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Spokane Public Library program makes HuffPo list

The Spokane Public Library got a shout-out from the Huffington Post last month for its efforts to stay relevant in the digital age.

The library earned a spot on the "Top 5 Libraries that Go Beyond Books" list for its community camera program, which allows aspiring filmmakers to check out high-definition video cameras.

The program started after the library received a federal stimulus grant to provide video equipment. Cameras, microphones, cables and other equipment can be reserved through the circulation desk at least 48 hours in advance.

The library also has Adobe Creative Suite software, including Photoshop and InDesign, available at the Downtown library computer lab.

Three finalists picked for Spokane library director

The Spokane Public Library will get new leadership just as its funding stabilizes after years of uncertainty.

Pat Partovi, who has led the library since 2003, will retire May 10.

“It’s a perfect opportunity for a new director,” Partovi said.

The process to pick Partovi’s successor is well underway. The Library Board of Trustees will choose among three finalists on Wednesday. The public can ask the candidates questions at an event on Saturday.

Keep reading for the names of the three finalists.

Library campaign reports $21,000

The campaign in support of the library tax in Spokane has fixed campaign disclosure problems with the state Public Disclosure Commission.

The group, Yes for Spokane Libraries, was late in reporting campaign contributions and spending by several weeks. Last week, it filed reports showing how much it has raised and spent.

Campaign manager Nathan Smith, who also is a Spokane Public Library trustee, promised quick action last week to update campaign finance reports. He said that the group misinterpreted the rules.

The group was formed in support of Spokane Proposition 3, a library lid lift that would increase taxes for libraries by 7 cents for each $1,000 of property value to prevent branch closures.

As of this morning, the campaign hasreported nearly $21,300, including seven donations over $1,000 or more:

Library campaign promises to fix reporting violations

Yes for Spokane Libraries, a group working on behalf of Proposition 3, a tax levy for the Spokane Public Library, has had signs supporting the tax displayed throughout the city for weeks, but hasn’t reported any contributions or expenses to the state Public Disclosure Commission. The group likely should have been filing reports weekly since the end of last month, according to state rules.

Nathan Smith, campaign manager of the group, said Wednesday that the group erred in interpreting the rules and would work quickly to file contribution and expenditure reports by the end of the week.

“It was our mistake,” Smith said. “We are diligently trying to get it done as soon as humanly possible.”

Council adopts Condon’s budget in predictable split

Spokane’s city government is shedding 92 jobs.

The Spokane City Council on Monday voted 4-3 to freeze the city general fund budget, largely accepting the recommendations of Mayor David Condon.

Condon proposed a $161 million general fund, which pays for police, fire, parks, libraries and other services paid with taxes. The total budget, including utilities like trash and water, will be $615 million.

The mayor’s budget eliminates the arts, and weights and measures departments. It will fund the equivalent of 2,033 full time jobs. It removes 19 police officer positions that already were vacant. It shrinks the on-duty firefighting force from 61 to 58 and removes the first-response firefighting capabilities of Fire Station 9 on the South Hill.

The council split was predictable. Republican-leaning council members, Mike Allen, Mike Fagan, Nancy McLaughlin and Steve Salvatori, voted for the budget. Democratic-leaning members Jon Snyder, Ben Stuckart and Amber Waldref opposed it. The same 4-3 split rejected Stuckart’s plans to shift money to pay for public safety positions or items that the city’s Use of Force Commission is expected to recommend to improve police services. They also reject for the second time in less than a month a 1 percent increase in property taxes.

Wintery adventures and disasters featured in Spokane Library display

WINTER SPORTS — The Spokane Downtown Library's Northwest Room is featuring a timely display celebrating winter in the Northwest, including a lot of snowy outdoor recreation.

Winter weather conditions have long created both challenges and opportunities for Northwest residents. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw greater hazards than the present, with less than ideal equipment and poor roads.

Winter recreation then and now included skiing, sledding, ice skating, hockey, snowshoeing, hunting, and outdoor work.

This exhibit combines photos of fun in the snow with disasters such as avalanches on railroad tracks. Come and see these images from winters past—you might be surprised at how familiar they look.

The Northwest Room is on the second floor of the Downtown Library.

WHEN: January 11-March 31

TIME: Northwest Room Hours

LOCATION: Downtown

Call 444-5338.

Getcher free Springsteen, right now

I logged onto the Spokane Public Library's new free music download service, Freegal, yesterday — and it lived up to expectations.

It contains 500,000 songs from the Sony music archives. City library card holders can download — and keep — three songs per week.

It will take me months to thoroughly browse the offerings, but it contains just about the entire Bruce Springsteen catalog, the entire Simon and Garfunkel catalog and lots of the Frank Sinatra catalog.

And those are just the S's.

A quick rule of thumb: Artists on a Sony label or any of its affiliates (including the mighty Columbia Records label), will probably be there.

To access it, you must have a Spokane Public Library card and the PIN number that you already use to log onto the library's website. If you don't have a PIN number, you'll have to go to any branch and get one.

Classical music fans might be particularly pleased. The site contains lots of outstanding classical selections. But you might have to download them movement by movement.

See the original post below for more details.

Speaking out

Good morning all…

[Here is a message from Chef John Olsen forwarded to me in e-mail. It is of particular importance because the City Council in absolute slash and save mode may close the East Branch of Spokane’s library which is wrong.

[Chef Gus eloquently writes:]

St Ann’s Roman Catholic Parish in East Central Spokane is an intentional
Parish.  People attend there from all over the County. We are deeply
concerned about the City Council’s choice to reduce the budget for Library
Services resulting designating the East Branch of the Library being axed.  The
children using this resource do not have Blackberries and home computers.  Nor
do they have funds for transportation to other branches.  The sensitivity of
the Board and City Council to put this forward as the resolution to a
$150,000 budget need is unconscionable.  The political constituents of that
area are least able to object, and are most in need of good library service.
Speak up, and advocate for the weak and lowly if you are a Christian. Chef Gus

Dave

Jim: Libraries Matter More Than Ever

All right, I’ve finally figured out how the city’s budget works. The city gets in trouble, looks around for an easy target, spies the Spokane Public Library and hacks it to death. Really? This is the best way to dig out of a budget hole? Maybe I’ll go to the library and study this some more. So here I am at the library, and the place is buzzing. It’s jammed with people reading, working on school projects, writing notes on index cards, checking out romance novels, applying for jobs on computers and just generally coming in out of the rain/Jim Kershner, SR. More here. (SR Photo)

Question: Are you using your local library more/less/the same as you used to do?

United Way official chosen to serve on Spokane’s library board

A United Way official will join the Spokane Public Library Board of Trustees in time to decide how to deal with major budget cuts proposed by Mayor Mary Verner.

The Spokane City Council on Tuesday unanimously appointed Janice Marich, the vice president of community relations for Spokane County United Way, to the city’s library board for a five-year term.

Marich, 62, said in an interview Tuesday evening that she is open to “all the options” for solving the budget problem.

“What’s really important to me is keeping the resources available to as many people as possible,” said Marich, whose mother worked as a librarian in McKinleyville, Calif.

The five-member board sets library policy and determines how to spend money set aside for libraries by the City Council. Marich was nominated for the job by Verner.

Although use of the city’s libraries continues to increase, Verner announced last month her intention to cut the library budget twice as much as the 2.85 percent cut she proposed in most city departments.