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.
January 2, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA Now it's the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. With the completion of a series of legal approvals, the Free Library's acquisition of the Rosenbach Museum and Library is done. The collection, housed in two townhouses at 20th Street and Delancey Place, was legally placed under the Free Library's authority as of Dec. 24, said Free Library lawyer Bruce K. Fenton. The acquisition proceeded without contest. The state Attorney General's Office last month waived its right to a filing in the petition for approval, and Orphans' Court Judge John W. Herron on Dec. 17 gave his approval to the deal without scheduling a hearing.
December 26, 2013 |
Maybe you're having trouble finding your way at the edge of the digital divide. Maybe you consider yourself seriously tech-savvy, but realize you've barely tapped the power of the supercomputer you carry around in your pocket or backpack - or just received as a holiday gift. No matter your needs, the Free Library of Philadelphia may have the answer: guidance from one of its "gadget gurus," a service inaugurated a year ago that proved so popular it never ended. Though Jan. 3, the library's E-Gadget Holiday Help Desk will offer its services for four hours each weekday at the Parkway Central Library at 1901 Vine St. After that, help will be offered every Tuesday from 3 to 6 p.m. The gadget gurus don't take appointments or wear hip T-shirts - this isn't the Apple store's Genius Bar. But the idea is much the same, except that you don't have to own the fanciest new iPhone or iPad to qualify for aid. In fact, the gadget gurus are mostly ordinary library staffers with some special skills and training.
December 20, 2013 |
Richard S. Newman, a professor of history at Rochester Institute of Technology, has been named the next director of the Library Company of Philadelphia. Newman, author of a highly regarded biography of Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church founder Richard Allen, will replace John C. Van Horne, who has led the nation's oldest library for 29 years. The Library Company was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731. Van Horne will retire in May and Newman, 46, will take up his new post during the summer.
December 4, 2013 |
'Shocked" by the financial crisis that jammed the world economy in 2008, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has changed his old position that bankers, traders, and investors are fully rational. The evidence, he now says, shows that "animal spirits" - euphoria, herd instinct, and, especially, fear - can be counted on to bubble prices, stagger markets, and slump economies. At least in the short run. In his book The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting (Penguin Press HC, 390 pages, $36)
November 22, 2013 |
Joe Sacco's new book is an epic comic that depicts the horror of trench warfare during World War I. It's an accordion-style volume that opens into a single 24-foot-long panoramic drawing. Called The Great War: July 1, 1916, The First Day of the Battle of the Somme (W.W. Norton, 54 pages, $35), its origins go back to the author and artist's boyhood in Australia. Sacco, who will read at the Free Library of Philadelphia Thursday night, was born on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. When he was an infant, his parents emigrated to Australia, where every April 25 is Anzac Day, commemorating the casualties suffered by Australian and New Zealand soldiers during the invasion of Gallipoli in WWI. "They sacrificed so much blood there that it really entered the Australian national psyche," says Sacco, 53, author of masterful books of empathetic war-zone comic journalism, including Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde . "When I was a boy, they would stop class and play stories about World War I servicemen," he says, talking from New York this week.