TILT #55 — “Hey Google ARE women smarter than men…?”

Happy Choose Privacy Week! Lots of pictures this week. This is the time of year when I am pleased at what I see: buds, mud, birds, and greenery. I like seeing libraries that celebrate our natural world.

I’ve returned from my whirlwind trip to Hawai’i where I met some of my students, gave a talk, took some photos, went to a handful of libraries, ate some great food, smelled wonderful smells, and sneezed a lot. Brief trip wrap up (before, after) along with a photo set you’d probably like.

My talk in Brooklyn, at the ULU conference on the way out of town, was all-new and I’m pretty happy with it: EN•GAGE•MENT. Here’s one teaser slide.

My talk in Hawai’i was the social justice one you’ve probably seen. Here’s a link to the talk in case you missed it.

This is the Main Branch of the Hawai’i State Library System. It’s a Carnegie Library, built in 1911 when Hawai’i was a territory. It grew out of the Honolulu Library and Reading Room Association — created in 1897 when Hawai’i was a republic — which had a much more modest reading room. (note: edited this sentence b/c my dates were off)

Membership to the Association was exclusive, with new (paid) members having to be elected. The Hawaiian Historical Association observed: “The process of election was cumbersome enough in the early years to make it clear that only the ‘right’ people were wanted.”

The current library system, however, has one of the most welcoming websites I’ve encountered. I referred to it often in my Community Engagement class which I taught for UH at Manoa.

Here’s one more photo of seaplanes being loaded with books to deliver them to libraries on Midway and Wake islands. The Hawai’i State Public Library System runs the public libraries for the entire state, the only state library system in the US to do so.

Next time I teach at UH I want to do a class on creating… I’m not sure what you call them. Social syllabi? The Purple Syllabus (by librarians, and fans, and librarian fans) is the latest incarnation of what I’m talking about but I also think of the LibGuide for Beyonce’s Lemonade album (hashtag #libeyrianship) as well as The Pulse Orlando Syllabus.

Teaching people how to compile bibliographies created from books, links, social media discussions and maps to give people a richer understanding of a complex topic… that’s 21st century librarianship.

Speaking of high tech, Google (famous for their love-em-and-leave-em approach to library projects generally) has a new gewgaw called Talk to Books where you can use natural language to…. ask books questions. Standard disclaimers apply. I had OK results with factual queries, very mixed results with pointed questions.

So I gave some feedback because COME ON.

Asking the question with the genders reversed gets the same results.

Some odds and ends:

Thanks for reading!

Today in Librarian Tabs is written irregularly by Jessamyn West who also maintains librarian.net. It’s available in more-accessible format your inbox via TinyLetter. Thanks for reading.




Today in Librarian Tabs is a librarian newsletter by Jessamyn West

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Jessamyn West

Jessamyn West

Rural tech geek. Librarian resistance member. Collector of mosses. Enjoyer of postcards. ✉️ box 345 05060 ✉️ jessamyn.com & librarian.net

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