Why the New York Times’s Amazon story is so controversial, explained by Ezra Klein- Vox

I don’t think you need to read very far between the lines to see Ciubotariu has worked a lot of weekends and a lot of nights. But he’s worked them, in part, because he wants to work them.

via Why the New York Times’s Amazon story is so controversial, explained – Vox.

Another take on the NYT story on Amazon. One that credits some of Amazon’s criticisms of the story while showing that even some of Amazon’s defenders accept some of the claims of a work place with low work/life balance.

The final piece of this article argues that the real scandal is how Amazon’s blue collar workers are treated. And it’s hard to argue with that.

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Barbara Fister’s Take on the Amazon Workplace Exposé

What strikes me most from the perspective of an academic librarian is that this article is basically the story of contemporary tech capitalism, which has had enormous influence on library culture and higher ed. Short version: we hire the best, you’ll love your work so much that your life will be devoted to being the best you can be, and we’ll use data to make sure our customers get the best experience possible at scale. Moar productivity! Or, if you must be cynical, we’ll screen out people who aren’t like us, we’ll only retain workers who don’t have elderly parents, children, ailments, or anything else in their lives that will interfere with a 24/7 devotion to labor, and we will put them under continual surveillance to keep them onto  their toes. But it will be so much fun working with cool, smart people! And you’ll be part of the future, yay! We love our customers so much that we will spy on them. It’s for their sake that we’ll spy on you, too, and demand detailed metrics to prove you’re doing your job. We don’t have to have profits now – this is an investment in a glorious future. Resistance is not only futile, it’s embarrassing. Dude, you’re showing your age.

via My Take on the Amazon Workplace Exposé | Library Babel Fish | InsideHigherEd.

I haven’t read the articles Barbara Fister refers to yet, but I’ve heard similar things about the tech industry. Her article is well worth reading.

We librarians definitely have a lot to learn from other fields. I agree with Barbara Fister that we should not give up our library values while seeing what lessons are worth implementing. Some things are worth fighting against.

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Greatest Ancient Library Built on Piracy

I thought of you when I read this quote from “BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google” by John Palfrey –

“A primary means of adding to the Library of Alexandria’s collection— much larger than Ebla’s— was by fiat. Any ship that landed in the port of Alexandria had its books confiscated so that they could be copied and then returned.”

Start reading this book for free: http://amzn.to/1P5mdUU

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While copyright as we know it did not exist in ancient times, I find it interesting that you could not build one of the ancient wonders of the world if you had to contend with modern copyright law.

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Test share: focus on building

I thought of you when I read this quote from “BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google” by John Palfrey –

“The key is very simple: to focus on what digital media and the Internet make possible, not on what they undo. This perspective enables library supporters to find and exploit the ways in which the digital and the analog come together, where they reinforce one another.”

Start reading this book for free: http://amzn.to/1PjkU5I

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We’ve started reading this book at MPOW for professional development. While I’ve shaken my head at several things already, I am in complete agreement with this quote.

I think the Smithsonian Institution and the partners behind Alaska’s Digital Archives have taken this lesson to heart. On different scales of course.

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Babies Need Words Every Day: Talk, Read, Sing, Play | Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)

Designed to help parents and caregivers understand the importance of enriching communication with their babies, ALSC is launching the Babies Need Words Every Day: Talk, Read, Sing, Play public-awareness campaign. The campaign is kicking off with free and customizable resources that offer caregivers instant, fun ways to boost their children’s language base and build all-important pathways for learning.

YOU can participate in the Babies Need Words Every Day campaign by printing the following FREE and customizable resources and partnering with local business, community organizations, hospitals, and other public buildings to display and pass out resources.

Project resources include…

8 beautifully designed posters that deliver simple, effective rhymes, games, and other suggestions for immediate ways to interact with babies.

via Babies Need Words Every Day: Talk, Read, Sing, Play | Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC).

Looking for some encouraging words for new parents? Try these posters!

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Everylibrary Wants You To Register Your Voters. I do too

Imagine if all your library’s users were registered voters? Well, on September 22nd, 2015, librarians have a great opportunity to offer a “program” to register voters on site complete with volunteers and marketing. A large number of libraries around the country will be participating in the event and we want you to participate too. All you have to do is go to the national website and click on the link to become a partner to allow volunteers to come to the library and sign people up. The NVRD will send you marketing materials, teach your staff how to register voters (if you go that route), and the volunteers will take care of all of the paperwork. This is a non-partisan effort supported by organizations like; Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Education Fund, Bus Federation Civic Fund, Fair Elections Legal Network, League of Women Voters, Nonprofit VOTE, Rock the Vote, and Voto Latino.

via Is Your Library Involved in National Voter Registration Day.

EveryLibrary is pushing participation in the non partisan national voter registration day on September 22nd. As an individual librarian active in my associations, I think this is a great activity for libraries to be a part of and I hope you sign your library up for it.

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Scratch Week 4: Tag, You’re It

I have now finished four out of 10 units in Harvey Mudd’s Programming in Scratch course on edX. I think I’ve done enough to recommend it to libraries and schools looking to teach the basics of programming for all ages. A combination of quick results and repetition of key concepts seems like it will be helpful to most people. While programs written in Scratch aren’t something you can easily run elsewhere, the way of thinking taught by programming in Scratch should be transferable to other languages. And it does allow for the creation of an online portfolio.

Week 4 was “Coordinates and Conditionals” where we learned a lot about if then statements and things we could when objects touched each other. It is part of what I need to know to construct a successful jigsaw puzzle.

To show that we understood the concepts behind the lessons, we had to code a game of tag. It’s not stellar because both characters are controlled by the same keyboard. But it does have some nice teleportation effects.

I don’t know if I’ll come back to this without the courseware asking me too, but if I did, I would automate the cat’s movements. I did something similar in my edX CS50x project laser toy.  The “laser toy” motion solution won’t work in this program because in “laser toy” the cat’s motion was controlled by the position of the toy. I need something to move the cat randomly while you try to tag him with the ball.

One of the other things I like about the course is that a number of the class assignments do make me think about coming back and extending them. That’s better than assignments that leave you feeling like “Thank God it’s done! Never want to go back to it again!” Colleen Lewis’ approach makes you want to do more. I think this is great.

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