October 31, 2014

New Proposed Legislation Requires Public Disclosure for New York City Libraries

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In the wake of accusations that suspended Queens Library (QL) president and CEO Thomas W. Galante mishandled library funds, Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D–Queens) proposed legislation on October 21 that would require all three of New York’s public library systems to publicly disclose how their money is spent.

San Antonio, Bexar County Debate Library Funding

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San Antonio, TX, made library headlines when it opened BiblioTech, the nation’s first all-digital library, which turned one year old only a few weeks ago. Now it could do so again, but for a less positive reason: a city-county financial dispute that some officials are warning could eventually result in the loss of library privileges for as many as 400,000 residents.

New Knight Foundation News Challenge Spotlights Libraries

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Since 2006, the Knight News Challenge has encouraged innovators to respond to open calls on a series of themes—past challenge topics have included networks, open government, and strengthening the Internet. On Sept. 10 the Knight Foundation opened the most recent News Challenge: How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?

Center for an Urban Future Re-Envisions New York’s Branch Libraries

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From the Andrew Carnegie–era temples of learning to the small cinderblock “Lindsay boxes” built during Mayor John Lindsay’s administration from 1966–1973, New York City’s 207 library branches are as varied as its population. And like much of the city, they are feeling the crunch of budget cuts and neglect.

LA County Library Restores Lost Hours

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County of Los Angeles Public Library officials are restoring service hours to all the libraries that previously saw their hours reduced owing to 2009-2010 budget cuts. This comes after the Board of Supervisors approved this year’s $178 million library budget, an increase of $3.6 million.

Miami-Dade Commissioners Raise Property Tax To Pay For Libraries

The continuing struggle to fund library service in Miami, Florida, and surrounding Dade County took a happy turn for a librarians and advocates in this month. On Tuesday, July 16, Miami-Dade County commissioners voted to increase the property tax in the county slightly, increasing the funding available to the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS).

The hike would leave libraries with a budget of approximately $52 million for the coming year. That figure is short of the $64 million that advocates were aiming for, but represents a major step up from the $30 million earmarked earlier this year in a budget proposed by Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

EveryLibrary Launches Fund To Aid Libraries In Crisis

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Most libraries know what its’ like to struggle with finding funding. Getting a levy or tax hike passed is hard work. Living through lean times that freeze hiring and stifle collection development can be trying. But when the rug gets pulled out from under you suddenly, it can be even worse. In order to provide some assistance when eleventh hour budget cuts come knocking, EveryLibrary, the political action committee devoted to strengthening the place libraries have at the civic table, is working on a new program with just these sorts of dilemmas in mind—the Rapid Response Fund.

San Jose Libraries Funding Set for 25 Years

Near the heart of a revitalized tech boom in Silicon Valley, San Jose, CA, is growing rapidly, topping one million residents this year. The San Jose Public Library (SJPL) will have plenty of concerns about how best to serve those new users in coming years. How to fund those efforts, though, won’t be among them. Earlier this month, San Jose voters passed a continuation of the Library Parcel Tax (LPT), which helps to fund SJPL operations, with an astonishing 81 percent of voters in favor.

Gates Foundation Prepares To Exit Library Ecosystem

In early May, the Gates Foundation took much of the world by surprise by announcing that the massive charitable organization would stop offering grants and support to libraries around the world in the next few years. Libraries have long been a pillar of the Foundation’s strategy, and while the funding will be missed, librarians are already looking ahead at how to preserve the work that’s been done and find ways for other organizations to step into the space the Foundation will leave behind.

Coasters Speak Louder Than Words | One Cool Thing

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Lobbying for libraries can be a painfully earnest affair. But not so in New York State, where the New York Library Association (NYLA) adopted a playful new strategy to reach legislators and their staffs where they may be at their most receptive—relaxing with a drink after work. NYLA didn’t break the rules by buying beverages for lawmakers…it simply provided a coaster for them.