libraries

By the Numbers: 46,000 e-books

E-books used to focus on niche topics geared toward small, zany readerships, which made for riveting titles such as Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen or The Hidden Power of Adjustment Layers in Adobe Photoshop. Now e-books cover the gamut, and the Santa Clara County Library District announced this week that it has 46,000 digital titles in its collection, including pop culture favorites like Wolf of Wall Street and 50 Shades of Grey—you know, if you’re into corporate barbarism or Penthouse letters.

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County Has $9.7 Million of Measure A Revenue up for Grabs

After spending most of this year’s anticipated Measure A revenue to pull out of a deficit and boost some service levels, Santa Clara County officials are looking for ways to spend a remaining $9.7 million of the 1/8 cent sales tax. Other items on Tuesday’s agenda include the county picking up the full cost of the Healthy Kids program—rather than getting a little help from San Jose, a plan by Supervisor Ken Yeager to save a Santa Clara library and Supervisor Joe Simitian looking to grade local restaurants.

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Rules to Consider Library Funding; Rocha, Campos Memo on Immigration

The San Jose Public Libraries Commission wants the city to extend a parcel tax to avoid laying off 53 of its 314 full-time library employees. Other matters going before the Rules and Open Government Committee on Wednesday include a memo from councilmembers Don Rocha and Xavier Campos in support of immigration reform, a report on budget priorities and a letter slamming George Shirakawa and anyone else who eats on the public dime.

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Pride of the Bascom Community

Tomorrow is a big day for District 6. After 13 years of waiting—the past three of which were spent staring down a fully-functional yet sadly dormant shell—we finally get to see the Bascom Library and Community Center open all of its doors to the public. For residents of Blackford, Buena Vista, Burbank, Del Monte, Shasta/Hanchett Park, Sherman Oaks, and Winchester, the 2pm ribbon cutting at 1000 South Bascom Ave. will be the culmination of a protracted struggle with City Hall, and the district’s own councilmember.

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Rules to Discuss Election Recalls, Proposal to Fund Gun Buy-Back Program

Councilman Don Rocha wants to explore the idea of imposing a standard for automatic recounts in event of a very close election in San Jose. Other items going before the Rules and Open Governemnt Committee on Wednesday include an amnesty offer to businesses behind on their taxes, study sessions and Councilmember Kansen Chu attempting to direct funds to libraries and a gun buy-back program.

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Council Meeting Focuses on Ballot Initiatives

The first City Council meeting of the 2012-13 fiscal year Tuesday will feature votes on approving language for three major ballot initiatives for November: a sales and use tax increase, a proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage, and an increase in the number of card tables at the city’s two casinos.

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Prioritizing Future City Spending

At the upcoming Aug. 7 City Council meeting, the discussion will focus on how to prioritize city spending IF revenues increase. So, in the example below, if revenues increase by $10 million—either by revenue growth or tax increase—this is how I think it should be spent by percentage.

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Sign Here, Please

I predict going forward that groups sponsoring ballot initiatives will be a constant part of the political landscape in San Jose, similar to the outside funding of planning department ordinances by third parties to move forward on regulations. The minimum wage initiative recently gathered and submitted the required signatures last week, and action will be taken at the May 22 City Council meeting. A library initiative is also in the process of gathering signatures for a November election.

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Libraries, Police: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

A citizens signature drive is underway to secure a certain percentage of the budget for our libraries. This would replace the library parcel tax set to expire in 2014. If enough signatures are collected, the measure could be placed on the ballot in November. Last month, I proposed examining and collecting data for setting a certain percentage of the budget—higher than today’s percentage—for the police department. Perhaps we could combine the ideas and set a percentage of the budget for police and libraries.

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Reading Rainbow

Just when things seem to be going better for Mayor Chuck Reed, with a solid council vote on his pension reform ballot measure and his first-ever projected budget surplus, his predecessors have to go and steal his thunder. Instead of waiting for Reed to follow through on his plan to open four new libraries that closed the day construction stopped, former mayor Susan Hammer and council members Frank Fiscalini and Trixie Johnson trotted out their own plans to save libraries—show-offs.

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