Public Libraries

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 Their selection is often severely limited, vacillating between being out of date and carrying only the latest, tackiest bestsellers.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.\"

Police ordered to return seized library computers

Here\'s a follow up story, on This One. A federal judge yesterday ordered police in Kent, Wash., to return two computers that were seized from a library after somebody reported a patron was using them to view child pornography. In taking the computers, police did irreparable harm to both privacy and property rights, said Judge Marcia Pechman.

Full Story

Volunteers fill book bags

Central Main has A Story on the Read With Me program. It provides a book bag filled with two books, a pencil, a bookmark, a reading list, tips for young readers, and a letter from Stephen and Tabitha King.
This year, kindergartners will receive \"Read to Your Bunny\" by Rosemary Wells and \"Little Beaver and the Echo\" by Maine author Amy MacDonald. MacDonald was at the armory on Monday to help package books.
It would have been interesting to include Cujo and Carrie as well.

Libraries vs. police in a suit sparked by porn

Jen Yong points to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where they are reporting on an interesting story.
The King County Library System sued the Kent Police Department, after they say a detective violated constitutional protections against illegal search by seizing the two computers when he didn\'t have a search warrant.

\"The library isn\'t defending pornography or child pornography here,\" said Paul Kundtz, the attorney representing the libraries. \"We want to tell the Police Department that it must follow the law -- and more importantly, \'Don\'t do this again.\'\"

What If We All Thought This Way

steven bell writes \"The August 10, 2002 Philadelphia Inquirer Reported that David Bennett, the digital services manager at the Bucks County Free Library (seen \"Signs\" - yes, it\'s the same Bucks County), was arrested and charged with stealing more than $200,000 from the library\'s coffers since 1999. Among other transgressions, including kickbacks from friends hired to do automation work for the library and about $70,000 spent on electronic gadgets, he spent more than $9,000 of the library\'s money at a convention in Las Vegas - including a $325 tab for a Vegas enterprise called \"Cover Girls.\" Up to this point we\'ve probably all heard of this sort of thing before. What caught my eye was Bennett\'s rationale for his crimes. He told investigators that he felt entitled to the stolen money \"because the library did not pay him enough for his work.\" If we all felt that way every library budget in the land would be pilfered on a regular basis. Maybe someone will want to bring this story to Mitch Freedman\'s attention for his campaign to improve librarian\'s pay. I can see it now, Mitch telling his audience, \"we\'re getting paid so poorly that librarians have to steal from their library systems just to afford Las Vegas call girls.\" \"

A Librarian Shouldn\'t Have to Be a Babysitter

Gary Price passed along This Washington Advice Column [Link fixed now] Parents have the right to rear their children as they wish -- as long as they keep them safe -- but they don\'t have the right to run the public library.

Say no to pushy parents, but say it pleasantly, as in: \"I\'m so sorry we can\'t accept your little one. The program is designed for older children and we\'re not allowed to make exceptions anymore.\"

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