I Love Libraries

Features

Small-town libraries struggling to keep up with technology 

A yellowing copy of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” has a much longer life span than the computer used to look up its location in the library.

For decades, American libraries served as a hub of timeless classics and new releases. But as technology has developed, so has the library's role. 

Books still dominate the shelves in libraries throughout the country, but patrons are seeking more than stories. In rural communities, 70.3 percent of libraries reported they are the only place that provides free Internet and computer access to their residents, according to a 2012 report from the Information Policy and Access Center at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Literary Landmark: Windmill at Stony Brook 

The windmill at the Southampton campus of Stony Brook University of New York was dedicated a Literary Landmark in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams (1911-1983).

The site was selected because playwright Williams spent the summer of 1957 living in the windmill and writing the experimental play “The Day on Which a Man Dies” in response to the death of his friend Jackson Pollock the summer before. 

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On libraries, Las Vegas and Elvis 

Who knew that Elvis was a convincing 3-D printer pitchman?

In late June, I attended the American Library Association meeting in Las Vegas along with 18,000 other library lovers – librarians, trustees, and library friends from public, private and academic libraries.

I went as a library trustee through a travel grant awarded by United for Libraries, a sub-group of library trustees, foundations, and “Friends.” I met library directors, staff, trustees, friends, and exhibitors of a wide array of goods and services and saw Elvis in action.

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Take Action

The American Library Association's Legislative Action Center

Who can be a library advocate?  Anyone who cares about America's libraries!  Library advocates play a key role in educating our communities about why libraries and librarians are essential in an information society.  Read more...


Mobile Commons

Mobile Commons allows ALA to send text messages to a mobile list.  From there, advocates can connect directly to their legislators simply by responding to the text.  Mobile Commons also enables ALA to post click-to-call alerts on our webpages.  The alert connects advocates, whether they're on the mobile list or not, to their legislator's office simply by entering their phone number on our page and clicking "call."  Read more...

Showcase

‘Agri-Terrorism’? Town’s Seed Library Shut Down 

A public library in small Pennsylvania town offered a new public resource for its patrons: a seed library. That is, until the state Department of Agriculture pulled the rug out from under the plan. 

Launched on April 26, the seed library at Mechanicsburg’s Joseph T. Simpson Public Library would have held. Its first seed trove, with help from the Cumberland County Commission for Women, came from Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving heirloom seeds.

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News

NYC libraries struggle to meet demand for ESL classes

The Bronx Library Center has become a hub of English instruction at a time when many of New York City’s public libraries are seeking to expand their language and literacy programs to better serve patrons who increasingly come from all over the world. The New York Public Library taught English to 4,398 people last year at 32 of its 88 neighborhood branches, including 16 in the Bronx alone. Library officials, who surveyed the participants about why they chose the library classes, reported finding that more than three-quarters said they simply had nowhere else to go....

New York Times, Aug. 6


Missouri libraries hit by budget squeeze

Missouri Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-controlled General Assembly are squabbling over a tax-break package passed last spring in Jefferson City. Nixon has restricted more than $1 billion from the state budget, including more than $6.6 million set aside for public libraries. One restriction freezes a $3.5 million state fund to help libraries with their operating expenses, and another freezes a $3.1 million fund for the Remote Electronic Access for Libraries program to help cover internet and technology costs. “This is huge and it will hurt,” said Joplin Public Library Director Jacque Gage (above)....

Joplin (Mo.) Globe, Aug. 12; KSNF-TV, Joplin, Aug. 9


LC acquires ballet theatre archives

American Ballet Theatre, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, has donated its archives, more than 50,000 items of visual and written documentation, to the Library of Congress. The collection will enhance and complement the library’s many other dance, theater, and music collections held in its Music Division, including the papers of composers Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Morton Gould; set designer Oliver Smith; and choreographer Bronislava Nijinska....

Library of Congress, Aug. 7


Fleas shut down Steinbeck library

The John Steinbeck branch of the Salinas (Calif.) Public Library closed for a week starting August 6 after patrons began complaining about out-of-control fleas in the facility. Fleas infest the carpeting and anything else made of cloth. The library’s successful Tuesday program where kids read to dogs might have brought in the unwelcome pests, which were successfully eliminated by August 12....

KSBW-TV, Salinas, Calif., Aug. 7; Monterey (Calif.) Herald, Aug. 12


 

Rare coins stolen from Australian library

Sydney police are hunting for a thief who stole $1 million worth of rare coins—including one that sold for $410,000 in 2012—during a brazen robbery at the State Library of New South Wales. State Librarian Alex Byrne said the thief broke into a coin case on the afternoon of August 6 and escaped with 12 coins, including examples of Australia’s earliest currency that Byrne said were “historically, extraordinarily important.” The coins, part of the library’s collection, were on exhibition in a secure locked case in a gallery at the library....

Sydney Morning Herald, Aug. 8


LC acquires ballet theatre archives


American Ballet Theatre, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, has donated its archives, more than 50,000 items of visual and written documentation, to the Library of Congress. The collection will enhance and complement the library’s many other dance, theater, and music collections held in its Music Division, including the papers of composers Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Morton Gould; set designer Oliver Smith; and choreographer Bronislava Nijinska....

Library of Congress, Aug. 7


Boston to trim its collections citywide

Boston Public Library administrators are disposing of up to 180,000 little-used volumes from shelves and archives of branches citywide by the end of the year. Library officials say the reductions help assure that patrons can comfortably sift through a modern selection that serves their needs. Library President Amy Ryan said some items slated for removal are either missing or duplicates. The library system continues to add 132,000 volumes to its overall collection each year....

Boston Globe, Aug. 8