Library Says No to Contoversial Program: Must Remain "Neutral"

Here's an editorial from CounterPunch from author Dave Lindorff who tried to arrange for a book signing and discussion at his local library. He received an answer from a librarian who initially declined his offer, saying "we are concerned that a discussion of topics that people feel so passionately about could quickly become inflammatory." The librarian also said that the library needed to remain "neutral." But she did ask for references or contacts for previous libraries where he might have done similar programs, leaving the door open for a program. Lindorff comments

Still, if a librarian is afraid of controversy in a community like mine, one shudders to imagine how her counterparts are handling controversy in really conservative communities in the South or the Midwest.

The title of Lindorff's book? This Can't Be Happening: Resisting the Disintegration of American Democracy.


September Project Gains Global Momentum sends "updated links to information about The September Project, which according to the website, "is a collection of people, groups, and organizations working to create a day of engagement, a day of conversation, a day of democracy." The project is looking for more libraries to participate in this programming. Find out more about the project, and learn how you and your communities can help shape it. More information here."


Ottawa to Get Drive-Through Library

As reported in the Ottawa Citizen , a drive-thru window is coming to the new Ottawa Public Library in the fall of 2005.

Library management and members of the union are currently in discussions concerning how the service will be manned; management would like a volunteer but the union would like a librarian (but of course!) . The hope is that motorists will be able drop off materials and collect orders they've pre-selected on the Internet.

The article states that the $7.7-million South Central District Library on Lorry Greenberg Drive -- to begin construction in October and to be completed in September 2005 -- has designed into it this Tim Hortonsesque feature (ed: let's hope they also serve those iced coffees).

"It will look just like a McDonald's window," said Baseline Councillor Rick Chiarelli, chairman of the Ottawa Public Library.


Something New to Check Out at the Mall: Library Books

Typically, people go to malls to shop and to socialize. They may meet a friend for a quick lunch and then hunt for a new outfit. But at two malls in the greater Seattle area, they can also pick up a copy of the latest bestseller, do a computer search for a new job, and listen to a Spanish- language CD, all for free.
The freebies aren't some enormous give-away by the malls, but typical library services in a not-so-typical location. Read all about it.


Court Says Providence Athenaeum Can Sell Its Audubon

Fang-Face writes "There is
an article at American Libraries Online that one of the oldest private libraries in the U.S. will be allowed to auction off a rare book. It hopes to raise eight million dollars from the auction. When it first announced its intentions, some of the members and patrons sued, but Judge Michael Silverstein has ruled that such a move was not a violation of the library's mission. His ruling can be found here in .PDF. The Providence Journal covers the story."


Hurricane Charley and the status of FL library communities

Anonymous Patron writes "As a result of Hurricane Charley, many of Florida's library staff and communities are faced with the challenge of putting their lives and facilities back together. We have been in touch with many individuals to offer assistance, and will continue to do so. This message provides information regarding records recovery and the information we have been able to obtain about the status of the library communities in the affected areas..To assist with the challenge of recovering records and library materials, the State Library and Archives of Florida has set up a Web site to provide information about disaster recovery methods. The site can be accessed at"


Fire Forces Library Closure

The Lucedale (MS) Public Library will be closed indefinitely after a fire Sunday afternoon left the computer lab damaged and spread soot and ashes over 75 percent of the building.

The blaze apparently started in the computer lab, where one computer was destroyed and the room had heavy smoke damage. No books or other equipment was burned in the recently renovated library. Read More.


Library in Billings Reopens Amidst Teamsters Strike

The employees of the Parmly Billings Library in Montana are on strike with other city Teamster employees. The Billings Gazette has story about how the library has reopened for the first time in a week with a skeleton staff. Patrons are relieved to have access to the library, while those who choose to not cross the picket line will have fines waived.


El Paso (TX) County Library Set to Close

Situated on the outskirts of a town that was recently ranked last on a list ranking cities' literacy, the Fabens Library in El Paso (TX) is set to close in September due to lack of funds.

County Commissioners voted on August 5th to cut the Fabens County Library out of the budget. This means the library will no longer receive County funding starting September 30th.

Resident Raul Vega is considering moving because, he said, "...we need a library to acquire knowledge. That's the only way of living." A county librarian said she was looking at alternate funding to keep the library open, but had nothing definite at this time. More from


Arson Inquiry After Library Fire

A fire which destroyed the library in Ramsgate (UK) is being treated as arson, Kent Police said on Sunday. Another blaze at the register office just before 1000 BST on Sunday is also being treated as suspicious. Police say it may be linked to the library fire. Thousands of books, several paintings and historic artefacts were lost in the blaze at the Victorian library building which started late on Friday. Read all about it.



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