This report was released by the American Library Association earlier this year. It provides a year-in-review for America’s public, school, and academic libraries and can be read on the ALA website or as a pdf.
From the Introduction: “As the national economy continues to struggle toward recovery from the Great Recession, 2011 was a year of grim headlines. The federal Library of Congress lost about 9% of its budget and 10% of its workforce. Detroit, a city in fiscal crisis, agonized all year over how many library branches to close. In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed a budget that would eliminate 268 currently vacant positions and lay off almost 300 from the library system. (After he was met by hundreds of protesters of all ages, including a group of fist-pumping preschoolers, the mayor backtracked…somewhat.) The Huffington Post took note of it all and started a series in November headlined “Libraries in Crisis.”
But there was good news as well. The Troy (Mich.) Public Library was saved from closing permanently after some 58% of voters, who had rejected two similar measures in the past few years, approved a five-year operating millage. In Los Angeles, voters in March approved by 63% a measure to increase dedicated spending for the Los Angeles Public Library system by $50 million over the next few years without raising taxes, allowing reinstated full-time hours for 73 branches.
And even some good humor emerged: The Gilpin County (Colo.) Public Library put up a roadside sign advertising “Free coffee, Internet, notary, phone, smiles, restrooms, and ideas” to all who entered….”
(Also available as a pdf at: 2012 State of America’s Libraries Report)
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.