Libraries Ready to Code Grant Application Information Session

Did you miss the information session earlier this week on the Libraries Ready to Code application process? Did you attend but want to review the slides and the information presented? If so, you can watch the recording of the session right here.

The slides are also available.

Don’t forget you can learn more about the project, access grant application FAQs, and get started with the application on the Libraries Ready to Code website.

Grant Funding for Computer Science & Computational Thinking Programs

ALA has announced a competitive grant program, sponsored by Google, that will fund a cohort of 25-50 school and public libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with youth, including underrepresented youth.  The grant application will open in late July.  If you’d like to get notification when the application is open, sign up via this online form.  The $500,000 program is part of Phase III of Libraries Ready to Code, an ongoing collaboration between ALA and Google to ensure library staff are prepared to develop and deliver programming that promotes computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) among youth, two skills that will be required for challenges and jobs of the future. YALSA is partnering with ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy, AASL, and ALSC to implement this program.  Learn more.

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App of the Week: Google Cardboard

Screenshot 2015-08-04 at 6.58.57 PM
Title: Cardboard
Platform: Android and iOS
Cost: Free

It’s more than a high-tech Viewmaster. Google Cardboard that takes advantage of the gyroscope in your phone to replicate 365 degree, stereoscopic viewing. Cardboard itself is an app which helps you get started, calibrate your device, and learn to manipulate the navigation and controls. A whole stable of apps and games build upon the Cardboard concept, but the populist VR trend is so new that the content is very uneven. Even in Google’s demo, the international capitals captured through Street View pale next to the underwater landscape of the Great Barrier Reef.

Screenshot_2015-08-04-11-57-58

Google Cardboard is truly low-barrier. It works as well with Android as with iOS, so more students can use it, manufactured Cardboard cases are inexpensive and you can download a kit to create your own headset.
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App of the Week: Google Handwriting

Google handwriting

Title: Google Handwriting

Cost: Free

Platform: Android (4.0.3 or later)

Google Handwriting is an app that works as an alternate keyboard to give Android users access to data wells through your scribbles.

Apps like Penultimate and Evernote have long enable handwriting input for searching content, but Google is a more “full-featured” handwriting-to-digital-text tool.

The really exceptional thing about Google Handwriting is how exponentially more accurate the writing-to-text translations manage to be, however sketchy the writing, as demonstrated below:

Part of the reason for the prediction quality: Google’s optical text recognition has fine-tuned through Google Book project. Predictably, you can add your feedback on the accuracy of the handwriting translation to their database, but the default leaves this in-app reporting off. Continue reading

Connect Create Collaborate: Connecting Using Google+ Hangouts

I bet that quite a few YALSAblog readers use Skype for connecting to authors, other librarians, teachers, colleagues, friends and family. It’s a great tool for real-time conversations with people across the world. If you haven’t tried Google+ Hangouts in place of Skype, I think you want to. You might find that Google+ Hangouts suits your purposes for connecting with others for meetings, classes, conversations, teaching, training and more, even better than Skype. But, you don’t have to take my word for it, check out the recording of a Hangout below.

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What’s This Thing Called Google Knowledge Graph?

Do you remember the first search engine you ever used? Was it Alta Vista? (That dates some of us.) Was it Google? Have you noticed how search has changed over the years? Some search engines no longer exist, new ones arrive on the scene (and sometimes depart pretty quickly) and others change in order to remain relevant. The world of search is not static and Google’s Knowledge Graph that launched recently shows just how true that is.
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30 Days of Innovation #4: Revamp Your Shelving

As I write this, I’m more or less barricaded by book carts at my desk. The culprit? A reorganization project in the literature section, started by my term three student intern. Term four began on Monday, which means if I want the project finished, I’m actually going to have to do some work myself. The goal of the project? To reorganize much of the 800s so that students can easily walk to the stacks and find both works by a particular author or poet and criticism on that same author or poet, all in the same place.

There’s been much debate on my state organization’s listserv about “neighborhood” shelving (sometimes also called “bookstore” organization) versus Dewey or Library of Congress. Staunch DDC and LOC defenders insist we must prepare teens for academic libraries and teach them how to use catalogs efficiently. Where’s the authority control in a neighborhood system? Who determines the genres? What about books that might arguably “belong” in more than one place? What happens to a new librarian who inherits inscrutable rules and neighborhoods?

And, more importantly, who cares?
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30 Days of How-To #18: Google+

Over the summer Google launched it’s Google+ service. It’s a social media service that integrates user postings, photos, groups (which Google calls Circles) and real-time video chatting (called Hangouts). When Google+ launched there was a lot of conversation about how librarians and educators might integrate it into their work. Here’s an overview of some of the features with ideas on how they might be used:

  • Circles may be my favorite part of Google+. The reason? image of a circle in GGL+Because I can put groups of people together in a circle and then connect with just those people when I want to start a conversation or have a Hangout. Circles are really easy to create and those you connect with in Google+ can be in more than one Circle. In a library you might create a circle for different groups of teens. Perhaps one circle for teens who are members of the teen advisory board and another circle for those interested in anime. Or a circle of colleagues that like to talk about technology and another circle just for those who are interested in steampunk. Continue reading

Living in the Cloud

Lately I’ve had a few computer malfunctions in my life. The laptop I used for work was stolen, and the hard drive on my computer at home had a crash that even spin rite couldn’t fix. I lost some documents I was currently working on, but thankfully I’d been saving most of my important documents to a shared work drive. Since these debacles I’ve been making sure I save in multiple places and even invested in a service called Mozy to back up my files at home.

I wanted to share with you what tools I’ve been using to help offset another computer disaster:
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