The water surrounding Queens Public Library (QPL) President and CEO Thomas W. Galante just keeps getting hotter. In the weeks since the New York Daily News published a story detailing his $392,000 annual salary and the pricey renovations done to his office while QPL branches were suffering staff cuts, Galante has consistently denied any wrongdoing, even while other city officials call on him to step down from the post he has held since 2005.
THE One Book, One Community pick for 2013 at the Darien Library, CT, was David Benioff’s City of Thieves, in which the two main characters are charged to collect a dozen eggs in the starving city of Leningrad during the Nazi invasion. The penalty should they not complete this outrageous task is to forfeit their lives. As soon as I knew City of Thieves was the choice, I knew that we had to do a townwide scavenger hunt. It also seemed like a great opportunity to partner with and support local businesses.
Does your library offer a readers’ advisory (RA) service? If so, you’re in good company—and a lot of it! All of the public librarians who answered a survey recently developed by LJ with NoveList and the RUSA/CODES Readers’ Advisory Research and Trends Committee said that they conducted personal RA in-house. Methods varied, however.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) successfully appealed an October 2013 decision by the Institute for Museum and Library Science (IMLS), restoring $6.5 million in federal matching funds designated to support library activities across the Lone Star State.
For years, adults who had dropped out of high school had only one venue to prove that they’d mastered the same skills that a diploma reflects: passing the general educational development (GED) test. While it’s better than nothing, though, in practice, a GED is not a complete replacement for a diploma, since it’s treated as a lesser substitute by colleges and employers. Now, Gale Cengage Learning is partnering with the country’s first accredited online school district, Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE), to offer a way for adults to earn a full high school diploma through libraries across the nation: Career Online High School (COHS).
While much has been written about the role of academic libraries in supporting massive open online courses (MOOCs), the inclusion of MOOCs in a public library setting is largely unexplored territory. This past summer, the Ridgefield Library included a MOOC as part of its adult summer reading program. Based on this experience, the Ridgefield Library plans to continue as a meet-up destination for MOOCs as part of its mission to be “an intellectual and cultural center” and to support lifelong learning for all ages.
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.