Money Issues

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.


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.


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!"


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.



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.


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.


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.


Saw the Librarian in Half...

Lee Hadden writes: \"Anna Quindlen has an interesting opinion piece in the June 30, 2003 issue
of Newsweek. \"The Bottom Line: Bogus. For most ordinary people, the tax-cut
benefits amount to less than zero. What the Feds give, state and local
governments will take away.\"
\"Public libraries have become the new poster children for governmental
impecunity. Pick a town, any town, and the library, that great nexus of
egalitarian self-improvement, is currently in trouble. Oakland, Calif. Swanson, Neb.
York, Maine. Richland, Pa. Closings. Layoffs. Shortened hours. Canceled
\"Step right up to the greatest show on earth. See a lady sawed in
half-whoops, it\'s the librarian! The administration says it\'s providing more help for
libraries, but towns have to cut library hours to afford police officers,
some required by Homeland Security provisions for which the Feds promised
reimbursement, now long overdue.\"

Yes, this is a dupe.


Private Firm Hopes to Operate Public Library

Gary Deane brings us this North Jersey Herald News story about the Passaic public library. In reaction to their current cash crunch, the city is considering a proposal to outsource all library services to LSSI. The article includes some discussion of the LSSI-run system in the nearby town of Linden.


Libraries may share services

Bob Cox writes "News From Detroit where Tight budgets and the duplication of services between nine southeastern Oakland County Michigan libraries have prompted library officials from six small communities to discuss consolidation.

Library board members from Berkley, Clawson, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Oak Park and Royal Oak met recently to discuss combining services to save money. Some smaller or older libraries in the area would close to save money in a regional library system, but all agree the idea is about five or 10 years from happening.




Subscribe to Money Issues