Saturday, September 6, 2008

Obituary: The Highsmith Company, 1956-2008

....has come to an end?

Link to September 5 article at The Capital Times online, "Fort Atkinson's Highsmith to close; 86 jobs lost".

What will this mean for the PLA Highsmith Library Innovation Award and the WLA/Highsmith Award? You might want to pose this question here.

Link to Lisa Strand's July 10th post on the WLA Blog.

Best Headline of the Week

Library A Priority For Mayor

Would such a headline be published in your community newspaper?

Link to September 3, front-page Wisconsin State Journal article on a new Downtown central library.

Changing with the Times

Link to September 6, front-page Wisconsin State Journal article, "Changes at UW libraries: Fewer books, more fraternization".


Where once there were stacks of books at UW-Madison's College Library, now there are big tables, littered with laptops and pizza boxes.

In the place of journals, there is a coffee house and cafe. And windows that were blocked by bookshelves now reveal an expansive view of Lake Mendota's blue water.

This is the changing face of College Library, housed within Helen C. White Hall.

Some of the specifics:
1. 30,000 fewer volumes in collection.
2. Visits per year: 1.2 million
3. 100 paper newspapers and magazines (down from 1,000)
4. Reference collection cut by two-thirds
5. More room for study and gathering places
6. 500 new outlets for laptops and other devices

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mazo Among the Coolest

....according to Budget Travel. "10 Coolest Small Towns".

Mazo (may-zoh) is chockablock with artists, many of whom were drawn here by the historic down­town and cheap real estate. "You can't swing a stick in these hills without hitting an artist," says Brumley. [Bob Brumley, founder of the Iron Horse Gallery, an artists' co-op.

Link to Mazomanie Free Library.

Sarah Palin, Censor (Part 2)

It's no longer just a drip, drip, drip....

And there's no longer any doubt. Palin's the Polarizer.

Link to September 4 Anchorage Daily News story, "Palin pressured Wasilla librarian".

Back in 1996, when she first became mayor, Sarah Palin asked the city librarian if she would be all right with censoring library books should she be asked to do so.

According to news coverage at the time, the librarian said she would definitely not be all right with it. A few months later, the librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, got a letter from Palin telling her she was going to be fired. The censorship issue was not mentioned as a reason for the firing. The letter just said the new mayor felt Emmons didn't fully support her and had to go.

Emmons had been city librarian for seven years and was well liked. After a wave of public support for her, Palin relented and let Emmons keep her job.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fighting Back

Link to "America's Most Dangerous Librarians", by Amy Goodman and David Goodman, from the September-October 2008 issue of Mother Jones.

No Comment

Found here.


Link to September 3 Appleton Post-Crescent article, "$1 book at Shawano library sale worth $7,500".

Former Shawano County Dist. Atty. Fred Eberlein says he bought John Marshall’s book “The Life of George Washington,” which was printed in the early 1800s, for $1.

He discovered it’s worth at least $7,500 after having it appraised.

According to the Wisconsin Public Library Service Record, the Shawano City-County Library spent $105,874 on library materials in 2007. (How many audiobooks would $7,500 buy?)

Retiring Guy thinks that if Mr. Eberlein had any sense of decency, he'd donate the $7,50o to the library.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sarah Palin, Censor? (+updates)

Drip, drip, drip.......

The unflattering aspects of Sarah Palin's biography are like a leaky faucet. (But with 7 houses to take care of, perhaps McCain knows how to call a plumber.)

Here's the latest scoop from Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish at

The following excerpt is from the comments section on the Washington Independent posted by Anne Kilkenny. a resident of Wasilla, Alaska.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Caveat: All I found in the Anchorage Daily News was this story from 1997, "Wasilla keeps librarian, but police chief is out". (Excerpt: Palin said she asked Emmons if she would support efforts to merge the library and museum operations. Emmons said she would, according to Palin.")

Even after checking BadgerLink's Newspaper Archives, I didn't find any published accounts of Palin's book-banning effort. For now, I have to give McCain's current running mate the benefit of the doubt. And even if the story is true, it would be among the least of her problems.

FYI. The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman is Wasilla's "hometown" newspaper. No corroboration here, either.

Anyone else out there doing some detective work?

Michele McKnelly forwarded this link and excerpt from Time magazine's website: "Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." Theabout banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire her for notgiving "full support" to the mayor."