Saturday, December 20, 2008

Preservation Tips

Link to December 20 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries archivist Michael Doylen says he got a "wow" handling a priceless James Joyce text annotated by the author himself.

Hundreds of thousands of readers got the same happy zap from Obama election newspapers. Customers snapped up extra printings of The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other historic election front pages on Nov. 5.

Or a memorable reaction can come simply from your child's handmade holiday card.

But the "wow" may not last long. Toss a paper keepsake into a pile, and in months it can yellow and crumble like papyrus from Tut's tomb. There are, however, some things you can do to keep paper keepsakes safe as you head into the new year.

Most printed paper "contains the seeds of its own destruction," says Doylen. Most paper, he says, is made from wood pulp material with a high degree of acidity. "As the materials are exposed to environmental conditions and light, it activates the chemical process in the paper and it starts to break down."

Doylan's suggestions:
1. Quickly decide what you want to keep.
2. Avoid extremes of heat and cold storage, i.e., basements and attics.
3. Use acid-free paper to separate pages.
4. Roll up t-shirts; use acid-free boxes for larger objects.
5. Keep handling to a minimum. ("Beware of family gatherings.")

For 32 years, I have kept a 1948 copy of a Springfield Massachusetts newspaper tightly wrapped in plastic and placed in a box (not acid-free) with other memorabilia. The last time I checked, it's still in good condition. The newspaper doesn't have any particular sentimental value, except for the fact that Springfield is my mom's hometown and I worked here for 2 1/2 years. The newspaper was purchased at the legendary Johnson's Second-Hand Bookstore.

Oshkosh Public Library makeover nears completion

Link to December 20 Oshkosh Northwestern article.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Baghdad's "Book Row" Makes a Comeback

Link to December 17 (online) New York Times article, "Then and Now: A New Chapter for Baghdad Book Market".

Mutanabi Street has long been the intellectual center of the Iraqi capital. But when a car bomb exploded here in March 2007 killing at 26 people the neighborhood was emptied. Blast walls blocked off the area to traffic and members of Awakening Councils, groups made up largely of former insurgents, opened checkpoints to monitor people entering the neighborhood. Resurrecting this area and breathing life back into the cafes and book stores here has long been a pet project for the Iraqi leadership.

Other links:
The View from Baghdad's Mutanabi Street (NRP, 10/13/2003)

Anguish in the Ruins of Mutanabi Street: In Baghdad's Literary District, Mourning Loved Ones and a Once-Unifying Place. (Washington Post, 3/10/2007)

In Pictures: Bookselling in Baghdad (BBC

Updating a Classic

The Brown County Central Library was built
in the Brutalist architectural style
popular from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Link to December 19 Green Bay Post Gazette article, "Brown County library's next chapter in works".

The library, built in 1972 for $3.3 million, is at "a pivotal point," Library Director Lynn Stainbrook said. She wants to try to update its infrastructure and is eager to add amenities that will make it more user-friendly.

"The people of this county have gotten their money's worth from this library," said Stainbrook, who has been on the job since February.

Among the items under consideration:
  • Radio Frequency Identification system that would reduce staff handling hours because it scans books as customers take them out and return them.
  • A drive-up window where library users can pick up and drop off books.
  • A cafĂ© atmosphere with vending machines.
  • The addition of as many as 26,000 books.
  • Better signage to direct users to different parts of the library.
  • A more obvious entrance to the children's section.
  • Better lighting.
  • More comfortable seating areas.

The Brown County Public Library was selected as the Wisconsin Library Association Library of the Year in 1980 and 1993

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Check it out here.

A.V. Club Staff Picks Its Favorites Reads of 2008

This is one of 'em.

Link to December 18 A. V. Club post.

How Many Psychiatrists Does It Take to Define a Disorder?

Link to December 17 New York Times article, "Psychiatrists Revising the Book of Human Troubles".

The process has become such a contentious social and scientific exercise that for the first time the book’s publisher, the American Psychiatric Association, has required its contributors to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

The debate is particularly intense because the manual is both a medical guidebook and a cultural institution. It helps doctors make a diagnosis and provides insurance companies with diagnostic codes without which the insurers will not reimburse patients’ claims for treatment.


American Psychiatric Association links.
"DSM-V: the future manual".
"A Research Agenda for DSM-V".

PsychCentral. DSM-V: Transparency or Secrecy?

American Journal of Psychiatry editorial. Issues for DSM-V: Internet Addiction.

OK, Paul. Enough!

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex*

* The revised edition of The Joy of Sex

The Ernestine-approved, tasteful cover of the American edition.

Link to December 17 New York Times article, " Revising ‘Sex’ for the 21st Century".

New topics include Viagra and Internet pornography, though not, I assume, in the same chapter.

4th Candidate Enters State Superintendent Race

Rose Fernandez, a Mukwonago resident and virtual schools advocate, announced her candidacy yesterday for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction.


Press release from

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel op-ed piece by Fernandez.

Blogpost from Fernandez supporter.

Families for Rose Fernandez website.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top Ten Out-of-Print Books in America

Link to December 17 Market Watch post.


Read the raves at amazon.

Mount Horeb has the only copy in LINKcat, and it has 41 holds on it.

The Year in Film 2008

The A.V. Club Master List.

Comparison of Downtown Madison Library Proposals

Link to December 16 Wisconsin State Journal article by Dean Mosiman, "T. Wall library plan would cost less than Fiore's".

Excerpt: Terrence Wall said he if offering "a library of the future" and that is he ready to move forward. (But perhaps not until after he reconsiders the library's name. This building would be located on the site of the current library -- W. Mifflin and Fairchild. Brief description: 380,000-square-foot, mixed-use building to include retail space, parking, and hotel or office space.)

Excerpt: Fiore executive vice president Bill Kunkler said their proposal will be a symbol for the city. "This is a library as a library should be." (This is the West Washington/Henry Street location, two blocks west of the Capitol. Brief description of proposal: 6-story, 104,900-square-foot, free-standing glass and stone structure.)

My druthers? I have to go with the free-standing (Fiore) design. Why? A red flag was raised when I read the following in a June 5 Cap Times article, "New library has been on city's mind for years." This spring, local developer Terrence Wall proposed tearing down the downtown library in the 200 block of West Mifflin Street and replacing it with a nine-story, $45 million building. That development would house a new and bigger library, several floors of private office space and retail on the ground floor. (My emphasis.)

You have to admit, though, that both are stunning designs.

Sun Prairie: Wisconsin's Boom Town

With all the attendant community pride and reservations.

Link to December 17 Capital Times article, "Sun Prairie, state's fastest-growing city, works hard to step out of Madison's shadow".

No report on how on continuing, fast-paced development has impacted the Sun Prairie Public Library, though the following statement indicates that city services in general are being seriously stretched. Still, with estimates showing Sun Prairie's population could reach 40,000 by 2030, many longtime residents have been saying "enough." Critics claim the growth has brought increased traffic, noise and crime while stretching public resources to the breaking point.

All thing considered, though, a thoughtful, well-written, and very thorough piece of reporting by Mike Ivey.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Survey Says

State ranks 45th on Internet surfing speed.

Link to 12/2 post, "The Fastest ISPs in America—and Where You Live".

(You'll need to register to access the tables.)

Based on my recent experience, Pennsylvania's #3 ranking was not enhanced by the molasses-slow access I experienced in Warren.

In a December 13 Baraboo News Republic article about this ranking, State Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) is quoted as saying, "I think those studies are interesting, but I don't even need to look at them. When I get 20 e-mails a day from people unhappy with their service, it tells me in a more qualitative sense what's wrong."

As a result of this constituent concern, Sen. Schultz is promoting a Universal Broadband for a Rural Region (UBER) campaign. If this is an issue of major concern to you, please consider signing up as a supporter. (You don't have to be a constituent of Schultz's to do so.)

Crystal Ball Time

It must be December.

Link to December 12 post, "8 Tech Predictions for 2009".

Link to author's "Tech Predictions for 2008". (10 of 'em.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Is News?

Link to December 15 post, "Congress lacks tech savvy."

From a Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) report released Monday.

Many in Congress still view technology as merely providing tools to accomplish the same tasks they have always performed,” said the CMF report. “They view e-mail as postal mail that is sent electronically. They think of PDAs as replacements for paper schedules. They view websites as direct mail pieces that can be seen on a computer.

But this mindset fails to take into account the very significant ways that the Internet has altered the public’s access to information, expanded coalition-building opportunities and created fresh communications habits across the entire electorate.

The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting a more effective Congress.

Survey Says

Women Prefer the Internet over Sex.

Link to December 15 MaximumPC post.

The survey, which was commissioned by Intel, pinged 2,119 adults in an attempt to show how essential the internet has become, the Wall Street Journal reports. What Intel found is that 46 percent of women would rather put their sex drive on hold for two weeks than to go without internet access for that long. And it's not just older females who feel that way. According to the survey, 49 percent of women aged 18-34 feel the same way, compared to 52 percent of women aged 35-44.

Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance Offers an Antidote to Fear-Mongering

Link to December 13 Wisconsin State Journal editorial.

Wisconsin's projected budget deficit is actually a large but manageable $1.25 billion -- not the frightening $5.4 billion that has caused consternation at the Capitol and around the state.

That conclusion offers a useful, attitude-adjusting way for Gov. Jim Doyle, state lawmakers and taxpayers to approach the 2009-2011 budget.

Granted, the $5.4 billion figure Doyle revealed last month is accurate -- but only if you agree that lawmakers should follow through with all the spending increases expected.

If you say, "Stop! Let's freeze spending at current levels," the deficit shrinks to $1.25 billion, according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance analysis found here.

Preserving Vital Records

Link to December 15 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Register of deeds project preserves vital records of Dane County".

The remnant of that contract was on Kristi Chlebowski's desk Thursday in the register of deeds office in the City-County Building. It is one of 4 million documents the staff and a Michigan imaging company are diligently digitizing in an effort to stem the tide and effect of time on a process of deterioration, neglect and lack of proper storage.

The total "back-scanning," the first in a Wisconsin register of deeds office, may take up to a year and will cost at least $400,000. And that's a savings, predicted Chlebowski, who with little notice is dragging her office and its ephemera collection away from the onion skin paper, microfiche and microfilm dating to the 1830s, into the BlackBerry days of the 21st century.

• Dane County Register of Deeds
• The Dane County Historical Society
• Vital records available at the Wisconsin Historical Society

"The Ultimate Cheapskate" Visits Kenosha Public Library

Link to December 15 Kenosha News article.

The author of “The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches,” Yeager visited Kenosha recently for a book reading and discussion at Southwest Library.

A retired manager of non-profit organizations in the Washington, D.C., area, the 50-year-old Yeager’s cheapskate ethos isn’t just about pinching pennies. He believes Americans would be happier, their quality of life would increase, if they’d only spend less.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rat Tries His Hand at Another Children's Book

Read about it here.

Survey Says

Internet leaders, activists, and analysts expect major technology advances by 2020.

Link to December 14 Pew Internet Research post, "Future of the Internet III: How the Experts See It".

Summary of the findings.
  • The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the internet for most people in the world in 2020.

  • The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness.

  • Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020.

  • Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing "arms race," with the "crackers" who will find ways to copy and share content without payment.

  • The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations.

  • "Next-generation" engineering of the network to improve the current internet architecture is more likely than an effort to rebuild the architecture from scratch.

The Selection and Placement of Stories on this Page are a Reflection of the Editorial Judgment of Google Staff

Link to December 14 MaximumPC post.

Still Looking for an Audience in SCLS

Link to December 14 New York Times article, "The Novel That Predicted Portland".

Sometimes a book, or an idea, can be obscure and widely influential at the same time. That’s the case with “Ecotopia,” a 1970s cult novel, originally self-published by its author, Ernest Callenbach, that has seeped into the American groundwater without becoming well known.

The novel, now being rediscovered, speaks to our ecological present: in the flush of a financial crisis, the Pacific Northwest secedes from the United States, and its citizens establish a sustainable economy, a cross between Scandinavian socialism and Northern California back-to-the-landism, with the custom — years before the environmental writer Michael Pollan began his campaign — to eat local.

The rediscovery of this book seems to be slow in coming to Wisconsin. Current status in LINKcat: 3 copies, of which 1 is checked out, 1 is damaged, 1 is "in library", perhaps waiting to be placed in delivery for the 1 hold that's been placed on it.

Too Many Tamales: the Stage Version

Link to December 14 New York Times article, "The Tamale, a Window on Cultures and Custom".

Now in its 12th year!

Libraries Share an "Article of Faith"

"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries."

Link to December 13 New York Times article, "Bad Times Draw Bigger Crowds to Churches".
(The main headline in the print edition: "An Evangelical Article of Faith".)

The sudden crush of worshipers packing the small evangelical Shelter Rock Church in Manhasset, N.Y. — a Long Island hamlet of yacht clubs and hedge fund managers — forced the pastor to set up an overflow room with closed-circuit TV and 100 folding chairs, which have been filled for six Sundays straight.

In Seattle, the Mars Hill Church, one of the fastest-growing evangelical churches in the country, grew to 7,000 members this fall, up 1,000 in a year. At the Life Christian Church in West Orange, N.J., prayer requests have doubled — almost all of them aimed at getting or keeping jobs.

Part of the evangelicals’ new excitement is rooted in a communal belief that the big Christian revivals of the 19th century, known as the second and third Great Awakenings, were touched off by economic panics. Historians of religion do not buy it, but the notion “has always lived in the lore of evangelism,” said Tony Carnes, a sociologist who studies religion.

A study last year may lend some credence to the legend. In “Praying for Recession: The Business Cycle and Protestant Religiosity in the United States,” David Beckworth, an assistant professor of economics at Texas State University, looked at long-established trend lines showing the growth of evangelical congregations and the decline of mainline churches and found a more telling detail: During each recession cycle between 1968 and 2004, the rate of growth in evangelical churches jumped by 50 percent. By comparison, mainline Protestant churches continued their decline during recessions, though a bit more slowly.

(Here's a cautionary reaction to the Times article from blogger Bruce Smith.)