July 30, 2009

Update on provincial grants for public libraries

The BC Library Trustees met with the minister of education this week to discusss the provincial govenrment's support for BC public libraries. Here's a brief report from Andy Ackerman, President of BC Library Trustees' Association:
Peter Fassbender (Mayor of Langley), Andy Ackerman (BCLTA President) and Maureen Woods (Coquitlam Public Library Director) met July 28th, with the Hon. Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid Minister of Education and Minister Responsible for Early Learning and Literacy and aides to discuss the current library situation. Jacqueline van Dyk (Public Library Services Branch Director) was also present.

In general, the meeting was very positive with the Minister assuring us that the government fully supports libraries ...

We did emphasize that libraries across BC depended on the numerous grants that the government has provided us for many years and that we certainly appreciated their past support. Many of these programs positively impact seniors, children and others who turn to the libraries for support and services. We also thanked PLSB for their continuing support to libraries and the significance of this ongoing support.

The Minister told us that we should be hearing about budgets sometime in early August and that she is committed to working with us in the future.
She stated that the government may not be able to fully support at the levels they have in the past but that she expected a positive change as the economy improves. She also committed to meeting with us after the budgets are announced.

July 27, 2009

Temporary interruption of online services on July 29


TWU's Information Technology department will be doing some much-needed maintenance on the Alloway Library database server on wEDNESDAY July 29 starting at 8:00am. The work will affect the library catalog and circulation activities, including online renewals. IT staff report that the process “shouldn't take much longer than 30 minutes, but knowing computers and how they can mess up things, it could take longer."

We apologize for any inconveniences. This work has been in great need since late fall and will enable the library to provide better services to all our users.

Contributed by Hank Suderman

July 24, 2009

Libraries brace for provincial funding cuts

Three stories this week seem to indicated the BC provincial government is cutting back its support of both public and post-secondary libraries.

Monday Magazine and the Langley Times both report that British Columbia's public libraries haven’t yet received their annual operating grants from the provincial government. Nor have they been told how much money they’ll be getting—both of which usually have happened by this time of year.

Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, chair of the Fraser Valley Regional Library board, has requested a meeting with the premier and the minister of education after the regional libraries didn’t receive the provincial grant in June. “There is a suggestion the province is looking at eliminating the grants,” said Fassbender. “We are concerned. We want to let them know this is very important to us.”

It has also been learned that the government has indicated that all funding for AEMAC (Advanced Education Media Acquisitions Centre) will cease as of September 30, 2009.

If AEMAC ceases to exist TWU and other BC post secondary institutions will lose a valuable partner that has worked on our behalf to negotiate bulk purchase prices for audiovisual media as well as licences that permit us to legally show feature films in our classrooms and elsewhere on campus.

Since 1989, the Advanced Education Media Acquisitions Centre (AEMAC) has provided a collaborative mechanism to purchase provincial licenses for the acquisition of video programs and educational software for use in the post-secondary institutions of British Columbia. Recently, digital rights, such as video streaming, have been acquired for licensing as well. For several years AEMAC has effectively negotiated and coordinated the purchase of feature film/public performance licenses for participating BC colleges and universities including TWU.

AEMAC provides leadership in copyright compliance and assists institutions to reduce risk and liability in relation to the legal use of media in the post-secondary environment. The Centre also organizes the Fast Forward Media Showcase, a venue for evaluation of new products.

News of the delays and/or loss of funding for libraries and AEMAC conflict with election promises heard this spring, when the BC Liberals promised "to make B.C. the best educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent."

July 20, 2009

New book collects TWU faculty viewpoints

Alloway Library has added a new book by retired Associate Academic Vice-President and Professor of English Deane Downey. Co-edited with former TWU/ACTS faculty Stanley Porter Christian worldview and the academic disciplines : crossing the academy is now available (currently from the New Titles shelves.)

The book's contributors are a who's who of of past and present TWU faculty. Based on material presented in TWU IDIS classes, "Introduction to Christian Worldview Thinking," each chapter addresses a Christian perspective on a single academic discipline from Art to to Physics and beyond.

James Sire calls it "an important book..."

The publisher (Wipf and Stock) describes it is as:
an edited compilation of twenty-nine essays—focuses on the difference(s) that a Christian worldview makes for the disciplines or subject areas normally taught in liberal arts colleges and universities. Three initial chapters of introductory material are followed by twenty-six essays, each dealing with the essential elements or issues in the academic discipline involved. These individual essays on each discipline are a unique element of this book. These essays also treat some of the specific differences in perspective or procedure that a biblically informed, Christian perspective brings to each discipline.

Christian Worldview and the Academic Disciplines is intended principally as an introductory textbook in Christian worldview courses for Christian college or university students. This volume will also be of interest to Christian students in secular post-secondary institutions, who may be encountering challenges to their faith—both implicit and explicit—from peers or professors who assume that holding a strong Christian faith and pursuing a rigorous college or university education are essentially incompatible.
This book should also be helpful for college and university professors who embrace the Christian faith but whose post-secondary academic background—because of its secular orientation—has left them inadequately prepared to intelligently apply the implications of their faith to their particular academic specialty. Such specialists, be they professors or upper-level graduate students, will find the extensive bibliographies of recent scholarship at the end of the individual chapters particularly helpful.

July 17, 2009

E-texts not necessarily easier

Earlier this summer California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he wants to bring digital math and science textbooks to California’s secondary schools as early as this fall. (Heavy old books, the governor says, are useful as weights for arm curls.) A recent Wall Street Journal article explores the pros and cons of the portable e-book.

Alloway Library e-books differ from the products mentioned here. The library makes texts available online through our catalouge; Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Reader are portable devices that store downloaded texts.

Read the full Wall Street Journal article here

Book Smarts? E-Texts Receive Mixed Reviews From Students.

by Ryan Knutson and Geoffrey A. Fowler;

The Wall Street Journal; July 16, 2009)

Last August, administrators at Northwest Missouri State University handed 19-year-old Darren Finney a Sony electronic-book Reader. The assignment for him and 200 other students: Use e-textbooks for studying, instead of heavy hardback texts.

At first, Mr. Finney worried about dropping the glass and metal device as he read. But eventually, the sophomore came to like the Reader. Its keyword search function, he says, was “easier than flipping through the pages of a regular book.” Dozens of other participants, however, dropped out of the program, complaining that the e-texts were awkward and inconvenient.

Proponents tout e-books’ potential to do things that old-fashioned textbooks can’t. Since e-books aren’t printed and don’t need to be sold through physical distributors, they should theoretically be less expensive than regular books and can save students and schools money. What’s more, e-textbooks are environmentally friendly, can lighten backpacks and keep learning materials current.

But the transition has sparked controversy among some educators. They say that digital reading comes with drawbacks, including an expensive starting price for e-book readers and surprisingly high prices for digital textbooks. Also, publishers make e-texts difficult to share and print, and it is unclear how well students will adapt to reading textbooks on a screen, some say. The earliest versions of these devices lack highlighting, note-taking and sharing capabilities, and one leading provider’s e-books expire after several months, meaning they can’t be kept for future reference.

Moreover, younger students might find the devices antiquated. Last year, educational research group Project Tomorrow asked students what elements they found most important in digital textbooks. Many said they wanted interactive features like videos and quizzes. No dedicated e-readers have these attributes.

There are questions about how comfortable students will be studying on screens. In a recent study of 504 college students by the Student Public Interest Research Group, a consortium of student activists based in Chicago,, 75% of college students said they would prefer print to digital texts.

Some California school districts say they have had positive results with e-texts so far. “The greatest immediate observable result is how quickly the kids get engaged,” says Las Virgenes schools superintendent Donald Zimring. He adds, however, that there is no evidence e-texts improved reading or test scores.

At colleges, trials of e-textbooks and readers have been mixed. When Northwest Missouri State ran its trial with the Sony Reader last fall, dozens of the 200 participants bailed out after about two weeks. “The students more often than not either suffered through it or went and got physical books,” says Paul Klute, the assistant to the university’s president, who oversees the e-book program. Students didn’t like that they couldn’t flip through random pages, take notes in the margins or highlight text, he says.

Penn State ran a pilot program last fall with 100 of the Sony Reader devices in honors English classes, and found similar results as Northwest Missouri State. The devices are good if you’re using them “on a beach or on an airplane,” said Mike Furlough, assistant dean for scholarly communications at Penn State University Libraries. “But not fully functional for a learning environment.”

Northwest Missouri State has since decided to pursue e-books that can be read on small laptops known as netbooks, rather than just a single-purpose e-reader. “A tablet netbook that is sturdy and is as fully functional as a PC has the ability to do word processing and run other programs,” Mr. Klute says.

Some Northwest Missouri State students say they remain fans of digital reading. Eric Pabst, 21, used his laptop to read e-textbooks in his finance class last year. “It’s cool because we don’t have to lug around a huge book anymore,” he says.

( RYAN KNUTSON AND GEOFFREY A. FOWLER; The Wall Street Journal; July 16, 2009)

July 16, 2009

Oxford Reference Online updates

This post has been revised with new links to the catalogue.

New online resources from Oxford Reference have been added to Alloway Library's databases this week. (Login may be required to access these resources)

In this latest update, there are three new e-books, expanding Oxford Reference Online's coverage to include masses of content on plastic surgery, American musicals, and themes and ideas in modern science, with:

There are also seven new editions packed with up-to-date information, three of which have been specially commissioned for online-only publication in Oxford Reference Online, to ensure that the content remains trustworthy and current.

New editions now available are:

New and revised online-only editions now available are:
A Dictionary of Political Biography,
A Dictionary of the Internet
The Oxford Companion to British History

New ebooks support Nursing Science program

In support of the new Master of Science in Nursing program Alloway Library has been building up the collection with useful resources. This week nine more netLibrary e-books were added to in the catalogue and are now available for users. Click on the title to be connected to the catalogue where you can then connect to the ebook. (Login may be required)

July 14, 2009

StatsCan Census Profiles Here

Statistics Canada’s 2006 Census Profiles which were released in April, 2009 have been catalogued and added to Alloway Library’s collection for in-library use.
These print profiles provide statistical information about the population, households, dwellings and families as measured in the last census. The 70 volumes of data and maps in the The 2006 Profile of Census series provide a statistical overview of various geographic areas, including major urban centres, based on a number of detailed variables and/or groups of variables in a publication series format.
While much the 2006 census data is available online, the print profiles, are not These reference materials are designed to help users make the most of census data. They cover various aspects of the census and are intended to support the use of census data. Every effort has been made to simplify the text or add simple explanations to the technical text in order to make the information accessible to as many people as possible.
Alloway Librarians are able to provide further assistance with this resource.

July 13, 2009

High Grades = Low Net Use: coincidence or causal?

Could ignoring Google lead to higher grades?

Primary Research Group surveyed 400+ American college students about how they go about doing research in their college libraries. The study revealed a correlation between the students' grades and online research.The higher the grade point average the less information for research papers was obtained from search engines such as Google or Yahoo.

Alloway Librarians can show you how to successfully use all the library's resources -- online and on paper-- to achieve better results for your research papers. Find out for yourself if there's a link between Alloway Library and your grade point average. Visit or contact us to learn more.

July 10, 2009

Librarian's article selected for e-book

Alloway Librarian Bill Badke's article, “Stepping Beyond Wikipedia,” (Educational Leadership March 2009) has been selected for inclusion in a new ASCD e-book entitled Challenging the Whole Child: Reflections on Best Practices in Learning, Teaching, and Leadership, the second in a series of Whole Child e-books.

In this article Badke examines the phenomena of Wikipedia in relation to the teaching of information literacy skills in high school students. He cites the large-scale influence of the Internet on information access in the 21st-century but warns about a lack of discernment by student Internet users. In his conclusion, Badke reminds educators that:

When students' first step in any learning task is to think about information, their skill in acquiring and using available resources will grow. The result will be literate students who are able to handle the demands of our information-based age.

ASCD is an educational leadership organization dedicated to advancing best practices and policies for the success of each learner. Its 175,000 members in 119 countries are professional educators from all levels and subject areas.

July 06, 2009

Don't be in this minority!

Primary Research Group surveyed 400+ American college students about how they go about doing research in their college libraries. One surprising thing their research revealed:
  • 46% of students sampled say that they don't know how to contact a librarian online.
Wow! Think of what they are missing!

It's easy to contact an Alloway Librarian online! You can email, instant message or askaway! Our web site can connect you to us too! Use www.twu.ca/library
If that's still too complicated phone 604-513-2023 and ask to speak to an information librarian.

We also accept letters and personal visits!