Tutor profile: Abbie W.
Subject: Library and Information Science
What can be done to promote technology to traditionally underserved populations, like older patrons and rural communities?
I think a lot of the reluctance to embrace technology that you reference in older patron communities and more rural communities stem from issues related to the digital divide and lack of digital literacy education in these populations. The digital divide does not only exist between rural and urban communities or along class lines, but also between gender and age groups. Older populations, who might actually be suited to e-readers for many reasons including adjustable contrast and font size as well as the ability to download new books with the need for excellent travel mobility, often lack the digital literacy skills needed to even feel that e-readers could be useful to them in any way. Not everyone agrees that libraries have a direct role in working to close the digital divide but organizing classes around digital literacy specifically for seniors or devoting more of the libraries e-book budget to creating a “senior-friendly” collection could lead to positive change in the community. When seniors are made to feel more comfortable as users of e-reader technology, they are more likely to use those library resources that could be so beneficial to them. This is a process that I think can be helpful when trying to think about strategies for bridging the digital divide: try to connect your “in need” patron group with the technology that would be the most beneficial to them. Patrons are much more likely to be enthusiastic about a new technological product or service if they can see immediately how it could benefit their lives.
Can gift cards expire in Texas? Can businesses charge an annual fee on a gift card?
Chapter 604 of the Texas Business & Commerce Code regulates the sale of "stored value cards," a term defined to include a "gift card or gift certificate" which can be either “inscribed on a tangible medium” or “stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.” Review Chapter 604, Subchapter B for information on permissible fees. Subchapter C contains information about required disclosures, such as expiration dates and policies. Texas law does not contain any restrictions about how far in advance an expiration date can be – only that it be “clearly and conspicuously disclosed.” In addition to state law, the 2009 federal Credit CARD Act [PDF] also regulates gift cards and their expiration policies. Its definitions of “gift certificate” and “store gift card” are limited to an “electronic promise” – see 15 U.S. Code § 1693l–1(a)(2)(B) and 1693l-1(a)(2)(C). Unlike Texas law, federal law does contain restrictions on expiration dates. 15 USC 1693l-1(c) states that “[A] gift certificate, store gift card, or general-use prepaid card may contain an expiration date if … the expiration date is not earlier than 5 years after the date on which the gift certificate was issued, or the date on which card funds were last loaded to a store gift card or general-use prepaid card.” To read the portion of the federal law that relates to gift cards, see section 1693l-1 of Title 15 of the U.S. Code.
Subject: Art History
What are some examples of the relationship between visual, political, and theoretical borders in Diaspora art?
Borders in visual cultural art can relate to strictness of medium or color, but also extend to limitations placed on artists based on their gender, sexuality, or race and even limitations placed on the medium of visual art itself. Joyce Owens, a visual artist based in Chicago, interacts with several different borders in her work as an artist. Owens’ American Landscape shows “shows a little girl who, in this country, is sadly still marginalized and not considered equal in a field that represents the country built, in part, on the backs of her ancestors” (The HistoryMakers). Owens renders the girl with her body in a joyful position, but with a blank and serious face to underscore the contradictions she faces. The girl is surrounded by a bright and colorful landscape of flowers that Owen uses paper and fabric to make three-dimensional and seemingly alive. Owens moves the border between sculpture and painting to include this work, which combines the two mediums of visual art to great effect. However, Owens does not only address borders of medium in this work. As an African American, Owens speaks to borders effecting her own life when she renders the snakes— literal figures that form lines of separation and limitation— that surround the young girl in this “American landscape.” Zanele Muholi, a South African photographer and self-termed “visual activist,” plays with borders of the impact and use of visual art as well as more familiar borders such as that of sexuality and gender. Muholi’s work primarily deals with the experience of black LGBTI individuals in South Africa by bringing visibility to the community through her own work and activism. She founded Ikanyiso, an nonprofit group involved with visual arts and media advocacy for and on behalf of the LGBTI community; the organization’s vision statement is "Produce. Educate. Disseminate.” (Wortham). Muholi’s series Faces and Phases contains almost 250 portraits of black, South African lesbians. The individual portraits engage the viewer with personally, while the overall effect of the series leaves the viewer with the impression of the vastness and diversity of the community. Muholi uses this series to assert the existence of black lesbians in South Africa, as well as to combat misconceptions of homosexuality being brought to South Africa by white colonists. Muholi addresses borders between and across race and sexuality in South Africa, while also dealing with the alienation and reduction of this marginalized group. Muholi’s work as a “visual activist” who uses her platform as an internationally recognized artist to reflect visibility back to the lesser-known community she is a part of stretches the boundaries of visual art as a medium for expression. Edmonia Lewis is often described as the first professional African American sculptor who achieved international notoriety. Lewis was born to an African American father and a Native American mother in 1844 in New York, and was raised by relatives after being orphaned at a young age. She attended Oberlin College, one of the first higher learning institutions to admit women and people of color, in 1859 to study art. After moving to Boston in 1864, Lewis began to sculpt her own work, often inspired by the lives of prominent abolitionists and Civil War heroes, as well as characters of Native American legend (Biography). Lewis’ most famous portrait from this early period in her career is a bust of Union Colonel Robert Shaw, a prominent abolitionist who commanded an African American Civil War regiment. This work, made in the neo-classical style, combined concepts of race and glory in history with Lewis’ contemporary “hero.” Lewis’ unique position as a “crossroads” herself, of African American and Native American identity, also gave her a diverse perspective in forming the base of her work. In her work as a sculptor during this early period, Lewis crossed many borders in the world of visual art. As both a woman and a person of color, Lewis encountered more limiting borders in the law and in society than her white and/or male contemporaries. Lewis crossed professional and societal borders to produce her diverse and revolutionary work. "Edmonia Lewis." Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 01 Feb. 2017. Web. 5 May 2017. "Joyce Owens Anderson." The HistoryMakers. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2017. Wortham, Jenna. "Zanele Muholi's Transformations." The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 Oct. 2015. Web. 1 May 2017.
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