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Interesting piece at NYT.com about the economic situation of cities. Relevance to libraries is that many public libraries operate within the economics of a municipality.
Line from article: The city managers couldn’t make their budget and eliminated financing for the local museum, the symphony and the senior center. (This is the kind of list that often contains "library")
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, [librarians are] "normally a quiet bunch" but about 250 from all corners of the state made some noise Wednesday at the Texas Capitol as they tried to head off looming budget cuts that would virtually eliminate state support for public libraries.
"If these programs are not funded, then it will affect every community, every school and every institution of higher education in the state," said Gloria Meraz, communications director for the Texas Library Association.
The cutbacks could mean reduced access to TexShare, a mammoth database service available in 677 libraries, and to a K-12 database provided for 4.5 million Texas schoolchildren and 500,000 educators.
"If the Fort Worth Public Library had to negotiate for the TexShare database on their own, it would cost $2 million a year," said Peggy Rudd, director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Also targeted for elimination is funding for TexNet Interlibrary Loan programs and Loan Star Library Grants, which provides money to extend hours and other services.
LA Weekly: Due to drastically reduced library hours and staff, which were caused by severe, City Hall-approved budget cuts children's librarian Terri Markson says her outreach work to local schools has been diminished, it's very difficult to arrange student field trips to the Fairfax Branch, and the library is now closed on Mondays -- a crucial day that starts off a student's academic week.
"The library is where (kids) type up their homework," says Markson, noting that many students from low- to middle-income families don't own a computer and printer and go to a library to use those things.
It's a shocking situation, in which politicians have quickly turned one of the largest and most respected library systems in the country into an institution that's now less kid-friendly, less student-friendly, and less family-friendly. But Measure L, an initiative authored by L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks, seeks to help those kids and families by better funding L.A.'s public libraries.
The ballot measure will not increase taxes, but dedicates a slightly larger slice of existing money in the city's general fund to the library system. -- Read More
CAMDEN (AP) — The latest blow to this downtrodden city came Thursday as the downtown branch of the public library was closing for good.
From The AP: The main branch of the Camden Free Public Library, in a high-ceilinged former bank building, was a victim of the same budget crisis that resulted in layoffs last month of nearly 400 city government employees, including nearly half the police department and one-third of the firefighters.
Now, many residents of this city that ranks among the nation’s poorest and most crime-ridden will need to search elsewhere for access to computers or books. The men who play a trash-talking brand of chess in front of the big windows say they’ll take their boards to the one remaining branch, a bus ride away.
Prentiss Truluck, one of the chess players, said that remaining library — modern but remote — will be stressed with more users. “They didn’t consider the overcrowdedness,” he said, predicting long and uneasy waits for the computers there. “There are going to be crimes committed at the library.”
The library made news around the world in August when its directors announced plans to close all three branches. No U.S. city this large, with about 80,000 residents, had lost all its libraries before.
Shifting Sands: Science Researchers on Google Scholar, Web of Science, and PubMed, with Implications for Library Collections Budgets , Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Fall 2010
Authors: Christy Hightower, Christy Caldwell
A study done by two librarians named Christy at UC Santa Cruz in Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship. Interesting implications for content budgets and publishers...
Science researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz were surveyed about their article database use and preferences in order to inform collection budget choices. Web of Science was the single most used database, selected by 41.6%. Statistically there was no difference between PubMed (21.5%) and Google Scholar (18.7%) as the second most popular database. 83% of those surveyed had used Google Scholar and an additional 13% had not used it but would like to try it. Very few databases account for the most use, and subject-specific databases are used less than big multidisciplinary databases (PubMed is the exception). While Google Scholar is favored for its ease of use and speed, those who prefer Web of Science feel more confident about the quality of their results than do those who prefer Google Scholar. When asked to choose between paying for article database access or paying for journal subscriptions, 66% of researchers chose to keep journal subscriptions, while 34% chose to keep article databases.
The Friends of the Rancho Mirage (CA) Public Library will hand almost all of its $2.2 million in assets over to Rancho Mirage and dissolve itself, under the terms of a settlement agreement which will end the city’s lawsuit against the organization. Report from My Desert News.
The city is to get $310,000 from the Friends’ account within a week to cover Library programs, improvements to the Community Room and other items included in the city’s funding request to the Friends from last August. About $1.8 million will be transferred to the Rancho Mirage Public Library Foundation, which the city formed as a replacement library fundraising arm when it filed suit in September.
The settlement ends a dispute which erupted in the fall of 2008, when the Friends board gave approval to buying a $25,000 sponsorship of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, a transaction never made after some board members raised objections.
This led to the city’s discovery that the Friends board had changed its bylaws, without notifying city officials, to eliminate an annual, automatic transfer of funds. The city had overlooked the end of the fund transfers.
The Friends board said most of the money it had in the bank was designated by donors to be in an endowment, set aside to draw interest, and not spent itself.
From Shelf Awareness: California Governor Jerry Brown's proposed budget for fiscal year 2011-2012 eliminates state funding for public libraries, a loss of $30.4 million for the Public Library Fund, Transaction Based Reimbursement and the California Library Literacy & English Acquisition Service.
In a formal response, Paymaneh Maghsoudi, California Library Association president--and director of the Whittier Public Library--contended that Brown's proposal "is both disastrous and disheartening. Since the early 2000s, public libraries have been one of the hardest hit segments of local government, with deep reductions totaling more than 75% made to these programs by the previous two governors combined. We understand fully California's dire budget situation and the challenges of the recessionary economy, but the public libraries have done more than their share to assist with the Budget deficit over the years by absorbing painful cuts. The time has come to stop the bleeding and CLA respectfully asks the members of the legislature to oppose these proposed cuts to our valuable programs."
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s Vice Chairman Charlie Munger gave stock worth nearly $3 million to the nonprofit Huntington Library in southern California.
In better days, the Borders bookstore in Westwood hosted book signings for photographer Annie Leibovitz, actor-turned-producer Henry Winkler and musician Sir Paul McCartney. But now, the countdown to its closing is on. Friday is the last day. Story from L.A. Times Books.
In related news, two top Borders executives resigned today; story from Galley Cat.