April 20, 2018

Feedback: Letters to LJ, May 15, 2016 Issue

“In this North Carolina town, we are lucky to have many other public institutions and entities helping move forward as well”

Chapel Hill’s welcome

When HB2 was passed, the Chapel Hill, NC, Town Council, with many other local governments, call[ed] for the repeal of the measure (Rebecca T. Miller, Defending Inclusion). The Chapel Hill Public Library, led by our teen engagement coordinator and marketing and communications manager, seized the opportunity to publicly reaffirm our commitment to diversity. They created a compelling message and image that is now posted in nearly every town facility, from parks and rec to public works. Here’s a link to the image for anyone to use. It’s true that libraries are the key to moving forward toward a more inclusive society, and in this [North Carolina] town, we are lucky to have many other public institutions and entities helping move forward as well.

—Susan Brown, Dir., Chapel Hill P.L., NC

Why not Orlando?

[The American Library Association] has taken a strong stand against North Carolina and HB2 but punted for this year’s annual in “Stand Your Ground” Orlando (Rebecca T. Miller, Defending Inclusion). Too expensive, they said, when the calls came to change the venue away from Orlando to a non-shooty state. Do LGBT bathroom issues take precedence over dead minorities? It sure looks that way.

—Name withheld

Conservatives don’t care

UK public libraries are having a difficult time. Over the decade (2005–15) visits to UK public libraries declined 25 percent, expenditures declined 20 percent, staff numbers were 34 percent down, and professional staff numbers declined a massive 58 percent (Rebecca T. Miller, In Solidarity: Standing with UK Libraries). Cuts are likely to continue until at least 2019. The Conservative government isn’t bothered. Prime Minister [David] Cameron never mentions or visits public libraries. Contrast this with the interest in education and libraries shown by President [Barack] Obama.

I am a volunteer who helps out at a UK volunteer library…. I can’t agree with [­CILIP’s Nick] Poole’s assertion about “maintaining [volunteer-run] opening hours at the expense of professional roles.” Poole needs to be reminded that volunteers are keeping many small UK libraries open because the library professionals, who manage library services, have failed to come up with anything better. The public rightly values the accessibility and community benefit that small libraries bring. The public gets this even if Poole and the UK professional librarians body CILIP don’t.

—Name withheld

Floating impacts

Noel Rutherford’s To Float or Not To Float mirrors some of the impacts we are seeing in my large, urban/suburban library system. Floating has kept the libraries in our higher-income communities well stocked with materials while impoverishing our lower-income libraries. We’ve tried to balance this with collection maintenance techniques, but improvements are short-lived. We experimented with refreshing our more popular collections (African American fiction, true crime, etc.) by “shopping” at more affluent branches, then studied what ­happened. At first we were encouraged to see higher circulation from the added materials. However, after one or two circulations the items began floating away.

We soon learned that items were most at risk when they were checked in, since checking an item in exposes it to the reserve queue. Even though we were near the bottom of the line of branches getting assigned holds requests, popular items were at high risk of being nabbed because they were checked out more and therefore checked in more. We have yet to find a solution to being a losing branch, but we are exploring protecting targeted areas of our collection from floating…if it is technically feasible and practical.

—Name withheld

Can’t move up

Very well said (Kenneth D. “Woody” Evans, “Librarians Need Global Credentials,” BackTalk, LJ 4/1/16, p. 54)! I have the degree (CILIP accredited), but since I am not a Westerner, moving and going up the career ladder is quite challenging and sometimes seems to be impossible! Thank you for the amazing and accurate article!

—Name withheld


The sf/fantasy review of Joe Hill’s The Fireman (LJ 2/15/16, p. 80) states that this is the author’s sophomore effort. In fact, it is Hill’s fourth novel. In the same section, Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway (p. 77) was intended to receive a star. Missing from the review of Joa Studholme and Charlotte Cosby’s Farrow & Ball How To Decorate (Crafts & DIY, LJ 5/1/16, p. 73) is the final part of the Verdict, which should read “…the color combinations displayed furnish a wealth of decorating ideas.” The review of Kim Dower’s Last Train to the Missing Planet (LJ 4/15/16, p. 89) incorrectly credits the University of Iowa as publisher. Red Hen released Dower’s third collection. LJ regrets the errors.

This article was published in Library Journal's May 15, 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.