Thursday, August 30, 2012

U.S. Public Libraries Weather the Storm

From BoingBoing:

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and the woman seated next to you on the plane could smoke her Virginia Slims all the way from Chicago to L.A., libraries were fully-funded and considered an essential for every community. Then came the financial crash, and the slash-and-burn began for library budgets. The American Library Association's handy infographic shows the impact that library budget cuts have on the communities they serve—and shows how libraries are weathering the storm...

Read the 2012 Public Library Funding & Technology Access study, produced by the ALA and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Public Meetings Tonight and September 12 re Albany Reapportionment

Tonight, Aug. 28 at 5:30pm at the Albany Public Library main branch on Washington Avenue, the City of Albany Reapportionment Commission (chaired by Vicente Alfonso) will be holding its first public forum to receive input on reapportionment related issues.

Here is a link to the Commission's webpage, which also includes the Commission's workplan timetable and other data elements.

There will be an additional public forum on September 12 for the commission to receive input.

Here is a link to the article in today's Times Union about the redistricting commission.

Below is some information from the redistricting website that describes the work and purpose of the Commission. The Commission consists of eight volunteer Albany residents who were appointed by the Albany Common Council. Unlike the last reapportionment commission, there are no Common Council Members who serve on the current commission.

City Wards & Redistricting


In accordance with the City Charter, the City of Albany is divided into 15 legislative districts, or Wards. Each Ward is represented by a City Common Council Member who is elected by their constituency to serve a four year term. Each Common Council Member functions to regulate and protect the interests of residents within their Ward.

Collectively the members comprise the Common Council which serves as the legislative branch of Albany’s government. The Common Council is authorized to adopt, amend or repeal local laws, ordinances, resolutions and regulations pertaining to property and government affairs within the City.

Ward boundaries are established by the Common Council to best represent the demographics within the City and are based primarily on Census information.


Redistricting refers to the process by which census data is used to redraw the boundaries of electoral districts, or in the case of the City of Albany, Ward boundaries. Redistricting impacts the weight of your vote and involves making difficult decisions constricted by complicated local, State and Federal laws. In the City of Albany, this process is conducted every 10 years, and is based on the latest Federal Decennial Census information. The City's Ward boundaries were last finalized in 2003 based on Census 2000 data, and are currently undergoing review per the 2010 Census. Redistricting represents one of the most important undertakings of our democracy.


The Reapportionment Commission is appointed by the Common Council to review Ward boundaries within the City of Albany. In order to accommodate population changes and demographic shifts reported in current Census surveys, the Commission strives to maximize the legal principle of "one person, one vote," consistent with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and subsequent case laws.

The Commission also has a responsibility to maximize public participation in the process of redistricting in the City of Albany, and to ensure the Ward maps best represent protected groups and community of interests within the City. The Commission obtains public input on representation and boundary adjustments through public meetings, hearings and other community outreach. A finalized plan will be presented to the Common Council for their review and approval.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Legal Services for the Underserved: Referring Public Library Patrons to Local Legal Resources

Reference Services at the Albany Public Library is pleased to present the following free professional development workshop:

Thursday, September 20th, 2012
10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Albany Public Library's 1st Floor Auditorium
161 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12210

In these tough economic times, public library staff who work the reference/information desk are finding themselves more frequently referring patrons who need legal assistance and/or wish to conduct legal research. The workshop's speakers will highlight the resources and services provided by three local libraries and two legal services organizations. There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion after the presentations. Participating organizations:
• Frances Bergan Law Library (Albany County Public Access Law Library) and the Supreme Court Library (Rensselaer County Public Access Law Library)
• The Schaffer Law Library of the Albany Law School
• The New York State Library
• The Legal Project of the Capital District Women's Bar Association
• The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York.
Continuing Ed Contact Hours: 2 Contact Hours; Certificate provided.

Coffee and light refreshment will be served.

There is some free parking in our lot behind the library at the Elk Street entrance; there is also long-term metered parking along Elk Street. Elk Street is one-way; access Elk via Swan or Hawk from Washington Avenue. CDTA stops at Washington and Lark (next door to or across the street from APL). Google Maps.

Paraprofessionals/library assistants and MLS/MSIS graduate students are also especially welcome!

Please RSVP to Deanna DiCarlo by September 14th.
(518) 427-4301

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Naples Library Plundered

NAPLES, Italy — For months now, the alarm has been resounding throughout the insular and competitive world of antiquarian books: beware of volumes bearing the stamp of the storied Girolamini Library in Naples. They could be hot.

The library’s former director, Marino Massimo De Caro, was arrested in May, accused of systematically despoiling the library he had been charged with keeping safe, stealing books and selling them on the open market or directly to collectors. And sharp sleuthing on the part of a professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta has raised questions about Mr. De Caro and the sale of other, possibly forged, books.

More here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Libraries, Patrons, and E-books

According to Pew Research:

Some 12% of Americans ages 16 and older who read e-books say they have borrowed an e-book from a library in the past year.

Most e-book borrowers say libraries are very important to them and their families and they are heavy readers in all formats, including books they bought and books lent to them. E-book borrowers say they read an average (the mean number) of 29 books in the past year, compared with 23 books for readers who do not borrow e-books from a library. Perhaps more striking, the median (midpoint) figures for books reportedly read are 20 in the past year by e-book borrowers and 12 by non-borrowers.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Profession​al Assessment of Twilight Sparkle as a Librarian

From Neatorama:

In “The Return of Harmony,” the demon Discord threatens to destroy Equestria. Twilight Sparkle’s friends are picked off one by one, until she alone is left to find a means to defeat him. She immediately runs to her library and searches her collection for the answer. She finds inside one volume the mystical Elements of Harmony, which she uses to banish Discord.

It's a great metaphor for the value of libraries and librarians in an information age. The hero of the tale is Twilight Sparkle, the librarian of Ponyville and the protagonist of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. She is undoubtedly intelligent, considerate and brave. But is she, from a professional’s point of view, is Twilight an effective librarian? What follows is an assessment of her in that capacity.