The largest public school district in the state of Texas is converting libraries in 28 schools into disciplinary centers and eliminating school librarian positions, local news outlets reported on Thursday. The alarming change comes as part of a sweeping reform program led by the Houston Independent School District’s (HISD) new superintendent Mike Miles, who oversees 85 schools. Of the remaining 57 schools with libraries, the district said each will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, indicating more libraries could be closed. Under Miles’ New Education System (NES) program, libraries in the 28 schools will become “Team Centers,” where “kids with behavioral issues will be sent,” per the Houston-based NBC affiliate, KRPC.
New York City, New York - There’s a public library in every single neighborhood in the city, across all five boroughs. More than 200 locations altogether. Whether it be Queens (QPL), Brooklyn (BPL) or New York (NYPL), which encompasses The Bronx and Staten Island, the library’s employees, resources and physical spaces serve the public beyond providing books, free wifi and nice architecture. If you fill out a form, librarians at BPL will personally pick out recommendations for you based on what you like. Using the new Queens Name Explorer, you can find out about the history behind the names of local parks, streets and schools.
Madison, Wisconsin - At Madison, Wisconsin’s nine public libraries, residents can check out books of all kinds, from hardbacks and paperbacks to ebooks and audiobooks. They can check out movies as DVDs and Blu-rays. And since last year, library card holders can also check out electric bicycles. Madison’s public libraries are part of a growing number of bike libraries in cities and towns from coast to coast. A list of U.S. bike lending libraries curated by StreetsblogMASS reporter Grecia White documents 35 such programs, from Vermont to Texas. While they all look a little different and work a little differently, they all do the same thing — increase free access to bikes.
"Even if we don’t see a written-out master plan, the banning of books, the attacks on teaching real US history, the efforts to push out professors with views that transgress official US policy: In their myriad forms, these actions tell us that it’s important to powerful people to restrict what ideas people can access. It’s the land of the free and the home of the brave—except if you want to know what’s happened, and happens, here, or to tell people about it. It all shows us the power of ideas. As infuriating and sad and enervating as it all is, it reminds us that knowledge is power."
“This library is full of losers,” an HR person said to me as I signed my letter of resignation from my public library job. “A bunch of losers who just take, take, take. Good for you for moving up in the world.” I was truly shocked by her disdain for my coworkers. The HR person approved of my resignation because I was leaving an assistant position to take a professional one at another library, joining the ranks of other degreed librarians after graduating from library school. But her comment dripped with scorn toward all the people who simply showed up to work each day, collecting their modest paychecks and serving the public. Indeed, her comment reflected a more widespread attitude that I’ve found among administrators (members of the professional managerial class) within the public sector: Many are capitalist groupies who see unionized employees working for the government as leeches.