Get LISNews via email! Enter Your Email Address:
A 24-year veteran at the Library of Michigan will be the next state librarian.
Randy Riley will succeed Nancy Robertson, who is retiring this week after almost a decade in the role.
Riley is recognized as a leading family history librarian in the United States.
Riley has been the Michigan eLibrary coordinator and also coordinated the Notable Books program and Center for the Book. Riley says he’s looking forward to steering the library toward “new levels of innovative services, programs and technologies.”
Before joining the library in 1989, Riley was a substitute teacher at schools in Ionia and Montcalm counties and taught at the Valley School in Schwartz Creek.
News story via Lancaster Online, about State Librarian Stacey Aldrich's address to Pennsylvania librarians about modifying the focus away from technology in libraries.
Last year, she spoke mostly the future — advancing technology, and the changing ways that libraries can store information and provide it in new ways to patrons. This year, Aldrich was more reflective. She talked a lot about her travels — to libraries around the state as well as other countries — and she took the group on a visual tour of State Library of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.
She still had a few things to say about technology, though — including the way many people are looking for ways to get away from electronics, even if it’s only for a short break. “A lot of people are looking for ways to disconnect to reconnect,” she said. “They’re turning off the electronics.”
Libraries, which have been scrambling to go high-tech with advanced computer and Wi-Fi options, are also trying to meet the need for patrons to decompress sometimes, Aldrich said. Sometimes, that means sponsoring “digital detox” nights, she said — hosting board games, for instance, and providing opportunities for conversation.
“Look around you. See what people are doing in your community,” she urged.
The New Orleans Picayune reports on state legislators choice of an official state book.
Representative Thomas Carmody (R-Shreveport), originally filed a bill to declare a specific copy of a Bible, found in the Louisiana State Museum system, the official state book. But by the time he presented the proposal to the committee, he changed language in his legislation to make the generic King James version of the Bible, a text used worldwide, the official state book.
Michael Weil, who heads up the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, said his organization -- which is cultural and not religious in nature -- hasn't take a stance on the bill. But the legislation gives him some personal pause. "I think the state should consider a text that is not religious," he said.
Another story on the same subject from NPR. And opinion from the ACLU: The bill "represents the use of religion to discriminate against Louisianians of minority faiths or who do not adhere to that particular book as part of their belief system. The bill will create more problems than it will solve by telling some Louisianians that their belief system is not full equal," the state ACLU says.
From the Sacramento Bee:
Gov. Jerry Brown announced Tuesday that he has appointed Greg Lucas, a former San Francisco Chronicle political reporter who has, most recently, been a political blogger and host of a television interview show, as the state librarian.
Lucas, son of former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas, is also the husband of Donna Lucas, who runs a political public relations firm in Sacramento and is a former adviser to Republican governors.
The new librarian, who will earn $142,968 a year, is a Democrat. He left the Chronicle in 2007 after 19 years with the newspaper and has been an editor for the Capitol Weekly newspaper in recent years. He also hosted an informal political discussion program for the California Channel.
In his new job, Lucas will manage the California State Library, which is located near the Capitol. It houses historical books and documents, provides research to the governor and Legislature and acts as a liaison with local libraries.
A national atheist group said Monday that it will donate its literature for use in cabins and lodges in Georgia's state parks after the governor's recent decision to allow Bibles there.
David Silverman, president of the Cranford, N.J.-based American Atheists organization, said his group is just waiting for an answer from the state on what the best procedure is to donate several books, including one titled "Why I Am An Atheist."
"We expect fair treatment, we anticipate fair treatment and we look forward to fair treatment," Silverman said. "If the state is going to put Bibles in the cabins, they must allow alternate points of view — all alternative points of view without taking sides."
Story from ABC News.
How about some (sort of) GOOD news for a change?
As reported in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Georgia State Archives will remain open.
Gov. Nathan Deal and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp made that announcement Thursday, saying the state will restore $125,000 to Kemp’s budget — enough money to keep the Archives open until at least the middle of next year.
The emergency move came two weeks before budget cuts were to force the Archives’ closure as a full-time facility except by appointment. It was a muted victory for Archives supporters, who lauded the decision but are still fighting to save the jobs of seven employees who will be laid off as of Nov. 1.
Early in its history the Library of Michigan collected books within broad categories of topics and circulated them in wooden traveling boxes across the state, especially in areas where there were no libraries. The books in the collection were categorized under the Dewey Decimal System. In 1987 when the Library of Michigan converted to the Library of Congress system, the original Dewey books were never rolled into the new system. In essence, they became a shrine to the Dewey system and were seldom touched.
Donald Todaro, who has overseen the auction as assistant director of the state library, said in the last several decades the collection saw little or no use, even though the books occupied nearly half of the fourth floor of the Library of Michigan.
When former Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration was looking for ways to save money it determined the library was an easy target. Ultimately, the library was hit with more than $1 million in cuts. It was able to maintain its Michigan and Genealogy collections while pretty much everything else was determined to be expendable, including staff: The library once had more than 130 employees, but that dropped to 32.
From the Lansing City Pulse, Library of Michigan wraps up its sale of 75,000 out-of-circulation volumes. The rare books however have mostly been culled from the collection.
MANY years ago I used to work in a library. Now that you've stopped laughing I'll continue. It wasn't just any library, it was THE library, the numero uno of book depositories, the largest in the nation . . . the National Library of Scotland on George IV Bridge. Let's face it, if you're going to hand out books for a living you might as well aim for the top.
And that was basically what my job consisted of - handing out books. Apart from the exciting times I got to wheel them on a trolley into the rarefied world of the Advocates Library next door. To be clear, I was in no way ever a "librarian", just a lowly deliverer of weighty tomes to the intellectually-gifted few who were allowed up the hallowed stairs to the Reading Room.
I was just out of school, and to even be considered for such an unskilled job I had to be interviewed by a panel of three people. Yes, a triumvirate of academics to quiz a 17-year-old to discover if she's got the necessary qualifications to deliver a book. Apparently, my limbs were deemed acceptable.
Then, the National Library was a daunting place. The Reading Room was run by a matriarchal character called Ms Deas, straight from the pages of a Muriel Spark novel. She had all her staff living in quiet fear - and God help any general member of the public who tried to get into the place without the necessary paperwork. If you weren't an academic or a PhD student you had no chance.
More from Gina Davidson at the Edinburgh News.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, [librarians are] "normally a quiet bunch" but about 250 from all corners of the state made some noise Wednesday at the Texas Capitol as they tried to head off looming budget cuts that would virtually eliminate state support for public libraries.
"If these programs are not funded, then it will affect every community, every school and every institution of higher education in the state," said Gloria Meraz, communications director for the Texas Library Association.
The cutbacks could mean reduced access to TexShare, a mammoth database service available in 677 libraries, and to a K-12 database provided for 4.5 million Texas schoolchildren and 500,000 educators.
"If the Fort Worth Public Library had to negotiate for the TexShare database on their own, it would cost $2 million a year," said Peggy Rudd, director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Also targeted for elimination is funding for TexNet Interlibrary Loan programs and Loan Star Library Grants, which provides money to extend hours and other services.