Libraries are as relevant as ever

The Mercury News

” My two days attending the Internet Librarian conference in Monterey last week reminded me of something that a lot of people already know. Despite predictions that they would be rendered obsolete by technology, libraries remain a vital part of our communities.If anything, they’re more important than ever as I reminded attendees when I addressed the group. Libraries encourage and help satisfy curiosity and the search for truth and meaning. Along with schools, the arts and the news media, they offer our citizens not just knowledge, but entertainment, understanding and the critical thinking skills we need to make good personal and collective decisions in how we live our lives and govern our collective selves.Even in some of the smallest and most remote parts of our country, there are libraries where we can expand our horizons or learn practical skills. But – as I learned at the conference – libraries do more than that. In some cases, they are places where people can not just absorb knowledge but create their works of literature or – for those libraries equipped with 3D printers or workshops, objects as well.In a world where the divide between haves and have nots is growing wider, libraries are committed to accessibility. Jeanne Holm, deputy chief information officer and senior adviser to the mayor of Los Angeles told the conference about how libraries in her city have beefed up their WiFi signals so that homeless and other students without at-home access, can go online to do their homework at night from near the library, even after it’s closed.”

Escondido library to be run by Maryland company

From Dan Diego Reader

” On October 18th, dozens of Escondido residents rallied one last time to keep their public library from being outsourced to an East Coast company. The library belongs to the community, they told the city council; it should not be run by spreadsheet. But in the end, cost-cutting won out, 4-1.”We’re not going to outsource our police or fire,” said mayor Sam Abed. The city expects to save $400,000 annually, with “at least half a million in pensions,” Abed said. “We must do this to be a financially viable city.”The vote affirms a ten-year contract with Maryland-based Library Systems & Services. The proposal was first presented months ago as a five-year term, and has been strongly opposed all along.”The contract rate steadily increases each year,” said resident Liz White at the meeting. “No wonder it went from five to a whopping ten-year term.” White mentioned a scathing performance report by an Oregon county, where she said the company was taking 30 to 35 percent profit.Councilmember Michael Morasco said the longer-term contract will save the city money: 4 percent vs. 3 percent. Library advocates fear major staff and service cuts and a collection not up to par. The outsourcing is opposed by the Escondido Library Board of Trustees, Library Foundation, and American Library Association.”

Alameda County Library System Hacked

From Fremont Patch

” Those who patronize the Alameda County libraries may have had their personal information compromised.KCBS reported Wednesday that customers received an email stating the library’s records were hacked.”An email to library members says officials were contacted last month by someone claiming to have information from the library system’s entire database of users,” the news station reported. “That contact included the names and addresses of about three dozen library patrons. The person also threatened to sell the information.”

Towards a Fine-Free Future: A Funder Tackles a Barrier to Public Library Engagement

From Inside Philanthropy

” Recent coverage of public library giving can be summarized in a single word: access.Funders including the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Simons Foundation envision U.S. public libraries as open community spaces fostering inclusivity and collaboration, devoid of what economists would call “barriers to entry.”But what about the financial barriers facing the precise demographic these funders aim to reach—namely poor kids?At first, this seems like a strange question. After all, public libraries are free, right? Not so fast, says the New York City-based JPB Foundation.On October 19th, the city’s three library systems—the New York Public Library, which serves Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, the Queens Library and the Brooklyn Public Library—forgave all fines for children 17 and under and unblocked their cards thanks to the foundation, which made a $2.25 million donation to cover the revenue shortfall.By funding the library system’s surprisingly costly amnesty program, JPB calls to light a problematic and age-old obstacle to public library engagement: library fines.”

Whittier has had bad luck getting money for a new library; why some put hope in a Nov. 7 ballot measure

From Whittier Daily News

” For the last 15 years, Whittier city officials have unsuccessfully tried to come up with money for a new library.They’ve since abandoned the idea and instead, on Nov. 7, will ask voters to approve a $22 million bond that would provide most of the $25 million needed to renovate the 59-year-old Central Library.If Measure L is passed, local property owners would pay $24 per $100,000 assessed valuation. A typical owner — for example — whose home is assessed at $330,000, would pay $81 a year over the next 15 years. A two-thirds vote is needed for approval.”

Yolo County announces new librarian

From The daily Democrat

” A West Sacramento man has been appointed as Yolo County’s new librarian.The Yolo County Board of Supervisors announced this week that Mark Fink, 50, would be taking over the position to replace Patty Wong’s previous position held by Interim County Librarian Chris Crist.According to a report from Yolo County Spokeswoman Beth Gabor, Fink has an impressive resume that made the decision easy.“Yolo County is fortunate to have hired a county librarian of such high caliber, and with a diverse career background,” said Oscar Villegas, who represents District 1, surrounding West Sacramento and Clarksburg. “We have every confidence that Mark will continue to build upon the solid foundation that has been established throughout our county library system.” A local, Fink currently serves as a District 1 representative on the Yolo County Library Advisory Board. He is also the deputy director of library services with the Solano County Public Library.”

Solano County: Fairytales at their source can be a bit Grimm

From Daily Republic

” Night is coming sooner, the leaves are crisping and turning brown, and the air is cooling. It must be time for fall.Traditionally, it’s always been something of a time of reflection. There would be a celebration of a successful harvest, but also a time to brace oneself for the hardship of winter. It’s a time of change, but also a part of an endless cycle. It’s a little paradoxical that way.In that spirit, I felt it was the perfect time to read something that’s both new and old, or at the very least, new to me. I picked up a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales; I was familiar with a large number of the stories, but had never actually gone to the source.Somewhere along the line I had gotten the idea that the original stories were much more grim, some-pun intended, and that just made it seem like an even more perfect fit for this Halloween season. But to be honest, I had no idea what to expect. In fact, many of the stories I knew only from the various homages or retellings we see scattered around pop culture. In that way, getting to see them in their original forms was a little jarring, like seeing a stranger’s face that looks so much like an old acquaintance.”