buy an iPad for $38, read OverDrive library books, even hear text to speech from them, and enjoy Kindle books, too. And how about social media, photos, basic video chat, and production of low-res videos? What if you could even use voice recognition to dictate e-mail or other documents for work or school? Programs to loan out low-cost e-readers are on the horizon, but David cautions there are indeed impediments, including operating system security and lack of now ubiquitous high-end audio/video performance.
Should public libraries give away e-book-friendly tablets to poor people? $38 tablet hints of possibilities
David Rothman proposes that e-book-capable tablets, especially with national digital library systems in place, could multiply the number of books matching students’ precise needs. Paper books could serve as gateways to E, and then children and parents could digitally follow their passions to the max, whether for spaceships, basketball, or knitting. A “quiet” feature could turn off Facebook-style distractions when tablet users wanted to focus on books. Protective rubber cases could guard against drops. Learning, independent of income – access to knowledge regardless of often round-the clock-work schedules for increasing numbers of parents and young people who are struggling to get by – this is a cause around which many communities of best practice can rally.
Voice Dream text-to-speech app can now play audiobooks, too, and soon you may be able to hear audios of PDFs while seeing the original layouts
David Rothman gives kudos to the latest version of the Voice Dream text-to-speech app that can now play audiobooks. David also let’s us know that soon you may be able to hear audios of PDFs while seeing the original layouts. The new version of Voice Dream, a superb iOS text-to-speech app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, can now play audiobooks, too.