The Creeping Privatization of Public Libraries

From Ocean Beach Rag

“At 17,566, there are more public libraries in the United States than there are Starbucks coffee shops. And just like at Starbucks, patrons have access to free wi-fi. But unlike Starbucks, public libraries will usually provide the free use of a computer as well as internet access.Perhaps it is their very ubiquitousness that makes them such a tempting target for libertarians like the Koch brothers and right-wing economists like the one who recently suggested a takeover of libraries’ functions by Amazon.Forbes quickly pulled the controversial op-ed by contributor Panos Mourdoukoutas, an economist and academic who felt that many of the functions of the local library, like free Wi-Fi, and movie rentals are already being filled by places like Starbucks and services like Netflix. Why shouldn’t Amazon open stores to provide books to the public?His argument included the fact that public libraries cost taxpayers money (gasp). It would be so much nicer for him if he did not have to contribute a couple of hundred dollars every year to American literacy. The American Library Association reports that the actual annual cost is $36.96 per person.”


Woodland librarians chime in on ‘Amazon theory’

From Daily Democrat

“As people become infatuated with the evolution of technology, physical media is beginning to fall by the wayside.has become the household staple for movie and television show-streaming as about 54 percent of U.S. adults said they have the service in their household, according to Leichtman Research Group’s 2017 on-demand study.Video games have become easily available via download services such as Xbox Live and Steam while iTunes is forcing stores like Best Buy and Walmart to shrink their CD selections.Not even books are safe with the rise in electronic books — or e-books. Amazon currently has their cheapest Kindle E-reader for sale at around $80. With it comes cheaper costs for downloading entire novels and less occupied space for physical books.”

Books and belly dancing mark first year of Imperial Beach’s public library

From San Diego Union Tribune

” Imperial Beach’s public library is the only library in the county that has belly dancing classes.They also have an ESL Café where people can practice speaking English and, in the near future, a machine that lets people rent laptops with their library card.“It works just like getting a Snickers Bar from the vending machine,” said Branch Manager June Frost, before adding that the laptops need to stay in the library.Imperial Beach’s $8.5 million public library is three times the size of the previous facility. On Aug. 1, Frost gave the City Council a presentation of everything that has been accomplished so far.Circulation increased by 140 percent, programs by 123 percent, and internet access increased by 155 percent, Frost told the council.The previous library had eight internet terminals. The new one has 14. The old library had 42,000 materials – including books, magazines, and movies. The new one has 126,000.But libraries aren’t just about books anymore, Frost said.”

Lake County: Three county libraries remain open despite fires; summer reading program parties rescheduled

From Lake County News

” The Lake County Library announced that Lakeport Library at 1425 N. High St. is open with its regular hours after being closed last week due to the mandatory evacuation of Lakeport.Redbud Library at 14785 Burns Valley Road in Clearlake and Middletown Library at 21256 Washington St. have both remained open on their normal schedules.If you need help with your account, need to use the public wifi or computers, or just need to pick up a book to read contact any of the open branches. Even with libraries closed, you can check your account online. For more information call 263-8817.None of the libraries was damaged during the fires but mandatory evacuations forced some of the libraries to close for the duration. Upper Lake Library will reopen as conditions permit.County librarian Christopher Veach says that the last thing people need to worry about is overdue fines.The library has extended the due dates on thousands of items checked out from Lakeport Library and Upper Lake Library to Aug. 28.All late fines and fees for those affected by the fire will be waived. Your safety is more important than returning library books when you are displaced.”

Santa Barbara: The Santa Ynez Library has a rich history

From Santa Maria Times

” Learning about the history of our local libraries gives us better insight and appreciation for all that our ancestors did to ensure the Santa Ynez Valley would continue to grow and prosper.The town of Santa Ynez was founded in 1882 when Bishop Francis Mora received congressional approval to sell the College Ranch; the land had been given to the Catholic Church by the Mexican government in 1843. Bishop Mora gave each settler one free lot in town if the settler bought an additional lot. According to historians, the bishop felt it was better for the farmers to live in town rather than out on their far-flung ranches. In the 1880’s Santa Ynez became the commercial center of the valley with saloons, blacksmith shops, general mercantile stores, a pharmacy, a feed store, millinery and barber shops and real estate agents.On Nov. 15, 1910, a Santa Barbara Branch public library was established in the College Hotel, which was built in 1889 to house the new settlers as their homes were being built. The Hotel also housed the post office and a Wells Fargo office.”

Anaheim: Zine Fest

From Anaheim Newsletter

” From short stories and poetry to photography and illustrations, you’ll find creativity in bloom later this month at Orange County Zine Fest at Central Library.
The annual OC Zine Fest, now in its fifth year, showcases local authors and artists and their published work, while also inspiring future zinesters.While you’re there, you can also enjoy food trucks, more than 100 vendors, speakers, panels, workshops and more.A zine, shorthand for a do-it-yourself magazine, is any kind of printed writing, photography or artwork that is independently constructed and self-published. There’s no limit to what content zines can include, and they’re a great form of self-exploration and self-expression.”

Forbes Article Critical of Public Libraries Faces Backlash

From Propmodo

” An article came out in Forbes this Saturday titled “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money.” The thesis was that taxpayers would save money if libraries were repurposed as Amazon bookstores. Understandably, there was quite a bit of pushback. So much so that the article was deleted by yesterday after it racked up nearly 200,000 views. The idea of taking away resources from our communities and giving it to one of the biggest companies in the world is ridiculous clickbait but the conversation that the article started might have many taking a critical look on what is the best use of public land resources.Libraries have a societal value. For a long time, they were the only place where people could access information for free. But in the age of the internet, the bookshelves lost popularity to public web access. This has changed the role of the library from a place to check out a book to a place where those without internet connections can participate in the digital universe. This has made libraries a vital asset for cities in fighting poverty.”