Madison, Wisconsin’s struggling public access TV station, WYOU, has a new lease on life, courtesy Madison Public Library. The station, which has been limping along since a 2010 state law cut its funding, has been welcomed into the new Madison Central Library branch. Library staff and station volunteers described the new partnership as a win-win situation that lets the station eliminate its rent costs and take advantage of the library’s media lab and equipment, while the library gets a batch of potential new volunteers and media teachers with years of experience, and the chance to experiment with serving as an incubator for community-produced media.
Back in 1917, two librarians from the Missoula Public Library wanted to bring library service to the remote lumber camps that peppered Montana’s vast mining range. One of them, Ruth Worden, was from a very powerful Missoula family. When she brought the idea to the man in charge of the camps, Kenneth Ross, she didn’t know if it would work—if the lumberjacks would actually use the books—and neither did Ross. In fact, he expected they would not, notes a story in the Missoulian (ow.ly/qmqA0). But Ross felt he couldn’t say no to Worden, so packets of books started to arrive in the camp office in Bonner. A year later, 4,000 books had been checked out—and the case was made.
A recent defeat in Tennessee Supreme Court ended any chance that photo identification cards issued by the Memphis Public Library can be used as voter ID—at least for now. But Memphis City Attorney Herman Morris says the yearlong legal battle produced at least one significant victory, and hinted at future challenges to the state law.
As states across the nation tighten their belts, library budgets have landed on the chopping block more frequently in the past few years. This year, The Institute for Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) received eight requests for Maintenance of Effort (MOE) waivers that would let states continue to receive previously approved matching grants through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) even though the funds they’re intended to match will not be provided. That’s more than the IMLS has received in any year since the financial downturn of 2008. Of the eight applicants, only three—Hawaii, Oklahoma, and South Carolina—were awarded waivers. The remaining five states—Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, and Texas—stand to lose federal funding as state legislatures fail to live up to their end of the LSTA grant agreements, which are meant to supplement state spending on library programs, rather than supplant it.
Last month, Colorado was inundated by rains that caused unprecedented flooding throughout the state, damaging or destroying more than 19,000 homes and claiming eight lives. Weeks later, recovery crews are still trying to return the state to a sense of normalcy, as libraries try to provide needed services to residents while also working to restore damage to some of their own facilities.
After late night wrangling failed to produce a short term spending bill that could pass both the Senate and House of Representatives, the U.S. federal government has shut down for the first time in nearly two decades. As of this morning, federal agencies that support the mission of libraries around the country — from the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences to the Library of Congress have found themselves forced to close their doors and furlough the majority of their staffers.
Helping patrons to fill out immigration paperwork is an increasingly important need for the community in Hartford, CT. The Hartford Public Library (HPL) is just across the street from the United States Citizenship and Immigration services office, making HPL a common destination for immigrants who need computer access to bring up information and fill out online forms—access they often don’t have at home. To ensure that HPL staff can serve the needs of this community, HPL has become the first public library in America to have staff members accredited by the Bureau of Immigrant Appeals (BIA), so they can assist immigrants with the often confusing paperwork and online forms they need to fill out to get on—and stay on—the path to permanent U.S. citizenship.
Two library service prototyping spaces, in two very different places, have a remarkable amount in common. Nate Hill runs and operates the 4th Floor in Chattanooga, a large public library loft space operating as a flexible community makerspace and event space. Jeff Goldenson co-ran and operated Labrary, a 37-day design experiment occupying a vacant storefront in Cambridge.
If you’re an academic librarian, you’re probably already awash, at least peripherally, in news about MOOCs—massive open online courses have been touted as the next big thing in higher ed since they burst on the scene about a year ago. If you’re a public librarian, on the other hand, you may not even have heard of them. Yet MOOCs are bringing unprecedented challenges and opportunities to both kinds of libraries already, and they’re only going to grow.
500 gamers gathered to connect to the future through the riches of the past via the tools of today They came wearing bowties and fancy hats, skinny jeans and peasant blouses. They came armed with smartphones, tablets, and laptops. On the evening of Friday, May 20, 500 young adults gathered at the New York Public Library [...]