Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Salinas Update

"Salinas Mayor Anna Caballero will unveil a plan later this week aimed at keeping the city's libraries open and also bolstering other city services. . .
Complete details will be available Thursday night, when Caballero has scheduled a 6 p.m. news conference at city hall to officially unveil the plan."

New San Jose Branch

"Tully neighborhood residents are celebrating today the opening of the Tully Community Branch library.
The 24,300 square-foot branch has 42 public computers, a community room, a Family Learning Center and one of the largest collections of Vietnamese language materials in the city."

LAUSD'S Libraries

"Unsure how many library books the district really has, Los Angeles Unified plans to spend about $8 million this year to install a computerized tracking system at 614 school libraries. . . .
By October, the Los Angeles Unified School District should have its first true picture of its inventory, and officials don't expect the news to be good. It's expected to show that the district has fewer than eight books per student, half the state average and a third of the national average of 22 books per student at public school libraries. . . .
The district relies on state funding for resupplying its libraries. While California's per-student library allocation reached $28 a few years ago, it has since dropped to 70 cents per student annually. . . .
The district relies on state funding for resupplying its libraries. While California's per-student library allocation reached $28 a few years ago, it has since dropped to 70 cents per student annually."

Limiting Dissent

"The Organization of American Historians, the foremost scholarly organization for the study of American history, has been looking into charges of widespread harassment and repression in our institutions of higher education as a result of the government’s attempt to stifle dissent. And their findings are disturbing. . . .
According to the committee’s report, foreign students who are not enrolled full time are subject to arrest and deportation: 'In California at least, some of those students have simply disappeared. Privacy rules block any attempt by their teachers or friends to investigate what happened to them.'"

Cool Science Resources

Contained within this opinion piece on teaching science are a selected list of free and fee-based online resources. I thought that some of them might prove useful on the Reference Desk.

Dismayed About Salinas Libraries

"A new instructor at Hartnell College came to the United States as a 5-year-old refugee from Cambodia. . . .
Moth got her start in astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a bachelor's degree, but her interest in learning began much earlier.
'My family is very supportive," she said. "When we would go to the library, we could get as many books as we wanted. But our father told us we must check out at least three non-fiction books.'
Moth always chose books about space. She said she's dismayed by the prospect of closing libraries in Salinas.
'I think libraries are very important,' she said. 'That's what helped me get where I am. I think closing libraries is the worst thing you can do. It's restricting access to knowledge.'"

San Diego Surfer Update

"Attorneys for three voters will ask a federal judge today to issue a preliminary injunction stopping the Registrar of Voters from certifying the votes in the San Diego mayor's race.
Attorneys for Shan L. McDonald, Jerri Walters and Jennifer Cassidy argue in a lawsuit that the results of the mayor's race should not be certified because city officials conducted an unlawful election by allowing Donna Frye's write- in candidacy. . . .
Frye has not decided whether to challenge Murphy's win in the mayoral race. The registrar did not count an unknown number of ballots with her name written-in, but without a bubble shaded in next to her name. Her supporters believe the uncounted votes would put her ahead of Murphy.
On Nov. 16, Gonzalez refused to issue a restraining order to stop the certification process but agreed to hear more arguments on the matter.
Over the past two weeks, two retired judges have rejected two lawsuits filed in San Diego Superior Court -- one asking to stop the vote count and one asking that all write-in votes be counted, even ones in which the "oval" next to the write-in's name was not filled in."

Five Local Libraries Get Grants

"Among the 12 statewide winners were the Ingleside and Richmond branches in San Francisco, the Castro Valley Library, the Lafayette Library and Learning Center and the 81st Avenue Branch Library in Oakland.
Losers included Antioch and Walnut Creek, a city that staked its civic future on the project. . . .
The biggest award went to Castro Valley, which will use the nearly $14 million grant to improve its library, which Assemblywoman Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, said has only one restroom and nowhere to park. It was the third application for by grant by the community, which backers stressed is close to BART and other transit systems. Supporters brought 3,000 signatures of support and 600 letters to show to the state board. . . .
It was the last cycle of grants of the $350 million bond that California voters passed in 2000. Under the library bond act, the state pays for 65 percent of the project, while the city, county or library district pays the rest. . . .
In 2006, Californians will vote on another bond measure that would give an additional $600 million to the Office of Library Construction. As much as $300 million could be awarded quickly to projects that were not funded Monday."

More Regarding Salinas

"A community group concerned about having a safe place for kids to go after school urged short-term solutions to keep the libraries open at a City Council subcommittee meeting Monday.
The group's approach contrasts with that of Friends of the Salinas Public Library, which is focusing on finding long-term funding for the libraries.
About 30 people attended the subcommittee's meeting, which has the aim of saving the city's three library branches, scheduled to close between January and June."

Salinas Update

"In the wake of two ballot-measure failures that virtually ensured the closing of all three public libraries in Salinas, California, the city council voted November 16 to assign a special subcommittee to explore its options. The group has scheduled its first meeting for late in the afternoon of November 19, the Salinas Californian reported." Private funding might save one branch, but the outlook is poor.
"In a November 18 statement, American Library Association President Carol Brey-Casiano called national attention to the situation in Salinas and Buffalo, New York, where a severely slashed budget may force the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library to close all its facilities. 'Your ability to get information shouldn’t depend on your ability to pay for it,' she said. 'Free access to the books, ideas, resources, and information in America’s libraries is imperative for education, employment, enjoyment, and self-government. While the ALA has tracked library funding cuts in more than 40 states, this is the first I’ve heard of residents losing all access to public library services.'"

Palo Alto May Close Branch Libraries

"Palo Alto Library Director Paula Simpson's plan to close small libraries in favor of operating one central branch will face an uphill battle for approval, if Monday night's City Council meeting is any indication. . . .
During the meeting, Simpson also laid out a series of other options, including a proposal to pass a parcel tax to increase library funding to adequately staff all existing libraries. Next year alone that would cost $850,000, she noted.
But the option that's gotten the most attention was a proposal to build one central library, probably near California Avenue. The reason the library director supports that plan is that by staffing numerous libraries, and filling them with duplicate copies of books and magazines, the city is not getting the most bang for its buck."

Funding Update

"In California, several communities were able to gain the two-thirds approval for library funding. The extension/renewal of parcel taxes was approved in Altadena (77.26 percent), Blanchard/Santa Paula Library District (71.8 percent), Fresno County (71 percent), San Jose (66.92 percent), and Sacramento (72.38 percent). Berkeley's electorate rejected an amendment to the city's formula for library funding that would have raised the average cost per household to approximately $292. Support was at 50.5 percent. In the city of Martinez, a $30 million bond for improvements, including the renovation of its library, was rejected--only 60.6 percent approved the measure."

Promoting Libraries in the Bay Area

For National Library Week, "a tight collaboration leverages company support and ad dollars to get the word out about libraries." The word goes out on the backs of buses, in supermarket circulars, television spots and on a digital mall sign by the freeway. This year's theme is: "Discover the Bay Area's best value…your library". Look for it!
Library Journal

Berkeley Wants Tax Revenue

"Homeowners will be asked to pay an extra $310 a year on their property tax and utility bills to keep City Hall open full time, avoid police and fire service cuts and keep school programs and public libraries afloat during the next few years."

Sacramento County Won't Ask for Library Tax

"For years, Sacramento County's libraries have lagged behind the city's in manpower, materials and money, and that gap could widen further after November's election. . . .The Board of Supervisors decided in July not to try a third time for a tax to support the county's 16 libraries after a January poll showed only 55 percent of voters would support it, a level well below the two-thirds necessary to pass a new tax."

Santa Clara County's Budget Blues

"Budget problems have forced all Santa Clara County libraries to close on Mondays starting next month.
Facing a $1.1 million budget shortfall and possibly much more next summer, library officials announced Tuesday the service cutback would start Oct. 11. . . .The county's libraries may have to endure further cutbacks in the future. In March, county voters failed to extend a benefits assessment tax that brings in $5.3 million for the county library system."

Succeed @ Your Library

"September is the month during which librarians across the nation try to convince Americans - especially young Americans - to join them in the never-ending search for knowledge. . . .It's also a way communities come together to promote literacy. . . .Getting a library card is simple. . . .And it's free! . . .The Resource Literacy Center of California reports that only about 8 percent of the population visits a public library as often as once a week. Nearly 15 percent say they never go to a library. How all of our lives might be changed if those who don't now go to a library for information or relaxation did go.
Information literacy is the key to so many good things in life. It allows you to find, evaluate and use information effectively to solve problems and make decisions.
It could be argued that you cannot fully live the American dream without just the kind of information so easily obtained at your friendly neighborhood library."

Cell Phone Use in Library Costly
"City leaders (in Huntington Beach) adopted an ordinance, which takes effect Sept. 15, that bans all cell phone use in libraries, including talking, text messaging and ringing tones of any kind.
First-time violators will be warned, then fined $250 if they don't comply. A second offense gets a $500 fine and a third offense gets a $1,000 fine."

No Tax Raise

"...Schwarzenegger's steadfast refusal to re-examine how schools are funded or to raise taxes means that important programs will be eliminated, and that the losses will disproportionately fall on poorer districts. A recent Los Angeles Times editorial said of the budget, 'the only losers, aside from California's future, are cities, counties and local schools, which were fleeced in return for promises of future protection.'"

What's Up With Lack of Bids On Alameda?

"The new Alameda library project should offer the stuff contractors dream of: a high-profile location in the glamorous San Francisco Bay Area and a fairly handsome $24 million budget, $15.5 million of that for construction.
But only one construction company has bid, according to those working on the project. And the sole bidder, S.J. Amoroso Construction, came in about $5 million over budget."

I'm Back

I don't know if anyone noticed, but I have not posted anything for a about a month. I woke up early this morning and decided to rectify that. Now that the California budget is resolved (not in an optimal manner), perhaps we can just get on with life. Actually, that's already happening and I notice that some frozen positions are getting filled.
I put InfoPeoples's new blog on the list of local weblogs today and will be adding more content soon.

Masking Budget Shortfall

"Libraries throughout San Mateo County have endured financial struggles for nearly a decade, but they're finding creative new ways to keep users from feeling the pain. . . .The financial crunch has presented a seemingly endless sense of uncertainty for librarians. And with the number of patrons rising 37 percent over the past three years, the question remains whether the local libraries can accommodate a growing number of users while dealing with a sinking financial outlook."

What's Up with the State Budget?

"California will end the fiscal year without a budget approved by the Legislature for the ninth time in 11 years and appears set to start the new year without even a handshake budget deal between legislative leaders and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger."

"Libraries the San Jose Way"

"Taking a cue from nearby startups and venture capital firms, Silicon Valley's award-winning library is launching a consulting business to help librarians think like entrepreneurs. . . .The 10-month-old library charges $1,500 for half-day consulting sessions, which explain to librarians in other communities how San Jose's institution came to national prominence."

Great SF Earthquake Photographs

There is a great online exhibit of photographs from the University of California Riverside/California Museum of Photography about the 1906 earthquake. It is divided into six browsable sections: Destruction; People; Amidst the Rubble; The Hungry; The Homeless; Recovery. Photos may be viewed in a small format, in a detailed view, as stereograms or, wearing red/blue glasses, as 3D images.

Bad Budget Bite

"Russo, the immediate past-president of the League of California Cities, spoke more generally on how the state government is negatively affecting county, city and local district governments.

Jokingly referring to Sacramento government as the "fourth axis of evil," Russo said that 25 years ago it was inconceivable for Californians to worry about their local libraries struggling or keeping park services open."

News from the Capitol

"...With regard to the Public Library Foundation, Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed a reduction of $1.4 million. His message states, "The 2004-05 expenditures reflect the Department's response to the Administration's
request for 3 percent reductions, thus the May Revision proposes to reduce Public Library Foundation grants to local libraries by $1,406,000. This leaves a total of $14,360,000 in remaining foundation resources ..."
(Note: Without the detail available, we assume a 3% cut was made to the State Library budget, including the PLF with the entire reduction made to
the PLF - about 9%.)

You will recall that Governor Davis aggressively reduced the Public Library Foundation over 72 percent in two years, and liberally made cuts to the PLF in his May Revise, or utilized his so-called "blue pencil" to make further reductions. Given the seriousness of the Budget crisis, we were hopeful that Governor Schwarzenneger would try to protect the baseline for the PLF program as best he could. . . .


The proposed $350 million property tax shift from special districts for each of the next two years does not include the independent special district libraries or the so-called
"orphan" special district libraries. As mentioned previously, we have been working with some of the parties involved
with the "special district package," and have thus far succeeded in getting these libraries exempt from the property tax reductions. We have argued that libraries were "clobbered" by the 1992 and1993-94 property tax shifts, which ultimately led to the enactment of SB 1648-Dills, sponsored by CLA in
1994. That measure, almost forgotten, prohibits the future ERAF reduction from libraries. While one legislature cannot bind a future legislature, having the Dills bill on the books has been helpful in making our argument to exempt libraries from the proposed shift. It is important to note that
the Governor's proposal must be enacted by the legislature. However, at this point, we are cautiously optimistic that the legislature will go along with our library exempt language."
Source: An email message to the Calix listserv from Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist; Christina Dillon, CLA Lobbyist forwarded by Susan Negreen
permanent link
May 14, 2004
Cuts To Buy Future Financial Stability
"A deal included in the governor's spending plan has East Bay officials swallowing hard and preparing for painful cuts in exchange for long-term financial stability. . . .

Under the agreement, cities, counties, special districts and redevelopment agencies will give the state a combined $1.3 billion in property taxes each of the next two years. That translates to $9.5 million for Contra Costa and $15 million for Alameda County both years, or around 6 percent of each county's total property tax revenue.

Local governments use the money to pay for services such as police and fire protection, parks and libraries."

Cuts To Buy Future Financial Stability

A deal included in the governor's spending plan has East Bay officials swallowing hard and preparing for painful cuts in exchange for long-term financial stability. . . .

Under the agreement, cities, counties, special districts and redevelopment agencies will give the state a combined $1.3 billion in property taxes each of the next two years. That translates to $9.5 million for Contra Costa and $15 million for Alameda County both years, or around 6 percent of each county's total property tax revenue.

Local governments use the money to pay for services such as police and fire protection, parks and libraries."

California Budget Calls for Cuts

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger released a $102.8 billion budget plan Thursday that calls for less severe across-the-board spending cuts than he first proposed in January.

His revised plan relies on billions of dollars of additional borrowing and one-time savings -- and the hope for more money from Washington."

Schwarzenegger Cuts Deal with Counties and Cities

"Continuing his march toward what he says he hopes will be an on-time budget, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Wednesday unveiled a pain-for-gain plan for local government -- and good news for California car owners.

The proposal, informally endorsed by city, county and other local officials, proposes a tradeoff in which local governments give up $1.3 billion a year for the next two years to help the state balance its struggling budget.

In return, the governor throws his support behind a constitutional amendment for the November ballot that would prevent the state from taking additional local money in the future.

The ballot measure also would freeze the car tax, a controversial source of local revenue."

Revised Budget Expected Thursday

Cities and counties throughout California are hoping that the cuts will will be less severe than those that Schwarzenegger proposed in January.

Investors Want CA Bonds

Astonishingly, investors appear to be banking on California. "Bond investors appear eager to buy a stake in the biggest municipal bond sale in U.S. history -- a $12.3 billion package that California voters approved in March to patch the state's budget crisis.

Investors have been ravenous lately for California bonds, but the so-called
Economic Recovery Bonds are especially enticing for both the investment potential and the unusual way the state will repay the debt, some experts say."

California Digital Library

"This struck me as very interesting from the overview page for the California Digital Library : The California Digital Library is the University of California's 11th University library. It was established in 1997 by University of California President"

California Senate OKs Bill To Limit RFID Use

"SB 1834, introduced by state Sen. Debra Bowen, seeks to prevent stores and libraries from using RFID to collect any information beyond what a customer is buying, renting, or borrowing. . . . A spokeswoman for Bowen said getting the bill through the Senate--which approved it in a 22-8 vote--was relatively easy because the senators as a group don't have a thorough grasp of the technology. Conversely, the Assembly committee tends to be more tech-savvy and business friendly--and thus is less likely to want to place limitations on a technology that's in its infancy."

A Librarian in Every School

An opinion piece by Patricia A. Ohanian, library media teacher, addresses the importance of libraries to education. "Research has shown that the best way to increase student achievement and thus test scores is to have a well-stocked school library with a full-time credentialed librarian. And while the city of San Jose is doing a great job with the public libraries, our public schools are not. . . .If California is really serious about raising student achievement, we will listen to the educational research and put a full-time credentialed librarian in every school."