Money Issues

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 savelibs@gmail.com.

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

"Gov. Christie's budget calls 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 6.3 percent funding reduction in the current fiscal year.

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