Blog Archives

College Depot is holding three FREE workshops

[Via City of Phoenix/Phoenix Public Library] College Depot, located on the second floor of Burton Barr Central Library at 1221 N. Central Ave. (map), will host three free workshops in August.

  • Writing a Winning Personal Statement Tuesday, Aug. 17, 4:00-5:00 p.m. Make your personal statement for college or scholarship applications come alive.
  • Explore Engineering at ASU Wednesday, Aug. 25, 4:00-5:00 p.m. Learn about opportunities in the field and engineering programs at ASU.

Space is limited. To register or for more information, call 602-261-8847 or email: College Depot is a full-service college planning center that offers free one-on-one assistance, family consultation and workshops on all aspects of the college planning process, fromfinancial aid to career exploration.  The service is open to anyone seeking assistance with planning for college. For a complete list of workshops and events, visit  their website. You can also follow them on Twitter

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City budget cuts prompt new library hours; only downtown Phoenix library open 7 days

[Source: City of Phoenix] — As a result of the budget approved Tuesday by the Mayor and City Council, all Phoenix Public Library facilities will remain open.  However, all but Burton Barr Central Library will be closed from one to two days a week beginning April 5.  Here is the schedule:

  • Libraries closed on Friday – Cesar Chavez, Cholla, Ironwood, Juniper, Mesquite, Palo Verde, and Saguaro libraries.
  • Libraries closed on Sunday and Monday – Acacia, Agave, Century, Desert Broom, Desert Sage, Harmon, Ocotillo, and Yucca libraries.
  • Burton Barr Central Library will be open seven days a week.

The libraries’ hours of service will be:

  • Mondays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Fridays and Saturdays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sundays: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Burton Barr Central Library will also make some service reductions, including making the Accessibility Center, which provides material for customers with disabilities, available by appointment only.

Phoenix Public Library is a system of 15 branch libraries and the Burton Barr Central Library.  For more information, call 602-262-4636 or visit  Follow the library on Twitter at

Viewpoint: Phoenix budget woes, big art, light rail made ’09 quite a year

[Source: Arizona Republic; section headers organized by yours truly] — With this being Christmas week, we figured you wouldn’t want to read a traditional editorial any more than we wanted to write one.  So today, we lighten things up a bit with awards for notable achievements in 2009.

Phoenix Overall

  • Story of the year: Phoenix did the virtually impossible this year — it cut $270 million from the general fund to balance the budget due to low sales-tax revenue.  Residents are feeling the effects with reduced hours or closures of swimming pools, libraries, and senior centers.  They also see more graffiti and potholes because staff is stretched so thin.  Now the city is talking about cutting an additional $100 million or so.  This story is getting old.
  • Best cheerleader: Mayor Phil Gordon earns this award again.  With frequent trips to Washington, D.C., to lobby for stimulus funds, and Janet Napolitano resigning as governor to lead Homeland Security, Gordon is the face of Arizona.
  • Embarrassment: Rep. Ray Barnes’ rambling reasons for voting to cut $144 million from public education.  Grab some eggnog and watch this Phoenix Republican go off.
  • Hot potato: The idea to raise the sales tax temporarily to generate revenue quickly.  Mayor Gordon suggested a community member take on his idea.  But no one wants to touch it.
  • Landmark: The city became the second in the state to offer a domestic-partner registry to gay or straight couples who share a Phoenix residence.  Among other privileges, the registry grants partners visitation rights in hospitals.
  • Pillar: City Manager Frank Fairbanks earns this award again.  He retired this year, but not before balancing the nastiest budget deficit in city history.  Thanks, Frank.

Downtown Focused/Strong Influence

  • Pushin’ on: Light rail has its fans and its foes.  But ridership is up and businesses have sprouted along the line.  The system is approaching it first anniversary.  We say light rail is on track.
  • Newcomer: Janet Echelman’s “Her Secret Is Patience” at the new Civic Space Park downtown opened to much criticism.  Meant to resemble a cactus bloom, the floating sculpture was called everything from a basketball hoop to a male contraceptive.  Not that we mind.  Some of the best artwork in the world drew heavy criticism.  We’re just glad people are noticing what downtown Phoenix has to offer.
  • Comeback: Phoenix Urban Market Grocery and Wine Bar at Central Avenue and Pierce Street is the first grocer to serve the area in 30 years.  It only carries the basics.  But milk, vegetables, bread, pasta and other staples are welcome.
  • Bragging rights: President Barack Obama made three visits to the Valley this year.  One of those was to the new Phoenix Convention Center, where Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention.
  • Feather in the cap: A budding knowledge-based economy, parks and preservation efforts, and teen spaces at public libraries make Phoenix an All-America City.  Now it has the civic award to prove it.  This was Phoenix’s fifth win.  It would be a shame to lose these gains to budget cuts in the down economy.

Other Parts of Phoenix

  • Senseless act: A photo-enforcement-van driver was shot to death while deployed near Loop 101 in north Phoenix.  Thomas DeStories was indicted in connection with the shooting death of Douglas Georgianni.
  • Tallest story: Despite opposition from neighbors, the City Council approved a Mormon temple whose steeple and spire will rise 86 feet above the Deer Valley area.
  • Unsung hero: The Macehualli Day Labor Center in northeastern Phoenix provides a central location for day laborers and potential employers to negotiate business.  The center is for sale.

College planning center opens in downtown Phoenix library

[Source: Jonathan Rogers, National League of Cities] — Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, city council members, school board members and local funding partners recently celebrated the opening of a new, full-service college planning center at the Burton Barr Central Library in downtown Phoenix. Developed through a partnership between the city’s Youth and Education Programs Office and three higher education institutions, College Depot will provide access to a range of free services to help high school students prepare for postsecondary education.

These outreach, resource and referral services are aimed at improving access to information for college planning, financial aid and admission, and will include:

  • One-on-one assistance with the college application process;
  • Workshops for students and parents on college readiness, financial aid and scholarships, applications, personal statements and test preparation;
  • College planning software to match students with the right colleges, scholarships and internships; and
  • College fairs and appointments with bilingual university and community college counselors.

The library’s College Depot is expected to serve at least 2,500 students and parents within six months of opening.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Phoenix named finalist for All-America City Award

[Source: City of Phoenix] — The National Civic League announced today that the city of Phoenix is one of 32 finalists for the 2009 All-America City Award.  Phoenix is the only Arizona finalist in the 60th annual competition.  A committee of 50 people worked collaboratively on the award application, including 30 community members and 20 city employees.  Projects highlighted were Urban Higher Education and Economic Development, Parks and Land Preservation, and Library Teen Spaces.

“We are honored and proud to be selected as an All-America City finalist,” said Mayor Phil Gordon.  “Phoenix projects like ASU and the downtown Biomedical Campus have brought urban education to life, while spurring economic growth.  Our innovative Parks funding initiative saved thousands of acres from development and renovated and built neighborhood parks.  The Phoenix Public Library’s unique teen spaces benefit young people at all library branches.  These projects show Phoenix works together with the whole community to improve our quality of life.”

The finalists will compete to earn the title “All-America City,” with presentations June 17 – 19 in Tampa, Fla.  No tax dollars will be used for any expenses.  Phoenix is a four-time All-America City, having won the recognition in 1950, 1958, 1980 and 1989.  It is the country’s most prestigious community recognition award, honoring communities of all sizes for collaborative projects addressing critical issues.  For more information, click here.

Due to budget cuts, Phoenix Public Library reduces hours starting March 2

Night View of Phoenix Library Due to City of Phoenix budget cuts, Phoenix Public Library will reduce hours of operation starting March 2.  The new hours will be:

  • 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
  • Closed Sunday

For more information, click here.

Budget proposal shows deep cuts for Phoenix libraries

Burton Barr Public Library, downtown Phoenix

[Source: Casey Newton, Arizona Republic] — The Phoenix Public Library may shut down for one day each week as part of severe budget cuts that also will slash the fund for buying new books and DVDs.  The budget proposal submitted by the library to Phoenix budget officials would both reduce the hours of service by an unspecified amount and reduce the budget for new materials, said Toni Garvey, the city librarian.  The complete proposal will be unveiled Jan. 6, with two weeks of community budget hearings to follow.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]