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Queens Library Controversy Prompts Pols to Introduce Reform Bill

“Following the recent high-profile controversy surrounding spending and oversight at Queens Borough Public Library, a group of elected officials gathered on the steps of Borough Hall last week to announce the introduction of legislation that they said would reform the library’s Board of Trustees and overall governance at one of the busiest library systems in the country. The move last Thursday came after reports that Queens Library CEO Thomas Galante made a six-figure salary while jobs were being outsourced. Additionally, reports have highlighted that expansive reconstruction projects were also being process around that time.

The embattled Galante, who earns nearly $400,000 annually, has also come under fire for part-time work he does with Long Island’s Elmont School District. There, he earns about $100,000 a year. (via The Forum Newsgroup)

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In Prince William budget process, focus is on libraries

“At Tuesday night’s public hearing on Prince William County’s fiscal 2015 budget, a parade of representatives of various county services, including firefighters, nurses and librarians, lined up to tell county supervisors why they need more money next year.A second line of residents formed to say that they didn’t want to pay higher taxes. The back-and-forth discussions have centered most recently on the county’s libraries, after other meetings that focused on schools and public safety.” (via The Washington Post)

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RECONSTRUCTION OF SARAJEVO LIBRARY NEARING END

“Workers are rushing to finish the reconstruction of the Sarajevo Library – a landmark destroyed during the Bosnian war – in time for the June ceremonies marking the centenary of the assassination that ignited World War I. The reconstruction has taken 18 years – nine times longer than the building’s original construction 120 years ago by the Austro-Hungarian Empire that ruled over Bosnia then and built it to be the City Hall. Later it was turned into the National Library.” (via The Associated Press)

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School libraries urged to embrace the digital — cautiously

“Technology might make some parts of libraries obsolete — but librarians won’t be among them, panelists contended at this week’s annual Texas Library Association conference in San Antonio, which drew 7,200 attendees. As the popularity of electronic books continues to rise, schools are emerging as a dynamic area of how libraries adjust, they said. Educators and administrators, struggling to figure out how much to spend on their campus libraries amid state funding cuts, have reduced library staff and pondered the potential savings of buying digital books over printed ones. But concerns that students will increasingly be left with a self-service method of accessing books and research materials stem from the realization that today’s students are more tech-saavy than their predecessors.” (via San Antonio Express-News)

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Baucus donates Senate papers to UM archives

“Sen. Max Baucus is donating his Senate papers to the University of Montana’s Mansfield Library, along with $850,000 in leftover campaign money to cover the cost of archiving the documents. Donna McCrea is head of the library’s archives and special collections. She said Thursday with the addition of Baucus’ papers the library will have more than 100 years of congressional history available to study.” (via AP)

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Chicago Public Library launches redesigned website

“The Chicago Public library launched a new website this morning, its first redesign since 2007 touting features that can be likened to “Pinterest meets Amazon.” The new site not only allows users to search the digital shelves more quickly. They can now read and post book reviews shared by users at 200 libraries around the world, and they can check their place in line for a reserved item, said Ruth Lednicer, spokeswoman for the Chicago Public Library. The library’s home page offers Pinterest-like “cards” showcasing book lists, upcoming events and blog posts by librarians that can be easily shared on social media, Lednicer said.” (via chicagotribune.com)

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Tussle Erupts Over Libraries In Northern Colorado

“Libraries are sedate and quiet — nothing like a tussle over control of a library system that has erupted in northern Colorado. This week, elected leaders from five Weld County towns and from the county commission agreed to move ahead with an effort to oust the entire High Plains Library District Board, which some librarians in rural parts of the county accuse of trying to take over their libraries. A sixth member of the tax district, the city of Greeley, has not joined the campaign.” (via AP)

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Welsh libraries and museums get £2.2m cash injection

“The National Library of Wales has been awarded more than £320,000 to develop its online services as part of a £2.2m package for libraries and museums around Wales. The money will benefit two schemes at the National Library in Aberystwyth. A further £1m will help modernise nine libraries elsewhere. A mobile library service in Ceredigion and a project which involves making archives more accessible has also won funding.” (via BBC News)

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Mayor de Blasio’s allies call for shelving $150 million allotted for Fifth Ave. library renovations

“Some of Mayor de Blasio’s closest allies — including Susan Sarandon and the Rev. Al Sharpton — are asking City Hall to kill $150 million in capital funding for renovations on the New York Public Library’s Fifth Ave. main branch. The advocates want de Blasio to reallocate that money toward struggling branch libraries.

“Taking money away from branch libraries to subsidize NYPL’s real estate plans will hurt students, seniors, immigrants (and) job seekers,” the coalition wrote in a letter to de Blasio.” (via NY Daily News)

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Young Iraqi hopes books will stop his peers from migrating

“Bathed in the rainbow-colored light of an old Baghdadi window, Ali al-Makhzomy explained his plan to get technology-obsessed young Iraqis to read books — old-fashioned books, with pages. Outside the cafe where he sat, concrete blocks protect businesses from car bombs. Eleven years after the toppling of Saddam Hussein, young people who despair of a future in Iraq are still trying to emigrate. Many of those who remain hope that their country will someday emerge as a new version of ultra-modern, oil-rich Dubai.” (via The Washington Post)

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