Public Libraries

A new library squeeze

Eddie B. sent over A Buffalo News Story that takes a look at the huge (52 branch) Buffalo and Erie County Library system.
Tight budgets and a shrinking population again raise talk of consolidation when just a little more than four years ago, people across Erie County spoke out, in record numbers, to say that they didn\'t want a single public library in the county closed.

\"Look at the population of the city, which has changed dramatically in the past few years. There just aren\'t as many people, and the city still has 15 libraries,\" said Mahaney, the director. \"In Topeka, Kan., a city half the size of Buffalo, you know how many libraries they have? One. We have 15.\"

Library blasted over public computer limit

\"A man who calls himself a rabbi complained Monday to Orangeburg County Council that local public library officials are denying him computer access, keeping him out of board meetings and discriminating against him for being Jewish.\"

\"Dismissing the criticism from someone who has \"caused more aggravation,\" Library Director Paula Paul staunchly defended the library board\'s new policy, implemented Monday, that imposes a two-hour limit on computer use.\"

\"Several people monopolize the computers day in and day out on a regular basis,\" Paul said. \"If someone is there using the computer every day, almost all day long, there\'s something wrong. It\'s there to serve the entire public, not just a few.\" (from The Times and Democrat)

We\'re better, and we\'re free!

Last month, in Search Engine Watch\'s SearchDay newsletter, guest editor Gary Price wrote a very nice article about free database content available at libraries. It\'s some great press!

A persistent myth says that you can find \"everything\" on the web. Not even close! Fortunately, many public libraries offer free access to a wealth of online databases that are often much higher quality than what you can (or can\'t) find on the web.

One arrest that really went by the book

Steven Bell writes \"The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Raymond Gillin, a Pizza Hut manager, was arrested after a routine traffic stop when it was discovered he was wanted on an outstanding warrant for violating \"Township Ordinance 36A-1.\" It wasn\'t until the next day that Gillin found out what that was: failure to return library materials. Gillin\'s accumulated fines amount to over $300. He had forgotten all about the books and believes they were lost in a fire. When will these folks learn. Librarians don\'t forget about overdue books - and eventually we will catch you! Read the Full Story.\"

Real books for adult learners

Almost a quarter of the population of the UK is estimated to have some kind of literacy problem, yet there is apparently still a lack of reading material of a suitable level that is not embarrassing to read in public. The Guardian has this interesting story on a new public library initiative to identify fiction and non-fiction titles suitable for adults over the age of 16 with reading ages of 9-14. Volunteers have been \"test-reading\" a selection of books and have drawn up a shortlist of 40. This collection, entitled \"First Choice\", is now being promoted in libraries up and down the country.

Harry Potter and the mystery of empty libraries

Bob Cox sent in This Story that says after years of decline in the number of adults borrowing books, it appears children are also deserting the musty shelves of their local libraries for the smart display stands of Waterstone’s and WH Smith.
New figures reveal that the number of children’s books borrowed in Scotland in the past five years has dropped by 90,000, posing a potential long-term threat to the future of libraries as we know them.

\"In the past few years issue figures in libraries have fallen,\" she said, \"partly because £8m has come off library book funds in Scotland. It is the equivalent of not servicing your car and expecting it to run.\"

No more hiding in the stacks?

\"Wrapped in all the clothes he owns, a former parking lot attendant sifts through a sheaf of food coupons on a recent Sunday afternoon, daydreaming. Another man pores over a 19th-century novel, still another a calculus textbook, both seeking solace through knowledge. Others show up for the clean, warm bathroom, where they catch a few desperately needed winks.\"

\"But where will they go, if Mayor Thomas Menino follows through on a proposal to close the Boston Public Library on Sundays to save money?\"

\'\'I don\'t know,\'\' says Peter Poulimenos, wearing seven pairs of pants and carrying six large, ragged bags. \'\'I\'d probably stay outside all day.\"

\"During the cold months, especially now with the temperature hovering in single digits, the Copley Square landmark becomes a magnet for the homeless, attracting so many of the city\'s downtrodden that on a recent day they occupied nearly every other seat in the first floor of the new building.\" (from The Boston Globe)

Ghost stories alive in library

There\'s a little story over on on The Henry W. Sage Library. Some library employees say they think \"Henry,\" as they call him, still haunts the 119-year-old building at 100 E. Midland St., along with a few other ghosts.

\"I felt like the mood changed,\" Andresen recalled. \"I was standing in the upstairs hallway. From the ceiling, up above, one of the big square ceiling tiles came down. It fell right next to me. I decided that was Henry telling me, \'It\'s time for you to get out of here.\"

A See-Through Library of Shifting Shapes and Colors

Jen Young sent over This NYTimes Story on a rather unusual design by Enríque Norten/TEN Arquitectos for the proposed Brooklyn Library for the Visual and Performing Arts.
Sleek, curvaceous, colorful and alive, this is New York\'s first full-fledged masterwork for the information age. More than any other recent New York project, Norten\'s design captures the spirit of the contemporary city.
There\'s more Here

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

Jen Young passed along This NYTimes Story the New York Public Library\'s Wertheim Study, a room reserved for writers who apply for a special area in which to work.
There is a hierarchy when it comes to the level of amenities available, ranging from modest to opulent. Depending on the nature of the project, the author\'s status, and whether he or she has a book contract, a writer can occupy anything from a bare-bones room with shared tables and shelf space to a well-appointed private suite complete with computers, sofas, a kitchen and a stipend.


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