Saturday, November 22, 2008

Protests (and Tears) over Library Closures in Philadelphia

Links to news stories. Here. Here. Here. Here. (Spreadsheet analysis by branch.)
That-was-then-this-is-now department.
(Michael Nutter is now the Mayor of Philadelphia.)

Friends of the Philadelphia Free Library.

Beaver Dam Native Publishes Book about WWII Home Front

Link to Beaver Dam Daily Citizen article, "Book views WWII through civilian eyes".

Goodwin Messinger said she got the idea for her new book while writing her previous book about a woman who survived a concentration camp and went on to ski for the German Olympic team.

She said she began to hear about other people's stories of the war. She thought that while there are a lot of books about what veterans experienced during the war, there were few on what civilians survived.

Winneconne Welcomes New Library Director

Aerial view of Winneconne, Wisconsin

Link to November 22 Oshkosh Northwestern article, "Winneconne's new library director has big ideas for small town library".

Holly Selwitschka's background includes working as a children's librarian in Beaver Dam and New London and as a media specialist at a Waupaca County school. She has an undergraduate degree is in English and a master's degree is in library and information sciences. She is a native of Minnesota.

You can email a congratulatory note to Holly at

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'll watch this development with interest

....if not enthusiasm.

Nashville's Main Library

Link to November 21 post, "Nashville Mayor Proposes Public Library Run School Libraries".

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean points to the following benefits:
  • Consolidated procurement of materials and attendant cost savings
  • Centralized collection development
  • Combined check-out systems to increase efficiency
  • Consolidated staff with ongoing staff training
  • Private fundraising efforts for school libraries
  • Improved school library space
Showing some resistance, the president of the school board suggests that the school board has the ultimate authority to move forward on this project. He calls the idea "exploratory".

Here's a very short article from the Nashville Tennessean, which includes the following quote from Mayor Dean: This is an opportunity to develop the best school library and public library system in the country, and our students and community deserve nothing less.

Hope he's true to his word.

What Will Nicholas Baker Say?

Link to November 21 Editor & Publisher post, "Ohio County Public Library Gives Away Vintage Editions of Local Papers".

Baker has already made his feelings known about this type of housecleaning.

The secretary/treasurer of the Ohio County Public Library's Board of Trustees says, due to their state of deterioration, the paper editions can no longer be displayed (?) at the library.

I suppose the library doesn't have the wherewithal to store them properly. No mention is made as to whether other agencies -- i.e., historical societies -- were contacted. Or maybe the newspapers are beyond redemption -- like the early 20th-century editions of The World Almanac, the newsprint pages yellowed and brittle, that were in storage in the basement of the Oshkosh Public Library during the 8 years I worked there (1978-1986). At most, I can't imagine they survived the mid-90s addition and renovation.

Survey Says......

......cell phones improve family communication.

See Pew Center Research survey here.

The cynic in me wonders if people know the difference between "quality" and "quantity".

Crystal Ball Forecasts

Cloudy, with a chance of crow.

Heritage-strung Steele misses the mark in a book published late last year.

"Macht-Schnell" Zell tosses disparagement at his "Democrat" party colleagues in 2003. (Scooby Davis rubs Zell's face in it here.)

New Sequoya Branch Library Opens

News release.

Flickr views.

Link to information about the Sequoya Commons project.

Care to live here? Lots of condo space still available!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Your 15 Minutes Are Up, Chumley

Maybe it fell in the toilet.

And let's hope that this instant remainder from this giant in the publishing world ends up in the same place.

Parents Can Relax

According to this article in today's New York Times, "Teenagers’ Internet Socializing Not a Bad Thing".

The full report, "Living and Learning With the New Media", conducted by Digital Youth Research, is found here.

In essence, the report says that, while online, teens mostly socialize with their friends and acquaintances. For those parents who have teenagers -- or children who have recently graduated from this age range -- this is old news.

Lead researcher Mizuko Ito was quoted as saying, "...their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They're learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page."

Some parents might not be completely reassured, particularly those who are thorough readers of their print edition of the New York Times. On page A27, a continuation of the internet socializing article is found below this account of the Missouri woman who taunted a 13-year-old girl with a phone MySpace account.

PC Magazine Drops Its Print Version

Link to November 20 New York Times article.

27 years of print publication history comes to an end with the January 2009 issue. Content will remain available online.

PC's circulation peaked at 1.2 million during the late 1990s. Current rate base is 600,000.

And I see that 5 LINK libraries will be able to free up some additional shelf space with the demise of Cottage Living, a Time-Life publication. (Current subscription base rate: 1,000,000.) The website is also going bye-bye.

Expect more carnage. Advertising pages for December 2008 monthly magazines are down 17% compared to December 2007.

Monitor the death watch yourself here. (The Media Industry Newsletter. Some content restricted.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2009 Wisconsin Joint Committee on Finance


Assembly Democrats
Rep. Mark Pocan, co-chair
Rep. Pedro Colon, vice chair

Rep. Cory Mason

Rep. Jennifer Shilling

Rep. Gary Sherman

Rep. Tamara Grigsby

Assembly Republicans
Rep. Robin Vos

Rep. Phil Montgomery

Senate Democrats
Sen. Mark Miller, co-chair
Sen. Dave Hansen, vice chair

Sen. Lena Taylor

Sen. John Lehman

Sen. Judy Robson

Sen. Julie Lassa

Senate Republicans
Sen. Alberta Darling

Sen. Luther Olsen

Photo Archive Alert

You'll find a huge selection of photos from the archives of LIFE magazine -- "millions", it's claimed -- here.

Among the highlights.....

An aerial view of Milwaukee County Stadium
back in the heyday

According to the information found here, the photo was taken in March 1957. (I don't think so. The Braves didn't play their first game of the season until April 17.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

At a Crossroads in News Consumption

Link to Pew Research Center survey.

It's no surprise that newspapers are becoming increasingly smaller and thinner -- or just hightailing it to the web. (A weekly insert in the Wisconsin State Journal notwithstanding).

Investigative and Advocacy Journalism Moves to the Web

Ida Tarbell, pioneering muckraking journalist

Some of you might remember the late, unlamented (or so it seems) New Times, a muckraking bi-weekly magazine which folded right before we all went to sleep during the Reagan years. The editors didn't seem to care who they pissed off, which made for great reading. During its brief run, it's was one of two magazines I read from cover to cover during the 1970s. (American Heritage being the other.)

Here's a New York Times article, "Web Sites That Dig for News Rise as Community Watchdogs", that provides a report on the current status of investigative journalism. (Reporters digging for information? Now there's mainstream journalism workplace habit that's in great need of a revival.)

Web-based news operations highlighted.
Voice of San Diego
St. Louis Beacon
New Haven Independent (Seattle)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Public library adopts ‘Twitter’ communication

The Pre-Twitter, Pre-Internet, Pre-Computer, Card-Catalog Version

Link to November 17 Oshkosh Northwestern article.

In many places, government is slow to embrace the Internet, blogging, social networking – the whole nine yards.

But kudos to the Oshkosh Public Library for continuing to stay up to speed with the trends and to reach out to its users. The library now has its own "Twitter" feed. You can find it at

States Can No Longer Hold the Line on Funding for Education

Link to November 17 post, "Tough economy hammers schools, colleges".

Cutting education spending is an indication of how bleak the economy looks. States are usually reluctant to cut school funding in times of economic hardship, because education is “politically sacrosanct,” said Scott Pattison, the executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers. During the economic downturn after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, half the states still managed to avoid major cuts to education, he said.

The Wisconsin outlook?

Here's the latest "Budget Reduction Memo" to state agency heads from the Wisconsin Department of Administration that addresses a projected $5 billion deficit through June 30, 2011.

As reported in the November 12 Wisconsin State Journal, .......

Doyle was more cautious about a potential increase in sales and income taxes, saying he would only do it to avoid a crisis in Medicaid and K-12 schools and universities.

"I am going to do everything humanly possible to avoid any general tax increase," Doyle said. "I am willing to make very deep cuts but I am not willing to see the schools of this state go into crisis mode."

Doyle said he would seek:

* A hospital tax that, as proposed in the past, would bring in more federal money to make larger state payments to hospitals and pay down the budget shortfall by $150 million to $210 million over the next two and a half years.

* A tax on oil companies that would bring in nearly $393 million over two years.

* Federal money to help the state pay for priorities such as health care for the poor, a measure that President-elect Barack Obama said he supported during the campaign.

* Cuts and savings in state government that could affect many agencies such as UW-Madison and programs including a planned expansion of the state's BadgerCare Plus health-care initiative to childless adults.

The Downside of Technology

Sorta....kinda....looks like John DeBacher
(Must be mulling over the New Glarus issue)

Link to a report summarizing a recent survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, "When Technology Fails".

Among the findings:
  • 44% of those with home internet access say their connection failed to work properly for them at some time in the previous 12 months.
  • 39% of those with desktop or laptop computers have had their machines not work properly at some time in the previous 12 months.
  • 29% of cell phone users say their device failed to work properly at some time in the previous year.
  • 26% of those with Blackberries, Palm Pilots or other personal digital assistants say they have encountered a problem with their device at some time in the previous 12 months.
  • 15% of those with an iPod or MP3 player say their devices have not worked properly at some time in the prior year.

New Glarus Village Board Has a Brain Fart

Link to November 16 Wisconsin State Journal article, "New Glarus library might be booted from regional system".

Village officials want to charge the library $10,578 in rent for 2009 in order to meet a tight budget and stay within a state-mandated levy limit. The library currently occupies space in the Village Hall.