National Bookmobile Day April 11 2018

At FAVL we are working on it thanks to generous donation from Penelope Hartnell!

National Bookmobile Day celebrates our nation’s bookmobiles and the dedicated library professionals who provide this valuable and essential service to their communities every day. Each year, it is celebrated on the Wednesday of National Library Week. In 2018, National Bookmobile Day will be Wednesday, April 11.National Bookmobile Day is an opportunity for bookmobiles fans to make their support known—through thanking bookmobile staff, writing a letter or e-mail to their libraries, or voicing their support to community leaders.

Source: National Bookmobile Day 2018 | About ALA

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Camille Bordas short story “The State of Nature” in The New Yorker

I was flummoxed by Camille Bordas short story “The State of Nature” in April 9 2018 The New Yorker. It is clearly a very formal exercise. There is something about the syntax or the paragraph construction that could be understood by writing experts. But not by a non-expert. The story is meta; the narrator directly addresses the reader here and there. Simmons’ girlfriend is initially K.  The cat is Catapult. Rape is hinted at. The protagonist is an ophthalmologist. So “seeing” correctly is a concern. But in the end, the Malian flea market seller says, “It must be hard, not being able to speak, in moments like these.” And the narrator is given a whistle. Her father is a silent hermit. At the end as she walks through the silent empty street, she blows the whistle, and no one comes.

Clearly (to me) an elaborate and complex metaphor. If you are an English major or need a paper topic, study this story! I bet there are connections to Signs and Symbols.

Unusually, the comments at Mookse were not very illuminating.

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My favorite picture of the month from FAVL library: The reading club of Barsalogho in #Burkina

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Howard French pulls no punches in review of new bad book about African history

On his very first page, James concedes that “change” driven by European imperialism generated conflict in Africa, but he never returns to dwell upon this at length. Instead, he immediately offers what seems like a pat, exculpatory defense: Europeans “believed [change] would benefit them and their African subjects.” This passage sets the tone for much of what follows. “Strange as it may seem, Charles de Gaulle, Mussolini, Cecil Rhodes and Nikita Khrushchev believed that their countries had something of value to offer Africans.” He calls the slicing up of different parts of the continent by its new colonial masters “a dual partnership of physical and spiritual regeneration [that] was appropriate for Africa, which in the popular imagination was depicted as a ‘dark’ continent.”

Source: A History of Denial | by Howard W. French | The New York Review of Books

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That “Are Men Smarter at Science? They Certainly Think So” study…. don’t even bother

Young men in a biology class were somewhat more confident about how smart they were compared with young women. A sample of one class from one university, with who knows how much p-hacking and forking paths, nevertheless goes viral because lots of people think that it likely to be generally true.

While the study was based on students in a single class, it underscored how differently men and women in science perceive their abilities. Such self-perceptions can have cascading effects on motivation, participation and confidence.

Notice the journalist’s clever “can” there… self-perceptions can also leave to non-cascading effects….

And way at the bottom of the article:

The researchers cautioned against overgeneralizing the findings until the study could be replicated in different classes and schools.

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Gaida Hinnawi sings Ilak Shi

Ilak Shi from Brian Wengrofsky on Vimeo.


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Great summary of World Bank report on restrictions on women’s equality around the world

The Women, Business and the Law report is out, and here is a nice summary from PS magazine:

A major barrier raised in the report is women’s right to work at night. Women are prevented from working the same night hours as men in 29 countries, including India, which prohibits them from working in factories between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. India’s female labor participation rate is one of the lowest in the world at 24 percent. In Sri Lanka, women are not allowed to work after 10 p.m. in the retail sector—a restriction, Iqbal said, that employers aren’t happy with. “It should be a matter of choice—women should be allowed to get the jobs that they are qualified for,” she said.  The report notes that many of the most restrictive laws—including those that require a woman to have her husband’s permission to work or restrict the kinds of work a woman can do—come from old European legal codes that were introduced to sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia under colonization.

Of the 87 legal reforms enacted across the world since the last survey, property rights improved in only one country. Ecuador repealed a law that favored husbands’ decisions in cases of disagreement between spouses on marital assets. A trend that we’ve noticed is that property laws are much slower to change than labor laws and gender-based violence laws,” Iqbal said. “These issues are very slow to change because they affect asset allocation.” But, she said, that might not be such a bad thing in the long run. “If you reform property law too quickly you can engender a backlash that can work against women’s rights.”

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