Fishy behavior with trust money at BPL

So after Bernie Margolis has his contract “un-renewed” the mayor of Boston is looking at seizing control of the moneys that make up the Boston Public Library’s trusts. This means that to spend money from the BPL trusts, the library has to get approval for each specific expenditure from City Hall. Margolis, still at work and annoyed at his ouster has ordered his staff to not send overdue fines collected to the city as was the usual procedure. It’s not totally clear from the article what the ordering of events is. At least one donor is thinking of asking for her money back.

Under current practice, the library trustees approve formation of the trust funds and transfer custody of the funds to City Hall. City Hall then forwards trust proceeds – dividends and other returns on investments – in a lump sum annually to the library.

Library trustees decide what to spend the money on, in accordance with donors’ instructions, and library staff members cut the checks. Library staff members also reconcile the books and file annual reports and tax returns for the board of trustees, which is operated as an independent, nonprofit corporation.

Signori, the city’s collector-treasurer, said her office will no longer be giving the library lump sums. Instead, she said, the trustees will now have to submit invoices to City Hall for processing and payment. If Signori or her staff members believe the expenses do not match donors’ intent or if there is another problem, she says she will raise an issue with trustees.

[thanks kate]

Reimer Digital Library to be open to public again real soon now

The Reimer Digital Library, an online archive to publicly accessible US Army publications has been password protected since February 6th as a security measure. In response to a Federation of American Scientists FOIA request and a pointed coverage by the Washington Post, the Army wil be restoring access to the library “within two weeks

federal judge rules on students’ religious rights re: books

Notable federal district decision from a week or so ago concerning a student/parent objection to a book that had homoesexual [well, same-sex couple] characters. The court upheld a lower court dismissal of a lawsuit by a family climaing their religious rights were being violated when kids read books involving “positive portrayals of families headed by same-sex parents and same-sex marriage, including the frequently challenged children’s book, King and King.” The court stated that reading the books is not the same as being “indoctrinated” into affirming the choices the book’s characters make, or are evidencing. It’s an interesting challenge and an interesting, and to my mind positive, response with the upshot being “you do not have the right to not be offended”.

The First Circuit rejected the parents’ indoctrination claims. It held that there is no First Amendment free exercise right to be free from any reference in public elementary schools to the existence of families in which the parents are of different gender combinations. It also held that public schools are not obliged to shield individual students from ideas which potentially are religiously offensive, especially when the school does not require that the student agree with or affirm those ideas, or even participate in discussions about them.

You can read the full opinion here and some backstory on the controversy that sparked these claims here and here. Keep in mind that this book challenge happened in Massachusetts, a state where same sex marriages are legal and where a “1993 state law directed school systems to teach about different kinds of families and the harm of prejudice.”

My tech-NOs

After Rochelle and Jenna and Laura. Some of these are by choice and some are just… weird broken parts of my brain but it hardly matters which now, does it?

  • I can’t set the time on the clock in my car and it’s set to some crazy time [i.e. not like an hour or two off]. I’d like to, but this time of year if I’m not driving the car it’s too cold to be in it. Erica?
  • My bank is in Washington state. While I do a lot of e-banking with them, I generally mail my paychecks to my bank to deposit them. This isn’t strictly technological in nature, but it’s definitely an old-fashionedness that looks like a tech-not.
  • I can barely use my cell phone. I can take a picture. I can make and receive phone calls. I can text, but I still try to answer it when someone is text messaging me. I like to think I’d be a better study if the thing worked in my house.
  • I have very little e-book curiosity. My interest in e-books is purely professional.
  • I have an iPod I rarely listen to. I have an iPhone I don’t use much (both were gifts). I like to have them, but I usually just listen to the radio in my car and iTunes on my laptop at home.
  • I have created more podcasts than I have listened to.
  • I don’t play online games much. I play Scrabulous (come find me on facebook!) and that’s pretty much it. When you have a job that’s online, spending more time there just doesn’t seem as appealing.
  • I use my TV to watch movies only, and even then pretty rarely. I was a Nielsen family earlier in the month and I sent the whole book back blank.
  • I don’t have voice mail, just an answering machine. No caller ID, so please tell me who you are when you call.
  • When I have to set the alarm to wake up, which happens rarely, I’m as likely to set it for PM as for AM. This is more of an absentminded professor thing than a tech-NO, but I’ve sortof never gotten the hang of setting an alarm on something without hands
  • And lastly, because I grew up in the country, I pretty much don’t understand locks. I have a heck of a time with any door that locks, remembering which direction to turn the key, or rememebring my keys period.

I can do pretty much anything with any sort of computer, but that doesn’t mean I know everything or do everything with technology. How about you?