New survey affirms public's bond with libraries; Internet access as important as book borrowing
In the Digital Age, a sweeping majority of American say libraries are vital to communities and to their families.
And the Internet is one of the reasons: Internet access through libraries’ free computers is nearly as important to them as borrowing books, patrons say. And many would like their libraries to increase electronic services.
* Likewise, free access to computers and the Internet is “very important:” 77 percent
* In the past year, the proportion of respondents who visited a library: 53 percent
* Recent library patrons whose use increased in the past five years: 26 percent
* Recent library patrons who say their use decreased in the past five years: 22 percent
We’ve downloaded the report, “Library services in the digital age,” to our site, and you can also link to it on the Pew Website.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The full text of this article was posted here last week. We have removed the text out of concern by our editorial team about use of copyrighted material, and we have replaced it with this summary.
_ Brian C. Jones, Sept. 15, 2012
From the Providence Journal
Sept. 11, 2012
PROVIDENCE PUBLIC LIBRARY NEARING FINISH OF ITS $4 MILLION EVENTS VENUE RENOVATION
The Providence Public Library plans to complete a $4 million renovation by the end of December, creating showcase areas for weddings and corporate meetings to help pay the library’s operating costs, according to the Providence Journal.
Dale Thompson, library director, said officials hope a side benefit will be to bring more people to the downtown library, according to the Sept. 11, 2012 article by Journal writer John Hill.
The plans followed a sharp drop in operating funds after the city of Providence shifted about $3.5 million in annual support to the library’s former nine branches, which are now being managed by the Providence Community Library.
Hill wrote that the inspiration for turning ornate areas of the library into venues for elegant weddings and corporate meetings came in part from the Boston Public Library, which began its rentals more than a decade ago.
Boston library events manager Emily Tenney said that besides the income — some room fees run $6,000, not counting hourly charges — event guests invariably wind up gazing at the ceilings and walls and saying, “I never knew this was here.”
“It happens every time,” she said.
Tenney said the library’s main line was corporate events until 2008, when the “Sex and the City” movie came out and Carrie Bradshaw got married in the New York Public Library.
“That really was our tipping point,” Tenney said. “That was the point where we really started to get the phone calls.”
Hill also cited officials at the Richard M. Nixon’s presidential library in Yorba Linda, Calif., and the Kansas City Public Library in Missouri.
Jonathan Movroydis, director of communications at the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum, said the library sort of stumbled into it. In 2010 the library opened a new exhibit and its centerpiece was a duplicate of the White House East Room, home to state dinners and other presidential social events, including the 1971 wedding of Nixon’s daughter Tricia and Edward Cox.
The intent was to use the room for the library’s own events, Movroydis said, but then people began to call about renting it out for weddings. Now, marketing the room and the library grounds for social and business events is part of the library’s overall business plan.
Todd Boyer, events director at the Kansas City Public Library, said wedding receptions and business meetings can bring a library added income but not enough to replace local or state support. If an institution goes the event rental route, he said it needs to make the effort part of a larger marketing effort to sell the library.
“It’s a way of bringing in people who might not have another reason to come to the library,” he said.
Hill wrote that the Providence renovations include the library’s “Grand Hall,” which he said will look down to an inner courtyard. Two other areas being refurbished are the “Rhode Island Room,” a reference area that will be able to be used as a meeting area, and the “Ship Room,” that will become an exhibition area for stored or infrequently displayed library collections.
The Journal article quoted Providence library director Thompson as saying one goal is to bring more people to the library in an era when patrons who used to visit to check out books can now download the library’s electronic books over the Internet from home computers.
When the areas off the main sections are not being used for functions, they will be open to the library’s reading public, Thompson said.
“We’re not closing anything off,” she said. “We want to open the building up, so people can see the building.”
Thompson told Hill that over the past years, since the nine-branch system was shifted to management by PCL, the Providence Public Library’s budget has dropped to about $3.5 million, down from nearly $10 million.
Estimates from possible earnings came from officials of Morin Fine Catering, which the article described as the “library’s caterer,” which already provides services to Little Compton’s Sakonnet Vineyards and Stone House, as well as to the New Bedford, Mass. whaling museum.
Morin said a distinctive venue such as the library could charge around $100 to $150 per person for a wedding. At $150 per person, assuming 50 weddings with 200 guests each — and Morin said once things get rolling, a wedding a week isn’t an unreasonable goal — that could generate about $1.5 million a year.
Thompson said the plan is not limited to weddings. The library is a block and a half from the convention center, and she said the library will work with convention planners there.
Morin said trade associations and Rhode Island-based companies that hold meetings with employees from far-flung operations are another marketing target.
The Journal said that Director Thompson expect the increased visibility of the library will be a side benefit, with attendees of weddings and business events alerted to the elegance of the library.
“Technology can be isolating. We need places where people can come together and provide nourishment, energy to the life of the mind,” she said. “We’re interested in making sure there is a place like that in the community.”
The full article can be read on the Journal’s subscription Website, www.providencejournal.com Free access to archived Providence Journal articles is available through the Internet to patrons of Rhode Island libraries. Hill’s e-mail is email@example.com and office phone number is (401) 277-7381.
WHAT WILL THEY READ IN GEORGIA?
(Note to readers: Our colleagues, Jody McPhillips and Dave Bloss were in the Republic of Georgia in 2004 through 2006, part of their work to train journalists in emerging democracies. Dave currently is on temporary assignment in Libya, and tracking the international press. He sent us this article from the Georgia Times). We've made a few tweaks for style and grammar).
Georgia Times, July 30, 2012
Residents of the Georgian village of Gogolesubani are trying to save the local library, where unique books lay in dust and moisture. (The) local administration is not really concerned about the fate of rare editions: the library association has found only "trash" there. The villagers are ready to save the precious books by their own, but for some reason they can't get permission to enter the building. They say someone has decided to appropriate the old library.
Nikoloz (Niko) Berdzenishvili, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Academician, was born in 1849 in the village of Gogolesubani, Chokhatauri district. In Georgia, there is an institute named after him. More than one generation has grown on his works.
But virtually nothing (is) has left from the library that Berdzenishvili had built and dedicated to the villagers. The building is without windows and doors. The photographs of famous writers are in dust, unique books are suffering from terrible damp.
But among them there are rare 100-year-old publications. One of the oldest copies of "The Knight in the Panther's Skin", an interesting cookbook, published in 1921 a small edition of 150 copies, and many unique ethnographic worksa are still here. Library contains about 1150 books.
Prior to 1992, in Georgia, there were about 8,000 libraries. Now there are only 560 of them. In 2005, Parliament passed the "law of self-government", and the control over the libraries passed to the local municipality. Many of them were closed, and some were attached to schools.
Local residents have repeatedly appealed to the government to help save the book (s).
"I've sent letters to our village headman many times, at least 10 times. It's impossible to treat such a unique library this way. Zero attention! I asked to send pupils to arrange a work day for many times, but no one has paid attention. We even cannot enter the library building, apparently, someone intends to appropriate it", Esma Gogol, a local resident says.
And the head of the library association, Maya Melua blames the residents of Gogolesubani in equanimity:
"When the libraries were abolished, we had only 5 people. It was almost impossible to keep track of all and everyone. It would have been nice if the villagers would have helped us that time".
Kakhaber Gogol, a resident of Gogolesubani: "First, we are assisting in the rescue of libraries. Second, even if we would not have acted as we should, there are people who are responsible for the salvation of books! They could take these books to the school or to the office of the head of the village".
Gogolesubani villagers say they are ready to restore the library building, and if possible take care of the books:
"We, the Gurians, are book lovers, but we can't manage to restore the library. We've repeatedly appealed to the local administration with a request to allow us to rebuild it ourselves, but we have got no answer. If we start the work without permission, they would come and fine us, I know their laws", resident of Gogolesubani, Niko Babilodze, says. "There are valuable books, which are left unattended, they must be saved".
In turn, Maya Melua says: "We may have missed something during the inventory. It was dusty and wet here, the work was carried out very slowly. But the books are mostly spoiled, this is waste paper".
But people deny this is waste paper. They say that books just need a caring hand. And why would the villagers lie?
Apparently, the inventory of the library was really carried out superficially, otherwise the unique books would not have been so dusty, and the library building, located near the administrative center, would not have been in such poor condition.
By JULIE BOSMAN
The New York Times, June 21, 2012
IN THE PAST YEAR, Penguin Group USA has slowly pulled away from the library e-book market. Now it is tiptoeing back in.
The publisher is working with New York City libraries and 3M on a pilot program that will make Penguin e-books available in city libraries beginning in August, Penguin said on Wednesday.
If it is a success, the program could be expanded in public libraries across the country.
The announcement is the latest development in a tug-of-war between publishers and libraries, who have argued over the degree of access to e-books that library patrons should be allowed. As more book buyers have bought e-readers like the Nook and the Kindle, they have also discovered the ease of borrowing e-books from their local libraries - a transaction that doesn't even require a visit to a library, since e-books can be downloaded remotely.
But major publishers, including Penguin, concerned that free downloads at the library were costing them e-book sales, have scaled back their books' availability in recent months. That has left library patrons without many newly released books to borrow, frustrating librarians across the country. (Macmillan and Simon & Schuster have never allowed libraries to lend their e-books at all.)
IN NOVEMBER, Penguin said it would stop making new titles available to libraries in e-book format. In February, it took that a step further, saying it would no longer offer new copies of e-books through OverDrive, a large provider of e-books to libraries.
The pilot program that will begin in August includes libraries in several boroughs and sidesteps OverDrive in favor of 3M.
Under the program, library patrons can borrow e-books on e-readers and other compatible devices. New titles will not be available immediately, a restriction known as windowing that could be a point of contention for library users.
David Shanks, the chief executive of Penguin Group, said in a statement: "We have always been committed to libraries and we are hopeful that this experiment will be successful. Our partnership with 3M and the New York Public Library is a first step toward understanding the best means of supporting the growing digital missions of our great library institutions and their sincere desire to bring writers to new readers."
The Brooklyn Public Library currently carries more than 28,000 digital titles and tripled its e-book acquisition budget in the last year. Copyright 2012 The New York Times Company
Information Needs of Communities
The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age
In culmination of its work over the last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Working Group on the Information Needs of Communities delivered a report on June 9, 2011 addressing the rapidly changing media landscape in a broadband age. In 2009, a bipartisan Knight Commission found that while the broadband age is enabling an information and communications renaissance, local communities in particular are being unevenly served with critical information about local issues.
Soon after the Knight Commission delivered its findings, the FCC initiated a staff-level working group to identify crosscurrent and trend, and make recommendations on how the information needs of communities can be met in a broadband world.
Read or download the report and get added material
Library studies, reports
PROVIDENCE Public Library. RI Library Report photo
This section compiles important studies , reports and news stories about the state of libraries across America. In some cases, we've downloaded the items, or provided links to the Websites where the materials can be viewed. The Library Report welcomes submissions and suggestions for postings.