Library named after John Steinbeck to close

UPI Is Reporting Salinas, Calif., officials say the downtown Steinbeck Library, the El Gabilan branch and the Cesar Chavez branch are to be closed by next July.Unless there is a windfall from John Steinbeck or library supporters, the Salinas city government will close the libraries before July 1, 2005.


Stellar libraries in Midwest, disgraces in miserly South

David Rothman writes "OK. You already know about the '04 edition of Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings (HAPLR). But which are the winners and sinners among the states? Turns out that Midwestern libraries shine as a group if you go by the averages, while Southern libraries are horror stories. The best library state is Ohio; the worst, Mississippi. More at TeleRead."


British Library gets wireless net

News From The Beeb on the British Library. Visitors to the British Library will be able to get wireless internet access alongside the extensive information available in its famous reading rooms.
Broadband wireless connectivity will be made available in the eleven reading rooms, the auditorium, café, restaurant, and outdoor Piazza area.

ALB1876: American Libraries before 1876

Anonymous Patron writes "Researchers at Princeton University have created a database of 10,000 libraries of all sorts in existence in the United States before the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
Here's a
Press Release on the project. You can find the ALB1876 Databases Here."


Who needs libraries?

Anonymous Patron writes "Who needs libraries?As more and more information is available on-line, as Amazon rolls out new software that allows anyone to find any passage in any book, an important question becomes: Who needs libraries anymore? Why does anyone need four walls filled with paper between covers? Surprisingly, they still do and in this program Producer Richard Paul explores why; looking at how university libraries, school libraries and public libraries have adapted to the new information world. This program airs as part of our ongoing series on education and technology, and is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education."


Needed: An Independent Gates Library Foundation

David Rothman writes "Suppose Andrew Carnegie had promised to give away steel, not libraries. Metaphorically that's the position that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is in.

Microsoft earns its money off knowledge-related products ranging from software to books and photographs--in many cases, the very stuff that public libraries ought to make available for free. Given libraries' inevitable clashes with Microsoft's corporate goals, isn't it time for Bill Gates to spin off an independent foundation created especially with libraries and schools in mind? Mightn't he continue his present library efforts but experiment with allowing some self-created competition? Just consider the library-related possibilities in areas such as a universal e-book format and open source, which could lead to thriftier, more effective libraries and maybe even technology beneficial to Microsoft in the long run.

Such questions come to mind in the wake of a pie chart in the Nov. 11 edition of the Chronicles of Philanthropy. It shows that the Gates library initiative has received just 3.3 percent of some $7.2 billion that Bill and Melinda Gates have given away since 1994. Why are libraries such a low priority in the Gates cosmos despite all the comparisons of the software mogul with Carnegie? Just why are libraries getting just a few crumbs, relatively, from the Gates Foundation's $27 billion endowment? More at TeleRead."


Ex-Carnegie Library Now a Comfortable Home

The outside of Sally and Ron Miller's red brick home says "Free To All" at its front it did when it was the Carnegie Public Library Fifth Street Branch in Superior, Minnesota.

Bought at auction at the very affordable price of $17,000, the Millers (a retired barber and nurse) moved from an apartment to the former library building about a dozen years ago and began to fix it up, sparing the library the fate of being divided up into apartments. The library's large, five-sided oak and marble lending desk is still there. It's no longer in the center of the 27-by-54-foot space but at one end. It's staffed by a mannequin librarian, just one example of the couple's whimsical touches.

Details of their renovation and the library-ish layout and decor in this story from Duluth News Tribune .


Cutting library and fire services was your idea first

An Anonymous Patron sent along This One From Tacoma, WA that looks at some interesting survey results, and reactions to a previous story:
"Jeffrey T. Davis wrote an e-mail saying his family visits its local library more than once a week and noted abysmal morale among librarians shuttled between different branch libraries operating on limited funding.

The solution, Davis wrote, lies in giving libraries more money to keep branches open. “People cannot use libraries and their services unless they have physical access to those libraries,� he said.

“While I think our (library) system facilities could probably be cut if it had to be,� reader M.A. Coty wrote, “I wonder if three ‘big box’ libraries is enough for our population.�


Embassy of Finland highlights The Iron Range Research Center

The Embassy of Finland's website recently highlighted the Iron Range Research Center. Located in Chisholm, Minn., about 80 miles north of Duluth, the library and archives specializes in the history of the Iron Range and of the people who settled in the area from all over. The Embassy's article focuses on the genealogical services provided by the library both to Americans seaching for their Finnish roots and to Finns who want to know what became of relatives who came here.


The Problem With New Library Buildings Is...

It seems as if getting from here (planning for a new library) to there (moving in and celebrating the opening) is getting to be a bit more of a distance these days.

For the Mount Olive (NJ)Township Library, and for other libraries around the country, library boards and staffs are having to deal with contractors that either do not deliver what they've promised, do not deliver it on time, or fail to anticipate problems along the way.

In this story from the NJ Recorder , the contractor Blackstone Construction LLC of Newark, low bidder on the 4 million dollar project, was at fault in several areas: cracking of an exterior wall, problems with foundation footings and poor installation of sprinkler systems. Library Director Rita Hilbert said they had no choice but to hire the firm, as they were the lowest bidder and they were not on the state's disqualified list.

The building was originally due to open last June (photos of groundbreaking), but now because of reconstruction, will be opening after the first of the year.



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