Public Libraries

Library fire declared arson

As a follow up on This One, the fire at the Stark County District Library’s Perry Heights branch has been declared arson.
The blaze which wiped out the 8,050-square-foot building, was set on the structure’s south side, investigators said.

To compensate for the loss of the Perry Heights branch, county library officials will have a Bookmobile at the branch parking lot today. The Bookmobile is a short-term method to provide library service in the township.

Full Story

An Open Letter to Minnesotans

Madeline Douglass writes \"Roger Sween on the Minnesota State Library Smackdown
June 4, 2002

The Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning (CFL)
has among its statutory requirements the responsibility for state level
library services and development. As with its predecessor, the
Minnesota Department of Education, such responsibility has been
delegated to and administered by a unit in the department for nearly 100
years. Currently this unit is called Library Development and Services
(LDS). Every state has a state library agency such as LDS, that is
until now. In three weeks, LDS will be gone. How then will CFL address
the following:

Bookmobile will fill in for library branch after fire

Bob Cox sent in This One that says Bookmobile service will be established in the parking lot of the Stark County District Library branch that burned to the ground early Saturday. The Library Web Site seems to be down as well.

“I had to explain to them that sprinkler systems and libraries with books are not compatible,” she said. “I know most of the library systems, at least in Ohio, do not have sprinklers.

Follow Up.

\'We\'re going to make it more like a bookstore.\'

An interesting profile of Herb Elish, the new director of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh:

Sounding more like a for-profit CEO than a nonprofit executive, Herb Elish, director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, said, \"You have to start with who is the customer and what does the customer want and need . . .\"

\"Until 10 years ago, libraries had a monopoly. If you wanted information, the library had it, and you had to come here to get it,\" Elish noted. Having a monopolistic, iron grip on the market caused libraries to lose focus on their users\' needs . . .

To restore their usefulness to the community, the Carnegie Library hired Elish, a seasoned veteran of transition management. Before to joining the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, he served as chief executive officer at Weirton Steel.

Full Article (from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)

Wider and Wiser Units

\"An article entitled \"Are Wider Units Wiser?\" by Thomas J. Hennen Jr. appeared in the June/July 2002 issue of American Libraries. It asks the question - what form of public library organization delivers the best library service? For many years library leaders have told us that “wider units of service” will produce better library services. The article examines some of the issues, using national data. Although far more study is needed, the national data suggest to the author that, in most cases, wider units of library service are, indeed, wiser.

We cannot compare how well a library may have fared had its planners chosen a different road in the past. We can only compare the results for the roads taken by other libraries in different areas of the country, hoping that the comparisons will help library planners choose wisely in the future.\"

Full Story

Eugene, Oregon\'s New Library: a \"126,000-square-foot Christmas present.\"

Getting a jump on the \"official\"
grand opening in 2003, the day after Christmas 2002, Eugene, Oregon
opens its \"126,000-square-foot
Christmas present,
\" to visitors.

The new library replaces
the \"44-year-old veteran\" that was one of the keys that coalesced my devotion
to libraries.  The old building let me see libraries as sanctuaries
and is one of the reasons that whenever I\'ve had the opportunity to travel,
checking out the local library was always near the top of my to do list. 
I\'m delighted to see strong community support for the new, expanded library.

Little More Than Sad Stories In D.C. Libraries

Lee Hadden writes: \"There is an interesting article in today\'s Washington Post concerning
the emphasis placed on certain aspects of public libraries, while basic
needs are ignored and budgets cut.\"

Intersting indeed, the story says libraries are latching onto a gimmick like \"One Book\", while the city\'s library system has seen its staff cut by 30 percent.

\"I don\'t think anyone visiting our libraries would look around and say \'This is a fantastic-looking, well-maintained, attractive place I would like to visit with my family,\' \" says Alexander Padro, a publishing executive who lives in Shaw and serves on the D.C. library\'s board of trustees. \"We haven\'t been performing basic maintenance for 15 years. We have frayed carpeting, poor lighting, HVAC systems that don\'t work.\"

MD libraries switching to online staff training

From Federal Computer Week:

About 100 librarians across Maryland\'s public library systems are using interactive online management training tools, which proponents say save time and are less expensive than traditional classroom training.

Started as an experiment three years ago . . . the project spread to 16 of the state\'s 27 public library systems last fall with the help of the Maryland Library Partnership, a nonprofit cooperative of the library systems.

Developed by San Francisco-based Ninth House Inc., the courses — which aren\'t library specific — include such topics as situational leadership, high-impact hiring, handling interpersonal situations and change management . . .

Full article.

British Library loans suffer sharp fall

Laura Keen points to This Story from The BBC that says Book loans from libraries have dropped steeply in the last decade while book shops have been experiencing contrasting fortunes, according to a report.

The number of books borrowed from British libraries has gone down by almost a quarter since 1992 compared to an equivalent rise in book sales.

This seems to be the opposite of the #\'s here in The States.

Pressure For Public Libraries to Provide Bestsellers

Kevin J. Gallagher posted this on PUBLIB, and has agreed to allow us to reprint it here:

\"I\'ve got to respond to the posting from a colleague in western
Ireland, who relayed yet another address decrying the decline in reading
of classics.
This is the second public library that I have served in as
director. Both communities are small cities, serving a large suburban area. In
both communities the library collections have had extensive holdings of
classic writers, as well as large collections of bestsellers. Both parts of the
collections are used, with the heaviest use coming from the bestsellers.
(There\'s a reason they\'re called \"bestsellers\"...)


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