Tag Archives: Berkeley Public Library

The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Berkeley Half Marathon organizers are expecting 10,000 runners to participate this year. Photo: berkeleyhalf.com
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BERKELEY HALF MARATHON The third annual Berkeley Half Marathon is closed in terms of signing up to participate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take part by cheering on the runners. It takes place Sunday, Nov. 22, and features new race options, challenges and post-race festivities that are open to the public. In addition to the 13.1-mile half marathon, runners there is a half marathon relay (two participants), 10K race or 5K race. A Finish Line Festival that is open to the public will be held following the race at Civic Center Plaza, featuring a Lagunitas beer garden and various local food vendors. And there’s a free bike valet service. The half marathon course starts and ends at Civic Center Park, taking racers through the UC Berkeley campus, the Gourmet Ghetto, Telegraph Avenue and along the scenic Bay Trail. Funds raised through the Berkeley Half Marathon helped the Berkeley Public Schools Fund reach its record $1million fundraising goal last year. For more details, visit bit.ly/berkeleyhalf. … Continue reading »

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Library to hire former Albany city manager for top job

Berkeley Public Library. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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The Berkeley Board of Library Trustees plans to hire Beth Pollard, an administrator with deep roots in the East Bay, as the new interim library director. The decision will be confirmed at a meeting today.

Pollard served as Berkeley’s interim deputy city manager from Sept. 2014 to February of this year. Prior to that, she was the city manager of Albany for 12 years, as well as the interim library director for the San Anselmo library.

The board chose Pollard because it believes she brings great administrative and personal skills to the job and will be able to mend the rift caused by the current collections management policy and the departure of former Library Director Jeff Scott.

“What we need at this time is a great administrator who can bring people together,” said Julie Holcomb, who serves on the BOLT board. “Her personal skills, her management skills, will serve the library extremely well at this time.” … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

DJ Dave
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NOT YOUR USUAL LIBRARY EVENT The Berkeley Public Library Foundation is holding a “spirited after-hours event” on Saturday, Oct. 10. Tall Tales & Local Ales will feature David “DJ Dave” Wittman, of “Whole Foods Parking Lot” fame (if you haven’t seen it, drop everything and watch now). Wittman will be joined by an all-star cast of storytellers, including Kay DeMartini, Scott Sanders, Saida Acevedo, Rachman Blake, Robin Claire and Berkeley High senior Lena Sibony. Musicians from the BHS music programs will perform. Local cider and beer is provided by Crooked City Cider, Hoi Polloi, Sierra Nevada, Triple Rock and Calicraft, plus home-made ginger ale, lemonade and hearty finger foods. 14-years-old and older welcome. The evening benefits “It’s Time for Central,” high-impact renovations at the Central Library, including a new space for teens, renovation of the reference room, expanded space for art installations, improved interior lighting and more. Berkeleyside Nosh is a sponsor of Tall Tales & Local Ales. Tickets are $50 for the first two, and $35 for additional tickets available online. Saturday, Oct. 10, 7-10 p.m., Berkeley Central Library, 2090 Kittredge St.  … Continue reading »

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Bedbugs found in Berkeley library; North Branch closed

North Branch Library
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The North Branch of the Berkeley Public Library was shuttered Friday morning after officials discovered bedbugs in three different areas of the branch.

Bedbug-sniffing dogs identified the possible presence of bedbugs in the downstairs men’s restroom, underneath the desks of the public computer area, and in a chair in the reading room. No books or library materials appear to be infected, according to a press release from the library administration. … Continue reading »

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Number of books weeded from library system under dispute

The Board of Library Trustees officially appointed Sarah Dentan, far left, as acting interim library director on Sept. 10. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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The new acting interim director of the Berkeley Public Library pledged Wednesday night to reinstate some of the input and authority that librarians and staff lost under former Director Jeff Scott — but one of her staff members also suggested that the total number of items weeded out under Scott’s authority may have been closer to 19,000 rather than the 39,000 widely reported.

At a Berkeley Board of Library Trustees meeting, Sarah Dentan presented a report about the collections management process – a report that Scott was scheduled to present until he abruptly resigned on Aug. 31.

Dentan characterized the weeding process as more considered and thoughtful than has been portrayed by a group of former and current librarians. They have led a series of protests in the past few months to bring attention to what they saw as “draconian” book weeding. Along with City Councilman Kriss Worthington, they also raised questions about Scott’s truthfulness. For many weeks, Scott insisted that only 2,200 books had been weeded. However, after Worthington visited Scott in his office in mid-July and, with a few keystrokes, pulled up a list that showed that 39,000 books had been weeded, Scott acknowledged that the higher number was accurate. His change of tune made many, including members of BOLT, lose confidence in him. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

East Bay writer and urban farmer Novella Carpenter will be at the Claremont branch of the Berkeley library today at 4 p.m.
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NOVELLA CARPENTER AT THE LIBRARY Today, Friday, local writer, urban farmer, educator and activist Novella Carpenter will take part in a free author chat at the Claremont branch of the Berkeley Public Library. The talk coincides with the paperback release of Carpenter’s memoir, Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild. Claremont Branch Library, 2940 Benvenue Ave., 4-5 p.m. Call 510-981-6280 for more information or visit the library’s website.  … Continue reading »

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Breaking: Jeff Scott resigns as Berkeley library director

Jeff Scott
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The Berkeley Public Library announced Monday that Jeff Scott has officially resigned from his position as director of library services. The move comes just 10 months after Scott took the position, in November 2014. The resignation is effective Sept. 8.  

Scott’s abrupt departure comes in the wake of a controversy over the weeding of books at Berkeley’s central library, which has put the library director on the defensive over the past few weeks. Criticism centered on his management style and his perceived honesty.

“It is with a heavy heart that I tender my resignation as the Director of Library Services of the Berkeley Public Library. I have enjoyed my work here at the library and I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” Scott said in a prepared statement.

The Library Board of Trustees will initiate a search to fill Scott’s position, according to the statement, released by Abigail Franklin, chair of the board, shortly after 2 p.m. Monday. In the interim, Sarah Dentan, acting deputy director, will serve as acting director.

Read more about the controversial weeding at Berkeley’s central library.

“I have appreciated the enthusiasm for library services that Jeff has brought to Berkeley and wish him well,” Franklin said. … Continue reading »

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Performance of Berkeley’s library director under fire at meeting of library trustees

Jeff Scott, far left at table, talks to members of BOLT before an Aug. 26 meeting. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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More than 40 people expressed concern about the actions of the Berkeley Library director at a specially called meeting Wednesday night of the Board of Library Trustees.

Those who spoke publicly – who were supported by 40 observers  – not only complained about the aggressive book weeding policy put forward by Jeff Scott, the director, but about other issues, including what they perceive as a hostile working environment and a lack of honesty and trust. They said they thought Scott had lied to the community about the number of books weeded out. (Scott initially said he thought 2,200 books had been discarded this year. He later acknowledged that the real number was 39,000). Some also said they were punished for speaking out against the collections management policy.

As Scott sat at the front of the room, his head bowed as he took notes, in what must have been an excruciatingly difficult meeting for him, a number of the speakers called for him to be either fired or suspended without pay. Others asked for an independent investigation into the weeding process: how it occurred, what might have gone wrong, and what could be learned from it. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley library director admits vast discrepancies in numbers of weeded books

Berkeley’s Central Library on Kittredge Street: its collection is being weeded and not everyone is happy and how it’s being done. Photo: Kaia Diringer
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Over 39,000 items have been weeded from Berkeley Public Library this year, far more than the couple of thousand previously cited by Library Director Jeff Scott. The 39,000 items include 13,850 deleted last copies of books. According to Scott, however, the 39,000 items is comparable to the average weeded over the last two years.

“I had the wrong information,” Scott said. “There was an internal process different to what I realized.”

The vast discrepancies emerged following protests by an ad hoc group of retired librarians and other library users over a new system for deaccessioning, introduced by Scott. Two Public Records Act requests — by a Berkeley High student and a Bay Area News Group reporter — failed to produce either the number of weeded items or details on which titles had been removed. Councilman Kriss Worthington met with Scott on July 24 and, according to Worthington, he was able to find the real number of weeded items after Scott “pushed the right buttons” on his computer.

Worthington and the retired librarians are holding a rally at noon today, Aug. 12, on the main library’s steps protesting what he has dubbed “Librarygate.” … Continue reading »

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Obscure and popular books part of Berkeley library weeding process

Berkeley’s Central Library on Kittredge Street: its collection is being weeded and not everyone is happy and how it’s being done. Photo: Kaia Diringer
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When librarians from the Berkeley Public Library were examining books that had not been checked out for three years to determine which ones to keep and which to discard, they reviewed “The Housefly: Its Natural History, Medical Importance, and Control,” written by Luther S. West in 1951. It was retained.

So was “A Guide to Shrubs for Coastal California,” by Harry Morton Butterfield, published in 1980, and the memoir “The Peacocks of Baboquivari,” by Erma J. Fisk, which came out in 1987.

But the librarians agreed that Yingxing Song’s “Chinese Technology in the Seventeenth Century,” described by its publisher as a “1637 classic on the history of traditional Chinese technology,” didn’t need to remain in circulation. Neither did “Creating Color: a Dyer’s Handbook,” by Judy Anne Walter or “Strip City: A Stripper’s Farewell Journey across America,” by Lily Burana. … Continue reading »

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Protesters rally, check out books to make clear concerns over weeding at Berkeley Central Library

CarolLashof Photo: William Newton
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A crowd of around 30 people gathered at the front of the Central Branch of the Berkeley Public Library today to protest new procedures for weeding books from the library’s collection. The protesters believe the process, ordered by Library Director Jeff Scott, is being carried out irresponsibly.

Members of the group carried signs reading “Vive la bibliothèque” (it’s Bastille Day after all), “Put a tourniquet on the hemorrhage” and “Don’t pulp our fiction.”

In an effort to save books that are in danger of being weeded out, one of the rally leaders, Pat Mullan, who worked for BPL for 25 years, including as head librarian of the Art & Music Room, encouraged protesters and spectators to check out the maximum of 50 books from sections that have not yet been weeded  — including the 800s (literature), 900s (history) and musical records.

Weeding, technically known as “deaccession,” is a standard procedure used by libraries to keep collections in good shape. The central branch is starting by examining books that have not been checked out in three years (10 years for art and music books).  … Continue reading »

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Library fans voice concerns over weeding of books

The Berkeley Public Library at 2090 Kittredge St. Photo:
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An orchestrated clearing out of books at the Berkeley Central Library, ordered by the library’s director, Jeff Scott, has sounded alarm-bells for some current and former librarians, as well as community members. Their concerns, which they have shared with the city’s mayor as well as the Board of Library Trustees, center on who is doing the weeding of books — what is technically referred to as “deaccession” — the number of discarded volumes, as well as their fate.

Scott said the weeding — a standard library practice — is overdue, as it had been done irregularly prior to his arrival in late 2014, and that, once it’s completed, the library will actually see a net gain in books as new ones are brought in. He said the total will rise from 452,000 to 470,000. Full capacity for the main branch is half a million books, he said.

Read more about Berkeley’s libraries on Berkeleyside.

The method used to weed books is a process called CREW (Continuous Review Evaluation Weeding), Scott said, which begins by extracting and evaluating books from shelves that have not been checked out from the library for three years or more (10+ years in the case of art and music books). … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Nigerian guitar master and singer Soji Odukogbe will open the Amoeba Music Concert at 1 p.m. in People's Park at the Berkeley World Music Festival. Photo: Soji Odukogbe
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BERKELEY WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL Local artists from diverse musical traditions play at the Berkeley World Music Festival this weekend. The festival will be held in People’s Park and across various Telegraph Avenue locales. The mission of the festival is to “cultivate artistic vibrancy and social value of the world music panorama for the benefit of local communities,” according to organizers. See berkeleyworldmusic.org for a schedule of events, which run from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 13. And check out our feature on Thomas Mapfumo, “the lion,” who kicks off the festival on Friday night at Ashkenaz. … Continue reading »

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