Monday, May 24, 2010

New York Librarians MeetUp at MoCCA


On Tuesday, May 18th eight hardy librarians braved the rain and/or who were able to leave work early enough visited the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art. This fascinating museum is hidden in an office building at 594 Broadway-Suite 401 (just south of Houston). If you think of comics as only superheroes or Archie and Veronica, you can gain a new appreciation of the artistry involved in telling stories through pictures and text.

A current exhibit, running through August 29th, entitled NeoIntegrity: Comic Edition features cartoonists, illustrators, animators and fine artists.
We were fortunate to have Keith Meyerson, the curator of the exhibit, as our guide. The concept of NeoIntegrity is to show how the combination of words and images can explain a culture to itself. Through understanding itself, a culture and society can become a better world. Meyerson spoke to us about what he described as iconic language created through the graphic arts. There should be no distinction between fine art and what some may call lesser arts, like comics. Indeed, the exhibition featured political art, social art and art for arts sake.

Meyerson talked to us about the history of comics. Before World War II, comics were read by children and adults alike. However, the McCarthy Era fell upon comics as well as other entertainment media and the Comics Code was enacted. This rather draconian measure was a reaction to the perceived ultraviolence of horror comics. Comics had to follow strict guidelines showing the triumph of good over evil without accompanying blood and gore. Reaction to this code gave rise to MAD Magazine in the 1950's and National Lampoon in the 1970's mainstream. The 60's and 70's produced underground comics such as RAW and Heavy Metal. Recently, graphic arts have been heavily influenced by Japanese manga. The exhibit has examples from all these eras. Meyerson explained how he designed the exhibit to have artists, their influences and those they influenced to be in proximity so viewers could examine the flow of ideas.

I highly recommend a visit to MoCCA.. It is a small museum but has much to offer to anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of the visual arts. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12PM to 5M and there is a suggested donation of $5.00.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Save the NYC Libraries Postcard Campaign

Facebook, Inc.Image via Wikipedia
Members: Please review this urgent communication from the organizers of Urban Librarians Unite. I received this bulletin from the president of SLA NY Chapter. Please respond in any way you deem appropriate from sending the postcards to ... Read moresubmitting your own ideas. I believe there will be a rally Tuesday. Watch this space!

The following message was sent to SLA-NY members by Leigh Hollingsby. If you haven't already sent in a postcard, please do so. Public libraries are essential elements of NYC communities. Public libraries and public librarians need your support.

From: Christian Zabriskie

First and foremost thank you all for your support and assistance with the Save the NYC Libraries Postcard campaign. The purpose of this email is to bring core stake holders and contacts up to date.

Queens Library issued 90 day notices to over 35% of its staff last week. We hope that the library will be able to retract ALL of the more than 400 letters that went out. The fact that Queens is doing this should be seen as the canary in the coal mine at other systems. If this budget goes through not only will we be forced to close dozen of libraries across the city but scores will be only open 2-3 days a week. The library will become one more inconvenience and the habit of usage will drop off.

Through your efforts the postcard campaign is going well. We have cards coming in from all over the city and people have been soliciting postcards in the community and at library rallies. CM Van Bramer and his office are pleased with how the campaign is progressing and have been great to work with throughout. We have a very active Facebook group with nearly 800 members and growing steadily:


We are also trying to use Facebook as an organizational tool for events to support the libraries. We have photos from rallies up there as well as news about the budget fight. There has been increasing news coverage of the impact this budget will have on libraries, a trend we hope will continue. Clips follow this message.

This is a remarkable group of allies and I would like to commend and thank you for that. Currently this campaign has been endorsed at varying levels by Urban Librarians Unite, Local 1321 Queens Library Guild, Metro Library Council, ACRL/NY, SLA/NY, LLA/NY, The Desk Set, Rad Ref/NYC, and The Last Hire/First Fire Activist Council & Breakfast Club. Your members are our heroes and without your support and efforts this campaign would not be possible.

As layoffs become a reality people often shrug and say ?what can you do about it?. You are proving what we can do about it. We have over a thousand cards in already. Local 1321 has printed up thousands more which are out in the hands of membership, Desk Set will be creating silk screened postcards this weekend, we have people all over the city using them in children?s craft projects, it has been an amazing show of support.

I am asking you here to redouble your efforts. For all our success the budget question is only looming closer. Now is the time to remind any and everyone who will listen what is at stake and what they can do. It is as simple as dropping a postcard in the mail, then asking any and everyone who will listen to do the same.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts, together we can save our libraries.

Christian Zabriskie
Urban Librarians Unite




The Save NYC Libraries Postcard Campaign

WHAT IT IS: We are calling on all New Yorkers to write postcards to the New York City Council to show their love for and support of New York City?s public libraries. Any postcard will do! Possibilities include using NYC souvenir postcards, penny postcards, or make your own! Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to join you in writing postcards in support. Get your postcards in early, often, and in bulk!

AESTHETIC: We are encouraging non-uniformity. We want our voice to stand out and apart from mass-produced advocacy campaigns. We believe that personalized, mailed physical items carry greater weight with our elected representatives than a virtual petition or a Facebook group.

PURPOSE: The purpose of the Save NYC Libraries Postcard Campaign is to unite library staff and community members in support for New York City?s public library systems (Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Library) and in opposition to the proposed budget cuts for the next fiscal year. While we understand that New York City is facing a difficult economic climate, we believe that public library service must be strengthened, not dismantled, in order to serve the diverse educational and informational needs of New York City residents.

READ IN: We are currently exploring the option of holding a Save NYC Libraries Read-In as an awareness raising tool and as a feeder for the postcard campaign. We envision this as a 24 read-a-thon that will draw public and media attention to the postcard campaign. Please contact us if you are interested in planning or hosting a Read-In to Save NYC Libraries.

PARTNERSHIPS: We are actively working to partner with interested community groups to Save NYC Libraries. Please contact us if your organization would like to be a part of the Save NYC Libraries Postcard Campaign.


Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

47-01 Queens Boulevard

Suite 205

Sunnyside, NY 11104

Thank you for your support! Together we can raise our voices and make ourselves heard!

Contact us at:

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Metro - When it’s the last straw

Metro - When it’s the last straw

Drew Hinshaw

Quoted:  "Unfortunately, targets are often the person that gets ostracized, and seen as the problem.  Like, 'Get over it, we're adults here.  What do you mean you're being bullied?'"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

April 18, Channel 13 (WNET) Library/ Tape Archive Tour

The group met at the headquarters of WNET (Channel 13) at 5:30 PM to tour the company and the Library/Tape Archive. Eighteen people participated in the tour. We were met by Winter Shanck, Channel 13’s Archivist and Gloria Deucher, Channel 13’s Director of Volunteer Services.

Gloria started the tour by showing us the network operations/data center for Channel 13 which also broadcasts and monitors WLIW’s Channel 21. We looked in on technicians monitoring the satellite signals in real time for different programs; they were checking the digital signals for problems. Each computer monitor displayed a different currently broadcast channel whether it is the PBS Kids, the How To channel, Channel 13, or Channel 21 channels. The data center was a showcase of how television had switched from analog to digital signals. You might call the digital signals "streaming media."

Then we visited the studios where Bill Moyers Journal (ending in April) and WorldFocus (currently off-air) were filmed. It was exceptionally interesting because the sets were still available for viewing even though Thirteen’s new studio will be located at Lincoln Center in the future and we learned that most of the cameras and lighting were robotically controlled in the studio. We were also informed that fiber optic cables were being run between Lincoln Center and the Channel 13 to continue in the tradition of all the filming being done remotely. The hope of the studio being located at Lincoln Center is that it would provide a stronger cultural identity for Channel 13. The last stop on this portion of the studio tours with sets was a visit to the studio for BBC news.

Gloria then showed us the digital sound studio where shows were edited for music, sound effects and narration. Adjacent to the studio was a soundproof narration room. The audio library included a very wide variety of nature sounds.

As the group toured the hallways, our attention was drawn to various mementos and effects from Channel 13. A few of the artifacts were posters of Miss Marple and Channel 13's Great Performances, a display case showing some of the awards WNET has won over the years, a memorial for one of the technician’s who was killed on September 11th, and displays of the architects rendering of the Lincoln Center Studio space.

During the second part of the tour, Winter Shanck, WNET’s Archivist talked about the archives. She explained the history of Channel 13’s Library and Tape Archive. She also explained that the Archive contain over fifty years of programming. The library was opened in 1971. The Archive did not come into being until 27 years later in 1998.

Although the Library at Channel 13 focuses its research on many topics, a lot of the holdings are geared towards the New York metropolitan area. For that reason it does subscribe to numerous magazines and local newspapers. She explained that most of her focus lately has been on cataloging and providing access to the audio visual materials owned by WNET.

Winter showed us the wide variety of videotape, film and digital file media formats housed in the Archive. There were ten inch floppy disks, huge 2” inch videotapes, betamax cartridges, 16mm Kinescope films, Digital betacam, and many formats in between. Since DVDs and CDs are not considered as a viable archival storage medium by audiovisual archivists, Winter informed us that the Archive discourages the archiving of this format. However, many exceptions are made for this suggestion. Recently, a majority of WNET’s programming is shot on digital cameras and stored as digital files. These currently “born-digital” (aka filed based) materials are stored on LTO (Linear Tape-Open) magnetic single reel tapes. The tapes she showed us were 800 gigabyte Fuji Film storage tapes.

Winter described her main duties to us, including researching programs and celebrities. She frequently tracks down people who have appeared in Channel 13 shows in order to provide the permissions and production departments with celebrity contact information. This often requires using databases for public record searches as well as databases like Nexis and Factiva. She also processes outside research requests as time permits.

After talking about her job, we got a chance to visit her work area. There was a small section of newspapers and magazines. For those interested, they could examine Channel 13's archival catalog on her personal computer. A question was asked about what resource is used to gather metadata about Thirteen’s assets. Winter explained that the Archive currently uses an open source system for cataloging that was specifically designed to conform to the PBCore metadata dictionary (a “standard” created based on DublinCore and expanded for use in the public broadcasting arena). Members were also allowed to enter the small onsite Archive to examine the layout of the Archive and to view the video and tape formats that are locally on the movable stacks.

This was a very informative tour which covered a lot of ground. Perhaps most impressive was the archivist's cheerful demeanor in spite of her demanding job and next to little support staff. Close behind was the knowledge gained concerning the history of the television channel and the evolving technology in which it supports. After such a lengthy tour it was relaxing to sit down and have tea and a bite to eat with colleagues at nearby Cafe Bistro. Many of the group plan to visit the new studio at Lincoln Center when we're in the neighborhood.