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Still Other Problems at Libraries

Started by apl68, June 27, 2023, 10:25:57 AM

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spork

Quote from: kaysixteen on June 27, 2023, 09:36:15 PMHow many professors will still insist that at least a certain percentage of works cited in papers, esp in humanities fields, be actual paper books?

This attitude is so 1980s.
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.

Morden

QuoteOne of our staff members has been taking a notary public course.  I just spent some time today at a local insurance office getting her bonded, and now have to have a stamp made for her.  We're doing this because we're routinely asked for notary public service.
This seems like a really great service for a public library to offer!

jerseyjay

Quote from: lightning on June 28, 2023, 10:51:34 AM
Quote from: kaysixteen on June 27, 2023, 09:36:15 PMHow many professors will still insist that at least a certain percentage of works cited in papers, esp in humanities fields, be actual paper books?

It's much easier to drill to a cited source, when it's an electronic source and the link into the database is provided. For this reason, I would never insist on using paper-only materials.

I have to admit, as a historian, that I have never heard this. Is this an urban legend?

In fact, when I teach the senior history research course--where the students have to write a long primary-source-based research paper--much of the emphasis is how students can find primary sources online.

I, personally, prefer print sources. This is more and more taking the form that I find something online, download a PDF, and print it out. (This works with articles, but also books, newspapers, pamphlets, and sometimes archival collections.) More and more I am using databases of newspapers instead of microfilm collections. It is much easier. (Although now that I think of it, I might require my students to use a certain percentage of microfilm sources.)

All that said, I don't even know how it would be possible to require a certain percentage of print sources. Yes, I know that the MLA style requires noting what format is used--which I find annoying because I will often use a xerox from a book, a PDF, and the book itself (all with the same pagination) over the course of research.

hmaria1609

#18
I've had questions about a public notary at the branch libraries where I've worked over the years. Although we don't have anyone on staff, there are enough places where we can refer folks in the community. At one place I worked, the public notary was at the cleaners across the street, and it was advertised.

At my current library location, I've read messages on the neighborhood listserv from individuals who provide public notary services as a side gig.

Driving patrons home: depending on your state, it may be a strict no-no.

kaysixteen

Obviously teaching hs is different from teaching undergrads.   I have certainly required print sources in hs papers, and am still sympathetic to doing so in college.   I get that some *books* are printed and put on line, heck, some may not even appear in print, but the point of requiring a book to at least be available in print, would be that it is probably been vetted by serious publishing house standards, whereas anything can get online.   Remember I also have a library degree and extensive experience teaching bibliographic instruction.  One of the explicit tasks I see myself as having when teaching hs at least would be to teach library acquisition skills, appreciation for the use of a physical library, and analysis skills to discern between unvetted slop, vanity press stuff, etc., vs., well real scholarly stuff, and this sort of thing is valuable at the undergrad, esp freshburger level, as well.  And another issue would be (although this is of course field-specific), the promotion of actual books as opposed to papers only.

BTW, at the uni whose library has the petting zoo-- who pays for this, and tell me that library funds are not being diverted to do so?

Langue_doc

Quote from: Langue_doc on June 28, 2023, 05:09:57 AMThis has been the situation in our library systems which are now facing massive budget cuts due to the funds being diverted to house the influx of migrants sent here from Texas. Our libraries are facing reduced hours and closures. The library branches, all of them, were closed for the three-day weekend for Memorial Day, instead of the usual Sunday and Monday closings.

Our libraries might be spared the proposed budget cuts.
https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/29/nyregion/nyc-budget-deal-cuts-funding.html
QuoteLibraries Appear to Be Spared in Tense N.Y.C. Budget Talks
Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council hope to reach a budget deal before Friday. Funding for schools, CUNY and parks are at stake.

 

nebo113

apl....Meanwhile, I'm having to figure out what to say at a Rotary Club presentation I'm scheduled to make next week.  What should I say about addressing the current status of state legislation affecting libraries.  Or should I, since we haven't so far been affected by it?  I've got a short, upbeat AV presentation about the library to present, if we can get a projector arranged to use it.  I wonder how that's going to be received?

People just have no idea what all goes on here.


I live in a rural area so have some idea of your audience.  Our library has excellent children's programs, which are non-controversial (at least for the moment) and get good coverage in our twice weekly newspaper.  If I were doing a presentation, I might focus on the children's programs with a small segue into how they might be affected in the future.  As for the projector, isn't there a gizmo which can be hooked to a computer?  I am lagging on technology these days.

apl68

Yesterday a colleague of mine in the state sent out something of a cri de coeur regarding several older patrons that her staff have been having to deal with.  They all live alone and have family, but nobody nearby that they are on speaking terms with.  One is clearly getting dangerously frail, but has been concealing it from family to remain independent.  One has developed paranoid delusions and could potentially prove dangerous to anybody who might happen to surprise him at home while taking care of routine business.  Another has been showing clear signs of dementia, and has been seen wandering around town in the region's dangerous summer heat.

She noted that library staff members have driven some of these seniors home despite liability concerns, and sometimes perform welfare checks by finding work-related excuses to call them.  She was wondering where to draw the line about "getting involved," and whether there were other resources she could contact for such situations.

So where inner-city libraries have to serve as drug treatment, homeless, and mental health centers, small-town libraries are now being tasked with elder care.  Our own library's situation is not as alarming as what this colleague reports (our location is not as central, so we don't get as much pedestrian traffic), but we have had incidents similar to some of what she describes.  In fact, we had just had one quite recently that required several telephone calls before we could find any relatives to handle the situation.  I imagine there's a great deal of this sort of thing going on at libraries around the country.
God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, but the fire next time
When this world's all on fire
Hide me over, Rock of Ages, cleft for me

Puget

Quote from: apl68 on August 03, 2023, 09:43:47 AMYesterday a colleague of mine in the state sent out something of a cri de coeur regarding several older patrons that her staff have been having to deal with.  They all live alone and have family, but nobody nearby that they are on speaking terms with.  One is clearly getting dangerously frail, but has been concealing it from family to remain independent.  One has developed paranoid delusions and could potentially prove dangerous to anybody who might happen to surprise him at home while taking care of routine business.  Another has been showing clear signs of dementia, and has been seen wandering around town in the region's dangerous summer heat.

She noted that library staff members have driven some of these seniors home despite liability concerns, and sometimes perform welfare checks by finding work-related excuses to call them.  She was wondering where to draw the line about "getting involved," and whether there were other resources she could contact for such situations.

So where inner-city libraries have to serve as drug treatment, homeless, and mental health centers, small-town libraries are now being tasked with elder care.  Our own library's situation is not as alarming as what this colleague reports (our location is not as central, so we don't get as much pedestrian traffic), but we have had incidents similar to some of what she describes.  In fact, we had just had one quite recently that required several telephone calls before we could find any relatives to handle the situation.  I imagine there's a great deal of this sort of thing going on at libraries around the country.

If they seem like they are not able to care for themselves or  are a danger to themselves, a call to your state's Adult Protective Services (assuming you have one) would seem to be in order. 
"Never get separated from your lunch. Never get separated from your friends. Never climb up anything you can't climb down."
–Best Colorado Peak Hikes

apl68

Many libraries, like many institutions of all sorts, have budget problems.  These have now come for us.  Several years ago our town's largest employer shut down literally about half of its operations.  Hundreds of people were laid off.  Then they started demolishing the shut-down facilities so that they would no longer have to pay property tax on them. 

This process of "dis-improving" the company's land in town has cost us about 20% of our property tax revenues so far.  A small surge of people moving into town from out of state--COVID refugees?  California refugees?--and paying good prices for local houses has shored up the local housing market and property values.  So at least the layoffs haven't torpedoed residential property values as we had feared.  It still remains to be seen whether the declines in property tax revenues have bottomed out.

About the time this was happening, our no-longer-new facility started demanding ever more maintenance and repair.  We've paid a king's ransom for building repairs this year.  The combination of declining revenues and skyrocketing expenses has put us deep in the red.  This week we're having to cash in a certificate of deposit that we had bought to bank surplus money from previous years.  If we didn't have that money to draw on, we wouldn't have been able to make payroll until our main property tax revenues come in December.

We have enough operating reserves banked in CDs to keep running without layoffs and cuts in services for the time being.  But this money will only last so long.  Since the facility will remain hugely expensive to operate--even if it doesn't run up huge repair bills every single year--we're going to be looking sooner or later at cutting staff. 

I'm thankful that our reserves banked during good years have kept us out of an acute crisis situation. Not all of my colleagues can say that they've been so fortunate.  Still...if things don't turn around within the next several years, we'll have to lay people off and cut hours and service to the community.  We've built a good staff over the years.  They don't deserve that.
God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, but the fire next time
When this world's all on fire
Hide me over, Rock of Ages, cleft for me

apl68

In recent months we've had a staff member semi-retire.  She has gone to part-time.  This means we're paying for fewer hours of staff time, and this staff member has been dropped from our staff employee benefits.  By not hiring another part-timer to cover the hours she's no longer here for, we have saved some money.  That will help our budget situation without any lay-offs.

The fact remains that we now have fewer staff hours with which to serve the public.  This is putting us in an awkward position at times.  We're now trying to put together a plan for the next Board of Trustees meeting to reduce our evening hours during the week slightly.  Most evenings there's nobody here at closing time, so we could amputate an hour from most evenings during the week without inconveniencing too many patrons.  By adjusting work schedules, we should be able to cover our hours pretty well.

But it's going to require quite a few adjustments in schedules.  Some lunch breaks may have to be reduced.  We need to put a good deal of thought into the best schedule.  I hope we can come up with something that won't antagonize anybody too badly.

I thought we could shorten Saturday schedules by an hour as well, but in studying patron activity on Saturdays I don't find any reliably slow hours at either the beginning or the end of the day that would be an obvious hour to sacrifice.  So it looks like we won't be shortening our opening hours on that day.
God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, but the fire next time
When this world's all on fire
Hide me over, Rock of Ages, cleft for me

apl68

This was our first week on the new, shorter library schedule.  It seems to be working out okay.  It takes some getting used to, since certain people are now here on different days.  I'm also getting used to having only half an hour for lunch.  I doubt most of the public will notice the shorter evening hours. 
God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, but the fire next time
When this world's all on fire
Hide me over, Rock of Ages, cleft for me

lightning

I'm glad your place is still open.

My university's main library is deserted right now (in between academic sessions), with the exception of library employees and a small handful of homeless people. I hope some fiscal hawk doesn't see the empty library, because I can see them wanting to axe summer hours. It's really nice when there are only about 8 visible people in the entire building. The public-facing librarians out front must be loving this part of the year.

poiuy

Quote from: apl68 on May 31, 2024, 07:32:55 AMThis was our first week on the new, shorter library schedule.  It seems to be working out okay.  It takes some getting used to, since certain people are now here on different days.  I'm also getting used to having only half an hour for lunch.  I doubt most of the public will notice the shorter evening hours. 

I am so glad that your library is finding a way to hang in for at least a little longer, in these times. I think the 'de-improvers' of sites should pay a hefty one time tax for doing so, that could all go to form a small financial cushion for town services at risk.

The issue of libraries becoming care centers for vulnerable people looms large in the UK too which has experienced severe cuts to their social safety nets, leaving many people (especially older persons) without means for food or heat, so they spend time in the library - if they can get there, bus routes also having been decimated. Cuts have hit police and other services too so the food banks are strained to the max.

I think libraries and librarians are among the greatest engines of democracy. I wish there was a social media campaign or something to spread the love to more people who may be unfamiliar with what-all these institutions do.