A week of events tied to the nationwide celebration on 6 February is drawing support from writers and campaigners, as libraries face closure around the UK
Public libraries are a relatively new phenomenon. Before the 1880s, when Andrew Carnegie started funding the more than 1,600 library buildings that bear his name, most libraries in America were subscription-based, with members funding and shaping the collections. As free public libraries sprouted up across the United States, membership libraries mostly died off, but 19 non-profit membership libraries still exist, and are reinventing themselves as cultural centers and the coolest coworking spaces you could dream of.
Author Jorge Luis Borges once wrote, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Librarian historian Wayne Wiegand’s new book, “Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library,” explores the library’s importance as a civil and social space. We’ll discuss his book and why libraries are still flourishing in the Internet age.
And at the same time, libraries are dealing with rising crime rates, including an uptick in stabbings, shootings, drug use, narcotics sales and even prostitution. On a humid Florida afternoon in 2014, a homeless man crept up behind someone making a copy at the Sarasota County Public Library’s main branch and stabbed him in the back. The victim staggered to the circulation desk, leaving a trail of blood down the stairs. Several months later, at another Sarasota County branch, police caught a homeless couple cooking meth on library grounds. The couple slept in a small homeless encampment behind the library and spent most days inside for shelter.
“The role of public libraries in communities across the state continues to expand as needs increase,” explains Kendall Wiggin, State Librarian, Connecticut State Library. “The dialogue helped focused on how to leverage the assets of our state’s public libraries to build more knowledgeable, healthy and sustainable communities across the state, and how to improve the sustainability of public libraries in Connecticut. The report that is being released today outlines these discussions along with the steps we will be taking moving forward.”
Beware, overdue book borrowers. Wisconsin lawmakers are thinking about sending out the library police.
The state Senate’s Elections and Local Government unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would create exceptions to privacy laws protecting library users’ identities so libraries could report delinquent borrowers to collection agencies and police. The committee vote clears the way for a full vote on the Senate floor.
As Chair of the Board of Trustees and LYRASIS CEO, we are pleased to announce that the LYRASIS and DuraSpace Boards have voted unanimously in favor of an “intent to merge” the two organizations. This begins a public phase of the due diligence process whereby we will be gathering member feedback, discussing governance and defining many of the nuts and bolts that need to be addressed before putting a potential merger to a member vote. If approved, the coming together with DuraSpace would allow LYRASIS to expand certain services while improving existing ones.
The “intent to merge” is a proposed combining of our organizations based on the strengths of each and the synergies between our missions and communities of service. Coming together would allow us to strengthen the Community Supported Software (CSS) offerings of both organizations and expand and leverage our current digital asset management solutions for members and the wider library, archives and museum communities. In addition to the digital technology benefits, our licensing and partnership team would be able to leverage the strengths of the DuraSpace community.
As of December 4, 2015, nearly 40 liberal arts college libraries—most of them members of the Oberlin Group, and Allegheny College and Ursinus College participating from outside Oberlin’s membership—have committed to contribute more than $1 million to the work of Lever Press over the next five years. Librarians and faculty members at these institutions will also comprise the press’s Oversight Committee and Editorial Board. Supported by these pledges, Lever Press aims to acquire, develop, produce and disseminate a total of 60 new open-access titles by the end of 2020.
From News – Lever Press
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