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.
Want read-aloud in Kindles and other readers? Use FCC’s easy online form by January 9, 2015. David H. Rothman calls attention to a pivotal upcoming event for readers everywhere: On January 28, 2015 if the Federal Communications Commission makes the right choice, a regulatory waiver will expire. The waiver has exempted Amazon and other E Ink manufacturers from having to comply with rules based on the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act signed by President Obama in 2010. Last year, at the urging of the National Federation for the Blind, scores of blind people objected to the waiver. And the FCC listened. “We believe that, given the swift pace at which e-reader and tablet technologies are evolving and the expanding role of ACS in electronic devices, granting a waiver beyond this period is outweighed by the public interest and congressional intent to ensure that Americans with disabilities have access to advanced communications technologies.”
U.K. vocabulary study shows long-term benefits of reading for fun: Lower nursing home bills, not just better K-12 scores?
David Rothman cites and discusses two British research studies that conclude “reading for pleasure puts children ahead in the classroom” and “those who had regularly read for pleasure at 10 scored 67 per cent in the age 42 vocabulary test, whereas infrequent childhood readers scored only 51 per cent.” Other recent studies support the positive impact of life long reading, including that reading narrative fiction helps us to develop empathy and and social skills.
The top six library issues – from the Amazon threat to the need for a national digital library endowment
Long time public library advocate David Rothman shares what he identifies as the Six Big Issues for libraries, and a related discussion about each. They are: 1. Whether public libraries will even exist half a century from now; 2. The urgent need for a national digital library endowment to help fund two separate but intertwined systems, one public and one academic; 3. America’s changing demographics. Can public libraries respond when both their hiring practices and book collections lag so badly in this respect?; 4. Copyright threats and opportunities; 5. Threats to patron confidentiality from governments, marketers and others; 6. Censorship and onerous porn-filter requirements.
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.
How to start a cell phone book club for your library, school, neighborhood, workplace or other purposes
David Rothman believes that the cell phone book club idea is timely right now. Salon has even published an article titled “War and Peace” on the subway: How your iPhone is saving literature. A headline writer can dream, right? Still, the potential is there in less dramatic form. Most U.S. teenagers own smartphones, capable of displaying e-books. And phone screens keep getting bigger and sharper. Apple is expected to introduce a phone with a 5.5-inch screen, and companies like Samsung sell six-inch models. The tips that David provides include advice even for people without cell phones right now, or the usual WiFi connections. And he highlights that book-capable phones running the Android operating system can sell for less than $20 without shipping.
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 club vision excites school librarian Njabulo Tazibona in Zimbabwe: How he can make it reality
A follow-up from David Rothman’s article earlier this month, Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community – he shares that while U.S. librarians mull over LibraryCity’s proposal for cell phone book clubs, an African librarian already is embracing the possibilities if he can win over his stakeholders.