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This is a tragedy.
From The Miami Herald: Squeezed by tax cuts, Florida’s largest library system can’t buy nearly the number of children’s books it used to.
Countywide, Miami-Dade libraries budgeted about $90,000 for children’s books this year, a fraction of the $1.3 million the system spent in 2005 and about 60 percent below the $210,000 budget in place just three years ago.
The virtual destruction of the New York Public Library rests on faulty premises. In a world of cheap personal computers, ubiquitous internet access and vanished book stores, libraries will always be special. For in addition to preserving manuscripts that may never be digitized, providing services to communities, and lending e-books to remote users, library collections entice citizens to meet in public spaces – and not just for the experience of reading on paper. Readers come for the ageless experience of browsing the shelves and commenting on one another’s dust jackets. Should the plan here in New York go through, the 42nd Street Library may soon find that its terminals are as empty as the ethernet ports carved into the tables of the Main Reading Room.
Library administrators are discarding older books in bulk, prompting a backlash from longtime staff members.
Library administrators have ordered staff to discard books in bulk. With increased funding for materials this fiscal year, managers are making room for newer books and as a result have been trashing older ones in mass quantities, staff members said. The practice, they said, has been rushed and haphazard — and not in line with the standard guidelines for "weeding," the term librarians use to describe the process of moving books out of collections. In Albany, thousands of good books that could be donated or given away are instead ending up in the trash, the employees said. They noted that while this policy is especially widespread at their branch, it appears that this careless discarding is happening across the Alameda County Library system.
"Everyone is amazed by the amount of stuff going to the garbage bins," said Dan Hess, a children's librarian in Albany. He has worked at that branch for four years and has been an employee of Alameda County Library for fourteen years. "It's like forty years and forty different brains thinking what should be in the library [are being] swept away in two months," he said. "We're having this infusion of new money and materials that are coming very fast into the library. It's pushing us to change the criteria for what we are discarding." Hess said that managers have directed staffers to effectively remove most books bought before 2001, with little regard to the content, condition, or other factors librarians would typically take into consideration. "All you have left is the new. To me, that is not a library."
"Calling library closings the "absolute worst decision" in his 20 years in elected office, Mayor Nutter took time in his budget address Thursday to apologize for the cuts he made in 2008.
City Council "was right on this issue . . . and I've been determined to correct my mistake ever since," Nutter said after proposing a $2.5 million increase for the Free Library.
The new funding would let the library system hire 43 people and keep all neighborhood libraries open six days a week. Since the 2008 budget cuts, most of the branch libraries have been open only five days."
The mayor's letter to the commissioners proposed creating a Family and Education Fun Zone around the library and suggested that the first step should be instituting actual penalties for breaking the library's long-standing code of conduct. Previously, most bad behavior was met simply with a warning to stop.
In response, library staff beefed up the Patron Code of Conduct with much harsher penalties than the admonishment, "Uh, that's a sink - not a bathtub." Under the proposals, which will likely be tweaked after community input and voted on by the commissioners this spring, repeat offenses could result in being banned from all the city's public libraries for up to a year.
Library's WikiSeat challenge inspires creative thinking
Why sit in any old seat, when you can build your own?
The Mountain View public library is challenging its patrons with a unique project: build your very own tripod seat, in a month or less.
Called the WikiSeat challenge, the month-long project aims to inspire both fun and function through the task of building a seat. Participants of all ages and abilities receive only a basic starting piece for the seat at the beginning of the project — a small, three-pronged metal bracket to give the seat a sound tripod structure — and from there, they are to build their seat in whichever way they desire.
Queens president: Trustees must nix money-flush library head’s $2M exit deal
Melinda Katz has asked Queens Library trustees to get rid of Thomas Galante’s golden parachute, the news of which comes after revelations about his secret job, $392,000 salary and private smoking deck that cost the taxpayer-funded library system $26,000.
This story from the Seattle Public Library is a bit dated, but worth reading.
When Seattle Public Library lifted its ban on guns in early November, officials there said they had done so because patrons had complained.
Internal library emails reveal that there was just one patron complaint in several years – a man with a Yahoo email account who didn’t identify himself as either a patron or Seattle resident.
That man, Dave Bowman, lives in Seattle and has a library card (which he uses, he noted in an email to KUOW), and said that he demanded the policy change on behalf of all gun owners. He described himself as “neither a conservative, nor liberal, but a libertarian.”
“I noticed one day that the library’s rules stated that firearms were not allowed on library property except by law enforcement,” Bowman said by email to KUOW. “I knew this rule was in violation of state law (and common sense) and brought it to their attention.”
Joe Fithian, the head of security for the library, replied to Bowman: “Much the same as eating and sleeping or being intoxicated are not against the law, (guns) are against our rules of conduct.”
But Bowman refused to back down and within two months, the library announced to its staff that it would drop the gun ban. Staff members could ask questions, but administrators were firm: On Nov. 4, the library would allow guns.
Do you allow guns at your library? Are there specific restrictions? Please comment below.
Library districts need to adapt to the needs of their communities. A one-size-fits-all tax levy simply will not work. The library districts in Arizona have never been accused of abusing their authority, and, what’s more, they provide valuable service to all of the libraries in their geographic areas.
Read more from The Hipster Librarian.
At a time when more information is moving online and into digital formats, our patrons highly value free access to books and the range of resources and programs available at the library. To accommodate the high demand for digital services, we added several Internet-equipped computers to the computer lab and expanded library space for laptop users. As a library director, I see students, parents, and readers turn to the library when they need homework help, children's books, historical information, or research assistance.