Category Archives: Articles and Information

Assistive Technology Apps for iOS and Chrome

Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. Many apps fall under this category. Wyoming Assistive Technology Resources (WATR), a program of the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities at the University of Wyoming, has put together this helpful list of apps for both iOS and Chrome OS (Chromebook):

 Available for both iOS and Chrome OS
Ginger

  • Auto-corrects grammar, spelling errors
  • Suggests alternate text expressions
  • Dictionary, thesaurus, text-to-speech
Grammarly

  • Spelling and grammar checker
  • Corrects commonly confused words
  • Scans text for proper use of grammar
Pocket

  • Unlimited storage: keeps saved articles and videos in one place
  • Reads articles aloud
Photomath

  • Scans math problems for instant results
  • Includes camera caculator, handwriting recognition, and a smart calculator
Bookshare Web Reader

  • Online audio, digital, and BRF (Braille Ready Format) library for people with qualified print disabilities
  • Free for students with qualified print disabilities
Learning Ally Link

  • Online audio, digital, and BRF library for people with qualified print disabilities
BARD Mobile

  • Provides access to nearly 65,000 items from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) site
Available for iOS
Prizmo

  • Scans, reads documents out loud
  • Can use without Internet connection
Voice Dream Reader

  • Reads documents using text-to-speech
  • Synchronizes with Bookshare, Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive
Claro PFD

  • Scans, reads documents out loud
  • Can fill in documents using microphone
  • Insert voice messages and pictures in documents
Available for Chrome OS
Google Text-to-Speech

  • Reads text on your screen out loud
Read & Write for Google Chrome

  • Spell checker, speech-to-text
  • Word prediction
  • Talking and picture dictionary
Google Keep

  • Organize your notes by adding labels
  • Add recurring reminders to never miss regular to-dos

Teen Literacies Toolkit from YALSA

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has made a Teen Literacies Toolkit available as an online PDF. In this toolkit, they use the “fake news” phenomenon as an approach to addressing multiple literacies. The kit re-examines and discusses culturally-inclusive literacies strategies library staff can use with teens to help them make sense of their world and build a robust set of skills as they prepare to enter college or start careers. This resource was created by the Literacies Toolkit Resource Retreat Participants and was released in August, 2017.

Learn more and download the toolkit.

NMC Releases Digital Literacy Impact Study

The NMC has released the 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief to uncover the learner’s perspective of how digital literacy training influences work life after graduation. As a complement to the definitions and frameworks outlined in the NMC’s 2017 strategic brief on digital literacy in higher education, this new study examines digital literacy in action as learners enter the workforce. More than 700 recent graduates from 36 institutions responded to an NMC survey that addressed the experiences they gained at colleges and universities, and how their proficiencies or lack thereof have affected their careers.

The NMC’s study has identified areas for improvement for the higher education field to bolster digital literacy. Ultimately, the aim is for the research-based recommendations to guide higher education and industry stakeholders to better prepare postgraduates with the digital competencies required for future employment and career advancement.The 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief is available online, free of charge, and under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.

A Few U.S. Census Facts for Halloween

Casper, Wyoming, made the U.S. Census Bureau’s list of Halloween destinations in Facts for Features. Other suggested locales include Tombstone, Arizona; Sleepy Hollow, New York; and Transylvania County, North Carolina. The Bureau has compiled a few numbers on the holiday, including these:

  • 41.1 million: The estimated number of potential trick-or-treaters in 2015 — children ages 5 to 14 — across the United States. Of course, many other children — older than age 15 and younger than age 5 — also go trick-or-treating
  • 39,815: The number of people employed by U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2015. This industry’s value of shipments totaled $17.2 billion, up from $16.0 billion in 2014.
  • $12.4 million: The value of U.S. imports of pumpkins in 2016. Pumpkin carving and decorating is a popular Halloween tradition.
  • 302: The number of broom, brush, and mop, and casket manufacturing establishments (for the more authentic witches and vampires). Combined, these two industries employed 12,627 people and had a total value of shipments of $3.6 billion in 2012.

See more on the Census Bureau website.

Replacements for “Search for Jack” Storybook Kits

We all know what happens when items with multiple parts and pieces are well-loved and well-used. If you are missing pieces to your library’s “Search for Jack” storybook kit(s), or if you want to add or replace a full kit, WY Quality Counts can help. Contact Maggie Budd at  maggie@golinden.com to place your request.

If you’re unfamiliar with this resource, the kits feature The Search for Jack, a children’s book about two friends, Chuck the Beaver and Pepper the Meadowlark, exploring Wild Wyoming together to find the mysterious jackalope. As they search, they model basic scientific investigation skills for children, including questioning, finding clues, making observations and reaching a conclusion. These have been made available to Wyoming libraries at no cost.

WY Quality Counts developed The Search for Jack kits in consultation with storytellers and librarians at Laramie County Library System, advisers from the Wyoming Library Association, and early childhood experts from the University of Wyoming.

WY Quality Counts is a state program whose mission is to raise awareness about why quality child care matters in Wyoming. The program provides free resources that promote quality educational opportunities to prepare children for success through developmentally-appropriate teaching methods and materials.

Libraries Highlight Cyber Security in October

From the American Library Association

Last month the credit reporting agency Equifax disclosed that they had suffered a cyber-attack that endangered the personal information of 143 million U.S. users. Even before the Equifax hack, 64 percent of Americans had been personally affected by a major data breach or data theft incident, according to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center.

Throughout the month of October, the Public Library Association (PLA) and public libraries nationwide will celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). As the need for cyber security awareness grows, public libraries are stepping up efforts to provide critical digital literacy training and information. PLA is doing its part by highlighting cyber security material on DigitalLearn.org, a collection of self-directed, interactive online tutorials developed by the association to help users increase their digital literacy. At DigitalLearn.org, learners can take short, self-directed courses that help them recognize danger and stay safe online. These include:

  • Accounts and Passwords. This course teaches the basics of creating online accounts, including creating secure passwords and keeping accounts secure.
  • Online Scams. This course helps new computer users identify and recognize types of scams, how to avoid getting hurt, and how to report them.
  • Internet Privacy.  This course helps learners understand the level of personal, confidential information we can share on websites and via email, and take control of the information we are constantly sending and receiving.

In recognition of NCSAM, PLA encourages libraries to develop classes focusing on the basics of cybersecurity, covering topics like computer viruses, antivirus software, safe web browsing, and strategies for creating and remembering effective passwords.

Videos for Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 1-7, established in 1990 by Congress every year in the first full week of October.

The California State Library (CSL) has created training videos for library employees as part of their Mental Health Initiative. There is relevant information for those working in small and rural libraries. Six of eight planned videos have been recorded and are available on YouTube:

The two additional videos in the series, one on teens and one that wraps up the training, will be available on YouTube on the California Library Services channel when they are available. The 8-part video series was produced by the California State Library in partnership with Los Angeles Public Library and Los Angeles County Library.

GPO’s New Preservation Page on FDLP.gov

Reposted from the Federal Depository Library Program

While GPO has a long-standing commitment to preserving U.S. Government information, the work of GPO’s preservation program has not had a single home on the web until now. GPO is pleased to announce its new preservation page, where you can find:

  • Information about preservation.
  • Preservation plans and public policy statements.
  • Guidance documents and best practices for preserving information.
  • Consultation and collaboration with GPO Preservation.
  • Preservation partnerships.
  • Training and presentations.
  • Developing Preservation Steward support services.

Access the page via the new purple Preservation tab at the top of every FDLP.gov web page. It will be frequently updated as new services and guidance documentation are developed. Contact our preservation team with questions and comments.

FTC Wants to Hear From Public Librarians

The Federal Trade Commission wants to hear from you. This agency has worked with libraries for many years to distribute free materials and tips for consumers to help them avoid scamsrecover from identity theft, and make wise buys.

The FTC is creating new materials especially for public librarians to use for patron advice and programming, and is seeking input from those out in the field during a brief listening session on Tuesday, September 19, at noon MDT. To RSVP and get the call-in number, email Carol Kando-Pineda at ckando@ftc.gov.

Please share this invitation with your staff and colleagues. You or they can get on the phone and tell the FTC what you think during the 15-minute listening session:

  • What consumer topics are the most needed for patrons? Examples might include budgeting/money management, credit and debt, avoiding scams, or recovering from identity theft.
  • What formats work best for your patrons? Examples might include bookmarks, brochures, short videos, webinars, podcasts, Facebook Live, Twitter chats, or other social media content.
  • What formats work best for the librarian as they research the topic for a patron or put together programming? Examples might include an online list of links for a deeper dive on certain topics, a brochure, slide presentations, or podcasts.

The FTC welcomes other suggestions beyond what is suggested in the examples. Depending on response, additional time for discussion may be made available.

Can’t make a session? They would appreciate any thoughts, however brief, you have on this. Email Carol at ckando@ftc.gov with your thoughts or with any questions.

Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day September 19

Shiver me timbers! Talk Like a Pirate Day be upon us already on Thursday, September 19. Arrr ye ready?

First off, don’t miss Chris Van Burgh’s great webinar tour of Mango Languages today, September 12, at 11:15 a.m. MDT. Register for the webinar here. (We’ll also archive it afterwards if you can’t make it today.) Mango offers online learning for 72 languages and 21 ESL courses. Among its specialty courses is one in PIRATE, so you can be fluent in the language of the seas for the big day.

Chris also has put together a convenient Talk Like a Pirate Day LibGuide. with more useful links. Questions about the webinar or LibGuide? Contact Chris at chris.vanburgh@wyo.gov or (307) 777-3642

Is your library planning to host Talk Like a Pirate Day events? If so, we’d love to share your photos and comments. Send news of your happenings to Susan Mark, susan.mark@wyo.gov or (307) 777-5915.

And finally, if ye be needin’ another reason to participate, check out the Wyoming State Library players in “Save the books, ye scallywags!” We’ll admit the production values aren’t the best, but we had a great time recording it.