Public Libraries

Libraries will benefit from building sale

San Diego\'s First National Bank Building, the city\'s first high-rise office building built in 1909, will be sold to a private developer and all the proceeds will go to the branch libraries. The Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation, the philanthropic organization which last owned the building, donated it to the city with the proviso that any money made from its sale had to go to improving San Diego\'s libraries reports this little story from Sign On San Diego.

Spanish classes @ your library

Students aged from 8 to 67 are learning Spanish at the classes offered by the Neighborhood Library, Fairmount (TX). In a population which was 55.3% Hispanic in the recent Census, the library is doing something really valuable for the community, as the participants in this story testify [from the Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas].

Trustees seek help solving library space problem

The trustees of Epsom Town Library (NH) are holding a public form tomorrow to try to figure what to do about the cramped, inaccessible, century-old building in which the library is currently located. They have found it very difficult to get support for a plan to build a new library and office complex, despite the fact that volunteers have been raising money for a new building since the 1980s, reports this sad story from the Concord Monitor.

\"In the meantime, when a reader wants The Grapes of Wrath or The Great Gatsby, librarian Nancy Claris heads out to a trailer beside the library where adult fiction written before 1980 is stored. She carries a flashlight because the trailer does not have electricity [...]\"

Wanted Library Director, No MLIS needed

Tanya writes \"I\'m so
disgusted by this that I can barely think of anything to
write. The Salt Lake County Library System has been
without a Director for eons. So, in a bid to fill the
position, the County has decided that a MLIS is not
necessary for the job. They will also consider people
with MBAs or Masters of Public Administration. And
who came up with this brilliant idea? None other than
the Library Board. Aargh!!!!


The story is in Sunday\'s Edition of the
Deseret News and will be available for for free for one
week.

You can check out the employment ad here .
Beware, it might make you ill.\"

Library Operations Outsourced in TX

Mary Musgrave passed along This Dallasnews.com Story on the decision that will hand over operations of its new Lancaster Veterans Memorial Library to a company based near Washington, D.C. [LSSI].

They say the facility still belongs to the city and the council still makes all policy decisions and library employees would keep their jobs.

\"They wanted to make the hours the library was opened more in line with what the community wanted – maybe Sunday afternoons,\" Mrs. Filgo said. \"We haven\'t had a library director since February, and I feel like we\'re to a point where we need some professional help. We\'ve had good professionals, but [LSSI] brings expertise from a national standpoint.\"

Book returned nearly 73 years late

Bill sent along This Story on a man that returned a slightly worn, hardback copy of \"Les Miserables,\" due back to the old Covington Library on Sept. 24, 1928. Library officials said they considered some kind of fine, but decided just to let the man go on the day he returned it in late May.

Good thing he didn\'t try this in Minnesota, he\'d be whisked off to jail!

Wonderful Us

janet clark writes \"In case you missed this (as I did) when the book was first published: Public libraries, ladybugs, pad Thai, and the clothesline are among \'Seven Wonders\' written about by John C. Ryan in _Seven wonders: everyday things for a healthier planet_, Sierra Club, c1999, 1-57805-038-3. \"Nobody ever built a library to save an endangered species, but that\'s one of things libraries do best,\" says Ryan in his essay in praise of public libraries. The essay includes several useful (citable) statistics and provides another angle on the value of libraries.


You can find out about the book at northwestwatch.org, though the public library essay doesn\'t seem to be there.
\"

\"The Architecture of Democracy\"

The Boston Globe\'s review of the Boston Public Library\'s new branch in Allston:

The paucity of books is an index of the way libraries are changing. They are, increasingly, community centers. Art galleries, children\'s storytelling areas, gardens, and meeting rooms become as important as book stacks. The meeting rooms are venues for the kind of healthy community activism that influenced the design of the Allston library in the first place. And of course, libraries now are centers for other kinds of information, with free computer work stations. I still think they should have a lot more books. But as a building, Allston is a triumph of what you might call the architecture of democracy.

More on Minneapolis Public Library

Bob Cox sent along This Story from Citypages.com on the big mess at the Minneapolis Public Library. This is a lengthy article with interviews from both sides. They ran a story on this back in May too.

\"When I signed up to work at the library, I didn\'t sign up to work in a porn-shop-type atmosphere,\" explains Will, who\'s 46. \"The line was crossed. And I wasn\'t going to take it anymore.\"

The library of the 21st century?

England and Wales have just adopted national standards for libraries, which call for improvements such as longer opening hours, free or cheap Internet access and convenient locations. The Guardian reports that this has led to a battle between modernists and traditionalists \"for the soul of the library\". Tower Hamlets in London has closed 5 of its 12 branch libraries in order to open 7 new hi-tech \"idea stores\", located in shopping centers and open supermarket hours. Several other cities are looking at a similar move, but there are concerns about the closures of branch libraries. The story is an interesting look at the future of public libraries and the changes that lie ahead.

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