The Salt Lake Tribune reports: For the second consecutive public meeting, Salt Lake City Public Library Director Beth Elder was assailed by employees, who argued her methods are tyrannical, managers are "miserable" and that morale is plummeting.
"That might be the most poisonous thing we’re seeing," 15-year associate librarian Mike Nordenstrom told a rapt Library Board on Thursday in a Main Library conference room that echoed with applause and hoots after each successive speaker.
"Why doesn’t the board investigate reports of intimidation and retaliation?" asked Candy Markle, a library assistant at the Sprague branch. "Given the lack of employee confidence in Ms. Elder, as well as the current public-relations crisis over her decisions, how is the board going to successfully sell the public on a tax increase this year for the new branches? Has she been a successful leader? Has the reputation of the library improved under her supervision?"
Board members sat mostly silent during the onslaught, while Elder fidgeted in her chair. Multiple speakers also rattled off a list of longtime employees who recently retired or resigned from the public resource hub that won the 2006 Library of the Year award. -- Read More
Today's NY Times describes an evening of speed dating at the San Francisco Library.
“The library wants to be a gathering place that is relevant to younger people,” said Donya Drummond, the reference librarian who promoted the San Francisco event, mostly through Facebook. “We had more people than we knew what to do with.”
Literary speed dating seems to have its roots in Europe. Danny Theuwis, a librarian from Leuven, Belgium, believes he and his colleagues introduced the concept in 2005 with the goal to enliven somber libraries, and make them “more alive, more direct, more emotional,” he said in an e-mail. He trained hundreds of librarians across Europe to host literary speed dating, or “bibdating” in Flemish.
Among the first of similar events in the United States took place at the Omaha Public Library Benson Branch, where Amy Mather, a librarian, and her colleague at the time, Manya Shorr, organized a “Hardbound to Heartbound” night in 2009, on Valentine’s Day. Some 65 people showed up.
Story from NPR about the reopening of the Library of Alexandria. It was closed for the last few weeks during the demonstrations, both to protect it from vandalism, and to protest the army's curfew.
And the library's director, Ismail Serageldin says that in all the protests, not a stone was thrown at the library, and not a pane of glass was broken.
"What happened was pure magic," he says. "People from within the demonstrations broke out of the demonstrations and simply linked hands, and they said 'This is our library. Don't touch it.'"
The ancient library has been destroyed several times by vandals and conquerors — most notably by a fire, several centuries ago.
From the website of Jamie Ford, author of The Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
"Where were you on Superbowl Sunday? I was at...the Seattle Central Library. Yes, months ago I agreed to an event on February 6th, not realizing I was going to end up head-to-head with that abstract pseudo-holiday dedicated to taped-knuckles and million-dollar commercials, with its 5-hour pregame show, and the copious consumption of hot-wings and guacamole.
At first I feared it'd be one of those sparsely attended affairs—just me, the janitor, and a few of our closest friends. But to my surprise (and rapt delight) nearly 150 people showed up, not counting the hundreds of others just gettin' their library on, on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
All I can say is, God bless a literate America."
In Spokane, WA a group of civic and literary minded folks are planning a fundraiser to pay off the fines and fees on children's library cards so they can use them again. The local libraries block cards from use if they carry a balance of $10 or more. By paying off these fines, the group raises money for the library and opens up blocked cards so kids can once again borrow books.
Letter from a library patron on the North Shore of Long Island (NY):
LIBRARY NOISE: While I appreciate the input from the librarian regarding this topic, I must voice my opinion on it. I really see no need for the high level of noise in the library. Yes there will be interactions between people in the library, but what I've heard bordered on obnoxious...certainly unnecessary. It seems like every time someone uses the excuse of 'times have changed', it seems like it's always for the worse.
I hate to say it, but the noises that were the loudest were from the library workers themselves, and it had NOTHING to do with library business. C'mon ladies and germs, tone it down please. Maybe times have changed, but there are more than a few old timers that still welcome the peace, solitude and quiet of a library. Don't take this last remaining refuge from us.
And elsewhere, another library in Newport Beach, CA is in the midst of deciding how much noise is too much. From the Daily Pilot.
So what do you think...how much noise is acceptable?
I currently work at a small liberal arts college in the Midwestern USA where librarians are "embedded" in introductory courses and oversee the information literacy curriculum. Last week one of my colleagues informed me about a response from one of her students that I just have to pass along. The student's comment was that she couldn't find anything at the library about the Industrial Revolution , her other topic was .... wait for it .... Martin Luther and the Reformation. As Joe Friday is often quoted as uttering "Just the facts, ma'am"....
Catalog keyword search hits
Ok, I know that out-of-the-box library catalogs aren't as "innovative", user friendly (or forgiving) as Amazon, Google, and the like, but the difference between what the student claimed and what the "facts" illustrate is too wide a chasm to cross.
Comments like this make me think that we should have a library lock-in, perhaps overnight, and not let the student out until they find something. Heck, it might even become a succesful reality show. It wouldn't be as goofy as Silent Library but it might still be a goodie. Afterall, there could be worse fates.
Residents used to walk into the Piscataway Public Library and ask Kate Baker where they could find a particular book.
Now, they’re more likely to ask the 49-year-old librarian how to format a résumé and fill out a job application.
"Almost half my day is devoted to job seekers," said Baker, who has worked at the library for eight years. "We keep getting more and more computers, and they’re always filled."
As the jobless rate has climbed since the onset of the financial crisis three years ago, the role of the public library has changed dramatically. In New Jersey, where nearly one in every 10 people is unemployed, officials say the local library has become Job Search Central for many residents. The upshot for librarians like Baker: Instead of spending her workdays organizing and purchasing books, she has watched her job morph into one that is equal parts job counselor, computer trainer and life coach.