Saturday, June 21, 2014

Library Support from High-Profile Sources, The Demise of a Controversial Plan, and the Reunion of a Cult Classic

Just some mention-worthy news stories that may be of interest to kindred spirits and like-minded souls...

The Nashville Public Library's motto has been, since my days of working there in high school, "A City With a Great Library is a Great City." And now I think a city with high-profile celebrity residents that support the library and its public programs is an even better one! Last week the NPL Foundation kicked off publicity for a new fundraising program with Nicole Kidman as one of its supporters. Kidman has been a Nashville resident for several years with husband Keith Urban and calls the public library "a community hangout—with a meaning."

"Write the Next Chapter" is the campaign hoping to raise $15 million for the Nashville Public Library Foundation, a nonprofit separate from the library itself that raises additional money for the system. So far, $13 million have been pledged, mostly from deep-pocketed donors (it's unclear whether Kidman is one). The organization is not usually funded by small gifts from patrons, but that's where they're looking for the remaining $2 million. Kidman's involvement is textbook PR, but if this city's celebrities are aware of and engaged with institutions like the library—and if PR like this is going to help fund programs that benefit the whole community—then I am all for it!

Read the full article here: Nicole Kidman backs fundraiser for Nashville Public Library


Did anyone ever hear about the controversial plan for the New York Public Library's famous 42nd St building? For the past couple of years, they've been planning a massive overhaul of the building, sending many of the research archives offsite, getting rid of the famed underground stacks, and turning the building into a lending library. To pay for it, they'd be selling the buildings of two current libraries (including the current lending library that exists right across the street)...and I'm not sure where they were supposed to go, if anywhere.

This plan legit broke my heart. And infuriated me. The purpose of the Schwarzman Building has always been the portal to access all of that information—it's the system's main research branch, the gateway to all these amazing resources that the library holds. (And that's a fundamental role of the/any library!) However, it's also where the tourists visit and where the crowd-gathering programs are held. To me, this plan indicated that the NYPL's priorities had shifted away from providing resources for its patrons and instead to getting their main physical symbol, this 42nd St building, in the news.

I mean, really. This is a system that has eliminated YA librarians from its workforce. Where Children's Librarian positions are decreasing as they generalize the position of "librarian"—if they even have qualified MLS-holding librarians in the positions and not just Library Clerks. I've been to branches where the children's desk is manned by security guards, because there's no one qualified on staff to cover it. I've been on the waitlist for books so long that my hold was cancelled because a year and passed—the default "cancel by" deadline. So instead of funding more resources and qualified employees and accessible operating hours, the NYPL is saying, with this plan, that their public image at 42nd Street is more important than the services it provides to the everyday NYC-resident public. INFURIATING.

But this story does have a happy ending. As of early May, the NYPL has abandoned this plan! The Nation did a wonderful, eye-opening follow-up article in light of this news that goes into all the complexities of the NYPL, funding, politics, and transparency. I highly recommend you read both of Scott Sherman's articles and consider what "library" means to you.

Read the full article here: The Battle of 42nd Street


And last but not least, a bit of fun! Are there any Roswell fans in the house?? You may remember this sci-fi-ish teen drama from the WB in its heyday of teen dramas. It was the one about aliens that had really dedicated fans—ones that mailed bottles of Tabasco sauce to the WB in a united front against cancellation.

The ATX TV Fesitval hosted a 15-year reunion of the cast last week, and I swear there must've been something in the water at those WB studios around this time; no one ages! After seeing this update, my inner fan-girl wants to totally watch the series from the beginning...again. Like the character-driven fan favorite Friday Night Lights and/or Parenthood? You may be more inclined to watch Roswell knowing that the creator of these two shows, Jason Katims, is the brains behind Roswell, as well. My fandoms are all making sense to me now...

Read more and see the reunion over at Variety.

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