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Libraries will Survive


(YouTube link)

Budget cuts make a librarian's day more hectic than ever! This video was made by Sean Bonney and the employees of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library in Virginia. -Thanks, Sean!


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Tempscire, as you so...aptly put it, the people that do the job a lot of high schoolers could handle are called Pages, not Library Clerks. And most of the time the Pages -are- high schoolers. A Library Clerk, on the other hand, handles everything from book repair to coding to database entry across multiple software programs just to start. They also get to handle the disgruntled patrons the desk clerks can't handle and supervise the staff. It's not a job any high-schooler could do.
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Peg, "front line staff members" -- Library clerks do a lot of hard work, but how much money should be given to people who work a job high schoolers could easily handle? Unless you were referring to the actual librarians... some of whom eventually go on to take directorships in their careers. Perhaps the directors don't need quite so much money, but they also bear a lot more responsibility for the library (sometimes multiple libraries, actually).

Happeh, "Do you know what they did with the half of the books that would not fit in the new library? They threw them out!"

What else would they have done with them? People get SO offended when books get thrown away (after "weeding" the shelves, aka deaccession) but where are they supposed to go? Books are thrown out when they haven't been circulated in years or are in poor condition or are hopelessly obsolete. Some are removed via book sales (and often come back in a donation a couple of years later), but then what?

As for the "art gallery" library... people don't see a lot of need for libraries these days, at least not in the traditional "book storage unit" sense. Do you want them to cling to the old ways and hemorrhage in gate counts? Several libraries I know have in recent times remodeled to add cafe areas, a lot more reading spots, better environment overall, etc, because that's what people tend to use them for. A dingy beige, metal-shelved library is NOT going to compete with a stylish Barnes & Noble that lets patrons still read for free and visit a Starbucks and use the wifi while they're there.

Which is not to say that the redesigned library is not a poor space. Politics and flashy design can affect libraries as much as any other institution. The public library in (I think) Seattle has an unusual spiraling ramp to take patrons through the Dewey numbers. Cool and different? Sure. Useless compared to a more usual layout? You bet.
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Peg is write. The greedy and corrupt have taken over all of the libraries.

In San Francisco they built a new library to replace the old one. The new one looks like an art gallery and has half of the space of the old library.

Do you know what they did with the half of the books that would not fit in the new library? They threw them out!

After building the new art gallery, um, library, they then staffed it with the $100,000 a year management that Peg mentions.

I have not been to the library in years because the book section I am interested in went from six or eight 8 foot tall by 20 feet long racks of books, down to six or eight 3 feet tall racks of books maybe 6 feet long.
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Some hater above wrote: America is dumb enough...

Geez, thanks for your kind words about a WHOLE country. Next time I hear about some stupid silly thing some American Nobel prize winner has done, I'll remind myself that America has no brains.

Be careful when you decide to dismount your high horse. The fall is gonna be a long one.
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I have to say in my experience there is a gross mismanagement of funds. The directors keep cutting front line staff members that serve the public and give themselves raises. There is no reason a library director should make $100 000 per year and the people that actually do the work are expected to volunteer or wages are barely above minimum. The Gov. should look into where the money is actually going. It's unfortunate but it is why I bought an eReader I have been turned off libraries after working for regional library office.
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