07 December 2009

Biblioball 2009: Baby, It's Cold Outside

It finally is cold outside! The Desk Set is throwing a lavish, entertainment-filled winter formal this Friday, December 11th at The Bell House. Where else can you score free happy hour whiskey and winter ale (8-9 pm), watch a lady on her flying trapeze, win a fabulous raffle prize, hear tons of live music, and dance the night away? Plus: foot juggling, food, portraits (both photographic and illustrated), and more librarians than you can shake a stick at.

Proceeds from this carnival of delights will be donated to Literacy for Incarcerated Teens. Tickets are $20 in advance/$25 at the door and all kinds of worth it.

See you there!

Biblioball 2009 from Desk Set on Vimeo.

P.S. Please don't shake sticks at librarians, just dance with one!

05 December 2009

Terrible Things Now Underway

Nancy Pearl: the librarian's golden calf? Discuss. Or just go watch her daughter take the stage this month in Terrible Things. Here are all the relevant details, including special promo pricing for the librarian community. And if you attend a performance, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Science Tuesday meets Oklahoma angst as Lisa D'Amour and Katie Pearl flip P.S. 122 into a low-rent IMAX and get up close and in between molecules, quarks and memories. Have you ever wondered if all those lives you've imagined yourself living are actually happening in a parallel world(s)? Terrible Things takes audiences on a T-R-I-P inside the many lives of Katie Pearl and her action-figure literary mom, NANCY PEARL. Expect an in-your-body out-of-body experience shaped by Katie Pearl, three killer dancers: Emily Johnson, Morgan Thorson, and Karen Sherman, two Brazilian Jiu Jitsu wrestlers, and 1000 marshmallows. Featuring the choreography of Emily Johnson.

Here is a special discount code that you can use and pass along to your friends to get a special ticket price (normally $20)*:

$15 Single tickets with code BOOK15
2-for-1 tickets with code BOOK241

You just enter this code when you purchase your tickets here: https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/203/1259712000000.


Fri, Dec 4 - Sun, Dec 20
Thu - Sat 8pm, Sun 6pm
Late shows: Sat, Dec 12/Fri, Dec 18/Sat, Dec 19 10 pm
Additional shows Mon, Dec 14 + Wed, Dec 16 8pm
No show Thu, Dec 17

150 1st Avenue @ East 9th Street, NYC

"Next time D'Amour and Pearl bring their enchanting work to town be sure to take it in." - John del Signore, The Gothamist

"The collaborative team of playwright Lisa D'Amour and director Katie Pearl make beguiling, innovative theatre pieces." - American Theater Magazine


*Restrictions apply - May be discontinued at any time, may not be applied to past sales or combined with other offers.

23 November 2009

Happy Birthday, Me

Shelved @ NYC quietly celebrated its first birthday last week. Say what? Yeah, I almost don't believe it myself. The shock is so great, in fact, that I'm off to Mexico to catch my breath. Keep it real in the City, turkeys; a tanned and blissed-out Shelved will be back in December.

19 November 2009

LeClerc Announces Retirement

At yesterday's New York Public Library Board of Trustees meeting, President Paul LeClerc revealed his intention to relinquish leadership in the summer of 2011. The early announcement gives the search committee plenty of time to find a suitable replacement.

16 November 2009

Embrace Your Independents

We're already two days into Independent Bookstore Week! All ears open to the music of language, from now through Saturday, the 21st. Brokelyn highlights some of the sassier, Brooklyn-ier offerings of this first annual installment, brought to you by the Independent Booksellers of New York City.

13 November 2009

Mid-Year Budget Crisis Threatens Library Funding

New York legislators are set to work overtime next week to reduce the State's $3.2 billion budget deficit. Governor Patterson's proposed plan includes a $3.4 million cut to Library Aid, a reduction that has public library advocates justifiably concerned. Despite New York Library Association's compelling testimony at the November 5th Senate Budget Hearing, the final outcome appears grim. Brooklyn Public Library and others urge you to contact your State Representatives and express your opposition. Time is short!

12 November 2009

Growl or Purr: NYPL Redesigns Logo

New York Public Library's stately lion logo is being replaced with a "more modern and digital-friendly image."

Out with the old:
In with the new:Better? Worse? I'm wondering how much it will cost to print new signs, banners, handouts, etc. for every single branch. But no matter. NYPL made this little video to get you all excited about the change:

03 November 2009

Student Suicide at NYU's Bobst Library

A New York University student, Andrew Williamson-Noble, committed suicide in Bobst Library at 4:30 this morning. He died after throwing himself from the 10th floor into the central atrium below. (Read NYU President John Sexton's community-wide email in the Huffington Post.)

After a spate of suicides earlier this decade, NYU erected 8-foot plexiglass barriers along the atrium-side of the library's stairwells and corridors to prevent further attempts. I work in Bobst Library and can attest that it is one depressing, vertiginous folly. Thanks, Philip Johnson. I'm not being glib. Nothing about Bobst's design inspires scholarship or contemplation. It's uncomfortable, physically and psychically. Perhaps these reflections have no bearing on this sad story, but they're worth pondering.

28 October 2009

November Confesses to All Kinds of Terrible Things

My second least favorite month is nearly upon us. (February's the hands-down worst, no contest!) If you're equally disenchanted by the end of Daylight Savings and November's general gloom, distract yourself with this, that, or the other:

26 October 2009

The McNally Jackson Halloween Embarrassment

From the lovely ladies of the Desk Set:

The Desk Set is delighted to be helping out our friends at McNally Jackson for their Halloween happy hour costume party The McNally Jackson Halloween Embarrassment.

Here’s your chance to bust out, dust off and iron up your old Lizzy Bennet gown, stick a red felt A on your chest, or throw on some round specs and a striped scarf. Enjoy some tunes, some drinks, and some bookstore ambiance as you show off your clever costume. What’s that? You’ve already made plans for Halloween? Well, make McNally Jackson your first stop: festivities start at 7:00, costume contest is at 8:00, and you’ll be on your way to whatever debauchery awaits by 9:00.

Two more terrific things about this party: Esther K. Smith will teach you how to make some badly needed cootie catchers, and you can purchase paperbacks from the Books Through Bars wishlist to donate while you party.

Here are the details as supplied by McNally Jackson:

The McNally Jackson Halloween Embarrassment

You’re a nerd. And not just a little nerd either, no, you’re a nerd of magnificent proportions. You love books so much that you’re not satisfied just reading books shamefully in the privacy of your home, no, you have to read them on trains, buses, in restaurants. It’s embarrassing.
Not only that, but you think about books all day, you talk about them. When you walk down the street, when you kiss your children goodnight, you are a book nerd even then, in your heart.
You should be ashamed but you’re not. No, you celebrate your nerd-dom, you revel in it. Then, on Halloween, otherwise known as Nerdmas, you take to the streets. You wear your nerd heart on your nerd sleeve and dance (poorly) and sing (poorly). You let the nerd all hang out.
And somehow society just lets this happen? People don’t flee; indeed, some join in with you! You form roving nerd troupes, carnivals of embarrassment and glee!

You, dear reader, are invited.

This Halloween we hope book nerds of all sorts will join us to act like damned costumed fools amid our stacks. With a little help from the nerdy librarians of the Desk Set, we’re hosting our annual Halloween party, and that means it’s time to dust off your spats and clichés, grab those fangs and poorly executed allegories. We’re inviting all attendees to draw on their bookish lore to dress up as a favorite character. Or theme. Or setting? Even a title will do. Anyhow, we expect you to impress us with your book-themed costume. Uncostumed book nerds are welcome, too, they just won’t have a shot to win fabulous prizes.

We’ll begin with a horror reading at 7:00, followed by music and drinks. At 8:00 we’ll host our costume contest, with a panel of judges rating your getup for execution, originality and enthusiasm.

We’ll have plenty of other ways for you to embarrass yourselves, too, including:
*a scary voice contest
*papercrafts with our neighborhood paper wizard Esther Smith
*charity book donations (kindness is embarrassing, isn’t it?)
*and plenty of opportunities to indulge your embarrassing love for sweets

The party is open to the public: no fee or reservation required. All we want is your nerdy nerdy self.
Note however, that this party is for fully-grown nerds. Younger party-goers are welcome to our kid’s Halloween celebration from noon to 2.

McNally Jackson, 52 Prince St.
(b/t Lafayette & Mulberry)
New York, NY 10012

October 31, 2009

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

19 October 2009

ILS Developments at Queens and Brooklyn & 2CUL for Two Schools

For tech services librarians, nothing beats getting screwed over by your ILS vendor. Queens Library's recent trouble with SirsiDynix was the subject of a Library Journal article a couple weeks ago. According to QL, they chose to migrate to Dynix's Horizon system based on promises of aggressive product development. Once Dynix merged with Sirsi, however, those promises were rescinded. Queens is now suing their erstwhile vendor, charging breach of contract, breach of guaranty, and fraud. They've since migrated to VTLS' Virtua system.

Further catalog news: Brooklyn Public Library announced improvements to their public interface, touting hold freezes, online fine payments, and a book-rating system amongst their catalog's new features.

Finally, Columbia and Cornell announced their intention to pool resources in their collection development, acquisitions, and processing operations. The project -- dubbed 2CUL -- is buoyed by a $385,000 Mellon grant. From the press release:
The two universities will form a separate service entity to facilitate the collaboration. Ithaka, a not-for-profit organization that assists research libraries and the academic community to leverage advancing information technologies, will provide project management and assist in the planning. Initial work will focus on several global collecting areas, as well as collaborative funding and support of technical infrastructure in various areas.
Yes, 2CUL is pronounced "too cool." No, the powers that be don't realize this is a laughable, supremely uncool name. Best of luck though.

05 October 2009

Take the Field: Trips, Week of Oct. 5, 2009

I'm not sure how anyone can concentrate on librarianship with the sweet promise of postseason baseball just days away. If your priorities don't include pennants and pinch runners, you have my pity...and freedom to attend these bookish events:
  • Oct. 6: Sneak a peek at Jewish Theological Seminary's incredible library; then make your way downtown to help plan next year's Anarchist Book Fair.
  • Oct. 7: Go deep inside The Strand with METRO. You'll "learn how books are processed, how rare books are selected and hear how librarians can purchase books for their libraries and themselves."
  • Oct. 9-11: Rutgers delivers the Mobile Communication and Social Policy Conference, a weekend-long affair of potential interest to the media-savvy, globally-minded librarian.
  • Oct. 10: Do you like to read stuff and then talk about it...at a bar? No heavy tomes to struggle through for this reading group's Saturday meeting at Flannery's.
Remember to check the right-hand calendar for additional excursions.

02 October 2009

Weekend Field Trips: Banned Books Week Ends, October Begins

Have you checked out the Shelved @ NYC calendar for October? The number of conferences, classes, library tours, and other events is borderline scary, but in that pre-Halloween, embrace-the-foreboding kinda way. Here are some things happening THIS WEEKEND that won't harm your psyche or pilfer your wallet (badly):
  • The Contemporary Artists Book Conference is in residence at P.S.1. The sessions started today, but there are three more for you to catch tomorrow (on print-on-demand, zines, and a stellar keynote conversation).
  • Here's the buzz: Pratt SILSSA is taking Banned Books Week seriously. Bee a part of the Librarian Swarm at Union Square this Saturday afternoon.
  • Flickr Commons fans should head to the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday night for Common Ground, "a beautiful nighttime parade of images gathered and transmitted from the global Commons network, meet staff from Brooklyn and NYPL, get your hands on some cool Flickr schwag and enjoy the surrounding First Saturday festivities."

29 September 2009

Poetry's New Cathedral on the Hudson

Congratulations Poets House! As reported by Library Journal, the 24 year-old poetry library and education center has successfully moved from its cramped Soho digs to "a stunning new location in Battery Park City in lower Manhattan, in a LEED Gold-certified building, with huge windows overlooking the Hudson River." (For a more detailed description of the space, check out this NY Times article.) Their grand opening celebration took place over the weekend, while regular library and reading room hours recommenced today.

"Throughout its transformations, the heart of Poets House has remained its poetry collection," their website states. "With over 50,000 volumes of poetry—including books, journals, chapbooks, audio and video tapes, and digital media—our collection is among the most comprehensive, open-access collections of poetry in the United States and is the foundation for all our programs and services."

And speaking of programs and services, Poets House will host its annual Poetry in the Branches (PITB) National Institute the weekend of November 6-7. The PITB program works with NYC's public libraries to increase patron exposure to poetry via workshops, readings, improved collection development, and librarian training.

22 September 2009

A Branch Library Grows in Brooklyn

[Re-posted from Lower East Side Librarian]

A new alternative library grows in Brooklyn: the Branch Library in Clinton Hill is a project driven primarily by designers I believe, but they were respectful enough of the library profession to talk to some librarians, including the NYC Radical Reference collective. They'll be open the next 8 Sundays (and they hope beyond) from 1-5 in an unused parking lot on the corner of Myrtle and Clinton.

It may be some librarians' immediate reaction to be defensive, critical, or even angry at these amateur upstarts, but I think we'd be smarter to embrace, encourage, and advise them (when asked). I love their community centric approach. Jerome Chou, one of the group's core members, described how they're letting patrons design the library at our last Rad Ref meeting.


Click to continue reading Jenna's post!


And if you'd like to volunteer or donate supplies (and books!), please contact Jerome at librarybranch@gmail.com.

15 September 2009

Mid-Manhattan Gets Caffeinated

Check out these pics of Mid-Manhattan Library, taken over by Tim Hortons yesterday. It's corporate sponsorship gone wild! Here's my fave:

[Photo by Don Pollard]

14 September 2009

NYPL Announces Longer Hours and Free Timbits (Today!)

To think that just three months ago threats to library funding had New York Public Library officials forecasting severe service cuts, with branches opening a mere 4 days per week. Today, NYPL announced expanded hours at 10 libraries in The Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Mid-Manhattan can now boast 88 hours of service per week, including stints from 8am-11pm, Monday through Thursday. To celebrate, their Cover-to-Cover Café is offering free Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts all day TODAY.

Will Queens Library join its sister systems in extending opening times? The 2009 Library of the Year has maintained Sunday service at its Central Library and Kew Gardens Hills branch, and the South Hollis branch re-opened last week after six months of renovations.

10 September 2009

BPL Restores Scraps of Sunday Service & So Much More

Um, hello! I've been clinging to the waning summer, ignoring responsibilities left and right. (This blog is on the left, of course. To the right: bills, toilet-cleaning, passport renewal.) So now that the school year has begun and the days of sun and make believe are over, here's a run-down of the library newsie events of the past few weeks.
  • Brokelyn reported on a do-it-yourself library project called, simply, Branch. According to their bare-bones website, "Branch is a community design and planning project to create a temporary public space on Sundays that will offer books and computer usage, as well as performances and workshops. Branch will be free and open to the public." They opened last Sunday in the Citibank parking lot on the corner of Myrtle and Clinton, and will reappear each week through the end of November. A fundraiser is scheduled for the 16th (see calendar at left).
  • Not to rain on Branch's static, parking lot parade, but Brooklyn Public Library's Sunday service is back! Kind of. The Central and Kings Highway libraries will open year-round starting September 13, while Sunday access to the McKinley Park and Borough Park branches will be limited to the school year. Sixteen additional branches have extended their evening service to twice weekly.
  • The BPL's Park Slope branch will close for renovations sometime this fall (date TBA). Work to improve the library's handicapped accessibility will take anywhere from one to two years. The infamous mommy brigade can't be pleased, but Fucked in Park Slope is looking on the bright (dark)side.
  • Sony debuted its Daily Edition touchscreen ebook reader on August 25 at New York Public Library on 42nd Street. It goes on sale in December for $399. NYPL worked with Sony to expand its selection of ebooks, all of which will be downloadable to any brand of ereader or appropriate electronic device.
  • City Room asked straphangers "What was the last book, magazine and newspaper you read on the subway?" The results seem surprisingly erudite...until you realize that the 8,000 respondents are all NY Times readers, and self-selected ones at that.
  • The Brooklyn Book Festival is coming to Borough Hall this Sunday. With over 200 authors expected, you'll need to prioritize! Check out Brooklyn Based's game plan for hitting the best of the best.

24 August 2009

BPL Publishes, Then Retracts, Tintin Response

Brooklyn Public Library sequestered Tintin and the world continues to be scandalized. From the Bay Ridge blogosphere to the French literary press, everyone's picking up the story. Amidst the hubbub, BPL's No Shush Zone responded to the growing criticism, but their August 22nd post has since been taken down (shushed!). Here it is, saved from the brink of virtual obsolescence by my handy feed reader:

Hi All-

We know there's been a lot of chatter on the web about the NY Times piece about Tintin Au Congo, and we love the good-natured discussion, and the heated debates. But we've also seen some facts we'd like to correct, so please read on.

Our special collections -- such as the Hunt Collection and the Brooklyn Collection -- are areas at Central Library in which we offer and store rare, irreplaceable and delicate materials.

Tintin au Congo was relocated to the Hunt Collection at Central Library about three years ago after it was determined by a committee that reviews book challenges to have content that is questionable for children. Yes, the Hunt Collection is a vaulted room, but not for "offensive" or "banned" books, but a special collection that consists of approximately 7,000 juvenile books, pamphlets, and periodicals dating back to the 1740s and concluding with materials published in the 1950s, including some first editions. Included are classic children’s literary texts, special limited and illustrated editions and books written and/or illustrated by people affiliated with Brooklyn. So the titles kept here are often out of print, rare and of historical significance; this special collection was appraised at over $400,000. Tintin Au Congo fits into the collection perfectly as a rare title of historical significance that needs safekeeping.

So now Tintin au Congo lives in a room in Central Library with other priceless works so we can keep it safe… as well as keep it close at hand in case an interested customer wants to view it. This title -- as well as others in the Hunt Collection -- is listed in our catalog as a title available to the public, and is viewable by appointment.

BPL will also offer tours of the Hunt Collection as part of Open House NYC. More information on those tours will be available in mid-September.

I agree that a "rare title of historical significance" ought to be housed in a special collection. And I'm quite fond of the Hunt Collection -- I cataloged a portion of it during my library school internship at BPL back in 2003. However, Tintin au Congo wasn't removed from circulation due to preservation concerns, but for it's "questionable" content.

As Michael Meyers of the New York Civil Rights Coalition writes in a recent NY Daily News op-ed, "Banishing of books is bad form and bad library science, and if it catches on all that will pass for acceptable and available reading for children and adults alike will amount to pabulum and the homogenized opinions approved by the self-righteous among us who always think - and are so sure they know - what's good and what's bad for the rest of us."

22 August 2009

The Brooklyn Public Library Layoff Debacle

Yesterday, the Daily News reported that Brooklyn Public Library laid off 13 non-union employees to alleviate a portion of its $5.5 million budget shortfall. This news comes rather late; the terminations took place back on July 6. There has, however, been some not-so-local media coverage of this story that's been brewing for nearly two weeks.

On August 9, the Washington Post profiled the career-coaching and outplacement firm Five O'Clock Club in a lengthy article entitled "The Art of Letting Employees Go." Turns out, Brooklyn Public Library hired these downsizing specialists to assist with their layoff process and Post reporter Eli Saslow went along for the ride. His article includes some rather specific descriptions of the effected employees, even noting their client numbers with Five O'Clock Club. Big mistake.

Presumably, complaints by the 13 staffers and/or their still-employed colleagues were severe enough to warrant a flurry of apologies, accusations, and denials by BPL execs, Five O'Clock Club, and the Post. Library Journal deftly outlines the situation in this article which, in turn, elicited this response by the Post's ombudsman. Not only did Saslow all but identify the laid off employees by name, he may have added too much "color" to his story:
Contrary to Saslow’s description of Hall gulping two Tylenol, [Club president Kate] Wendleton said: “Kim does not pop Tylenol – ever.” She denied Saslow’s claim that Club employees get bonuses “almost every month.” She even denied his description of their offices being located “across from a laundry room where tenants come and go in their pajamas.”
He said, she said! All finger-pointing aside, I think journalists ought to remember that librarians take privacy issues quite seriously.

19 August 2009

Challenging Tintin

With Brooklyn Public Library's decision to move Tintin au Congo into the Hunt Collection as its point of departure, City Room considers how local libraries respond to challenged books. The reading public has been quick to jump into the censorship in libraries debate, with 237 comments and counting. Have you weighed in?

18 August 2009

Midtown Lunch: Bites of NYPL's Future and Past

Seems there's no news but NYPL news these doggone summer days. I've no doubt other libraries will pick up the slack come September, but for now:

Ann Thornton has been named
interim Director of the New York Public Libraries, after previous Director David Ferriero was chosen, hand-of-Obama-style, as the latest Archivist of the United States.

Following last month's revelation that work on a new Donnell Library won't begin until 2011 (if ever), the NY Times Real Estate section recently featured an architectural examination of the shuttered, beloved NYPL branch. It seems a small group of preservationists have been lobbying the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Donnell's behalf. Not everyone is convinced.

The new Donnell had a facade of Spartan simplicity, about as warm as a jail cell. ... Writing in his column in The New Yorker in 1956, Lewis Mumford likened it to the careful, ordered facade of a high Renaissance palazzo, but one “cleansed of ornament.” For Mumford that was not necessarily a negative, but he found the “cheerless” Donnell a design of “assiduous anonymity.” The library, he wrote, “has very little to say, and is content with not saying it.”

Later, the reporter likens Donnell to boiled spinach, then quips, "however, that has never been a disqualifier for landmark status."

07 August 2009

Donnell Deal Details & Conserving Local Archival Collections

Library Journal's recent update on the Donnell Library boondoggle reveals new details about New York Public Library's deal with Orient-Express Hotels. In short, the hotel chain has paid NYPL an additional $9 million in recompense for a two-year project delay. Commenting on the article, RitaSue Siegel writes: "At a meeting at the City Council office LeClerc and the COO of the NYPL told a small group of us from the West 54-55 Street Block Association, representatives of CB5 and the liaison people from all the electeds that there will be a $30 million penalty paid to the NYPL by OE if OE does not break ground for the hotel with a library in it in 2011."

Yesterday's NY Times featured an informative article about paper conservation projects at the American Jewish Historical Society, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the New York Historical Society, all funded by Save America's Treasures.

30 July 2009

NYPL Director Ferriero to Head NARA

If President Obama's nomination goes through, New York Public Library's David S. Ferriero will head to the Beltway to become the United States Archivist, chief of the National Archives and Records Administration. NARA has been leaderless since December. Now, who will Paul LeClerc choose as NYPL's next "Andrew W. Mellon Director and Chief Executive of The Research Libraries"?

29 July 2009

With Clock Ticking on Buttenwieser Library, Patrons Protest

The 92nd St. Y's Buttenwieser Library will likely close its doors for the final time this Friday, much to the chagrin of long-time patrons, community members, and library lovers. A protest held on Monday evening drew a small but vocal crowd and strong interest from passers-by, 340 of whom signed a petition urging the Y's administration to keep the library intact. During the protest, Stephanie Gross, founder of NY Librarians MeetUp, interviewed former Buttenwieser librarian Anna Culbertson, along with others infuriated by the Y's abrupt and ill-advised decision. Listen right here.

27 July 2009

TODAY: Protest at the 92nd St. Y

Via friends at Urban Librarians Unite:

Currently the management of the 92Y wants to shut down the Buttenwieser Library, an independent community library that has been in existence for more than 80 years. The space is being taken for office space and the library will be replaced with a "reading room" and Wi-Fi. This is a clear refutation of the library as relevant social agent and a complete kick in the teeth to the people in the neighborhood who rely on it.

Join activists and librarians for a demonstration at the 92 St Y at 1395 Lexington Avenue on Monday (TODAY) from 6-8.

There's also an online petition. Please sign!

Don't let anyone make us irrelevant! Save the community library for the sake of the community!

21 July 2009

When Public Officials Overreact & Other Newsbreaks

So much for summer's reputation as a slow news season. There's been NYC library coverage aplenty over the last week. Let's break it down.

New York Public Library finally dropped the layoff bomb and it wasn't all that painful. Sixty-five positions have been eliminated, but 120 "restructured" positions have been created thanks to a large (but unknown) number of vacancies yielded by employees who accepted "voluntary separation incentives." Those 65 affected library staffers get first dibs on the 120 new positions.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind called on Brooklyn Public Library to ban all VHS tapes after a Borough Park granny discovered porn spliced into the ending credits of the copy of Austin Powers she'd borrowed for her grandkids. The perpetrator had already been arrested for the crime, and 18 similarly modified tapes were found during BPL's internal investigation.

NYPL's 42nd Street building opened the Edna Barnes Salomon Room as a study space, featuring seating for 128 patrons, Wi-Fi, and loaner laptops (available starting July 28). The Salomon Room was formerly used for exhibitions.

And in a final piece of NYPL news, the recently-launched, totally new-fangled Catalog appears to be running smoothly.

15 July 2009

Library Deathwatch: 92nd Street Y

The 92nd Street Y's Buttenwieser Library will close at the end of the month, 79 years after first opening its doors. The Library's 30,000 books will be dispersed throughout the building and a small, Wi-Fi equipped reading room is planned for the ground level. Job cuts are certain.

I learned of the impending closure last week from this strangely-focused and generally maddening City Room article. I love City Room, but sometimes their quest for quantity and speed triumphs over quality. In this case, the writer interviewed the Y's executive director, a patron, and a Yeshiva University professor, but no Buttenwieser librarians. Then there's his decision to frame the article with some mallarcky about Homer and e-books, culminating in this spurious conclusion: "...the community center’s transition to a more computer-centric model is emblematic of the sometimes painful merger of the analog and digital worlds." It's 2009! Administrators looking to reinvent their libraries for the 21st century have countless successful models on which to base their redesign. As more than one commenter noted, it's all about the MONEY and, possibly, some kind of premium office space land-grab.

Rant over. If you'd like to read a balanced article on the subject, click over to the Jewish Week.

12 July 2009

Donnell Library in Suspended Animation

New York Public Library's stalled-out deal with Orient-Express Hotels has been reaffirmed, according to City Room. Donnell Library was dealt in 2007, but the hotel chain suspended its payments earlier this year, citing financial difficulties. The sale will now close in June 2011. That's right: four years after the original agreement and three years hence the library's shuttering. Great planning!

08 July 2009

New NYPL ILS Off to Rocky Start, Patrons Testy

Patience, New Yorkers! I know you have no idea how much time, effort, blood, tears went into the creation of NYPL's new catalog, but give your public servants a few days to work out the kinks.

06 July 2009

NYPL Debuts Integrated Catalog & Other News

LEO and CATNYP are dead! Long live...The Catalog? Yeah, NYPL's new integrated catalog doesn't have a catchy moniker, and design-wise, function has triumphed over form. The Encore OPAC sports a simple, fresh-outta-the-box interface, below which lurk all the now-familiar options of a next-generation catalog.

As with most things new, there are some blatant imperfections. The Encore interface, for instance, is not the only portal into the catalog; most links bring you to the (old-gen) Millennium interface and less intrepid patrons probably won't make it to the sassier Encore "Quick Search." No doubt this will change in the weeks to come. You can learn all about The Catalog and the blessed demise of the dual library card system here.

METRO introduced their Netvibes portal, a conglomeration of news and info about METRO itself, plus library news feeds, world news, and twitteriness from the adorably named tweetmetro. The Google events calendar embedded on the right-hand side had me all pouty and put upon until I noticed the Shelved @ NYC feed at the bottom of the center column. Thanks, METRO!

Finally, NYPL caught some flack last month when members of the glitterati noticed the library didn't own a single copy of Michael Gross' Rogues Gallery, an exposé of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. According to a library official interviewed in Norm Oder's Library Journal blog, In the Bookroom, there was no conspiracy, just a cataloging delay. Hmmm.

01 July 2009

Columbia Closes Four Science Libraries

Here's a major library consolidation announcement from my now-former employer, Columbia University Libraries. The four libraries in question were scheduled to close upon the completion of a new science library within the Northwest Corner Building at 120th and Broadway, but that timetable was modified due to economic imperatives. So it goes.

22 June 2009

Summer Reprieve: Field Trips, Week of June 22, 2009

Welcome to summer, NYC! The City Council restored local library funding last week, soothing the frayed nerves of panicked librarians city-wide. If you're a public library employee whose livelihood was delivered from the brink, congratulations! Well, for the most part. To the miserable minority who were secretly hoping to be laid off, my condolences.

On the heels of the funding crisis, WNYC broadcast a short piece about merging the city's three library systems.

The reporter claims "this option is so radical, [former Local 1930 leader] Ray Markey says he only heard it proposed once in his 40 years on the job." Really? Maybe the powers that be haven't considered it as a serious solution, but I've certainly heard the merger idea suggested by many locals (librarians and laypeople alike).
  • June 23-26: Various METRO webinars and on-site workshops.
  • June 27: Join ARLIS/NY on a picnic at Socrates Sculpture Park and a trip to the Noguchi Museum.
  • June 27-28: Spend your weekend at the NYC Zine Fest. It's true what they say: the best things in life are FREE!!!

16 June 2009

City Council Preserves 6-Day Library Service

Wow! I'm shocked and awed and I'm sure you are, too! From City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn's press release:

Six day library service, a long standing priority of Speaker Quinn and Council Members, will be maintained at libraries across the City. The $46.5 million dollar restoration will allow libraries to avoid layoffs and ensure that New Yorkers have access to critically important job training services during the economic downturn, in addition to preserving access to vital services such as literacy programs and increased access to technology.

“Restoring funding to our City's public libraries proves Speaker Quinn's deep and abiding commitment to all that libraries promote: employment, literacy, community activism and so much more,” said Libraries Subcommittee Chair Vincent Gentile. “Fully funded libraries help communities and residents weather economic hardship, and on behalf of the tens of thousands of supporters of public libraries, I want to thank the Speaker for helping to keep neighborhoods and households strong in the coming fiscal year.”

“Despite the hardships facing our city, I’m proud to say that we’ve reached a budget agreement that makes difficult but necessary decisions to keep our city afloat through this crisis,” said Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations. “We’ve avoided devastating cuts to our cultural institutions, which are a major economic engine, generating jobs, tourism and tax revenue. We’ve maintained our commitment to cultural educational programs, like Urban Advantage and the Cultural After School Adventure Program. I’m also pleased to announce we’re making a major investment in our library system. Not only are we avoiding layoffs, but New Yorkers will still have access to their libraries six days a week. That means access to free services like technology and job training that are so important, now more than ever.”

15 June 2009

Summer, METRO-Style

METRO hosted a cool-sounding program today, "Internet Access to New York's Historical Record," that I neglected to pressure you to attend. Well, there's plenty more where that came from. Scroll through METRO's calendar, download their summer catalog, or read their June Digitech Newsletter to learn about their free-to-cheap seasonal offerings.

14 June 2009

Congrats to the Cover Girl!

Queens Library graces the cover of Library Journal this week after being named their Library of the Year 2009. Editor John N. Berry's article focuses on how Queens is coping financially during the recession, post-budget cut scenarios, playing the politics game, service efficiencies, creative programming, and more. Here's a soundbite from CEO Thomas W. Galante:
“Most elected officials support the library, but they need all the help they can get from us and from citizens. The focus is to raise awareness of the value of public libraries. We show all we do and all the people we help. We rely on our government officials to help support us, so we don't take any jabs, no shots at people. That wouldn't be smart,” asserts Galante. “We do a lot of advocacy work. We do it smart, build relationships. Many elected officials tell us to rally, rally, rally, because it helps them support libraries when it comes to the budget negotiation.
LJ circulates far and wide and it's exciting to think that librarians from coast to coast will be reading about Queens Library, the busiest library system in the nation. If it's not already waiting in your (physical) mailbox, check it out right here.

11 June 2009

Cringe: "Stuyvesant Librarian Accused of Sexual Abuse"

The City Room headline kinda says it all, although I'll submit that the crimes of which R. Christopher Asch, 56, are accused are not particularly egregious (relatively speaking) nor terribly news-worthy. Leg massage: icky; unauthorized quiz-bowl trip: righteous. Nevertheless, this story has been picked up by many of our local media outlets, including the NY Post, the Daily News, and NY1.

A number of Mr. Asch's former students and acquaintances express their disbelief in the City Room article's comments section. So, is this a case of "mean-spirited kids" making a mess of a devoted high school librarian's life? Or is Mr. Asch a Republican, cricket-playing, closeted NAMBLA freak? Guilty or not, he's already done time at a "teacher detention center."

10 June 2009

More Branch Library News

The NY Times recently published an interview of Tatyana Magazinnik, a librarian at Queens Library's Broadway branch. So it seems Brooklyn Public isn't the only NYC library system celebrating a reopening this week: service will resume at Mrs. Magazinnik's Broadway Library this Saturday, June 13, with music, dancing, and magic to entertain the L.I.C. crowd. This may sound somewhat derisive, but enjoy Saturday service while you still can!

09 June 2009

Who's that Librarian in the DC 37 Subway Ads?

I first noticed these District Council 37 subway advertisements decrying the use of public dollars for private contractors a few days ago. The ads were released in tandem with DC 37's white paper on the subject, "Massive Waste at a Time of Need." One of them features a Queens librarian. Who is this fine fellow?

08 June 2009

Good Fortune Comes Our Way: Field Trips, Week of June 8, 2009

Thursday marks the long-awaited reopening of Brooklyn Public Library's Kings Highway branch. Shuttered for two full years, patrons can celebrate their newly renovated and handicap accessible library with live music and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

For the rest of us, this week is rife with serious learning opportunities.
  • June 9: Get your job search advice from high-powered career consultant Laura Hill, courtesy of SLA-NY.
  • June 10-12: The International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace: "By uniting the corporate and academic worlds, ICELW is creating a new synergy — one with the unique capability to realize the vast potential of e-learning in business and industry." And libraries, says I.
  • June 10: Twitter talk for librarians at the CUNY Graduate Center.
  • June 12: Learn the basics of media preservation and the history of the videotape at this IMAP workshop.
  • June 12-13: Do the vagaries of intellectual property rights make you all hot and bothered? Well then, does Iona have a conference for you!

07 June 2009

Celebrities Support NYC's Public Libraries

New York Public Library created this star-laden video to pique the public's interest in our cause. Don't let Amy Tan and her lap-dog scare you off; neither bite.

04 June 2009

City Bookstores, Going and Coming

Allow me to stray from libraryland for a moment and share some news about NYC bookstores.

Morningside Bookshop will be closing its doors at the end of the week. The owner, Peter Soter, owes his landlord (Columbia University) $158,000 in back rent for the store's space on 114th and Broadway. If you know anything about the book biz, you probably realize how impossibly difficult it is to sustain an independent bookstore in this (or any) city, much less turn a profit.

I've done the majority of my book-buying at Morningside's neighborhood indie competitor, Book Culture (née Labyrinth). I admit that without guilt: Book Culture is a great bookstore with a strong academic bent. I suspect that in the battle for customer dollars, Morningside Bookshop has been doomed for some time. Book Culture maintains a significantly larger selection of titles and has direct ties to Columbia's students and faculty. At 112th and Broadway, the incomparable Bank Street Bookstore stocks everything parents and under-aged bibliophiles desire. And then there's the Columbia University Bookstore — ahem, Barnes & Noble — that sits directly across the street from Morningside Bookshop. In short, I'm surprised it lasted this long.

Over in Fort Greene, a couple of entrepreneurial book-lovers are hoping their neighborhood will embrace Greenlight Bookstore when it opens this fall. Will it work? According to this NY Times article from last September, the community is clamouring for a local independent bookstore.

Finally, here's a "bookstore" that has no chance of failing: the Carturesti Book Exhibition transplants the look and feel of Bucharest's Carturesti bookstore to the Romanian Cultural Institute, New York. Enjoy the literary atmosphere with no sales pressure!

01 June 2009

Kick Up Your Heals: Field Trips, Week of June 1, 2009

Due to personal/professional upheaval, I've let poor little Shelved @ NYC suffer from neglect this past week or so. No more! June promises an abundance of libraryland events, yours to enjoy while the ominous tick-tock of the budget clock winds down to the zero hour. Get out where? Get out of the library:

27 May 2009

Hardcore Library Advocacy, Tomorrow!

The City Council meets tomorrow, May 28th, to discuss the 2010 Executive Budget reductions affecting New York City libraries and other "cultural affairs." Members of the public will have two minutes each to speak their minds. Proceedings begin at 12:45 at City Hall. [Thanks to Erik Bobilin of Take Action: Save Brooklyn Public Library for the info.]

22 May 2009

Getting Hired, Staying Hired

Holding on to the job, that's the real trick these days. Here's a relevant program from our friends at METRO:

Getting Hired, Staying Hired: Tips for Job Hunting and Career Development
Date: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 Time: 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Location: St. John’s University Downtown Campus, 101 Murray Street

METRO is teaming up with St. John’s University to offer a special evening devoted to job hunting and career development in the library profession. Queens Library Outreach Librarian and METRO Magnet Consultant, Ellen Mehling will share strategies to help you “look” your best to potential library employers, whether it’s in writing or in person. Take away tips on improving your resume and interviewing and networking skills.

Refreshments and networking with colleagues will follow.
Students and recent grads are encouraged to attend.
No charge for myMETRO and METRO members; $25 non-members. Registration required. Attendees will need a photo ID to enter the building. Space is limited.

Presenter: Ellen Mehling received her MLS and Certificate of Advanced Studies in Archives from Long Island University, and has taught workshops and classes on job hunting, researching, info literacy and other subjects at high schools, colleges and at METRO’s Training Center, as well as other venues throughout NYC. She is also the Manager of METRO’s Job Magnet website.

20 May 2009

Call-in Thursday

Brooklyn Public Library invites you to dial-in your activism this Thursday. From the Take Action: Save Brooklyn Public Library Facebook group:

Thursday, May 21, 2009 will be the day that hundreds of concerned citizens will be making phone calls to our mayor and our city council members.

Let your voice be heard: The loss of library services, the closing of branches, and lay-offs are NOT an option, especially when Brooklyn needs its libraries more than ever.

Not sure who your local council member is? Simply type in your address and borough into this form. Click on "Find my City Council Member" to view your representative's phone number.

Mayor Bloomberg's office can be reached by calling 311.

In addition, we have included a number of talking points that you may find helpful when calling your council member or the mayor:

Mayor Bloomberg’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, if adopted, would spell disaster for public library users in Brooklyn and around the city. The proposed budget includes an approximately 20% funding cut for all three city library systems. Brooklyn Public Library would face a $14 million budget gap that would result in:

• 175 library staff layoffs, resulting in fewer programs and services for patrons
• Reduced weekday service, no Saturday service at most branches, and no Sunday service anywhere in Brooklyn.
• 185,000 fewer books, DVDs, CDs, and other library materials

Public libraries are needed more than ever in tough economic times. We are one of the few places where people can find free books, films, music, and entertainment as well as free job search assistance. It is vital that the city budget recognizes the value of public libraries to our community.

Please participate in this important event so that Brooklyn Public Library can continue to provide you and your community with excellent service. Feel free to invite as many people to this event as you wish.

Many thanks,
Your Friends at Brooklyn Public Library

18 May 2009

Cuban Field Trips/Viajes Cubanos, Week of May 18

Librarian-friendly activities are somewhat wanting this week, but if you have an interest in Cuban art...goldmine! "Cuban Artists' Books and Prints / Libros y Grabados de Artistas Cubanos 1985-2009," an exhibition organized by Wake Forest University and the Grolier Club, opens on Wednesday with accompanying events at the Club and the Museum of Modern Art. It includes 120 books and projects in various media, created under the auspices of Ediciones Vigía, a collaborative artists' press.

From the Grolier Club's description, one might conclude that much of the art is minimally (or only slyly) subversive, that these state-educated artists have endured Castro's "gaunt and threadbare state" experiencing a minimum of cruelty and repression. From the Wake Forest press release:
In 2007, [curator Linda S.] Howe initiated an interdisciplinary entrepreneurship project to create an exhibition that would bring national and international attention to these artists and their work. “These artists have survived cultural politics, difficult living conditions and resource shortages that limited their access to the most basic materials, like paper,” she said, “but the project is not about politics. It’s about living our university motto, ‘Pro Humanitate’—for the good of humanity.”
But how does one think about/discuss/engage with Cuba sans politics? Learn more, live:

15 May 2009

On Exhibit: Surrealist Literary Gems at MoMA

Back in 1936, The Museum of Modern Art Library acquired nearly 700 items belonging to the Surrealist poet Paul Éluard and Camille Dausse, a Parisian doctor and friend of the movement. Many of their rare books, magazines, pamphlets, and other ephemera are currently on display in "How to Make a Modern Art Library: Selections from the Éluard-Dausse Collection." Now through June 22.

[Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Georges Bataille, Robert Desnos, Georges Limbour, J.-A. Boiffard, et al. Un cadavre. Paris, January 15, 1930. Photomontage by Jacques-André Boiffard. Image via MoMA.]

13 May 2009

Take Action! Help Save Our Libraries

Have you been hiding in a cave? Secret bunker? Canada? Here's the bad news, little bear: Mayor Bloomberg's proposed 2010 budget calls for a 22% cut in funding for New York City's public libraries. All three systems have mounted some form of response, but they need your help. Here's what you can do:

11 May 2009

To Boldly Go: Field Trips, Week of May 11, 2009

For those of us at work in academia, the semester is winding down. Summer's quiet promise lies just ahead, with more time for special projects and municipal expeditions. Explore these strange (or familiar) worlds:
  • May 11-13: METRO activities are about to slow down for the season as well, but not before presenting these workshops on communication, collaboration, and digitization.
  • May 13-14: Library tours are absolutely de rigeur. On Wednesday, join the Desk Set for a peak into NYU's Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. Thursday brings a pecuniary double-header with ACRL/NY's tours of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the American Numismatic Society.
  • May 13: The Tribeca Performing Arts Center hosts a panel discussion, "Rare Editions: The Book as Art," in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name at Lehman College.
  • May 14, 16: Support Brooklyn Public Library times two. Proceeds from Brooklyn Vanguard's Party with a Purpose will help replenish the Clinton Hill branch's dwindling coffers, while books donated at Saturday's Great American Book Drive will benefit the entire system.

07 May 2009

Economic Anguish, Google Under the Legal Microscope & More

A smorgasborg of library media coverage from the past few days:

Gothamist sent their photographer to the "New York Public Library's main branch." (I guess they're as averse as I am to calling the former Humanities & Social Sciences Library the Stephen A. Schwarzman building). You may also note that a huge, red, pop-up request for donations may greet you when visiting the NYPL home page.

A Library Journal article on Mayor Bloomberg's 2010 budget plan revealed the depths of Brooklyn and Queens Public Libraries' impending pain.

In response to copyright battles over the Google Book Search program, New York Law School will launch their Public Interest Book Search Initiative later this month. This program is meant to "foster public discussion about the law and policy of digitizing books, making them searchable, and distributing them online."

City Room explored some of the two million plus sound recordings in Bob George's ARChive of Contemporary Music and its new relationship with Columbia University Libraries.

[The main reading room (Jake Dobkin/Gothamist); image via Gothamist.]

04 May 2009

NYC Budget Proposal, Take 2 (Deep Breaths)

Mayor Bloomberg's revised 2010 city budget proposal is as grim as his initial set of figures, released back in January. You've probably read about his plans for sales tax increases, health care "cost containment" for unionized city workers (fail!), and layoffs galore. But do you know what's in store for the city's libraries? Answer: a $34 million (22.2%) budget cut, or $13.9 million more than the January proposal (if I calculated correctly).

Gotham Gazette and NY1 put the human toll of this reduction at 943 positions across the three systems. WNYC reports that at the New York Public Library, President Paul LeClerc "is afraid they'll have to cut 415 library jobs, reduce their book purchases by 25 percent and research materials by 35 percent." Whoa! Ouch! Holy f*ck!

According to the Gazette, as the City Council dukes out the details they are "expected to focus on cuts to social services and libraries. [Finance Chairman David] Weprin said this budget would do away with six-day service, which the council has fought to protect for the last year." Lawmakers have until June 30 to approve a budget.

There Is No Spoon: Field Trips, Week of May 4

The events calendar is looking rather serious this week; I'll put on my thinking cap if you will:

01 May 2009

CB5 Citizens Rally for Donnell

At the opening celebration of New York Public Library’s Grand Central Branch on Wednesday, a small but vocal contingent of Donnell Library devotees got their message across. Click over to Library Journal for their well-balanced coverage.

29 April 2009

DIY Digital: Local Initiatives, Local Support

New York Technical Services Librarians
Spring Meeting & Program
Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Online registration is now open! http://www.nytsl.org/calendar.htm
Space is limited so please register ASAP.
Registration deadline: Friday, May 1, 2009.

TOPIC: DIY Digital: Local Initiatives, Local Support

NYTSL has invited three local experts to discuss their experiences with homegrown, collaborative digitization projects. Issues of concept, funding, managing, and implementing new digital initiatives will be considered. Please join us for this exploration of New York's digital projects landscape.

  • Joanna DiPasquale, Columbia University Libraries, Web Developer
  • Josh Greenberg, New York Public Library, Director of Digital Strategy and Scholarship
  • Jason Kucsma, METRO, Emerging Technologies Manager
  • Moderated by Angela Sidman, CUNY Graduate Center Library, Catalogue Librarian
South Court Auditorium
NYPL Humanities & Social Sciences Library
Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
New York, N.Y. 10018

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Refreshments, 5:00-6:00 PM
Meeting & Program, 6:00-8:00 PM

NYTSL now offers PayPal as a preferred payment method. Mail-in registration forms are also available on the website.

Program (Members) $15.00
Program + Membership (Non-members and renewals) $20.00
Program only (Non-members) $25.00

For questions about membership status, please contact Lisa Genoese, lgenoese@nyam.org.

28 April 2009

Spring Green-Up: Field Trips, Week of Apr. 27

Apologies for the 24-hour delay in regular programming; spring — or maybe summer, but definitely not swine — fever has me firm in its grasp.
  • Apr. 28: Urban Librarians Unite meet tonight at the Creek's lovely, urban-pastoral back yard.
  • Apr. 29: NYPL introduces its newest library, the Grand Central Branch, to an adoring public.
  • May 1: Independent Media Arts Preservation presents a day-long symposium at the Guggenheim.
  • May 3: This Sunday, embrace spring in earnest with NY Librarian Meetup's cherry blossom-tastic trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. The hanami will look like this, only better:
[Photo by: Kilgub via flickr.]

26 April 2009

U.S. News Rankings: Failing Grades for Four Out of Five Local Schools

After a three-year hiatus, U.S. News & World Report has published its rankings report for library and information studies programs. UIUC and UNC are again tied for top honors. Our neighbors in New Brunswick, NJ (Rutgers) pulled in at a very respectable 6th and took the number one spot in the School Library Media category. Not one of the four LIS schools in NYC made the rankings. That's right: Queens College, the Palmer School, Pratt Institute, and St. John's all fell below the Mendoza Line.

23 April 2009

A Grand Central Opening

NYPL's new Grand Central Branch opens for business on Monday, April 27. The library was conceived as a temporary stopgap during construction of the new Donnell Library. With Donnell's future on hold, perhaps Grand Central is here to stay?

Questions of permanence aside, the new branch will celebrate its opening on Wednesday, April 29 at 4:30 pm. Everyone's invited! Here she is, shelves stocked, neat and tidy before the incoming tide:

UPDATE: Today's City Room includes a report about patrons in uproar over Donnell's uncertain fate, some of whom plan to picket the opening of the Grand Central Branch. The article also notes that City Council members Christine Quinn and Vincent Gentile have "vowed" to do something about the situation...the lack-of-library situation, that is, not the threat-of-protest situation.

20 April 2009

Old School Players to New School Fools: Field Trips, Week of Apr. 20

From 15th century Venice to open source software development, this week's got it all.

15 April 2009

Landmarking Bronx Libraries

On Tuesday, two Carnegie libraries in the Bronx — the Woodstock and Hunts Point branches — were granted landmark status by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission. NYPL's Morrisania and Mott Haven branches earned the same distinction in 1998 and 1969, respectively.

14 April 2009

Use It or Lose It

Here's another interesting fact: People always mention libraries in terms of just being sources for reading material or research. But I probably would not be in Chicago were it not for the Manhattan public library, because I was looking for an organizing job and was having great trouble finding a job as a community organizer in New York. The Mid-Manhattan library had these books of lists of organizations, and the librarian helped me find these lists of organizations, and I wrote to every organization. One of them wound up being an organization in Chicago that I got a job with.
-- Barack Obama, interviewed in American Libraries, Aug. 2005, p. 48-52

This quotation has become quite the touchstone. And why not? It's an impromptu, priceless promotion of our cause. So go ahead, City Room, keep writing articles like today's "Job Seekers at the Library, in Obama's Footsteps." Let's hope the City Council and the New York State Legislature are reading.

barack obama

This image is becoming ubiquitous, but what's not to love?

13 April 2009

National Library Week: Field Trips, Week of Apr. 13

It's our week to give ourselves pats on the back and hang ALA posters featuring Jamie Lee Curtis. But to really take National Library Week by the horns, grab your camera and start "captur[ing] the essence of New York librarianship" for the NYLA Snapshot Contest. Post your photos to Flickr, carefully following the contest guidelines. Fame awaits!

10 April 2009

"April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go"

April is a popular month for librarian-friendly celebrations, both locally and country-wide. To wit:
Here in the city, our public libraries have National Poetry Month covered. Check out NYPL's poetry-themed blog posts and their Poem in Your Pocket Day participatory writing experiment. In Brooklyn, BPL hosts a Poetry Coffeehouse each Wednesday in April at the Dweck Center, as well as other poetry-related events at branch locations (search their calendar). And the Academy of American Poets, founder of National Poetry Month, offer up tips for librarians and a calendar of poetry readings on their New York page.

TOMORROW, Apr. 11: Judson Memorial Church will play host to the 3rd annual NYC Anarchist Book Fair, "a one-day exposition of books, zines, pamphlets, art, film/video, and other cultural and very political productions of the anarchist scene worldwide." The Fair is accompanied by a slew of workshops, skillshares, and other events of an intellectually radical bent.

[Post title quotation by Christopher Morley, from John Mistletoe.]

07 April 2009

On Exhibit: Roosevelt, Edith Kermit Carow, 1861-1948--Correspondence

First Lady Edith Kermit Roosevelt, wife of Teddy, was a dear friend and frequent correspondent of Marion King, librarian at the New York Society Library. Their letters are on display from now through the end of the year as part of NYSL's exhibition, "The President's Wife and the Librarian." (Paper Cuts is going.) If you're a first lady aficionado, you'll be pleased to learn that Mrs. Roosesvelt's biographer, Silvia Jukes Morris, will give a lecture on April 30.

04 April 2009

Rutgers Drops Library Studies, Gains Stripes

Starting July 1, Rutgers' School of Communication, Information and Library Studies (SCILS) will be know as the School of Communication and Information (SCI). Library Journal gives complete coverage to the name-change controversy, which ended this week with the Board of Governors approving the switch.

But the University's major media coup had nothing to do with academic nomenclature. Just witness the glory that is 1,052 Waldos:

Photo by Classic Media, Inc./Gianni Cipriano

In addition to shattering the Guinness World Record for the most Where's Waldo? namesakes in one locale, participants donated over 3,000 books to New Brunswick public schools.

31 March 2009

Proposed Reduction in Library Aid Partially Restored

Governor Paterson and legislative leaders have apparently settled on a super-secret budget deal. Subsequently, NYLA sent members an email with early word on what's in store for state library funding:
The 2009-10 State Budget was finalized over the last few days and the first bills are expected to be voted on Tuesday and finished on Wednesday. The proposed $18 million cut in Library Aid was reduced to a $8 million cut, not as much of the funds were restored as we hoped and were promised. ... It appears that the Supplemental System Aid was restored, but we are looking into verifying this with state budget staff.
More as news breaks....

30 March 2009

Book Flair for All and Sundry: Field Trips, Week of Mar. 30

With so many workshops, tours, parties, and special events happening this week, I've decided to cut right to the fun stuff. Check the calendar for additional offerings.

27 March 2009

NYC Libraries in the News, Breast-Baring Edition

This week's local library news ran the gamut, from the sensationalist to the superfluous.

A patron of Brooklyn Public's Flatlands branch was upbraided by a security guard for breastfeeding in the children's area. After she complained to the New York Civil Liberties Union, BPL issued an apology and transferred the guard to a different branch. Suffice it to say, the media were all over this one, quickly followed by the requisite array of ignorant-to-informed reader comments. But really, is this newsworthy? Breastfeeding in public is legal. Period. And why do so many (male) commenters compare breastfeeding to urination? As though secretion of bodily fluids were the most significant characteristic of the two activities! Even the.effing.librarian likened the two, however obliquely.

Library Journal published a point-counterpoint on the Rutgers SCILS proposed name change controversy.

And in the NY Times, yet another article focused on increased use of city libraries and their role in assisting patrons with job searches. Not that I begrudge the positive coverage, it's just that as the deadlines for the NY state and city budget votes near, I prefer the-sky-is-falling type articles that match my own growing hysteria.