16 ways librarians can protect patron privacy [...]

1.       Default search engine (on public access terminals set the default search engine to one which respects privacy such as Startpage, Duckduckgo, or Oscobo)

2.       Default browser (use a browser such as Firefox)

3.       HTTPS (see https://letsencrypt.org/ for example)

4.       Vendor management: when negotiating licence agreements, make sure that there are robust provisions covering privacy & confidentiality

5.       Ad blocking software

6.       Organise a cryptoparty Read more at libraryprivacyblog

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Perspectives on historic, corrosive iron gall ink changed over time [...]

More than a decade ago a group of primarily Dutch people took the initiative to build a website on iron gall ink and ink corrosion. The Iron Gall Ink Website was born. Iron gall ink is intriguing in many respects. It’s traces are abundantly present within the collections of our worlds museums, libraries and archives.
Like the appearance of historic documents gradually changes with time, ideas about iron gall ink and ink corrosion have developed as well. irongallink.org

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Students take DNA tests in class project on racial bias [...]

At West Chester University:

Asking people to take DNA tests — an idea that has spread to a campuswide effort at this public university — grew out of consulting work [lecturer Anita] Foeman does in race mediation. Instead of a confrontational approach, trying to provoke people into recognizing their own biases, she wanted something that would pull people together, or at least give them a neutral place from which to start to talk. And with racial divides so stark, she wanted to add some nuance and depth.She wondered: What if people started finding out things they didn’t know about themselves? source: Washington Post, 24 Dec 2016

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Dad and son visit all of Toronto’s 100 libraries [...]

> Jack Bennett may only be five, but he probably knows the city of Toronto better than you do.  This past year, Jack and his dad, Lanrick, visited all of the city’s 100 library branches in the span of six months. “To me it was really surprising that there were 100. We went to libraries as small as my office right now, [and] to libraries that were behemoth,” says Lanrick Bennett Jr. They discovered that each branch is unique to its community, he says, and feels like a local outpost. source: TVO

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Kansas library offers therapy lights to help with seasonal depression [...]

When librarians discuss how to reach and serve underserved groups, we often think of time-intensive outreach programs to persuade them of the library’s relevance. But the Lawrence Public Library is piloting a simple, low-cost new program for people struggling with depression that isn’t about trying to sell the library to this population, but offering multiple resources to them — many of which are already part of the library or could be borrowed from staff:

[Readers’ services assistant] Gramlich, who has suffered from seasonal depression in the past, recognized a need for a welcoming, nonintimidating outlet for others who may be struggling with the feelings of hopelessness and decreased motivation that often accompany the shorter, darker days of winter. “People can come in, and maybe just being around people would be helpful,” Gramlich says of the lamp area, which library staffers are also stocking with literature on preventing and treating seasonal depression[…]
The message of the library, Gramlich says, is a simple one: You’re not alone. Acquiring and installing the lamps has been a “community effort” in itself, she says, with several library staffers lending their personal lamps to the cause.[…] “It’s not something that anybody talks about. So maybe if a patron comes in and sits down and realizes they’re by a few other people, they might think, ‘I’m not the only one feeling this way.’” (Source)

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As 2016 crashed in flames, libraries were the last good place [...]

Unfortunately, the secret is out. My local branches are packed all the time. One Sunday, I showed up a few minutes before the library opened to find 50 or 60 people milling about outside, and when the doors opened we raced for seats like a Black Friday horde intent on the last microwave.[…] “The library helps you to see, not only that you are not alone, but that you’re not really any different from everyone else,” the late Maya Angelou once told an interviewer from the New York Public Library. source: The Globe and Mail

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