Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spare public libraries from the trigger

The California Library Association (CLA) is urging its members and library supporters to ask that libraries be spared from further state budget cuts.

Graphic: Support California LibrariesAs explained by the CLA, the Governor’s Budget in January proposed to eliminate $30.4 million in funding for three California library programs: the California Library Services Act, the Public Library Foundation and the state literacy program.  Thanks to heavy lobbying and strong grassroots support from the library community, the CLA was able to retain $15.2 million in funds for state library programs.

But Assembly Bill 121, the “Budget Trigger” bill, specified that if $4 billion in projected state revenues failed to materialize, there would be budget cuts at the beginning of the year that would eliminate the last of library funds.

The CLA reported in mid-November that the Legislative Analyst’s Office projected state revenues to be approximately $3 billion short. As a result, the CLA needs supporters to contact the governor and legislative leaders and ask, “Spare public libraries from the Trigger.”

Among the programs that are at risk is the cooperative loaning of materials from one library system to another.

I depend on my public library for various informational needs. This week I placed holds for books on a reading list for a class that I hope to take in the spring.

I am not the only one making use of California libraries. On “Library Snapshot Day” in October 2010, according to the CLA, 770,831 items were checked out or renewed.

As a volunteer each week for the Lake County Library, I observe first-hand the vital needs that our libraries meet. While I shelve returned items at the Middletown library, our director, Gehlen Palmer, is pulling hold-requests placed by library users in Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma counties.

Throughout our three counties, items are being pulled against similar lists two or three times each day. The Sonoma County Library, which hosts our libraries’ shared catalog, calculated that library cardholders placed more than 800,000 holds during fiscal year 2009.

Library materials continuously travel within our three-county network to connect people with the information they need.

Cooperative loaning between our system and Bay Area libraries gives me access to many more resources than any one system could provide. The proposed budget cuts would devastate this program and I would lose these vital resources that help to inform my life.

Many more Californians depend on libraries’ adult literacy resources. CLA statistics for “Library Snapshot Day” state that 26,962 people received literacy tutoring, homework help and information literacy at a library. Adult literacy learners will have nowhere else to turn if funding for these services is lost.

The loss of state funding would also jeopardize $15 million in federal funds for the Braille and Talking Book library.

All of the officials to whom the CLA asks library supporters to speak can be reached via web-based forms: Governor Jerry Brown, www.gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php; Darrell Steinberg, Senate president pro tempore, http://sd06.senate.ca.gov/contact; Bob Dutton, Senate minority leader, http://cssrc.us/web/31/contact_me.aspx; John A. Perez, speaker of the California State Assembly, http://asmdc.org/speaker/; and Connie Conway, Assembly Republican leader, http://arc.asm.ca.gov/member/34/?p=email.

For those readers who prefer to communicate with these officials through the U.S. mail, the CLA has compiled addresses. For more information visit www.cla-net.org/.

Published Nov. 29, 2011 in the Lake County Record-Bee

Sunday, November 27, 2011

‘Taking Back the Knit’

A worldwide movement is bringing knit and crochet into the realm of public art. As a crafter, this subject is of growing fascination to me.

Yarn bombing involves the “tagging” of objects but unlike conventional graffiti, there is no destruction to property. A New York Times headline describes yarn bombing as “Graffiti’s Cozy, Feminine Side.”

Projects range from small tags to large-scale installations of public art, often with labels identifying the solo artist or artists’ collective. Not every artist accepts the “yarn bombing” label for his or her art.

I have compiled these annotated resources for fellow knitters and crocheters who want to explore public dimensions for expressing their art.

Annotated Bibliography

Arahonian, Gregory and Richard Stim. Patenting Art & Entertainment: New Strategies for Protecting Creative Ideas. Berkeley: Nolo, 2004. EBSCOHost Legal Information Reference Center. Lake County Law Library. Web. 27 Nov. 2011.
This guide to patenting is produced by Nolo Press, a publisher that specializes in self-help law. Full-text chapters can be read online through the EBSCOHost Legal Information Reference Center. 
The book explains traditional protections for arts and entertainment and helps the artist answer the question, “Should You Apply for a Patent?” 
It distinguishes between “utility” and “design” patents and explains how to file their respective applications.  
EBSCO Host  includes a disclaimer with chapter summaries that “Legal information provided is not a substitute for personalized advice from a knowledgeable lawyer. If you want the help of a trained professional, please consult an attorney licensed to practice in your state.”

ARTS Obispo. ARTS Obispo Programs. Web. 27 Nov. 2011.

The San Luis Obispo County Arts Council details several programs that invite artist participation including Arts in Education, Open Studios Art Tour, Art After Dark, Arts Space Obispo (its downtown gallery), SLOCATS monthly roundtable, Art in Public Places, artist directory, opportunities and grants. Links allow detailed viewing for each program. While the list was compiled in 2009, information about individual programs is current for 2011.

Christiansen, Betty. Knitting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2006. Print.

This book aids the knitter in taking his or her craft into the realm of knitting for charity through profiles of existing groups. While not “yarn bombing,” it speaks to what this crafter views as a similar impulse: to make the world a better place. Possible applications include combining art and charity like “Chase the Chill,” detailed below.

City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation. City of San Luis Obispo — Public Art. Web. 24 Nov. 2011.

Presents an overview of three components that make up the city’s public arts program, which include Visual Arts in Public Places, Public Art in Private Development and Private Donations of Public Art. The program’s policies and procedures manual can be accessed as a PDF. A remote link takes viewers to the website of ARTS Obispo, the San Luis Obispo County Arts Council.

City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation. SLO Public Art Policies and Procedures Manual. Web. 27 Nov. 2011.

Last updated June 2011, the public art policies and procedures manual addresses city-funded public art, privately-funded public art, matching grants and public art in private development.
The manual offers the definition that “Public Art develops from the engagement of an artist with public space” and attempts to define public art by stating what it is and what it is not. According to the manual, public art must involve “original, creative work by an individual or group.”
Sections in the manual address application processes for each source of funding public art, including how and by whom art selections are approved.

Conaboy, Chelsea. “Anti-graffiti knit work, or ‘yarnbombing,’ brightens cityscape.” Philadelphia Inquirer 13 April, 2010. EBSCOHost. Lake County Library. Web. 24 Nov. 2011.

Documents the craft of an area knitter who was inspired by Moore and Prain’s book. The author describes artist
Jessie Hemmons’ motivation is simple: “Times are tough. People want to see something bright and pretty.”

Goldstein, Jessica. “Tag, You’re Knit.” The Washington Post 2 July 2011: C1. ProQuest Newspapers. Cuesta College. Web. 24 Nov. 2011.

Documents the efforts of a group of women to decorate a local bar, Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club, with knit hearts for ARTventures on H, a public art installation coordinated through the Capitol Hill’s Chamber of Commerce. Follows the project from the artists’ inspiration to its effect upon the hosting venue on the day of the event.

Howard, Caroline. “Names You Need to Know: Yarn Bombing.” Forbes 30 April 2011: 8. EBSCO Host. Lake County Library. Web. 24 Nov. 2011.

Documents the appearance of yarn bombing in a show at L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The author focuses upon political messages in yarn bombing artists’ work, ranging from anti-nuclear proliferation to drawing attention to cracked sidewalks and potholes.

Huxley, Susan. Chase the Chill, the Original. Web. 24 Nov. 2011.

Huxley’s Facebook page promotes an annual event that combines art, charity and yarn bombing to distribute scarves in public places. It originated in Easton, PA in fall 2010 and is expanding to Winnipeg, Canada. The 2011 “bombing” took place Nov. 5.

Idaho Library Association. Get Bombed! Yarn Bombed, That Is... Web. 23 Nov. 2011.

The ILA encourages yarn bombing to bring new crafters to the library as well as draw public attention to libraries’ “buildings, displays or events.” It compiles a list of resources that include books, websites and newspaper articles.

MicroRevolt. KnitPro. Web. 27 Nov. 2011.

MicroRevolt combines knitting with labor activism, particularly to draw attention to sweatshop labor conditions and the American clothing companies that exploit them. Its “KnitPro” application converts uploaded images into patterns suitable for cross-stitch, knitting or crochet.

Moore, Mandy and Leanne Prain. Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti. 2nd ed. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009. Print.

This book is a comprehensive guide to yarn bombing. Its timeline traces the history of yarn bombing in a context of being part of a larger history that includes conventional graffiti. The book addresses construction and installation techniques as well as tips for assembling a crew. It includes artist profiles and extensive photos of artists’ work on scales both large and small.

Readers Digest. The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches: Over 900 Great Stitches Detailed for Needlecrafters of Every Level. Pleasantville: Readers Digest Association, 2003. Print.

Stitches form the building blocks from which textile artists create their art. This book assembles more than 900 stitches grouped by weight of yarn and type of stitch (lace, panels, ribs and edgings, etc.) Each stitch is illustrated with a color photograph.

Searle, Karen. Knitting Art: 150 Innovative Works from 18 Contemporary Artists. Minneapolis: Voyageur Press, 2008.

Searles profiles 18 knitters who create art for public display. The book includes photographs of each artist’s work.

Wollan, Malia. “Graffiti’s Cozy, Feminine Side.” New York Times. 19 May 2011: E-1. ProQuest Newspapers. Cuesta College. Web. 24 Nov. 2011.

Comprehensive article profiles artists who are part of the “yarn bombing” phenomenon, including artists who reject the label (“I don’t yarn bomb, I make art”) and a growing commercial demand for better-known artists’ work. 

Compiled in Fall 2011 for Cuesta College LIBT 109 
Library Public Service

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Yarn bombing Rincon Valley Library

Attaching handle cozy on library book drop
My second tag, which I applied Sunday night, Nov. 20, was a book drop handle cozy for the Rincon Valley Library. I crocheted it out of sock yarn self-striping in brown and black.

I used the same yarn to create a loom-knit balaclava. I mixed a “Homespun” Lion Brand yarn in shades of green and brown, with two sock yarn skeins. The result was to mimic tree bark and I’m very pleased with the result.

As for the tag, it took two trips to the Rincon Valley Library: first to scout the area for an inspiring object to tag. I measured the length of the book-drop handle against the span of my hand’s pointer finger to thumb. I approximated the width from the curl of my fingers around the handle itself.

Inexact but successful and the second trip was to attach the finished piece. I posted photos on Facebook.com on a page specifically for “Yarn Bombing @ Your Library.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Corporate library scenario: a group recommendation

Olagen, Inc., a manufacturer of high-end cosmetics in the San Francisco Bay Area, employs some 450 people at its main office. Its “hard copy” library collection contains 3,000 books, 35 periodical titles, 200 technical reports, 200 training videotapes, 300 DVDs, 300 confidential product and competitor files and several loose leaf services.

In addressing policy issues for the Olagan corporate library, our group’s recommendation was that only employees have borrowing privileges in the library. Patrons would register with the librarian and would be given a user account that was based upon the employee’s ID number.

Books, periodicals, technical reports, training tapes, DVDs and loose leaf services would be permitted to circulate. Confidential product and competitor files would not be available; these would be classified as reference materials that could only be viewed in the library. An employee who wished to access them must have clearance with a higher-level manager.

The group suggests that check-out times vary depending upon projected demand and the need for turn-around: specifically that written materials such as books, periodicals and reports have a one-month check out time. Videos and DVDs would be limited to one-week check out.

Materials would be subject to annual consideration for weeding: products would be updated regularly because research changes.

Usage statistics and inventory would be kept by the librarian. The group recommends an automated catalog — either open-source like Scriblio or proprietary like SirsiDynix — to aid the librarian in compiling these statistics as well as to assist in keeping track of library inventory. We felt it would be particularly valuable for the librarian to document usage statistics to justify the library’s benefit as a corporate investment.

Concerning policy for overdue fees and other fines, the group recommended that overdue fees were unnecessary; employees would be charged to replace lost or damaged items.

In regard to library security, employees would only have access to the library during work hours. The group’s belief is that this library would not use interlibrary loan. For reasons of competitive intelligence, Olagen, Inc.’s corporate library would not lend out materials to other companies. However, it would provide document/resource delivery to Olagen, Inc. employees located at remote branch offices/sites.

Delivery would either be handled in-house as part of a staff courier’s route or, if use of library resources was above and beyond this normal traffic, it could be through a contractor. Either way, any charges would be coded to the department that requested the materials.

Only circulating materials would be eligible for document delivery. Items that were reference-only would not be delivered off-site.

Concerning the current staffing level of the Olagen, Inc. library: the group believes that a part-time, out-sourced LTA is insufficient given the important resource that the corporate library provides. Since information resources are among any competitive company’s most protected and valuable resources, it makes sense to expand this position.

The group suggests instead that Olagen, Inc., a sizable company, could benefit from hiring a full-time information specialist with subject expertise. This person could be more of a key player in the company’s day to day activities — present to actively seek out information that supports and furthers Olagen’s profit-making objectives, working directly with departments on special research projects, providing rapid access to journal articles and new research data, providing individualized services to its patrons, and providing secure access to its confidential files during business hours.

Compiled for Cuesta College LIBT 109, Library Public Services

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

First yarn bombing tag at Middletown library

Loom-knit tree sweater with tag: "Yarn Bombing @ Your Library"
Jonathan and I got up at 5 a.m. this morning so that I could stitch a piece of knitting to a tree at the Middletown library.

The “tree sweater” idea came from a book that I checked out through the library: Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009. I’d been intrigued by yarn bombing since seeing pictures in my Lion Brand catalog.

I requested the book and arranged for pick-up at the Middletown library so I suppose that makes the yarn bomber’s identity a fairly obvious one.

(That and the newspaper column that listed the book among others in my favorite knitting books).

But I plan to “tag” other libraries in the area where my identity may not be so obvious. I have my own pin-on tags that say “Yarn Bombing @ Your Library;” they’ll accompany my pieces.

Transcribed from personal journal

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Winter is a great time to knit

Caps and "doughnuts," caps without tops, knit on circular knitting looms.

The rain that fell on Saturday accelerated my interest in knitting hats — and in reviewing my favorite books on the subjects of knitting and crochet.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Double-thick loom-knit hats with rolled brims

Loom-knit hats in a variety of colors, one still on the circular knitting loom

These hats were created with Lion Brand's Homespun on Provo Craft knitting looms. The hats are my own creation, based upon techniques taught in Isela Phelp's book Loom Knitting Primer. They were knit as tubes to a length that was nearly twice that of the desired length of the finished hats, then folded back to create a double-thickness for warmth. The men's hats include enough length to accommodate a rolled brim. The crown's last inch-and-a-half to two inches was knit single-layer thick to allow ease when gathering.

Originally posted to Facebook

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ready reference using the web: Edgar Allan Poe

For ready reference using the web, I chose to look up readers’ guides on the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe. I chose Poe to coincide with my county’s focus in October on Poe’s works for “The Big Read.”