Money Issues

Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist

Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist
"What we see here is pure rentier capitalism: monopolising a public resource then charging exorbitant fees to use it. Another term for it is economic parasitism. To obtain the knowledge for which we have already paid, we must surrender our feu to the lairds of learning."

See Also: Response to George Monbiot’s Rant against Academic Publishers
"No one doubts that commercial publishers are in the business of making money. But the way they make money is by doing something that academics value but that they would not do for themselves, left to their own devices. What I mean is captured in two words: ‘innovation’ and ‘extension’. "

Making Room for Readers

From The Millions, an excellent article by Steve Himmer:

One recent morning, my almost four year old daughter started crying out of the blue. I asked her what was wrong, and she wailed, “I don’t have a library card!” So with a proud paternal bibliophile’s heart swollen in my chest, I strapped her into her car seat and we set off for the library in search of a library card and — at her request — in search of Tintin books like those I’d told her were my favorite stories at the library when I was young.

We went first to the branch library in our end of town, a small, round building with walls almost entirely of glass. All those windows, and the books behind them, make it look pretty inviting, and we parked our car in the lot and I held my daughter’s hand as she skipped to the door, bubbling over with excitement. Unfortunately, it was closed; I’d known municipal budget cuts had reduced the hours of all library branches, but I’d thought that only meant it was closed on Fridays. Instead, it meant this branch — and all others, apart from the main library downtown — were open only a couple of hours four afternoons through the week. No mornings, no evenings, no weekends. -- Read More

MI Court rules state can not meddle with library fees

Court rules state can't meddle with library fees
State education officials can't interfere with local libraries that charge fees to patrons who live in other communities, the Michigan Court of Appeals said in a decision released Wednesday.

In the Riot-Torn UK: Not One More Library Must Close

Boyd Tonkin: If it wished to rebuild mutual trust, social capital and motives for hope and change in the riot-wrecked streets of a nation's cities, where might a truly idealistic society begin? Perhaps its policy-makers, with money no object, would plan a network of more than 4000 dedicated cultural and community centres, their locations scattered throughout urban areas – not just in downtown hubs and comfortable suburbs. It would protect these centres with a core role defined by statute, but give them enough flexibility to innovate, to connect and to co-operate.

Hopelessly utopian, I know. Except that Britain's network of public libraries already exists. Or rather, it hangs on by the skin of its under-resourced teeth. Roughly 10 per cent of the total, more than 400, currently stand at risk of closure. Dozens have already shut.

I know and have heard all the possible objections to a view of local libraries that puts them at the heart of community renewal. Potential rioters and looters don't care about them anyway. To enter a library in the first place identifies a young person as part of the solution, not the problem. Feral teens who trash the shops will not take an interest in the library until the day dawns when it agrees to stock top-brand ,sportswear and flat-screen TVs.

More from The Independent.

Loving the Library, in Life and Beyond

Nice story from The Baltimore Sun: A former employee of the Baltimore County Public Library, who died in 2006, has left nearly half a million dollars to the foundation that supports to the 17-branch library system.

"It is the largest one-time gift in the history of the Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library," said foundation president Jeffrey Smith.
The gift of $475,000 came from the estate of former librarian Margaret "Peggy" Peterson, whose 23 years with BCPL had made her a familiar face at the Reisterstown, Catonsville and Pikesville branches, and at the BCPL administrative offices in Towson.

"We are grateful to Ms. Peterson for her generosity and for her careful planning," Smith said.

Mayor Bloomberg, Don't Close New York City Libraries!!!

Are you a New Yorker? Want to help keep NYC libraries open? Call 311 (or outside NY, call 212-NEW-YORK) and tell the operator you don't want your library budgets cut. If you're on twitter, tweet @311NYC #libraries.

In Queens: Children of Queens added their voices to the growing rally to save Queens Libraries from the proposed fiscal year 2012 budget cuts. More action in Queens.

Group protests 'Bloombergville' Budget Cuts. The NYPD has forced the group of protestors to move a few times but they've held their signs (including "We will not be shushed!") high at various spots near City Hall since Tuesday night. and

Thousands of city workers rallied outside City Hall on Tuesday, the 14th following a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed budget cuts to teachers, childcare, parks and library workers. -- Read More

The Name Game

First and foremost there was Andrew Carnegie. Now, there's the New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwartzman Building where a centennial was recently celebrated. And many, many others...some of whom have pretty funny names.

For a bit of mid-week levity, here's a New Yorker piece about the phenomenon of naming libraries after their generous benefactors:

The Queens County-Abilify Library Museum and Center for the Performing Arts has been unusually blessed with financial angels who shelter us under their collective wing, and we wish to take a moment to recognize them here. Like most cultural institutions of its kind, the Q.C.-A.L.M. & C.P.A. literally would be unable to function without the kindness and generosity of our donors. To put it plainly, we owe them our lives. The sad part, however, is that although visitors to our facility see the names of these individuals gracing our walls, door lintels, exit signs, and other flat surfaces, they don’t know, and rarely stop to inquire, who these wonderful people are. For that regrettable ignorance the following is a small attempt at a remedy.

Read more in this week's New Yorker.

New Yorker Cover Says It All

This week's New Yorker cover ...a picture worth, well, a lot of words.

The image is entitled "“The Library: Roaring Into the Future” by Eric Drooker and it depicts the two famous lions, Patience and Fortitude, protecting the entry to the Main Building of the New York Public Library (the Stephen A. Schwartzman building) currently celebrating its hundredth birthday.

Beautiful, but gloomy. Is this what the future holds for public libraries, all libraries?

More from the New Yorker (there is no accompanying article.)

Who Needs Literacy? Only Federal Program Funding School Libraries Eliminated

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program was zeroed out under the Department of Education’s allocation for FY2011 funding (PDF), released today.

Improving Literacy Through School Libraries is the only federal program solely for our nation’s school libraries. This program supports local education agencies in improving reading achievement by providing students with increased access to up-to-date school library materials; well-equipped, technologically advanced school libraries; and professionally certified school librarians.

“This decision shows that school libraries have been abandoned by President Obama and the Department of Education,” Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office, said.

“The Department has withdrawn funding for numerous successful literacy programs in order to launch new initiatives to bolster science, technology, engineering, and math education. Apparently, what the Department of Education fails to realize is that the literacy and research skills students develop through an effective school library program are the very building blocks of STEM education. Withdrawing support from this crucial area of education is an astounding misstep by an Administration that purports to be a champion of education reform.” -- Read More

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