We sure had fun talking, but will it be fun to listen to? Thanks to Allison and Steve at the Kankakee Public Library for working up this (not so) little ?BiblioTech? podcast. This is a very relaxed and hopefully somewhat inspiring library technology conversation. Even if the podcast thing isn?t your style, be sure to check out the KPL web site. It rocks the bells and they are the bees knees, baby. It truly was an honor to talk with them about LibraryMan, ?2.0″, ?getting things done?, and library tech stuff in general.
The KPL Podcast Page Is Here?
Beleaguered Salinas plans to close its libraries and The Californian tries to draw attention to the issue. Meanwhile, ALA has a site that anti-tax voters should have checked out before turning down library funding initatives on recent ballots.
Sure, big cuts will be made, but some sort of reduced library service will remain. Meanwhile the politicians will hope that the “well at least we didn’t loose all of our library services” feeling sticks and prevents voters from being too upset. Of course, once a library closes, odds are its gone for good.
It has been my experience that, just like Minnesota (which you?ll remember lost its state library a short while back), California has some of the countries best librarians and libraries. Look at Info People for goodness sake! So why the massive cuts in this library system? Well, it?s not just Salinas (see above link to ALA funding site), though certainly their current debacle is especially troubling.
To keep this from happening more and more, libraries need to spearhead community building programs, quality training programs and voters need to educate themselves before they cut money to something that provides such improved quality of life. Surely Salinas is full of community oriented folks and has a decent quality of life, but when I see news like this that sure isn’t my initial thought.
DVDs of the Day: Pee Wee’s Playhouse, just out on DVD!
I went to the Seattle Public Library web site today because an invitation to attend the Grand Re-Opening Celebration for the West Seattle Branch of the SPL just arrived in the mail. The invite postcard says: ?For more information: www.spl.org?. Apparently the City Librarian and the Mayor will attend, plus the whole shindig is sponsored by Starbucks (among others). Sure I want more details!
Well, if you visit the site this week you are proudly greeted by a bold message declaring that the Library is closed from March 21-28 due to citywide budget cuts. I say good job SPL! Why try to mask cuts and just talk about how tight things are while quietly relying on volunteers to do all of your shelving? Kudos, SPL. They take your cash flow and you tell folks about it, loud and proud. Don?t hide it; put it on the table in front of folks! Too many libraries don?t make a big splash when they get a budgetary sack. Sure there are sticky politics, but this is beyond politics in my opinion.
The site also says: ?If you would like to leave a message for Library management or the Library Board, please call 206-386-4120.? I sure hope they get some supportive calls as well as the expected irate though pro-tax cut ranters.
The Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in Washington, DC actually had a budget increase this year. Surprise! Does anyone else wonder how federal policies towards state-wide library issues would change if DC weren?t it?s own separate governmental district, but part of a state? I?ll bet that state library wouldn?t have a budget shortage.
At any rate, a new set of grants from the IMLS are aiming to help Native American Libraries thrive and grow. I have visited and worked in many such Libraries in the Southwest and can testify that these sorts of funds are much needed.
Having seen some of the issues in these Native communities more than the average person from the ?dominant culture? (a perfect phrase I learned on these Native American Access to Technology Program trips), I can say that there are also other issues in these locations that also need cash flow very badly. Librarians less than average, but most people with an Internet connection would be very shocked to see some of the situations people on ?the rez? have been made to live in.
Given my experiences with Native American communities and Libraries, I guess the main point of this post is that it seems utterly ridiculous to me that any organization serving a dire need or priceless service to their community has to scramble at all for funding. It mystifies me why folks like this don?t already have the monies they deserve. Unfortunately, many of the neediest communities and libraries aren?t connected or organized enough to go through such a process. (It’s why I plug WebJunction and ALA and the other sites mentioned on this site and is also part of why I post to the blog in the first place.)
Having expressed dismay, the things IMLS does are generally quite admirable. If you want to see what IMLS has done in your state, check this link. If you don?t know their work already, you might be surprised.