31 tips to improve your writing skills

student writing -- improvement in writingHow long have you been a writer?

Since about first grade. As soon as you started to learn to read, you started to learn to write.

First you wrote letters, then words, then sentences, then paragraphs.

Do I need to remind you of term papers? Many people look forward to graduating as much to turn in their last paper as for anything else.

And many people, I suppose, look for jobs where they don’t have to write much. They have no faith in their writing skills.

You may have to write a lot more than you anticipated when you started your current career.

But if you write nothing more than emails to friends or Facebook updates, why not make them worth reading? Why not develop better writing skills? Continue reading

What happens when you need to look it up?

Research using a laptopI wrote this post for anyone who doesn’t know everything off the top of their head. You have to look things up from time to time, don’t you?

Once upon a time, we all looked up addresses and phone numbers in a phone book. We probably all still have them.

You can still use print to find a wide variety of information, but nowadays, you most likely look things up online more often. What happens between you typing your search query and the results appearing on the screen? Continue reading

The school librarian: an endangered species?

School librarian

School librarian

Every good school has a library. And a school librarian. Too many school districts have decided that having good schools is too expensive.

School librarians, like other librarians, have a master’s in library science They must also have a valid teaching certificate.

Unfortunately, many school districts are getting rid of their librarians. I wrote earlier specifically about Chicago, but the problem is nationwide and has been building for years. Continue reading

Treasure trove: New York Public Library Digital Collection

Miniature of annunciation, New York Public Library Digital Collection

Miniature of Annunciation, initials, linefillers, and border design, 15th century

The New York Public library holds many rare and valuable materials. The new New York Public Library Digital Collection makes them easily available.

Before the Internet, if you wanted to use them, provided you knew they existed, you would have had to travel to the library and consult them in person.

When the library first began to digitize them and put them online, you could have seen and downloaded a low-resolution images. You would have had to pay for, and wait for, a high-resolution image. Discovery and access were still difficult.

Perhaps its description of one of its major collection is representative of the library’s own concerns: Continue reading

22 ways to use the library

library signDo you know what’s going on at the library? Even if you’re a regular library user, you may may be missing something interesting.

Libraries represent a kind of “third space,” which is neither home nor work. Unlike many others, they are not a business. They don’t carry with them the expectation that you will pay for something.

Of course, libraries offer numerous services you can use. You’re paying for public library services with tax dollars. You’re paying for academic library services if you are part of a college/university community.

For most purposes, then, you never have to dig out cash or a credit card in the library. That makes a library suitable for a multitude of activities you couldn’t comfortably do in other third spaces.

Plenty of libraries offer unique services, but here are some that nearly all of them will have. Let’s consider the library as a building, a set of services, a collection, and a place for activities. Continue reading