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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.