Reading to Kids is Good for Them

The link below is to an article that looks at reading to kids – it’s good for them.

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African libraries that adapt can take the continent’s knowledge to the world

Lara Skelly, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

South African librarians were shocked in 2013 when one of the top researchers at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology claimed that he no longer needed the library to do his research.

Professor Johannes Cronje’s paper echoed an increasingly common way of thinking. Why, after all, do we need libraries when the Internet does such a good job of providing us with information?

But libraries are not just collection points for information. The best ones also help create it – and those which embrace this role will flourish in a completely changed world. This is particularly true for African libraries: there is more of an opportunity than ever before to bring the continent’s knowledge to the world.

A dual role

Libraries collect information and make it available to a particular community or communities. Some, like church libraries, specialise in collecting certain kinds of information.

The Internet can do exactly the same thing. Anyone can create a collection of information online and make it available to users. And who needs librarians when search engines like Google are on hand to help track down information?

Such technological advances mean that the traditional library is losing customers who just want to find information.

Libraries fulfil another crucial role, though. They help to create information. Modern libraries offer many services that help their users to put information online. Most academic libraries, for instance, have repository services that collate a university’s research output and make it publicly available.

They are extending this service to research data, which will save future researchers from collecting the same data and taxpayers from paying for it again.

These services are becoming common in public libraries as well, through an innovation called makerspaces. Here, users can make items of information. They can create music, produce items using 3D printers or engineer complex designs.

In makerspaces, librarians aren’t helping users to find information from the world. They are helping users to find information in themselves. Libraries should continue to develop services that help people create information.

Eli Neiburger from the Ann Arbor District Library talks about what libraries can do to survive.

In a way, these “new” developments really aren’t that different from what libraries have always done. Libraries curate and disseminate information. In the past, librarians curated information from foreign creators and disseminated it to a local community. Modern librarians curate local information and disseminate it to a foreign community. The flow of information has flipped.

Opportunities for African libraries

African libraries have been slow to embrace this evolution. There are twice as many repositories in Asia as there are in Africa, and ten times as many in Europe. But the continent is slowly gaining ground.

The University of Cape Town is the first in Africa to offer a Masters of Philosophy in Digital Curation. Early in 2015, the University of Pretoria opened up a makerspace, the first educational one on the continent.

The altered role of libraries is a great opportunity to showcase African knowledge. Getting information into the world is easier and cheaper than ever. African libraries need to take up the responsibility of being partners in information creation.

This means that policies must be altered – and, of course, that budgets must be increased. University leaders, decision makers, governments and library users need to understand and support the changes that are reshaping libraries.

Librarians, too, must embrace these changes. They will require new skills to support the creation of information. Many library schools are already responding to these new needs by offering advanced degrees in digital curation.

It will be also be important to reconsider the very physical space of a library. Paper-and-glue book collections are shrinking and, in some libraries, disappearing. These collections have long been the symbol of quiet thinking. Will libraries still be silent spaces of learning without them? How will libraries retain their users’ trust if they are turned into cool cybercafés?

These are some of the tough questions that librarians must answer if they expect their funding to continue and to rise – and if they want to remain relevant well into the future.

The Conversation

Lara Skelly is Librarian: Research Support at Cape Peninsula University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

From My Armchair: 26 August 2015

It has been over a year since I have shared anything of my personal reading habits and experiences – I actually thought it would have been much longer than it actually is. There have been many reasons for me having not done so before now – including the fact that I haven’t really been reading a lot until just recently. I suffer a little from diagnosed/undiagnosed depression, which simply means I know I have it but have not had a doctor investigate it and confirm it. I’m sure I have my reasons for that, but let me just say that I have found the last 12 to 18 months particularly difficult. Reading is just one of the tools I am using to battle this scourge. Anyway, I wanted to start sharing my reading ‘story’ once again, even if it is just something of a cathartic exercise.


Social Networks, Web Applications & Other Tools

My overall online profile is currently offline because of a hosting issue and I will soon be moving that part of my online presence over to my main hosting location – I use and have done so for a while now (they are quite good). The sites below are still working well however and these are regularly updated, etc. In fact I have been busy cataloguing my extensive library again, getting the data inputed into Goodreads, my database and a Microsoft Word Table that I use. Excessive? I also intend to do something with Evernote in the long run. I’ll have a very well catalogued library if nothing else – should I ever finish the task that I have set myself.

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Currently Reading:

According to my Goodreads records I currently have 19 books/ebooks on the go, which clearly is excessive – lol. However, I’d say about half of those are in limbo at the moment, though I do plan to complete reading every one of them before the year’s end (or at least sort out whether I intend to do so or not – I’m thinking of not doing so with at least one of them).

So what am I currently actively reading:

  • Cricket’s Strangest Matches, by Andrew Ward
  • Bogainaire – The Rise and Fall of Nathan Tinkler, by Paddy Manning
  • Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper
  • Chosen for Life – The Case For Divine Election, by Sam Storms
  • Ecclesiastes, by Charles Bridges
  • Bible – King James Version
  • Rediscovering the Church Fathers, by Michael Haykin

Most of the other book/ebooks on the list at Goodreads I started during the ‘dark period,’ so I will be returning to them once I work through these listed ones, having restored my passion for reading and understanding – that’s the plan anyhow.


Finished Reading:

This is where I’ll be listing books/ebooks I have recently completed.


The Book Stand

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Particular Baptist Reading Group

I have a reading group over at Goodreads called the ‘Particular Baptist Reading Group.’ The group is for Particular and Reformed Baptists in particular, though other Christians are still welcome and will find the reading material of great value. Anyone can join and all are welcome – just keep in mind that it is a moderated, Christian reading group.

The idea is that a chapter/portion of a book will be posted once a week, with discussions concerning the chapter/portion taking place within the group at Goodreads. A number of books have been read by the group and currently we are working our way through ‘Don’t Waste Your Life,’ by John Piper.

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