Thursday, January 28, 2010

Largest Book in the World Goes on Show for the First Time

Largest Book in the World Goes on Show for the First Time
Klencke Atlas, which is 350 years old, will be displayed as part of British Library exhibition on maps

It takes six people to lift it and has been recorded as the largest book in the world, yet the splendid Klencke Atlas, presented to Charles II on his restoration and now 350 years old, has never been publicly displayed with its pages open. That glaring omission is to be rectified, it was announced by the British Library today, when it will be displayed as one of the stars of its big summer exhibition about maps.

The summer show will feature about 100 maps, considered some of the greatest in the world, with three-quarters of them going on display for the first time.

At the exhibition's core will be wall maps, many of them huge, which tell a story that is much more than geography. Many of them, said the library's head of map collections, Peter Barber: "Hold their own with great works of art."

He added: "This is the first map exhibition of its type because, normally, when you think of maps you think of geography, or measurement or accuracy."

The exhibition aims to challenge people's assumptions about maps and celebrate their magnificence, as demonstrated by the 37 maps in the Klencke Atlas, which was intended as an encyclopaedic summary of the world.

It is almost absurdly huge – 1.75 metres (5ft) tall and 1.9 metres (6ft) wide – and was given to the king by Dutch merchants and placed in his cabinet of curiosities.

"It is going to be quite a spectacle," said Tom Harper, head of antiquarian maps. "Even standing beside it is quite unnerving."

READ MORE ! @ Guardian: 1/26/10 by Marc Brown

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Canada: Family Literacy Day

Canadians Sing for Literacy
CNW Group

Press Release: January 27, 2010

TORONTO - Families and communities from coast to coast to coast will be celebrating reading and learning together on and around January 27, 2010, for Family Literacy Day, ministers Diane McGifford and Margaret MacDiarmid announced today on behalf of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC).

"Family Literacy Day offers an opportunity for families across Canada to take part in community events and activities to celebrate the joys of reading and learning together," said Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Education and Minister responsible for Early Learning and Literacy for British Columbia, CMEC's lead province for literacy. "With this year's 'Sing for Literacy' theme, families can also strengthen language skills by singing and having fun together. By practising literacy skills at home, we are investing in our children's future and preparing a strong basis for a lifetime of learning."

Established in 1999 by the ABC Canada Literacy Foundation, Family Literacy Day is an annual initiative to celebrate parents and children reading and learning together, and to encourage Canadians to spend at least 15 minutes enjoying a learning activity every day. This year, more than 300,000 Canadians are expected to participate in Family Literacy Day events, which include pyjama-party readings, storytelling circles, treasure hunts, and campfire singalongs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Health Literacy San Diego

New Website Boosts Healthcare Communication
Health Literacy San Diego

January 2010

A new website to help address health literacy challenges faced by patients and healthcare programs has been launched - a joint project of the Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP) and the San Diego Council on Literacy. The website content will help improve patient healthcare by arming providers and literacy service programs with information and other resources that will close communication gaps.

"Health literacy" is defined as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000).

Jose Cruz, CEO for the San Diego Council on Literacy, says, "Too often, the literacy abilities, language, or culture of patients clashes with the literature, language, and culture of the healthcare service provider."

Stocked with information that helps healthcare providers and literacy organizations gather information to improve services for patients whose healthcare is affected by communication barriers. The website features readability tools, training resources, curriculum information for low-literate populations, and literacy resources.

Health Literacy in General
Health Literacy Curriculum
Training for Health Care Professionals
Health Literacy Website

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

U.S. Public Libraries in Financial Jeopardy

A Perfect Storm Brewing: Budget Cuts Threaten Library Services at Time of Increased Demand

New Survey Shows U.S. Public Libraries in Financial Jeopardy. Cuts reduce hours, staffing at thousands of libraries as patron demand escalates.
ALA Press Release: January 14, 2010

CHICAGO – Libraries have been on the front lines during the recession. U.S. public libraries have expanded available job resources, and more people are turning to libraries for technology access and help in applying for jobs and government assistance online, according to a new library survey. The survey also found, however, that half of states have reduced funding to public libraries and to state library agencies, and close to one-quarter of urban libraries have reduced open hours. Adequate staffing is the leading challenge to aiding job seekers.

More than three-quarters of all public libraries reported increased use of their public Internet computers over the past year, and 71 percent reported increased wireless use, according to the survey conducted by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Center for Library and Information Innovation at the University of Maryland in fall 2009.

Two-thirds (67 percent) of all libraries reported that staff members help patrons complete online job applications and offer software or other resources (69 percent) to help patrons create resumes and other employment materials. The vast majority of libraries surveyed provide access to job databases and other online resources (88 percent) and civil service exam materials (75 percent). Forty-two percent of urban libraries report offering classes related to job seeking, and about 27 percent collaborate with outside agencies or individuals to help patrons complete online job applications.

But just when people need their public libraries the most, funding for this valued resource is decreasing, as governments cut library budgets as a way of addressing state and local deficits. More than half of responding state library agencies (52 percent or 24 states) reported cuts in state funding for public libraries between FY2009 and FY2010; and 11 of these states reported cuts were greater than 11 percent, double what was reported last year. In addition, nearly 75 percent of state library agencies also have received cuts resulting in fewer available staff, reduced funding for library materials and subscription databases, and continuing education for public library staff and trustees. Funding for Pennsylvania’s Office for Commonwealth Libraries, for instance, was cut in half and reduced staff levels from 56 to 21. READ MORE !

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Education Week: Annual Report Card

Quality Counts 2010: The New Surge Toward Common Standards

The 14th edition of Education Week’s annual report card on American public education focuses on the latest iteration of the national debate over common academic standards.

The nation and many states face a continuing struggle to deliver a high-quality education to all students, according to Education Week’s annual education report card. The nation received a C when graded across the six distinct areas of policy and performance tracked by Quality Counts, the most comprehensive ongoing assessment of the state of American education. Maryland topped the nation with a B-plus overall, followed closely by Massachusetts and New York, both of which earned a B. The majority of states received grades of C or lower.

States posted their highest scores for polices related to standards, assessments, and accountability. The nation as a whole earned a B in this area, with 20 states receiving grades of A or A-minus. The top-ranking states—Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, and West Virginia—had near-perfect showings on the policies examined, many of which have been tracked since the report’s inaugural edition in 1997.

The report also finds that the nation has made little progress in improving the opportunities for students to succeed throughout their lives. The nation received a C-plus on the report’s annual Chance-for-Success Index, the same grade as last year. Only one state—Massachusetts—earned an A, while Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New Jersey posted grades of A-minus. Three states received a D-plus. The EPE Research Center’s Chance-for-Success Index provides a detailed look at the role that education plays as a person moves from childhood, through formal K-12 education, and into college and the workforce. READ MORE !

The Press Release contains a Grading Summary by State (p.5) and a Math Progress Index (p.6)

Future of Reading Symposium

Future of Reading
June 9 - 12, 2010

Rochester Institute of Technology
One Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester NY 14623

Keynote: Margaret Atwood - June 9, 2010

Theme 1: Reading & Writing, June 10, 2010
Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Wired Magazine
Johanna Drucker, Martin and Bernard Breslauer Professor, UCLA Information Studies
Amit Ray, Assistant Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology

Theme 2: Media & Technology, June 11, 2010
N. Katherine Hayles, Distinguished Professor Emerita, UCLA Department of English
Richard Lanham, Professor Emeritus, UCLA Department of English
Jon Orwant, Engineering Manager for Google Books, Google Magazines, and Google Patents

Theme 3: Science & The Art of Literacy, June 12, 2010
Robert Bringhurst, Author, Linguist, Poet & Typographer
Kris Holmes, Type Designer, Bigelow & Holmes
Denis Pelli, Professor of Psychology and Neural Science, New York University
Dennis Tedlock, James H. McNulty Professor of English, SUNY Buffalo

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Literacy Tribune Newsletter: January 2010

Literacy Tribune: January 2010

United Literacy, a non-profit organization, provides resources and support to adult literacy learners in the United States. Its aim is to make literacy education accessible and worthwhile for adult learners.

Main Story: 7 Keys to Spelling by Sylvester Pues
~Correct spelling uses a combination of techniques.

Member Spotlight: Johana Trevino by Alison Werner
~her nightmare started in 2nd grade when she was supposed to start learning to read.
Organization Spotlight: ProLiteracy by Alison Werner
~the world’s largest organization of adult basic education and literacy programs.
A History Lesson: Theodore Roosevelt by Alison Werner
~born Oct 1858 into a wealthy family living in New York City.

Technology Watch: Google Chrome by Daniel Pedroza, Writer & Learner
~a web browser is likely the most used program on any computer.

Daniel Pedroza will present a workshop on the Literacy Tribune @ the
Southern California Library Literacy Network
February 27 @ the Buena Park Holiday Inn

The Literacy Tribune is looking for adult learner writers.
Are you an adult learner ?
Do you want to write ?
Do you want to publish your writing ?

You can write about:
Your road to literacy
Your literacy organization
Literacy resources you like
You can write book reviews, poetry, short stories
You can write articles about health, finance, or technology

You can write just about anything !

Monday, January 11, 2010

Salinas: City of Letters

Literacy: the Good Word in Salinas
Monterey Herald: January 10, 2010 by Marc Cabrera

For economic development and growth, Salinas mayor Dennis Donohue is looking toward an unlikely source — the written word.

The concept is a "City of Letters," an idea that the Salinas Public Library and National Steinbeck Center have collaborated on for a year, after receiving a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The city branded itself a "City of Letters" in 2009 in reference to the dictionary definition of letters, which is literature, learning and knowledge.

With the IMLS grant, they have developed programming through the library to promote literacy in the community.

Another part of the grant is to develop community-based initiatives with the intention of attracting commerce from outside the city.

Donohue's vision with the "City of Letters" concept is a literary district, possibly near Oldtown Salinas, that would include everything from a library-themed hotel to a performing arts venue, and, perhaps, that elusive big box bookstore. READ MORE !

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Katherine Paterson Named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
SLJ: January 4, 2010 By SLJ Staff

Katherine Paterson, both a two-time Newbery medalist and National Book Award-winner, replaces Jon Scieszka as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a two-year position created to raise national awareness of the importance of lifelong literacy and education.

“It is, I don’t have to say, an honor and a thrill," says Paterson. "I cannot fill Jon’s shoes, but I can follow in his footsteps, seeking to alert our nation to the importance and delight to be found in literature for young people.”

Paterson, who has chosen “Read for Your Life” as the theme for her platform, was selected by a committee that represents those in the book community based on her contributions to young people’s literature and her ability to relate to children.

Katherine Paterson is the new Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

“Katherine Paterson represents the finest in literature for young people,” says Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, who announces her appointment in Washington, DC, Tuesday morning. “Her renown is national as well as international, and she will most ably fulfill the role of a national ambassador who speaks to the importance of reading and literacy in the lives of America’s youth.” READ MORE !

Monday, January 4, 2010

Turn the Page, Click the Link, See the Video

Turn the Page, Click the Link, See the Video

Hybrid books appeal to young, tech-savvy readers, but do the instant visuals stunt their imagination?

The mysterious man looks completely wrong to me.

In the text of the conspiracy thriller "Embassy," an online novel by Richard Doetsch, the character is described as "a starkly thin fellow with a protruding Adam's apple." My brain goes: Alan Rickman!

But when I click on the chapter's accompanying video, the man is younger, tanner, scruffier. He's dressed like he should be bumming clove cigarettes at a concert, not spying on the Greek Embassy.

What I'm reading is a Vook -- a video/book hybrid produced in part by Simon & Schuster's Atria Books. Interspersed throughout the text are videos and links that supplement the narrative. In one chapter, the Greek ambassador receives a mysterious DVD, and readers must click on an embedded video to learn what's on it. In another, kidnapper Jack ominously tells his hostage that he's going to prove that he means business.

"How are you going to do that?" Kate asks.
"Are you squeamish?" Jack replies.

Below that dialogue, a box encourages readers to "SEE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT" by clicking the play button.

Vooks represent just a few examples of a new genre that has been dubbed v-books, digi-books, multimedia books and Cydecks, all with essentially the same concept: It's a book . . . but wait, there's more!

Is a hybrid book our future? "As discourse moves from printed pages to network screens, the dominant mode will be things that are multi-modal and multilayered," says Bob Stein, founder of the Institute for the Future of the Book. "The age of pure linear content is going to pass with the rise of digital network content."

Predicting the eventual death of the traditional novel sounds practically heretical. But the genre has actually existed in English for only about 300 years, and experimentation and evolution have always been a part of the way we tell stories. Perhaps the folly isn't in speculating that the book might change, but in assuming that it won't.

Stein, of the Institute for the Future of the Book, says that whatever assumptions we make now about hybrid books likely won't hold true when the medium grows up.

"Things like the Vook are trivial. We're going to see an explosion of experimentation before we see a dominant new format. We're at the very beginning stages" of figuring out what narrative might look like in the future. "The very, very beginning."
READ MORE ! @ L A Times: 1/01/10 by Monica Hesse

Friday, January 1, 2010

How E-Books Will Change Reading And Writing

How E-Books Will Change Reading And Writing

Ten years ago, few imagined that by decade's end, people would be reading novels on cell phones. A lot has changed in the book world.

"Over the last couple of years, I've really noticed if I sit down with a book, after a few paragraphs, I'll say, 'You know, where's the links? Where's the e-mail? Where's all the stuff going on?' " says writer Nicholas Carr. "And it's kind of sad."

Carr says he's thought of himself as a serious reader all his life, but in an article in The Atlantic, he argued that the Internet is training us to read in a distracted and disjointed way. But does that mean writers will have to change the way they write to capture the attention of an audience accustomed to this new way of reading? Carr thinks the answer is yes, and he looks to the past to make his point.

"When printed books first became popular, thanks to Gutenberg's press, you saw this great expansion of eloquence and experimentation," says Carr. "All of which came out of the fact that here was a technology that encouraged people to read deeply, with great concentration and focus. And as we move to the new technology of the screen ... it has a very different effect, an almost opposite effect, and you will see a retreat from the sophistication and eloquence that characterized the printed page."

Grossman, Moody and Carr all believe that traditional books will still be around for a long time, and that some of the changes that may occur in writing will be more evolutionary than revolutionary. But it's hard to know, says Carr, whether traditional books — and the people who read and write them — will have much influence on the culture in the future.

"The real question is," wonders Carr, "is that segment of the population going to just dwindle and be on the periphery of the culture rather than at the center, which is where printed books have stood for centuries now?"

Perhaps we'll have to wait another 10 years to find out.
READ MORE ! @ NPR: 12/30/09 by Lynn Neary