Friday, 16 December 2016

Getting children inspired in Laos

A friend of mine has recently returned from one of her regular adventurous holidays, although she claims that about four holidays a year is "not much". This time she went to Cambodia and Laos and found the experience profoundly moving. While in Laos she visited a unique publisher, Big Brother Mouse. This is a not for profit publisher that produces fiction books in the Lao language so that children can be inspired to read.

Lab mouse mg 3244.jpg


By Rama - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 fr, Link


They also have reading programmes in schools, and they try to develop language skills of young people. You can read their story in this book. It is run entirely by Laotians, although the idea was that of a retired American Publisher. I and of the opinion that it is far, far better for children to read books in their first language, rather than being "donated" books in English that are surplus to our requirements in the more privileged nations. 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Pictures telling a story

I have a google alert set that sends me anything related to children's mobile libraries. It is a bit hit and miss if I actually get anything more interesting than obsure mobile apps (change of use of the word mobile) or the running schedule of a particular vehicle. However, browsing through today I found the following photos loaded up onto flickr from an album posted by Providence Public Library (Rhode Island).


This first photograph is from 1961 as you can tell from what the library assistant (or librarian) is wearing. She is so formal and professional - you couldn't possibly go anywhere without wearing a hat. The children are wearing the same sort of thing that I used to wear as a child of about their age in the 1960s. The mobileness of the vehicle appears to be that it contains a shelf of books to pull out and browse through. I do love the poster on the shelves announcing "Playground service" and the children are so serious.  


  This next photo is from 1986 where Providence Public Library has obviosuly invested in a much larger vehicle. This time the children look happier.




 I think that this photo taken five years later is iconic - it could be an artwork. Presumably it is the same vehicle, in its garage, waiting to spread books, happiness and literacy to the children of Providence. To me, who has never been to the USA and take my knowledge from films, it looks like it could easily turn into the Ghost Buster's vehicle. 



 As we can see here, however, it is a beautifuly illustrated bookmobile. It did turn into something...



It appears to have become a mobile art gallery, a good idea in itself, but I do feel a bit sad that in 2004 it is has become a glaring red, like a fire engine.

The album that is home to these pictures is at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ppl_ri_images/albums/72157622565124845


Friday, 11 November 2016

Starting a new adventure

I have been incredibly busy over the past year, after having spent leisurely four years doing a PhD and taking a whole year to write up my Thesis.  over the past year I have written three reports and four online handbooks, and have had another paper published (Grounded theory and ethnography combined: a methodology to study children’s interactions on children’s mobile libraries). It is more interesting than it sounds.

After being at the Centre for Research Communications in Nottingham University, I worked at LISU for a year (Loughborough University - yes, can't keep away from there). I have been involved with a project that sends messages over people's televisions (SMaRT Messenger), I have examined "Patient Pathways" with the help of a computer simulation modeller and done a fundamental review of a regional library service. More of those at some other time. Apart from the regional library service they seemed largely irrelevant to this blog, they were about information and older vulnerable people. Not my usual subject, but interesting to dip into.

Now, I have a new job - Research Fellow at Evidence Base, in Birmingham City University (BCU). I don't have a picture of the the University yet, but here is a map. I like maps.



Hopefully, now I can use my expertise with children and libraries to track down relevant research.