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.