Public Libraries

Ready With Answers Around the Clock

This NYTimes Story, sent in by Jen Young, says increasingly, librarians, fearing irrelevancy in the age of Google, are chasing their patrons in cyberspace, and around the clock. And many people are responding. They highlight some neat new services.

Activists Target WA Libraries

James Nimmo passed along a bit more info on the WA story. \"FindLaw
has an AP story that says A proposed ballot initiative - which has not yet qualified for the Nov. 5 ballot - would close seven of nine county-run libraries. It may be the first effort in the country to abolish a library system by popular vote, according to the American Library Association.

Three-hundred miles from the high-tech, high-paying jobs of the Seattle area, Stevens County\'s 40,000 residents include loggers, farmers and backwoods survivalists who make do with a median household income of $33,387 a year. A magnesium plant that was the county\'s largest private employer closed last year.

\"

Home schoolers hit hard by library cuts

Natalie Hansen Takes A Look at the home schoolers, and how they are affected by increased fees and charges, and other cuts at libraries.

\"Anyone who depends on the public library, especially home-school families, are going to be greatly affected because they don\'t have anywhere else they can obtain the resources they need for educational purposes,\" she said. \"A lot of the things from the home-schoolers\' curriculum are found here at the library.\"

Custom toys beckon disabled kids

SPTimes.com has this on The Palm Harbor Library and how they offer dolls and puzzles designed for those with special needs.The Palm Harbor Library recently purchased about 60 of these toys and is making them available for circulation. Parents with children who are disabled can use their library cards to check out these toys, just like books.

Librarians, not books, get bucks

Bob Young, over at The Seattle Times says Seattle Public Library spends so much on salaries and so little on books that City Librarian Deborah Jacobs was left with little choice when forced to trim library spending by 4 percent. Seattle\'s 23 public libraries will close after tomorrow for a week, and again on Dec. 17 for another week, shaving library spending through unpaid wages for those two weeks.

Seattle Public Library pays beginning librarians $46,500 — about one-third more than Denver and Boston. In five years, beginning librarians in Seattle will see their salaries climb to $56,472 under their union contract. In addition, they\'ll get annual cost-of-living increases.

Sell the Public Libraries

This One from Lew Rockwell is, no doubt, worth a read.
Llewellyn says many public libraries have been a disgrace for decades, and, like most public institutions, they are architectural monstrosities. \"They have terrible hours, which they blame on underfunding. Their selection is often severely limited, vacillating between being out of date and carrying only the latest, tackiest bestsellers. Others have gradually purged all books that offer ideas the ruling regime rejects.\"

Leave no public library behind

Jen Young sent over Leave no public library behind By Helen Schary Motro is a nice sentimental look at the New York Public Library.

\"We Americans naively look at the library as our birthright, often unaware that a free public library system is far from universal. The Bill of Rights doesn\'t guarantee the freedom to read. But the American library network hands this priceless gift to anyone who\'s interested upon a silver platter.\"

Rural rich seek to deep six libraries in WA

Via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

A group of antitax crusaders is trying to dissolve the county\'s libraries. Leaders of the campaign to eliminate the Stevens County Rural Library District said they are tired of paying property taxes for something that helps people largely in the most out-of-the-way crannies of the county, where a majority of the county libraries lie. Besides, they said, rural libraries are increasingly obsolete because of the Internet, video outlets and discount bookstores . . .

\"With all the property I own, I\'m probably paying up to $500 in taxes for the library, and that\'s just $500 wasted on something we don\'t need,\" said one supporter of the measure, Dave Sitler, a real estate agent.

Complete article.

Library doubles as laundry room

Charles Davis writes \" One library doubles as a laundry room, where a person can clean a month of dirty clothes and pick up a Churchill biography in a single stop. Another shares a roof with a state liquor store -- \"books \'n\'
booze,\" people call it in jest.

The libraries of Stevens County, bounded by the Canadian border, are among the most remote in the United
States. They are also threatened with extinction.
Story at
SeattlePI \"

Be sure to check out the MEFI Thread as well.

Public to taste life without its libraries

Steven sent over a link to This Column on the library closures in Seattle.
Paul Andrews says when Seattle public libraries close for a week next Monday, the closure will have far more chilling implications than a late-summer \"furlough\" might on the surface suggest.

\"If there is a potentially positive side to such draconian measures, it is this: Seattle will find out what it\'s like to live without libraries. For anyone who cares about free access to and exchange of information in a democratic system, the picture is not likely to be pretty.\"

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