This Library System Is Willing to Forgive Your Fine…Just This Once

Library scofflaws take note: Amnesty programs are gaining steam throughout the U.S.

From Erin Blakemore at
If you’ve ever failed to return a library book, you’re not alone—even George Washington was a library scofflaw. And if you live in Los Angeles, you can return your books without fear of a fine for the next two weeks, regardless of how long you’ve had them checked out. It’s all part of an increasing trend of library amnesty programs aimed at welcoming forgetful or unlucky patrons back into the fold.

The Los Angeles Public Library’s amnesty period, which lasts from February 1 through February 14, is as much an attempt to regain lost patrons as lost books. “Nothing can keep us apart, not even late fees,” announces the library on its website, in a Valentine’s Day-tinged message about its amnesty program.

The concept of library amnesty started gaining steam during the economic downturn, write Susan Saulny and Emma Graves Fitzsimmons for the New York Times. Worried that the prospect of late fees was keeping patrons from collections, libraries started coming up with creative ways to get people back to the shelves. “We want our books back, and even more we want our borrowers back,” Lodi Public Library service director Nancy Martinez tells the American Library Association.

Full article here.

Flint Public Library Responds to Lead Contamination to the Water Supply

Via the Progressive Librarians Guild:
Letter from Flint Public Library about Lead in Water Crisis to PUBLIB

On Sat, Jan 23, 2016 at 9:05 AM, Kay Schwartz wrote:

Friends in the Library world,

The Flint Public Library is getting many expressions of sympathy from libraries all over the country about the water crisis in Flint – thank you all so much for your concern for our community and our library!

Flint indeed has a long road to travel, because we have to now determine what homes and businesses and what underground water systems were damaged by the corrosive water, and decide how to fix all that. Now that we’re
back on regular Lake Huron water, we still aren’t able to drink it until each and every home and building is tested to make sure that the service lines AND the lines within the home are not leaching lead. It varies building
to building, neighborhood to neighborhood, and house to house. Understand that it was not the river water per se but the failure to add corrosion control to the water, that caused the damage. The water was ok when it left the plant but corroded the pipes on the way to homes and corroded the pipes inside your home or building on the way to your faucets.

Read the full letter here.

Spread of internet has not conquered ‘digital divide’ between rich and poor – report

Via The Guardian:


Study by World Bank praises potential of technology to transform lives, but warns of risk of creating a ‘new underclass’ of the disconnected

The rapid spread of the internet and mobile phones around the globe has failed to deliver the expected boost to jobs and growth, the World Bank has revealed in a report that highlights a growing digital divide between rich and poor.

The Bank said no other technology has reached more people in so short a time as the internet, but warned that the development potential of technological change had yet to be reaped.

According to the Bank’s new “World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends”, the number of people connected to the internet has more than tripled in the past decade, from 1 billion to an estimated 3.5 billion. In many developing countries, more families own a mobile phone than have access to electricity or clean water.

Full Story Here


SHAME! Wisconsin School District Bows to Hate Group–Cancels Book Reading about Transgender Teen.

From the New York Daily News:

Wisconsin elementary school cancels reading about transgender teen after anti-LGBTQ group threatens lawsuit

Saturday, November 28, 2015, 4:18 PM

A Wisconsin elemejazz-book-312x217ntary school called off a scheduled reading of a children’s book about a transgender girl after a Florida-based non-profit threatened to sue.

The Mount Horeb Primary Center had planned to read “I Am Jazz,” a book based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, a 15-year-old transgender activist.

The principal sent home a letter to parents on Nov. 19, in advance of the reading, according to the Minneapolis StarTribune.

“We believe all students deserve respect and support regardless of their gender identity and expression, and the best way to foster that respect and support is through educating students about the issue of being transgender,” the letter said.

Then, religious activists stepped in. Full Article Here

They used to call it a ‘print-rich environment’


From the Fashion & Style section of The New York Times:

Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves

Why Public Libraries Matter: It’s time for America to stop starving its libraries of funding.

There are lots of articles about why libraries matter. Here is an especially good one from The Nation:

ny_library_ap_img_1Why Public Libraries Matter

It’s time for America to stop starving its libraries of funding.


An open letter to the Seattle Public Library Board of Trustees about SPL’s “anti-book” agenda

branding-your-business_categoryBig trouble is brewing in Seattle over the very expensive– private funds or not– rebranding of the SPL– the public library every other public library loves to emulate. Whose library?

From the Seattle Review of Books

An open letter to the Seattle Public Library Board of Trustees about SPL’s “anti-book” agenda

President Fujiwara and the Seattle Public Library’s Board of Trustees,

As Laurel Holliday reported for the Seattle Review of Books last week,public response to Seattle Public Library’s proposed rebranding campaign has been overwhelmingly negative. In fact, Holliday reports the response has been so negative that the board appears likely to kill the rebranding plan at or before their public meeting on Wednesday.

This is for the best. The rebranding was ill-considered, and it was presented to the public in an arrogant, unprofessional way. SPL librarians were not warned about the rebranding effort in advance, so they were unprepared when the angry public demanded answers.


Stand with Junot Díaz on Human Rights in the Dominican Republic: Librarians, now is the time to make sure the work of Junot Diaz is on our shelves for our users to read


This from our friends at Librarians and Human Rights, via Progressive Librarians Guild. But it is all over the press-

The Dominican Republic revoked a major honor prized awarded to Diaz in 2008 over his public stand against the mass deportation of Dominicans of Haitian descent, calling him anti-Dominican.  Full story here. see background info here

I saw Diaz recently at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute. He spoke  a little about the huge backlash from the DR toward him, AND more importantly, toward Dominicanos living  in the DR who are fighting this racist policy.



Library Bans Workers From Drinking Water at Their Desks Because it is Unprofessional



Library bans workers from drinking water at desk
Bridget Shanahan

MILWAUKEE — A new water policy at the North Shore Library is limiting who can drink what and where.
The library director said it’s about the library’s image, but that’s not sitting well some community members.

“I was very surprised this was an issue,” said Jerry Locke.

Today, Locke did something he said he never does, he brought a petition to the North Shore Library board with more than 100 names on it, including the mayor of Glendale.

“We just want to see that people are taken care of at a reasonable level and I think this is a very reasonable request,” he said.

Jerry’s request? To allow library employees to drink water at their desk, where patrons can see them. That was recently banned. A new library policy requires employees to grab a drink in staff areas only.

See full story here.

And here


People Love Public Libraries– But They Are Not Using Them

Most people say public libraries provide communities with essential resources for literacy and education, but the number of people who actually take advantage of library services may be slipping.
Two-thirds of Americans told pollsters that closing libraries would dramatically change their community. Of people surveyed, 85 percent said they think libraries offer early literacy programs that prepare children for school and that libraries should collaborate with local schools to help students learn, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center. READ FULL ARTICLE HERE


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