WBEZ | Mary Dempsey http://www.wbez.org/tags/mary-dempsey Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Dempsey to be replaced as head of Chicago Public Library http://www.wbez.org/story/dempsey-be-replaced-head-chicago-public-library-95837 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-25/photo.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans Wednesday to replace long-time Public Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey.</p><p>Dempsey will be succeeded by Brian Bannon, who's currently serving as Chief Information Officer at the San Francisco Public Library.</p><p>Dempsey said leaving her position as the library commissioner was not the decision of Mayor Emanuel, but her own. After heading the city's library system for 18 years, Dempsey said she told Emanuel last November she'd eventually be stepping down at the end of January.</p><p>Her resignation comes amidst turmoil surrounding millions of dollars in cuts to the library's budget, as well as staff layoffs and reductions in operating hours that have taken place under Emanuel.</p><p>But Wednesday, Dempsey had nothing but kind words to say to Emanuel and former Mayor Richard M. Daley.</p><p>"I'm grateful to two mayors, certainly Mayor Richard M. Daley for asking me to take on this position. I thought I'd lost two years, and it became so intoxicating I couldn't leave," said Dempsey. "I'm grateful to Mayor Emanuel for asking me to stay on in his administration, for working through our issues around funding and hours."</p><p>During budget talks last year, Emanuel had wanted to cut more than $10 million from the system's budget and cut library hours on Monday and Friday mornings.</p><p>The mayor has since lightened his initial proposals after backlash from the city's aldermen, library employees and union officials.</p></p> Wed, 25 Jan 2012 21:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dempsey-be-replaced-head-chicago-public-library-95837 Venture: National interlibrary loan for e-books? http://www.wbez.org/content/venture-national-interlibrary-loan-e-books <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-14/nook library_Flickr_Orbmeiser.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>The city budget that Chicago aldermen are expected to vote on this week<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/morning-library-goers-lose-budget-plan-93783"> includes substantial cuts to the public library budget</a>--though not as deep as the mayor had originally proposed. </em><em>Meanwhile, libraries across the country have a new problem: With digital books exploding in popularity, some major publishers are making it more difficult for libraries to get electronic books on their virtual shelves, and to keep them there. Venture looks at a plan to help libraries create something like a national, online, inter-library loan system for digitized books. </em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-14/nook library_Flickr_Orbmeiser.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 449px;" title="(Flickr/Orbmeiser)"></p><p>To start with, you have to feel a little sorry for people who work at major publishing houses. Publishing a book these days isn't much harder than hitting "send"—almost anybody can do it-- so it's easy to understand why traditional book publishers feel edgy. Especially because total paper book sales have been dropping, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/discussion-future-e-books-93607">even as electronic book sales have been exploding</a>.</p><p>And some of those major publishers are trying to make sure public libraries and their patrons share some of their pain.</p><p>With digital books, publishers hope to "control the movement of the books," says Peter Brantley, who <a href="http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/PWxyz/?cat=1178">blogs about libraries for <em>Publishers Weekly</em></a>, and who runs <a href="http://www.archive.org/bookserver">the tech side</a> of a project called <a href="http://openlibrary.org/">Open Library</a>—which is part of a <a href="http://www.archive.org/">massive online library called the Internet Archive</a>. At the same time, says Brantley, publishers are "very worried that if a digital book goes out 'in the wild' that they won’t ever receive payment for it ever again."</p><p>So they restrict library access to ebooks. "Most publishers insist that libraries license the books, which means they don’t really own them," says Brantley, "and they put on very hard conditions sometimes about what libraries can do with those books.</p><p>For instance, early in 2011, HarperCollins, one of the six biggest publishers in the U.S., announced that a library's digital copy of a HarperCollins book would effectively self-destruct after it got checked out 26 times.&nbsp; Chicago's library commissioner, Mary Dempsey, was clearly ticked off. She told the Chicago <em>Tribune</em>, "This strikes at the heart of what we do.”</p><p>But frankly, HarperCollins was almost taking it easy.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-14/Milwaukee library_Flickr_random letters.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 396px;" title="(Flickr/random letters)"></p><p>"There are other publishers that refuse to provide their books entirely in e-book form for lending," says Brantley. That would be Simon and Schuster and MacMillan, also among the “big six" US publishing firms.&nbsp; "So we’re seeing for the first time libraries that are wholly unable to provide books to their communities in ebook form."</p><p>Then in early November, Amazon started, in effect, to compete with public libraries, when the company said that some owners of its Kindle e-readers could "borrow" any of 5,000-plus digital titles, including some current and recent best-sellers, for free.</p><p>Plus, Amazon’s huge network of users gives it information that, in turn, can make their system more attractive.</p><p>At that scale, says Brantley, you can offer readers some extra features—the kind of things that non-digital librarians have always done.&nbsp; "You can know what they’re reading, you can recommend other books to them, you can suggest to them that their friends are reading a specific title, and so forth," he says. "So there are huge benefits to having e-book platforms that operate on a scale far greater than any individual library.&nbsp; So this is a problem for libraries and a reason why I think libraries would have to band together in order to provide any competing service."</p><p>And here’s where Brantley says the Open Library project comes in: They want to help libraries team up to get digital mileage out of their existing paper books. Here’s how he says it works:&nbsp; "Libraries might provide access to their books, we digitize them, and then the library takes them off their shelf. So then we try to make that book available through a borrowing system--directly to the library patron, so the library patron would be able to check that book out digitally, instead of checking it out in print."</p><p>And the book becomes available for check-out to the patrons of any library system that joins the Open Library project.</p><p>But if only one library has sent in a particular book to be digitized, then there’s only one digital copy to loan out, nationwide. But then, maybe a second library sends in the same book.&nbsp; "So, what we can then do, is have them pull their print copy off their shelves, and then we say, OK, we’ve got two copies," says Brantley. "And so now we’re preserving the traditional level of access—one book, one lending.</p><p>So what they’re basically talking about—although Brantley doesn’t use this term—is a national, digital system for interlibrary loan, using a copyright exemption called fair use.&nbsp;</p><p>Under fair use, says Brantley, "I buy a copy of this book, I can then re-use it, I can lend it out to people without then having to re-pay the publisher or distributor each time I lend it. The whole library system is premised on this concept of fair use.&nbsp; It’s what makes libraries possible.&nbsp; And what we’re doing as a library is making a digital copy available on the same terms that we would a print copy."</p><p>Brantley says they’re pretty confident the legal argument is going to hold up, and so far—two years into the project—publishers haven’t raised a stink.&nbsp;</p><p>The implementation has just started getting off the ground, with about a thousand library systems nationwide participating so far.&nbsp; Chicago isn’t one of them yet. But we’ll see what happens after the City Council deals with Mayor Emanuel’s budget.</p></p> Mon, 14 Nov 2011 03:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/venture-national-interlibrary-loan-e-books Morning library-goers lose in budget plan http://www.wbez.org/story/morning-library-goers-lose-budget-plan-93783 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-04/forweb1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel released his first budget plan last month, he said, “A budget is about priorities.” Over the past few weeks, the ensuing process to arrive at a final budget has involved a push-and-pull between aldermen and the mayor, rallies by residents and lobbying by interest groups. Still, it took very little time for Chicagoans and their aldermen to agree on one point: Public libraries are too high a priority to cut them as deeply as Emanuel proposed.</p><p>On Friday Emanuel softened on his proposal for the library budget. Instead of cutting nearly $7 million in personnel-filled positions, the city will cut nearly $4 million. That translates to 180 layoffs, rather than 280 layoffs. The total budget for the libraries will still be down by about $8 million from last year, when unfilled vacancies are taken into account. At a recent hearing before City Council, Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey said vacancies account for nearly $5 million of the system’s budget.</p><p>Emanuel and Dempsey have suggested that the personnel reduction could be accommodated by cutting eight hours per week from branch libraries while school is in session. Specifically, Dempsey has testified that reducing morning hours on Mondays and Fridays would have "the least impact on residents.”</p><p>Frank Morales has already seen such reductions play out — when the city cut the library budget in 2010&nbsp;—&nbsp;and he says it affected him a lot, for the worse. Morales comes four times a week to the Garfield Ridge library near his home in southwest Chicago. “Last year they used to open at 9, I think, everyday,” said Morales. “But this year they changed. Sometimes they open at 10, sometimes they open at 12.”</p><p>Morales, who was off his job as a clothing silkscreener on Halloween Monday, used to go to the library every morning at 9 a.m. before work, because he doesn’t have internet at home.</p><p>“For me, it’s better. I don’t have to pay for internet,” he explained.</p><p>But when the library changed its hours to open later on most days, Morales had to completely rearrange his work schedule.</p><p>“Last year I used to come in the morning to the library. It was perfect,” he said. “I used to go to work, and then after work go to the gym. Which it was perfect.”</p><p>Now, Morales switched his hours to work earlier in the mornings, so he can squeeze in some Internet time in the afternoon.</p><p>“When I need information about something or anything, I come to the library, and then go to the gym,” he said, “which sometimes, because I need to use the computer I won’t make it to the gym. So I just use the computer and go to my house.”</p><p>Chicago librarians say it’s common to see people like Morales waiting outside the branches before they open. Mornings are a popular time for adults to get some quiet time on the computers, read newspapers, and get help from librarians, before schools get out and students start coming in.</p><p>But it’s also a popular time with the crowd that’s too young to read or use computers. At the Garfield Ridge branch, Monday mornings are when the library schedules its popular “Time for Tots” storytelling hour. Children’s librarian Patti Tyznik reads a Halloween children’s book as roughly two-dozen toddlers in costume crowd at her feet and on their parents’ laps.</p><p>“We love Miss Patty,” said parent Yvonne Umbrasas, who has been bringing her three-year-old daughter every month since early spring. “My daughter has a blast here, and this is one of the things that she looks forward to. She asks to come here every week.”</p><p>Umbrasas says free, educational morning programs are nearly impossible to find in Chicago in this economy.</p><p>In response to Emanuel’s partial reinstatement of the cuts last week, Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey released a statement saying, “This plan strikes the right balance, insures that all Chicagoans, particularly the children of our city -- have access to library services."</p><p>But for people like Umbrasas, that may not be the case. She says if Monday storytime goes away, she anticipates she’ll have to drive to the suburbs for the kind of programming that serves her daughter.</p><p><em>Pritzker Fellow LaCreshia Birts contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Mon, 07 Nov 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/morning-library-goers-lose-budget-plan-93783 Aldermen not on board with Emanuel's library cuts http://www.wbez.org/story/aldermen-not-board-emanuels-library-cuts-93370 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-21/CPL books.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at 4:05 p.m. </em></p><p>Chicago aldermen appear ready to revolt on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's budget over dramatic layoffs slated for city libraries.</p><p>Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey told the council the roughly $10 million city funding reduction would mean 284 job cuts and, consequently, hours and service cuts. She watched her words carefully, but was clearly not on board with Emanuel's proposal.</p><p>"Our mission is to provide library services in every neighborhood, and we'll do the best we can," Dempsey said Friday morning.</p><p>Dempsey also warned the reduction could jeopardize library funding from the state. The cuts were not popular with aldermen, including the influential budget committee chair, Carrie Austin, who called it "ridiculous" that Emanuel hit libraries with so many layoffs.</p><p>"I think all of our hearts bleed for the libraries, because they are more than just the library, they’re an intricate part of all of our communities," Austin said. "It’s just very disheartening."</p><p>Alderman after alderman promised to try to reverse the cuts. John Pope suggested raising taxes. Tim Cullerton wondered if Oprah Winfrey could kick in $10 million.</p><p>"I'm appealing to her on behalf of the libraries in Chicago," Cullerton said, as Dempsey laughed.</p><p>Later in the day, Austin said about 10 aldermen are currently working on an alternative to the library reduction.</p><p>"If your goal is the $10 million...I think we can find that in another aspect," Austin said. "It's going to be hard on the citizens of Chicago no matter what we do, because ultimately the citizens are the ones that pay the price."</p><p>Mayor Emanuel has defended the reduction, noting some cities have closed library branches. The cuts are part of the mayor's 2012 budget proposal, which sought to close a $636 million budget deficit.</p></p> Fri, 21 Oct 2011 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/aldermen-not-board-emanuels-library-cuts-93370