Saturday, July 12, 2008

Outreach Services Partnership at Marathon County Public Library

Link to July 12 Wausau Daily Herald article, "Computer class connects Spanish speakers, library".

The library will become more a familiar place to Hispanic residents this summer as a result of efforts by its staff members and The Neighbors’ Place.

A nine-week computer class for Spanish speakers began June 13 at the Marathon County Public Library’s downtown Wausau headquarters at 300 N. First St.

The nine adults in the class will learn basic computer skills, including vocabulary and how to navigate the Internet, said Jennifer Lund, director of multicultural outreach and adult education at The Neighbors’ Place.

Lund encouraged the students to bring their children so they can participate in story time and other activities.

The offerings will allow families to learn about what the library has to offer while helping to improve their English skills, said Lund, who teaches the course.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Headline with a Whole Different Meaning for Library Staff

Link to July 10 Reuters article, "Desk rage spoils workplace for many Americans".

The focus of the article is anger among employees in the workplace, not between employees and customers.

Anger in the workplace -- employees and employers who are grumpy, insulting, short-tempered or worse -- is shockingly common and likely growing as Americans cope with woes of rising costs, job uncertainty or overwhelming debt, experts say.

"People are coming to work after a long commute, sitting in traffic watching their discretionary income burn up. They're ready for a fight or just really upset," [John Challenger, head of Chicago's Challenger, Gray & Christmas workplace consultants] said.

How to deal with library rage?

The January 2002 of Library Administrator's Digest suggests that libraries must incorporate the five principles of customer service that are common to the best stores and corporations:
1. Giving respectful attention to customers

2. Providing adequate information
3. Offering service at the customer's convenience
4. Having reasonable guidelines for in-store behavior
5. Making sure people are comfortable

Easier said than done sometimes.

From past -- and gratefully infrequent experience -- I've learned that sometimes you just have to stand there stoically and let people vent. (And have staff and/or police intervention procedures in place if a cool-down doesn't occur within a few minutes.)

Stories with constructive solutions to share?

TGIT: Outagamie County explores four-day work week

Link to July 11 Oshkosh Northwestern article.

Outagamie County Executive Toby Paltzer has asked his staff to come up with a plan that would allow the county to close at least its main administration building one day a week.

"I'm sure we could save money," Paltzer said. The county is bracing for a 40 percent increase in its natural gas bill next year. "If we could shut down the furnace or air conditioning, I think it could have a major effect."

It would be seriously distressing if this trend spread to libraries that provide direct public service. At least one library agency, the Utah State Library, is soon to be been impacted by response to rising energy costs.

From the Library's website. Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has announced Working 4 Utah initiative, extending state government service from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday beginning the first week of August. The Utah State Library is complying with the Governor's request, new business hours are Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Research Sparks Controversy over Serenity Prayer

It's a short prayer that millions know by heart.
Some of you may even have a coffee cup or a framed print with the full test.

For years, the provenance has been attributed to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971). Research conducted by Fred R. Shapiro, Associate Library Director and lecturer at Yale Law School, however, now puts a big question mark on the prayer's origin.

Link to July 11 New York Times article, "Serenity Prayer Stirs Up Doubt: Who Wrote It?"

Now, a law librarian at Yale, using new databases of archival documents, has found newspaper clippings and a book from as far back as 1936 that quote close versions of the prayer. The quotations are from civic leaders all over the United States — a Y.W.C.A. leader in Syracuse, a public school counselor in Oklahoma City — and are always, interestingly, by women.

Some refer to the prayer as if it were a proverb, while others appear to claim it as their own poetry. None attribute the prayer to a particular source. And they never mention Reinhold Niebuhr.

"LJ Talks to.....Fred Shapiro". Library Journal, 4/10/2007.

Excerpt: The recently published "Yale Book of Quotations" (LJ 10/15/06) is a compendium of 12,000 quotations drawn from a wide variety of fields, including literature, pop culture, social sciences, sciences, folklore, and others. Compiled by Fred R. Shapiro, associate librarian and researcher at the Yale Law School, the hefty volume has been getting quite a bit of attention in the media—and for good reasons. Its user-friendly format and unique focus on American (rather than global) quotations make it a natural fit for both reference and circulating collections. Perhaps what makes it stand out even more is editor Shapiro’s insatiable appetite for the subject; it took six years to research. After several email exchanges with the busy librarian, it also becomes obvious to LJ's Mirela Roncevic that producing a reference tome is as much of a personal investment as writing any other type of book.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Maybe You Could Read a Book?

Link to July 8 Tech Trader Daily post, "Americans Watching More TV Than Ever, Neilsen Says".

The more things change, the more they stay the same: Americans in May watched more hours of television than ever before, according to Nielsen.

In May, Nielsen reports, the average American watched 127 hours and 15 minutes of television, which comes to something just over 4 hours a day. That’s up 4% from 121 hours, 48 minutes in May 2007.

The highest level of television watching was among those age 65 or older, with 177 hours, 50 minutes of watching in May. The average for kids 2-11 was 87 hours a month. (Retiring Guy plans to buck this trend.)

I have to share the first two comments to this post.

Well, duh! With gas prices the way they are, it not at all surprising that more folks are staying home and watching TV.

With the economy like it is, what else is there to do but stay home and watch TV???? What else can we afford to do?

Call me old-fashioned, but you can certainly afford to visit your public library once or twice a month and check out some books to read.

Summer Library Gaming Program

Lester Public Library, Two Rivers

to July 10 Manitowoc Herald Tribune Report article, "Libraries offer Wii contests".

Playing video games may not seem like the sort of activity a library would promote, but this summer libraries in the Manitowoc-Calumet Library System are holding Wii tournaments for sixth- through 12th-graders.

Battle of the Boxes, Competition on the Coast includes the public libraries in Manitowoc, Two Rivers, Kiel, New Holstein, Chilton and Brillion.

"Gaming … is so much more than playing a game," said Rachel Muchin Young, public relations manager for the Manitowoc Public Library. "Libraries are all about literacy, but literacy isn't only reading and writing. … Literacy is about technology."

Following in the Footsteps of the Capital Times

Picture postcard from Larry Nix's
Library History Buff website

Link to July 10 Superior Daily Telegram article, "Superior Daily Telegram announces new focus, publication".

Following a growing trend in the newspaper industry, The Daily Telegram will refocus its emphasis toward Internet publishing, company executives said today.

The Telegram’s Web page,, will become the primary source of day-to-day breaking news, said Publisher Ken Browall. It will feature printed news and photos of events as they happen seven days a week, along with audio and video clips.

The Daily Telegram is the second Wisconsin newspaper this year to move its emphasis toward the Internet. The 90-year-old Capital Times of Madison, which published Mondays thru Saturdays, became a primarily Internet-based news source on April 26. It offers a twice-weekly print edition.

Superior newsprint aficionados will now have to get a daily fix of local news here.

Study: New library facility should be built in downtown Appleton

Link to July 10 Appleton Post Crescent article.

A commissioned study released Thursday by the Library Board and City of Appleton proposes a new 138,000-square-foot library facility be constructed in the downtown area, replacing the existing Appleton Public Library.

In its final report, Durrant architects and Himmel & Wilson consultants, told the Appleton Public Library Board of Trustees that based on results of their extensive library facilities study, the new facility is needed

Executive summary and final report are found here.

History of the Appleton Public Library is found here.

The Appleton Public Library still operated out of the building shown above when I moved to Wisconsin in 1978. The current facility opened in 1981.

What Would Art Garfunkel Read?

Well, now you know!

Art Garfunkel's library.

Since the 1960's, Art Garfunkel has been a voracious reader. We are pleased to present a listing of every book Art has read over the last 40 years. To view a list of Art Garfunkel's favorite books, go to Favorites. This book list has been divided into several pages to allow easy downloading. Each page indicates the author, title, date of publication and number of pages (when available).

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video

Link to summary and full report of Center for Social Media's "Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video".

This document is a code of best practices that helps creators, online providers, copyright holders, and others interested in the making of online video interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances.

The Center for Social Media showcases and analyzes strategies to use media as creative tools for public knowledge and action. It focuses on social documentaries for civil society and democracy, and on the public media environment that supports them. The Center is part of the School of Communication at American University.

The report discusses the following 6 best practices using the following 3-part format: description, prinicple, limitation.
1. Commenting on or critiquing of copyright material.
2. Using copyrighted material for illustration or example.
3. Capturing copyrighted material incidentally or accidentally.
4. Reproducing, reposting, or quoting in order to memorialize, preserve, or rescue an experience, an event, or a cultural phenomenon.
5. Copying, reposting, and recirculating a work or part of a work for purposes of lauching a discussion.
6. Quoting in order to recombine elements to make a new work that depends for its meaning on (often unlikely) relationships between the element.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Nancy Pelosi, Meet Ted Stevens

Link to July 9 Chicago Boyz post, "Nancy Pelosi vs. the Internet".

Excerpt: Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who would like very much to reimpose the old, so-called, “Fairness Doctrine” that once censored conservative opinion on television and radio broadcasting, is scheming to impose rules barring any member of Congress from posting opinions on any internet site without first obtaining prior approval from the Democratic leadership of Congress. No blogs, twitter, online forums - nothing.

Selected posts on why politicians just don't get it are here, here, here, here, and here.

796.962 PER

"That's my money, dammit!"

Right between The Boys of Winter and Crashing the Net.

Link to July 9 Wisconsin State Journal article, "McFarland extortion suspect one for the books".

A McFarland man was arrested after police said he stole a woman 's purse and camera, then mailed her a ransom note demanding she leave $300 in a certain library book if she wanted to see the items again...

The letter instructed her to put three $100 bills in page 100 of a book titled, "The Hockey Handbook, " at the McFarland library "by 7 p.m. Wednesday, " the next day, and "all your things will be returned to you by Thursday. " Helpfully, the note even included the Dewey decimal number for the book. (I was happy to oblige.)

Related reading:
"Library crime" posts at LibraryLawBlog. (Nothing as quirky as this story.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Not the Hot 100

Link to, "100 Unbelievably Useful Reference Sites You’ve Never Heard Of", by Lauran Milligan.

Intro: Beyond Google, Wikipedia and other generic reference sites, the Internet boasts a multitude of search engines, dictionaries, reference desks and databases that have organized and archived information for quick and easy searches. In this list, we’ve compiled just 100 of our favorites, for teachers, students, hypochondriacs, procrastinators, bookworms, sports nuts and more.

Of the few sites I checked out, I was most intrigued with Ditto.

And I think that would be more useful with the addition of idioms. (The latter site includes "the whole nine yards", alphabetized under "T". Because it showed up in so few slang dictionaries when I taught Basic Reference courses, this phrase has become the gold standard for my evaluation of slang resources.)

Political Mythology 101

Where do they come up with this stuff? Hot air balloon school?

Here's what John McCain said at a recent campaign stop in Denver. “American workers and families pay their bills and balance their budgets, and I will demand the same of the government."

Is that so?

Link to May 7, 2008, post, "U.S. Consumer Debt Rises More Than Forecast in March (Update2)".

Excerpt: U.S. consumer borrowing jumped more than double the amount economists forecast in March, indicating a slowing economy is forcing Americans to accumulate credit-card and other forms of debt.

Although the Milton Friedman adulation makes me a little nervous, Michael Hodges, publisher of the Grandfather Economic Report, notes that Americans are in debt to the tune of $175,154 per person.

And in related news, read about the Implode-a-Meter in today's New York Times.

As millions of homeowners fall behind on their mortgages, a fledging Web site called the Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter is gleefully tallying the number of lenders that run into trouble too. On Monday, the count was 265 — and rising.

With its tongue-in-cheek tone and running lists of the “imploded” and the merely “ailing,” the Implode-O-Meter has become a sort of Gawker of the subprime world. At a recent Mortgage Bankers Association conference, a speaker addressed what has become a hot topic among lenders: how to keep your company’s name off the site.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How Free is a Media Run By Corporate Conglomerates?

It's all over the web, but the mainstream media has, so far, barely dipped a toe into the story.

Link to July 7 New York Times article, " Ex-Prosecutor’s Book Accuses Bush of Murder".

Interesting. This was actually the subheadline in the print version. "High on the Best-Seller List, And Ignored by the Media."

As an author, Mr. Bugliosi has written three No. 1 best sellers and won three Edgar Allan Poe awards, the top honor for crime writers. More than 30 years ago he co-wrote the best seller "Helter Skelter", about the Manson case.

So Mr. Bugliosi could be forgiven for perhaps thinking that a new book would generate considerable interest, among reviewers and on the broadcast talk-show circuit.

But if he thought that, he would have been mistaken: his latest, a polemic with the provocative title "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder", has risen to best-seller status with nary a peep from the usual outlets that help sell books: cable television and book reviews in major daily newspapers.

Columbia Journalism Review guide to who owns what. Also includes link's to CJR articles about media ownership.