Public Libraries

Profile Of Indiana Maker Lab

Allen County is one of just a handful of public libraries that have set up multipurpose workshops for patrons who want to share and collaborate in order to create and build things. The terms used to describe these spaces include “makerspaces,” “fab labs” or “hackerspaces.”

So why does the Allen County Public Library have a high-tech lab for would-be designers, engineers and inventors? “The library is in the learning business, not just the book business,” said Director Jeff Krull. “Anytime libraries come across an opportunity for people to learn and grow, they should do it.”

[Thanks Cheryl!]

Rockford IL Library As Theater Impressario

From the Rockford Register Star: Quite a generous donation has been made to the Rockford IL Public Library, a large downtown performance space, the Sullivan Center, and the majority of library board members voted to accept the gift.

The mission statements of the Sullivan Center and Rockford Public Library may not mirror one another, but the core values are so close that the Library Board voted 5-2 Monday to take over operations of the downtown theater.

“Their mission statement is written in such a way that I think it’s very similar: promoting performance arts and education,” Trustee Dan Ross said. Marjorie Veitch and Bradley Long voted against the library’s latest acquisition.

The agreement to accept the theater as a gift from the building’s owner, Richard Nordlof, also means accepting Nordlof’s stipulations that the theater not be sold or converted into other uses, such as office space.

The agreement perhaps ends months of debate about whether the board is needlessly venturing into operations beyond its expertise.

“This is not a stretch in what libraries do,” board President Paul Logli said before the vote, and the library has a chance to lead the way in a downtown arts resurgence.

NYPL Changes Plans For Fifth Avenue Library

From the New York Times: Responding to objections raised by scholars, writers, artists and others, the New York Public Library has revised its plan to remove most of the books from its flagship Fifth Avenue research center to make room for a circulating library. Library officials said that an $8 million donation would help pay for enough new storage space to keep 3.3 million of its 4.5 volumes.

The change, approved by the library board on Wednesday, marks a significant shift in the Central Library Plan, a $300 million proposal to turn the historic building into the world’s largest combined research and circulating library.

“I’m very pleased both by the outcome but also by the process,” said Anthony T. Grafton, a Princeton University history professor who serves on the plan’s advisory panel. “It seems to me we saw a great public institution and its leader actually listening to the response of its public.”

The gift, from Abby S. Milstein, a lawyer and trustee, and her husband, Howard P. Milstein, a banker, will cover the cost of building 30,000 square feet of storage space to keep 1.5 million books that would otherwise have been sent to a warehouse in New Jersey. Scholars and others have protested plans to send the books away, arguing that research would be inhibited by the inevitable resulting delays in retrieving books, and that the changes would diminish the library’s role as a leading reference center.

“This is a great outcome,” Anthony W. Marx, the library’s president, said in an interview. “We’re investing in good old-fashioned books for research, but we’re also working to ensure digital access and provide more education programs in branches.” -- Read More

Bedbugs arrive in county library's mail

YUCK!... The St. Clair County Library got a little bit more than it bargained for with some returned materials this week.

Library Director Allison Arnold said bedbugs caught a ride into the Port Huron branch of the library Tuesday with a package of materials that had been borrowed through the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

One year later residents see fee system benefits

Although it was a public relations concern at the time, the $80 library-card fee imposed on users not residing in the Santa Clara County Library District in July 2011 has since proven mostly beneficial to Los Altos and Los Altos Hills users.

Nearly 14 months after the fee went into effect, statistics show increased patronage of the Los Altos main and Woodland Branch libraries by local residents and more materials available to them with decreased competition from nondistrict users.

Glasgow libraries to offer cancer support services

Cancer support and information services will be offered in libraries across Glasgow in what is thought to be the first project of its kind in the UK.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Glasgow Life are working together to ensure every cancer patient in the city can get help within their local community.

Should L.A. give Undocumented Immigrants I.D. (library) Cards?

Important story from the LA Times earlier this week: Los Angeles is considering a major step in providing ID cards to illegal immigrants. The Los Angeles Public Library card could one day become a form of identification for the city's large illegal immigrant population that would allow them to open bank accounts and access services.

Here's the follow-up in the Opinion Pages.

Chicago Library Patrons Return More Than 100,000 Items During Amnesty Period

Patrons gave more than [Fixed that link] 100,000 books and other items back to the Chicago Public Library during a three-week period where the library granted amnesty from fees.

Spokesman Leland Elder said in a news release that Chicago libraries received 101,301 items during the Once in a Blue Moon amnesty period, which started on Aug. 20 and ended Tuesday. The amnesty applied to overdue books, CDs, DVDs and all other materials.

OH County Library Hires Firm to Study Employees’ Compensation

The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County has hired a Cleveland consulting firm to study the pay and benefits of library employees compared with those of their peers doing similar work elsewhere.

That firm, The Human Resource Department, will be paid between $12,000 and $13,500 for the compensation study, depending on its scope.

The services and personnel committee of the library’s board of trustees will meet at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Poland library to discuss the library system’s compensation philosophy and the compensation study.

Story from The Youngstown Vindicator (interesting newspaper name!)

Do homeless support agencies see an uptick in use when the library closes?

Good Question... The library in Seattle has been closing during for a week for the last 4 years. Seems like there might be some historical data that these shelters and services could show about any increase in visits.

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