NYC: City-Wide Day of Rallies 5/28/2013

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Come out, come out, wherever you are and show some love Tuesday, May 28, 2013!

(Via Urban Librarians Unite)

Citywide Day of Rallies In Support of NYC’s Public Libraries
Rallies in Across the City Call to Restore Proposed Budget Cuts

New Yorkers love their libraries and they show it but the current NYC
budget proposed cuts of more than $106 million threaten to shut down
community libraries across New York City. In response to this, a
citywide day of action will take place on Tuesday May 28th. NYC’s
three public library systems will participate along with the Queens
Library Guild Local 1321 and Urban Librarians Unite. There will be
library love going on across New York City.

Bronx
3:00 – 4:00PM
Kingsbridge Library, 291 West 231st Street, Bronx, NY

Wrap yourself up in library love. The activists in the Bronx will be
hugging the library with the help of local students and community
groups. These crafty activists have been knitting furiously in
protest of the cuts. They expect lots of pint-sized protesters as
their youngest supporters, the storytime set, will be out in force.

Brooklyn
9:00am
Bushwick Branch, 340 Bushwick Ave. at Seigel St, Brooklyn, NY
Council Member Diana Reyna will attend

9:00am
Park Slope Branch, 431 Sixth Ave. at Ninth St., Brooklyn
Council Member Brad Lander will attend

Hug the Libraries! Two Brooklyn Libraries will be literally embraced
by their communities. The Bushwick Branch and the Park Slope Branch
will be surrounded by crowds clasping hands and embracing the library
buildings.

Manhattan
3 to 4 PM
Jefferson Market Library, 425 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY

Manhattanites are hoping the city will “cut it out” with slashing
library budgets. Children of all ages will attend a craft event,
featuring a special paper cut-out celebrating the Library, which will
be displayed for all New Yorkers who love their libraries, and to make
a statement about their importance.

Queens
11:00 – 1:00PM
Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica
Council Member Leroy Comrie expected to attend

The Queens Library Guild, Local 1321 Rally at the Queens Central
Library will be a vocal celebration of love for the library. Staff and
customers will take it in turn to come forward and speak up about
their personal love for the library.

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Prisoners Right to Read Incorporated Into ALA’s Library Bill of Rights

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The Library Bill of Rights are statements of basic principles adopted by the ALA Council that govern the service of all libraries, ranging from the rights of youth to service to diversity in collection development. The Library Bill of Rights can be found in the Intellectual Freedom Manual, Eighth Edition, available online. Newly incorporated to the Bill is the Prisoners Right to Read (Adopted by the ALA Council, July 2010) underlining the following selected principles as guidelines to all library services provided to prisoners:

* Collection management should be governed by written policy, mutually agreed upon by librarians and correctional agency administrators, in accordance with the Library Bill of Rights, its Interpretations, and other
ALA intellectual freedom documents.

* Correctional libraries should have written procedures for addressing challenges to library materials, including a policy-based description of the disqualifying features, in accordance with “Challenged Materials” and other relevant intellectual freedom documents.

* Correctional librarians should select materials that reflect the demographic composition, information needs, interests, and diverse cultural values of the confined communities they serve.

* Age is not a reason for censorship. Incarcerated children and youth should have access to a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, as stated in “Free Access to Libraries for Minors.”

* Correctional librarians should make all reasonable efforts to provide sufficient materials to meet the information and recreational needs of prisoners who speak languages other than English.

* Equitable access to information should be provided for persons with disabilities as outlined in “Services to People with Disabilities.”

* Media or materials with non-traditional bindings should not be prohibited unless they present an actual compelling and imminent risk to safety and security.

* Material with sexual content should not be banned unless it violates state and federal law.

* Correctional libraries should provide access to computers and the Internet.

World’s Largest Public Library Advertisement!

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“Public libraries are an incredible resource. Yet, a great advertising campaign for public libraries has never been done before. Why not?” asked Matt Spergel, President of TechForEducators.com. “How many more great books will be read? And how many lives will change as a result?”

TechForEducators.com claims the billboard is the world’s largest public library advertisement. The advertisement’s headline exceeds 41 feet and the call to action spans the length of the billboard at 48 feet. “As far as we know, the world has never seen a public library advertisement of this size,” Spergel said.

“Education cannot rest on the shoulders of teachers alone. Parents must also take more resposibility for the education of their children … and bringing them to the library is an important first step,” Spergel added.

The billboard is in Martinez, CA on I-680 south after the Benecia Bridge on the right-hand side.

Influential Nonprofit, Libraries for the Future (LFF), Closes After 17 Years

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Citing budget pressure, the nonprofit organization, Libraries for the Future (LFF), has announced that the current economic climate has made it impossible to continue. The recent news is, indeed, a tremendous loss to library advocates everywhere.

Influential in its advocacy efforts for libraries nationwide, LFF oversaw the birth of programs that have run in close to 400 libraries in 33 states; the good news: most will continue to run. Middle Country Public Library (NY), for example, will continue to oversee Family Place Libraries, a network of children’s librarians “who believe that literacy begins at birth, and that libraries can help build healthy communities by nourishing healthy families.”

Other programs include Lifelong Access Libraries, which focuses on active older adults, and the Wellness Information Zone, which aims to support free, reliable consumer health information. LFF also trained many librarians to achieve EqualAccess Libraries, a program that addressed “this ever-changing digital age.”

Begun as an advocacy organization in 1992, LFF produced three important publications aimed to help advocates make the case for libraries including, Long Overdue, a national public opinion study, Worth Their Weight: An Assessment of the Evolving Field of Library Valuation, and Act for Libraries, a library advocacy web site.

Plugs for Libraries in the News

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Yet another article on the value of libraries in tough times!

Thanks to all the librarians, patrons, and community supporters behind this recent spurt of articles. Whoever you are, thank you and keep it up!

Several recent news stories showing the value of libraries in these tough times:

CBS

MSNBC

San Francisco Chronicle

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Librarian Susan Cohen (right) helps Melvina York with resources at the job and career center at the San Francisco Main Library. (Kurt Rogers / The Chronicle)

Reflections on Librarianship

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The following is a letter which was recently posted to the ALA Council List by PLG member Elaine Harger in which she reflects on where libraries, specifically public libraries, fit into the communities in which they are situated. She brings important questions to the table with regard to the roles and responsibilities held by both individual libraries and larger library affiliated institutions in light of economic and environmental disaster. Please read as food for thought and thank you to Kathleen de la Peña McCook for making this available to the broader PLG community!

Dear colleagues,

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about all the suggestions made this past week regarding topics for discussion at the Membership Meeting at annual. I have also been thinking about ALA and librarianship in general in regard to environmental issues and have yet another idea to add to the hopper.

How do we make libraries relevant in the face of ecological degradation and disaster? For instance, did libraries in New Orleans inform their users about the probability that a hurricane like Katrina might cause the kind of damage that it, in fact, did? It was well known to civil engineers, journalists and others that a big hurricane would devastate the region, but did libraries ever highlight that information so that people might be better prepared? And, what role did libraries in wealthy areas play in fostering a spirit of civic unity with people in poor areas? How did libraries inform users of the likelihood of massive numbers of people becoming refugees? And, what should a library’s responsibility be in the face of the ecological stresses scientists are now warning us about? What is ALA’s responsibility as a leader within our profession? These are not academic questions — each one of our communities is vulnerable and we are all interconnected in vital ways. I think it is time for a discussion of these issues, as they are at the heart of a conversation that the entire nation needs to engage in. Yes, we can discuss what we’d like to see an Obama administration do in regard to libraries, but we need a _vision_ of the direction librarianship must head toward in the face of environmental (and economic, social and political) problems before we can take a wish list to the new president.

Librarianship needs to take a good, hard, eyes-wide-open look at where we are physically, historically and morally in order to transition the profession to meet the pressures of a future the likes of which we’ve never seen. If we are to make good on our promises to bear witness of what happened in New Orleans, then we need to reflect on what our responsibility is in preparing our own users and communities for the “disasters” that await us. We can certainly “hope” that President Obama will lead us in the right direction regarding these matters, but we really should be proactive and let him know that we have been thinking about the role librarianship could play in the transition to a more just and healthy world.

This afternoon I read an essay by Arundhati Roy entitled “Do Turkeys Enjoy Thanksgiving?” In it she makes a special point about honorable people who get elected to positions of power. I highly recommend this essay, which can be found at:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/95259/Do-Turkeys-Enjoy-Thanksgiving

We can’t passively “hope” for a better world, we need to be that change, and in order for this to happen within librarianship we need to do some serious reflection on where we fit into society, what that society is truly like and what we would like it to become.

All my best,

Elaine Harger
Councilor-at-Large