International

Library Cuts Are An International Issue

News from the mother country, the UK: Writers Philip Pullman, Kate Mosse and Will Self have criticised government cuts that could see up to a quarter of librarians lose their jobs over the next year. Widespread library closures are expected as councils cut their services and look to volunteers in an attempt to balance budgets hit by the coalition's spending review.

Mosse said "frontline support for literacy" was being cut, while Pullman declared that the librarian "is not simply a checkout clerk", and Self condemned the "crude calculus of cost-benefit analysis" involved.

North Yorkshire is considering reducing its 42 libraries to 18 over four years, while Leeds is proposing to axe 20 smaller libraries. Cornwall, Brent, Lewisham, Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond, Barnsley and Warrington are also planning closures. In Buckinghamshire, 14 libraries could become volunteer-run; in Gloucestershire, 12 will be closed if volunteers do not step forward. Camden, Westminster, Oldham, Southampton and Cambridgeshire are among the councils whose plans include greater use of volunteer staff.

Guardian UK reports.

A Prize-Winning New Library

Portsmouth's UK university library has won a top award for being the best-designed new building.
The eco-friendly building, in Cambridge Road, beat stiff competition to win the first Solent Design Awards.

The inaugural awards scheme tracked down buildings or spaces which have been well-designed and also add value to the community.

One of the city's most eye-catching buildings, Admiralty Quarter, in Queen Street, Portsea, was highly-commended at the award ceremony in Winchester.

University staff received their accolade from famous designer Wayne Hemingway

Katie Price is BIG in Certain Parts...of Britain

Katie Price dresses up as a 'sexy librarian' at a book launch at Selfridge's in London (video & pics).

At the launch for her 547th autobiography (really?) the glamour model really toned things down, opting for a sort of sexy librarian look (sorry if we’ve offended any real librarians out there with this comparison) with a demure blouse, pinstripe pencil skirt, large belt and a funny little fascinator thing on her head. She even wore natural looking make up. And the finishing touch to convince us that she’s proper smart and everything, and that she totally wrote the book all by herself.... she donned a pair thick rimmed glasses. How very faux intellectual.

The poor woman is having a hard time having her fourth baby and finds she needs to tell all in her book. Fans gloat adoringly.

Is this the UK version of Angelina Jolie?

A Library Designed for the Post-Print Era

From Fast Company Design:

The defining decorative element of a library has always been the books themselves. But now that institutions ranging from the University of Texas at Austin to ultra-traditional Cushing Academy are tossing their stacks in favor of digital collections, the question arises: How do you design a library when print books are no longer its core business?

At the University of Amsterdam, Dutch designers Studio Roelof Mulder and Bureau Ira Koers converted an existing 27,000-square-foot library into a massive study hall -- without any visible books -- to accommodate the 1,500 to 2,000 students who visit daily.

It’s a clever way to adapt to the post-print era. Libraries are expensive to operate. As books increasingly go digital, it makes sense for libraries to either downsize or, in the case of the University of Amsterdam, shift the focus of operations from books to people.

Check out the link for photos.

Funding Cutbacks & More on Australia's TV Show 'The Librarians'

Any LISNews readers down under? On this season's premiere of Australia's TV show The Librarians there's a gay wedding and of course talk of slashing budgets.

The motley bunch of characters working in Middleton Library — sorry, ‘Interactive Learning Centre’ — will experience some big changes.

Head librarian Frances O’Brien is faced with the threat of funding cutbacks unless she turns the library into a ‘profitable exercise’. Her husband Terry continues denying the existence of middle age by reforming his tragic Midnight Oils cover band, Oils Ain’t Oils.

And librarian Ky Lee, played by Keith Brockett, marries his partner Darren in a wedding ceremony that veers from the hilarious to the disastrous — mirrorballs and Cyndi Lauper tunes make an appearance before it all goes tits up.

Australians, please let us know what you think of the show...

Sierra Leone Deputy Librarian in Corruption Scam

There are so few corrupt librarians, but every so often, you do hear about one...or two. Here's a story from Sierra Leone:

Leaked information connecting the Deputy Chief of Sierra Leone Library said 46,650 books donated to Sierra Leone by Children International was diverted and sold to Guinea.

Investigation by this press exposed Sallieu Turay (in middle of photo above) and people unknown’s sad over-indulgences in the misappropriation of containers of books presented to school going children by ‘Children International’ in the United States. Sources say four containers of books were shipped into Sierra Leone for distributions to 300 schools in Sierra Leone.

The Deputy Chief Librarian, Sallieu Turay, was in charge of the distribution of the books, but unreasonably converted 70% of total number of books to his use or benefit. It could be recalled that Sallieu has a post graduate diploma in library studies and a master’s degree in education and administration. Findings say he was refused pursuing his master’s in library studies because of poor performance after completion of the forenamed diploma.

Two versions of the story from Sierra Express Media, here and here.

Was it the librarian? Was it the education minister?? The plot thickens.

UK Petition to Save the Library

An idea that just might work...the citizens of the London Borough of Barnet in the UK want their library to stay open.

Save our Libraries in the London Borough of Barnet
Published by Roger Tichborne on Sep 25, 2010
Category: Culture
Region: United Kingdom
Target: London Borough of Barnets Conservative Party
Web site: http://barneteye.blogspot.com
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Petition text:

We the Undersigned, are totally opposed to the closure, sell off or downgrading of the Library service in the London Borough of Barnet.

We believe that Libraries are a vital part of the Borough and recognise the importance of having trained Libraries run by trained librarians. We believe that it is vital to have "quiet space" for students to study.

We believe that closure of the service would cause untold damage to the citizens of Barnet and is totally opposed by the vast majority of the population.

Want to start your own petition? Here's how.

If you do nothing else, at least join us on Facebook at "Oprah, Libraries Need You!". Over 1,000 have signed up in the first week alone!! C'mon over for the birdie's sake.

Chinese Author Released After Being Arrested by Authorities

Story from Global Times: A popular political author who was arrested after he published a book that claimed officials in Weinan, Shaanxi Province, embezzled funds intended for residents who were forced to relocate has been released.

Xie Chaoping was accused of "illegal trading" after his book came out.
The procuratorate in Linwei district, Weinan, announced Friday that the arrest was not approved because of insufficient evidence, according to News Cnxianzai, a website operated by the Hubei Changjiang Publishing Group.

The report said Xie and his wife, Li Qiong, returned to Beijing Friday night. Xie was arrested August 19. His book accused the local migrant bureau officials of embezzling funds intended for residents who had to relocate because of the decades-old Sanmenxia reservoir project.

The book, which was ruled an illegal publication by the provincial press and publication bureau, described how the residents were forced to leave their land in Weinan for the reservoir.

Xie paid 50,000 yuan ($7,340) to Flash Magazine to publish the book in May. Some 10,000 copies of the book were inserted into the magazine as a supplement.

The writer was quoted in the report saying that he did not regret writing the book. "I am fighting against some corrupt officials in the capacity as a journalist," he said.

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