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As modern-day reference desks go, the one at the DeLand library is still more focused on books than some, and that's OK by Sean Hurley.
He loves books and the people who read them.
Most reference librarians in the Volusia (FL) County library system spend a fair amount of time assisting people on the patron computers that sit near the reference desk, but in DeLand the two departments are on separate floors.
That doesn't mean Hurley, 50, and the other reference librarians don't stay busy at their upstairs desk. On any given day, the desk is a hive of activity with a steady stream of patrons looking for assistance as they navigate the tall shelves of the library's nonfiction and reference sections.
"I love it," Hurley says. "It's the best job I ever had."
Patrons who don't ask for help are likely to get an offer of assistance from Hurley.
"I enjoy helping people," he says. Yes, even the ones who show up at 6 p.m. researching a report due the next morning.
More from News Journal Online.
Scotland’s only library with a waiting list has been given a top award for the impact it has had on the lives of its readers – the inmates at Saughton Prison.
The prison came first in the Libraries Change Lives Awards on Tuesday, after judges heard the purpose-built facility had welcomed more than 12,500 inmates through its doors in its first year.
The extension, which opened in November 2008, has now become the only library in Scotland, public or private, to have attracted a waiting list. Since the new facility opened, staff say the number of books being damaged has also reduced from 80% to zero.
One prisoner commented: "When I first came into jail I found it really hard to read because I wasn’t good at concentrating and I would have to read the same paragraph over and over but after persisting with it and practising all the time, I find reading just as easy as breathing. I have to admit that reading is now a hobby for me. I love it and I would be lost without it as it’s helped me through my sentence."
The library, run by experienced librarian Kate King, aims to address social inclusion issues amongst prisoners and provide education and employment opportunities to ease the transition back to life on the outside.
Anne Shepherd, library director, said libraries have quickly become sources of e-government – governmental services that now deal with business online whereas before there was an office people would visit to do business.
This first started with early voting, Shepherd said, which was the first time the library was particularly impacted by large amounts of people coming for nontraditional library services. Then the economy changed.
“In the past, what we saw was people coming in to read their e-mail, print boarding passes, kind of fun or recreational uses of the computers,” Shepherd said. “And now, starting about three years ago, we saw a big change, where people are coming in desperate. Sometimes in tears. ‘I have to apply, I don’t have a job, I want to apply, I don’t know how to use a computer.’ And at first we were kind of shocked, like how could these agencies have done this to these people, but then we decided we couldn’t do anything about that. Instead, what we’ll do is learn how to help these people.”
PORTSMOUTH NH — Thousands of bookmarks promoting two organizations’ points of view recently created a headache for public libraries on the Seacoast. The two groups were the School Sucks Project and Freedomain Radio.
The School Sucks Project Web site calls for an end of public, government-funded education in the United States, charging that it is ineffective and values obedience over creativity. Freedomain Radio bills itself as a philosophical radio show.
It’s not a new phenomenon at libraries, but Portsmouth Public Library Director Mary Ann List said several in the area were hit recently with a scourge of bookmarks promoting an unspecified political cause between the pages of books. The messages tend to be politically or religiously focused, she said, and libraries typically strive to remain disassociated with that type of propaganda.
The latest dispersal was the largest Cathleen Beaudoin said she has ever seen. The Dover Public Library director said, while she’s found pamphlets and the like within small groups of books in the past, as well as such oddities as a $100 bill, an endorsed paycheck and a strip of bacon, nothing could match the number of stuffed books (over 5,000) that cropped up in May.
Mass. official aims to shame library porn viewers
A city councilor in Massachusetts thinks he's come up with a way to stop people looking at pornography on public library computers — name them and shame them.
Quincy Councilor Daniel Raymondi has asked Mayor Thomas Koch to make public a list of people who have viewed pornography on library computers within the past year. The council unanimously approved a resolution on the idea last week.
It's something Chip Ward saw every year when he was assistant director of Salt Lake City's public library system. Ward was trained to organize information, to file papers and data. But his job, he says, was as much about knowing regulars as it was shelving books. He wrote an arresting piece on the subject entitled How the Public Library Became the Heartbreak Hotel. Emilio Estevez is now reportedly producing a movie based on its themes; the working title is "The Public" and it will be based in L.A.
There was Crash, a happy drunk with a deep scar that cleaved his face from forehead to chin. There were Mick and Bob who suffered seizures. Margi had dementia. John, open wounds he wouldn't treat. For each, the library was as much a home as anywhere else.
Ward worked at Salt Lake City's central branch, an architecturally arresting five-story structure that opened in 2003. A wedge-shaped, glass-fronted wonder that features cafes, an art gallery and one of the world's largest collections of graphic novels, the branch is also the Utah capital's de facto daytime shelter for the homeless and a default hangout for street kids and misfits.
Ward spent five years at the branch. After he retired, he wrote an essay about his work. Published online, the piece became a minor sensation. It was e-mailed from library to library before breaking into the mainstream. -- Read More
Details about the death of School of Continuing Studies student Brian Tsay remained murky Monday, the day after a library staffer discovered the 25-year-old's body in a University Library bathroom according to a report in the Daily Northwestern.
The Northfield, Ill. native’s cause of death was unclear and pending toxicology results after an examination by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office Monday morning. A spokesman at the office said no determination would be made on the student’s death until test results are released; those reports usually take six to eight weeks, according to another spokeswoman. Both declined to be named.
Spokesmen from the Evanston Police Department, which investigates deaths on NU’s campus, were unavailable Monday, Memorial Day.
The library, 1970 Campus Drive, was closed Sunday and reopened Monday at 8:30 a.m.
May 18, 2010 Hood River OR County voted not to support the formation of a new Library District. Measure 14-37 was defeated: 46 % voted yes and 54% voted no. As a result, there is no funding to continue library operations and Hood River County Library closes its doors to the public on July 1, 2010.
Branches at Cascade Locks and Parkdale were established in 1912, the same year that the Women’s Club received the Carnegie grant to build the Hood River building. This Library system has been in continuous operation for 98 years.
About 50 librarians and book supporters gathered on all four corners of a busy Hollywood intersection last Friday evening during rush hour, earning honks in support of saving L.A.'s dwindling library system. This year, it has already faced major cuts--for one, libraries are no longer open seven days a week--and now faces even heavier ones in Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's proposed budget, which will take affect July 1st when libraries could go from six to five days of open doors.
"[The proposed budget] is completely backwards--it has funding towards upper escheleon positions and layoffs in the hundreds in all the lower positions," explained Shannon Salmon, a librarian who runs the SaveTheLibrary advocacy website. "It's just a mess."