LISTen The LISNews Podcast
Submitted by StephenK on July 1, 2009 - 11:10pm
Due to circumstances beyond the control of the Nevada production team, Tech for Techies #16 is delayed until further notice. Efforts are underway to ensure a release on Friday, though.
Submitted by StephenK on June 26, 2009 - 11:07pm
"Hell is paved with good intentions" – Attributed to Cicero
To say that this has been a wild week would be quite the understatement. Ohio libraries are presently locked in a struggle to survive. Weeks like this are things that work against the weekly format of LISTen. For now there have been uploads of pre-release audio to the Internet Archive under a Creative Commons license appropriate to "free cultural works". This is quite unusual for the podcast production team in Nevada to do, mind you. According to what I have seen from the statistics given by the Internet Archive, somebody thought it appropriate to download the audio files made available.
Unintentional Consequences of Legislation
There is perhaps a key to the whole story that is being missed. Sometimes it is necessary to step away from the state or local level and look for any pressures from the federal level. With the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the United States federal government has become increasingly involved in the operation of even the most local of governmental functions. Forgetting to include them in any analysis is fairly dangerous due to money being involved.
A key concept when the federal government gives money to states is called "maintenance of effort". With respect to funding for health grants the Public Health Service defines that term as: "A requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies that a recipient must maintain a specified level of financial effort in the health area for which Federal funds will be provided in order to receive Federal grant funds. This requirement is usually given in terms of a previous base-year dollar amount."
One area where this arises in the full text of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is Section 14005. In that section, the requirement is made upon any state receiving money from that portion of the act that they must not reduce state funding for K-12 education below its 2006 level for fiscal years 2009 through 2011. The same requirement exists for public institutions of higher education except that capital projects as well as research and development could still be cut. Waivers of the maintenance of effort requirement are possible as Nevada sought one relative to higher education funding. Such waivers are not automatically granted and can be opposed like the opposition raised by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid against his own state. Recent reporting indicates that Nevada's waiver application has yet to be decided.
Keeping this in mind, one can look at the Ohio situation again from a different perspective. In an undated letter issued on June 26th, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland noted that cuts to libraries were unavoidable. What is stated indirectly by Governor Strickland in his letter is that while he supports libraries, there are other programs that have a higher priority for funding. For the areas identified by Dr. Strickland as things that must be protected, there happens to be some amount of correlation with funding areas of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that have maintenance of effort conditions attached.
Libraries were left out of the stimulus package in terms of any real funding except for a broadband build-out program in which libraries are just one stakeholder group among many. Cutting libraries entails no penalty under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 when it comes to maintenance of effort requirements. Slashing funding for education or transportation cuts off federal funding and raises the possibility of being cut off from any future offers of federal dollars.
From that perspective, a truly unfortunate choice is presented to legislators. Triaging potential losses is part of any legislator's thinking when it comes to money bills. This situation in Ohio is likely not a one-off situation but something that we may see develop in other states.
The cruelest part of this for Ohio libraries is that the bursting of the housing bubble cut revenues from property tax levies and this bailout rooted in that bubble's bursting is forcing reductions in other revenue streams.
by Stephen Michael Kellat
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License
Submitted by StephenK on June 23, 2009 - 7:18pm
I've already seen questions being posed as to whether or not anything in-depth was being done to cover the cuts case in Ohio. Yesterday I was fairly busy recording back-to-back interviews in the matter. We had opportunities to talk to Ohio Library Council's Director of Government and Legal Services Lynda Murray as well as Columbus Metropolitan Library Executive Director Patrick Losinski.
Since it is a long time between now and the next episode of LISTen, I went ahead and posted an edited-down version of the two interviews with linking narration to Public Radio Exchange last night. Public Radio Exchange serves as the middleman between producers like the LISNews Netcast Network and NPR affiliates such as Ohio stations WKSU, WCPN, WOSU, WOUB, and others. The piece can be found here: http://www.prx.org/pieces/37502-ohio-libraries-at-risk
While normally such pieces have a cost attached to them for stations to pick them up, this one is being made available to stations for free instead. All that has to be done is that a station needs to log in, "buy" the free piece, and then slot it into their air schedule. For librarians curious about how to kickstart such, the best person to call at your local NPR affiliate is either the program director or the news director. Locating contact details can begin with NPR's station finder.
Tentatively the next episode of LISTen is going to have expanded coverage of the cuts case in Ohio. There are rallies planned for Wednesday and I am trying to get somebody on the scene to report. I still have an interview request out with a state legislator that I am waiting for a response on. Anybody reading this wanting to check in from a rally can make arrangements tonight with the production team by e-mailing the production team in Las Vegas.
Submitted by Great Western Dragon on June 8, 2009 - 11:46am
On one of my previous shows, I talked about Ignite Phoenix and the whole Ignite thing. Among other things, I said it'd be good for librarians to get into something like this because, in five minutes, you can tell a huge group of people all about your library and/or whatever else you're passionate about.
Dani Cutler, a local Phoenix area podcaster, is working on a series of interviews with people who've presented at Ignite Phoenix. She and I sat down at one of the greatest coffee shops in the Valley of the Sun and talked about libraries and the funny things that happen in them, history, Hyperlinked History, and presenting at Ignite.
So if you have the interest, you can hear my alter ego speak with the lovely and intelligent Dani Cutler over on the Ignite Phoenix Podcast site.
Submitted by StephenK on May 29, 2009 - 1:54pm
The LISNews Netcast Network schedule for this summer:
Submitted by Great Western Dragon on May 21, 2009 - 12:00pm
As they've said in broadcasting for years, "Due to circumstances beyond our control," Hyperlinked History will be delayed until next Thursday. Nothing bad, but among those "circumstances" is the fact that my ISP is having issues and I've not had Internet connectivity at my house for just under 14 hours now.
So I leave you with another timeless (aka ancient) broadcasting phrase: "Tune in next week" to find out how ancient tombs for divine kings links through time and history to another cultish fascination... with a soft drink.