“Once again, Christina Morua found herself in the South Dade library longer than she’d like on a school night. The 28-year-old single mom sat in the bustling children’s section on a recent Thursday night, waiting for her fourth-grader to get on a computer and start her online math homework. “We don’t have any Internet at home,” Morua said as her oldest, 11-year-old Abel, clicked through an assignment on a library laptop while Alina, 9, waited for her turn at a desktop. “We just reserved a computer. We have to wait 70 minutes. He got one of the last laptops.” (via The Miami Herald)
“Libraries with looms for weaving fabric. Libraries with offices for start-ups. Libraries with lattes near the check-out counter. Books amounted to a footnote in Monday’s discussion on how to reinvent Miami-Dade County’s library system, which recently dodged a funding crisis and now is in the midst of rolling out expanded hours and offerings.
A panel convened by Miami’s Knight Foundation urged a remake of the library’s core identity — away from a quiet place for reading into more of an amenity-rich community center, with enough offerings to attract people uninterested in free books or computer time.” (via The Miami Herald)
“Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez won’t veto a higher property tax rate ceiling for libraries set by county commissioners. Mike Hernández, Gimenez’s spokesman, said Friday that the mayor decided to let the commission’s 8-5 vote from last week stand, even though that means the county’s overall tax rate could go against Gimenez’s wishes. “He will continue to insist that Miami-Dade County government — and our library system — operate as efficiently as possible,” Hernández said. Gimenez had until Friday to veto the commission’s decision.” (via MiamiHerald.com)
“Last month, Miami politicians approved a $19 million subsidy for the professional basketball arena. Six weeks later, they turned to a grimmer task: deciding how many police and librarians to fire.To plug a $64 million budget hole, Florida’s Miami-Dade County Commission this week began considering a plan to cut as many as 700 positions, including a fifth of the library staff and more than 300 police. Mayor Carlos Gimenez released the plan about a month after stadium deals with the Miami Dolphins football team and the National Basketball Association’s Miami Heat, which lost star LeBron James to Cleveland last week.“It’s just a horrendous misallocation of resources,” said Xavier Suarez, a county commissioner who voted against the measures. “Instead of focusing the attention on the library, we’ve focused on getting money for sports franchises.” (via Bloomberg)
“As a kid growing up in Hialeah in the 1970s, I cherished my visits to our public library. John F. Kennedy library, which is still located on Hialeah’s bustling 49th street, provided a respite from the mundane. The JFK library was where I first read about Harriet Tubman’s heroic Underground Railroad, Vince Lombardi’s tenacity as a football coach, José Martí’s valiant struggles for Cuba’s freedom and Mark Twain’s humorous chronicles of the South. When I was in college, I would still periodically duck into the JFK library to cram for a test. It felt good to see grade-school kids milling around the place making discoveries similar to the ones I had made years before. I felt pride and continuity. I felt a great sense of egalitarianism and down-home American fairness — the library afforded everyone the same opportunities to learn, question, process and dream. As the Miami-Dade County Commission heads into another difficult budget session, there is a $20-million gap that needs to be covered if the county is going to sustain library services as they are today. (via MiamiHerald.com)
“Miami-Dade commissioners on Monday endorsed bringing libraries into county park buildings in an effort to ease the budget crunch facing the library system. The commission’s Cultural Affairs and Recreation Committee endorsed asking voters in November to rewrite the county charter to exempt libraries from use restrictions at county parks. The proposal now moves to the full commission, but committee members said they weren’t eager to loosen restrictions on parks. “I’m very skeptical that if we open this up, others will take advantage of it,’’ Commissioner Jean Monestime said. “I don’t want to do anything that takes away from our parks space.” (via MiamiHerald.com)