Money Issues

Reprieve for Some Boston Libraries

Report from The Globe: Four Boston libraries targeted for closing at the end of the summer won a temporary reprieve and will remain open at least through the winter, the Menino administration announced yesterday.

The city added another $654,000 to the library’s balance sheet, giving the system enough money for at least another nine months. The extra money buys more time to work with each affected neighborhood to make plans for the buildings when the library branches do close down.

“We’ve been listening to the community, and we understand the desire for more planning time,’’ said Amy E. Ryan, president of the Boston Public Library. “This extension demonstrates the commitment of the city to keep these facilities open and accessible to the community. We believe that with continued input from the public, a new use for these buildings can be found.’’

But the move did little to mollify some of the loudest critics of the city plan to fill a deep funding gap. State lawmakers who attended a library trustees meeting yesterday at the main library in Copley Square scoffed at the gesture by the city. They made it clear that they would make good on their threat to strip the library of what remains of its state funding if the city follows through with plans to close any library branches. -- Read More

Urban Librarians: We Will Not Be Shushed

It was the literary equivalent of a filibuster, a bookworm’s take on 1960s-style protest. Aliqae Geraci called libraries “a huge support system for the unemployed.”

A 24-hour stream of sentences and stories, spanning the canon from George Eliot to “Gossip Girl,” flowed from dozens of book-loving New Yorkers this weekend who were concerned about austere budget cuts to libraries proposed by City Hall.

Not typically ones to raise their voices (ed.-oh yeah?), librarians staged an overnight read-in on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library on Grand Army Plaza to criticize the city’s plan to close 40 branches by month’s end, and to reduce hours and employees at those that remain.

“In the Great Depression, the New York public libraries were kept open seven days a week,” said Aliqae Geraci, a librarian in Queens and a coordinator of the event. “It is a huge support system for the unemployed and the transient.”

Another organizer, Christian Zabriskie, put it more bluntly.
“We librarians have a saying,” he said with a grin. “You can close our libraries when you step over our cold, beaten bodies, chained to the doors.”

The organizers are hoping the City Council will restore financing to avoid the cuts, which they say will particularly hurt the city’s less fortunate, who depend on libraries for Internet access and employment help. The reading attracted more than 200 volunteer readers, twice the number needed to fill each of the 15-minute slots. -- Read More

Response from the UC to the Public statement from Nature Publishing Group

Response from the UC to the Public statement from Nature Publishing Group [PDF]

We find this to be an implausible explanation given the remarkably large sums of money others and we already pay to NPG every year. The notion that other institutions are subsidizing “our discount” is nonsensical. If anything, other institutions are simply paying too much.

U. of California Tries Just Saying No to Rising Journal Costs

Sarah G. pointed the way to U. of California Tries Just Saying No to Rising Journal Costs
The University of California system has said "enough" to the Nature Publishing Group, one of the leading commercial scientific publishers, over a big proposed jump in the cost of the group's journals.

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.

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