CT-VTlogoOther than the proximity of the two New England states, the library systems of Connecticut and Vermont don’t have much in common. They don’t share similar funding arrangements or infrastructure. But both states are facing potential budget reductions that could significantly impact their public libraries, and both have called on residents and legislators alike to speak up for their library services.
In February 2015, Rebecca Stavick was appointed executive director of Omaha’s first digital library, the newly-named Do Space, scheduled to launch in November. The new role is a logical bridge between Stavick’s previous five years as staff development specialist at Omaha Public Library (OPL) and her work as cofounder of Open Nebraska, which she describes as “a citizen-led civic hacking organization dedicated to solving community problems through civic application development, open data advocacy, and tech education.”
On March 2, Michelle Jeske stepped into her new role as Denver Public Library (DPL) city librarian. Physically, she did not have far to go: Jeske had already been working at DPL since 2001, most recently as the director of collections, technology, and innovation on the library’s executive team. Previously Jeske—a 2005 LJ Mover & Shaker—served as manager of DPL’s web information services and its community technology center. But while her new job will not involve any major changes of scenery, moving into the position vacated by Shirley Amore—who retired after serving as city librarian for nearly nine years—promises to give Jeske a panoramic view of Denver’s thriving and robust public library system, and the opportunity to bring about some exciting changes to the landscape.
The Pew Research Center’s latest report taken from its 2013 Library Services Survey focuses on Public Libraries and Hispanics, examining usage patterns and attitudes among the United States Hispanic population age 16 and older. While the findings identify some differences between Latinos and their White [non-Hispanic] and African American counterparts, the greatest discrepancies lie between native-born Hispanics—those born within the 50 states or Puerto Rico—and immigrants.
New Orleans residents will go to the polls on May 2 to vote on a proposed new library millage which, if adopted, would pump an additional $8.25 million annually into a system that officials say is underfunded and barely holding the line on current services thanks to a reserve fund that will run dry in 2016.
With the help of a Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) Innovation Program grant awarded in February, the Carson City Library (CCL), NV, will become the first library in the country to offer an entry-level certificate for workers entering careers in advanced manufacturing. The funding covers the cost of a Manufacturing Technician Level 1 (MT1) certified instructor within the library, as well as two instructors at the nearby Carson City campus of Western Nevada College (WNC). The courses will run concurrently at both institutions.
The University of Wisconsin–Madison (UWM) is offering a new four-week massive open online course (MOOC) on Changing Weather and Climate in the Great Lakes Region. What’s different about this endeavor, besides the strong local interest angle, is that the university, in coordination with Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS), is partnering with 21 public libraries across the state. The collaborative venture will share scientific information about global warming via video, readings, an online discussion board, and quizzes, as well as in-person discussions at the libraries with scientists, staff, and graduate students from UWM, the National Weather Service, and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
On January 5 Vickery Bowles became Toronto’s newest city librarian. Bowles has been with the Toronto Public Library (TPL) for 32 years, most recently as director of collections management and citywide services, and will now oversee one of the world’s busiest library systems, with 99 (soon to be 100) branches, some 2,000 employees, and 10 million items in its collections.
Eager to promote strategic priorities for 2015, officials for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) trained a spotlight on the various federal funding resources available through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) during a recent American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter session in Chicago. At a talk entitled, “All Eyes on IMLS: Funding Priorities and Reauthorization,” IMLS Acting Director Maura Marx and Robin Dale, the associate deputy director for state programs, outlined the scope and focus of LSTA’s grants to states and other discretionary spending for libraries.