Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Library Worker Defends Patron’s Free Speech, Is Brutally Arrested in Library Where He Works


“For someone to be assaulted and then arrested for asking a question, in a public library of all places, is abhorrent. The library should be a place where people of all points of view can feel safe and welcome,” Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming at the Kansas City Public Library told the Dissent NewsWire.

But that is exactly what happened during a question and answer session with former Bush Administration official and current Washington Institute for Near East Policy distinguished fellow Dennis Ross, when a local activist was arrested after asking Ross a question.

“I have spent the last 10 years of my life trying to cultivate that atmosphere through public programming at the library. Library staff should be the final arbiters of what constitutes reasonable discourse at a public event held inside a public library,” Woolfolk explained to the Dissent NewsWire. Yet, when he tried to intervene on the questioner’s behalf, Woolfolk found himself arrested at an event he helped plan.

The Kansas City Public Library is no stranger to hosting events, sometimes with controversial speakers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Your Signed Books and Artwork Just Got Harder to Sell in California

From Eureka Booksellers

On September 9, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB1570 Collectibles: Sale of Autographed Memorabilia into law.

The law requires dealers in any autographed material to provide certificates of authenticity (COA) for any signed item sold for $5 or more.

“That sounds pretty reasonable,” you might be thinking. The legislature and the governor apparently had a similar response, because the law was passed with almost no discussion (though eBay’s lobbyist’s fingerprints are on the bill — they managed to get themselves exempted).

Here’s the problem: We sell greeting cards by local artist John Wesa. He signs each one. If we sell one for $5, under this law, we have to provide a certificate of authenticity, and we have to keep our copy of the COA for seven (7!) years. For a $5 greeting card.

Each year, we sell more than a thousand books signed by local authors, every one of these will need to have an accompanying COA. In odd-numbered years, we sell books for the Humboldt County Children’s Book Author Festival. In 2015, we sold 1605 signed books to benefit the festival. That’s 1605 COAs, to be filed and stored for seven years.

You might think, "Oh, you can just have a generic COA." No.

Friday, September 16, 2016

UNH Librarian Leaves His $4 Million Fortune To The School, then...

From Inside Higher Ed:

It sounds too good to be true -- a University of New Hampshire library cataloguer thriftily munched Fritos and microwave dinners and drove a 1992 Plymouth while slowly amassing a fortune, which he bequeathed to his longtime employer and alma mater.

Depending on whom you ask, though, the story ended up being too good to last. Upon his death in 2015, New Hampshire cataloger Robert Morin donated his $4 million estate to the university from which he graduated in 1963 and where he worked for nearly 50 years. News outlets across the country published glowing accounts of his donation.

But to hear some tell it, the glow has faded.

That’s because of the way New Hampshire decided to spend Morin’s gift.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

‘Rock star’ Baltimore librarian makes history at Library of Congress

From the Washington Post
The usually quiet atrium of the Enoch Pratt Free Library came alive with laughter and cheers last month as hundreds gathered to say goodbye to a Baltimore official known to many as “Doc.”

It was an astonishing display of affection for the Pratt’s departing leader, Carla D. Hayden, who is being sworn in Wednesday as the new head of the Library of Congress. Many dismiss urban libraries as outdated and irrelevant, yet Baltimore residents and civic leaders were celebrating the Pratt and Hayden, who captained its resurgence.

“She’s like a rock star,” said Maureen O’Neill, a librarian at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, a city high school. “To see a librarian exalted and appreciated is very touching.”

City residents and Pratt employees gathered alongside current and former trustees of the Pratt, city officials and members of Maryland’s congressional delegation to wish Hayden well. She seemed to know them all by name.

“As my grandmother said, ‘It’s mutual between us,’ ” Hayden said later. “It’s a city that really grabs you. They’re just good people.”

After 23 years as Pratt’s chief executive, Hayden, 64, will make history today as she becomes the first woman and the first African American to run the nation’s library. Founded in 1800, the library is the largest in the world, with 162 million items in its collection. It also provides research and legal advice for members of Congress and oversees the U.S. Copyright Office.

Hayden succeeds James H. Billington, a Reagan appointee who retired last year.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Acoustic Rock Night at Albany Public Library September 16

The Albany Public Library is closing out the summer with the last Garage Bands in the Garage concert of the season. Join us this Friday, Sept. 16, for Acoustic Rock Night featuring Matt Durfee & the Rattling Baddlies and Swamp Baby.

The free, all-ages show runs from 6 to 8 pm at the Washington Ave. Branch (back entrance off Elk St.). You are encouraged to bring a lawn chair and snacks to complete your concert-going experience.

There will also be a sale of gently used CDs -- all just $1 each -- at the show. Stop by Friday night for a fun evening of music!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Banned Book READ-OUTS! Scheduled For Albany, Troy and Saratoga Springs

Per the NYCLU

Lovers of books and free speech will be celebrating Americans’ constitutional freedom to read at three Banned Book READ-OUTS! later this month in the Capital Region. At these events, local citizens read their favorite passages from books that have been banned or challenged.

This year’s events are scheduled for:
· Albany Public Library, 161Washington Avenue, Wednesday, September 28 at 6 pm.

· Saratoga Springs Public Library, 49 Henry Street, community room, Sunday, September 18 at 3 pm.

· Market Block Books, 290 River Street in Troy, Friday, September 30 at 7 pm.

Each year there are hundreds of attempts to ban books in schools and libraries throughout the country. Melanie Trimble, Director of the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said, “Our Constitution gives us the right to read what we want and the best way to preserve this freedom is to exercise it.”

This year’s banned book celebrations are focusing in particular on the subject of diversity. The American Library Association (ALA) estimates that more than half of all banned or challenged books are written by authors of color or represent groups or viewpoints outside the mainstream. Trimble said, “It’s distressing to see that, in our diverse country, there is so much effort spent on trying to muzzle diverse voices.”

Even when such attempts at censorship are turned back, they often have a residual dampening effect. Teachers may shy away from including challenged books on reading lists; libraries and bookstores may shrink from featuring them on their shelves.

In the past year, the three most challenged books have been Looking for Alaska by John Green; Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, and I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings. Many of our greatest novels have been among the most consistently challenged works. Some examples: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, Ulysses, Invisible Man, The Call of the Wild, Native Son, Rabbit, Run and An American Tragedy.

This year, banned websites are also receiving attention. Excessive and unbalanced filtering of websites has become a growing issue in schools. The American Civil Liberties Union, for example, notes that many serious LGBT sites are often blocked, while religious sites aimed at convincing LGBT youth to change their sexual orientation or gender identity and sites that foster hate speech against LGBT people are not blocked.

For example, The Trevor Project, a lauded website devoted to suicide prevention among LGBT youth, is commonly blocked by schools, but the National Organization for Marriage site, which advocates against marriage equality, often goes unfiltered.

Local sponsors of these banned books READ OUTS! are the Albany, Troy and Saratoga Springs public libraries, the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs and Market Block Books in Troy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

City of Albany Institutes Mandatory Water Restrictions

Albany--The ongoing repair of the sinkhole on South Lake Avenue has involved shutting off the major water transmission main that brings water from the City of Albany’s water treatment plant in Feura Bush to the Loudonville Reservoir, which serves as the finished water storage for our water supply system.

To assure that there is sufficient water for all customers for their normal domestic and business needs while the City of Albany works to repair sewer and water lines at South Lake Avenue, the City of Albany, per order of Water Department Commissioner Joseph Coffey, has instituted the following mandatory restrictions on outdoor use of water until further notice:

1. No lawn watering, either by automatic systems or manual methods;
2. No car washing with open hoses;
3. No hosing of sidewalks or driveways;
4. No filling of swimming pools.
Watering of vegetable garden plots is permitted by hand. Failure to comply with these restrictions may result in a fine.

If you have questions about these restrictions, call the Department of Water & Water Supply at 434-5300.
By Order of: Joseph E. Coffey, Jr., P.E., Commissioner
Department of Water & Water Supply