Entries in Library (4)


Chicago Library Amnesty Program Yields $2M Worth of Returned Items

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago Public Library amnesty program that allowed members to return overdue items without having to pay any late fees brought in more than 100,000 books, DVDs and other materials.

The library’s fine amnesty -- dubbed “Once in a Blue Moon Amnesty” -- began on Aug. 20 and ended Sept. 7. The value of the 101,301 items returned was estimated at $2 million. Several of the recovered items were checked out in the 1970s and 1980s, the Chicago Tribune newspaper reported.

The library caps fines on each late item at $10, so the total fines waived during the amnesty reportedly was $641,820.

The last fine amnesty conducted by the library took place in 1992.  During that program, the library eliminated all fines on juvenile cards once the overdue items were returned.

There was also a one-week fine amnesty in 1985 that extended to all library patrons. A library news release said 77,000 books worth about $1.5 million were returned.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Florida County Library Lifts Ban on "Fifty Shades of Grey"

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Florida county’s public library system has lifted its ban on the controversial erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Brevard County Library System had pulled copies of the racy tome, and the two subsequent books in the trilogy, from its shelves earlier this month.

In a March 4 interview with The Palm Beach Post, Cathy Schweinsberg, the library services director, said the book did not meet the system’s selection criteria.

“Nobody asked us to take it off the shelves,” she said.  “But we bought some copies before we realized what it was.  We looked at it, because it’s been called ‘mommy porn’ and ‘soft porn.’  We don’t collect porn.”

But in a statement released Monday, the library system said it would immediately restock its 19 copies of the books in the trilogy in response to public demand.

“Earlier this month, a decision was made to pull Fifty Shades of Grey from our libraries as a result of published reviews and our own initial analysis of the book and its controversial content.  Since then, we have begun a review of our selection criteria and that review continues even as the decision has been made to supply the book in response to requests by county residents,” the statement read.

“We have always stood against censorship,” Schweinsberg said in the statement.  “We have a long history of standing against censorship and that continues to be a priority for this library system.”

Fifty Shades of Grey is the first in a best-selling trilogy by British author E.L. James.  The books focus on the relationship between protagonists Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, and explicitly detail the pair’s sadomasochistic sexual encounters.´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Saddam Hussein's Pistol Featured by President George W. Bush Library

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DALLAS) -- The 9 mm Glock pistol former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein held in his lap when he was captured by American troops in 2003 is now on display at the site of George W. Bush's future presidential library.

The gun sits in the "Capturing Key Moments" display case at the Dallas exhibit, which closes Feb. 6.

A new video released by the museum shows President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush describing several artifacts, including some related to his visit to Ground Zero in New York just days after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

"I walked into what felt like Hell," Bush said of the experience, when he climbed atop a fire engine that had been crushed in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. He used a bullhorn to shout a message of encouragement to the haggard first responder teams.

"I can hear you," he hollered, as the teams began to cheer. "The rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

The bullhorn is now mounted front and center in the display case beside a frame holding Saddam Hussein's black pistol, confiscated during the early-morning raid called "Operation Red Dawn," which involved more than 600 troops. Saddam was found hiding in a small underground bunker.

Those two artifacts have drawn not only visitors, but protests to the future site of the Bush Institute on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

"I hope that a bullhorn will not become the symbol for the entry of the United States into an unjustified war, and that a pistol of Saddam Hussein's is not seen as some strange symbol of victory in that horrendous misjudgment," said Tex Sample, a Methodist Church elder who opposed the selection of the site.

The Bush Institute calls all of the treasures on display "historic artifacts" which help define the Bush presidency.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Library of the Future Could Mean Bye-Bye Story Lady

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK)  The library of the future may look more like a combination bike rack and locker room than the marble-floored, musty-smelling buildings full of stacks and oak card catalogues found in small towns and cities across the country.

The Wall Street Journal says the "Library Express" in Hugo, Minnesota is essentially a stack of metal lockers outside city hall.  When you want a book or DVD, you order it online and retrieve it from a digitally-locked cubby a few days later.  It's a little like the red boxes in supermarkets where you can rent movies.

Its convenient and more in line with the new digital way of doing business in so many aspects of life.  Library afficionadoes worry, though, that it will remove the human element.  Reference librarians, library directors and even "the story lady" could become a thing of the past, as distant as those marble floors and hushed aisles between stacks of books just waiting for you to dive into.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio