Scandalous closure of public libraries

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:44 pm


Amsterdam

Loaning out manuscripts of political thought from all over the world … the librarian of Amsterdam's tent city

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:47 pm


New York City

A new perspective … the People's Library in New York's financial district

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:50 pm


Los Angeles

Politics and philosophy from Plato's Dialogues to George Bush's Decision Points … a shelf of books from the Occupy protest at Los Angeles City Hall

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:53 pm


Toronto

Margaret Atwood has been asked to formally open the library but has not yet responded … a yurt containing the Occupy Toronto library

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:57 pm


London

'Will Hutton's The State We're In is shelved alongside Subcomandante Marcos's Zapatista Stories, Dean Koontz's The Husband piled on top of Brian Friel's Translations' ... the Occupy London library at St Paul's Cathedral

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:00 pm


Los Angeles

Plain speaking … a necessary intervention at Occupy Los Angeles

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:13 am

Campaign against library closures has scored a vital victory

High court ruling against plans to cut Somerset and Gloucestershire services is a major boost to the national libraries campaign


Bruton library in Somerset, one of the facilities threatened by the cuts. Photograph: Sam Frost

Library campaigners across the country have experienced a major boost from yesterday's high court ruling that plans by Somerset and Gloucestershire county councils to cut funding to large numbers of their libraries were unlawful.

Judge Martin McKenna ruled that, as the closures would hurt disadvantaged groups such as the elderly and the disabled, which is contrary to the conditions laid down in equalities legislation, the councils would just have to scrap their plans and think again. And he also made it crystal clear – as he quashed the closure decisions and told the councils to pay campaigners' legal costs – that he was sending a message to other local authorities intent on restructuring their library services.

The councils had claimed "hyperbole, exaggeration and hysteria" on the part of the campaigners. But Judge McKenna, reflecting on how the case had been conducted, described the campaigners' approach as "perfectly reasonable" and "proportionate" even in the areas where their legal claim had not been successful.

Library lovers keen to defend their service from cuts have, over the past year, found themselves ridiculed, dismissed or ignored by those in positions of authority at both a local and national level, while also being treated to council doublespeak about the cutbacks of the kind recently denounced by Philip Pullman as sheer "political bullshit".

Judge McKenna's ruling, therefore, in stark contrast to that of Mr Justice Ouseley reviewing the Brent case in October, comes as a real relief – and a validation of their cause.

Daniel Carey of Public Interest Lawyers, who acted for the campaigners, welcomed it as a "vindication for library campaigners in Somerset and Gloucestershire and nationally, and for the rule of law". (Meanwhile, rather puzzlingly, leader of Gloucestershire council Mark Hawthorne told Channel 4 News that the case had been lost on "a very small technical point" – a direct contradiction of the judge's own remarks just beforehand, in which he called the breach of equality duties involved "substantive, not merely a technical or procedural defect".)

To call this a turning point in the lengthy battle for the public library service would be premature. Somerset and Gloucestershire councils will return with new proposals – and James Goudie QC, who acted for the councils at the judicial review, suggested that financial pressures being what they were, the next round of plans on offer could be even more "draconian" than the ones that the court had rejected.

Councils are desperate to save money on libraries, and are increasingly looking to volunteer-run ventures as a way to do it. Some communities feel coerced into accepting such plans, despite widespread fears that they are simply unsustainable in the long term. Meanwhile the government ministers with the responsibility to check that the service is being properly looked after – culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and culture minister Ed Vaizey – have become notorious for their unwillingness to become involved.

But a clear line has now been drawn on equalities law, and up and down the country, local authorities will now be closeted in urgent meetings with their legal advisers to review their library plans.

Somerset and Gloucestershire campaigners should rightly celebrate, and be celebrated. It is a real achievement, despite all the barriers in their way – including the raising of over £20,000 towards legal costs – to have stopped local closures in their tracks.

And the verdict will give fresh energy to campaigners in other parts of the country, as they struggle with their local situations and plan joint actions, including a national libraries march likely to take place in February next year.

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:09 am

The Occupy London library spreads its wings

The library founded by protesters at St Paul's cathedral is expanding, with two new branches opening in London


Room for improvement ... poster paint and books on the shelves at the Occupy London library at the Bank of Ideas. Photograph: Richard Lea

As councils up and down the country close libraries faster than you can say "select committee", the Occupy London library is expanding, with two new branches.

The library at Finsbury Square is little more than a couple of shelves and a sofa in a tent, while around the corner at the Bank of Ideas there's a fair amount of shelving, though not much in the way of actual books. But according to the Bank's poet in residence – or maybe that should be "poet in occupation" – Pete the Temp, these are early days.

"There's not much here yet, but we're only just starting," he says, pointing out the "rigorous shelving system" which makes the divide between books and, um, poster paint. The collection is the same kind of hotch-potch as at the St Paul's site with Brand volume six next to Klein's The Politics of the NHS and Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues next to Joe Klein's Primary Colors. There aren't enough books yet to live up to the title of James Gleick's Chaos, but it's nice to see a copy of Ben Wilson's What Price Liberty? sitting free and easy on those shelves.

Despite the run-down office decor and woolly-hat temperatures – even on this sunny November afternoon – Pete says the library environment is something of an inspiration. Perched by a window on a reclaimed chair he's been working on a poem: "Now is the winter of our discount tents/ Where people regroup from their TV sets / And start to set out the new news agenda …" Here's hoping the Occupy London libraries won't meet same sorry fate as the library at Zuccotti Park.

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:59 pm

Almost 4m children in Britain do not own a book, poll finds

National Literacy Trust describes as 'very worrying' results of survey of 18,000 children between 11 and 16

Jessica Shepherd, education correspondent

The Guardian, Monday 5 December 2011


The National Literacy Trust has published research shwoing that almost 4 million children in Britain do not own a book. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

Almost 4 million children in Britain – one in three – do not own a book, a poll has found. The National Literacy Trust charity, which carried out the survey, said the proportion had risen from one in 10 in 2005. The charity said the findings were very worrying because book ownership was linked to children's futuresuccess in life. Children who read well can often overcome other hurdles that lock their peers into a cycle of disadvantage, it said.

Jonathan Douglas, director of the charity, said children were reading from books and even computers less, but watching films and images on screens more. He said there were many more forms of entertainment competing for children's attention than there used to be. The charity commissioned researchers to quiz more than 18,000 children aged 11 to 16. Almost a fifth – 19% –said they had never received a book as a present and 12% said they had never been to a bookshop.

Girls were slightly more likely than boys to own a book.

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:06 pm

Edinburgh book sculptures turn the page

The final chapter of a touching anonymous tribute to the power of words has just appeared


Anonymous's final paper sculpture. Photograph: Michael Macleod

As symbols of love for libraries go, cutting up books wouldn't be most readers' first thought. But the delicate paper sculptures that have been left anonymously in recent months around Edinburgh's cultural institutions have been enchanting.

The latest, and it seems the last, of 10 such ornaments has been found in the Scottish Poetry Library, just off the capital's Royal Mile where the mystery began in March when staff there found the first gift from the Banksy of books … Booksy, perhaps.

A note left with the sculpture reads: "'You need to know when to end a story,' she thought. Often a good story ends where it begins. This would mean a return to the Poetry Library. The very place where she had left the first of the ten. So, here, she will end this story, in a special place … A Poetry Library ….. where they are well used to 'anon.' Cheers Edinburgh It's been fun!"

Despite global coverage on the internet, with sites like NPR, Boing Boing and this very books blog reporting on the fragile finds, it seems nobody knows who has been making the sculptures.

But as Lilias Fraser, reader development officer at the poetry library, explains in this Audioboo clip, the secrecy is part of the fun.

"These sculptures are just an extraordinary gesture. It's obviously someone who wasn't looking to be recognised or to make money or even a commission out of what she was doing. It is an extraordinary thing that someone has done these beautiful things for absolutely nothing other than pleasure and interest and enthusiasm and love for places and books."

The second in the series was discovered in June by staff at the National Library of Scotland; a delicately crafted gramophone made out of Ian Rankin's Exit Music. Later in the month the city's Filmhouse found a tiny cinema made of books. And in July staff at the Scottish Storytelling Centre found a paper dragon's egg hatching on a windowsill.

These were followed by two discoveries at August's Edinburgh International Book Festival, dedicated to the City of Literature Trust and the book festival itself.

I remember haring around the festival site hunting for clues, along with some of the festival staff, trying to work out who had managed to smuggle in such a delicate artwork. Perhaps we'd find someone with a big box, or a bag. But the hunt quickly died down when we agreed that the thrill was in the secret.

Later that month the city's Central Lending Library staff found a paper magnifying glass pointed towards an Edwin Morgan quote: "When I got in I want it bright, I want to catch whatever is there in full sight."

The National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh's Writer's Museum were the final recipients of the mystery sculptures, all of which have been photographed by local literary fan Chris Scott.

The local newspaper recently speculated that a city art student was the sculptor. But for me, finding out would spoil the fun. In a strange way the anonymity feels like a collective voice speaking up for all who share a fondness for libraries, at a time when many need support.

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:18 pm


Ros Asquith. The Guardian. 5 December 2011.

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  Guest on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:28 am

The mayoress of Madrid, Ana Botella (ex-president Aznar's wife), has called for volunteers to man municipal installations and facilities (including public library services), so they can ‘return something to society’.

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:43 am

Vera Cruz wrote:The mayoress of Madrid, Ana Botella (ex-president Aznar's wife), has called for volunteers to man municipal installations and facilities (including public library services), so they can ‘return something to society’.

Unemployed 'volunteers' on welfare benefits, perchance?

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  Guest on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:47 am

anybody

I bet her daughter or her son are willing to volunteer...

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:54 am

I've got a feeling that TigerLily would confirm that 'volunteers' of whatever kind are no substitute for professional librarians.

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  Doc Watson on Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:51 pm

I went to a fantastic library in Vancouver on Saturday morning . It was everything I think a modern library should be. Not only did it have books and plenty of them but there were magazines , DVDs , music and plenty of public access computers , as well it hosts community groups , book clubs etc. it was well staffed and there were lots of patrons. To me it is what a library must be these days to survive.

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  tigerlily on Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:28 pm

eddie wrote:I've got a feeling that TigerLily would confirm that 'volunteers' of whatever kind are no substitute for professional librarians.

Confirmed !


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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  Doc Watson on Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:33 pm

tigerlily wrote:
eddie wrote:I've got a feeling that TigerLily would confirm that 'volunteers' of whatever kind are no substitute for professional librarians.

Confirmed !

It would depend on their experience for example I know many ex teachers who would be outstanding volunteers in any library.

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  this and that on Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:44 pm

tigerlily wrote:
eddie wrote:I've got a feeling that TigerLily would confirm that 'volunteers' of whatever kind are no substitute for professional librarians.

Confirmed !

haha

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  eddie on Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:44 am

mis panties y los tuyos wrote:haha

You'll find the Haha thread in the Paintings & Photography section.

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  Doc Watson on Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:09 pm

Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  Yakima Canutt on Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:14 pm


study  study

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  Doc Watson on Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:35 am

from what I can see libraries are growing

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  felix on Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:18 am

Where and how are they growing? In the UK at least, they're being closed down at a fair old rate.

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

Post  Doc Watson on Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:01 pm

felix wrote:Where and how are they growing?  In the UK at least, they're being closed down at a fair old rate.
I am sorry to see that . I have not been to the UK since 2007.
In Australia they have moved beyond books and act as a community resource where people may meet , and do community activities , use the internet and borrow more than books.
I noted a similar trend when I was in America last year.
Libraries need to adapt to a changing world or in the end a valuable resource will be lost.

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Re: Scandalous closure of public libraries

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