San Francisco: Should library fines be dropped?

The Florida Times-Union

“Chicago recently joined 150 other U.S. library systems by eliminating late fees for library materials.Jacksonville’s library system’s fine revenue has been dropping in recent years but it still amounts to about $450,000 a year. The library is allowed to keep that revenue and use it for upgrades at regional libraries.However, library officials are looking at the possibility of dropping fines. Also, they have discussed the possibility of an amnesty for people with library materials.It’s not just about the books. Despite the positive role libraries play, they are often one of the first on the budget chopping block. Hours are cut, limiting access to services most during the only times many can access them, like evenings and weekends. Fines cannot be counted on to bolster inadequate planning and budgeting.Fines become a hindrance when they prevent access to materials or services. The mission of the Jacksonville Public Library is “To enrich lives, build community, and foster success by bringing people, information, and ideas together.” Forcing librarians into an adversarial role as a collection agency does not support their mission.”

7 San Francisco Libraries Expanding Hours

From San Francisco Patch

“Students and workers with projects due on Monday mornings will have two more hours each week to get them done at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, library officials said Thursday. Starting Jan. 12 the main library at 100 Larkin St. will be open one hour longer on Sunday and open one hour earlier Monday, the first such increase since the library was built in 1996.”

SF Library May Eliminate Fines

From San Francisco Patch

” After library systems in Contra Costa and San Mateo counties eliminated fines for overdue returns, San Francisco is proposing to be the latest local jurisdiction to get rid of the fines in an effort to increase access to libraries.Mayor London Breed announced Monday that the San Francisco Public Library will propose at the Library Commission meeting on Thursday to eliminate fines for overdue returns.The library partnered with the San Francisco Financial Justice Project within the city treasurer’s office to study the elimination of fines and interview libraries around the country that have done away with them.”

San Francisco: Libraries hire social workers to help homeless patrons

From L.A. Times

“In the past, when homeless people left their personal belongings in the aisles of the Addison Public Library, security guards might have asked them to leave.But that was before the library hired a social worker — someone who viewed the problem from another angle.“We started looking at patrons in a different way, that maybe some of the behavioral issues we were having at the library were stemming from other needs we could address,” said Mary Medjo Me Zengue, director of the Addison library.Public libraries have long been a refuge, not just for readers but also for people with nowhere else to go during the day — people who sometimes sleep in chairs, use the bathroom sinks to wash themselves or inject themselves with drugs in bathroom stalls. Sometimes they have been kicked out. At best they’ve been left alone.But now a growing number of libraries across the nation are facing the issue head-on, hiring social workers to help connect people with housing, healthcare and food. The Chicago Public Library has a social worker who splits time between two of its Uptown branches, paid for by local hospital system Amita Health. Amita plans to hire social workers for more Chicago library branches in coming months. Amita also pays for a social worker at the Evanston Public Library.”

San Francisco: Looking for Housing or Affordable Healthcare? Your Local Library Is Here to Help

From Nation Swell

“Leah Esguerra is a licensed family and marriage therapist, but instead of heading to an office every day to soothe couples’ marital tensions, she reports to the San Francisco Public Library. There she roams the stacks, looking for patrons who might need her help. Some of these patrons are homeless and are looking for a safe place to stay for the day. Others are actively looking for resources, such as showers and food, or just a place to warm up for a while.”

San Francisco: Library’s $3.4M radio frequency technology proposal meets with opposition

From San Francisco Examiner

“The San Francisco Public Library is trying for a second time after more than a decade to convince the Board of Supervisors to provide funding to deploy radio frequency technology in books and other lending materials. But at least one supervisor wants to kill the plan.Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, who serves on the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, said Thursday that he intends to make a motion to strike the library’s $3.4 million budget proposal for RFID, pointing to concerns over privacy and other spending priorities like increased security.The library wants to install RFID tags in all lending materials, which emit radio waves that are read by an RFID reader identifying the item.Acting City Librarian Michael Lambert defended the RFID proposal Thursday during a budget committee hearing.”

SF librarian Luis Herrera to retire

From San Francisco Examiner

“San Francisco City Librarian Luis Herrera on Thursday announced his retirement after more than 40 years in the profession and 12 years at the helm of The City’s library system.During his tenure, Herrera oversaw the city’s Branch Library Improvement Program, a major renovation program, as well as the creation of new teen digital centers and literacy and learning centers at the Main Library.Most recently, he worked with late Mayor Ed Lee to allow all city libraries to open seven days a week.“Today is a bittersweet day,” Herrera said in a message to staff. “Together, we have ensured that the San Francisco Public Library remains a welcoming, vital and integral part of San Francisco life.”A native of El Paso, Texas, Herrera also worked for library systems in Pasadena, San Diego and Long Beach before coming to San Francisco.”