Category: Word

Ancient libraries give perspective on current crisis

Local librarian John Gehner posted the piece excerpted below on his blog, Urbana Free Library Picks:


This past weekend I finished Luciano Canfora's The Vanished Library: A Wonder of the Ancient World.


So many writers with differing agendas--both in antiquity and modern times--have had their say in this matter that it is difficult to unravel truth from fiction. With an impressive grasp of history and source material, Canfora tries mightily.

Much is disputed: the location of the collection, its composition, its size by volume count, which potentates helped build and care for it, and which despots destroyed it in whole or part.

Warfare, religious zealotry, political intrigue, hubris, and flames all took their toll at various times, and in nefarious ways, on the Ptolemic dynasty's center of scholarship.

In one narrative of an event dating to the year 641, the Muslim Caliph Omar sends a message by envoy to the Emir Amrou Ibn el-Ass that if "[the library's books] contain matter not in accordance with the book of Allah, there can be no need to preserve them. Proceed, then, and destroy them."


Here in Illinois, things are no less bleak. The state has been slow to forward funds to the nine cooperating library systems, including Lincoln Trail Libraries System, of which TUFL is a part.

Essential per capita grants to libraries were reduced by 16%. And the City of Urbana is predicting a budget shortfall of nearly $1.5 million.

All of this is happening at a time when greater numbers of people are seeking the resources of libraries [pdf].

In the grip of one of the most severe recessions since the Great Depression, more Americans are turning to their libraries not only for free access to books, magazines, CDs and DVDs, but also for a lifeline to technology training and online resources for employment, continuing education and government resources. In January 2009, over 25 million Americans reported using their public library more than 20 times in the last year, up from 20.3 million Americans in 2006. It is likely this trend continued or increased through the remainder of 2009.

That library funding is diminishing while library usage is increasing perplexes those of us sitting this side of the reference desk.


Jane Addams Book Signing: Marianne Malone

Sixty-Eight Rooms

Location: Jane Addams Book Shop
Date: Saturday, March 27, 2010
Time: 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Address: 208 N. Neil St., Champaign IL

The Sixty-Eight Rooms

Marianne Malone is a local author whose first book, The Sixty-Eight Rooms, was released February 23 by Random House Books to very positive advanced reviews. This children's book is set in the famous Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Join us at the book shop to meet Marianne, listen as she reads from her book, and get a signed copy!

Visit Marianne's website for more information.




Pink” Basketball Memorabilia Hits Auction Block

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Fighting Illini basketball fans will have the opportunity to bid for the men's and women's uniforms worn during their 2010 "Pink" games. Illinois' online auction on will feature 10 jerseys, 14 pairs of shorts and two pairs of shoes, beginning Monday, March 22. Portions of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund and Coaches vs. Cancer.

"The 'Pink' games have done a great job nationally of creating cancer awareness," head coach Bruce Weber said. "Now we can use this auction to contribute financially to the cause. I think our fans will be excited about having the opportunity to purchase this memorabilia."

The auction begins at 8 a.m. on March 22 and will be open for two weeks, closing on April 5. Eight of the men's jerseys and the women's jersey are team autographed, as well as a pair of pink shoes.

Also currently up for auction, with one more week on the block, is an ESPN Gameday basketball, autographed by Weber, Rece Davis and Jay Bilas.

Here are the "Pink" items up for auction:
- #1 men's jersey (Weber autographed)
- #32 men's jersey (team autographed)
- #54 men's jersey (team autographed)
- #3 men's jersey (team autographed)
- #42 men's jersey (team autographed)
- #13 men's jersey (team autographed)
- #15 men's jersey (team autographed)
- #21 men's jersey (team autographed)
- #2 men's jersey (team autographed)
- #1 women's jersey (team autographed)
- 13 pairs of men's game-worn shorts
- One pair of women's game-worn shorts
- One pair of men's shoes (team autographed)
- One pair of women's shoes


Transient/Transmissions Show at Indi Go Gallery

Indi Go Logo

New Installed Photography at Indigo GalleryArt 1
March 25, 2010, 6pm–8pm
(Opening Reception)
March 26, 10am–8pm
March 27, 10am–8pm
9 E University Ave.
Champaign , IL 61820

Valerie Oliveiro and Jeff Kolar Presenting Photography Installations at INDIGO Gallery in Champaign
FREE admission
New Work: 10 Photographs from the home of the late Merce Cunningham and John Cage.

Valerie Oliveiro and Jeff Kolar present installed photographs surrounding themes of space (social and physical), time, and memory.

Although it is the first time Oliveiro and Kolar are presenting work together, they are both interested in variations of space. Ten different pieces will be presented and installed in series. The highlight is a series of 10 photographs taken from the now non-existent home of Merce Cunningham and John Cage.

Indi 2


For more background information click here.


Provena loses tax case in Illinois Supreme Court

Illinois Supreme Court rules Provena must pay tax

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled this morning that Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana did not provide enough charity care to qualify for a property tax exemption.

The widely watched ruling, which rejected the Catholic hospital's appeal of a tax review board decision to take away its tax exempt status in 2003, could set the stage for charity care expectations at hospitals around the country.

Click here for further details.



Jane Addams Book Signing: Sandra J. Dixon

Location: Jane Addams BookshopInvisible Girl
Date: Saturday, March 20, 2010
Time: 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Address: 208 N. Neil St., Champaign IL

The Invisible Girl: Uncovering Repressed Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse

The Invisible Girl is a riveting personal account of living in the aftermath of physical and sexual abuse. It breaks frontiers of what we know about repressed memories. It is based both on personal experience and the lives of hundreds of patients that Sandra Dixon has treated as a mental health professional. She will encourage questions and open discussion at this event.

Visit The Invisible Girl website for more information.



NIT Ticket Info (Assembly Hall)

Should Illinois advance to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament, ticket orders and sales will begin Thursday, March 18 through the Illinois Athletics Ticket Office.

I FUND and season-ticket holders have an exclusive window of opportunity to place orders for reserved seats in A Section only Thursday from 9 am-5 pm in person at the Athletics box office at the Assembly Hall, by phone (217-333-3470 / 866-ILLINI1) or online at Reserved tickets in A Section are $25 each. Seat locations in Section A will be allocated by I FUND membership levels and priority points.

General admission tickets for B and C Sections are $15 and will go on sale Thursday during regular business hours (9 am-5 pm). General admission tickets can be purchased in person, by phone or 24 hours a day online at

All tickets sold from Friday until game time on Monday would be general admission.

Fans who place ticket orders are encouraged to pick up their tickets beginning Friday, or, as early as possible on Monday to avoid possible long lines at the Will Call windows.

University of Illinois students may purchase a special student ticket for $10 with a UI ID card.

Parking for possible second and third-round games will cost $5 for all Assembly Hall lots.


Illini earn #1 seed

The Illini men travel to Long Island this week to face the Stony Brook Seawolves in the opening round of of the NIT.

Illinois can't play at home because Cirque du Soleil is in town.

The game airs o' ESPNU at 8 o'clock o' St. Patrick's Day.

If you drink enough, you may imagine you're seeing inbounds plays. Except that you don't have ESPNU.