Public Libraries

You never know what you might find in a library book

A Fun Little Story from The Commercial News in Illinois on the lost and found bin at The Danville Public Library.
Years ago, when it had a curbside book drop along Vermilion Street, the head librarian found a live duck.

There haven\'t been any ducks lately, but quite a few family snapshots, letters and other things have been left behind by library patrons.

They have found jewelry, tax forms and other documents, eyeglasses, keys, key chains, toys, notebooks and of course someone had used a raw bacon strip as a book mark.

\"Way back when I was the children\'s librarian, someone left a (candy) sucker in a book,\" Nolan said. \"It was not wrapped. It was pretty glued to the inside of the book.\"

Library Exploring Selling Naming Rights

Gary Price sent over This Story From California where the Padres and Petco Park, Lemon Grove officials are exploring naming rights to pay the city\'s $1.7 million share of a new library.
They suggest Lemon Pledge Public Library, Minute Maid, while Gary suggested the Olive Garden Public Library or
the Red Lobster Public.

Library use rises as services are scaled back

\"As California faces the biggest financial crisis in its history, public libraries across the state are scaling back hours, laying off staff and, in some cases, stopping book purchases.\"

\"At the same time, library use has accelerated in recent months as the economic downturn drags on. In hard times, librarians say, people turn to libraries to job-hunt, use the Internet, spend the day if they are unemployed, or borrow books, CDs and DVDs that they can no longer afford to buy at stores or online.\"

``We\'re confronting difficult choices right now,\'\' said Karen Rollin Duffy, the librarian at the Santa Clara City Library. ``At a time when we\'re asked to hold the line or make cuts, we actually really need to hire additional staff. Our circulation is increasing. Circulation in December 2002 was 20 percent higher than in December 2001. People are not spending as much money on going out, and they are using the library as a source of recreation.\'\' (from Mercury News)

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)


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