DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

economy

When the economy is down in the dumps, the library becomes an even more valuable part of the community. Not only does it help people find jobs with job search classes and resources, not only does it educate children so that they become productive members of society, the library also gives back immediately to your pocketbook! Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) recently created a Value of Library Services Calculator.  Just fill in the fields and it will tell you how much money you are saving by using the library.

We recently posted the same link to our Facebook page, and asked people to post a reply with the results of how much they were saving. Six people responded, and the average amount saved was $557.72 per month!

How much are you saving? Feel free to reply to this blog post with your amount saved.

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Feb 7 2011

To E(book) or not to E(book)

by Patricia D

Kindle.  Nook.  Literati.  Something produced by Apple.   Someone you know got an eBook reader for Christmas.  If that someone had the same sales person as my sister-in-law, they were told the public library has electronic books to download onto said eBook reader (with the exception of the Kindle, because we all know only Amazon purchased content can be viewed on a Kindle.)   Sad fact:  DCPL currently does not have electronic books to be loaded onto any eBook reader currently on the market.  We would love to have them, primarily because our mission is to provide the materials and information our patrons want.  Also, some of us got eBook readers for Christmas too and for me, paying for a book is a verrrrrry hard idea to get my head around.  However, Economic Reality is most certainly Coyote Ugly these days and adding another dimension to DCPL’s collections is something we can plan but not implement.

We can offer, thanks in large part to the generous support of the Friends of the Dunwoody Library, a very nice downloadable audiobook collection, which can be played on computers, MP3 players and in some instances, iPods, though at the moment I have yet to figure out how to manage that technological feat (for more technical help with downloadable audiobooks, please see this post).  These downloadable audiobooks can be accessed from either our OverDrive page or from the catalog, where they are being added as quickly as we can catalog them.  I find it amusing that we’re cataloging something we can’t actually hold—it’s a little like trying to catalog Daniel Tiger’s (Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood  character) imaginary best friend, which was part of the cataloging final in graduate school.  Keep an eye out for the “downloadable audiobook” format as you search the catalog and please know, as soon as we are able, that there will be listings for “electronic books” as well.

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May 28 2010

Who You Gonna Call?

by Jesse M

It has been over two years since the beginning of the recession, and though the economy is slowly recovering, dramatically reduced tax revenues along with higher demand for public services and assistance has left many municipalities with vast budget shortfalls. In order to balance the books, many local governments have had to reduce or even eliminate public services considered to be non-essential, and unfortunately one of the first targets is often the library system.

New York City is no exception to this sad story. The New York Public Library faces a funding cut of $37million, a staggering amount of money whose absence could lead to nearly a dozen branch closures, reduced service days (four per week rather than six), and the elimination of numerous programs for kids and adults. Fortunately NYPL isn’t taking this lying down and has initiated an advocacy campaign called Don’t Close the Book on Libraries, which encourages people to write letters to their representatives on the Library’s behalf and/or donate funds directly to the Library. In order to help get the message out, NYPL has partnered with Improv Everywhere (who describe themselves as a “long form improvisation troupe which executes pre-planned ‘missions’ which usually involve socially awkward or unusual situations.”) to produce a viral video in the library. Specifically, they decided to stage a sort of recreation of a scene from the 1984 film Ghostbusters which was shot in the Rose Main Reading Room. You can watch video of the “mission” below:

For pictures and behind the scenes info, head over to the Improv Everywhere website.

Of course, NYPL isn’t the only library system feeling the pinch. The American Library Association has a list of links to websites dedicated to saving the library systems in their states which you can view here.

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Mar 17 2010

Friends of the Dunwoody Library

by Nancy M

In these tough economic times we have the fortune of being able to turn to our local library for help. Libraries provide free internet access, computer classes, children’s programs, and of course, thousands of books, DVDs and more that can be borrowed for no cost at all. Unfortunately, many libraries across the country are losing vital funds to keep these services and programs afloat. One non-profit organization, The Friends of the Dunwoody Library, has been working tirelessly over the years to make sure that the Dunwoody Library remains a hub of the community, despite growing economic uncertainty. These volunteers’ efforts include sponsoring library programs, promoting literacy and organizing a major quarterly undertaking: the Dunwoody Library booksale.  Money generated from these booksales, which are comprised of a massive collection of community donations, has allowed for some major undertakings, namely the renovation of the Dunwoody Library this past summer. The Friends put an astounding $185,000 towards the remodeling of the branch, which included updating the children’s library and storytime room.

And their work has ensured that the Dunwoody Library can continue to provide relevant, educational and entertaining programs for community members of all ages. Each year the Friends generously give the Dunwoody Library between $55-60,000 for programs and materials that end up benefitting the entire DeKalb County Public Library System. Children’s programs, such as storytimes and the Book Bunch Book Club, and adult literacy programs would not exist without the support of the Friends.  Online databases, books, periodicals and reference materials are purchased with the help of the Friends as well. In fact, the Friends recently purchased content for a new audiobook database called Overdrive. It’s not available yet, but check back to the DCPL website in the coming months.

The Friends of the Dunwoody Library continue to succeed in keeping the library a center of the community through their hard work and commitment.  If you would like to help with their important work, you can stop by the Dunwoody Library and ask for a Friends of the Library membership form. If you don’t live in Dunwoody but would like to join your local Friends group, click here for more information.

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Feb 5 2010

A new breed of community libraries

by Jesse M

With the global economy still reeling from the sub-prime housing crisis and its various aftershocks, governments everywhere are feeling the pinch, particularly at the local levels.  Budgets have been slashed and when the hard decisions must be made as to how to balance them, departments considered to be “non-essential” are usually first on the chopping block.  Sadly, this category often includes the local library.  The Dekalb County Public Library system has been very fortunate and hasn’t been forced to make any service reductions or branch closures, however others have not been so lucky. In this environment of reduced and discontinued services, a few communities have decided to take matters into their own hands.

In Hannover, Germany, some neighborhoods are served by a community bookshelf. The shelves are placed in various areas around the city and completely free and accessible to all. Borrowers don’t need library cards, nor must they worry about overdue fines. In return, all that is asked of borrowers is that they donate a couple of books of their own in order to ensure that a healthy supply is available.

In Westbury-sub-Mendip, a small village in southwest England, residents raised an outcry when they learned they were to lose their “beloved” red phone booth, fresh on the heels of the discontinuation of their mobile library service. So when one creative resident suggested transforming the phone booth into a miniature library, the idea was accepted immediately. The parish council purchased the red phone booth, outfitted it with four wooden shelves, residents donated books (and a notice reading “Silence please”), and the mini-library began operation. It quickly became a hit. The library is open 24/7 (it is lit at night), and the inventory is checked regularly in order to identify titles which are not circulating (which are then donated to charity), in order to keep the selection fresh. And the residents of Westbury-sub-Mendip are not the only ones who have had the bright idea to re-purpose a phone booth. British Telecom has received 770 applications from communities to “adopt a kiosk”, and thus far 350 booths have been distributed to parish councils throughout England.

I’d love to have something like this in my neighborhood, how about you?

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Has “the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression” gotten you down? Okay, I just bummed myself out by writing that. Are you anxiously awaiting the fast-approaching holiday season? Could you maybe just use some extra pocket change? Well, let’s all put down the worries and pick up a fun, insightful book instead.

Odd Jobs: 101 Ways To Make An Extra Buck (Skyhorse Publishing) is a quirky, compact handbook full of information about…well, odd jobs. In this book author Abigail R. Gehring highlights some unique ways to bring in some additional income. The 101 featured jobs cover a broad spectrum of fields. There are hospitality and service positions such as barista, hospice/elderly care and house cleaner. Other occupations are for the truly adventurous like shell picking in Kauai, commercial skydiving in New Zealand or even FEMA Disaster Assistant. Still other gigs listed in this book can best be described as “off-the-beaten path” including lipstick reading (think Mary Kay lady meets Psychic Friends Hotline) or vacuum dust sorter.

Gehring offers some helpful hints on how to break into each of these professions–yes, they are all doable, believe it or not–and what to expect once you’ve become, say, a human scarecrow (yep!). I’ve borrowed this book from the library three times now because, for starters, I always feel like I can use some extra dough . But the main reason I enjoy Odd Jobs is because it’s a very well-written and entertaining read. The author, who has held 24 of the jobs featured here, fills the book with many of her own personal insights and experiences. The key to most of these jobs is an open mind, creativity, a fair bit of elbow-grease and a touch of luck. It’s a great way to think about one’s own job and life in general.

Hop over to DCPL and give Odd Jobs a try. You could be well on your way to becoming a top notch Betta Fish Breeder!

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Oct 16 2008

Financial Crisis for Dummies?

by Jimmy L

Do you understand the current financial crisis?  Neither do I!  But if you’re looking for an easy to understand lingo-free (or as free as possible) explanation of the mess we’re in, then you should listen to the following This American Life episodes.  I listened to them a few days ago and actually feel like I have a very basic grasp on what’s going on.  Amazing!

  • The Giant Pool of Money
    This episode explains how the housing crisis led to a bigger financial crisis.  How come banks started lending money to just anybody?  How bad is the problem, really?  This episode answers all these questions.  Click on “Full Episode” to listen.
  • Another Frightening Show About the Economy
    The same group of reporters return to explain how the housing market is connected and affects the rest of our economy.  Why are banks and other large businesses going out of business?  Also, is the bailout a good idea?  What are some of the other options?  Click on “Full Episode” to listen.
  • Planet Money Podcast
    A regular podcast that answers your questions about the economy in layman’s terms.  This is not a This American Life episode, but an NPR podcast made by the same people who covered these topics in the previous links.

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I was listening to NPR in my car the other day when I heard this story about how public libraries are stepping up for people who are going through tough economic times. But other than saving you money that would otherwise be spent on buying new books, the library can also help you with your personal day-to-day finances. For example, check out some of these great databases, books, and websites for some sound financial advice.

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