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: