LLLotW 2023.30

Predictable Book Shifting

I like this article because it's putting the “science” back into “Library Science”, but mostly because it's a practical tool for everyday maintenance in libraries. So many journal articles and conference talks are focussed on new or potential technologies, but mostly what we spend our days doing is keeping old things running and doing routine administration. Storing and moving physical books in sensible ways on open shelves is very much A Thing That Happens in libraries. You wouldn't know this from most of the things one reads about libraries whether it's in publications for the general public or for librarians, so this was great to see in Code4Lib journal.

The First App to “Help” Libraries and Schools with Book Bans Has Arrived–It’s Not What It Seems

Speaking of the obsession with tech innovation...

I don't really like the headline for this article because this app is exactly what I would expect. American politicians are busily banning children's books from school libraries so as to “protect freedom”, much as US America launched an enormous military invasion of Iraq for the same reason, conducted extra-judicial executions of wedding guests via military drones in order to support human rights in Afghanistan, and maintains a global network of military bases in order to promote peace. Anyway I digress. Ed-tech grifters “BookmarkED” have created a software application that is essentially Net Nanny for school students' library book borrowing. It serves both to enable parents to preemptively block their children from borrowing certain books, and amplify the spread of book bans:

Parents would be able to decide which books their kids have access to at the school library and have “real time” access to what their students are checking out. School libraries would know which books are being challenged statewide, ostensibly so they can take part in the mass censorship or prepare for challenges to those titles in their own collection. The website for BookmarkED purports this would save districts money around the book challenge process and ensure educators can make “informed selections for materials that support curriculum.”

RHS Digital Collections

Now for something a little nicer. The Royal Horticultural Society has a wonderful digitised launched fairly recently, “spanning over 500 years of gardening history and science.” If you want beautiful, copyright-free colour images of plants of all types, or to read old gardening books, this is the place!

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every Monday by Hugh Rundle.

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