No Longer Getting Lost at the Strand

“When I was in my twenties, I went often to the Strand Bookstore, less to buy books than to discover them: the hardcover by an author I’d read about but never read; the tattered, out-of-print paperback that had been mentioned, obscurely, somewhere. The idea was to change my life. I spent hours on these treasure hunts, somehow made sweeter by the inhospitable setting: the grimy floor and high, cramped shelves, the narrow, dark aisles that required you to turn sideways and inhale when another browser needed to pass by. And then there was the staff, who responded to flubbed title requests the way I imagined Parisian waiters might respond to mispronounced orders.” (The New Yorker)

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Brooklyn Libraries, Development and Misdirected Fear

“One day this month, various politicians and officials convened outside the Sunset Park Library on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn to announce an affordable housing initiative, the cornerstone of which would seem to be any progressive’s cotton candy and rainbow vision. To accommodate the neighborhood’s growing and largely immigrant population, the library would expand to nearly twice its current size as part of a project orchestrated by a nonprofit developer, the Fifth Avenue Committee, which would put 49 units of housing on top.” (via NYT)

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Testing the Seattle Public Library’s new Wi-Fi hotspot: It’s worth the wait

“In late May, the Seattle Public Library announced a program to lend Wi-Fi hotspots to library card holders, free of charge, thanks to funding from Google. Within the first day, 175 people had placed a hold on the 126 devices in open circulation, including me. Now, nearly 1,300 people are waiting for a device, and another 200 units are being added to circulation due to an additional $80,000 grant from Google. My turn to check out the hotspot came a few weeks ago, and it was worth the wait.” (via Geekwire)

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Audit Details $310,000 in Prohibited Expenses by Queens Library’s Leaders

“In a sweeping critique of past spending and accounting practices at the Queens Library, a city audit released on Wednesday detailed more than $310,000 in prohibited expenses by the former president of the system, Thomas W. Galante, and by other executives. More than $100,000 of these expenses, officials contended, could amount to fraud and embezzlement. Among the abuses, library executives used library funds to pay for “extravagant meals,” alcohol, tickets to a Maroon 5 rock concert, admission to Disneyland, airline upgrades, Apple TVs, a smoking balcony off the president’s office and smokeless ashtrays — all while maintaining that the library system was running a deficit, said Scott M. Stringer, the New York City comptroller, whose office conducted the audit and a related inquiry into possible misconduct.” (Via NYT)

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As Senate begins debating education bill, happy words and better libraries

“Senators began work in earnest Wednesday on a bipartisan bill to replace No Child Left Behind by congratulating themselves on finally taking up legislation that is eight years overdue, and then unanimously passing an amendment to support school libraries. That comity is likely to yield to more vigorous debate in the days ahead, but for the moment, the Senate was filled with kind words and cooperation.” (Via Washington Post)

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EXCLUSIVE: NYC City Controller Scott Stringer urges DA, IRS to probe financial abuse at Queens Library

Financial abuse at Queens Library was so out of control that city Controller Scott Stringer is urging the IRS and local prosecutors to launch criminal probes against both Thomas Galante, the library’s ousted president, and his successor, Bridget Quinn-Carey, the Daily News has learned. Stringer’s 18-month audit of the library has concluded that Galante and Quinn-Carey, the library’s former chief operating officer and now interim president, racked up more than $310,000 in prohibited personal expenses on their library credit cards over a three-year period ending June 30, 2014.” (Via The Daily News)

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Preserving Boston library’s treasures a test for Mayor Walsh

“It’s a large room — 216 feet long by 39 feet wide — with a dusty, cluttered-attic vibe. Rows of metal shelves hold storage boxes of varied sizes, each stacked with prints and photos. Old filing cabinets and empty picture frames line the walls. This is where the Boston Public Library now stores 200,000 prints and 120,000 chromolithographs that make up a major part of its special collections. From this room, two prints — one by Albrecht Dürer, valued at $600,000, and one by Rembrandt, worth $20,000 to $30,000 — went missing and then turned up under somewhat mysterious circumstances. But not before intense media coverage of their disappearance led to the resignation of BPL president Amy Ryan, which was followed by the resignation of Jeffrey B. Rudman as chairman of the library’s board of trustees.” (via Boston Globe)

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When America’s Librarians Went To War

“Looking back at the nationwide support for American troops in the two world wars, we see Americans of all stripes making patriotic contributions and sacrifices — including farmers, factory workers and librarians. Wait. What? How did librarians fit in to national security in the 20th century? In an array of ways, says Cara Bertram, an archivist for the American Library Association. Libraries were established at hospitals and military bases.” (via NPR)

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Where are the books? Libraries under fire as they shift from print to digital.

“The hallmark of public libraries — the printed book, bound by covers and centuries of page-turning — is being shoved aside by digital doppelgangers. Around the country, libraries are slashing their print collections in favor of e-books, prompting battles between library systems and print purists, including not only the pre-pixel generation but digital natives who represent a sizable portion of the 1.5?billion library visits a year and prefer print for serious reading.” (Via Washington Post)

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Sisters donate $1.2 million to UA libraries

Three sisters made an estate gift worth more than $1.2 million to University of Arkansas at Fayetteville’s library system, according to a news release. The donation will be used to buy library materials, such as books, periodicals and digital resources, UA said. Agnes Lytton Reagan, Mary Sue Reagan and Betty Lynn Reagan all attended the university. Agnes Lytton Reagan graduated from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences in 1935. Mary Sue Reagan graduated in 1942, and Betty Lynn Reagan graduated in 1945.” (via nwaonline.com)

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