Money Issues

Money Issues

Innovation Is Doing Little for Incomes

Interesting piece in the NYT by Tyler Cowen (professor of economics at George Mason University)

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Rancho Mirage Friends and Foundation Settle Major Financial Dispute

The Friends of the Rancho Mirage (CA) Public Library will hand almost all of its $2.2 million in assets over to Rancho Mirage and dissolve itself, under the terms of a settlement agreement which will end the city’s lawsuit against the organization. Report from My Desert News.

The city is to get $310,000 from the Friends’ account within a week to cover Library programs, improvements to the Community Room and other items included in the city’s funding request to the Friends from last August. About $1.8 million will be transferred to the Rancho Mirage Public Library Foundation, which the city formed as a replacement library fundraising arm when it filed suit in September.

The settlement ends a dispute which erupted in the fall of 2008, when the Friends board gave approval to buying a $25,000 sponsorship of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, a transaction never made after some board members raised objections.

This led to the city’s discovery that the Friends board had changed its bylaws, without notifying city officials, to eliminate an annual, automatic transfer of funds. The city had overlooked the end of the fund transfers.

The Friends board said most of the money it had in the bank was designated by donors to be in an endowment, set aside to draw interest, and not spent itself.

CLA's Response to Governor Defunding Libraries


From Shelf Awareness: California Governor Jerry Brown's proposed budget for fiscal year 2011-2012 eliminates state funding for public libraries, a loss of $30.4 million for the Public Library Fund, Transaction Based Reimbursement and the California Library Literacy & English Acquisition Service.

In a formal response, Paymaneh Maghsoudi, California Library Association president--and director of the Whittier Public Library--contended that Brown's proposal "is both disastrous and disheartening. Since the early 2000s, public libraries have been one of the hardest hit segments of local government, with deep reductions totaling more than 75% made to these programs by the previous two governors combined. We understand fully California's dire budget situation and the challenges of the recessionary economy, but the public libraries have done more than their share to assist with the Budget deficit over the years by absorbing painful cuts. The time has come to stop the bleeding and CLA respectfully asks the members of the legislature to oppose these proposed cuts to our valuable programs."

Berkshire vice chair gives $3M of stock to library

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s Vice Chairman Charlie Munger gave stock worth nearly $3 million to the nonprofit Huntington Library in southern California.

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Borders on the Brink of Bankruptcy

In better days, the Borders bookstore in Westwood  hosted book signings for photographer Annie Leibovitz, actor-turned-producer Henry Winkler and musician Sir Paul McCartney. But now, the countdown to its closing is on. Friday is the last day. Story from L.A. Times Books.

In related news, two top Borders executives resigned today; story from Galley Cat.

Florida Prison Library Awarded Grant

GAINESVILLE, FL: The Alachua County Public Library branch operated at the county jail has been selected to receive a Great Stories Club grant from the American Library Association.

As a result of the grant, the county jail will receive free books that are geared toward the young adult inmate population. Major funding for the Great Stories Club has been provided by Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network.

The jail library, an actual branch of the Alachua County Library District, has more than 5,000 books and is very popular among the inmate population.

Earlier this month, two juvenile inmates who had conducted their research at the jail library, were recognized by the Gainesville Chapter of the Links Incorporated, for essays they had submitted for a community-wide essay contest.

Oprah, show us some of that library love too! OPRAH, LIBRARIES NEED YOU!

An Alaskan Collection Now Without a Home

Streaming radio from Public Radio in Sitka, Alaska:

In the three years since Sheldon Jackson College, founded originally as a Tribal College has closed, there’s been much attention directed on the efforts of the trustees to settle the school’s debts while leaving something behind for some future institution. That legacy will not include a library. Earlier this year SJ’s trustees announced that a transaction was underway to sell the Stratton Library to the state for just over $2-million. The building will join the Sheldon Jackson Museum next door and become part of the state museum system. But only the building is going to the state. The future of the collections inside is a longer story.

Local librarians have been working hard to redistribute the most valuable items in the Stratton collection. Earlier this month (December 2010) the public had the unusual opportunity to buy books right off the shelf.

“I don’t want to disrespect the collection, because it’s a phenomenal collection. But it’s a collection without a home.”

Remember 'The Kickass Librarian' Video? She's Lost Her Library

One week ago we posted this funny video, The Kick Ass Librarian. It's worth a second watch.

Particularly now that we've learned from the scriptwriter, Jason Wilkins, that the library where it was filmed, the Reiche Branch of the Portland, ME Public Library is now CLOSED.

The video is very amusing, but the situation of libraries today IS NOT. Want to join our grassroots facebook campaign to get Oprah to help Libraries? Please visit & join our group Oprah, Libraries Need You! and get in on the ground-floor of our postcard campaign. We're inundating Oprah with 5,000 identical postcards calling on her to publicize the drastic situation of our libraries!

Library Board Spends Money It Doesn't Have...oops

Dedham’s MA Library Board of Trustees made an embarrassing confession last week: They never had $40,000 they thought they had to cover the Main Library staying open for 25 Sundays.

The money also was supposed to go toward hiring three library helpers, or pages, and for overtime.

As a result, the Main Library will close Sundays, starting Dec. 19, after being open for eight Sundays this fall. The Main Library already is closed on Saturdays.

“We can’t add or subtract properly; I’m sorry, folks,’’ said board member Mike Chalifoux. “We were looking at money that didn’t exist. It was an error. . . . We thought we had money, and we didn’t.’’

2011 Will Bring Changes in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Live reports that Barbara K. Mistick will step down as president and director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in May, and the system has shelved a plan to close four branches at least through 2011.

"It's an opportunity for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to really think about how they want to serve the city of Pittsburgh and chart a course for being a thriving library system with all of its neighborhood branches open," said Chuck Staresinic, president of the Friends of the Lawrenceville Library.

The library board last year approved a plan to close the Lawrenceville, Beechview, Hazelwood and West End branches, and to relocate the Mt. Washington Library from Grandview Avenue to Virginia Avenue. The problem was declining funding, especially from the state.

After community outrage, the board left the four branches open this year, but their fates were uncertain until the board adopted a balanced 2011 budget of nearly $24 million that kept the branches open another year. Plans to merge the Carrick and Knoxville branches, however, will continue.

Please Raise Taxes To Support LA County Libraries

The Los Angeles Library Commission and County Librarian Margaret Donnellan Todd on Tuesday submitted a report asking the Board of Supervisors to call for a 2011 ballot measure that would raise taxes and drastically increase the number of property owners who pay the tax.

The Board of Supervisors declined to take action on the request and instead chose to file the report for consideration.

Library officials said they did not know how much the tax would be, but said the proposed change would generate between $12 million and $23 million each year over the next decade. Any tax increase would need a two-thirds vote to become law.

The commission wants to extend to the tax to every parcel in neighborhoods served by the library system.

In Duarte, the parcel tax keeps the library open six days a week while libraries outside the assessment area are open only four days per week, according to Pamela Broussard, Los Angeles County Library spokeswoman. Duarte Public Library manager Reed Strege said extra days are important for those who don't have Internet access at home.

"We're kind of like the Internet provider for the city if they don't have it," said library manager Reed Strege. "Our computers for the public are in use all day, every day."

Read more: Los Angeles County Library Commission proposes special tax to close budget deficit - Whittier Daily News http://www.whittierdailynews.com/news/ci_16745189#ixzz16yDFrwv0

Buffalo's Monetary Woes Continue

The conundrum over how to support dozens of arts groups and replenish the libraries for 2011 comes to a head in the Erie County Legislature today with no clear strategy at hand according to the Buffalo News.

Most lawmakers say they would like to restore some or all of the approximately $4 million that County Executive Chris Collins cut from the library system when he proposed a budget for next year.

Most lawmakers also want to provide taxpayer money to some or all of the dozens of theaters and galleries that Collins froze out.

However, none of the four plans hatched by assorted camps of lawmakers has yet drawn a Legislature majority. Those four include the set of revisions proposed Monday by Legislature Chairwoman Barbara Miller-Williams, D-Buffalo.

Miller-Williams said she sought a middle ground that Collins would not veto, “to assure that at the end of the day the library and the cultural organizations actually will see the funding.”

However, the $1 million she would restore for the library system was considered too little by both Republican Minority Leader John J. Mills of Orchard Park and Democratic Majority Leader Maria R. Whyte of Buffalo.

Library Director Bridget Quinn- Carey was not wowed, either.

Library Cuts Are An International Issue

News from the mother country, the UK: Writers Philip Pullman, Kate Mosse and Will Self have criticised government cuts that could see up to a quarter of librarians lose their jobs over the next year. Widespread library closures are expected as councils cut their services and look to volunteers in an attempt to balance budgets hit by the coalition's spending review.

Mosse said "frontline support for literacy" was being cut, while Pullman declared that the librarian "is not simply a checkout clerk", and Self condemned the "crude calculus of cost-benefit analysis" involved.

North Yorkshire is considering reducing its 42 libraries to 18 over four years, while Leeds is proposing to axe 20 smaller libraries. Cornwall, Brent, Lewisham, Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond, Barnsley and Warrington are also planning closures. In Buckinghamshire, 14 libraries could become volunteer-run; in Gloucestershire, 12 will be closed if volunteers do not step forward. Camden, Westminster, Oldham, Southampton and Cambridgeshire are among the councils whose plans include greater use of volunteer staff.

Guardian UK reports.

Budget Watchdogs Warn of Worsening Deficit, Explore Strategies to Cut

Budget Watchdogs Warn of Worsening Deficit, Explore Strategies to Cut
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Washington Cty (OH) Librarian Thanks Voters

They did the right thing.

The Washington County Public Library thanks all who voted for the library system's 1-mill, five-year levy on the Nov. 2 ballot. By voting yes, voters affirmed the importance of their libraries' services to themselves and to their communities.

As a lifelong resident of Washington County, I had faith in the citizens of our county; but I certainly did not take anything for granted during this election since library services were at stake. We recruited some of the county's outstanding citizens to lead our levy effort: Rick Peoples, Dave Combs, and Emerson Shimp. I would like to send special thanks as well to all our supporters, volunteers, library trustees, Friends of the Library groups, staff, and loyal patrons who together assured our levy's success. The library levy was vital to help maintain library operations. Everyone benefits.

Justin J. Mayo, librarian
Washington County Public Library

Troy MI Library Levy Defeated

The future of the Troy Public Library is "as clear as mud," the city's lawyer said Wednesday, after voters defeated four millage proposals designed to create and fund an independent library board.

And in Bloomfield Hills, voters sent a resounding "no" on Tuesday to a six-year, 0.617-mill library levy, with 61% of voters shooting down the measure, 1,342-842. Supporters sought to resume a lending contract with Bloomfield Township's library or strike up a new deal with the library in Birmingham.

The Troy measure is likely to become a topic of Monday's City Council meeting, where Mayor Louise Schilling is expected to bring up the possible censure of Councilman Martin Howrylak over his letter advocating the measures' defeat.

Troy's Proposal 1, the 10-year, 0.9885-millage, failed by 689 votes, 15,590-14,901, with 51% voting against it. The three other millage proposals failed by more than 80% of the vote each.

The library is scheduled to close July 1, after the City Council slashed funding and library hours this year and all funding by June 30.

Read more: Detroit Free Press.

Voters Close Book on Libraries

Shelley Terry, writing in The Star Beacon, reported that Ashtabula County District Library and Henderson Memorial Public Library both lost their levy campaigns. It is expected that the Ashtabula County District Library, which has a service district covering most but not all of Ashtabula County, will respond with further cuts. Henderson Memorial Public Library, which has a service district including the Township of Jefferson and Village of Jefferson in Ashtabula County, will not be hiring a children's librarian due to the loss. If your library had an issue on the ballot Tuesday, how did it fare?

The Desk Setup: A Look At Librarian Computers

The Desk Setup

Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)

Smith Professors Legacy Includes Donations to Libraries

NORTHAMPTON MA- A late Smith College professor has bequeathed $1 million each to Look Memorial Park and Forbes Library, the biggest donation either has ever received.

Dilman Doland, who taught psychology at Smith for 30 years, died on Sept. 8 of last year at the age of 88, leaving an estate in excess of $10 million. Doland, who had no children of his own, willed much of that to his surviving brothers and their children, but set a generous amount aside for some of his favorite institutions, including Smith.

Kathleen Doland worked as a reference librarian at Forbes from 1956-1962 and her husband remembered the library in his will, bequeathing it $1 million as well. Director Janet Moulding said Doland had already established a reference room in her wife’s memory some years ago. By the terms of the will, the gift must be put into a trust and its interest used only for the reference department. Moulding said the library’s trustees have appointed a committee to perform a needs assessment and determine how much interest they can expect to realize on an annual basis.

Doland received the Trustees’ Award in 1999, Moulding said and was a frequent patron, often stopping by her office to say hello. Moulding said she was astounded by the gift.

Whitefish Wants Its Own Library, Thank You Very Much

Armed with donation pledges, the Whitefish (MT) library is officially severing its ties with the Flathead County Library System.

On Oct. 18, the Whitefish City Council voted to notify the Flathead County Library Board of Trustees that it intends to terminate its interlocal agreement and establish a separate tax-supported city library. Termination will be effective July 1, 2011.

The decision came on the heels of a final opinion from the state attorney general’s office stating that Whitefish can legally create an independent library and collect a mill levy to fund it. The city will levy 5.95 mills, replacing the county levy for library services.

In addition, Whitefish resident Jake Heckathorn has offered $100,000 to help establish a separate library and indicated that he knows of another person willing to donate $100,000. The Whitefish Library Association has also pledged to contribute funds.

The split comes after more than a year of publicized disagreements between Flathead County library officials and advocates of an autonomous Whitefish library.

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