Latest Entries

Library Usage Increases in New York

A Siena College Research Institute poll conducted in January found that public library usage is up 10% statewide over the last three years, with usage up nearly 20% among those households making less than $50,000 annually. 94% of respondents said that public libraries are “very” or “somewhat” important to our state’s educational infrastructure, while more than 80% of women, African-Americans, Latinos, and households making less than $50,000 say public libraries are “very important” to our educational system.

Meanwhile, in a press release announcing the results of the poll, Jeremy Johannesen, Executive Director of the New York Library Association, pointed out that library funding is nearly 20% less than what is mandated in state Education Law, and is currently at 1997 levels. He called on Governor Cuomo and library supporters in the State Senate and the Assembly to recognize that public libraries are at the core of the state’s educational infrastructure and must be equitably funded.

Tuesday’s Tip — Preparing for Extreme Cold Weather

This week we give you some places to turn to get ready to keep yourself–and your family– safe during potentially dangerous extreme weather conditions.  Some of the preparations are quite simple, and could save a life!   As the saying goes “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. – Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday’s Tip — February 10, 2015 (Extreme Cold- Safety )

frozen-waterfall Photo by Peter Griffin

Harper Lee Causes a Stir!

Libraries everywhere were abuzz on Tuesday when Harper Lee announced she would be releasing a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird this summer. News of the publication of Go Set a Watchman stunned fans of the 88-year-old author, who have waited for a second novel from Lee since 1960, when she released her debut tale of racism in the American south.

The new novel was written by Lee before To Kill a Mockingbird, but is set some 20 years later. It features Lee’s beloved character Scout as an adult, returning to her home town of Maycomb from New York to visit Atticus, her lawyer father, along with many of the other characters from Lee’s debut.

The Library District will enter the title into the collection in April and measure demand before placing an order. HarperCollins has announced that the novel will be published on July 14.

Tuesday’s Tip — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Measles has once again gotten a toe-hold in America, with hundreds of cases now reported.  The go-to source for information when there is a disease outbreak is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  They are the reporting HQ, and also the clearinghouse for public information.  There is no better source to consult when a communicable disease is your concern!                           Tuesday’s Tip — February 3, 2015 (Centers for Disease Control – CDC)


Discovering the Joy of Books – at a Garbage Dump

This week, the BBC reported on a huge garbage dump in Brazil and some of the valuable items found by the people who scavenge there. One of those people, named Gloria, described some of the horrors of working at the dump, including being buried under a mountain of garbage, only surviving after her friends dug her out.

But, the report says, “the same dump that was causing her such sorrow and despair brought her salvation – in the form of Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Over the years Gloria had carefully curated a small library of books salvaged from the dump. And she credits a passage in The Brothers Karamazov for teaching her how to love her daughter. ‘It was the books that helped me. They saved me,” she says. “That was my way of living other lives, of travelling. I was a compulsive reader, I would read four or five books a week, and in the midst of that hard life I was high on books!’”

The dump has been replaced by a recycling plant and Gloria is now the coordinator of the facility.

Tuesday’s Tip — Cities at Night

Scores of missions into outer space have yielded many photographs of inhabited places as seen  from far above the earth.  There are so many remaining unidentified that a Citizen Science project has been initiated for those interested in geography to help analyze and catalog the images, so they can be shared with the public.   Or… do a little ‘armchair travel’ and see the world from space!

Tuesday’s Tip — January 20, 2015 (Cities at Night)





Libraries and Freedom of Speech

In response to last week’s attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, American Library Association (ALA) President Courtney Young released a statement which included the following:

“The American Library Association condemns in the strongest possible terms yesterday’s attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the deaths of the twelve people there. Libraries and the press are the bedrock of democratic societies.  Free expression is essential for librarians and journalists to do their jobs.  Free speech is integral to the ethical values and best practices for both professions.  Such attacks are counter to the values of access to information with diversity of views—and to the values of civic engagement, which encourages people to read and discuss these views without fear.”

“The American Library Association reaffirms our support of the freedom to publish, read, and discuss.  This horrific attack violates Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which ALA has endorsed.”

Study Finds Value in Reading to Children of All Ages

According to a new report released on January 8 by Scholastic, the children’s book publisher, reading aloud through elementary school is connected to a love of reading generally. In the survey of just over 1,000 children ages 6 to 17, there were some consistent patterns among frequent readers. For the younger children — ages 6 to 11 — being read aloud to regularly and having restricted online time were correlated with frequent reading.

“A lot of parents assume that once kids begin to read independently, that now that is the best thing for them to do,” said Maggie McGuire, the vice president for a website for parents operated by Scholastic. However, the report supports the idea of continuing to read aloud to children through the elementary school years.

Some literacy experts state that when parents or teachers read aloud to children even after they can read themselves, the children can hear more complex words or stories than they might tackle themselves. Last summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced a new policy recommending that all parents read to their children from birth.