Politics

A Tree Grows (Through the Roof of the Library) in Camden

From Philly.com a report on South Korean journalists visit to the city of Camden NJ, where the abandoned library "has a tree growing through its roof". Camden is the second most dangerous city in the US, and the foreign journalists were shocked by the poverty and crime.

Maybe if Governor Christie put some effort into helping that city restore its library and its community the situation would improve for the youth of Camden NJ.

Envisioning Dreams

With a Republican debate happening yet again and "Super Tuesday" coming up, there are political things to ponder in Library Land. Ohio is a state that takes part in Super Tuesday voting and a variety of property tax levies can appear on the ballot. At Erie Looking Productions, The Air Staff gets to pass upon a renewal request by the Ashtabula County Children Services Board to preserve funding. The issue runs for five years if approved.

Library funding issues have popped up from time to time. On the last two issues that have come up locally, I have voted against them. As I look ahead to voting on Super Tuesday, I can explain why.

When it comes to backing candidates or issues, I do not look for those engaging in "managed decline". In that instance, you're not winning. You're just stretching a miserable failure out for an unconscionable period. I do try to avoid those who plan to be steady hands on the tiller who do not want to make waves. Life is dynamic and is not something static that merely requires care and attention of the best technocrat available.

As cultural institutions, libraries need visions. Libraries need dreams. Without visions or dreams, especially ones that can be articulated clearly, libraries are not living cultural institutions but instead mausoleums. Mausoleums can easily be forgotten and left to decay. Institutions with life in them do not go down that path.

What frontier do you want to conquer at your library? Where do you want the cultural institution you operate to be in one year? What about in four years?

Grand strategic visions are not what is needed right now. Discrete milestones over a short enough period help stakeholders grasp what your dreams and vision entail. It is far harder to sell a vague intangible like "change" compared to something concrete like "creating a new science fiction collection of five hundred to one thousand items prior to broadening the romance collection to include more durable copies of works by Christine Feehan".

Out of the Republican field of potential nominees, Newt Gingrich perhaps offers one of the broadest visions and comprehensive dreams. He speaks of conquering space and shifting away from the current effective outsourcing to the Russian Federation of getting Americans to space. There's plenty to not like about his policy ideas. Unlike contenders on either side of the political divide, he does express a concrete vision of a dreamed about future. Whether or not you agree with him, dreaming of a Moon Base is more concrete than the vague intangibles offered by the rest of the pack.

I have no clue how I will vote on Super Tuesday. Plenty can change between now and then. A big concern is to find candidates with dreams of tomorrow that they can articulate and that have tangible end points.

Do you have such a dream at your library? Even more importantly, have you told anybody what it is?


Creative Commons License
Envisioning Dreams by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. -- Read More

Occupy Wall Street Claims the City Ruined Its Library

Occupy Wall Street Claims the City Ruined Its Library
A member of the Occupy Wall Street movement filed a claim on behalf of the group Thursday that the city had damaged or destroyed $47,000 worth of books and other property while clearing its protest site at Zuccotti Park last fall. The notice of claim, filed with the comptroller’s office, is a preliminary step toward lodging a civil lawsuit.

Occupy Wall Street Library Sending Banned Books To AZ

Join Us in Supporting the Students and Teachers of Tucson Unified School District

This is where you come in. Acting in solidarity with OccupyTucson and the students, parents, and teachers of the Tucson Unified School District we are going send copies of the banned texts to Tucson for distribution. Lots of copies. As many copies as we can find and buy. We respect the rights of authors and publishers, so all copies will be completely legally purchased though an independent bookseller or directly from the publisher. Donations of the these texts are, of course, welcomed.

White House Petition To Reform Copyright Law For Libraries

Throughout our country's history, libraries have provided education and entertainment to all. In the library all economic classes have an equal opportunity to access information.
we petition the obama administration to:

Reform copyright law to allow libraries to keep digital copies of ebooks and other media.

The movement to digital media has seriously disrupted this model. Content owners continue to exert more and more control over their works. No longer are they willing to sell "copies" to libraries. Some allow libraries to rent very restricted versions. Others refuse to deal with libraries at all.

We need to bring back the first sale doctrine for libraries, allowing them to copy and archive digital media without violating the DMCA.

Not doing so will ensure that only those with means have access to the wealth of human knowledge.

see:

http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/columns/my-mind/we-need-copyright-20

What Will Happen To Patrons of the Philadelphia Library for the Blind?

From the Philly Post:

It is a plan so dastardly, so despicable, that state and local officials don’t want you to know about it. Pennsylvania has a plan in the works to gut the Philadelphia Library for the Blind, a vital service for the area’s visually impaired. The cover for the move is fiscal conservatism, but that makes no sense as the move may end up costing the state more money. The whole thing has the stench of political cronyism. Governor Tom Corbett and western PA Republicans want to move most of the operations out of Philadelphia to the Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Pittsburgh, nestled in the Governor’s home county. The two libraries share funds allocated in the state library budget. This isn’t about saving money; it is about shifting the majority of those funds to Pittsburgh.

I understand that elections have consequences. I understand party patronage. I don’t understand making the 13,000 visually disabled people who regularly use the Library suffer because of political gamesmanship. The Philadelphia Library for the Blind lent out 600,000 Braille and recorded books last year. That is 20 percent of the entire circulation of the Philadelphia Library System. -- Read More

Toronto Library union's pressure tactics continue

Library union's pressure tactics continue
Ditto for Nunziata, who was not at all surprised with the threatening tone of the e-mails. “Instead of the union trying to intimidate councillors, why don’t they work with the city ... and bring forth suggestions on how we can make operating cuts,” she said. “All they’re interested in is keeping their jobs ... they just care about themselves.”

With This Library System Government Isn't All Bad

With This Library System, Government Isn’t All Bad
Ms. Dempsey is the Chicago Library commissioner, who is stepping down after an inspiring 18-year run. She is leaving after a remarkable transformation and amid uncharacteristic stumbles by Mayor Rahm Emanuel over library hours as the Missile and the crucial public employees’ union duel like Somali warlords.

The SOPA-PIPA Saga - Freedom of Speech vs. Net Neutrality

The SOPA-PIPA Saga - Freedom of Speech vs. Net Neutrality
Allen Yu: "While I cheer on the defeat of SOPA-PIPA (copyright is really broken; many also consider SOPA-PIPA to be truly evil), I also have no false hopes that my interests on the Net can be best guaranteed by the likes of Google or Wikipedia or Facebook. For now, I am celebrating RELIEF not FREEDOM ."

U.S. House Drafts SKILLS Act to Support School Librarians

U.S. House Drafts SKILLS Act to Support School Librarians
Three House lawmakers introduced legislation this week that could strengthen and ensure school librarians' continued role as educators in the nation's K-12 schools.

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