People N Patrons

People do the craziest things in libraries

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.

More Election Day Library News From LJ

Election Day brought good news to library supporters around the country as local tax levies to support libraries won strong support in key Ohio communities, and radical propositions in Colorado that would have crippled library services were categorically rejected.

Story here.

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.)

Real Life Superhero supports libraries

<a href="Check this out: http://www.reallifesuperheroes.org/2010/10/11/library-patrol/">Captain Black</a> 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.

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

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.

Keith Richards...Please Visit My Library!

As we learned last April, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has always had a secret ambition...to be a librarian.

And today, as reported in Penn Live, Librarian Sheila Redcay — and at least 480 others on Facebook — would like to have Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards visit Matthews Public Library in Fredericksburg, PA. Redcay, a lifelong Rolling Stones fan, decided to invite Richards to her library after reading a preview of his autobiography, "Life," coming out in October, in which he says he considered becoming a librarian.

“Having him come to a public library, wherever it may be — why not here — will just simply bring awareness to the many struggles many libraries are having just to keep their doors open." Her goal is to get 1,000 people as members of the Facebook page she created, Keith Richards, Please Have Sympathy for America’s Public Libraries, after which she will approach his manager again with an invite. Richards’ manager said it sounded like “a very good idea,” but his publicist has said he is adamant that he will do only one book signing, in New York City. C'mon Keith...

There's a little contest on the Facebook page...join up and check out your knowledge of the Stones.

A Movie Star Lights Up a North Carolina Library

Zach Galifianakis, a comedian and one of the stars of the movie The Hangover, is a native of Wilkes County NC. Yesterday, he was at the Wilkes County Public Library in North Wilkesboro for a children's reading that drew hundreds of people. He stayed afterward for nearly two hours, posing for photos and signing hats, shirts, posters, money, DVDs, scraps of paper, old Wilkes Central High School yearbooks, and a GQ magazine with his face on the cover reports Journal Now.

The reading was intended for young children, many of whom were familiar with Galifianakis from G-Force, a film in which he champions a team of guinea pigs out to save the world from an evil billionaire.
But word quickly spread in the days leading up to the reading, and the crowd included a lot of people with driver's licenses, jobs and mortgages.

About 508 people came into the library while Galifianakis was there. A majority of them found their way to the upstairs level, where he read three children's books aloud.

"I think that books, reading, are so very important because they tell stories, and they let you into the story," he told the children. "I will start with reading a book called The Hangover."

The people with driver's licenses laughed, and Galifianakis said, "No."

Instead, he read Who is the Beast?, Don't Forget the Bacon (written by his father) and The Snowy Day, holding the books so the children could see the pictures.

San Jose Area Libraries Helping Patrons 'Think Green'

Local residents who have ever wondered exactly how much electricity is gobbled up by their household appliances now have a way to find out: Head to the local library.

Libraries throughout Santa Clara County are loaning out new Kill-A-Watt EZ Meters for free to residents, which can be taken home and plugged in to any household appliance to find out exactly how much energy the appliance uses, and what that costs the homeowner. The program has been a hit with the public, especially in Sunnyvale, where the meters have been checked out 64 times since July 1.

"I loved the idea, and people are excited to learn how much energy they are using every day," Sunnyvale director of libraries Lisa Rosenblum said. "We want the process to be as simple as possible for people, so it's totally free and we are encouraging residents to come check them out."

A Library Kiosk At the Station

The Toronto Public Library is studying the idea of installing an automated kiosk at Union Station, where patrons could borrow a book with the simple swipe of their library cards at any time of day.

It’s not a new concept — these machines have been in place in Europe and in the United States — but the idea is slowly gaining steam in Canada.

Earlier this year, the library board agreed to investigate the idea of installing one of these self-service kiosks, in part because it would create a visible presence in a busy hub that is being renovated. By 2016, 330,000 passengers are projected to pass through the station daily.

“They look like vending machines that can hold books, paperbacks, hard covers, CDs and DVDs,” said Anne Bailey, director of branch libraries for the Toronto Public Library. A simple touch screen allows borrowers to see what in the machine.

“We’re often asked for service in locations where we wouldn’t want to put a branch. This might be a way to offer some level of service in a cost-effective manner.”

The cost for a single library kiosk and related collections is estimated at about $200,000 plus additional ongoing operating costs of about $15,000 a year. A branch library could cost millions.

Does your library, or a library that you know of have an off-site kiosk? How are things working out for them?

Sex Offender Policy

Because of the other story about happenings at the Urbandale, Iowa library I took a look at their website. On their policy page there is a "Sex Offender Policy" listed.

Excerpt from policy: In accordance with Chapter 692A of Subtitle 1 of Title 16 of the Code of Iowa, sex offenders
convicted of sex offenses against minors are prohibited from being on library property or loitering
within 300 feet of library property without written permission of the Library Director.

I am curious how other libraries and states are dealing with the issue of sex offenders. What policy does your library have? Do you agree with the policy? Do you think it is effective? Is a state law or city ordinance the impetus for your policy?

Escaping the Summer Heat in a Bookmobile

A recent study found that making books available to low-income children had a significant impact on preventing the reading gap.

On NPR this morning, W. Ralph Eubanks reminisces about visiting the bookmobile as a child. He is the author of The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South and Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi's Dark Past and Director of Publishing at the Library of Congress.

"When I feel the summer heat steaming from the pavement, my childhood memories of the bookmobile provide a cooling sensation to my spirit. This feeling came back last summer on a visit to Chicago when I happened upon a parade of bookmobiles of various ages. There it was: an old Ford grille with big, round headlights that was a dead ringer for the bookmobile that stopped at my house as a child. "

More from NPR.

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