Money Issues

Money Issues

Money With Strings for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library System

For the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system, there's at least some good news...

The Charlotte City Council agreed to spend $1.5 million to help keep county libraries open for the next year. But the money comes with strings, and the library officials say they don't know yet what difference it will make.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library system would need an extra $8 million to keep the current libraries open at already-reduced hours for the next year, according to library officials. But the city and county have only agreed to pay $5 million.

Library director Charles Brown says he's grateful for that, but the deal is far from done, because the city's contribution is contingent on contributions from at least four towns in Mecklenburg County.

Brown says he's received preliminary commitments from two towns and is "cautiously optimistic."

But even if all the money comes through, it will be less than the $8 million Brown asked for, and he says more libraries could close.
Here's the latest...

Sometimes It Only Takes a Dollar

The first time proved to be the charm for the Scottsboro Alabama Public Library. With the help of librarian Karen Chambers in Woodville, Scottsboro Public Library Director Nancy Gregory applied for a grant.
“I wouldn’t even had known about it if it wasn’t for Karen,” said Gregory.

Gregory’s application paid off as she learned earlier this week the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded a $3,000 summer reading grant to the Scottsboro Public Library.

“We are very excited,” said Gregory. “It’s just amazing that they are sending us that much money.”

Dollar General Chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling said the summer reading grant aims to help libraries and nonprofit organizations with the implementation or expansion of summer reading programs.

“The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is inspired by the work Scottsboro Public Library is doing to help children continue their education and improve their literacy skills during the summer,” said Dreiling.

Story from The Daily Sentinel.

NJ Librarians Are Mad as Hell And They're Not Going to Take It Anymore

WAYNE NJ — Hundreds gathered at the State House Annex in Trenton recently to oppose Gov. Chris Christie's proposal to cut 74 percent of funding for the state library system, an action many believe will be nothing less than devastating.

Library patrons from across New Jersey voiced their concerns over the proposed cuts via 60,000 orange postcards hand delivered the day of the rally including 5,000 from the Wayne Public Library and its Preakness branch. Employees from the Valley Road location joined forces with over 650 people who filled the annex courtyard to help spread the message that "libraries matter."

"I feel we needed to do our part because these cuts being proposed would be disastrous," said Doreen Shoba, head of the reference department at the Wayne Public Library.

Included in the cuts would be the elimination of all statewide library programs and services. New Jersey stands to lose roughly $4.5 million in federal funding leaving clientele severely impacted. Amongst the biggest losses will be access to electronic databases such as RefUSA and EBSCO, as well as the statewide interlibrary loan and delivery service. Many libraries including Wayne could also lose access to the Internet as well.

Queens Teens Love Manga, but Their Passion Is Jeopardized by Funding Cuts

They come from all over the ethnic patchwork of this neighborhood of modest-to-fancy brick houses and square green lawns in the borough of Queens, New York: East Asian, South Asian, Caribbean, African-American, Jewish. (Only one speaks Japanese at home.) But at the library, they identify as otaku — Japanese slang for manga aficionados — and their divisions run purely along manga lines. Fans of shonen action manga challenge partisans of romantic shojo; experts debate the merits of series like Full Metal Alchemist, Death Note and Fruits Basket. Readers pool their knowledge to puzzle out magic spells, ninja moves and warrior codes that dominate the manga universe.

Manga clubs have coalesced in libraries in various Queens neighborhoods — Flushing, Jamaica, Long Island City — and the genre has colonized young-adult rooms in libraries around the country.

Now, librarians write books and journal articles to figure out how to tap into this powerful vein of interest that seizes early adolescents just at the age when they are most likely to drift away from libraries.

The manga mania, like so much else in the city during the recession, is threatened by budget cuts. Beginning in July, proposed cuts would reduce library staff by more than one-third and opening hours by nearly half, library officials say. Thirty-four community libraries would be open only two or three days a week. New York Times reports.

Florida's 'The library guy' takes a Capitol victory lap

The man they call "the library guy," Paul Clark, returned to the State Capitol Tuesday carrying a simple, happy message: "Thank you."

The 39-year-old father of three put a very human face on the 2010 legislative session through his sheer tenacity. Day after day, Clark stood silently in the Capitol pleading for lawmakers to find $21-million to maintain the level of state support for public libraries.

When lawmakers came through near midnight Monday, Senate budget chief JD Alexander made a passing reference to "that guy" who persisted in getting library money. Clark, who earns about $45,000 a year, had forfeited most of his personal vacation time to push for funding-- including putting in a 12-hour day on Sunday in the Knott Building, where budget negotiations took place.

Good Editorial in Boston Globe

Nice Chunk of Change for Neil Gaiman

The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, approved by voters in 2008, was a financial windfall for supporters of the state’s wildlife and wetlands, drinking water, arts, history and cultural heritage. And for Neil Gaiman.

The 2009 Newbery Award-winning author earned $45,000 — all of it coming directly from so-called legacy-amendment funds — for an appearance a week ago at Stillwater Junior High School in the kickoff event of Club Book, a project of the Metropolitan Library Services Agency. The project brings well-known national and regional authors to Twin Cities-area libraries by tapping into the arts and cultural heritage fund portion of legacy-amendment funds.

Chris Olson, director of the Metropolitan Library Services Agency (MLSA) and one of those who helps oversee the $4.25 million in legacy amendment funds that were allocated to the state’s regional public library systems, admitted last week that he was somewhat taken aback when he learned the amount of Gaiman’s fee for the Stillwater event.

“Frankly, yes, I was surprised,” Olson said. “That was my immediate reaction.” Politics in Minnesota.

Californians Want Their School Libraries OPEN

WALNUT CREEK — Librarians from Walnut Creek, Concord, Castro Valley and San Jose joined members of the California PTA today at Foothill Middle School to denounce education cuts that are shutting school libraries.

Because of cuts in the Mt. Diablo district, most middle schools libraries are open two days a week and closed three days. But Foothill parents raised about $17,000 to keep their librarian on-site for a third day and to pay for a library aide who staffs the facility from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the other two days.

California ranks 51st in the nation in its ratio of librarians to students, with one school librarian per 5,124 students compared to the national average of one to 916 students, according to a 2006-07 report from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Read more at education writer Theresa Harrington's On Assignment blog at www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment.

It's School Librarians Month, It's National Library Workers Day...but What Does the Future Hold?

April is National School Librarians Month, and today is National Library Workers Day, bad timing for the American Association of School Administrators to report that 19 percent of school districts surveyed expect to cut librarians' jobs next year.

Rockwall High School librarian Nicole Redmond shows students in a family living class how to better explore resources on the Web in the library's computer lab.

Cuts couldn't come at a worse time, librarians and their advocates argue, because the close reading, critical thinking and research skills they teach are more important now than ever.

"The Internet and Google are wonderful tools, but it's all kind of a cut-and-paste mentality," said Gloria Meraz of the Texas Library Association in Austin. "There is such a fundamental need to continue to teach children to think critically."

Dallas News reports.

Trouble for RIF

Changes in the way the federal government plans to allocate money to increase and improve literacy pose a severe threat to one of the country’s best-known nonprofit groups, Reading Is Fundamental.

Known commonly as RIF, the organization, which provides free books to needy children and has been promoted in memorable public service announcements by celebrities like Carol Burnett and Shaquille O’Neal, stands to lose all of its federal financing, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of its annual revenues.

“We are looking at having to completely reinvent ourselves,” said Carol Rasco, chief executive of RIF, which has received an annual grant from the Department of Education for 34 years.

Story from the New York Times.

SaveLibraries.org, Two Weeks Old and Going Strong

Want to keep up on what's happening with efforts around the country to help save libraries? There's a great new site for that, appropriately named Save Libraries. Their motto is "When one library is in trouble, ALL libraries are in trouble." This project is being run by Lori Reed and Heather Braum. They can’t do this alone and are looking for additional help creating and maintaining the content on this site.

Save Libraries is a grassroots effort to compile information about libraries in need of our support. Save Libraries will aggregate information about current advocacy efforts, archive advocacy efforts, and provide links to resources for libraries facing cuts. The project began barely two weeks ago, and is already attracting attention.

Please email us at savelibs (at) gmail (dot) com for questions, comments, or concerns. Please tag your Web content with savelibraries to make it easier for us to find and collect it.

Kudos to none other than our own Blake Carver and LISHost.org for donating hosting for this site and getting WordPress up and running within minutes. This site is dedicated to advocacy for libraries–getting the message out about why libraries are important.

We’re looking for advocacy information, testimonials from patrons and staff, photos, videos, anything to help save our libraries. Please pitch in!! Use the tag savelibraries or #savelibraries on Twitter. If you would like to contribute to this site please email [email protected].

Why School Librarians Shouldn't Get The Pink Slip

From School Library Journal: Q & A by recently laid-off librarian Sara Scribner, a (former) school librarian for the Pasadena Unified School District.

Scribner had recently penned a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece, "Saving the Google Students" which went viral and talked about how critical media specialists are in this digital age. We asked Scribner how her students—and society—would fare if librarians didn't exist.

When will you know if your position is terminated?
Right now, Pasadena has a parcel tax measure that is going up for a vote throughout the month of April and early May. It has to pass by a large margin, something like two-thirds of the people voting need to say yes to it. On May 5, we should know if it has passed or not. The word is that the librarians will go if it doesn't pass and that they will be saved if it does pass. That's the district speaking. What will happen in the end is anyone's guess. We might not know for sure until we leave for summer break, or even later.

What would the fate be of school libraries in Pasadena without librarians?
No one is willing to discuss what will happen if all of the district librarians are laid off. Since our school will be going through a major renovation next year, I'm going to guess that the library will be "mothballed." Lights out. No librarian. No books. No media lab.

Listing of Save the Library & Other-Named STL Campaigns

Check out this comprehensive list of Save the Library campaigns, compiled by Stephen Abram.

He writes on Stephen's Lighthouse Blog: Some of these campaigns are grass roots and some come from the state library association, friends’ groups or others. Some may have ended. It’s just one influencer strategy and it’s is not a mark against a state if they haven’t chosen public viral campaigning since there are other choices to educate, lobby, advocate and influence the budgetary process.

I just felt that it might be useful to pull the lot together for others to see them and learn. I am sure I missed a few so please add them in the comments. In the next week I will add postings for the main value of the library studies by library sector for your use.

NJ Budget Proposal: Statewide Library Programs Eliminated, Local Library Funding Threatened

"<a href="http://capwiz.com/ala/nj/issues/alert/?alertid=14842591">Gov. Christie's budget calls </a>for a 74% decrease in funding for statewide library services. This cut includes the elimination of all statewide library programs and services..."

Bostonians...They're Not Gonna Take It

And so it was yesterday, just before the main headquarters of the Boston Public Library opened at 1 p.m., that nearly 100 protesters gathered outside the Copley Square building with petition sheets and statistical charts to go along with their “Don’t Close the Book on Us!’’ placards and their chants of “Save our branches!’’

One of the organizers, Brandon Abbs, told protesters about a website — that shows how the library’s board of trustees, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the City Council, and state officials each play a role in a potential decision to shutter up to 10 of the city’s 26 branches. The site emphasizes ways of helping the library system make up for its $3.6 million budget shortfall.

Video and story from Boston.com.

"Honest mistake" sparked library Internet uproar

‘Honest mistake’ sparked library Internet uproar
Stephen Harper’s Conservative MPs were told in caucus today that “an honest mistake” led to libraries and community groups being told their public funding for Internet access was ending.

Senior Industry Canada bureaucrats had “misunderstood” the plan, which simply involved moving money to a different pot, according to Tory insiders.

Amazon to Publishers: My Way or the Highway

NYTimes: Amazon.com has threatened to stop directly selling the books of some publishers online unless they agree to a detailed list of concessions regarding the sale of electronic books, according to two industry executives with direct knowledge of the discussions.

The hardball approach comes less than two months after Amazon shocked the publishing world by removing the “buy” buttons from its site for thousands of printed books from Macmillan, one of the country’s six largest publishers, in a dispute over e-book pricing.

Mecklenburg Library plans 12 Branch Closings, 140 Layoffs

Charlotte/Mecklenburg (NC) County’s library board will vote Thursday on a proposal which would close half the county’s branches and lay off 140 employees within a matter of weeks. The proposal, announced to employees Wednesday morning, is the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s way of coping with <a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/03/17/1319550/library-plans-12-branch-closings.html">a 6.3 percent funding reduction in the current fiscal year</a>.

Canadian Libraries, community groups squeezed by cuts to Internet program

Libraries, community groups squeezed by cuts to Internet program
The Conservative government is quietly cutting funding to hundreds of community groups and even hospitals that provide free Internet access to Canadians who might not otherwise have a chance to get online.

Organizations that benefit from Industry Canada's 16-year-old Community Access Program began receiving letters last week informing them that sites located within 25 kilometres of a public library would no longer be eligible for cash.

Call to Action: Save State Funding for Florida's Public Libraries

On March 10, 2010 appropriations committees in the Florida House and Senate adopted positions eliminating all funding for Florida’s State Aid to Public Libraries program.

We are now looking for Volunteers to protest at the Florida State Capitol Building, 400 South Monroe Street in Tallahassee on Tuesday March 16, 2010. If you are interested in holding a sign in protest of the State Aid to Libraries being reduced to zero dollars please contact me at [email protected].

On Tuesday the Committee (see below) that is in charge of determining library funding will meet. Meet them prepared with your picket signs!

Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Committee
March 16, 2010 at the Morris Hall (17 HOB) 2:15 PM - 6:00 PM

Here's a Sample Picket Sign (Word 2007 Format)to download - Feel free to modify. Free Word 2007 Viewer

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