Good News – Gov. Nixon Agrees to Release Library Funds

Gov. Nixon’s office posted this press release this morning:

Following revenue increase, $43 million now available for priorities, Gov. Nixon announces (posted on April 3, 2015)

The now-available fund include $6 million of the funds he was withholding from libraries throughout the state.

Now to await the outcome of the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting for next year’s budget…

Restore Missouri Libraries

As some of you may know, funding for Missouri libraries is in crisis. Governor Nixon is withholding $6.6 million of the total amount of funding for libraries that was approved for the current fiscal year. The governor has proposed that this vastly reduced amount should be the total approved for next year.

Please visit Save Missouri Libraries for more information.

Please take to social media and your professional, social, and community networks to advocate for library funding.

The Missouri State Senate Appropriations Committee is meeting today to decide funding for the next fiscal year. This is the email I sent to each senator who sits on this committee:

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Further Thoughts on the Morton Grove Public Library Controversy

The first and most fundamental obligation of a public library—of any tax-funded public service—is to serve all members of their community equally and impartially.

A public library cannot be allowed to take any action, nor take any official public stance, which jeopardizes or undermines their impartiality or the equity of their service to members of their community.

A Library Board should never be allowed to take any action that puts a public library in such a position.
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Controversy at the Morton Grove Public Library

I saw this article on the Chicago Tribune website today:

Morton Grove Library trustees rejects atheist blogger’s donation by Lee V. Gaines (posted on December 20, 2013)

This really bothers me. That the Board Treasurer is so ignorant and intolerant that she considers atheism a “hate group”. That she took it upon herself to act as the morality police for the community. That five members of the Library Board consider it more important to take this discriminatory stance than to accept needed funds to maintain library services.

The article makes no mention of any stipulations attached to the donation, and I confirmed that there were none—the Morton Grove Public Library wouldn’t have been required to purchase materials on atheism with the money, or take any action to promote atheism to the community. The donation was a no-strings-attached attempt by an interested private citizen who wanted to help.

Furthermore, public institutions funded by tax revenues are prohibited from taking any official stance on religious matters. To render any explicit judgement—either positive or negative—regarding the legitimacy of any religious belief or system is a violation of the public trust.

I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t say with certainly, but I would be curious to know if it’s a violation of law, too.

To refuse a donation from a private individual because of that individual’s religious beliefs is an explicit negative endorsement of those beliefs. That would make it an explicit violation of the prohibition against a tax-funded public institution from taking such a position.

I encourage all interested tax-paying residents of Morton Grove to petition the Library Board to reconsider their decision. I encourage the community to consult with civil rights attorneys to establish the legality of this action.

And please understand—this is not an action undertaken by the librarians or staff of the Morton Grove Public Library. This decision was made solely by their Board.

The Answer is the Library

Jason Kramer nails it!

The Downside of Being Universally Liked | Advocate’s Corner (posted by Library Journal on May 15, 2013)

Some excerpts:

In the highly competitive and aggressive world of politics, no enemies usually means no allies. In my experience elected officials (and staff) have nice feelings about libraries, not strong feelings. As a result libraries, politically, suffer from benign neglect. The warriors don’t go where there is no war. …
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Advertising In Libraries? Maybe…

I’ve been hearing about public libraries selling advertising space as a source of funding for a couple of years now. I keep thinking that I should be opposed to this idea on principle – and I’m fascinated to discover that I’m not.

I think this article does a fine and concise job of summarizing the issue:

Advertising in Libraries? Considering the Consequences (posted on Non-Profit Quarterly, February 27, 2013)

Selling advertising space in libraries has the potential to be a substantial source of funding. Librarians are well aware of the dangers this type of arrangement poses; any library wishing to go this route will make sure to include language in any such contacts that explicitly deny advertisers the right to have any say in operational or policy decisions.
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JCLC 2012, KCPL & Library Marketing

Last night, the Kansas City Public Library hosted the opening reception for the Second National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color. I was honored to be a part of such a gathering! More than just an opportunity to show off our gorgeous Central Branch, it was a wonderful chance to mix and mingle with librarians from all over the country. I loved engaging so many people in passionate conversation about libraries!

Over the course of the evening, I noticed that there was one question that got asked by everyone I spoke to:

“Where did you get the money for all this?”

  • Our Central Branch building is a retrofitted bank. How were we able to get the building and convert it the way we did?
  • Where do we get the money to present 20-30 free-to-attend public events each month – ranging from scholarly presentations, to art and artifact exhibits, to movie screenings?
  • How can we afford to keep two full-time professional graphic designers on staff?
  • Where do we get the funding to maintain our dedicated business information center?
  • Etc.

Funding questions became the ongoing theme of my evening.
Continue reading “JCLC 2012, KCPL & Library Marketing”