June 25, 2017

New York City’s FY18 Budget Promises $110M for Libraries

In what New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the earliest budget agreement since 1992, on June 6 New York City Council voted to adopt the city’s FY18 budget, which will include $110 million for capital projects in libraries across the city, more than doubling capital library funding.

Federal Budget Compromise Keeps—and Boosts—IMLS Funding

UPDATE: Trump’s FY18 budget request to Congress, released May 23, proposes to cut nearly all funding for IMLS, NEA, NEH, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, among many severe cuts to social service and non-millitary domestic programs. The proposed budget would keep ten percent of IMLS’s budget for costs necessary to shut down the agency.

Public Outcry Saves Saskatchewan Library Funds

In an abrupt about-face, the provincial government of Saskatchewan, Canada, on April 24 restored every penny of the $4.8 million it had cut just a month earlier from public library funding as part of its 2017–18 budget. It was a reversal that elected officials admit was prompted by mounting public opposition to the cuts, spurred in part by a Facebook group that sprang up almost overnight to energize many grassroots protests.

Teach Library Politics: Missing and Neglected Content in LIS Programs | Blatant Berry

My alma mater, Boston’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, just asked me to complete a survey on what ought to be in its LIS curriculum. The survey’s hierarchy descended in priority from “core,” the things every graduate should have studied. There were five or six levels offered, but I only used the top three: “core,” “very important,” and “important.” The questions covered nearly everything I would have tried to fit into the crowded LIS curriculum.

Knight Foundation Issues Innovation Report, Grants

On March 30 the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (KF) announced the award of nearly $1 million to support five innovative library projects. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (CML), NC; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA; Peer 2 Peer University, Chicago; Richland Library, Columbia, SC; and Southwest Harbor Public Library, ME, each received between $35,000 and $250,000 to help realize a range of creative concepts addressing the digital information needs of their communities. Simultaneously, KF released a report, “Developing Clarity: Innovating in Library Systems,” examining opportunities and challenges within the lifecycle of library innovation.

Doing Fine(s)? | Fines & Fees

Fees and fines have traditionally been a fact of life for public libraries in America, even though a nonnegligible proportion of librarians and patrons have long considered fines at best an unpleasant hassle and at worst a serious barrier to access to resources for those unable to pay them. As many libraries continue to assess and overhaul their fine and fee structures, sponsored by Comprise Technologies, LJ surveyed a random selection of public librarians in January 2017 to learn about their libraries’ approaches to fines and fees. LJ received 454 responses.

Preliminary Budget Slashes Library, Arts, Culture, Education Agencies

President Donald Trump released his preliminary budget proposal for FY18 on March 16, revealing severe cuts across domestic government spending—which would include eliminating support for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports public television and radio, including PBS and NPR.

New Library Chapter of Awesome Foundation Accepting Grant Applications

The Innovation in Libraries chapter of The Awesome Foundation is currently accepting grant applications, with an April 15 deadline. Formed in 2009, The Awesome Foundation “is a global community advancing the interest of awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time.” Autonomous chapters operate on a local level by raising funds from community trustees that are then given as microloans to projects in the arts, technology, community development, or other sectors, deemed “awesome” according to that chapter’s own guidelines.

Douglas County Libraries Face Closure

The 11-branch Douglas County Library System (DCLS), OR, is facing closure later this spring after a ballot measure to create an independent tax district was defeated in the November 2016 election. Money provided by the tax district would have generated about $4 million a year; enough to meet the library’s funding needs. Since its rejection, DCLS is actively searching for alternatives to closure.

Finding Philanthropic Funding | BackTalk

As a librarian, I feel a deep fear of the direct threat to library funding posed by the new administration. However, as a philanthropy professional, I can’t help but feel some small amount of hope.