Friday, August 31, 2012

CSU tuition-gouging is unconscionable

The column by managing editor Mandy Feder in today’s Record-Bee illustrates precisely why I “hack” library school in the California Community College system.

(Hack Library School is a blog by, for and about library school students.)

Feder quotes the Los Angeles Times reporting that the California State University (CSU) system “plans to admit higher-paying, out-of-state and international students to its undergraduate and graduate programs next spring while barring California residents because of state funding cuts.”

Feder relates that her younger daughter is in her third year at a CSU and tuition has nearly tripled.

There is something unconscionable in CSUs price-gouging California students. The “highly competitive” fees quoted to me by San Jose State University were $474 per unit. These cost-prohibitive per-unit costs rendered it impossible for me to pursue a Master’s degree.

I still dream of pursuing my MLIS, but I think the community college system provides a rigorous and viable alternative in the field of library support.

As it is, my per-unit tuition has increased nearly 50 percent: When I enrolled in Cuesta College for fall 2010, I paid $26 per unit. During the summer I was enrolled in four-unit course and paid $46 per unit.

I echo Feder’s sentiment sharing “that bumper sticker, ‘If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.’” California will reap the consequences of failing to invest in a qualified, professional workforce.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bread demonstration at Lakeport Library

Nom nom nom! Amy Patton demonstrates easy bread making for parties and gatherings, 2 p.m. Sept. 8 at Lake County Library's Lakeport Library, located at 1425 N. High St. Information: 263-8817, ext. 17105 or Amy.Patton@LakeCountyCA.gov.

Vladimir’s Mustache by Stephan Eirik Clark

Book cover: Vladimir's Mustache by Stephan Eirik Clark
Vladimir’s Mustache is published
by Russian Life Books
Vladimir’s Mustache by Stephan Eirik Clark (Russian Life Books, 2012) has accompanied me on my daily Lake Transit commute this week.

Lake County readers may remember the author, who reported under the byline Stephan Clark for the Lake County Record-Bee.

Vladimir’s Mustache is a collection of short stories set against various eras of Russian History. Jacket copy sets the timeline “from the time of Peter the Great to the years of the post-soviet collapse.”

I am not familar with Russian history, but I don’t think a reader has to be, to find these stories accessible. First and foremost, Clark’s stories are about people who live and strive against the larger backdrop of history.

One story that particularly resonated with me for the familiar society it depicts, was “The Secret Meeting of the Secret Police.” The characters discuss a coming innovation called “the Internet” that will put surrveilance workers out of a job:

“And people will use it?” the narrator asks President Gorbachev.

The president answers, “People will use it, and they will even pay as much as fifteen-hundred rubles per month for the privilege. ... The state will be able to police its citizens for kopeks on the ruble what it costs today.”

I thought the description of our web-accelerated society to be very apt, phrased in a way that people do not often think about. The situation was plausible and I thought about Twitter updates in which the user proclaimed he had ousted someone else as “mayor” of a physical location.

Each check-in or geolocated post is a form of opt-in surveillance.

Other stories in the collection introduce the reader to men and women in diverse places in life. In each story, Clark offers an intimate glimpse at the lives and feelings of his characters.

Clark’s collection was an enjoyable read that I would recommend. I will offer my copy as an addition to the stacks of our Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma County libraries.

Disclosure of material connection: I received a review copy of this book.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I push ‘corporate, top-down media agenda’

A caller to the Lake County Record-Bee newsroom has decided that I am personally responsible for a “corporate, top-down media” agenda.

And all this time, I never knew the South County News broadsheet had an “agenda.” The entire purpose of this weekly publication is news by and for residents within its geographic boundaries.

But this caller apparently has a different understanding of what “corporate, top-down media” look like.

And now that you know how much more provocative the weekly broadsheet really is, be sure to grab a copy while supplies last from the counter at the Middletown post office.

Monday, August 27, 2012

‘Hattitude’: Brown tea-time hat

Brimmed hat out of brown tea-table patterned fabric. The hat's lining is black.

The best hats are the ones that I make myself. Here is a new hat, repurposed from a shirt. Brown tea-table pattern, lined with black.

Originally posted to “Hattitude” photo album on Facebook

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Reppler enhances brand consistency

Screen capture: Reppler network analytics
A lead from Joshua Waldman, social media strategist and author of Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies, introduced me to Reppler, a social media scanning tool that “monitors pictures and wall posts for tone, appropriateness and any telltale signs of someone hacking your account.”

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blame stupidity for Twitter users’ stupid posts


During #DFMChat, the weekly best-practices dialogue on Twitter among Digital First Media journalists, I went to retrieve a link to Steve Buttry’s latest entry in his #twutorial series for effective Twitter use.

Having read and blogged about it only a couple days earlier, I wanted to recommend Buttry’s suggestions on how to build Twitter followers.

While there, I discovered another link that seems worth the Twitter user’s time: “Don’t blame Twitter when journos tweet stupid things; blame stupidity.”

As Buttry states:
“Newspapers have traditionally had multiple layers of editors to filter out most of the stupid things that reporters said. But reporters now operate without the editor filter on many levels: social media, TV interviews, public speaking, emails that don’t always stay private and conversations in bars that could be recorded on cell phones.”
I appreciate this statement both as a journalist and as a student of library and information science. Both professions have an interest in promoting the importance of credible, reliable information.

Today’s reader has to be savvy about trusting information that he or she consumes.

Buttry’s blog is a timely warning to the producers of online content: you have to be your own editor and if you have a lapse in judgement, it isn’t the fault of the medium.

Adult volunteers needed for Challenge Day at Clear Lake High School

Students making hand-sign
‘Got your back.’ Challenge Day’s Notice Choose Act Network 
Exciting news for this adult survivor of childhood peer abuse: Clear Lake High School (CLHS) is preparing for its third annual Challenge Day, taking place Sept. 12 and 13.

I have followed developments at CLHS and, really, at all Lake County schools that have hosted Challenge Day: “It’s an experience that’s difficult to explain,” letter writer Anita Gordon stated in October 2006, describing her participation as an adult volunteer during Challenge Day at Lower Lake High School (LLHS). “You had to be there to understand the emotion and impact.”

Toastmasters club member Brien Crothers shared similar observations describing his experience with Challenge Day at Middletown High School.

I was a Challenge Day volunteer in 2010 at LLHS, the year CLHS held its first Challenge Day. I admire the pioneering, persevering efforts to raise money and build community support.

A CLHS student’s guest commentary to the newspaper, saying that bullying had to stop, for me embodied the tenets of Challenge Day: To “Notice” what needs to change in the community, “Choose” what you can do and then personally commit to “Act.”

Challenge Day uses an “iceberg” metaphor, where only 10 percent of what a person is, is visible on the surface. “Challenge Day norms” encourage people to “Drop the waterline and get real.”

One activity, “Crossing the line,” especially helps illustrate some of what lies beneath a person’s surface. A line is taped down the center of the room and participants stand behind the line. The presenter describes various experiences and invites people to cross the line if this applies to them.

During my session as a volunteer, adults and students took part in this and all Challenge Day activities. No one is an observer during Challenge Day.

Community supporter June Wilson recently announced that CLHS needs adult participants for its third Challenge Day. To sign up for Challenge Day at CLHS, call Tina Scott at 707-263-5193. For more information about Challenge Day, visit www.challengeday.org.

A “Circle Of Change” team meets at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at Round Table Pizza in Lakeport.

Published Aug. 28, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee.

Friday, August 24, 2012

‘Cat ears hat’ for Friday cat blogging with Starfire

Cynthia Parkhill, wearing "cat ears" hat, holds her cat Starfire
A ‘cat ears hat,’ just in time for Friday cat blogging
 It was the best crowdsource ever! I finished a crocheted “cat ears hat” on Aug. 23, just in time for Friday cat blogging with another picture of my beautiful cat Starfire.

I obtained the pattern through an inquiry on Twitter during #crochetchat. Find a link to the pattern, a simple cat ear hat by Kelley Freeman, at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/simple-cat-ear-hat.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yarn Bombing @ Your Library is international

Yarnbombing tag on railing
Tag on railing at library in Letterkenny, county Donegal in Ireland.
Photo by Donegal Yarnbomb
Crocheted catapillar tapestry
Catapillar tapestry, children's section of library.
Photo by Donegal Yarnbomb

A contribution by Donegal Yarnbomb on Facebook gives international status to Yarn Bombing @ Your Library, my advocacy initiative.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Steve Buttry recommends how to build Twitter followers

Blogging at The Buttry Diary, Steve Buttry recommends that to build Twitter followers, a journalist should Join the conversation, tweet often, be yourself.

Buttry presents eight short statements about how to build a following and then offers elaboration. As always, I believe these suggestions by Buttry can extend beyond the field of journalism and apply to anyone who seeks to build a Twitter following.

Worthwhile reading, the post continues his #twutorial series about effective Twitter use. Buttry has compiled the previous segments in this series at the end of his post.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

‘Libraries and public service’

Illustration of woman with caption: "We started a homeless outreach team inside the library."
The Rumpus.net

Hack Library School contributor Paul Lai discusses libraries and public service in an Aug. 8 post. He states, the idea of librarianship’s overlap with social work surfaced briefly during his studies.

The first was a reference to the San Francisco Public Library’s social services provisions during an Introduction to Library and Information Science class. It surfaced again when Lai interviewed teen services librarians for a youth services class:
“Both of them told me that one of the things they understood to be most important about their job working in the central downtown location of a large, urban public library system was that they needed to connect with the teens well and to build trust with them. They also noted that the most common reference questions they receive, by far, were ones related to obtaining shelter, free meals, and other resources that homeless and precariously housed youth need.
“Neither of the teen services librarians encountered any coursework that prepared them for this aspect of their jobs, and perhaps the ability to empathize and connect is not something that can be taught in the library school curriculum. However, would optional coursework related to providing social services and understanding the difficulties of people living in poverty not help aspiring public librarians to think more conscientiously about this aspect of their jobs?”
The question is an important one and certainly bears addressing.

Really, this is an issue for any area of library specialty that provides service to the public. Libraries are traditionally sources of information, whatever form or subject that information takes. They provide computer access that helps to bridge society’s digital divide and they promote information literacy.

I think it realistic that a library should compile resources for the most basic of needs.

The better informed the library student, the better informed the professional who can meet the needs of her or his community. The library worker’s social service role is surely a valid one.

What broadband access can do for a community

Economist.com posted an interesting article about what broadband access can do for a community. The author stated that Google chose Kansas City, Mo. as the recipient of a fiber-optic broadband network.

The benefits of broadband, according to the author, extend beyond “consumer-friendly baubles.”

The author cited the situation in Chattanooga, Tenn., where a municipal-owned electric company branched into telecom. Its fiber-optic network became fully operational last spring.

Since then, according to the article, Chattanooga is reinventing itself as a haven for tech entrepreneurs and municipal government is able to respond with services to data in real-time.

In response, I think that while consumers may enjoy “baubles,” there are far more serious implications to high-speed access for consumers. More and more public assistance programs require applications to be submitted online.

Earlier this year I read commentary by Susan P. Crawford in the New York Times. She said that the digital divide is less a matter now of having access to the Internet than having a reliable high-speed connection:
“Increasingly, we are a country in which only the urban and suburban well-off have truly high-speed Internet access, while the rest — the poor and the working class — either cannot afford access or use restricted wireless access as their only connection to the Internet. As our jobs, entertainment, politics and even health care move online, millions are at risk of being left behind.”
Among these divisions, I would add rural to the characteristics of the have-nots.

This morning I tested my broadband speed via speedtest.net. The Lake County Broadband Alliance seeks accurate data about quality and availability of Internet. It invites residents to test their speed and input the results into a survey.

According to the results at speedtest.net, my DSL connection’s download speed was 7.13 Mbps and its upload speed was 0.65 Mbps.

The one drawback to the methodology employed by the broadband alliance is that its survey only allows for input of the respondent’s download speed whereas benefits of access must surely rely upon upload speed and bandwidth as well.

The Upstate California Connect Consortium (UCCC) is developing a broadband infrastructure plan for Lake and 15 other rural counties in Northern California. It argues that:
“Without such a comprehensive broadband infrastructure, the more than 1.6 million northern Californians living in these counties will continue to be deprived of proper access to the broadband services that are increasingly essential to the quality of life in the 21st century.”
The Economist.com article, “The need for speed,” can be read at www.economist.com/node/21560288?fsrc=scn/tw_ec/the_need_for_speed.

To learn more about UCCC, visit www.upcalbroadband.org/. To test the speed of your Internet connection, visit http://speedtest.net/. Download speed results can be input at www.lakecountybroadband.org/.

My thanks to Digital Clipping Service on Twitter for promoting the Economist.com article.

Published Aug. 21, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

Friday, August 17, 2012

Black Cat Appreciation Day homage to my beautiful black cat Starfire

Black cat Starfire on green and white plaid stadium blanket
Our beautiful black cat Starfire
I was already inclined to join the “Friday Cat-Blogging” trend, after the latest episode in which Starfire demonstrated her incredible intelligence -- but a post on Twitter from The Third Glance revealed to me that today is Black Cat Appreciation Day.

The Third Glance was promoting a blog about her black cat M.

The revelation clinched it, because my beautiful black cat Starfire certainly deserves to be celebrated.

Starfire has lived with us for a little more than one year. She joined us shortly after the death of our 13-year-old cat Elizabeth.

Her arrival in our home was as a case of our needing her as badly as she needed us. Our apartment felt lonely without the presence of a cat and Starfire was in need of a caregiver. Once over the stress of an unfamiliar environment, Starfire brought so much life and energy to our home.

Her presence filled a tangible void.

Since she came to live with us, Jonathan and I have been amazed by our cat’s intelligence. Last night, Jonathan’s pager went off and normally, if I hear the pager and Jonathan does not, I nudge him awake.

Last night, however, both of us apparently slept through the pager’s warning beeper.

Jonathan woke to Starfire gently “making biscuits” on his foot. She then perched on the window sill and watched him to see what he would do -- almost as if, Jonathan told me, Starfire was asking him, “Should you be awake for this?”

As soon as Starfire saw Jonathan was awake and getting up to check on the pager, she went on her way.

Beyond her intelligence, our precious Starfire is so incredibly loving. She runs to greet us when we return home at the end of a day at work. Starfire is an absolute delight.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Signs missing from student exhibit at EcoArts sculpture walk

Unbelievable! Robin Shrive reports Stolen art from the EcoArts: Lake County Sculpture Walk at Middletown County Trailside Park.

In a letter published Aug. 15 on the Lake County Record-Bee website, Shrive explains that her AP English class students “spent countless hours of their own time creating an exhibit celebrating reading.” Unfortunately, the recreations of two street signs, Lake Avenue and Read Street, are gone.

Shrive asks that people who see the signs or are in possession of them to return them to Exhibit 2 or contact EcoArts of Lake County at 928-0323.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nelson explains what to do when someone steals your blog

I learned about a practice called “content scraping” today, because it happened to a post I wrote: Someone reprinted an entry (under my byline but on their blog with no credit to the original post).

The person likely intended no wrong-doing but I was concerned about how to respond. A Google search directed me to a post by Melanie Nelson: What to Do When Someone Steals Your Blog Post.

In her post, Nelson provides practical instruction upon how to proceed, as well as provides a sample message with which to contact the person responsible. Nelson blogs at Blogging Basics 101.

Interesting post about girls with ASD

Kate Reynolds writes an interesting post about girls and women on the autism spectrum at Special Education & IEP Advisor. In it, she discusses reasons why women and girls are under-diagnosed: for instance, special interests that are perceived as “girlie” and an ability to better mask their lack of social skills. I think this essay is worthwhile reading for its emphasis upon a need for more education on what to look for in girls.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Incredible work by artist Stephen Wiltshire

Mandy Feder, my managing editor, drew my attention to this article after a friend posted it to her wall on Facebook: Autistic artist draws 18ft picture of New York skyline from memory, published in October 2009 by the Mail Online.

Stephen Wiltshire created an 18-foot picture of New York from memory, after just 20 minutes in a helicopter gazing at the panorama.

The article includes several photos detailing the stages of Wiltshire’s work in replicating the New York skyline. Wiltshire has also created sketches of Tokyo, Rome, Frankfurt, Madrid, Dubai, Jerusalem and Hong Kong according to the article.

Perhaps libraries need ‘customer champions’

On the “Social Media for Libraries, Library Friends, and Library Foundations” LinkedIn discussion group, Michael Henry Starks shared a link to Marketing Is Dead by Bill Lee in Harvard Business Review.

According to the article, traditional marketing doesn’t make sense in an increasingly social media-infused environment:
“[A]n organization hires people — employees, agencies, consultants, partners — who don’t come from the buyer’s world and whose interests aren’t necessarily aligned with his, and expects them to persuade the buyer to spend his hard-earned money on something.”
Customers, Lee argues, are far more likely to ask members of their peer network when contemplating a purchase than they are to go look for a salesperson.

According to Lee, companies should use social media to replicate a community-oriented experience. Instead of pursuing outside influencers, companies should cultivate customer influencers and give them something to talk about.

Thusly, perhaps libraries should cultivate “customer champions” who can influence their peers and promote resources available at their libraries.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

YA book blog: Keys to the Kingdom

Book cover: Mister Monday by Garth Nix

I’ve checked out the first three books in Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom from the Middletown library: Mister Monday (Scholastic, 2003), Grim Tuesday (2004) and Drowned Wednesday (2005).

Even though I’m no longer contributing to a class “book blog,” I would consider these worthy additions among books that I recommend for young adults.

The stories involve a boy, Arthur Penhaligon, to whom a stranger gives a key that is shaped like the hand of a clock. He soon finds himself pursued by strange creatures intent on recovering the key.

I am midway through the second book and I find the stories lively and fast-paced, with plenty of action and narrow escapes.

The first two books are shelved in the juvenile section of my library but the third is shelved in young adult. I think the books could appeal to a wide range of ages in readership.

The series continues with Sir Thursday (2006), Lady Friday (2007), Superior Saturday (2008) and Lord Sunday (2010). All of the books are available through the combined catalog of our Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma County libraries.

Time to stop trying to save libraries?


The Aug. 8 American Libraries Direct prints the opening excerpts/summary of a blog by R. David Lankes with the provocative title, “It’s time to stop trying to save libraries.”

Lankes acknowledges the libraries need more funding, modernization and “a shifted identity in the minds of our communities.” Some libraries, he states, need to be saved from closure but not the entire profession.

“By taking on the mantra of saving libraries,” according to Lankes, “we are assuming that we are weak. Worse, it plays into the whole idea that we are wounded or broken.”

A better alternative, according to Lankes, is to appeal to supporters’ self interest by emphasizing how libraries help communities unleash their potential and thrive. The statement, “Hi, I’m a librarian,” should be a declaration of pride.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Heron’s Path is compelling young adult fantasy

Cover image: Heron's Path

Heron’s Path by Alethea Eason (Spectacle Publishing Media Group, 2012) has accompanied me during my bus commute this week.

I was introduced to Eason’s earlier book, Hungry (HarperCollins Publishers, 2007), a few months ago. During the spring semester, I was taking a course in connecting adolescents with literature and libraries. One of the course requirements was to read and then contribute reviews of books to a class “book blog.”

When I told Middletown Library director Gehlen Palmer about the book blog project, he recommended that I read Hungry.

My impression of Hungry was that teens would be able to relate to conflicts faced by its main character: she is an extraterrestrial masquerading as human on earth and her parents demand that she eat her human best friend to demonstrate her maturity and loyalty.

Heron’s Path is in a different genre than the earlier book: the story combines elements of historical fiction and fantasy. And while Hungry was directed toward middle-grade readers, I think Heron’s Path would find its primary readership among older teens.

Heron’s Path tells the story of a pioneer girl, Katy, and her sister, Celeste. Narrated by Katy, the story opens dramatically: her sister has disappeared from the family’s farm. Celeste is found, but in circumstances that cannot be explained.

I do not want to go into further detail for fear of revealing too much. Suffice to say, both girls face decisions and choices that will have a profound impact in their lives.

Heron’s Path grabbed and held my interest as an avid reader of young adult fantasy.

Eason is a Lake County resident; she lives with her husband on Cobb. Her author biography notes that she has been published in places as varied as the children’s publications Shoo-Fly Audio Magazine and New Moon Magazine and the literary journals Frontiers and Sweet Fancy Moses.

Hungry is available through the combined catalog of the Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma County libraries. I plan to give Palmer my copy of Heron’s Path so watch for it in the catalog as well.

Read an excerpt from Heron’s Path at http://www.spectaclepmg.com/books/herons-path/. Read an online diary, written in the character of Celeste, at http://thesecretdiaryofcelestefarrow.wordpress.com/.

Published Aug. 14, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee.

Update, Sept. 15: Heron’s Path is back from the the central library; I shelved it today in Juvenile Fiction next to Eason’s earlier book.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

World Cat Day public service: What to do if you find a lost animal

My cat Starfire pummels a ball of yarn
My cat Starfire pummels a ball of yarn.
Blogging at High Paw Media, author HighPaw has compiled ways that humans can celebrate World Cat Day, which is today.

Aside from publishing a photo of my cat Starfire (an exercise that needs no excuse), I thought a worthy contribution would be to share information in an article that was written by Kevin N. Hume and published in the Record-Bee today: what to do if you locate a lost animal.

As stated in the article, Clearlake resident Judy Kohlhagen found a dog on her porch on July 5.

Kohlhagen was directed by a receptionist at Clearlake Veterinary Clinic to a lost and found animal public bulletin on the Lake County Animal Care and Control website.
“‘I went on to the site and posted,’ Kohlhagen said. ‘Four hours later, the owner called.’”
The article advises that, according to animal care officials, residents who find stray animals after regular business hours should be prepared to care for the animal at least overnight before they can take the animal to the nearest animal control facility.

Bill Davidson, director of Lake County Animal Care and Control, recommends that people call and report the found animal so that the agency can create a record in case its owner calls looking for the animal.

The article notes that Lake County Animal Care and Control and City of Clearlake Animal Control are on Facebook.

My thanks to Twitter user @JazzBruno for raising my attention to World Cat Day, via her initial post and then by sharing the High Paw Media blog.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Daniel J. Vance’s ‘Disabilities’ celebrates 10th anniversary

The 10th anniversary of Daniel J. Vance’s column, “Disabilities,” is marked by an exceptional segment in which he discusses stereotyped portrayals of people with disabilities as either victims or superheroes:
“In general, the news media have a recurring tendency to portray people with disabilities as being superheroes or victims rather than as real people. As for superheroes, you often hear them saying accomplished people with disabilities are ‘inspirational’ or ‘courageous’ when most would prefer being seen as just plain “people’ whose accomplishments merited attention because of the accomplishment itself and not because of any disability.
“The news media portray people as victims when saying someone ‘suffers’ from a disability or is “confined” to a wheelchair. As for the latter, people using wheelchairs aren’t ‘confined’ to anything. Their wheelchair frees them up to get around. They would be confined if they didn’t have a wheelchair. What’s so hard to understand about that?
“Rather than perpetuate superhero and victim stereotypes, I try best I can to write the story from the person with the disability’s perspective and portray that person as a unique individual simply going through a different experience than most. I want column readers to acquire a realistic feel for what different people with disabilities face and I want to break down those stereotypes.”
In spite of sometimes referring as “superpowers” to my Aspergian tendencies, I bring a similar concern for responsible and respectful media portrayals of people with disabilities when editing the language of submitted press releases.

In 2010 Vance interviewed and wrote about me as an editor who has Asperger’s syndrome. I think he portrayed me fairly and respectfully and I’ve enjoyed reading several of his other columns as well.

Autism infighting won’t go away

I’d love to be proved wrong on this, but I don’t see it happening and here’s why. As reported today by Disability Scoop:
“‘The infighting that a lot of times characterizes the autism community needs to stop,’ said Scott Badesch, president of the Autism Society. ‘Until we come together, we’re not going to be able to move the needle on enhancing autism services.’
“Tension has been brewing for years with parents and even professionals at odds over everything from possible causes of the developmental disorder to whether precious dollars should be spent on research or services for those on the spectrum.
“As a result, Badesch said he sees many other interest groups getting a stronger reception locally and in Congress, citing elderly Americans and the gay and lesbian community as examples. By working together with a united front, Badesch said he hopes autism advocates can be more productive.”
The reason that infighting won’t go away is that too often, people with autism are excluded from discussions of what is best for people with autism.

In a classic example, Disability Scoop refers to differing opinions between “parents and professionals” as if they alone shape the dialogue.

Later in the write-up, Disability Scoop says this:
“Inquiries from Disability Scoop to three other national groups advocating for individuals with autism about the proposed summit did not yield any immediate response.”
Again, did Disability Scoop attempt to obtain statements from an organization of self-advocates? Like the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, for example? The language used by writer Michelle Diament suggests not.

This is why autism infighting won’t go away.

Look for additional perspectives on autism infighting, curated with Storify.

Monday, August 6, 2012

New yarnbombing tag, and a map!

Yarnbombing tag: "388.4" on bus shelter armrest
Yarnbombing tag: ‘388.4’ on bus shelter armrest

1. On Sunday I installed a new yarnbombing tag, this one at the Petaluma Library: “833.4.” Specifically, I installed a tag on the armrest of a bus shelter just outside the Petaluma Library. To fully appreciate its significance, you can either browse the non-fiction stacks of your library, or look among the subject tags at the bottom of this blog.



View Yarn Bombing @ Your Library in a larger map
 
2. On July 12, Steve Buttry led a workshop on the use of social media. One of the topics he addressed was Google Maps. This past weekend, I created a map of “Yarn Bombing @ Your Library” tags within Google Maps.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Five ‘Cs’ of librarianship


There are five areas, the “five Cs” in which librarians can empower learners with valuable 21st-century skills, according to teacher-librarian Joyce Valenza and technology integration specialist and librarian Shannon McClintock Miller.

On eSchoolnews.com, writer Michelle Luhtala summarizes these five key roles for 21st century librarians:
“Given the unprecedented quantity of information learners are exposed to, the librarian’s role is more important than ever. Librarians help all students gain access to, evaluate, ethically use, create, share, and synthesize information.”
The occasion was a presentation by Valenza and Miller during Alan November’s 2012 Building Learning Communities conference.

The  “five Cs” include:

  • Curation: Valenza and Miller stress the value of teaching learners to “purposely contribute to society’s collective intelligence.”
  • Citizenship: “Students must be taught how to publish their work for the real world, with their real identity (not anonymously), to build their digital footprint with purpose.” The benefits include greater understanding of the importance of copyright and licensing, as well as understanding what a student’s digital activity reveals about her or him.
  • Compassion: Valenza and McClintock place importance upon instilling empathy in students and empowering them to make a difference in the world.
  • Creation: “The participatory nature of 21st-century culture emboldens students to create and publish content — all kinds of content, but particularly multimedia content. Given the opportunity, students will transform work into play. .... Librarians, who have always served as matchmakers of sorts — pairing books with readers, resources with research questions, and, more recently, problems with tools to solve them — should be the “go-to person(s)” to support learners as they construct their knowledge.”
  • Connections: The article states that Miler helps her students to build personal learning networks.

My reaction to this article is that while Valenza and Miller addressed the role of school librarians,  I believe public librarians play a role in empowering life-long learners.

This role is not dissimilar to that of the information curator who works in the field of journalism. Both professions have an interest in promoting the importance of credible, reliable information. And in my current role as an editor, I emphasize the forums that are available for people to express their views.

The more sources of information that our society is exposed to, the more crucial it is to cultivate information literacy and global, cyber-citizenship.

I credit Tina Barseghian (@MindshiftKQED) with bringing my attention to this article.

Batgirl was a librarian

Batgirl, circa 1966, with caption Batgirl was a Librarian!
Yvonne Craig is Batgirl, the superhero librarian
The current Batman film franchise is too dark and violent for my liking. But I have fond memories of the campy television show with Adam West and Burt Ward.

From Random House: Libs on Film, came this timely reminder that Batgirl was a superhero librarian! What better role model for this would-be librarian to aspire to?

More of us are ‘Married without children’

I am part of a growing percentage of women in the United States who have never had children. Another of those women, Deborah Petersen, shares her experience of being “Married without children” at MercuryNews.com.

Book advocates greater investment in public transit


Cover: Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

For the past three weeks, my daily commute on Lake Transit has offered me an occasion to read Straphanger by Taras Grescoe (Times Books, 2012).

Grescoe, like me, is a “straphanger,” defined as “somebody who, by choice or necessity, relies on public transport, rather than a privately owned automobile.”

According to Grescoe, for the vast majority of the earth’s population, getting around involves taking buses, ferryboats, commuter trains, streetcars and subways -- and yet public transportation is viewed by many as a “squalid last resort for those with one too many impaired driving charges, too poor to afford insurance, or too decrepit to get behind the wheel of a car.”

Bus pass in ID pouch holder
Hand-made brocade ID pouch
for my Lake Transit monthly pass
In the introduction to his book, which is posted on utne.com, Grescoe argues that it doesn’t have to be like this: “Done right, public transport can be faster, more comfortable, and cheaper than the private automobile.”

Grescoe documents the state of public transit -- high-speed rail, bus travel and even bicycle use -- in cities around the world, including North America. His book argues for greater investment in public transportation and less dependence upon automobiles.

Some of the noteworthy statistics I encountered in my reading of this book include the difference in carbon emissions during a 1,000 mile trip depending upon mode of travel: 560 pounds by kerosene-fueled jets, 640 pounds by diesel-powered car and only 160 pounds by electric-powered train.

Another statistic documented the difference in transportation costs by households near public transit versus those that are auto-dependent: only 9 percent of income compared to 25 percent.

While the book documented urban transit, I believe common issues are shared in rural public transit. The same gas prices that cause city residents to consider public transit have their effect in Lake County too. Lake Transit ridership is on the increase, according to official documents for the Lake Transit Authority (LTA).

Bus shelter
Bus shelter at Young Street and Highway 29 in Middletown
The 2011/12 annual report, on the Aug. 8 agenda, states that more people turned to Lake Transit as fuel prices increased: “Passenger boardings by more than 68,000 over the previous year and very nearly reached 400,000 for the year.”

For the first time, according to the report, Lake Transit averaged more than 10 passengers per vehicle hour:
“This is remarkable in a rural county where transit serves sparsely populated areas like Cobb Mountain, travels long distances to neighboring counties, provides curb to curb paratransit services throughout its service area and relies on small cities and unincorporated communities to generate much of its ridership.”
Bicycle use increased so noticeably, according to the report, that “we decided it was time to keep statistical data on the number of bicycles using onboard racks. By the end of the year, we learned that nearly [1,000] bicycles a month are brought on board Lake Transit vehicles.”

The report notes that ridership increased despite the greatest price increase in Lake Transit’s 15-year history: for many riders, an increase in fares by 25 percent or more.

The report also credits partnerships with Konocti Unified School District, Clearlake Rotary Club and Lake County Public Works for major bus stop improvements.

Straphanger can be found through the combined catalog system of our Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma County libraries. Copies are shelved at the Lakeport and Petaluma libraries (388.4 GRESCOE).

The LTA will meet at 9 a.m. Aug. 8 in Lakeport City Council chambers, 225 Park St. Agendas and minutes can be viewed at www.lakeapc.org/acc.asp?Webpage=Agendas/Minutes.

Published Aug. 7, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

Friday, August 3, 2012

Computers track bullying with social media

Researchers are using social media to look for clues to bullying incidents, according to an article posted Thursday by United Press International. It states:
“‘Kids are pretty savvy about keeping bullying outside of adult supervision, and bullying victims are very reluctant to tell adults about it happening to them for a host of reasons,’ Amy Bellmore, a University of Wisconsin–Madison educational psychology professor said. ‘They don’t want to look like a tattletale, or they think an adult might not do anything about it.’
“And yet typical bullying research methods attempts to get the kids, victims and bullies alike, to describe their experiences in self-reporting surveys, she said.
“‘For a standard study we may get access to students from one grade in one school,’ Bellmore says. ‘And then we get a one-time shot at it. We get one data collection point in a school year from these kids. It’s very labor- and time-intensive.’”
So, according to the article, UWM researchers turned to computers and to Twitter to gather data on bullying:
“‘What we found, very importantly, was that quite often the victim and the bully and even bystanders talk about a real-world bullying incident on social media,’ computer sciences Professor Jerry Zhu said. ‘The computers are seeing the aftermath, the discussion of a real-world bullying episode.’”
This usage makes sense to me because I remember writing in my journal about being bullied and rejected by my peers. If social media had existed when I was going to school, might I not have used it to similarly express myself?

I applaud any research that may help to foster zero tolerance toward bullying.

My thanks to SmartBrief on Social Media for posting a news summary of the article.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

United Way book drive a success

Woman with boxes full of books
Lisa Fronsman
from the Lake County
Family Resource Center
A children’s book drive in Lake and Mendocino counties, spearheaded by United Way of the Wine Country and supported by local sponsors and drop-off location hosts, exceeded expectations and collected more than 850 books.

According to a press release, FIRST 5 Mendocino County and Lake Family Resource Center will distribute the books to local children who participate in their early reading programs during the summer.

This generosity is especially valuable in light of the statistics quoted in the press release from United Way of the Wine Country. According to the press release, 65 percent of third graders living in Lake County are reading below proficiency levels, which increases to 73 percent of third graders in Mendocino County.

The press release states that reading is one of the most important skills a child learns and is an indicator of future success. “Low-income students who do not have access to books at home during the summer will lose the equivalent of two months of reading instruction compared to their middle and upper-income peers.”

The press release credits sponsors MendoLake Credit Union, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, JDSU and Exchange Bank. It notes that book drop-off locations included the sponsors as well as Umpqua Bank in Kelseyville and Lakeport, Redwood Health Club in Ukiah, Redwood Credit Union in Point Arena and the United Way office in Ukiah.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ashland Library levy: Please attach yarnbombing tag in support

Yarnbombing tag: "Vote for the Library"
‘Vote for the Library.’ Updated photo added Sept. 23, 2012
I’ve created a yarn bombing tag and I need the help of a crafter in Ashland, Ore. to attach it at the Ashland Library.

Ashland voters are to decide this November whether to renew a levy that provides additional funding to the Ashland Public Library. Ashland voters originally approved the levy in November 2008 and the levy is set to expire in summer 2013.

My husband and I want to live in Ashland, but are unlikely to find work and relocate in time for the November election.

According to Vickie Aldous, reporting on July 18 for the Ashland Daily Tidings, without this money, Jackson County budget limitations would cause the Ashland library to be open 24 hours per week instead of the 40 hours per week that it is open now.

An explanatory statement for Measure 15-113 states, the levy will also finance three additional full-time employees or the equivalent and enhanced outreach programs for teens, seniors and children.

Funding for the library would cost up to 21 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, $50.51 for the owner of a home assessed at $241,000.

So to keep the library open at 40 hours per week, Ashland voters need to renew the levy. And that’s where your help comes in.

I have created a tag bearing a message of support: “Vote for the Library.” I need someone to attach it for me to a railing at the Ashland library.

Yarn Bombing @ Your Library, my library advocacy project, can be viewed on Facebook. Please send me a message if you can help.