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.