Category Archives: news

Charles Pace Named New Director at Gwinnett

Charles Pace was named Executive Director of the Gwinnett County Public Library. Dick Goodman, chair of the Gwinnett County Public Library Board of Trustees, made the announcement as the sole order of business at tonight’s Board Meeting.

Pace, a 2006 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, was most recently the director of the St. Louis County Library. Before that, he was director at the Fargo Public Library.

EDIT Text of Gwinnett’s press release:

GWINNETT COUNTY LIBRARY BOARD APPOINTS

NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

(Lawrenceville, Ga., Dec. 13, 2013) – Charles Pace of St. Louis, Mo., has been appointed executive director of the Gwinnett County Public Library by the library board of trustees at a special called meeting on Friday, December 13.

Pace has been executive director of the 20-branch St. Louis County library system since 2006. He has also directed the Fargo, N.D., library system and managed branch libraries in Houston and Chicago. He holds a master’s degree in library science from the University of North Texas. Library Journal named him a “Mover and Shaker” in 2006.

In St. Louis, he maintained budget surpluses throughout the recession, led a successful campaign to fund capital improvements, increased circulation and library use, and partnered with more than 100 community groups to help support the library system, which was named a “Top Workplace in St Louis” by the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

“The board and staff are excited that Charles Pace will lead the Gwinnett County public library system,” said Dick Goodman, chairman of the library board. “Coming from a library that is slightly larger than ours, serving a population similar in size to that of Gwinnett, he has the level and kind of financial, operational and managerial experience the board feels is necessary to effectively manage our own dynamic library system.”

He pointed to Pace’s record of building community partnerships as one of the reasons the board selected him for the job. “We look forward to working with Charles to create stronger connections between the library and its patrons in the numerous and diverse communities the library serves and to guide the Gwinnett County public library to become a showcase of the 21st century library,” said Goodman.

Gwinnett’s library system receives county and state funding as well as self-generated funds. In addition, since 2001, SPLOST sales tax programs have provided more than $20 million for new branch construction, renovations, upgrades and relocations. The library’s trustees are appointed by county commissioners.

The system owns more than a million books, magazines, e-books and media items and provides public access to 250 online databases at each of its 15 branches. Last year, almost 290,000 cardholders checked out 6.7 million items with 21 percent handled by self-service. Staff answered more than 81,000 questions to the AskGCPL phone and email service and 4,880 volunteers donated 37,000 hours of service.

More information about the Gwinnett County library system is available at www.gwinnettpl.org.

Make It So: Patrick Stewart Receives Knighthood

Photo by Andrew HillPatrick Stewart, one of my most favorite actors, has received a knighthood this week. I greatly enjoyed Stewart not only in Star Trek: TNG, but also on stage, where he really shines. I have been lucky to see him perform a one-man rendition of A Christmas Carol, and several Shakespearean dramas.  Whether he is forcefully portraying the hard-edged diplomat Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: TNG, or the larger than life Claudius in Hamlet, Stewart always projects a huge stage presence that I can't help but admire.

A recent and rather personal interview can be found at The Independent.

philadelphia libraries closing


All Free Library of Philadelphia Branch, Regional and Central Libraries Closed Effective Close of Business October 2, 2009.

and everyone shall be heard

Good article in today's NY Times by Saul Hansell on President Obama's open government initiative, Ideas Online, Yes, but Some Not So Presidential.

On Jan. 21, his first full day in office, President Obama promised to open up the government, ordering officials to use modern technologies like Internet message boards and blogs to give all Americans a bigger voice in public policy…

…The experience so far shows just how hard it is to allow all voices to be heard and still have a coherent discussion. When millions of Internet users are invited to discuss every regulation, how can any real work get done? On the other hand, why bother opening up the government if views that are outside the mainstream — as defined by the usual collection of lobbyists and think tank scholars — are summarily dismissed?

The responsibility for sorting it all out falls to Ms. Noveck. She has permitted any proposal that was not abusive or repetitive onto the brainstorming site, just as the Obama transition team did not stop visitors to its Change.Gov site last fall from voting marijuana legalization as their top concern for the president-elect.

She argues that the experience of collaborative Web sites like Wikipedia proves that groups of users can police sites to keep small groups from spoiling things for everyone else. During the public brainstorming about rules for open government, the White House asked visitors to vote on the best ideas by clicking a thumbs-up or thumbs-down button, much as people vote on the most interesting news articles on sites like Digg.

I agree with Clay Shirky's statement:

“This is Obama’s Madisonian moment,” said Clay Shirky, a professor at New York University and the author of “Here Comes Everybody,” a book about Internet collaboration. Just as James Madison, the nation’s fourth president, argued during the drafting of the Constitution that the government must protect the minority against the tyranny of the majority, Mr. Shirky said that government must also prevent small groups of loudmouths from hijacking the public debate. [emphasis added]

It is amazing how small but loud voices, obviously in the minority but well-funded or well-organized (or both), can steer the conversation, sometimes to very frightening places.

capa, soltan, and the shots heard around the world

PDNPulse went and drew a parallel I was waiting for someone to draw — the video of young Neda Soltan and Robert Capa's famous photo, "The Falling Soldier," taken during the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

On Saturday, a shocking video of a young woman bleeding to death appeared on social networking sites.

Anonymous and impossible to trace, the clip went viral with a story attached: The woman is Neda, an opposition protester in Iran, who was gunned down by a government sniper Saturday on the streets of Tehran. We don't know how much of this is true. There is no way to verify even basic information about the video. But the clip proved too strong to be bogged down by fact-checking. The witnesses heard in the clip express shock, then desperation, then utter helplessness, passing through an emotional arc in 40 seconds. A viewer can't help but imagine being there, powerless to do anything other than keep the camera on.

"Neda" quickly hopped from Facebook to YouTube to Twitter to blogs to mainstream media. Even "The Today Show" aired part of it this morning. A still from the video appears above the fold on the front of The Wall Street Journal today.

Above, we've placed a frame grab from the video alongside Robert Capa's "The Falling Soldier," the most famous moment-of-death image in photography. Are we overreaching in comparing the two?

Consider the similarities. Like "Neda," the 1936 image "The Falling Soldier" stands as a timeless symbol of war, even as scholars keep debating what it actually shows. In 1936 armed conflict was a soldier falling in a field. Today it's a civilian felled in an urban clash.

Both images signify the emergence of a new type of wartime reporting. Today, a 40-second clip shot on a tiny camera or cell phone can go online in minutes, and be influencing worldwide opinion within hours. The more significant it is, the more people will share it, and the faster it will spread.

It's significant that the Nada clip is from the viewpoint of a participant in the conflict, not a journalist. Last week, Iranian authorities tried to censor coverage of the protests by essentially banning the press. That situation incubated a powerful new kind of social reporting, one that more closely resembles folklore than the cautious tones and editorial review of traditional journalism.

Link to PDNPulse article, with updates.

Of course, images have the power to change the world.