Major NJ Library Budget Cuts

I am a Pennsylvania librarian – but I do a ton of work in New Jersey and work very closely with NJ librarians and it is for this reason that I feel a need to spread the word of some very bad news NJ received yesterday. First, the announcement (links added by me):

TO: Library Directors
FROM: Norma E. Blake, State Librarian
SUBJECT: 2011 Budget
DATE: March 17, 2010

Yesterday we became aware through Treasury budget documents that it is proposed that Thomas Edison State College and the New Jersey State Library will be merged with the New Jersey State Museum and governed by Rutgers University starting July 1, 2010.

In addition:

  • Libraries lost $1.449 million (all) of NJKI (databases including RefUSA, Business Source Premiere, and Academic Search Premiere).

  • $4.299 million (all) in Network Aid (including Regions and Statewide Services, such as delivery, databases, interlibrary loan and continuing education.)
  • $1.170 million (all) in virtual aid (databases and the public library JerseyConnect Technology System).
  • $3.5 million in Per Capita State Aid (leaving $3.676 million)
  • Libraries have lost 74% in library program funding from the FY 2010 appropriation which is unprecedented and disproportionate to other Departments’ losses.

If these cuts remain once the budget is passed in June, an unintended consequence would be the loss of $4.5 million in federal funds. Also, if the cut to JerseyConnect is maintained, the State Library cannot accept the $7.5 million Broadband funds if awarded by NJIA.

The State Library is talking to the New Jersey Library Association about our concerns regarding the loss of federal money and services to libraries like delivery, databases, interlibrary loan, Per Capita State Aid and JerseyConnect.

We will communicate again with you as soon as we know what action is needed.

There are so many areas of this I can focus on, but I want to bring one thing to everyone’s attention that may not be clear. In the announcement there is a mention to the cuts in ‘Regions.’ What does this mean? NJ has these awesome cooperatives for the four regions in the state. Each of these groups offers services to libraries like cooperative buying benefits and professional development. This is something we don’t have in PA, and something I always talk about when mentioning continuing education for librarians.

One of the complaints I have about librarianship is that it’s a profession without required continuing ed. For a lawyer to stay licensed he has to attend classes and stay up to things, the same with accountants, insurance salespeople, etc – why not librarians. That said, NJ was offering free and low cost continuing ed to their librarians and that made me so proud – both of the state and of the librarians who attended these classes even though they weren’t required.

Now, the state is looking at cutting all of these programs. So not only are they hurting their community by limiting the resources libraries can offer they are also stunting the education available to their librarians … seems like a lose lose situation for NJ citizens and librarians alike.

This is a story I’ll be keeping an eye on and one that I hope resolves itself in a way that doesn’t hurt so many New Jersey residents.

Open Access Library News

I’m still catching up on emails from being away so I missed my invite to In the Library with the Lead Pipe until just now.

We are six librarians working in academic, public, and school libraries across the United States. In addition to essays by its founders, In the Library with the Lead Pipe will feature articles by guests representing special libraries and archives, as well as educators, administrators, library support staff, and community members. If you want to submit a guest post, see our submission guidelines.

In the Library with the Lead Pipe is intended to help improve our communities, our libraries, and our professional organizations. Our goal is to explore new ideas and start conversations; to document our concerns and argue for solutions. Each article is peer-reviewed by at least one external and one internal reviewer.

What a neat idea. I’ll be poking around as I have time.

Information wants to be expensive

One of the common concerns I heard earlier this week at the NFAIS conference was costs. The digital natives want free information – but the publishers have to worry about their bottom line. Of course, being who I am, I’m all about reworking your business model to make open source, open content, and open access work! But someone pointed out this article in the Wall Street Journal entitled Information Wants to Expensive.

With newspapers in cities across the country on the brink, an old idea is being resurrected in the hope of saving them: They should charge for access to their journalism on the Internet. This is a great idea, but about 10 years late.

Time magazine published a cover story earlier this month headlined “How to Save Your Newspaper.” In it, former Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson noted how odd it is to charge for subscriptions in print but not online. “Even an old print junkie like me has quit subscribing to the New York Times, because if it doesn’t see fit to charge me for its content, I’d feel like a fool paying for it. This is not a business model that makes sense.”

I agree – and that’s why I don’t buy newspapers or magazines anymore – but I do see the main point of the article – which is newspapers are losing money because no one is paying for content anymore. So, how do we solve it? I don’t know – I would probably pay for an online newspaper subscription if that was the only way to read the news … but how do you make it so that’s the only way?

I don’t really have answers – only more questions. I do know that I understand where publishers are coming from – but if they were to publish online only then maybe it wouldn’t cost them as much and maybe they could charge us less for content online. One audience member argued that if we have our universities paying for subscriptions to online journals then what are we complaining about – while that is the case for the speaker they were asking, it’s not the case for me. I often find that I can’t find articles I want to read online because my public library doesn’t subscribe to as many research journals as a university would.

Anyway, just wanted to point you to the article and see if anyone out there had any great insights or ideas to make both the publishers and the researchers happy.

The Tech Static Launches!

A great new site for library techies (and other librarians too) has launched!! This from the press release:

The Tech Static, a new collection development resource for technology titles, published its inaugural issue today.

The need for such a resource became apparent when October 15 marked the last installment of Library Journal’s “Computer Media” review column, which The Tech Static’s creator, Rachel Singer Gordon, had been writing since 2002. This left a large gap in the library literature: no other librarian-targeted publication currently reviews computer books on a regular basis. To fill that gap, Singer Gordon created The Tech Static, a new resource for librarians focusing on reviewing technology-related books.

The Tech Static assists librarians with technology-related collection development. To this end, it contains:

  • Reviews of current computer books
  • Reviews of technology-related titles targeted at librarians
  • Collection development articles (weeding, “must-haves,” balancing a computer book collection)
  • Prepublication alerts
  • Publisher press releases
  • DVD and ebook reviews
  • Announcements
  • … and more!

“I’m pleased to continue providing — and expanding on! — coverage of technology titles,” said Singer Gordon. “Anyone involved with collection development in this area is invited to subscribe to this new free resource.” The Tech Static is available online at www.thetechstatic.com; readers can also subscribe via RSS or email.

The Tech Static is also currently seeking writers for technology-related collection development articles.

Contact Rachel Singer Gordon with any questions or comments at rachel@thetechstatic.com.

New York Times APIs

I’m catching up on blog reading after ages away from home and found two new APIs from the New York Times.

First the TimesTags API:

Today we’re releasing the TimesTags API, which is the gateway to a lush garden of Times metadata. What’s so great about metadata? Well, you’ve probably heard that “information wants to be free.” But even more than that, information wants to be found. And metadata — data about the data — improves findability.

Second the Movie Reviews API:

Today we’re launching the Movie Reviews API, a new way to access over 22,000 New York Times movie reviews going all the way back to 1924.

Keep ‘em coming!!! This is great stuff. One day soon we’re going to see a ‘super OPAC’ that uses a ton of APIs to enhance content displayed to our patrons!!

Newspaper Research

I spent my weekend researching family history using newspaper databases from my local library. I wanted to go into the library to play with Ancestry.com (which is available onsite for free), but my pup decided he was going to catch a stomach bug :( Anyway, I was very disappointed in the tools I used. They weren’t able to follow simple search syntax like phrases and booleans. That’s why I’m happy to see this news from Google & ProQuest.

Hoping to do for newspapers what Google Book Search has done for monographs, ProQuest and search giant Google have reached an agreement to digitize millions of pages of content from ProQuest’s vast newspaper microfilm archives. While ProQuest has vowed to continue improving and expanding its Historical Newspapers collection independently, the Google deal aims to create searchable electronic versions of smaller newspapers otherwise unlikely to be digitized, making them available on the open web via Google’s News archive search. “The problem is that, until now, finding a workable economic model for libraries and publishers has been challenging,” said Rod Gauvin, ProQuest senior VP of publishing. “This model overcomes that hurdle, unlocking a wealth of content for libraries and Internet users with unique research needs.”

I’m not sure that this search will be any better – but I at least know that Google can handle my phrase searches.

Learn more about this new partnership.

LISjobs.com Logo Contest

This from Rachel Singer Gordon. I’m no artist … but you may be:

LISjobs.com is seeking submissions for a new logo that reflects its mission of job hunting and career development for librarians and info pros. This logo will be featured on the upcoming redesign of the LISjobs.com website, as well as in additional print and online materials.

Guidelines:

Please keep the design in a landscape (wider than it is tall) format, and use lighter colors to help it stand out against the redesigned site. While creating your design, keep in mind that the new LISjobs.com expands coverage of career development and library education issues, serving all stages of info pros’ career cycle. I’m seeking a logo that best represents that mission.

Please submit your design as a .jpg file to rachel@lisjobs.com by Monday, July 7. If your design is chosen, please be prepared to submit a high-quality Illustrator (.eps) or Photoshop (.psd) graphic (vector preferred).

If your design is chosen, you affirm that you will transfer all rights over to Rachel Singer Gordon/LISjobs.com. By submitting a logo design, you affirm that you are its creator and have not used others’ protected work in its design. You will be credited on the LISjobs.com website as the logo designer, with a link back to your own web presence if desired. You will also receive a free resume posting on LISjobs.com (lifetime, or as long as I still offer this service) as well as an autographed copy of What’s the Alternative: Career Options for Librarians and Info Pros (ITI, 2008).

The winning design will be chosen by Rachel Singer Gordon. If no design is selected, there may be no winner of this contest, and LISjobs.com may stick with its old logo.

Print versus Online



Business Week 6/2/08
Originally uploaded by Michael Casey

The other day, Michael Casey posted this photo. Like the others who commented on the photo, I wanted to find the article and read it – but I didn’t go to my local library (shame on me) or to my bookstore, I went straight to the BusinessWeek website. I wanted to find the article online – and I did!

I was surprised to find such a new article available without having to buy the print, but it turns out there is a new way for these publishers to make money. Ads! I’m not talking about the kinds of ads that AdBlock protects me from either – I’m talking commercials!! Yep, there was a commercial at the top of the article that I had to keep pausing so I could read the article without interruptions.

I guess it’s time to install a plugin to stop all videos from running without asking me first ….