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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:13 AM
Original message
Detroit Public Library Will Shutter Four Branches
http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/home/892873-264/detroit_public_library_will_shutter.html.csp

The Detroit Public Library Commission voted on November 15 to close four branches effective December 22. The decision will leave the city's library system with 20 locations.

"In closing libraries, it is always with despair," said Jo Anne Mondowney, the library's director. "In many areas, the library is an iconic place for the community, and we recognize that. So, to close any library is a painful thing," she said.

Mondowney said the decision was driven by declining property tax revenues that had resulted in 81 layoffs and retirements in March.

"We didn't have enough staff left to man all the sites," Mondowney said. "The staff has been stretched very thin, but no one wanted to close the libraries," she said.

more at link...
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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:30 AM
Response to Original message
1. What a shame.
I wonder why they didn't try to work in a plan that featured lots of volunteers.

We have an old awesomely refurbished theater here. Michael Moore kick started the project of fixing it up and getting it back into action and now the community runs it. There are only a couple/few paid positions there, all others are volunteers.

Anyhow, losing a library is such a hard hit for any community, much less poor Detroit who keeps getting hit after hit.

Julie
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pipoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:39 AM
Response to Original message
2. Does anyone actually use libraries with regularity anymore?
I used to, now I google. My wife reads all the time and uses an ebook. I have to think that the patronage of libraries has diminished dramatically over the last decade or so.
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HappyMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:46 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Yes, of course people do.
The library here is usually very busy. A lot of people don't have computers at home, don't have kindles or the dollars to buy either.
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pipoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. This is kind of what I am thinking
that the greatest use for libraries is computer/internet access. The problem is that the overhead and labor to support the housing of books, most of them not being opened for years at a time, is cost prohibitive. I like the main library and think it should stay, the cost of branches could be greatly reduced by offering internet services, maybe local newspapers/select periodicals and ability to order books in from the main library...way less space and labor required.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. In the grand scheme of things, libraries are very inexpensive to run. None should be closed. (nt)
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HappyMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Agreed.
Libraries are the last thing that should be closed.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 09:34 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. We do. I use them as a teacher and as a mom.
My library has great resources for my students that I use all the time, from their e-resources to what's in their stacks. My kids use the library to save me money on books, and the children's librarian has been an amazing resource for helping me find books my son will read. We love our library even just as a place to hang out, and I know that my ex takes the kids there sometimes on his Wednesday nights so they have a safe place to get homework done and hang out with their dad (he lives almost an hour away, and there's not much time on Wednesday evenings to take them back to his house).
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pipoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 09:29 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. I really am not anti-library
or anti-book. I like, and have used libraries and books on many, many occasions. I appreciate library's function, I appreciate them as historic repositories, I like the Carnegie library architecture and have sought them out. I certainly don't want to see central libraries closed. I've seen branch libraries occupying far more space in a strip mall than would be needed to provide the services I described, housing duplicate copies of seldom used books. Floor space/square footage is expensive in strip centers. For instance, if (and I don't know if this is accurate, just an example), after dividing the overhead and labor by the number of patrons, the cost of accommodating each patron at the central library is $2 and at a specific branch the cost is $15, maybe closure of that branch would be prudent...that's all..
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quinnox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. sounds like living in a bubble is leaving you with false assumptions
believe it or not, there are people who still use the library, whether to borrow books, use it as a meeting space, or use computers and so many other reasons.

I suggest stopping by a major downtown library might open your eyes a peep.
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exboyfil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. We use our local library for a group study room
and they proctor tests for us. Our library always has a nice crowd. Granted the stacks don't get used as much, but lots of books still flow through the library. I guess over time some books will get phased out, but still, especially for large books with lots of pictures etc, I would still prefer the books.

I got to admit for just reading, a Kindle cannot be beat. I bought one about a month ago, and I absolutely love it. I am definitely reading more. I like propping it on my chest and reading in bed. The ability to make the text larger is very nice as well. I have not tried to check out books yet with it, but my library does that as well.
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pipoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. See post 10..
My wife loves her kindle because she can take it to bed and not have to come from under the covers to turn pages.
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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
11. I do. I adore libraries.
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The Genealogist Donating Member (495 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-11 01:57 AM
Response to Reply #2
13. Yes
Let me give examples of why I regularly use my local public library system:

*rare books (not necessarily old, but often books that are not available any other way)
*the microform department, which has drawer upon drawer of old newspapers and other documents on microfilm/microfiche
*computerized databases that cannot be accessed remotely and would be unavailable to me without going to the actual library
*plain old books, magazines, and audio recordings that I would have to pay for in some other way if I wanted to read/use

Other reasons I think libraries are important
*many homeless people have a place to go for at least part of the day, out of the elements
*a variety of lectures and other programs that are done through the library
*people who do not have computers or remote access as through the internet can still get library resources, including computers
*small things, like easy access to photocopiers

I think libraries are more important than ever. They really bring a lot to our communities. I can understand why many people don't use them much anymore, though, if they have the right technology.
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Kitsune Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-11 02:12 AM
Response to Reply #2
14. I work in a library, and we are busier than ever.
Someone else touched on the fact that many libraries are the only access a lot of people have to the internet, but our system also offers job seminars and training for computer skills, as well as access to proprietary databases and a whole host of other services. That's besides just the books, and from a strictly worm's-eye view from the inside, we have more books and media circulating than I've ever seen - crappy economic times, as you might imagine, results in a serious upsurge in library use. Unfortunately these same crappy economic times also impact the library's funding (around here, it's a levy based on property taxes; land assessment goes down, income goes down). This is why so many libraries are having trouble maintaining services to the same standard they're accustomed to, and why some are closing branches or even having to shut down outright. There are plenty of communities that just don't have libraries anymore.
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