March 12, 2014 |
A plan by the University of Pennsylvania to cut back on two of its branch libraries - one for engineering and the other for math, physics, and astronomy - has yielded an outcry from students and professors who say the books are critical to their studies and research. Both libraries are housed within the same campus buildings as their departments, and are heavily used by undergraduates and graduate students alike. Mathematics students, in particular, said many of the books and materials they need are not available electronically, and they must browse the library to find what they need.
March 11, 2014 |
She got married in a hall that was once a library reading room, surrounded by rows of books. Which was no surprise. Jamie Soukup Reid loved and lived in books. The characters wandered across the page and up into her consciousness: Leopold Bloom traversing Dublin in Ulysses , Katniss Everdeen fighting dictatorship in The Hunger Games , Esperanza Cordero overcoming poverty in The House on Mango Street . And when Reid died, suddenly and young, her friends claimed selections from her shelves as mourning tokens, believing that in the space where Jamie's hand had crossed a page, they might for a moment meet again.
March 8, 2014 |
Calling library closings the "absolute worst decision" in his 20 years in elected office, Mayor Nutter took time in his budget address Thursday to apologize for the cuts he made in 2008. City Council "was right on this issue . . . and I've been determined to correct my mistake ever since," Nutter said after proposing a $2.5 million increase for the Free Library. The new funding would let the library system hire 43 people and keep all neighborhood libraries open six days a week. Since the 2008 budget cuts, most of the branch libraries have been open only five days.
February 21, 2014
WE'RE pretty sure your local pharmacy doesn't carry a card for a 450th birthday, but that doesn't mean you can't help William Shakespeare celebrate that milestone this year. Last month, the Free Library of Philadelphia began a major, yearlong observance of the Bard of Avon that will feature a multidimensional series of programs. Not surprisingly, at the center of the celebration is Ol' Will's theatrical legacy. "Ninety percent of the programs are related to his plays," said Sandy Horrocks, the library's vice president of external affairs.
February 17, 2014 |
When Ronald Reagan finished his second term, he rode off to his California ranch on a wave of popularity that helped his vice president get elected to succeed him. Our last image of Richard M. Nixon was quite different. Forced to resign over the Watergate affair, he left office in disgrace. As he boarded the helicopter on the White House lawn, he gave Americans a parting gesture, his arms raised with his fingers spelling out "V" for victory as he, too, headed off to California. Soon after leaving office, Ronald Reagan was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and spent most of his remaining life in seclusion.
February 15, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA Amid news Monday of all-American defensive end Michael Sam's announcement that he was gay, Library Company of Philadelphia curator Connie King lifted the veil on an exhibition titled, coincidentally, "That's So Gay: Outing Early America. " King could not have known that a major gay rights story would be breaking just as she launched the eight-month exhibit of mostly 19th-century archives from the venerable library. The timing, however, underscored the timelessness of a cultural evolution and civil rights struggle that remains very much a work in progress.
February 13, 2014 |
COUNCIL ROCK The Council Rock School District has been awarded the 2104 Outstanding School Library District Award, 21 years after receiving it the first time. "The whole concept of libraries have changed," said Laura Follmer, the Bucks County district's library coordinator. For one thing, many schools straining under tight budgets have cut back on libraries and librarians. But Council Rock has full-time librarians and library aides in each of its fifteen schools. "Our administrators and teachers clearly feel we are essential to all they do," Follmer said.
February 11, 2014 |
PITMAN An abandoned factory sits on 76 overgrown acres in Pitman. Sony Music Entertainment used the space to manufacture compact discs until it cut its losses and left town in 2011, costing the area 300 jobs. Every time Sharon Furgason drives past, the deserted lot reminds her why the library she manages has been struggling to stay open. Furgason is director of the McCowan Memorial Library, a municipal presence on Pitman Avenue since 1961. Since the 2008 economic downturn, Furgason has been forced to watch public funding for her library diminish, in line with the state's library-funding law, which ties support to towns' average property value.
January 21, 2014 |
In a sign of the times, the Willingboro Public Library is trying to reinvent itself with a fresh slogan and logo to make it more relevant. "You have to keep up with all of the trends," said library director Christine King. "We want to dispel the notion that we all do is dispense books. " In seeking to rebrand itself, the library has embarked on an ambitious mission to change its image as a community center where visitors can attend workshops, take an exercise class, or see an art exhibit.
January 17, 2014 |
THE FREE LIBRARY of Philadelphia is providing some TLC to help city residents navigate the ACA. That's the Affordable Care Act, the country's new health-insurance system, which many users nationwide have reported is difficult to navigate. "The library is here to help customers in nearly every aspect of their life," said Siobhan A. Reardon, president and director of the Free Library. "And that now includes navigating the Affordable Care Act. " To help meet that need, 33 of the Free Library's staff members were trained as certified application counselors by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.