Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Catching Up on the News @ the Rockford Public Library

  Chuck Sweeny: Rockford's Library Board needs an open-book process. (Rockford Register-Star, 1/23/2012)

Excerpt:   Libraries are not immune from this technology shift, and the Rockford Public Library is trying to deal with it. The problem is, the board and Executive Director Frank Novak have been doing it behind closed doors. 

Secrecy always invites suspicion — and leaks. Novak’s preliminary reports made their way out of the inner sanctum, and irate residents joined together to protest Novak’s suggestion to eventually buy 95 percent of the library’s collection online, along with some e-readers for the e-readerless to check out. He also suggested closing most library branches.   

A better way to go is for the Library Board to follow the example of the city of Rockford, which every year has a series of Saturday morning meetings to plan the next year’s budget. Everything gets hashed out in the open on the second floor of City Hall. Residents and union members show up. Department heads are grilled by aldermen. Reporters file stories.

And then this back and forth.

Ted Biondo:  Rockford Public Library is thinking of its patrons.  (Rockford Register-Star, 1/23/2012)

Excerpt:   Members of “Save our Library” and the Rockford branch of the NAACP need to look for ways to expand the horizons of individuals in their groups to obtain eReaders and increase access of their members to wireless internet, not hinder everyone else who have already taken the necessary steps to achieve success in a future filled with technology. 

Do the members of these respective groups still view only three channels on their tube television sets, or listen to Arthur Godfrey on their radios, or little Orphan Annie, or music on their phonographs? Of course not - they have flat screen TVs, with surround sound, iPods for music, with the internet and hundreds of apps on their iPhones. Public services should also be required to keep current with technology.

Guest Column: Too much at stake for public to be left out of library talks. (Rockford Register-Star, 1/28/2012)

Excerpt: The media have painted Save Our Library (SOL) as a bunch of Luddites, angry about the surge in e-readers, so perhaps Ted Biondo can’t be blamed for his rather ignorant piece (“Rockford’s Public Library is thinking of its patrons”). 

For the record, SOL is not against e-books, and many people associated with SOL own e-readers. SOL began with concerns that the “P” had been stripped from RPL, as no public input was sought before increasing our e-book collection budget to 42 times the national average of libraries in similar-size communities. This is a significant increase, and SOL continues to assert that the community should have been given a voice before the vote for the current allocation.

Guest Column:  Imagine a cautious approach to technology.  (Rockford Register-Star, 1/28/2012)

Excerpt: Those of us wanting a more open dialogue with the library leadership are not Luddites desiring to return to “horse and buggy” days. Many of us even own e-readers (as well as computers, iPhones and other modern electronic gadgets). 

However, we are aware that advances always bring along problems which, if acknowledged and addressed early in the process, would be less costly to our communities in every sphere.

Related articles:
Save Our Rockford Library members pack board meeting. (1/28/2012)
Save Our Rockford Library (SOL) calls for more public input in library's strategic planning. (1/14/2012) 
Rockford Public Library will boost spending on digital and audio books in 2012. (10/13/2011)
Supportive editorial for Rockford Public Library needs a fact checker. (9/1/2011)
Rockford Public Library circulates 0.05 ebooks per capita in 1st half of 2011. (7/13/2011)

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