Spot the Empire Librarian's blog

Welcome to a librarian's online musings on libraries, literature and information media.

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More funding, Mr. Cuomo.

library interior

A  recently released Siena College Research Institute poll conducted the week of January 11th found that local public library usage is up 10% throughout New York state over the last three years, with usage by young women and communities of color up nearly 15%, and up nearly 20% among those households making less than $50,000 annually. This surge in usage, along with the findings detailed below, confirm that traditionally underrepresented communities are increasingly reliant on the resources provided by their local public library, and library funding must be viewed as an equality issue.The Siena poll findings include:

  1. Library usage is up 10% statewide, 15% among women respondents aged 18-34, nearly 15% among African-American respondents, 15% among Latino respondents, and among all income demographics, with usage up 20% for those households making less than $50,000 annually;
  2. A clear majority of respondents want increased library funding, with nearly 45% advocating for library aid to increase in proportion with overall education funding, and 30% saying library aid should be fully funded under the law;
  3. For nearly 33% of African-American and Latino respondents, and 25% of households making less than $50,000 annually, the public library is their primary source of internet access;
  4. Of the respondents who have used their local public library for job seeking or career building programs in the last six months, 53% were African-American, and 40% were households making less than $50,000 annually;
  5. 94% of respondents said 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.

Library funding is nearly 20% less than what is mandated in state Education Law, and is currently at 1997 levels. In last year’s Executive Budget, library aid was cut by 4.7%, while proposed education aid was increased 3.8%. Total education spending in last year’s enacted budget increased 5.7%, but library aid increased only 1.2%.

Mr. Cuomo, what say you?grumpycatproved wrong

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What are your reading in 2015?

reading glassesFacebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is known for his challenging New Year’s resolutions. In the past, he has resolved to learn Mandarin, meet a new person every day and wear a tie daily. In 2015, after collecting suggestions from the Facebook community, he’s decided to read a book every other week.

He has invited everyone to join him in this challenge through his A Year of Books book club and to start with the first book, The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What it Used to Be by Moisés Naím.

End of power

In The End of Power, award-winning columnist and former Foreign Policy editor Moisés Naím, argues that power is shifting and changing in many areas of society and moving from large, established organizations to newer, smaller groups. Also, power is also becoming harder to use and easier to lose and the potential for upheaval is unprecedented. Drawing on original research and a lifetime of experience in global affairs, Naím investigates that the struggle between those who had power and the new forces challenging them and explains how the end of power is changing our world.

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Zombies don’t mind Canadians

How did I not know about this book? They tolerate Canadians? Perhaps it is our genuine love of maple syrup?  Or beaver tail consumption?  Our desire to apologize?  Or, our galvanizing love of hockey?