Money Issues

Seattle librarians don't take closures quietly

While Seattle public libraries have closed for the week in an attempt to save money and prevent layoffs, Seattle public librarians have taken their ire to the street. Picketing librarians believe that City Council should come up with the money to keep the libraries open and staffed. More here at KOMO. Not only are the libraries closed, but all services, including database access and bookdrops are unavailable, according to the library website. The libraries will reopen on September 2, but are scheduled for another week-long closure in December.

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Multnomah Commisioners will not confirm library director's hiring

Marlene writes " 3 Oregon Multnomah County commissioners have stated that they will not confirm the appointment of director Molly Raphael, because the salary is too high at $138,000 a year.

"Commissioner Lisa Naito asked Linn on Tuesday in a hand-delivered letter to reconsider the new salary... Naito said the salary will be "out of line and extremely objectionable." She said she had not known what the salary figure was when she endorsed hiring Raphael."

"But Linn, who was surprised by Naito's letter, said the salary range -- advertised at $115,000 to $145,000 at the recommendation of a national search consultant -- was not a secret during the process. No one raised the issue nor objected then, she said."

"The board will put the county at substantial risk of liability," if it now rejects the accepted offer, Linn said."
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Las Vegas Library system seeking private sources of funds

Library system seeking private sources of funds comes in via The Resourceshelf.
After failing to secure public dollars to expand the county's library system, district officials are now turning to private sources for help.

An ambitious plan to raise $30 million in private money over 10 years will be presented to Las Vegas-Clark County Library District trustees on Thursday.

The money would be used to add programs and update outmoded facilities at the county's 24 libraries.

"If people waited for the right time to go out and ask people to support them philanthropically, it would never be done," said Suzanne Hackett-Morgan, development director for the library district. "This is a trend among public libraries to start private library foundations to augment their funding."

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Action could be one for the books

This Associated Press story says Two copies of Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" could be taken off the Dickson County Public Library's shelves next week.

The issue is not the book's content. Dr. Seuss may be gone from the Dickson library, too. The issue is money.

The state could seize 20,000 books - one-fourth of Dickson's collection - because the county budget cut library funding and violated a state agreement that paid for the books. Four other libraries also face repossession of books.

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E-rate Program Abused, Investigators Say

Gary Deane spotted This Story that says Congressional investigators believe they can prove that the E-rate program that subsidizes telephone and internet service for schools and public libraries is riddled with waste, abuse, incompetence and in a few instances, fraud.

Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the E-rate is funded by $2.25 billion a year in fees paid by long-distance providers, most of whom include the E-rate fee in the "universal service" charge on their customers' bills.

"It's clear rate-payers have been ripped off to the tune of tens of millions of dollars," said Ken Johnson, spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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Lynda Barry addresses the branch library

gayle sent in a link to an online comic about the closing of branch libraries. Her commentary: "What a sad comic strip...It's not an article, but don't underestimate the comics!"

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Shelf Life Support

Gayle Snible spotted This Austin Chronicle Story that tells people something we probably already know.
Libraries are in danger. Many systems across the country face crippling budget cuts that compromise their quiet influence. This is a crisis of which many are unaware. Among the few that are aware, there are unsung heroes working to staunch the cash hemorrhage that threatens the livelihood of the programs and services offered by their local branches.

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Perspective

Tonight, as I sat around getting tired enough to go to bed, I read a little story in the New York Times that rather puts the library employment situation in perspective. The dateline of the piece was Jefferson, Wisconsin, and the subject was wage givebacks by packing plant workers at the Tyson Foods sausage plant in that little town of 7,500 souls.

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Two Stories About Minneapolis Budget Woes

Gary Deane writes spotted 2 stories on MN libraries. This One says Chris Dodge wants to close libraries. When discussing the effect of recent budget cuts on the Minneapolis Public Libraries, the current Utne Reader staffer and 19-year veteran of the Hennepin County Public library system says that closing a library in an affluent neighborhood would serve as a wake-up call. Dodge says that taking smaller steps masks the real problem: “Erosion of hours and services tends to be invisible and invidious.” After a series of public meetings, the Library Board has chosen to keep all libraries open, but the nature and distribution of services that will be offered are still under discussion. What will these “invisible” cuts mean for librarians, staff and patrons?

A Second reports the Ramsey County Library library's logo will be sold at a shop opening in the Roseville library to help offset an 8 percent reduction over two years in the county's portion of the library budget.

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CIPA Smackdown

This has been an interesting year for California librarians. The recent Supreme Court decision regarding CIPA comes as the latest smackdown in a series which has included severe funding cutbacks and a continuing wrangle over the effect of the Patriot Act. For a library student, these past few months have served as a living laboratory of the connections between publicly-funded libraries and the larger society.

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