Monday, May 30, 2011

MediaWeek (V4, N22): Patriot Act, ALA Preview, Revolution Writing + More

Patriot Act is Extended for another Four Years (LJ)

The extension leaves unchanged Section 215 (also known as the "library records provision"), which has always been a serious concern to the library community. Under the provision the FBI can ask a federal court for access to "any tangible thing"---including library records---relevant to a terrorist threat.

"ALA is more than disappointed in the final outcome," said Lynne Bradley, the director of the office of government relations for the American Library Association. "The library community has sought reasonable Patriot Act reforms since it was first posposed in the fall of 2001, and this would have been another opportunity to fix some of the grievances we have. But Congress decided to punt instead," she said.

ALA Preview from Publisher's Weekly starts off ominously:
In New York City, the New York Public Library (NYPL) system is celebrating its centennial—and facing potential funding cuts totaling $40 million, the worst hit in its 100-year history.

Indeed, despite absorbing a cut in FY2010, NYPL logged 40 million physical visits to libraries throughout New York City last year alone—more than all the local sports teams combined. In addition, there were 29 million visits to the NYPL Web site. If the proposed cuts go through, officials estimate the library may have to cut 650 full-time positions; hours would be trimmed to an average of three to four days per week; five million fewer items would circulate, and new book acquisitions would be cut by a third. One million fewer children and young people would be served by the library, and overall attendance would dip by an estimated six million. NYPL supporters are fighting back (, but it promises to be a tough battle.

Things aren't much better elsewhere in the Atlantic states. At the Harford County Public Library, in Belcamp, Md., the materials budget remains flat after sustaining a 20% cut in FY10. In North Carolina, the Charlotte Mecklenberg Library system has seen its proposed materials budget drop from $3.39 million in FY08 to $1.8 million in FY11. For the FY12 budget, the library has requested approximately $2 million be restored, and administrators are hopeful that the request will be considered.

With government help, the auto industry made a remarkable comeback in 2011—libraries in the industrial heartland could now use some support as well. The Detroit Public Library's FY12 budget, originally set at $35.5 million, is set to be reduced to $23 million. Tax revenues through 2015 are expected to be lower by almost 30%, according to spokesperson Atiim J. Funchess. Just last March, facing a $7.49 million deficit, Detroit laid off 20% of its library work force and lowered salaries by 10%.

In Dallas, the public library's materials budget has decreased from $3.9 million in FY06–07 to $1.6 million in FY10–11. In Houston, the Public Library's FY12 budget will shrink to $32 million, down from $39.3 million in FY10.
A Revolution in Writing from SEED Magazine:
Nearly universal literacy is a defining characteristic of today’s modern civilization; nearly universal authorship will shape tomorrow's.

In our analysis, we considered an author’s text “published” if 100 or more people read it. (Reaching 100 people may seem inconsequential, but new-media messages are often re-broadcast by recipients, and then by their recipients, and so on. In this way, a message can “go viral,” reaching millions.) Extrapolation of the Twitter-author curve (the dashed line) predicts that every person will publish in 2013. That is the ceiling: 100 percent participation. Provided current growth continues, the prediction of imminence is robust. Increasing the stringency of the criterion for “publishing” from 100 to 1,000 readers would reduce new-media authorship tenfold, but merely delays the predicted 100 percent participation by a year under this model

From the twitter this week:

Sesame Street and Friends 'pumping out left wing messages' -

Elevator Repair Service Performs at New York Public Library -

Groupon Counts on Writers and Editors to Build Its Audience -

From Shelves to Internet: America's Digital Library Takes Shape

New crowdfunded publishing project signs up major names

What Upstarts Can Teach Established Presses:

New Stats: E-Reader Usage Growing Much Faster Than Previously Predicted

HP finishes Paul McCartney’s private digital library

California Gay History Plan Widens Textbook Divide With Texas -

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Expands Middle East Presence with Launch of Qatar Office

Rupert Murdoch uses eG8 to talk up net's power to transform education

And in Sports:

MU played off the field by Barca (I don't understand it either)

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