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.

24 March 2009

Branch-free Bay Ridge

Residents of Bay Ridge will soon face an extended commute for library services: from April 18 through May 10, Brooklyn Public Library's Bay Ridge branch will close while its circulation system gets a re-vamp. The neighborhood's other branch, Fort Hamilton, has been closed for renovations since last year and will remain shut until Spring 2010. (According to The Brooklyn Paper, a termite infestation has delayed re-opening. Ew!) BPL is encouraging residents to patronize branches in surrounding neighborhoods.

23 March 2009

The Madness of March: Field Trips, Week of Mar. 23

In my world, the new year begins on the first day of Spring. Time to start fresh with some vernal outings:

20 March 2009

Crunching NYC's Library Budget

According to the Daily News, it's unlikely the City Council will be able to counter the mayor's proposed budget cuts for the city's public library systems as they've done in previous years. The coffers are empty. NYPL could lay off 281 workers, Queens Library may have to slash 24% of their workforce, and Brooklyn Public's "doomsday scenario" involves 220 lost jobs. Library subcommittee chair Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge) is hopeful that funding from the federal economic stimulus package will mitigate the pain.

18 March 2009

Bathing in the Limelight; Bathing in the Library

The NY Times published a slew of library-related articles last week. Well, four, but compared with their normal zero to two, four is a veritable onslaught. Links:

16 March 2009

Information Wants To Be Free!: Field Trips, Week of Mar. 16, 2009

Yours truly is celebrating Freedom of Information Day in the "library" of a South Florida condominium. So much Belva Plain, so little time! Seriously, one computer, a few hundred books, and free wifi is better than nothing, especially for car-less retirees who might find the bus ride to the public library a little daunting. You, on the other hand, have much more at your disposal:
Como siempre, check the calendar for additional events, workshops, and networking opportunities.

12 March 2009

On Exhibit: When Less is More

Nearly every library has some kind of exhibition space, though I've rarely—maybe never—written about any taking place outside the big-money institutions. The following two special exhibits are somewhat off the beaten track, though no less intriguing for their obscurity.

Re: Rebus at Queens College's Rosenthal Library: "In approaching rebuses as a means of communicating with other visually-curious people Re: Rebus is curator Tara Mathison's response to [Vik] Muniz's MoMA Rebus, using the permanent special collection of the Queens College Art Library. All of the books featured in the exhibit will be available for personal viewing after the exhibit comes down."

Handmade/Homemade at the Mortola Library, Pace University, Pleasantville: "This mini-exhibition includes handmade, homemade and letterpress chapbooks, one-of-a-kind editions and broadsides." Sadly, the opening night reading is taking place as I write this post.

11 March 2009

Save These Dates

With clocks turned and spring creeping up on little lamb's feet (or somesuch), now is the ideal time to plan ahead for the coming months. A smattering of outings to consider:

10 March 2009

Survey Says!: Citizens Rate NY City Services

The NY Times has created some wicked cool maps based on data from the NYC Feedback Citywide Customer Survey. The city collected information from approximately 25,000 willing citizens about everything from air quality (very low ratings from all community boards) to fiscal responsibility (ditto) to local crime control (extreme variations that clearly correlate with level of affluence). Amongst the questions asked were: How would you rate public libraries in your neighborhood? and How would you rate public libraries in New York City overall? Here's a screenshot of the former:

These results don't strike me as terrible, but there's a helluvah lot of room for improvement. No place more so than Community Board 16, an area that includes the Ocean Hill and Brownsville neighborhoods of Brooklyn and is served by three public library branches: Stone Avenue, Brownsville, and Saratoga. It's interesting to note that this C.B. also claimed some of the city's lowest ratings for neighborhood cultural activities, cleanliness, and police relations.

08 March 2009

Long Live NY Libraries, Long Live the King & Other Tales

In lieu of a weekly activities update (offerings are slim, but do check the calendar), allow me to present a smattering of noteworthy news items:

This year's Library Lobby Day is especially significant as we face an 18% decrease in state Library Aid funding. At a time when public library use is skyrocketing, our patrons can't afford cuts that limit their access to library services. So hop Metro-North to Albany this Tuesday morning and join NYLA in support of New York's libraries.

Celebrate the 500th anniversary of that lovable rapscallion Henry VIII's accession to the throne with VIVAT REX! at the Grolier Club. " 'VIVAT REX!' takes its title from the Latin version of the familiar English phrase 'Long live the King!,' which appears in a woodblock print in the first sanctioned English Bible (1539). This work is among the 140 items that shed light on Henry VIII as man and monarch—his education, character, and unrelenting attempts to father a male heir." This exhibition—created in partnership with the Folger Shakespeare Library, Harvard's Houghton Library, and the Morgan Library—is accompanied by three lectures.

Starting in Fall 2009, Pratt Institute will offer a dual-degree program in Digital Arts and Information (the acronym-tastic MSLIS and MFA in DA).

NYU has begun their renovation of a portion of Bobst Library Lower Level 1 formerly occupied by technical services staff (see this previous post for commentary on the move). As a former NYU employee, I'm particularly thrilled to hear that the high school horror-fest restrooms are slated for upgrade.

Gothamist interviewed NYPL's "Librarian to the Stars," David Smith.

04 March 2009

NYPL Construction Plans Come Tumbling Down?

The NY Times reports something many of us had already suspected: Orient-Express Hotels can't pony up the cash they promised to New York Public in the Donnell Library deal. To recap the situation, NYPL sold Donnell for $59 million, intending to use the proceeds to fund the Norman Foster renovation of the Humanities and Social Sciences Library. Orient-Express planned to build an 11-story hotel which would have included a new, much smaller library. Donnell's collections have been distributed to various libraries throughout the system, with some materials destined for the temporary Grand Central Branch, slated to open this spring...supposedly.

Photo by Driven By Boredom. More Donnell Library destructoporn and swan song commentary available here.

03 March 2009

On Exhibit: Reading Room

Artist Elizabeth Felicella, armed with a large format camera and a $10,000 grant from the Graham Foundation, has embarked on an ambitious journey to photograph each of the city's 189 branch libraries. The first fruits of this endeavor (branches 1-25) are on display at Art in General's Project Space through Saturday, March 7.
The black and white photographs, printed as cards, are cross-referenced in a series of cases and presented with replicas of standard-issue library furniture, bringing to mind Melvil Dewey’s systems of organization. Reading Room functions as a survey of public architecture and design as it relates to reading technology and innovations—but it is also a record of the photographer’s own process of browsing.
Art in General will keep the lights on until 9 pm this Thursday in celebration of Armory Arts Week's SoHo Night.

02 March 2009

Snowproof Your Career: Field Trips, Week of Mar. 2, 2009

Just lace up those boots and go!