Saturday, February 28, 2015

November vote set for Albany High renovation, reconstruction

From the Albany (NY) School District:

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 27, 2015) -- The future of Albany High School is in voters’ hands.

After more than a decade of discussion about how new facilities would best serve students for generations to come, including two years of planning for the current proposal, the City School District of Albany Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday night to let voters decide in November.

The vote will be Nov. 3, in conjunction with the general election. Read the Feb. 27 Times Union for additional coverage. You also can click on the highlighted text to see a Feb. 26 presentation to the school board about the project.

The $199.5 million renovation and reconstruction project would add a second academic wing, a new auditorium and fine-arts center, new outdoor athletic facilities, and a welcome and wellness center accessible to the community. It also would include space for all of Albany High’s career and technical education programs, currently located three blocks away at the Abrookin Career and Technical Center.

Major renovations would include the current academic building and gym, which would be expanded and also would include an indoor running track. The school’s open courtyard would be enclosed to create a common area and glass-paneled atrium.
Plan minimizes tax impact 
Construction would be extended over seven years to maximize state aid and reduce the cost to taxpayers. The district estimates that residents with the basic STAR exemption would pay an extra $40-$80 for homes assessed in the $150,000-$250,000 range. Seniors with the enhanced STAR exemption would see an increase of $29-$66 for homes assessed in the same range.

The district will work hard throughout the spring, summer and fall to educate residents about the project and answer questions from the community.

The new Albany High would include five smaller learning communities specifically designed to meet future program goals. Albany High currently has four smaller learning communities that were retrofitted into the 41-year-old facility three years ago. When it is completed, the project would add 40 percent more space to the current high school, allowing the school to manage increases in student enrollment that are projected over the next decade.

New facilities alone won’t solve the academic challenges many Albany High students encounter, but the project will help staff design better programs to meet the needs of all students, Principal Cecily Wilson-Turner told the board.

Friday, February 27, 2015

ISIS burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries

From the Independent:

Isis militants have reportedly ransacked Mosul library, burning over a hundred thousand rare manuscripts and documents spanning centuries of human learning.

Initial reports said approximately 8,000 books were destroyed by the extremist group.

However, AL RAI’s chief international correspondent Elijah J. Magnier told The Independent that a Mosul library official believes as many as 112, 709 manuscripts and books, some of which were registered on a UNESCO rarities list, are among those lost...

Among the documents believed lost are a collection of Iraqi newspapers from the beginning of the 20th century, maps, books and collections from the Ottoman period.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Nonprofits: Form 990 Online and e-Postcard filing systems hacked

Here's an e-mail I received today:

The Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) recently discovered that an unauthorized party or parties have gained access to the Form 990 Online and e-Postcard filing systems for nonprofit organizations. This unauthorized access affected nonprofits that used IRS Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-N (e-Postcard). It also affected users of Form 8868 extensions and filings for charitable organizations in Hawaii, Michigan, and New York.

Water main break on Elk Street blocks access to APL parking lot

To those using the 161 Washington Avenue branch, especially those attending Friends of Albany Public library talk today:

You may have some trouble getting into the parking lot at Washington Ave. today.

There's a water main break on Elk Street, right across from the parking lot. The city has closed off Elk Street between Dove and Lark. As of now, you can't travel down the last part of Elk to get into the APL lot.

The library is open and you can walk into the building using the back entrance. But, you probably won't be able to get into the parking lot.

The library is sorry for the inconvenience and late notice; they just learned about this themselves.

Spread the word!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Little Free Libraries on the wrong side of the law

Crime, homelessness and crumbling infrastructure are still a problem in almost every part of America, but two cities have recently cracked down on one of the country's biggest problems: small community libraries where residents can share books.

Officials in Los Angeles and Shreveport, La., have told the owners of homemade lending libraries that they're in violation of city codes, and asked them to remove or relocate their small book collections.

More from the Los Angeles Times.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

10 of the Coolest Librarians Alive

Face it: most librarians are probably cooler than you. After all, their job is to wrangle books, attract readers, and then get the two together — one of our own favorite activities. Though for many years, the librarian stereotype was a severe old lady who couldn't stand excessive noise, the mold has changed (to the extent that even the New York Times has noticed).

Now, many librarians are punk-rock agents of social change, complete with tattoos, tech savvy, and new ideas to get books to the people. Meet just a few of the very coolest librarians alive — and since we know there are hundreds out there, add your favorite book lender (or yourself) in the comments.

"I would like to see a librarian on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine," Porcaro says. "I want to see a librarian on Jersey Shore, in Kanye West’s entourage, and on the coaching staff of the New York Jets. I want to see the first librarian elected President of the United States. Don’t forget, Casanova was a librarian."

More at Flavorwire.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Winning All Over the Map | Budgets & Funding

From the Library Journal:

On the face of it, 2014 looks like it was a pretty good year for libraries at the ballot box: some 148 libraries reporting for this tally won and 42 lost. About 78% of libraries passed funding, bonds, or authority measures in 2014. Over 1.7 million Americans voted yes for their libraries. Only 22% lost. While unfortunate, it doesn’t seem tragic or perilous. But at EveryLibrary, we’re worried about the 1.1 million Americans who voted no this year.

Nonetheless, we’d like to figure out why winners win and losers lose, in order to help ensure that there are more of the former and fewer of the latter in the future. At EveryLibrary, we hear stories from both winning and losing campaigns that try to make sense of an election, that try to put a frame around voter behavior. The winning campaigns must have played all their cards right; the losing campaigns must have missed something. What elusive but critical error did the losers make?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Visit the Albany Public Library for Free Income Tax Assistance

APL should be your first stop for income tax assistance and resources this tax season. Several of our branches are providing free federal income tax preparation services for people with an annual  household income limit of $53,000. 

Volunteers from the Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the AARP Tax-Aide program provide the services. For more information, please call the Washington Ave. Branch Reference Department at 427-4303.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

WINTER BREAK FUN FOR KIDS & TEENS at Albany Public Library

Beat the winter break blues with some fun and educational activities at Albany Public Library!  

We've got even more activities listed on our online calendar. Come visit us during the break! 

Feb. 16 (Mon) 
Ice Skating Party at 12-3 pm -- Swinburne Skating Rink
Teen Spa Day at 2-4 pm -- Delaware Branch
Marshmallow Catapults at 3-4 pm -- Washington Ave. Branch

Feb. 17 (Tues)
Claymation Creations at 1-3 pm -- Delaware Branch
Junior Claymation Creations at 10:30 am-12 pm -- Delaware Branch
Fly with Empire State Aerosciences Museum at 3:30-5 pm -- Howe Branch

Feb. 18 (Wed)
+ Appy Hour with PBS Kids at 10:30-11 am -- Delaware Branch
Elephant Toothpaste at 3-4 pm -- Washington Ave. Branch

Feb. 19 (Thurs)
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Tournament at 2-3:30 pm -- Pine Hills Branch
Bear Snores On at 2:30-4 pm -- Delaware Branch
+ Chinese New Year -- 3-4 pm - Washington Ave. Branch AND 4-5 pm - Howe Branch

Feb. 20 (Fri)
Fly with Empire State Aerosciences Museum at 2-3 pm -- Bach Branch

Feb. 21 (Sat)
Walk Like a Chicken at 10:30-11:30 am -- Washington Ave. Branch
Discovering the Past with Our American Girl Dolls at 1:30-3:30 pm -- Delaware Branch
Draw Pirate Maps at 2-3 pm -- Bach Branch

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Albany snow emergency begins Tuesday, Feb 10 at 8 p.m.n

City of Albany officials have declared a Snow Emergency that will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 10, at which time all normal parking rules and regulations will be temporarily suspended. Snow emergencies are declared so that snow can be loaded onto snow removal trucks and removed from City streets. Because parking can be difficult to find during and after snowstorms, extra parking locations around the City will be open on Monday and Tuesday evenings, February 9 and 10 (see locations and times below).

During the first 24 hours of the snow emergency (from 8 p.m. Tuesday, February 10, until 8 p.m. Wednesday, February 11) all vehicles must be parked on the even numbered side of the street. During the next 24 hours (from 8 p.m. Wednesday, February 11, until 8 p.m. Thursday, February 12) all vehicles must be parked on the odd numbered side of the street. After the second 24-hour period please stay tuned for further announcements. For Snow Emergency information, call 476-SNOW.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Silencing the Alarm: the USA Patriot Act

If you have a smart phone or tablet — an iPhone or iPad, for example — it collects a lot of data about you. So in turn, Apple... also knows a lot about you. And various governments may be interested in that information. That can be unsettling for some customers, so in 2013, Apple started issuing a “Transparency Report” every six months or so. As Apple explained in its first report..., the document is designed to inform Apple’s customers about “the requests we [Apple] receive from governments seeking information about individual users or devices.” Shortly thereafter, Apple offers a caveat: “We have reported all the information we are legally allowed to share.” Basically, there are some government requests that Apple can’t tell us about.

Which is why the second to last line of the Transparency Report is so interesting. It reads, matter-of-factly:

Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.

For context, if you head over to Wikipedia, you’ll find that Section 215 has a very specific feature which makes Apple’s disclosure somewhat odd:

This section of the PATRIOT Act is controversial because the order may be granted ex parte [without the other party present to object -- this is very rare in the U.S.], and once it is granted — in order to avoid jeopardizing the investigation — the order may not disclose the reasons behind why the order was granted.

Read more at Now I Know

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Solomon Northup at Albany Institute of History and Art Feb. 12

Clifford Oliver will portray Solomon Northup, an upstate New York free man who was kidnapped into slavery and spent 12 years of his life enslaved. His narrative, 12 Years a Slave, was the basis for a Fox Searchlight movie by the same name. Learn about Solomon Northup, a man of great courage who faced tremendous adversity and lived to write his narrative.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, February 12 from 6:00-7:00 pm at Albany Institute of History and Art - 125 Washington Avenue, Albany 12210.

A family friendly event.

Visit the AIHA website for details.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Librarian/Archivist (Schenectady, NY)

The Schenectady County Historical Society is seeking an enthusiastic individual with a strong interest in local and public history and a commitment to public service for the position of Librarian/Archivist.  In addition, the successful candidate will have the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with Society staff, Board of Trustees, Board Committees, volunteers, donors, and the general public.

The Society’s Grems-Doolittle Library specializes in local history and genealogy.  The Library collects these materials in a variety of formats and makes them available for use by the public in person and through remote access. 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Frugal Service Station Worker Leaves $6 Million to Hospital, Library in Small Vermont Town

From Slate:

A 92-year-old man known to be very careful with money—so careful that one acquaintance knitted him a winter hat because she was worried he couldn't afford one —left $6 million in what his attorney describes as investment income to the town’s hospital and library when he died. The man, Ronald Read, was a high school graduate and World War II veteran who worked at JC Penney after retiring from his job at a service station.

The Brooks Memorial Library will receive $1.2 million from Read—twice as much as its entire current endowment—and $4.8 million will go to the nonprofit Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Google’s slow fade with librarians

Librarians have been interested in the Google Books project since it began in 2004. It was a heady time to be an information worker. Google used to actively court libraries, and librarians. They showed up at our conferences in 2005, tossed a lot of money around, pumped us for information, talked big talk about partnerships and the beautiful music we could all make together.

They added a librarian resource center to Google. It had a pretty cool URL, and a picture of a library on it. They knew our weaknesses. Things looked serious.

They whispered sweet nothings in our ears about how much we all had in common in a special newsletter just for librarians...

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