Libraries

Mayor's Office proposes letting police check out library patron information

The Omaha Mayor’s Office would like law enforcement officials to be able to access personal information from Omahans’ library cards in emergencies, setting off a debate over patrons’ privacy.

Mayor Jean Stothert’s chief of staff, Marty Bilek, appeared before the Omaha Public Library’s board Thursday to ask for a change in the library’s policy.

The request stemmed from an incident in which Metropolitan Community College police spent hours trying to identify a belli­gerent, drunk man at the South Omaha Library.

He refused to give his name, and the only form of identification he had was a library card. But under current policy, library staff couldn’t tell officers his name.

http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/mayor-s-office-proposes-letting-police-check-out-library-pat...

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5 reasons you should have a library card

In his Search/Research blog, Google's research scientist Daniel Russell has this to say about using all the research tools at your disposal, the most important of which just may be the humble library card.

"One of the more powerful research tools you can have is a library card.

I’ve written about why libraries are great before, but this is worth repeating: A library card is instant access to a world of resources. Both offline AND online.

That might surprise you, but here are 5 reasons why you want a library card to be a great researcher."

Library Cloud Formations of the PAST and the FUTURE

From The Atlantic.

THE PAST

THE FUTURE

Books are still there. What do you think?

When robots join the library

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More Librarians Required in NYC Middle and High Schools

The New York City Department of Education must stop violating rules on the minimum number of librarians required at city high schools, state education Commissioner John B. King Jr. has decided.

The United Federation of Teachers had appealed to the commissioner several times in recent years to force the city to comply with regulations spelling out how many librarians are necessary, depending on enrollment. City school officials argued last year that fewer were needed because of advancements in technology and the ability of small schools to share them.

In a decision signed Sept. 15, Mr. King said the union didn't have standing to argue on behalf of students deprived of librarians' help, but the city must comply with the staffing minimums.

A spokeswoman for the city education department said it would work on a plan to address the issue, noting that school libraries have "tremendous value." Article from The Wall Street Journal.

It's Banned Books Week!

Tell us what your library is doing to celebrate.

How to Make Libraries More Exciting

THE central branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia is an impressive building—its neoclassical facade looming over most of a block. But inside, though chandeliers still hang from the ceilings and the floors are of polished marble, there is a feeling of neglect. A musty taste hangs in the air; many of the books are rather battered. “The building opened in 1927 and we’ve really not touched it since then,” says Siobhan Reardon, the library’s president and director. “And you can tell.”

That, happily, is now changing. On September 11th Philadelphia announced it had secured a $25m grant from the William Penn foundation to update its old libraries. Yet libraries in general are struggling. Americans tell pollsters they love them, but fewer use them. In June the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, published data showing that library visitor numbers have declined in recent years. Polling published on September 10th by the Pew Research Center, a think tank, revealed that more people say they are going to the library less than going more, with a sharp gap among the young.

More from The Economist.

Book bike

More information here.

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Something is Rotten at the Queens (NYC) Library

From From the New York Times: As federal and city officials continue their investigation into spending at the Queens Public Library, the library’s board of trustees has placed its embattled leader, Thomas W. Galante, on paid administrative leave.

At a special meeting on Thursday, the board, besides voting to place Mr. Galante on leave, also moved to give Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller, full access to the library’s financial records, including its entire $127 million annual budget.

Mr. Stringer has been pressing to allow his auditors to review not just the 85 percent of the library’s budget that comes from city coffers, but also the balance of the money that is provided by federal grants and private donations.

“There was no excuse for the library’s earlier decision not to cooperate with the audit,” Melinda R. Katz, the Queens borough president who has been pushing for months to overhaul the library’s operations, said in a statement issued on Friday.

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