Public Libraries

On Loving Her Alaskan Library

From the Anchorage Daily News, by Elise Patkotak:

There are great differences between the library of my past and the libraries of the present and future. Some of those differences are simply mindboggling. For instance, in my day a library card meant I could go to a room with a stack of books, choose which I wanted to read and have the books stamped by a nice lady at the desk. Then I got to walk out of the building with my arms full of treasure. Now, a library card means you can sit in the comfort of your own home and download e-books that you can keep for about three weeks before they "return" to the library shelf. How cool is that?

Equally important, perhaps, in a time when we are more and more isolating ourselves from our family and friends through use of electronic media, the library remains a place of vibrant community where ideas can be accessed and shared, discussions held and knowledge gained whether you are rich or poor. It is the ultimate democratizing institution available to everyone in this country.

Today's reality is that if you can't afford a computer, you are at a distinct disadvantage in a very competitive world. Go to the library and find free computer access to anyone with a library card. And that card is also, as always, free. In a world where having information at your fingertips is more critical than ever to succeeding, the library is the one place anyone can go to level the playing field.

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2012/10/09/2655538/libraries-arent-relics-theyre.html#storylink=cpy

More on Changes to the the New York Public Library Main Reading Room

A letter to the Editor from the director of the Harvard U. Library, Robert Darnton via The New York Review of Books on the anticipated changes to the Rose Reading Room of the Main Library. LISNews reported on the story this past spring.

"Polemics rarely lead to happy endings. They usually produce hard feelings and a hardening of positions, rather than mutual understanding and mutually acceptable results. The loud debate about the Central Library Plan (CLP) of the New York Public Library may, however, be an exception to this rule—not that it has come to an end, but it has reached a turning point, which should satisfy both sides.

Critics of the CLP were especially incensed about its provision to remove books from the seven levels of stacks under the Rose Main Reading Room and ship them to offsite storage in order to make room for a circulating library to be installed on the lower floors. They petitioned, they provoked a debate—some of it conducted in these pages [Letters, NYR, July 12—and they were heard.

After studying the problem further, a committee of the library’s trustees has made the following recommendations, which were accepted by the full board on September 19:

• Another level of stacks under Bryant Park will be developed, creating room for onsite storage of another 1.5 million books.

• Books shipped to ReCAP, the offsite storage facility in Princeton, New Jersey, from the onsite collection will mostly be works that are already digitized and available online. -- Read More

Snapshot Day @ Your Library

Is your library having Snapshot Day? Here's some info from ALA on the phenomenon, started in New Jersey three years ago.

Snapshot Day Primer
Snapshot Day in various states
Ohio's Snapshot Day, held this week.

Have you found it to be useful in determining the relative success of your library and its programs? Suggestions for others?

Stop the Whitewash!! Artist Decries Removal of Her Mural at San Francisco Branch Library

An artist who helped paint the community-created Victor Jara mural on Bernal Heights Branch Library today asserted her rights to 90-day notice prior to destruction of the mural so that she may have an opportunity to remove it. Story from Indy Media.

Nora Roman, whose name is listed on the mural as one of the artists, sent a letter to the City Librarian Luis Herrera and other San Francisco officials asserting her rights under the California Art Preservation Act (CAPA).

CAPA provisions include a requirement that the owner of a work of art that is to be destroyed must give 90 days notice to the artist so that he or she may remove the work. No such notice had been given to Ms. Roman as of yesterday, October 2, the date the City Librarian announced that the mural would be painted out in two days, October 4. He spoke in the Bernal Heights Branch, during one of 11 previously-scheduled meetings citywide to discuss with the public the library’s open hours for the next five years.

Peter Warfield, Executive Director of Library Users Association, said it appeared that the library had made no effort to locate Ms. Roman, to offer her, as one of the artists, an opportunity to remove the mural. “Even though Nora Roman’s name is on the side of the mural as one of the artists, the library did not bother to let her know what it planned for the mural – namely complete destruction followed by replacement with something that leaves out any reference to the most important elements of the existing mural,” he said.

Mr. Warfield said the planned replacement gives an unexplained “financial fee” of $16,800 to the Friends of SFPL, where no such fee was involved in an original refreshment plan previously approved by the Library Commission in 2009.

What Are You Doing About DVD Thefts in Public Libraries?

My library has experienced an extremely high rate of DVD thefts in the past 6 months and are looking into solutions to the problem. Some of the thefts, we beleive, are drug related.

Have public libraries experienced a spike in DVD thefts this year?

What are some of the reasons for this?

What are public libraries doing about the situation? What solutions are they looking into? What have they tried?

We also experience a high rate of periodical thefts as well.

Banned Book Trading Card Exhibit at the Lawrence KS Library

Check out this deck of banned book cards and let us know what your library is doing to celebrate BANNED BOOKS WEEK.

Profile Of Indiana Maker Lab

Allen County is one of just a handful of public libraries that have set up multipurpose workshops for patrons who want to share and collaborate in order to create and build things. The terms used to describe these spaces include “makerspaces,” “fab labs” or “hackerspaces.”

So why does the Allen County Public Library have a high-tech lab for would-be designers, engineers and inventors? “The library is in the learning business, not just the book business,” said Director Jeff Krull. “Anytime libraries come across an opportunity for people to learn and grow, they should do it.”

[Thanks Cheryl!]

Rockford IL Library As Theater Impressario

From the Rockford Register Star: Quite a generous donation has been made to the Rockford IL Public Library, a large downtown performance space, the Sullivan Center, and the majority of library board members voted to accept the gift.

The mission statements of the Sullivan Center and Rockford Public Library may not mirror one another, but the core values are so close that the Library Board voted 5-2 Monday to take over operations of the downtown theater.

“Their mission statement is written in such a way that I think it’s very similar: promoting performance arts and education,” Trustee Dan Ross said. Marjorie Veitch and Bradley Long voted against the library’s latest acquisition.

The agreement to accept the theater as a gift from the building’s owner, Richard Nordlof, also means accepting Nordlof’s stipulations that the theater not be sold or converted into other uses, such as office space.

The agreement perhaps ends months of debate about whether the board is needlessly venturing into operations beyond its expertise.

“This is not a stretch in what libraries do,” board President Paul Logli said before the vote, and the library has a chance to lead the way in a downtown arts resurgence.

NYPL Changes Plans For Fifth Avenue Library

From the New York Times: Responding to objections raised by scholars, writers, artists and others, the New York Public Library has revised its plan to remove most of the books from its flagship Fifth Avenue research center to make room for a circulating library. Library officials said that an $8 million donation would help pay for enough new storage space to keep 3.3 million of its 4.5 volumes.

The change, approved by the library board on Wednesday, marks a significant shift in the Central Library Plan, a $300 million proposal to turn the historic building into the world’s largest combined research and circulating library.

“I’m very pleased both by the outcome but also by the process,” said Anthony T. Grafton, a Princeton University history professor who serves on the plan’s advisory panel. “It seems to me we saw a great public institution and its leader actually listening to the response of its public.”

The gift, from Abby S. Milstein, a lawyer and trustee, and her husband, Howard P. Milstein, a banker, will cover the cost of building 30,000 square feet of storage space to keep 1.5 million books that would otherwise have been sent to a warehouse in New Jersey. Scholars and others have protested plans to send the books away, arguing that research would be inhibited by the inevitable resulting delays in retrieving books, and that the changes would diminish the library’s role as a leading reference center.

“This is a great outcome,” Anthony W. Marx, the library’s president, said in an interview. “We’re investing in good old-fashioned books for research, but we’re also working to ensure digital access and provide more education programs in branches.” -- Read More

Bedbugs arrive in county library's mail

YUCK!... The St. Clair County Library got a little bit more than it bargained for with some returned materials this week.

Library Director Allison Arnold said bedbugs caught a ride into the Port Huron branch of the library Tuesday with a package of materials that had been borrowed through the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

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