American Library Association Prez Calls on Dallas to Stop Cutting From Library Budget

The American Library Association, in town since Friday, begins its wind-down at the Dallas Convention Center this afternoon, when Lisa Loeb does her thing. But this morning, a Friend of Unfair Park notes: The state of the Dallas Public Library system is very much on the mind of ALA President Molly Raphael.

Right now, of course, we're without a permanent library director ... or, for that matter, even an interim, what with Corinne Hill choo-choo'ing to Chattanooga. And as we discussed repeatedly back in September, the DPL budget gets smaller and smaller every year, even as the city preps new branches scheduled to be designed and constructed out of still-sitting-there 2006 bond funds, which we'll get to later this afternoon. Writes Raphael, the city's managed to do more than most with less than most, but a "precarious" position could get worse before it gets better, if it ever does. In the wake of most of the city's libraries being closed on Mondays, among other head-scratchers, she writes:
Such a reduction in hours means thousands of lost opportunities to connect patrons with needed resources and services. Not only is access to materials limited, but the size of the library's collection is dwindling as the library struggles to find funding to replace worn materials. New titles are becoming dearer, and patrons must add their name to long waiting lists to borrow new books or other items.

Now, once again local leaders are considering the upcoming budget. The library has shown it is committed to streamlining operations and meeting financial challenges with innovation and collaboration, but a library's resources and creativity can be stretched only so far.

Dallas Public Library needs our support. As local leaders work to develop a budget, we ask that they see libraries as part of the solution and restore funding. We must not turn a blind eye as Dallas leaders shelve the value of library service. Our communities must stand up for their libraries.
Read the whole thing here.

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Does the City have a history of obligating bond funds a day late and a dollar short?  When you report about "still-sitting-there 2006 bond funds", I get a sinking feeling.Is there any watchdog group that monitors bond money to see that our government is obligating it in a timely fashion?Here's why:

My branch library staff told me a story years ago when new reference desks, customer service (i.e. check out) desks, and lounge chairs arrived.  Story goes like this:  they were paid for with long ago bond money intended to fully refurbish the branch; the City waited so long to use the money that it's purchasing power eroded to the point where only some furniture could be bought. 

Worse, now that Corinne Hill instituted a policy where the librarians can no longer sit behind the reference desks (you must go find one in the stacks where they are shelving books because we don't have enough pages to do that - good luck recognizing a librarian by the way, you'll be walking up to every stranger), the DPL wanted to cart the 2006 bond-money reference desks away.  Only at my branch, they couldn't because of some facility issue.  So there it sits, a nice reference desk for two librarians, only they can't use it.  Instead they installed computers for patrons, but seldom do I see any patrons using them.


What about hire some strippers and put an "all you can eat" buffet in some of the libraries here? That would bring in the lunch crowd(DAMN you! underground tunnels).


I'm using the e-download,  current books,  both Kindle and Adobe,  no trip to the library,  check 'em out for from 7-21 days,  return them instantly when you're finished.  Definitely worth checking out.

In Toronto recently,  library packed Sunday afternoon.  

Why hasn't a company in Dallas sponsored Sunday afternoon hours at the libraries?  In the grand scheme of things,  mucho good will for not that much dinero.

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