“In downtown Detroit, start-ups and luxury retailers are opening up and new office buildings are being built as the city works to recover from its deep economic problems. Six miles to the north, in the neighborhood of Hope Village, residents like Eric Hill are trying to participate in that progress but are running into hurdles. His difficulties were apparent on a recent Tuesday when he crowded into the public library to use the computers to look for a new job. With no Internet service at home or on his mobile phone, Mr. Hill had few options to search work listings or file online job applications after losing his stocking job at a pharmacy five months ago.” (via The New York Times)
“If you’re reading this column, then you know how much I love reading and books and libraries — as much as I now love gadgets and iPhones and computers. So it’s great news that the Detroit Public Library, which the economy pummeled into closing two branches in the last three years, is expanding services in one. On Thursday, officials will cut the ribbon in front of the historic Frederick Douglass library to celebrate the new technology center inside. (via Free Press)
“Everything about a trip to the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library (DPL) leaves a lasting impression — from the grand staircase of the building’s east wing to the murals and stained glass in Adam Strom Hall to the amazing collection of books and periodicals. Every Detroiter needs to visit this remarkable institution, which currently is celebrating its sesquicentennial. Now, however, many of the wonders of the DPL are available to you from the comforts of your own home. In October, a years-long digitization project culminated in the launch of the Digital Collections at the Detroit Public Library. Some of the library’s rarest, most intriguing documents and photos now can be accessed through the web. According to a recent newsletter from the library, “These online collections feature more than 67,000 images that have been digitized and cataloged for public use.” (via Model D Media.
“Access to parts of the Detroit Library’s main branch was limited Friday because of what library personnel said were preparations for the filming of a scene for a major movie production. The 149-year-old library’s ornate third floor will be the site of more Detroit filming for “Batman v Superman,” security guards told patrons as they turned them away from elevators and staircases Friday.” (via MLive.com)
“Detroit is famous for its music, from the Motown hits of the 1960s to the cutting-edge punk of Iggy Pop to the rap of Eminem. Little known, though, is that Michigan was also fertile ground for folk music, brought to the region by immigrants in the early 20th century and played in the logging camps, mines and factory towns where they worked. Legendary folklorist Alan Lomax discovered the music in 1938 when he visited the Midwest on his famous 10-year cross-country trek to document American folk music for the Library of Congress. A trove of his Michigan recordings is now being publicly released for the first time by the library, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Lomax’s trip. The release is causing a stir among folk music fanciers and history buffs.” (via The Associated Press)
“FBI agents raided the Detroit Public Library system and the home of its chief administrative officer on Tuesday, removing financial records from the agency thats been beset by controversy, officials confirmed. Nine agents arrived at the librarys main offices on Woodward at 8 a.m. They left shortly after 11 a.m. carrying three cardboard boxes and what appeared to be computer equipment. Library spokesman A.J. Funchess said agents presented search warrants when they arrived but didnt go into detail about the investigation.”
via The Detroit News.
Detroit Free Press – “A class of fourth-graders at Marcus Garvey Academy in Detroit has collaborated to create six outdoor libraries for use by the general public in light of recent branch closings by the Detroit Public Library. Five of the outdoor libraries opened Wednesday and the sixth will open in June. And best of all, borrowers don’t need a library card and there are no late fees.
The students, currently on spring break, received assistance from a class of University of Michigan art and design students.”
Detroit Free Press – “The Detroit Public Library won’t close any branches — at least not for now — after administrators withdrew a recommendation Friday to shutter as many as 10 of 23 branches.
The reason: Administrators acknowledged they overstated budget problems over a misunderstanding about revenue sources and the savings realized from 70 layoffs and retirements.”
Detroit News – “Administrators say they take pride in the “family atmosphere” at the Detroit Public Library, but questions of nepotism, cronyism and mismanagement are dogging the cash-strapped system.
Three top library executives have had family members on the payroll, including until recently the human resources director’s two children. The system gave a library commissioner’s nonprofit agency $15,000 to sponsor neighborhood events. And another commissioner’s daughter was given a $150,000 event planning contract in 2009.”
Detroit News – “Troy— Draga Palincas says she may have to start buying books she used to borrow when the city library closes in a few weeks. But she worries about people who don’t have that option.
“A lot of people use this library — all different types, from old to young,” said Palincas, a 44-year-old mother of three, during a recent trip to the library on Big Beaver Road. “You’ve got people who can use bookstores, but then there’s people who can’t necessarily afford to buy a lot of books. And children need to be exposed to new books.”