Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Whole World's Watching

The legal world, anyway.

Link to July 18 Yahoo News article, "Web networking photos come back to bite defendants".

Two weeks after Joshua Lipton was charged in a drunken driving crash that seriously injured a woman, the 20-year-old college junior attended a Halloween party dressed as a prisoner. Pictures from the party showed him in a black-and-white striped shirt and an orange jumpsuit labeled "Jail Bird."

In the age of the Internet, it might not be hard to guess what happened to those pictures: Someone posted them on the social networking site Facebook. And that offered remarkable evidence for Jay Sullivan, the prosecutor handling Lipton's drunken-driving case.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Study examines support for library funding

Targeting marketing messages to the right segments of the voting public is key to driving increased support for U.S. public libraries. This is one of the conclusions of From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America, a new report from the Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC).

The study was funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to explore attitudes and perceptions about library funding and to evaluate the potential of a large-scale marketing and advocacy campaign to increase public library funding in the United States. Among the report's findings are the following:

1. Library funding support is only marginally related to library visitation.
2. Perceptions of librarians are an important predictor of library funding support.
3. Voters who see the library as a "transformational" force as opposed to an "informational" source are more likely to increase taxes in its support.

For further information or to download the report, visit the OCLC website.

The Impact of the Internet: Libraries More Important Than Ever

Link to July 17 Green Bay Press Gazette article, "Net helps keep libraries from checking out".

In an age in which day-to-day questions and research are just a click away, libraries — once thought to be in danger of being permanently checked out — are more relevant than ever.

Nationally, reports show that libraries have seen an increase in public use ever since the Internet has been offered, said Lynn Stainbrook, director of the Brown County Library System.

That's been the case since 1993 for Brown County, she said.

Note sidebar: "Beyond Books: Libraries Thrive in the Internet Age."

Libraries thrive in Toronto, Houston, Dallas, Darien CT, Boston (and here), Denver, Baltimore, and probably all of the places mentioned in this song.

Hmong children's book aims to bridge gap

Link to July 17 Wausau Daily Herald article.

A new children's book by a Stevens Point author aims to educate people about the Hmong culture.

Published by the Portage County Literacy Council, Maiker Vang's "Grandma's Hmong New Year Celebration" teaches people of all ages and nationalities why the Hmong celebrate the way they do.

Filled with intricate colored-pencil drawings and written in three dialects, it tells the story of a Hmong woman from Laos who is teaching her American Hmong granddaughter about the Hmong New Year.

"I know that ... a lot of people ... do not understand why we have to celebrate the way we do," Vang said. "That's why I tried to develop this book."

Vang immigrated to the United States from a Thai refugee camp in 1976 when she was 11.

Link to Hmong ABC Bookstore in St. Paul, MN.

According to its website, HMONG ABC is the first and the only Hmong bookstore in the world. It was started by Yuepheng L. Xiong and his wife Shoua V. Xiong in 1995. HMONG ABC has the best collections of Hmong books. It also carries many other products such as Paj Ntaub, hand-made clothings and jackets, arts and artifacts.

Do Audiophiles Dream of Library CD Collections?

I'd say no -- and that library music CDs, unlike the illustration above, still have a fair amount of shelf life left. At Middleton, after a drop in circulation last year, our music CD use has plateaued so far in 2008.

Link to July 17 Audiophiliac post, "It's official: Audiophiles are over CD".

The end is near, another war seems imminent, oil prices continue to rise, the dollar is in free fall, and now audiophiles have abandoned the CD. Don't get the wrong idea, they haven't all dumped their CD players for turntables (I wish), no, they've bought music servers of some kind or another. How can this be happening?

I read the sad news on the Stereophile web page, or more specifically the online magazine's July 6, Vote! feature. That week's question was, how do you listen to digital music, and the poll says 34 percent still use CD players as their primary digital source. Yikes, I would have guessed much higher, more like 70 percent. Thirty six percent use a computer-based server, and 10 percent more use dedicated servers such as Sonos or Squeezebox. Another 4 percent use iPods! I felt a little better that 11 percent use a SACD or DVD-Audio player.

I wouldn't bet my retirement fund on an online poll, however.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Too Many Donations Lately?

Here's an idea.

On display at Myopic Books in Providence Rhode Island.

Link to July 16 boingboing post, "Chair made from discarded paperbacks".

May Bookstore Sales Up 2%

And an excuse to show off a cake.

Cake created by Svetha Hetzler,
Middleton's Head of Children's Services,
for a Book Bistro program

From Publishers Weekly, 7/15/2008

Bookstore sales rose again in May, albeit at a much more moderate clip than the surprising 8% rate posted in April. According to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, bookstore sales increased 2.6% in May, to $1.15 billion. Sales for the entire retail segment were up 2.5% in the month. For the first five months of the year bookstore sales were up 4.9%, to $6.60 billion. Sales for all of retail rose 3.5% in the period.

As a point of comparison, circulation at South Central Library System LINK libraries increased to 921, 804 in May 2008 compared to 874,753 in May 2007 -- an increase of 5.4%

Year-to-date LINK circulation tallies:
4,809,803 in 2008 (+3.7%)
4,629,167 in 2007 (+4.1% over 2006)

What I'm really interested to see, though, are summer reading program participation numbers. Anecdotally, it sounds as though records are being set at many libraries this summer, even those not serving cake! Middleton exceeded last year's record participation by children within the 3rd week of this year's program. The teen record fell last week.

Concerns Expressed Over Waukesha County Library Funding Formula

Link to July 15 JSOnline article, "Waukesha County plan to reward libraries for out-of-town patrons ".

County officials say some library administrators are overstating the impact of a proposed new formula for distributing more than $2 million in county aid to libraries.

The formula, which requires County Board approval, would redistribute funds based partly on which libraries serve the most out-of-town customers.

Despite concerns expressed by some library administrators, county officials said the proposal has safeguards that would protect libraries from drastic changes in county funding.

At least one library director takes no comfort in these assurances.

Brookfield Public Library Director Edell Schaefer said she was standing by her estimate that the Brookfield facility could lose $30,000 or more under the new formula. Schaefer said another projection showed Brookfield’s loss surpassing $50,000, although she said the details were unclear.

Link to Waukesha County Federated Library System.
Link to Waukesha County Department of Administration.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Big-Picture Approach


Library Makes List of Madison Quiet Places

Link to July 13 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Shhhh... Finding quiet in Madison".

There's nothing like curling up with a good book, losing yourself in the vivid characters when, suddenly, one of them yells at you to buy them a Cherry Sno-Cone from the ice cream truck. Now!

Searching for solitude? Nothing beats the void-like hush of UW-Madison's Law Library. Open to the public, its five floors offer nooks, crannies and the kind of heavy silence that could make mimes squirm. In fact, attempts to interview the library's patrons were fruitless since any noise -- especially talking -- would seem more out of place than a porcupine in a petting zoo.

As a minor caveat, library-goers should be sure to douse their cell-phone ringers before entering or endure the wrath of 'Shhhh!'-hissing fingers from all sides. Other than that, you won't find a quieter place to read, cram or hibernate this side of a deserted space station.

Virtual tour starts here.