Public Libraries

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.

HAL vs. Hawthorne

The Examiner Takes A Look at San Francisco\'s latest plan to overhaul The City\'s branch libraries, which emphasizes adding computers, lounges and meeting areas -- and reducing book stacks.
The library says yes, stacks will be reduced at some branches, but for other reasons. The renovations provide an opportunity to widen aisle space to achieve American Disability Act codes. Wider aisles in the same space mean fewer books.

Discarding a historic catalog

The Nashua Telegraph has a rather Long Look At the oak card catalogs at the Nashua Public Library.
There\'s a neat little history of card catalogs, and a look at the fancy new computers.

“You have to use the available technology that can help people, We’re not digitizing everything; there’s still a role for the printed word\"

Hooligans close \'royal\' library

Charles Davis passed along
This Telegraph Story that says sttacks by young hooligans have forced the public library on the Queen\'s Sandringham estate to close in the evenings.
Doors at the library at Dersingham, a mile from
Sandringham House, have been barricaded by the
gang of about 15 boys and girls, some as young as
12. The building has also been pelted with eggs and rubbish, and elderly estate residents visiting the library have been abused.
Norfolk county council has now decided that the
library will close at 5pm, three hours early, before a member of staff or a visitor is hurt.

Robo-Librarian choking on a flood of returned books

Bob Cox sent over This Short Piece on a new $2.2 million book sorting machine choking on a flood of returned books after a three-week closure for the move to the new library in Oregon.
The Tech Logic system will process and sort 350 books an hour, doing the work of seven full time staff and reducing damage to books and staff injuries from repeatedly lifting heavy books, library staff say. With saved labor costs estimated at $350,000 a year, the system will pay for itself in less than five years, library staff told the City Council.

Alarm over proposed library closures in Oakland

From the Oakland Tribune:

When Emanuel Robinson, a sixth-grader at West Oakland Community School, needed to write a report on Tefnut, the Egyptian goddess of dew, rains and mist, he headed to his local library on Adeline Street.

But under one controversial plan to trim at least $17 million from this year\'s city budget, Robinson\'s West Oakland library branch and six others throughout the city, including Temescal, Brookfield, Melrose, Elmhurst, Martin Luther King and Lakeview, would be closed. The savings reach $2.1 million when combined with other cuts in service, materials and staff.

Complete article.


Subscribe to Public Libraries