Thursday, June 19, 2014

Totally obsessed

With Oculus Rift. I've been carrying around this issue of Wired like a talisman.

They do it, quite literally, with mirrors! The hardware is less than $100 in components, and so superior to anything we've seen. It's so exciting, it makes me a little breathless.

Imagine browsing any library's shelves and seeing the physical page of any book, no restrictions based on your location or the nature of the material -- wouldn't that be a REAL democratizing outcome from the Google scanning project?

I've heard futurist librarians speculate all libraries will shift to digital lending, because of the elimination of property concerns. Imagine if we do shift to digital lending, but it's because of the exponential resources available in virtual spaces. But what we will continue to need in that VR model? Way better metadata, improved funding. Aids, and user instruction at the point of need. We live in interesting times.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I do it to myself...

...I was racing down to Montomgery for our ALLA board meeting yesterday morning when I realized I had already burned two of my nine weeks off this summer. With our state conferences (ASLA and AETC) the week after school ended, then a quick trip to see my bestie and her girls, then the board meeting, a good-ish slice of my summer has slipped through my fingertips.

I'm hanging at home until next Wednesday, when I leave for ALA Annual. UNT's graduate school has announced my dissertation defense for next Friday, the 20th (above) -- it will be via videoconference, so mercifully no travel. In the meantime, I also have to get things together for Freedom to Read Foundation, United States Board on Books for Young People, and Odyssey audiobook award meetings, and prep for a panel presentation on teens spaces at the conference. 

Believe it or not the real insanity begins in July -- Key West for vacation, then leaving for the Annenberg-Newseum Educator Workshop (#anew14) the same day we get home, then the next week at the NEH Seminar on Emily Dickinson in Amherst, then another European excursion before I have to move ALL the books library, hooray!

It begs the question, WHY? Why not just hang around the house? It is one of the perks, and perils, of having a little more than two months off, I guess.

Monday, June 2, 2014

On tap for June

A couple of years ago, I got smart and started submitting very similar session proposals to the state school library and ed tech conferences we have here each June. It has worked out well -- given the mad rush at the end of the year, I can do the prep work for both at once, and enjoy the conferences a little bit more. In past years, I’ve talked about Google's "reading suite," next gen read/write web tools, and digitized primary sources. This year, it’s global learning resources for “around the world in thirty sites.” I presented it today at ASLA and I'll reprise it again for AETC on Wednesday, June  4.

The conference today was terrific -- probably the best ASLA I can remember. The highlight was Tommy Bice, our state superintendent, mentioning having read Beautiful Ruins and The Goldfinch over the last couple of weeks, then talking about building support for school libraries with legislators, in part by writing up a document outlining how libraries contribute to learning to be adopted by the state board.

I was also the grateful recipient of a doctoral scholarship from ASLA. I mentioned my recent volte-face about Macs. I Around the same time, I completely changed my attitude about applying for scholarships and fellowships, particularly for smaller amounts. I read a very persuasive piece somewhere arguing that is a cumulative record of earning funding, beginning with small amounts, that counts in substantiating a record of successful financial support. So I steeled myself to apply and got funding from this professional organization and also UNT this summer. And I feel real gratitude for the $500 towards my never-ending doctoral expenses. It will defray a surprise semester’s tuition, as I have to be registered this summer to file my graduation papers with the graduate school. And I have a date for my dissertation defense -- June 20.