Entries in the Category "Libraries"

Libraries and Starbucks

There's an interesting article about the 30 or so college libraries that have set up a Starbucks franchise within the library.

USF reports an average 147,512 additional patrons a year have used the library since Starbucks opened in it four years ago.

I have to wonder whether they've used the library or whether they've walked in the door to use the Starbucks. What are the circulation and reference stats here?

At the Cal State Long Beach Starbucks, "Every seat is usually taken," says Roman Kochan, library dean. Spillage and book damage have actually declined since students no longer are hiding food and drinks in their packs, he says.
I'm dubious, but if you say so... Predictably, there's the puritanical hang-wringing:
Several years ago, Louisiana State University talked with Starbucks about locating in the library. "A few people felt this was commercialization of academic space," says Jennifer Cargill, dean of libraries at LSU. Instead, a local chain, Community Coffee, went in, and objections disappeared.

Some question whether Starbucks belongs inside the icon of academia.

"The library ought to be the one place that reflects the university's mission and purpose and should be protected from commercial influences," says Robert Weissman, managing director at Commercial Alert, a consumer group.

I'd be more in favor of local coffee myself, but it would depend on the results of competitive bidding. As for Commercial Alert, I'd never heard of them before, and I can't say I'm impressed.
At Commercial Alert, we stand up for the idea that some things are too important to be for sale. Not our children. Not our health. Not our minds. Not our schools. Not our values. Not the integrity of our governments.

CA thinks that rather than health etc. being for sale, they should (through a government proxy) simply take it. If you can't sell it, you don't own it. At some universities, if the library "reflects the university's mission and purpose", it would have a bar in it. As for "commercialization of academic space", it was academia that pioneered the notion of "naming rights". Granted, most donors are selling their posthumous reputation rather than a product. But I've seen things in academic libraries that sound very much like "Quicken Loans Arena".

I'm actually neutral on coffee in libraries, except as a preservation issue. I'm of the antediluvian belief that libraries are primarily book warehouses, and electronic resources just make the warehouse bigger. You study in the library because that's where the books are. If coffee helps that (and it does, for me), I'm all for it. If it's there to create a "social center", I'm dubious, because scholarship is ultimately a solitary endeavor. My job is to get information to people, not to manage a profit center, run a dating service, or be a food vendor.

Sheikhdown of Cambridge University Press

Publication by Cambridge University Press has suddenly lost a lot of its cachet.

As for the library copies, I know of no academic library which allows outside parties to decide what they will keep on the shelf. Maybe the Sheikh should hire some agents to steal the books; I'd love to see a few of them charged and put away.

Welcome to another sordid chapter of The Endarkenment.

Nat Hentoff takes on ALA over Cuban librarians

...who don't get Michael-Moore-praiseworthy health care in the cells where they rot. And the ALA refuses to speak up, despite the support of 76% of the rank and file for such a move.

Nat isn't the only one kicking butt. Andrei Codrescu gave a speech at last year's con that didn't please the likes of Ann Sparanese.

And I discovered the Heretical Librarian (David Durant), who will probably be a regular stop for me. You've got to love this:

Basically, the study defines librarians as "stressed" because they're underpaid, hate their jobs, and have high absenteeism. I'm sorry, that situation sucks, but it's not real stress. Dealing with IEDs and sniper attacks is stressful; having two BI sessions in a day isn't.

Digital library models: Fox vs. NPR

Here's an overblown quote for you:

"The question is whether the knowledge of the world will be property of a private company or open to all," Open Content Alliance founder Brewster Kahle told AFP. "Google thinks public is private."

Oh, the horrors, that Google wants to make money by digitizing the contents of the world's libraries, which are generally "public", i.e., government-owned. Never mind that that "knowledge" will be in the same place it always has been (in "public" hands), or that OCA is relying on eevul profit-driven Micro$oft and Yahoo to make their project happen, or that people's bitch with Google has been that they've been digitizing "knowledge" which is already allegedly "private".

I say, the more the merrier. There's enough public domain stuff to be digitized that a dozen companies/organizations/consortia could get involved. As business models are evolved, rights to specific holdings will get traded around, weaker players will drop out, and we'll end up with a small group of digital libraries that are extremely good at getting information into people's hands. And my bet is that the winning model will be profit-driven.

Levy Co. FL libraries now drug (and volunteer) free

This is insane.
The retiree volunteers who make the library work are being told to pee in a cup if they want to volunteer. "Our public risk management insurance says we should treat volunteers no differently that any other employees," says the boss. But volunteers are not "employees"; they don't get paid, and have no reason to accept the unacceptable. 53 of 55 volunteers have given the county the Johnny Paycheck Farewell.

"We have a number of volunteers who are older, and I think about how my mother - who is 83 - would react to a test like this," Tollefson said. "She would find it degrading, be totally offended and find it an affront to her dignity. Many of our volunteers feel the same way."

Oh, those crotchety old folks! Did it occur to management that maybe their professional and paraprofessional employees feel the same way? I am 50 years old, and have never taken a drug test, and I don't intend to start now, even though the strongest drugs they'd find in my system are beer and coffee. Frankly, I hope the library has to close its doors or reduce hours over this. Then patrons will inform management how important it is to them that 75-year-old ladies aren't managing their Alzheimers with cannabis.

Thanks to Claire Files.

The library giveth, the library taketh away

They'd completed a SUMMER READING PROGRAM. You'd think they'd be beyond eating lead paint.

If this showed up as a plotline on Unshelved (and it will), people would be giving Gene and Bill crap because it was unrealistic.