People N Patrons

Real Life Superhero supports libraries

Captain Black appears to be from Savannah, Georgia. He's expressing strong appreciation of and sympathy for library staff as we deal with the vagaries of public service. Urban libraries by default, have become de facto social service providers; counseling centers; shelters and regrettably, crime scenes.

Staff find themselves adding “security officer”; “guidance counselor” and sadly, “victim” to their job descriptions.

Pick Up a Book or DVD With Those Groceries

Republican-American LITCHFIELD — Residents of Bantam CT no longer have to visit Oliver Wolcott Library to grab a book, an audio book, or a DVD. Now they can do it at Bantam's Big Value Supermarket.

The library, using two grants totaling $36,500, has installed a vending machine anyone with a library card can use to check out materials. Known as the OWL Box, it's the first machine of its kind in the state, according to Oliver Wolcott Library's director, Anne Marie White. See comment below for information about the Brodart vending machine.

"We wanted to reach out to the people in Bantam and others in that area who can't always get to the center of town," White said. "Providing greater access to our materials is a goal, and we thought Big Value would be an ideal place to do it." From the library in Litchfield to the store in Bantam is about 3.5 miles.

Bookseller Carla Cohen of DC's Poliltics & Prose Has Died

Report of the death of bookselling legend Carla Cohen from the Washington Post and a full obituary here.

View some amazing photos of her long years at the iconic bookshop on Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington's most prominent indie here.

Why Facebook's success is bad for us.

You probably see people using Facebook at your library and wonder why they aren't out looking for jobs. The answer is, unfortunately, that Facebook is their job.

Facebook's success is a symptom of the poor world economy. When people have no money to spend on actual products, they find other ways to spend their time.

And Facebook is current destination for time-wasting. Everyone laughed when Betty White hosted SNL and said that Facebook was a huge waste of time, but nobody made that connection to the economy and said, "Hey, Facebook is really popular because people are out of work." Everyone just laughed at Betty's funny. And no one even wondered at how bad the economy must be that an 88-year-old woman still needs to work to pay for food.

And our free time is what makes Facebook worth any money at all. The company produces nothing. We see ads and that is what generates the most revenue. But the users produce 99.9% the content.

As long as Facebook succeeds, the recession will continue. So long as we are wasting time on it, we are not being paid to work. We give our labors away for free. To make Facebook rich.

I think someone should demand a salary for all this time spent making Facebook look good.

I don't know how many employees Facebook has on its books, officially, but there are 500 million names that need entering. And paid at least $8.50 an hour. And given health insurance. And dental. -- Read More

When 103-Year Old Dies, Her Reading Circle Mourns

When Elizabeth Goodyear died late last month, at 103, a handful of friends, all more than two generations younger, sat vigil. They toasted her over dark chocolate, the elixir Ms. Goodyear had savored daily since she was 3 years old, and Champagne, a more recent favorite.

Two years ago, a front-page article in The New York Times featured Ms. Goodyear, a lifelong lover of books, and the small group of people who would stop by her apartment, in Murray Hill, to read to her after she lost her sight. Those readers became a family to Ms. Goodyear, who had outlived her relatives and loved ones.

It all began about seven years ago, after Alison West, a yoga instructor who lives in Ms. Goodyear’s building, posted a sign seeking readers in yoga studios downtown and sent an e-mail that was forwarded again and again.

“Liz has no family at all, and all her old friends have died, but she remains eternally positive and cheerful and loves to have people come by to read to her or talk about life, politics, travel — or anything else,” the message read. “She also loves good chocolate!”

Young women in their 20s, many of them Ms. West’s students, started to visit. Read more in the NYTimes blogs.

On Wisconsin!! Six Out of Ten Wisconsonites Are Library Card Holders

Many people can't afford to spend money on luxury items these days. They're forced to spend their cash on food and rent instead of books, DVDs, and magazines.

And that's why many Wisconsin residents (dare I say cheeseheads?) are turning to their local library for entertainment.

If you never visit your local library, it's time to jump on the bandwagon and catch up with your neighbors. That's because 6 out of every 10 Wisconsin residents are now registered library users. According to the Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin has one of the best-organized library systems in the country. And most people are taking advantage of it.

Many are forgoing expensive bookstores, and instead are hitting up libraries for free access to their favorite stories.

Marathon City's old library was so popular, they had to move to a brand new building to keep up with customer demand.

"The old building we had was very small in footage," says branch supervisor Lavone Runge. "It was not customer friendly. We couldn't increase our materials because we just didn't have the shelving space."

Zappa -- "If You Want to Learn, Go To a Library"

from the Baltimore Sun: Live near Baltimore and looking for something to do on Sunday? Get thee to the library...

Two years after Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, donated a $50,000 bust of Baltimore-born rocker Frank Zappa, the art will be installed Sunday at the Southeast Anchor Library during a daylong celebration. The audience, which organizers expect to number in the thousands, will include Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Zappa's widow, Gail, and one of his sons, Dweezil, who'll be performing with his tribute band, Zappa Plays Zappa. Rawlings-Blake will designate Sunday as Zappa Day, Gail Zappa will host a Q&A and the Creative Alliance at the Patterson will throw an afterparty.

When asked where the bust should be placed, Gail Zappa said she picked a library because her husband was a self-taught man who loved libraries.

"He always said, 'If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want to learn, go to a library,'" she said.

Birmingham PL's Library Assistant III Sues the System

A library employee claims in a federal lawsuit that Birmingham's downtown public library is a sexually hostile place to work, with some patrons openly viewing pornography on computers, groping her and performing lewd acts in front of staff or other patrons, including children.

Barbara Ann Wilson claims in the lawsuit against the Library Foundation and the city of Birmingham that the library has not done enough to protect her from a hostile work environment.

"It is increasingly difficult for the Plaintiff to come to the work place on a daily basis to be confronted with the obscene and sexual misconduct that is ongoing at the downtown branch of the Birmingham Public Library," according to the lawsuit filed by Wilson, a library assistant III.

The lawsuit claims the library has violated her civil rights by creating or allowing a "sexually charged hostile work environment" by not providing adequate security. The lawsuit, which said Wilson has suffered severe emotional distress and mental anguish, seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

Lawsuit story from The Birmingham News; updates, including a meeting of the library board here.

Additional video coverage via CBS.

LA's Librarians Demand Noise

Jodi Lampert who writes for the Huffington Post is seriously pissed that the LA Library is closing on Mondays. And here's her blog to prove it:

"For something to reach out and grab me, it has to have the effect of Changing My Life, and right away. Just say:

The Public Library is closing on Mondays.

Let's begin by introducing you to my first boyfriend. We began our courtship when I was three. His name was 'Rockville Centre Public Library'. "Three," you might say? How could a child really read at three? I'd learned to read at my grandmother's proverbial knee, backwards.

I used to ride my bike to the library in Long Island, NY, every Thursday. It was safe. I would check out the maximum. Six. I would put them into my bike basket, ride home, and then line them up in my drawer, BACKWARDS. This was the exact opposite order in which I wanted to read them. There was no deviation. Years of therapy clearly awaited me, but it was a beautiful love affair."

Read more at at Huffington Post.

Too Many Books at Home? Here's the Solution for One MN Couple

Louis and Sue Ainsworth bought the house next door to tear it down and expand their own. Instead, they kept both houses, joined the two structures and turned an entire house into a library.

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