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THE central branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia is an impressive building—its neoclassical facade looming over most of a block. But inside, though chandeliers still hang from the ceilings and the floors are of polished marble, there is a feeling of neglect. A musty taste hangs in the air; many of the books are rather battered. “The building opened in 1927 and we’ve really not touched it since then,” says Siobhan Reardon, the library’s president and director. “And you can tell.”
That, happily, is now changing. On September 11th Philadelphia announced it had secured a $25m grant from the William Penn foundation to update its old libraries. Yet libraries in general are struggling. Americans tell pollsters they love them, but fewer use them. In June the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, published data showing that library visitor numbers have declined in recent years. Polling published on September 10th by the Pew Research Center, a think tank, revealed that more people say they are going to the library less than going more, with a sharp gap among the young.
More from The Economist.
FCC Chairman Wheeler’s draft proposal—which no one but other commissioners have been able to read in detail—will not single-handedly boost global competitiveness nor will it kill E-rate as we know (and value) it. It is, however, an important first step in connecting all learners to the high-capacity broadband critical for digital opportunity. Wi-Fi doesn’t work without adequate broadband to support it, and there is more work to be done to further improve and strengthen the E-rate program for more productive years ahead. But to further delay action will shortchange our nation’s public libraries and the communities they serve.
ABC Local: Kickstarter has been used to fund everything from new gadgets to space missions -- but in Berkeley, CA a group of kids just successfully used it to fund a library. A can-do attitude is at the core of the REALM Charter School's curriculum. Now in its third year, the school has classrooms full of technology and teachers full of energy, but no library. The eighth grade class is about to change that. "I really want the future students to love it because we worked really, really hard on this," student Agustina McEwen said. Call it a legacy, when they graduate, they're leaving behind a gift. They're calling it "x-space." "It's a space made out of x's and we use these x's to make
everything in here" Agustina said.
From the bookshelves, to the tables and chairs, it all started in their design class taught by a local group called Project H. "It's sort of humbling and awe inspiring to watch a 13-year-old build something that came from their head, that they prototyped on their desk, and now is full scale," Project H founder Emily Pilloton said.
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.
Simply because she loved to read, Lotte Fields bequeathed $6 million to the New York Public Library after her death, the library announced on Wednesday.
Mrs. Fields, a New Yorker who died last summer at 89, inherited her wealth from her husband’s family, who were wool merchants.
“One of her great joys was spending the weekend reading with her husband,” said Irwin Cantor, Ms. Fields’s executor, in a statement. “Her donation shows just how much Lotte loved books and how important she felt it was to support her fellow book lovers.” Because Ms. Fields had been a modest – though regular – donor to the library in the past, Tony Marx, the library’s president, said the library was “astounded” by her bequest.
“But we are deeply honored to pick up her mantle and promote the joy of reading,” he added. At Ms. Fields’ request, the library will evenly divide the funds between its branch libraries and the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street.
Let's hope they don't apply the donation to destroying the classic Bryant Park Main Library.
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.
Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) said spendthrift Thomas Galante’s undisclosed side gig — which paid $287,100 in less than two years — as a business consultant to a Long Island school district was the last straw. Galante also spent $140,000 in library funds on renovations to his executive offices. ‘I urge you to consider the interests of the library and its patrons and resign,’ Avella wrote.
The excessive spending was previously reported on LISNews .
Last year, Queens Library President Thomas Galante was paid more than the mayor or the MTA chairman, and spent $140,000 to renovate his offices at the Central Library. Meanwhile, Galante eliminated nearly 130 library jobs through layoffs and attrition over the past five years.
Story from The NY Daily News.
“With libraries closing, there’s content … that’s no longer available to the users be they researchers, members of the public, people who are developing policy in government departments and that’s always worrying,” said Marie DeYoung, president of the Canadian Library Association and librarian at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.