Story number 1 - no surprise here - is the current economic situation. Libraries are hit in two categories. First, income from sales and property taxes - from which libraries get most their funding - is going down. And second, charitable private support is likely to be scarcer in the future as well. All this coming at a time when library use is going up and more patrons than ever are depending on the library computers to apply for jobs (listed as number 10 of the Top Ten Stories).
Story number 3 lists the repeated attempts by conservative groups to ban “controversial” book titles. This year, the title that was most targeted for removal was - once more - Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s book „And Tango makes Three“ about two „male penguins caring for an orphaned egg“.
One issue that US librarians have had to face since 9/11 are the socalled „National Security Letters“. These allow law enforcement to demand information on an individual’s reading habits - yet the library is not allowed to even mention that they have received such a letter.
Other stories listed are natural disasters that hit libraries particularly hard (as did hurricane Ike in September). Library closings are another sad story in the list, although the stories about successful advocacy that saved libraries from closure add some hope. Another bit of good news is that Harvard University will take a stand for open access and publish their scholarly articles for free on the Web in the future. Something to be proud of is the success of the National Library Week. And another positive achievement is that some more libraries made it onto a list of ‚green’ buildings.