While not strictly a webcomic, this week’s feature in our sequential art category is free, online, and important for today’s planned nationwide student activism. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has published a comic explaining the rights of teens to express themselves on civic matters. This can be downloaded or, better, shared virally online.
Be Heard! A Comic For Student Rights From CBLDF & NCAC
International Women’s Day is celebrated this week so if you’re seeking some good options for tuning in to women of whom you’ve heard named and read with your eyes, take the opportunity to hear them in their own voices.
Poet Gertrude Stein was recorded reading her 1922 poem “Idem the Same: A Valentine for Sherwood Anderson,” in 1935 and preserved by the University of Pennsylvania audio archives. Already noted by then as a woman who was not treading the patriarchal path her gender was assigned, Stein’s voice is expectedly strong and dramatic.
Eudora Welty can be heard reading her 1941 short story “Why I Live at the PO” in a a recording mounted on YouTube that should be slowed to .75 speed in order to sound natural. The story itself reflects both Welty’s acute observation powers regarding social dynamics between and among women as well as the short story craft at its best. Flannery O’Connor read her short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” at Vanderbilt University, in 1959, and hearing it in her drawl gives it authentic body as well as soul. Recorded half a dozen years after it was first published, and five years before the young author’s death, this mid-century dark comedy is a fitting memorial to its author as well as a window on a particular aspect of gender in the time and place it’s set.
Maya Angelou’s 1978 poem “And Still I Rise” can be heard in her voice, and with her introduction, on a recording published by one of her students on YouTube in 2007. Here a woman’s viewpoint and reading are presented as universal as well as particular. In 1991, Adrienne Rich turned our attention to nature as a necessity in a time of turmoil that threatens life as well as social parity. You can hear her read “What Kind of Times Are These?” in 2000, recorded at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.
The next step would be to find the woman who speaks of women now. You might ask the next woman you meet for a recommendation of the voice you need to hear next. Better, ask the next three women and follow up every lead they offer.
Since the invention of the most rudimentary of sound-capturing technology coincided with European descendent explorations of geography annexed through hostile acts of imperialism, the opportunity to hear dying languages remains with us. Taking time to listen to such recordings can serve as a respectful acknowledgment of past violences which stripped the world of certain human and spiritual potentials in service to domination by others.
The Doug Ellis Audio Collection provides nearly instant access online to stories, memories, and historic accounts recorded during the mid-20th century in Cree communities of Ontario. The sound quality is good and contextual remarks both in English-speaking voice and archive notes, along with good searching capability on the site, make this a starting point with almost no technical threshold. John Wynne’s account of “How Ghost River Got its Name” is itself one of interracial violence between First Peoples.
Like animal species, human linguistic diversity is open to both threat of endangerment and endangerment, or loss, itself. To be considered endangered, a language has fallen to such disuse by its native speakers that they no longer incorporate it fully into daily life, passing it between generations. Seeking archival recordings made when such languages were threatened—and thus the subject of non-native, native, or both teachers and record keepers—may provide guidance for the future: how can we maintain an awareness that every language is an expression of humanity that is both shared and privileged.
This week we take a half-step east of audiobooks per se to listen to recordings of live performances by a poet and a comedian. Both expressive forms are intended for auditory consumption and, in these selected cases, offer a shot of wry retrospective to go with current day events.
First up, Allen Ginsberg—Beat poet, comfortable performance artist, and more truthsayer than the provocateur he was accused of being—reads America. From atom bomb talk to TIME Magazine obsessing, this over-60-year-old invocation of the United States as hazard zone currently requires no historical explanation even to those a quarter of the poem’s age.
George Carlin’s “Filthy Words” routine, here as recorded in “Occupation Foole,” recorded in 1973, tracks the words involved in what became a First Amendment case arising when Carlin was arrested the previous year for speaking seven particular words aloud to an audience during his comedy performance. Last week’s news about a demand made of the Centers for Disease Control by Executive Office policy analysts included a different set of words, and yet the number of them—seven—puts a nearly biblical twist on US government suppression of vocabulary choices.
Among the delights of listening to such recordings is hearing the speaker’s actual delivery. This is a far cry from being left to read what a student wrote down as he heard Plato speak. We hear the places that matter to the speaker, even under the audience’s responding laughter. The leverage of direct access to intonation and pacing proves to be more than extra; in these two cases, the speakers’ good humor can give us some hope in light-heartedness itself.
Besides engaging with what authors and performers have created through audiobooks, the sound of storytelling extends to creating and listening to family stories, neighborhood stories, captured memories of unwritten, and otherwise unscripted, events, and conversations. The work of StoryCorps addresses this by providing both structure for and preservation of such recordings. Recordings made in StoryCorps booths, which pop up around the country on well publicized schedules, are accepted by the Library of Congress as part of the American archives of cultural and popular history. StoryCorps has won a variety of humanities distinctions, including the Peabody Award (2007).
For several years, StoryCorps has been promoting The Great Thanksgiving Listen, a guided opportunity for those gathered with multiple generations to celebrate the holiday. With the goal of creating “a culture of listening,” this effort points directly to the power of listening in communication, intergenerational honor, and understanding. Directions are specific, simple to follow, and require virtually nothing to attain satisfying results. The event is suggested for families, classes of all ages, and neighborhood gathering places. Continue reading StoryCorps and the Great Thanksgiving Listen→
The focus of this new partnership between Follett (the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States) and EveryLibrary (a 501c4 political action committee dedicated to building voter support for libraries) is to “return librarians to schools and expand funding equitably in districts.” Full press release below:
Follett announced today it is intensifying its support of K-12 school libraries and librarians by partnering with EveryLibrary, a Chicago-based political action committee dedicated to advocating for libraries and librarians at the state level. The Follett-EveryLibrary partnership will initially focus its work with school library associations in six states: Illinois, Washington, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Florida, and Mississippi.
Though each state effort will be different, according to EveryLibrary’s John Chrastka, the goals will be similarly focused to bring back school librarians to schools and expand funding equitably across schools and districts. Chrastka explained Follett’s support of the initiative will allow EveryLibrary to execute targeted outreach and activism in the targeted states, and help bring attention to pending bills in state legislatures, such as Pennsylvania and Nevada, which are calling for more librarians in each school. Continue reading Follett and EveryLibrary partner to advocate for K-12 Libraries→
ODILO, the Spanish startup tech/eBook company, will provide all children in Peru with free technology due to the horrible floods that wreaked havoc there at the end of March. ODILO allows for the management, distribution, consumption, auditing, and preservation of all types of digital content (eBooks, audio, video, images, documents, etc.).
The floods primarily impacted the northwest coastal region of Piura, where a third of the population was harmed. In total, over 134 thousand homes were damaged and more than 600 thousand people were affected by the floods. As most of the roads are ruined, over 200,000 children are not able to get to school. The ODILO platform will provide students with access to their necessary materials and other educational content, so they can continue to learn while the country works to repair itself. Continue reading Flood victims in Peru receive free ebooks to continue their education [via ODILO]→
It has been a pleasure and an honor to write about various free ebook collections for the No Shelf Required community. I believe we share a number of commonalities about reading and ways to make it more accessible apart from historical models based on a buyer-customer relationship. The nine free e-collections I profiled thusfar have various models by which they operate, but all wish to disseminate information outside of traditional methods. And, to go a step further, I would be safe to assume that those of us who read NSR, share Mirela Roncevic’s passion to bypass the corporatized process by which print or electronic books are made available worldwide. From our perspective, Mirela’s efforts to show that a country in its entirety can be an open virtual library were not merely experimental, but could well be the leading edge of a future norm. Thus it is, dear readers, that, in my tenth post, I want to present you with not another collection, but rather an idea. Continue reading Library for All — not another ebook collection, but rather an idea→
According to an article I recently read in the New York Times, Merryl H. Tisch, the former chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, and her husband, James S. Tisch, the president and chief executive of Lowes Corporation (who sits on the New York Public Library’s board of directors) will give 20 million dollars to the New York Public Library (NYPL) to “expand and strengthen its education programming, from early literacy classes to technology training.”
The article goes on to explain that owing to this gift, a new position for a director of education will be created and Tisch added that she hoped the money would help the library create more job training courses and other programs to help expose students to the library’s rich collection of resources. Christopher Platt, the chief branch library officer, is also quoted saying that, to his knowledge, “this is the first educational gift to public libraries of this scale in the country.”
Giving money—especially large amounts of money that can make a lasting impact—to support any organization and institution on a mission to promote literacy, education, and access to knowledge is admirable on every level, yet this article (and story) has left me with unsettling thoughts that I wish to share here, in hopes they are not misunderstood or taken out of context. And these are pervasive thoughts, similar to those I have often expressed on NSR in my effort to draw attention to unequal access to knowledge and books permeating our society. Continue reading Not all libraries are created equal. What would the world be if they were?→
EveryLibrary—a nonprofit social welfare organization chartered to work on local library ballot initiatives and the only national organization dedicated to political action at a local level to create and protect public funding for libraries—has just put out a statement to all who support its mission to fight for the future of libraries to join its efforts by pledging support.
As part of its efforts, EveryLibrary is working to roll-out a coalition strategy in 2017 that looks to expand, not shrink, library budgets, even in the current political climate. As part of its coalition strategy, EveryLibrary signed on to the One America Coalition to focus on a core part of libraries: services to immigrants and new Americans. In addition, EveryLibrary has been part of a coalition protecting Net Neutrality for over two years and next month it will announce an expansion of its voter registration and ballot access mission.
This is a good opportunity for publishers and vendors working with libraries—public, school, and academic—to consider making a donation to support EveryLibrary’s mission. Efforts like these should serve as a reminder to publishers and vendors that sell to libraries—and whose businesses thrive from their relationship with libraries—that libraries continue to face serious challenges with funding and their livelihood depends on the continued support from the public.
Individual contributions are always welcome and make a difference, but organizational contributions have the potential to make the deepest impact. Hence this post.
More information on EveryLibrary’s 2017 agenda is available here.
Major publishers contribute thousands of titles to benefit students in need
February 24, 2016 – Open eBooks, a new initiative and e-reader app that will make thousands of popular, top-selling eBooks available to children in need for free, is launching today. First Lady Michelle Obama is releasing a video today raising awareness of the new opportunity for children. The initiative is designed to address the challenge of providing digital reading materials to children living in low-income households, and offers unprecedented access to quality digital content, including a catalog of eBooks valued at more than $250 million.
President Obama announced a nongovernmental eBooks effort in support of the ConnectED Initiative at the April 30 Kids Town Hall held by the White House at the Anacostia Branch of the District of Columbia Public Library. ConnectED is multi-pronged effort designed to provide all youth with access to high-quality digital learning tools. Since it launched, over 20 million more students have been connected to high-speed broadband in their schools and libraries and millions more are taking advantage of its free private sector resources. Open eBooks complements the new digital infrastructure to provide an opportunity for kids in need to have a world-class eLibrary in their homes. Continue reading Open eBooks Opens World of Digital Reading to Children for Free→
ALA and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) renewed their opposition to a petition filed by the Coalition of E-book Manufacturers seeking a waiver from complying with disability legislation and regulation (specifically Sections 716 and 717 of the Communications Act as Enacted by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010). Amazon, Kobo, and Sony are the members of the coalition, and they argue that they do not have to make their e-readers’ Advanced Communications Services (ACS) accessible to people with print disabilities.
CHICAGO The American Library Association (ALA) decries confirmed reader data breaches by Adobe and calls for immediate corrective action to encrypt and protect reader information. The plain text transmission of reader data over the Internet that was first reported Oct. 7 presumably stretches back as far as the release of Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) 4.0 in early September. The ADE e-book reader application is used by thousands of libraries and many tens of thousands of e-book readers around the globe. Continue reading ALA press release regarding Adobe data breach, action expected next week→
Douglas County Libraries (DCL) and partner the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) were awarded a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant of $209,460 for their project proposal, “eVoke 2.0: Colorado Statewide eBook Pilot Project” in October 2013.
Take a look at this new publication from the ReadersFirst Coalition. If you aren’t familiar with ReadersFirst, here is a bit more about them:
Libraries have a responsibility to fight for the public and ensure that users have the same open, easy and free access to e-books that they have come to rely on with physical books. They face two major challenges. The first is that, unlike print books, publishers are not required to sell e-books to libraries — and many do not. This is a complex and evolving issue. The second, addressed here, is that the products currently offered by e-content distributors, the middlemen from whom libraries buy e-books, create a fragmented, disjointed and cumbersome user experience. more on the website.
January 14, 2014 — NEW YORK– The ReadersFirst coalition, representing more than 292 library systems and nearly 200 million library users, unveiled today a new guide to help library systems
make informed decisions as e-book providers to the public and to advocate for libraries having a greater role in shaping e-lending in our public institutions. The ReadersFirst Guide to Library EBook
Unglue.it is now testing the next phase of their program, 2.0. The new “Buy to Unglue” campaigns use the ebook as an instant reward for supporting a campaign. They built a free ebook lending platform for libraries so that library users can buy ebooks for their library. A blog post at Unglue.it highlights the details of the program.
Details of the program from an Unglue.it email:
To showcase the work we’ve done, we’ve launched a “buy to unglue” campaign for a public domain ebook, Edwin Abbott Abbott’s Flatland. You can buy an ebook and see the ungluing date change. You can join our test library, and ask to borrow a book. Once you’ve joined a library, you can buy ebooks you can share with the library. We’d love to see every ebook store work like that.
Now that we can show everyone how “buy to unglue” is going to work, we want to talk with publishers, authors, and libraries that feel ready to take the next step into the ebook future. eMail to email@example.com if you’re interested in participating.
Several blogs and news sources are reporting on a public meeting regarding the first sale doctrine as it relates to digital files. Teleread’s Juli Monroe posted last Thursday. In her post she said, “There’s going to be a public meeting scheduled for December 12 in Washington D.C., and the U.S. Department of Commerce is seeking public comment from all interested stakeholders on the issue of first sale doctrine and digital files, including ebooks.
I attended the 2013 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago and have several updates on eBook vendor offerings, initiatives, and activities. Vendors and initiatives are listed in alphabetical order. This information will also be presented at the ALA TechSource conference wrap-up webinar, held July 8th. The recording of that session is available at http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2013/07/archive-of-the-2013-ala-annual-tech-wrapup.html. I also want to take a moment to announce the launch of eContent Quarterly, a new ALA publication edited by Sue Polanka and Mirela Roncevic (both NSR contributors). A free preview issue is now available for download.
CHICAGO Today, Maureen Sullivan, president of the American Library Association (ALA), announced the launch of “Authors for Library Ebooks,” a new initiative that asks authors to stand with libraries in their quest for equitable access to e-books. Bestselling authors Cory Doctorow, Ursula K. Le Guin and Jodi Picoult are helping kick off the campaign.
The campaign represents an extension of the ALA’s advocacy strategy to ensure all people have access to the world’s knowledge and literature through our nation’s librariesregardless of format. Over the past 18 months, ALA leaders have met with major publishers, distributors, authors and representative associations to seek sustainable solutions for library e-book lending. Continue reading ALA launches “Authors for Library E-books” campaign→
The third supplement on ebooks and digital content from American Libraries examines both the big picture and the nitty-gritty of libraries and publishing, looking at how libraries are evolving in response to the digital revolution, from taking advantage of opportunities in content creation to advocating for equitable access to ebooks produced by the world’s largest book publishers.
Read it online here or pick up a copy at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago at the Office for Information Technology Policy programs and in the ALA Membership Pavilion.
James LaRue, director of Colorado’s Douglas County Libraries system, discusses how libraries canand shouldbecome local community publishers
Clifford Lynch, executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information, provides an overall assessment of the library ebook situation
ALA President, Maureen Sullivan, ALA Executive Director, Keith Michael Fiels, and Alan S. Inouye, director of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy look at how libraries can collaborate, manage, and lead through this period of possibilities.
You can read this supplement in the easy-to-use Zmag web browser format, or download it as a PDF for offline reading. Click here to get started.
Portal on all aspects of digital content and for all creating, reading, publishing, managing, curating, and distributing the written word and other content in digital format, including publishers, writers, editors, content developers, distributors, educators, librarians and information science professionals. With contributions from book and information science professionals and thought leaders in the United States and around the world.