Death by book

So not exactly the on topic for this blog, but my former life as a bookseller demands I share the story of a bookseller killed by books:

Law Chi Wah, a well known independent book store owner in Hong Kong, was killed by the collapsing book boxes in his small warehouse before Lunar New Years. His body was found two weeks later, already rotten. Douban (zh) has set up a special page for this book martyr. His friends and acquaintances set up a blog (zh) in memory of him and his book store.

Interview with Ethan Zuckerman, Global Voices Online co-founder

From Dropping Knowledge, this interview with Ethan Zuckerman, part 1 and part 2, introduced me to Global Voices Online. I didn’t realize he was also part of Geekcorps.

I found this story under Global Voices Online, Education about parents in Bahrain lamenting the state of education in her country.  One parent describes the need for information literacy and library skills to be taught.   I recommend people start subscribing to these feeds, if they aren’t already.

Disaster Preparedness Manual for Small Public Libraries

This manual from Ohio could be used as a template for one in your library.

Central Arkansas Library System to Donate Fines for Tornado Disaster Relief

Here’s another concrete way libraries can be part of disaster relief efforts. Money from library fines will be used to purchase food for the victims of the “Super Tuesday” tornadoes.

That is our biggest need right now,” she said. “A man came in with a seemingly simple request. He asked for mayonnaise, mustard and catsup; and we didn’t have any of these things. When you think of someone who has lost everything in their kitchen, it can be quite costly just to replace the basic items to cook with.

New discussion forums on WebJunction

There’s been some recent interesting activity on WebJunction’s International Libraries discussion forums.  Conversations about distance learning and library 2.0 are the most recent.

Go check them out.

Full disclosure – I work for WJ and help moderate these discussions.

Advocating for literacy in the international development field

I  have some Google alerts for several different searches that sometimes uncover content that I would otherwise never have known about.  My last blog post about the distance education plan for Iraq is an example of something that came in through the alert.  Another one that came in and it got me to thinking about the role literacy, education, and library advocates can play in the international development field.  I have found myself in several conversations with people working in international development where they pulled out the trusty Maslow’s hierarchy of needs when discussing where funding should go toward community development programs.

Perhaps because my advocacy skills, especially the art of personal persuasion,  are still “under development”, I was never able to fully explain why it was such a  “no-brainer” that for long-term, sustainable development, literacy, education, access to information (including government, historical records, legal, etc.), access to the ideas of others, and access to computers were integral components.  I was also never able to convincingly explain that libraries had been doing this already, and they should continue to do it in the future.  My last post linked to a paper on distance education in Iraq to me revealed that despite the huge challenges regions that are suffering conflict or extreme poverty face,  education is still seen as a solution to those problems.

So, I am now saying the things I wish I had said to the international development experts I’ve met (all of whom are literate, have at least one advanced degree, have access to a computer, and write papers on economic development using resources that their local libraries collect).   I, and my library and education colleagues, need to learn, as this blogger wrote, how to speak louder and with more persuasiveness.

Distance learning in Iraq: Creating intellectual capacity through e-learning

With the flight or death of so many academics in Iraq, education has suffered greatly.   The paper Distance Learning/e-Learning for Iraq: Concept and Road Map by Ala’a Al-Din J. Kadhem Al-Radhi outlines how to implement distance education now in Iraq.  The author recognizes the immense challenges due to security issues, but it is a hopeful plan to bring back quality higher education to a country that was once a intellectual leader in the Arab world.