Public Libraries

Before voting, imagine a town with no library

In today's Chicago Tribune, columnist Dawn Turner Trice, who says she has always loved libraries, plugs the library referenda that will be on the ballot tomorrow.

"Many library systems are doing well and aren't asking for tax increases. Some are doing such bang-up business that they need money for expansion. My focus is on the ones just vying to stay alive."

Funding cuts to libraries would be 'devastating'

"A 50 percent cut in state aid to public libraries could mean shorter hours to browse for books, fewer new books on the shelves, an end to children's story times and staff cutbacks at area libraries."

"Bethlehem Area Public Library stands to lose $370,000, 14 percent of its $2.6 million budget, under Gov. Ed Rendell's proposed budget."

''This is devastating to every library in Pennsylvania,'' said Jack Berk, executive director of the Bethlehem library. ''We're all crying about the proposed budget cuts.'' (from The Morning Call)

BC Library rapped for rental stance

Canada.com Says The Greater Victoria Library board received a stern rebuke Thursday from the provincial ombudsman, who said the board's refusal to clarify its policy on what is expected of people who rent space for meetings is unfair to the public.

They say the library board has refused his suggestion that it clearly write what it expects of those who rent space for public meetings.

Ministers highlight role of public libraries in strengthening information

Karim Boughida writes \"At a recent conference in Portugal, ministers and policy makers from 36
European countries agreed on priorities to support the contribution of
public libraries towards developing the information society. The delegates
agreed that local and national funding is required to meet the needs of
citizens and help implement the eEurope 2005 Action Plan. As Europe\'s most
popular public Internet access points, libraries also have a key role to
play in economic and social development, through providing access and
training to those who might not otherwise have access.
Full Story

\"

Libraries under attack

"Are public libraries stealing the livelihoods of Japanese authors? So say writers and publishers as the number of books borrowed climbs while sales of books and magazines steadily decline."

"The first salvo in this battle was fired by Bungei Shunju in December 2000, with an article that branded libraries as free rental shops. In June the next year, the Japan Pen Club issued a statement critical of libraries, and last year an authors' association petitioned the Japanese government to establish a European-style public-lending-right system, under which authors would be paid from a national fund for lost royalties from library lending." (from The Japan Times)

Juggling the books

"Nothing in the state’s budget crunch has been hit as hard, proportionally, as Arkansas’ public libraries."

"The state’s budget has dropped $363 million in the past three years of economic slowdown. The loss crimps every state program. It has meant 10 percent cuts for most, including education, health care and law enforcement."

"But state aid to libraries is down nearly 90 percent." (from NWA News)

Minneapolis librarians sue over Internet porn

The Strib reports on the latest development in the Minneapolis saga. I suggest that the staff members are really suing over library management issues, but who'd want to read a story with a headline like that?

Internet Public Library Facing Money Crunch

"The Internet Public Library, which began as a University of Michigan (UM) School of Information project in 1995 yet now has a global audience, is facing a money crunch. Its private and foundation funding has run out, and it currently survives on a base budget of more than $150,000 from UM. "The question of how to fund public goods on the Internet is a very difficult one," said Maurita Holland, associate professor and assistant to the dean and director of academic outreach at the school."

"The IPL--the first Google result when you search on "public library"--gets 12 million hits a month, one quarter from outside the United States and one-half of them from students working on reports. It gets about 1000 e-mail reference questions a month and answers about 80 percent of them. It contains an annotated directory of about 40,000 web sites, plus 22,000 e-texts. It relies on student labor as well as several hundred volunteers." (from Library Journal)

Libraries mobilize patrons to battle state budget cuts

"The stereotypical librarian's pose may be the forefinger pressed to the lips accompanied by a "shhhh." But not when it comes to the state budget."

"Librarians across the region are encouraging patrons to speak up loudly and clearly in opposition to the budget recently passed by the Legislature, which cuts state aid to public libraries by 50 percent."

"On Thursday, Gov. Ed Rendell signed the budget and used a line-item veto to slash education funding, a move intended to force legislators to reconsider that funding. The budget doesn't go into effect until July 1, and library officials are speaking out." (from The Post-Gazette)

Free inter-library loans in jeopardy

Genie sent this one over:

"Just when people may most need library services, the end may be near for the traditional practice of free inter-library loans and checkouts to borrowers from other library districts, such as between Atherton residents, who are served by the county library system, and Menlo Park residents, who use a city library."

"A proposal by Gov. Gray Davis would eliminate $12.1 million in state funds that subsidize the costs for these kinds of exchanges. To replace the state subsidy, the governor's proposal suggests that libraries charge out-of-district borrowers $1 for each check-out of materials and $5 for each inter-library loan, in which the requested material is transported by van to the borrower's library." (from The Alamana)

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