Information Professionals meet-up a success…

The Information Professionals Social Club (IPSC) Meet-Up held Monday August 29, 2011 at Cafe Flore was a delightful success. Thanks to everyone who attended!

Hosted by Cyndi Varady and Stephanie Roach (LIS Lady), twelve or so library and information professionals and students enjoyed the pint beer specials and delicious food at Cafe Flore.

With the start of school in August, and several students in attendance, much of the focus was on new classes at San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science. However, the Bay Area has other LIS education opportunities, which were a hot topic at the August Meet-Up.

Coming soon (October-December 2011) is Stanford University’s experiment in distributed education, featuring free courses in computer science such as “Introduction to Databases,” “Machine Learning” and “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.” The school is offering these courses free as online versions of their on-campus counterparts. It is such a neat opportunity, and it seems that, at least for some topics, this type of free course could break down economic barriers to higher education today. More than 45,000 students have signed up for each course so far. The courses are available to students “worldwide.” However, there is always the digital divide to consider, as not everyone has ready access to computers and other necessary technology to participate in this type of experiment in distributed education. Nonetheless, I am very interested in this opportunity and can’t wait to hear more about it.

Watch for details about the next IPSC Meet-Up on the LIS Lady Blog.

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The Social Network: Trailer Parodies & The Digital Divide

Web 2.0 is so pervasive it has really hit the mainstream (I know, it is a huge understatement), with movies such as David Fincher’s The Social Network coming soon, and already getting the full Web 2.0 treatment with abundant trailer parodies on YouTube, my favorite being the Twitter Movie Trailer: Rated Awesome from Indy Mogul.*

An interesting question for me regarding the audience of the movie itself and of course that of the parodies by default, is if there is a digital divide built in, and what this might mean. Yesterday, I actually met a charming twenty-something gal, who is not on Facebook, and I was a bit shocked. Tattooed and fashionable, I felt sure she would be totally plugged in. Perhaps she is a neo-luddite. Or perhaps she just doesn’t own a computer. Who knows, but I seriously doubt this movie or the delightful parodies of the trailer will resonate with her. Either way, the divide between the haves and have nots is certainly apparent when thinking about the potential audience of The Social Network.

*Thanks to GeekSugar for showcasing the Twitter and YouTube parodies of The Social Network trailer on the GeekSugar blog.

Job Seeking Help and the Public Library

Did you know that 300,000 Americans visit public libraries daily for job seeking help?

Americans use library services for job seeking graphic

Public libraries rule.

In economic times such as these, those facing the digital divide continue to turn to their libraries for access to the internet. Tough times lead to tough choices, and it seems likely to me that the digital divide has grown as income loss might lead some to choose to cancel services such as home Internet access. Cable and phone bills can be expensive, and when you are struggling to make ends meet, you cut back where you can. This means more people will turn to their public library (0r Internet cafe) in order to use on site Wi-Fi with a laptop, or use the machines provided by the library computer lab or work station. Those who aren’t using computers directly for job-seeking are able to stay in touch with friends and family, network, explore, learn, and contribute in the Web 2.o (3.0?) world. Computers are a necessity for job-seekers today, and public libraries provide access.

For other public library factoids, visit OCLC‘s report How Libraries Stack Up: 2010.

UPDATE 8/2/2010 5:19pm PST

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Related Articles & Posts:

San Francisco Chronicle: Libraries Branch Out Into Job-Hunting Centers