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Andrew Carnegie & His Libraries

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Andrew Carngie libraries brought a world of books to many towns and opened a broader world to those who read.

When Andrew began thinking of what to do with the vast wealth he had accumulated, his thoughts turned to the libraries that had given him his self-education and helped make him the man he became. He decided that to give that same opportunities to others was the best use of his money.

He began by funding libraries in the two locations he had grown up in: Dunfermline, Scotland, and the Allegheny/Pittsburgh area in Pennsylvania. The first of the Carnegie libraries was the one in Dunfermline and it opened in 1883.

The first library he commissioned in the U.S. was at Allegheny, Pennsylvania. The grand opening was in 1890, but although it was the first one he commissioned, a second one in Braddock, Pennsylvania, was the first to open in the states in 1889.

In 1892, he granted the funds for a library in Fairfield, Iowa, the first outside Pennsylvania.

By 1899, his Carnegie Libraries were springing up across the nation.

Because of segregation, black people were not allowed to use libraries, so Andrew also funded libraries strictly for them. He founded Colored Carnegie Libraries in Houston, Texas, and Savannah, Georgia, among other cities.

 

Andrew set up his library grants so that small towns could receive $10,000 to build a library, which was a substantial amount in those days. In order to receive that grant, the town’s elected officials had to demonstrate the need for a public library, provide the building site, pay to staff and maintain the library by committing public funds for that purpose in the amount of 10 percent of the construction cost per year and to provide free access to its patrons.

When Andrew began funding library construction, the policy of existing U.S. libraries was to operate with “closed stacks,” which meant that patrons requested a book from a staff member and that person would bring the book from the off-limit shelves of books. No browsing allowed.

 

The first five libraries he funded operated in this fashion, but Andrew soon realized this required more staff, so he came up with an “open stacks” form of operation where patrons could browse the collection of the library and decide which books they wanted to check out. He was then able to have the libraries he funded designed so that just one librarian could staff the library.

This new policy caught on quickly and soon most other public libraries were adopting this form of operating system.

In Missouri, the earliest Carnegie Library was built in 1899 and the last one in 1921. His donations for the 35 Carnegie Libraries in Missouri totaled over $1.5 million during that 22-year period.

The Carnegie Library at Bolivar was constructed in 1915 with a grant from Andrew for $8,000. It was the first public library in Bolivar and remained a public library until 2000. The building now serves as the home of the Polk County Genealogical Society.

The Carnegie Library at Marshfield is claimed to be the one granted by Andrew to the smallest community west of the Mississippi to receive such a grant. It was constructed in 1911 with that $5,000 grant and operated as a public library until 1995. It now houses the Webster County Historical Museum.

 

At the turn of the last century, Springfield residents began negotiating with Andrew Carnegie to acquire funds for a library and he granted them $50,000.

They then raised $3,250 to purchase the site for the library and it was constructed and then opened in March of 1905. At the time it opened, Springfield’s Carnegie Library housed 700 books. That building still serves as a library today and is part of the Springfield/Greene County Library System.

By the time Andrew Carnegie died on Aug. 11, 1919, he had given away over $350 million, which would equate to over $80 billion in today’s dollars.

 

Moreover, he endowed the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, founded the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust.

He contributed a substantial amount of money to construct the Hooker Telescope at Mount Wilson in 1911 to study the planets and stars. He built and owned the famous Carnegie Hall in New York City. He was one of the contributors to Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, and help Washington found the National Negro Business League.

Andrew also started the Carnegie Hero Fund for the United States and Canada to recognize deeds of heroism. In 1903, he contributed $1.5 million to build the Peace Palace at The Hague and in 1914 he founded the Church Peace Union comprised of world leaders in politics, academia and religion in the hopes of heading off World War I.

There are two towns in the U.S., one in Pennsylvania and one in Oklahoma that bear his last name.

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Libraries Lacking In Diversity

 

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A report was research and generated by Ithaka S+R saying there are too many white Librarians.

As a group, librarians “are over three quarters white and nearly 90 percent white in leadership roles,” the Ithaka S+R report reveals.

The lack of “library employees of color” is a “shortcoming” in the academic library industry, the report also says. Skin color is a critically important characteristic for library employees.

“The library community considers diversity to be a core value. But the academic library sector has struggled with addressing equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Academic libraries have struggled with an excess of white employees for decades, notes Inside Higher Ed.

The Report

 

 

 

Live Streaming The Solar Eclipse: Well There’s A Free App For That

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NASA

 

On Aug. 21, the moon will slip between Earth and sun, casting a roughly 70-mile-wide shadow that will race across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina, Whereby  millions of Americans  will have a chance to enjoy — and study -spectacular event. This is the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years. It has been dubbed,  aka the “Great American Eclipse.”

Watch a live NASA stream of the eclipse as it travels across the continental United States, calculate your view with our interactive eclipse map and get a virtual view in our eclipse simulator. While you wait, check out some of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s solar research and get even closer to the sun with near-live views from space.
The Apps
Eclipse Safari is from the makers of Sky Safari, one of the leading astronomy programs for computers, tablets and smartphones. Sky Safari code also powers the same interactive map and planetarium view used by the Smithsonian app.
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  Smithsonian Eclipse 2017- screenshot thumbnail

New York

Time Phase Direction Altitude
1:23 pm Mon, Aug 21 Partial Eclipse begins The Moon touches the Sun’s edge. Map direction South-southwest192° 60.7°
2:44 pm Mon, Aug 21 Maximum Eclipse Moon is closest to the center of the Sun. Map direction Southwest226° 53.0°
4:00 pm Mon, Aug 21 Partial Eclipse ends The Moon leaves the Sun’s edge. Map direction West-southwest247° 40.9°
WARNING
Never look directly at the Sun. You can seriously hurt your eyes, and even go blind. Proper eye protection, like eclipse glasses or a Sun filter, is the only safe option. Sunglasses don’t work.

According to NASA, the following materials should never be used to view a solar eclipse:

  • sunglasses of any kind
  • color film
  • medical X-ray film
  • smoked glass
  • floppy disks

 

Appropriations Committee Voted To Approve Funding for Libraries

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The full House Appropriations Committee voted to approve FY2018 funding for libraries. By a 28-22 margin, the committee approved the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill, which proposes roughly $231 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)—including $183.6 million for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) programs, and $27 million for the Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program—essentially at 2017 funding levels.

In addition to saving the IMLS, the LHHS bill includes level funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. However, it funds the Department of Education (DOE) at $66 billion—a cut of $2.4 billion from 2017, which includes the elimination of some important library-related programs, including the DOE’s Striving Readers program. ALA officials said they would work to restore it.

Meanwhile, on July 18, the House Appropriations Committee approved by a 30-21 margin the FY2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations, which includes $145 million each for the NEH and the NEA, roughly equal to FY 2017 funding levels.

The key votes come after President Trump’s call  in May to eliminate IMLS and virtually all federal funding for libraries, as well as a host of other vital programs and agencies, including the NEH and the NEA. And, it comes after Congress, earlier in May, passed a belated 2017 budget that actually upped the IMLS, NEH, and NEA budgets.

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Microsoft Research Developing Classroom Technology To Assess Children’s Reading Ability

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Microsoft Research is developing technology which may end up in the next version Microsoft’s classroom software. In a recent publication, Microsoft Research describes an AI-driven system which could help teachers automatically assess reading performance for students, saving them time and allowing more individual attention to students who need it the most. Their research paper, “Automatic Evaluation of Children Reading Aloud on Sentences and Pseudo words,” automatically predicts the overall reading aloud ability of primary school children (6-10 years old), based on the reading of sentences and pseudo words.

 

Researchers Study Inequality & Twitter

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Johnnatan Messias at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil and a few pals began the study began by filtering the Twitter stream during the three months to September 2016. In total, they collected 341,457,982 tweets posted by 50,270,310 users.

They filtered this by time zone, geolocation, and those with a profile picture to leave them with 1.6 million users based in the U.S. They then fed the pictures through a state-of-the-art face recognition application called Face++, which reports the sex and race (black, white, or Asian) of each user. The overall makeup  of the group revealed that  53 percent were women and 47 percent men. It also revealed the race breakdown, which was 18 percent Asian, 14 percent black, and 68 percent white. Messias and co began by looking at the ratios of men and women who had the most followers on Twitter. Of the top 1 percent of Twitter users with the most followers, 57 percent were male and 43 percent female. Researchers say inequalities surfaced when the group studied the distribution of races among the most popular Twitter users. “At the highest levels of [Twitter] visibility, users perceived to be White come out on top position.”

The most privileged group turns out to be white males, who are overrepresented by 20 percent among popular Twitter users. White females are also more privileged albeit to much lesser extent, just 3 percent. The most underprivileged groups are Asian females and black females, who are underrepresented by 31 percent.

Moreover, The study reveals that there are significant biases in the way genders and races link to each other. This is an effect known as “homophily”—the tendency of people to seek out others like themselves.  White people tend to follow more white people than expected by a margin of 16 percent. Black people tend to follow more black people than expected by a very significant margin of over 200 percent. However, Asian people tend to follow fewer Asian people than expected by a margin of 10 percent.

The Wikipedia Text Adventure

 

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Created by Developer Kevan Davis

Wikipedia as a classic text adventure: A “game” Wikipedia: The Text Adventure generates a list of major landmarks, and clicking any of them takes you to a landing page with a basic location description as pulled from its Wikipedia article summary, along with a list of nearby locations marked off by cardinal directions. You’re restricted to a text box, and, appropriately, typing “help” into it brings up a list of commands you can type. (Mobile users can also tap on keywords in the summaries, which isn’t as cool, but it’s a welcome alternative.)

Wikipedia: The Text Adventure 

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