News items

Post-Gazette article on a local program to help former prisoners become entrepreneurs

At the Business Library I worked at we received a couple letters asking for information about starting a business, writing a business plan, etc.  This was also a common request in the letters I read while working with Book ‘Em, Pittsburgh’s books-to-prisoners program.  It’s hard to know how to respond to these requests since not a many of the best resources on the topic could be condensed into something you could send to an inmate (because of postage, restrictions on number/size of books, etc.).  And people don’t really seem to donate books on starting a business as often as they donate novels etc.  so I don’t recall us having a lot of stuff on this topic at Book ‘Em.  This past year I found a guide to entrepreneurship published by the state of Pennsylvania that seemed like a good introduction, and wasn’t too expensive to print/send (you can download the PDF on their website).  Maybe other states have similar resources.

Chronicle of Higher Ed article/blog post on the accessibility of university web sites

it’s decreasing.  why am i not surprised. (thanks to Dan for the link)

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virtual book drive for prisoners

The folks at the Prison Book Program (in Quincy, MA) are doing a virtual drive to raise funds to buy dictionaries for prisoners. From their site:

Help us raise $2740 to buy 1000 college-level dictionaries! For the vast majority of people in prison with sub-standard reading skills, a dictionary is the key to understanding the books we send them. One prisoner wrote:

“I have only been reading now for about 21 months. I am 46 years old and when I get out of prison, my son will be 11 years old. And I would love to be able to read and write to my son. So please if you all could see to help me I will be able to help my son when I get home.”

We are planning to buy the dictionaries at the wholesale cost of $2.74 which is over 40% off retail.

Donate 1 or donate 100. All help is greatly appreciated.

I just wanted to mention this here in case anyone wanted to help out! I think a virtual drive is a great idea because it makes donating really easy and simple. Also: you can find out if there’s a books-to-prisoners program in your area by consulting this map (thanks, Books through Bars!)

Weekend update

I finally uploaded the annotated bibliography I wrote for one of my classes. It’s on ancient (mostly archaic and classical) Greek art & archaeology. The assignment required us to find a certain number of resources in specific formats, so there’s a lot fewer web resources than I would include in a bibliography I was doing on my own. In fact, I’ve been thinking it would be fun to do a webliography of all the fun and creative online projects I’ve come across in this field. There’s the vast world of 3-D archaeological site modeling, and then there’s all sorts of online exhibitions, image collections, and digital libraries. I have many such sites bookmarked, but I’m sure they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Before I do this I’ll have to see if someone else has already done it.

I’m also working on posts about personal finance resources and an epic overview of my favorite sci-fi books from the past 10 years. (meaning ones I’ve read since 2000, not ones that have been published since then). I’m taking an online workshop on taxonomies and controlled vocabularies through Simmons College, so things might be dull around here until that’s over. I do plan to keep doing the visual LCSH roundup, though, because it’s entertaining.

I’m also ruminating on how to possibly create some simple yet helpful document on entrepreneurship that could be mailed to prisoners requesting information on the topic. A zine would be great, but the postage might overwhelm. It seems there is definitely a need for some easily distributable resource on this topic, at least in Pennsylvania.

Hmm.