Librarians are an underused, underpaid, and underestimated legion. And one librarian in particular is frustrated by e-book lending. Not just the fact that libraries have to maintain waitlists for access to a digital file, but also that the barriers to checking out an ebook are unnecessarily high. As she puts it,
“Teaching people about having technology serve them includes helping them learn to assess and evaluate risk for themselves.”
In her view,
“Information workers need to be willing to step up and be more honest about how technology really works and not silently carry water for bad systems. People trust us to tell them the truth.”
That seems like the least that can be expected by library patrons.
Here’s what was important this week…
We’re all in recovery from the snow and frigid cold that gripped most of the United States this week. It’s been too cold in much of my city to properly use salt–the city has just had to spread sand and efficiently clear the snow, and hope for the best until it got warm enough yesterday to start spreading some salt. This might be a good thing, because the salt used to de-ice roads in winter has damaging effects on the environment, largely due to the run-off of the chloride.
Another unfortunate and little-considered effect that these winter storms have on our lives is the order that snow is cleared off the streets. In Sweden at least, the prioritizing turns out to be rather gendered. The priorities effectively ignore the more vulnerable populations–women, mostly–that rely on public transportation and daycare that may be less accessible while snow is cleared elsewhere.
This oversight extends beyond snow clearing and to general urban design as well, but it is beginning to be recognized. Recognizing how women use cities is imperative for designing transportation networks and community centers that work in a city, and government in Vienna, Austria is doing just that.
The surge to eradicate polio is on, and one polio survivor is determined to help any way she can, because “an outbreak of polio anywhere in the world is a danger everywhere.”
And while antibiotic resistant infections are on the rise, a new treatment is in the works for Hepatitis C.
What is life, for an amoeba?
Working at a university, the amount of money spent on academics versus sports is a touchy subject, especially at a big ten school. Thankfully, the Michigan Daily isn’t afraid to take it on, examining how valuable the current quarterback at U-M is for the university. (The Atlantic covered this in a longform article a couple years ago). Not only that, but the Knight Commission built a database that compares academic and sports funding across universities. U-M is listed, although my alma mater is not. Primarily public schools are available, due to the nature of the datasets. Recently a twitter bot has joined the conversation, wondering the best ways to save the humanities.