“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)