Money Issues

Library Faces Cutbacks From State Office

Susan Benning writes: "An article in 11/05/02 Greensboro News-Record section Rockingham County states that NC is threatening to cut all state aid to the county libraries because the county cut funding to the county libraries in a disproportionate share than other departments. The libraries’ $1.9 million budget was cut $61,500 for fiscal year 2002-2003. The NC Department of Cultural Resources Code governs library funding and has a Maintenance of Effort clause that says the state can cut all of funding to a library if the county makes budget cuts. NC threatens to cut $136,945 from the library state aid.

Article entitled “County’s Library Faces Cutbacks From State Office” by Michelle Cater"

Gates: My Plan Isn\'t Working, But I\'m Still Rich

Bill Gates said in a New York Times article that there has been very little progress in his plan to improve poor areas of the United States by donating computers and Microsoft software licenses.

\"I thought digital technology would eventually reverse urbanization, and so far that hasn\'t happened,\" Mr. Gates said, munching on a cheeseburger and fries at the Top Notch Cafe in Colfax, population 2,880. Among the bib overall set at lunch, he was largely unrecognized.

The article says that \"there is scant evidence ... that the wiring of rural America has done anything\", and suggests that Gates computers are being used to find far-away jobs that cause a brain drain in rural America. Bill\'s final word in the article about the library project, which he \"seems ready to check ... off his to-do list\" soon, is this admission: \"I\'d be happy if I could think that the role of the library was sustained and even enhanced in the age of the computer.\" Oh well, he\'s still worth $35 billion; maybe his next project will do some good.

Stevens Co (WA) Library District Under the Gun

Ron Force writes:

The Seattle Times has a story on the Stevens Co (Wa) Library District dissolution vote. \"In states across America, groups have gone after schools, car tabs, income taxes and energy rates. Now a tax revolt is targeting an entire library system.\" Proponents complain that tax dollars are being spent by an appointed, rather than an elected board. Parents in the impoverished county claim that \"...having access to literature is important for children. If they\'re reading they\'re not getting into any trouble.\"

Director\'s Fat Bonus Comes at Expense of Patrons, Staff. Should He Refuse it?

There are some folks who are highly outraged over the fact that the board of the Akron Summit County Library system in Ohio has felt justified in cutting services and materials and also freezing pay raises for staff in order to give the director a 6 figure bonus and a hefty retirement package. They voted on the measure in order to keep the director from leaving the system. Should he refuse it? Read More.

Internet sweepstakes winner donates library to Brentwood

Joe writes: \"How\'s This For A Great Patron? Pensacola, FL, resident Linda Enfinger won the opportunity through Coca-Cola to donate one of 10 new libraries to the elementary school of her choice - Brentwood Elementary Magnet School of Communications and Technology.
Have a coke and a book!\"

New \"Uncle Frank the Librarian\" column at New Pages

In an article entitled, \"Who Needs Librarians? Let\'s get Some Trained Monkeys!\" the inimitable Uncle Frank holds forth on Orange County, FL\'s replacement of librarians with clerical staff. He has a great rant going here, but I\'m betting he\'ll get some unhappy letters from support staffers.

At the root of this crummy business lies the traditional under valuation of “women’s work.” Professions that have been dominated in numbers by female practitioners—teaching, librarianship, nursing—have always been grossly underpaid in relation to the education required to master them, and the skill and judgment their members have been expected to exercise.

Through history, women have come cheap (through no fault of their own), and the libraries of the world have not hesitated to take advantage of the fact. If they can take advantage by paying highly-educated practitioners humble wages, all to the good of the institutional economy; if they can persuade their clientele that they don’t really need these well-trained practitioners, that a clerk with a high school diploma and a year’s experience can do “just as well,” then why keep those “expensive” librarians on the job? Dump ‘em, and fill their places with even-worse-paid clerks expected to function at levels of responsibility far beyond their training and education.

See an archive of Uncle Frank\'s previous articles here. On a personal note, \"Uncle Frank\" is really Grant Burns, an academic librarian in Flint, Michigan. I just finished reading his 1998 book Librarians in Fiction, and I highly recommend it as a spur to new reading.

Public library funding

Ender passed along This National Center for Education Statistics Page that answers the old question, From what sources are public libraries funded?.
Most income was from state sources (84.6 percent), followed by federal sources (13.7 percent) and other sources (1.8 percent). State library agency income from state sources totaled $872.9 million, with over two-thirds ($592.4 million) designated for state aid to libraries (table 18). In 10 states, over 75 percent of the state library agency income from state sources was designated for state aid to libraries, with Massachusetts having the largest percentage (96.8 percent). Six states (Hawaii, Idaho, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming) and the District of Columbia targeted no state funds for aid to libraries.
Note: Page includes links to a google of other interesting numbers as well.

Council Considers Replacing Tacoma Libraries with Mail-order Model

A Tacmoa, WA councilman wants to eliminate libraries, or rather, make one, all-serving library, which means the result would be the same; no libraries. To him, libraries are relics. Dinosaurs. Totally irrelevant. \"To Councilman Phelps, the growth of the Internet and the home computer means libraries needn\'t be places, but systems. Fewer libraries could manage data and deliver books via the mail. Poor people who want to visit could be given bus passes. He envisions just one library - a fancy new model downtown that might even attract tourists.\" Read More.

Saskatoon librarians serve strike notice

From The Saskatoon StarPhoenix:

Saskatoon public library workers gave 48-hour strike notice Monday and will start job action Wednesday with a noon-hour rally at City Hall.

The move came after members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees rejected the library board\'s offer of four per cent increases for each year in a two-year contract, said union local president Gwen Thomson . . .

The union is demanding a pay equity plan to eliminate gender-based wage discrimination, Thomson said.

Complete article.

Library Director Should Share the Wealth

The following is a letter to the editor that appeared in the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal. It\'s about the library Board\'s desire to \"keep\" the current director in place, rather than see him go away. They offered him a huge raise (he earns well over six figures) and they guaranteed him a 5% raise each year for the next several years in addition to a $72K retirement bonus. The staff, it appears weren\'t so lucky. They\'ve had their raises slashed, their benefit costs increased and have no retirement or guarantee of an annual raise. The board\'s decision doesn\'t seem to be a real popular one. It\'s all the buzz around the state listservs. Read It.

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