Old Las Vegas

John C Fremont

John C Fremont

Long before the casinos and show business, Las Vegas was an important place in Nevada. It all began when John C. Fremont drew a map during a camping trip in 1844…

In Early Las Vegas by Dr. Karen Miller, take a look at the early years of Las Vegas as depicted in period drawings and photographs. The city takes its Spanish name from a group of springs providing an oasis from the desert.  Each of the six chapters is preceded by an explanatory note about the time period.

In the first chapter, a drawing by one of the settlers shows Las Vegas as it appeared in 1855.  One thing you’ll immediately notice: not much else around besides desert! It would serve as a traveler’s rest stop for many years as the Mormon and Old Spanish Trails ran through the area.  Eventually there was mining and ranches.

Boulder Dam

Boulder Dam 1942

In 1902, Helen J. Stewart, a local ranch pioneer, sold some land which lead Las Vegas to become an important city in the west.  The construction and arrival of the railroad through southern Nevada helped Las Vegas take off in 1905.  Another major development occurred in 1928: President Calvin Coolidge authorized the construction of Boulder (now Hoover) Dam. This major public works project helped Las Vegas through the Great Depression. Although the book ends in the 1930s, you can see how Las Vegas was shaped during its history. Today you can visit a few of the historical landmarks shown in the book.

Other related Nevada titles are available from Arcadia Publishing.

This month, the American Library Assoc. (ALA) Annual Conference returns to Las Vegas for the first time since 1973.

Las Vegas Sign

Las Vegas Sign

For me, this will be my second time visiting Las Vegas.  I first went there as a college student on a family summer vacation.  My dad had been on a business trip in metro Phoenix, AZ beforehand so we flew to Las Vegas after he was done. We stayed at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino which was then a new addition on the famed Strip. We visited Hoover Dam and drove through one of the state parks.  Despite the desert heat, I enjoyed the trip.

Hope to see you in Las Vegas!  Stay cool while you’re out and about.  And don’t forget to have plenty of water and sunscreen!

 

To PUBLIB readers who attended ALA in 1973, please share your memories in the comments!
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Queen Anne

Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion

Queen AnneAs the last Stuart monarch of England of Scotland, Queen Anne reigned during a dramatic time at home and in continental European history. Although she had a reserved personality, the Queen left her own mark on British history. In a new biography, Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion by Lady Anne Somerset, Anne’s life and the world she lived is told. Originally published in the UK, the book was released here in the US in the fall.

I knew a little bit about Anne from reading Jean Plaidy’s reissued novels about the Stuarts a few years earlier.  When I saw this book, I was curious to read more about her.  The biography is well-written and detailed.  The author drew on unpublished sources as part of her research. I was impressed there was more to Anne then what is usually described about her.  For example, she could make decisions at crucial times. Anne’s inspiration was Queen Elizabeth I, and she liked to emulate the Tudor Queen.

As Queen, Anne attended council meetings regularly. She was able to work well with Parliament which hadn’t been easy for her Stuart predecessors.  The Whigs and Tories were active during Anne’s reign, beginning the two party system.  In 1707, Scotland and England became fully united under one crown.

On the European continent, the Queen was involved in the War of Spanish Succession. During this time period, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, became famous for his military achievements.  Some early American colonial history is mentioned as well.

For many years, Anne was close friends with John’s wife Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough who held important posts in the Queen’s household.  Their relationship deteriorated because of political differences and petty arguments. Of interest to longtime “Masterpiece Theater” viewers, the Churchills were the subject of the historical drama “The First Churchills” in the 1971-72 inaugural season on PBS.

Charles Boit, Queen Anne and Prince George Anne’s husband was Prince George of Denmark (1653-1708) with whom she had a loving marriage.  He had a nominal role during her reign. Unfortunately none of their children survived to adulthood.  When the Prince died, she mourned him deeply.

There is more to Anne’s story so I’ll leave it to readers to find out!

Of interest to those live or work in Maryland, Anne and George have places named in their honor.

Queen Anne was awarded the 2013 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography in the UK.

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DC During Shutdown – Part 2

DC – Epilogue

US Capitol DomeThe shutdown entered its third week.  On October 15th, DC city government opened as usual, and paychecks for city employees went out as scheduled. Frustration about congressional inaction continued.  How long would this go?

On October 16th, Mayor Vincent Gray and his peers in Maryland and Virginia held a press conference at the John A. Wilson Building (our City Hall)  in downtown DC. Each of them explained how the shutdown impacted their respective jurisdictions and called on Congress to act. It will be some time before the final tally on the economy both here in the DC area and the country at large.

At last, the uncertainty ended after 16 days. Congress voted to end the shutdown and reopen the government, DC’s budget was included. Permanent budget autonomy, however, hasn’t been granted.  Mayor Gray has expressed disappointment about the matter.

It’s over–’nuff said!  I’ll leave the media commentators and editorial writers to it…

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DC During Shutdown – Part 1

US Capitol DomeFor the first time since 1996, the federal government shuttered October 1st.  When that has happened in the past, D.C. city government closed down too. Why?  Because the city receives direct funding from the federal government, it is treated as if it is a federal agency.

This time, Mayor Vincent Gray announced he would use the city’s contingency reserve funds to keep the city government in full operation, good for 2 weeks, granting an exemption from the federal shutdown. In the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns, this option wasn’t available.  (Both times, DC city employees were able to return to work after a few days)

As the days wore on, the Mayor became worried as the fund became low.  On October 9th, while Senator Harry Reid was winding up an afternoon press conference, Gray went to speak with him on the Capitol steps after doing his own press conference not far off. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton was also present.*  Their conversation was on candid camera for the local evening news.  At the White House later that day, she spoke with President Obama about DC’s budget.  As of this writing, nothing has yet to materialize.

For this blog post, these are my observations of the shutdown on the city.  With local and national media outlets covering the shutdown, I’ll leave it to them.  The “Washington Post” started a live blog for shutdown updates.

October 1st

On Tuesday morning, we opened with extended hours system-wide.  Phone calls come from patrons asking if we are open.  (Yes, until 9 pm!)  When I arrive for the evening shift, there are few patrons.  As the day continues, more arrive.  An evening yoga class bustles in.  As the week progresses, more people are taking advantage of our new hours.  For example, there’s an increase in room reservation requests for this month into the next.

The morning commute

On Monday morning (9/30) driving down I-270 is slow going. The traffic reports on WTOP take a few minutes to call since many major roadways in MD, VA, and DC are experiencing heavy volume and problems.  Once I’m in the access ramp to Shady Grove Metro station, I quickly pick up speed at last. On Wednesday morning, it appears to be no worse than usual.  In some stretches, I’m driving slow, others are at speed. I don’t have far to drive to locate a parking space in the Shady Grove Metro station garage.  Usually I’m on the 3rd or 4th level.  On the platform, the half the volume of the commuting crowd is waiting.  As a new week begins, traffic still is heavy in spots.  Because I leave home early on Friday (10/11), I miss the trucker protest convoy on the Beltway later that morning.

Cleveland Park/Woodley Park

On Connecticut Ave in the mornings, there’s a steady volume of traffic through the Cleveland Park area heading for downtown. (Not so much outbound)  It doesn’t appear to have been much of a change. People are still out and about during the daytime. While walking to the Woodley Park Starbucks location on Friday morning (10/4) I see the gates at the National Zoo are closed with large signs posted.  There are several Zoo police officers on duty and restricted admission to the parking lot next to the main entrance.  When I drive by on my way to Saturday evening Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Church on Oct. 12th, there’s light foot traffic in that area.  Some people are sitting outside the Starbucks and other eateries.

Penn Quarter/Chinatown

DC Public Library Book PlateOctober 7th: I have a mandatory training at MLK Library that morning. As I come off the Metro at Metro Center station, I observe there are half the number of people transferring to the Blue and Orange lines downstairs or leaving the station.  Outside on the street, it’s lighter foot traffic.  Later, as I walk to Lawson’s for lunch, I see fewer food trucks parked along 12th & G St. by Macy’s (formerly Hecht’s).  Business hasn’t been great for them.

Closing note–Oct.13th: The “Post” reports that city has enough to pay city employees on October 15th.  If nothing is done, no guarantee about the next paycheck.

* Note: As a non-voting representative for DC, Delegate Norton is only allowed to speak on the House floor.  She can vote in committees which she’s a member.

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Libraries at SXSW – We Need *Your* Vote! (bestofpublib)

Please share widely!

By Carson Block

For those who already know (and we love you! :0) the SXSW ~ South by Southwest in Austin, Texas – panel picker is open and we need your vote – here’s the list of library submissions with easy-to-click-links:

http://sxswlam.drupalgardens.com/content/2014-sxswi-lam-proposals

For those who don’t yet know….to shift the perceptions of libraries from a warehouse of books to dynamic places that celebrate ideas, we need to share library innovations far and wide with diverse audiences in unique formats. SXSW Interactive is a major annual gathering of thought-leaders and funders – “fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery.” (Sounds a lot like the library!)

Interactive design and relationship to other fields.

Interactive design and relationship to other fields.

There are a slew of incredible submissions this year proposed by creative library and museum professionals. You can help put libraries, archives, and museums (LAM) at the forefront of this ideas-exchange by voting for LAM presentations in the SXSWi Panel Picker from Aug. 19-Sept. 6, 2013, at http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/.

Below is a list of sxswLAM panel proposals and well as sxswLAM-related panel proposals. You can also do a search by keyword in the Panel Picker for “library” or “libraries”and there are dozens more. If you believe that librarian voices need to be heard, even if you’re not attending, we need your vote to make it happen at SXSWi 2014.

Again, the handy-dandy list of library, archive and museum proposals is here:

http://sxswlam.drupalgardens.com/content/2014-sxswi-lam-proposals

Thanks!

Carson

===
Carson Block Consulting Inc.
Technology Vision. Technology Power. Your Library.
http://www.carsonblock.com

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Funding Public Libraries – Dissertation

(Please share with Library Trustees, Library Staff, and Library Fund Raisers)

By Hartwig Pautz~  University of Strathclyde

How should we fund our public libraries?  Compatibility of income generation with library ethos

Woman_readingPublic libraries, it seems, are in financial trouble everywhere. At the same time, they are expected to do more and for more people. If library revenue from taxes is drying up – what can public libraries do? They can try to generate additional income from their existing services and from new services, specifically established to make money. But are these income activities compatible with what public libraries stand for? Do charges or fee-based services violate the principle of free access to information for everyone? Would the principled rejection of charges and fees just speed up the end of the public library and is thus obsolescent at best, and dangerous at worst?

For my Masters dissertation in Information and Library Studies at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, I would like to hear the opinions of public librarians – including library assistants, managers and fundraisers if working for public libraries – on these questions. My aim is to develop a better understanding of what income generation activities are used by public librarians and what they think about the impact on these on the public library ethos. Does direct sponsoring help the organisation or does it erode its ethos and principles? How about user charges, do they sit well with public librarians? And do public libraries have targets for income generation? These are examples from the set of ten questions that are on my e-survey which is directed at public librarians in the US, the United Kingdom and Germany.

I am hoping that the outcomes of my research will help librarians addressing financial difficulties and building stronger institutions while defending principles and ethos.  All results of my study will be made public on the University’s open access repository at:  http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk  . I will disseminate the results as widely as possible also through further open access channels.

So, I am asking for your help for my research. Please take the time and follow the link below to a short electronic questionnaire; it should not take more than ten minutes to complete. The survey is anonymous and nobody will be identifiable.

SurveyLink:  https://strathsci.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9BtLwndmU9nPQ6p

Everybody who is working in a public library context in the US, the UK and Germany is welcome to take this survey – be they library assistants, library fundraisers or managers.

Please do not hesitate to contact me via prb12163@uni.strath.ac.uk or hartwig.pautz@arcor.de .

Thank you very much for your help!

Hartwig Pautz

Postgraduate Student in Information and Library Studies
University of Strathclyde
Department of Computer and Information Studies
E-mail: prb12163@uni.strath.ac.uk
Dissertation supervisor: Alan Poulter (alan.poulter@strath.ac.uk)

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Old Chicago Revisited

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As ALA Annual returns to Chicago this month, it will be my second time there for a library conference.  I enjoyed seeing the city when Annual was held there 4 years ago. I hadn’t been to Chicago since I was a high school freshman.  My parents and I lived south of the city for a year, and we frequently visited.  As I did 4 years ago, I plan to do some historical sight seeing.  Below are a few local history books I have read and enjoyed about Chicago.

Chicago: A Biography by Dominic Pacyga

Chicago Fire Map - 1871

Chicago Fire Map – 1871

From a seasonal hunting ground of Native American Indians to a frontier trading post to a major metropolitan city, the history of Chicago is told as a biography.  I learned a lot about the city reading this book. The 1871 fire is only one event of many in Chicago’s history. Pacyga is a native of the city.  Maps and black and white illustrations included.

Then & Now: Chicago’s Loop by Janice A. Knox & Heather O. Belcher

Originally published in 2002, the famed Loop is shown in past and present photographs. The name dates to 1882 when an old cable car route ran through what was then the business district.  Some places have changed since the photos were snapped while others still remain intact today.

Marshall Field’s by Gayle Soucek: THE department store that helped define Chicago.

The store was founded by Marshall Field, a transplant from Massachusetts. At the time of Field’s arrival in 1856, Chicago was a bustling city. However there weren’t many stores to shop. Field changed that. Harry G. Selfridge, founder of Selfridges in London, got his start here. (His life story is the subject of “Mr. Selfridge” on PBS’s “Masterpiece Classic”) My parents and I visited the famed store a few times.

As an aside, I was shocked to see the same building renamed as Macy’s in 2009.  It was bad enough seeing Hecht’s, a longtime D.C. department store chain, renamed as Macy’s!*

State Street by Robert P. Ledermann

If you went to shop in Chicago, this street is where you did it.  Take a look back of what it was like to be on State Street and what’s ahead for the famed street. It includes a chapter about other well known stores and lots of wonderful photos.

Lithuanian Chicago by Justin G. Riskus

Lithuanians were among the immigrants of various nationalities who settled in Chicago during its history. Released in January by Arcadia Publishing, this book is a photographical history of the Lithuanian-American community.  If you have a Lithuanian relative or two who settled in Chicago in your family tree, this book should be of interest.

Encyclopedia of Chicago: an online resource about Chicago with maps and other special features

In Old Chicago

In Old Chicago

Finally, if you have a chance to see it, the Oscar winning 1937 movie “In Old Chicago” is a fictional dramatization about the O’Leary family and the 1871 fire. It is in black and white; it is currently available on DVD.

Whether you’ve been to Chicago previously or going for the first time, enjoy visiting the city and see you at McCormick Place!

* Two of Hecht’s sister stores were Filene’s and Kaufmann’s, based in Boston and Pittsburgh respectively.

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