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Group Urges Parental Access
A 40-member citizens' community task force, formed after the April shooting at Columbine High School (AL, June/July, p. 26-28), recommended to the Jefferson County (Colo.) School Board August 10 that a state law be enacted to allow parents access to their children's circulation records at school and public libraries.
According to the August 11 Denver Post, the task force is chaired by state Rep. Don Lee (R-Jefferson County), who plans to push for the law in the state legislature. "A culture change in our community is needed if we are to see long-lasting positive change," Lee told reporters, who said his own son was a target on Columbine killer Eric Harris's hit list.
School board members did not act on this recommendation or seven others intended to prevent school violence, among them a new student dress code, tip boxes to report suspicious behavior, and more mental-health counselors in county schools.
Hawaii Settles for Books
In the wake of its June settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (AL, Aug., p. 23), book wholesaler Baker & Taylor has also reached an agreement with the state of Hawaii in a lawsuit that resulted from a controversial five-year purchasing contract begun in 1996 (AL, Jan. 1998, p. 35).
Hawaii State Librarian Virginia Lowell announced July 22 that the state's public libraries will receive $75,000 in books, all of them selected and ordered by the Hawaii State Public Library System, as part of the settlement. Lowell admitted that problems with the state's case against Baker & Taylor prompted them to settle out of court for much less than the $700,000 originally sought.
"I think we settled the best that we can," Lowell told the July 23 Honolulu Star-Bulletin. "What we found . . . was that the contract language and the testimony that we had in support of the state's lawsuit just didn't add up."
The North Carolina-based Baker & Taylor, which could face additional litigation in other states, announced July 28 that it was combining its Books and Entertainment units and restructuring along customer lines into two divisions, institutional and retail.
31% More for San Diego County
Bouncing back from the March defeat of a quarter-cent sales-tax hike to bolster San Diego County's eight ailing library systems (AL, Apr., p. 14-15), the San Diego County Library has received a 31% budget hike for FY 1999-2000 from county commissioners. The $15.72-million operating budget for FY 1999-2000, which reflects a $3.75-million increase over the previous fiscal year, will fund the addition of a new branch in the unincorporated area of Rancho San Diego and the replacement of four cramped branches. Plans are also in the works to build a new site in Potrero with Community Development Block Grant funds.
County Librarian Marilyn Crouch explained that the additional revenue should bring the library "to the California average for public library funding by FY 2000-2001 - the goal the board has been trying to achieve for some time."
The increase, which …