The residents of Los Angeles passed Measure L yesterday, an initiative to increase dedicated spending for the Los Angeles Public Library system by $50 million over the next few years without raising taxes. LA had been the only major city in the U.S. other than Detroit to eliminate two days of library service, but now will be able to return to six or seven days for its branches. Lucy McCoy, chairwoman of Yes on Measure L, said: "Tonight was a vote for keeping our kids safe after school, for helping job seekers get back to work, for seniors looking for a warm place to read and for all the Library goers young and old. Angelenos have sent a clear message that our libraries are a critical part of the fabric of our community."
Speaking of saving the libraries, author Karin Slaughter (Broken) has organized a Save the Libraries event, serving as Honorary Chair, along with fellow authors Mary Kay Andrews (Hissy Fit) and Kathryn Stockett (The Help). They're teaming up with businesses and donors to offer items to auction off (signed books, artwork, a meeting with authors) with all proceeds benefiting the DeKalb County Public Library Foundation in Georgia. The event is coming up this Saturday, March 12th.
The grim budget news coming out of the UK includes the very real possibility that over 400 libraries could be closed due to government budget cuts, according to the Guardian. Charging into that void may be Library Systems & Services, a Maryland-based firm that owns 13 public libraries in the US. LSSI hopes to take over and manage 15 per cent of Britain's public libraries within the next five years. The plan is to turn them into "multifunctional spaces" with murder mystery nights, poetry evenings, open-mic sessions and coffee bars. That is, if LSSI can avoid lawsuits such as those filed against them in California.
And, if you haven't heard, Harper Collins is setting limits (to 26) on how many times its eBooks can be checked out from public library eReader devices. As you can imagine, libaries are not thrilled with the idea. Dan Misener of CBC News explains it all and adds, "it seems this is just another example of an old, scarcity-based business model butting heads with a new digital model. It's a story that's playing out across the digital media landscape and has repercussions far beyond libraries. For me, the danger with the HarperCollins decision has to do with the precedent it sets and the slippery slope it might send us down."