Though there aren’t a lot of whoops and cheers to be heard, a cautious optimism seems to describe the 2012 library budget landscape, according to LJ’s annual survey. Some 60 percent of libraries increased their funding, while 36 percent decreased it. Only four percent stayed the same.
On December 3rd, 2012, the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum Board of Trustees announced it would lay off its entire library, docent, and information technology staff, then “ask them to consider applying for the newly formed Athenaeum positions,” Bill Marshall, chair of the Athenaeum Board of Trustees, said in a letter.
It was a seismic move in the struggle to create a workable ebook access model for the users of America’s libraries. It was engineered by Joanne (Jo) Budler, the Kansas State Librarian, when she realized that an initial proposal in 2010 to renew the Kansas State Library (KSL) contract with OverDrive would increase administrative costs by some 700 percent over the next few years, as the state ebook deal was being restructured. Despite the risk of disrupting and even losing access to ebooks for the users of Kansas libraries, Budler rejected more than one proposal from OverDrive for a new contract until a year ago when she won the right to transfer titles from OverDrive to a new platform. The dispute set off a long (and public) national examination of library service agreements.
California State Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) introduced an amendment to the state constitution which would make it easier for local governments to raise funds for public libraries. The amendment would reduce the percentage of votes needed to pass such a measure from the two-thirds supermajority currently needed to 55 percent, though still more than a simple majority.
The most significant election news on November 6 happened in Multnomah County, Portland, OR. After a nearly 30-year struggle, the voters in Multnomah County decided by an overwhelming margin to create a permanent library district starting July 1, 2013.
I know library budget news can sometimes make eyes glaze; it often seems like the same story in a different place with different (shrinking) numbers.
We hear the word advocacy used a lot these days. And I have heard definitions of advocacy that are all over the board. Some people define advocacy as speaking up about the importance of a topic (such as libraries) to their friends, neighbors, and even strangers they may encounter. Others talk about advocacy as being a targeted public awareness effort. For purposes of this column, I will be referring to advocacy as a political process in which we speak to our elected officials about the importance of an issue and request specific action on their behalf such as increasing funding for the issue.
In an effort to benefit the Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) while showcasing the diverse men and women who promote library services to the state’s teens and children, the Youth Services Section of the MLA will soon begin selling the “Tattooed Youth Librarian Calendar.” To produce the calendar, sixteen models from libraries throughout the state participated in a September 16 photo shoot, produced by a local photographer on a volunteer basis.
Beginning October 15, the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) restored Monday and Wednesday evening and Friday morning hours at all 73 city libraries. The restoration represents a 15 percent increase in hours over 2011, according to LAPL Public Relations & Marketing Director Peter V. Persic. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, councilmembers, students, and recently appointed City Librarian [...]