Saturday, February 14, 2009

New York: Elementary school librarians on endangered list

Link to February 13 Albany (NY) Times-Union article.

Children may someday file school librarian with the dodo bird or Caspian tiger under extinction.

“During budget shortfalls, school librarians are among the first to be considered for cuts,” said Michael Borges, executive director of the New York Library Association.

To cope with the fallout from the financial crisis, Gov. David Paterson’s proposed budget would cut $698 million in state education spending, forcing every school district to weigh staff and program reductions.

State mandates require only that students in seventh through 12th grade have school librarians, so elementary school librarians are most vulnerable in times of economic crisis, Borges said.

Job Seekers Open Lab at the Hedberg Public Library

Link to February 14 Janesville Gazette article.

Excerpt: In 25 years, Nancy Cronin has advanced from file clerk at the bank where she works to vice president of operations.

But she’s nervous.

“I’m scared for my job,” the 53-year-old Janesville woman said.

The bank has been sold, and her position is being reevaluated by a new board of directors.

So on Wednesday, she took advantage of Job Seekers Open Lab at the Hedberg Public Library. Cronin wants to network with others, enroll in short classes, take online tutorials and polish her computer skills.

“I’m going to do what I can to keep up. I don’t have to be a victim. I can decide to learn, grow and change. I’m not getting put out to pasture. I know I’m valuable, have skills and am intelligent,’’ she said.

Mary Buelow, head of reference and adult services, said the library began offering the three-hour Job Seekers Open Lab in January after seeing more demand for basic computer classes. It also was in response to the area’s high unemployment and the library’s loss of a computer trainer.

Link to February 12 New York Times article, "Ex-G.M. Workers Try to Reboot Their Lives".

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'll Have Some More of This, Please

Link to February 12 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, "Wisconsin legislators cross party lines for shared economic agenda".

It took a wrenching recession to make it happen, but a rare coalition of Republican and Democratic state legislators from the Milwaukee area will make a joint appearance today to support what's billed as a shared economic agenda.

"Can you remember the last time we had a bipartisan group of Milwaukee legislators who agree on what's needed to move forward?" said state Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale).

For now, the effort remains more rhetorical than concrete, Stone and others concede.

But it's a start.

And it's better than more of this.

I'm Sure Your Library Will Want the Original Cast Recording

Link to February 13 A.V. Club post, "Anna Nicole Smith opera in the works".

Model of Sydney Opera House

Political Blogs: State by State

*With apologies to Alaska and Hawaii

Link to list compiled by

And it's certainly not meant to be comprehensive.

*I've had this Every Stock Photo in My Pictures file for weeks and finally decided, "What the hell, I'm gonna use it!"

New Library on Racine's Stimulus Wish List

Link to February 12 Racine Journal Times article, "City’s stimulus wish list released".

A new library, a renovated station for the proposed Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail and money for a free college tuition program are among the items on the city’s $73.9 million-plus preliminary stimulus wish list.

Of the $73.9 million, nearly half, $36 million, is proposed for the library.

“Our chances are slim on a lot of it,” Mayor Tom Friedel said, referring to the total spending package. “But we want them to know where we stand.”

Local author's book a big success

Link to February 11 Lake Geneva News.

Back in October, when Linda Skiles wrote a book about town history called "Things I Know and the Stories I've Been Told," a book about the history of the town of Lyons, she wasn't expecting to sell the 400 copies she'd ordered.

Four months later, there are only a handful of books left and she already may be starting her next project.

Meeting set to discuss new South Madison Library

Link to February 12 Capital Times article.

Madison Library officials hope the third time's the charm for its proposed listening session with neighbors on the design for a new South Madison Branch Library.

The meeting, scheduled for the third time due to inclement weather forcing cancellations of previous meetings, will be held at the South Madison Library at 2222 S. Park St. on Tuesday, March 3.

"Community input will be crucial in determining the best possible design for the new," library, officials said in announcing the meeting.

The library will be housed on the first floor of a two-story building owned by the Urban League of Greater Madison, which will be headquartered on the second floor.

The building will serve as the anchor for the Villager Mall redevelopment.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

With Friends Like This.....

Link to techdirt post, "Wall Street Journal Gets Rid Of Its Research Librarian".

Mike Masnick suggests that the Wall Street Journal did the right thing.

But of course....
(a) research librarians are quite good at what they do, and
(b) they provide a truly valuable service.

But just think how groovy it would be if WSJ were willing to replace the lost librarians with a crowd-sourced or "open" research process.

Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd would be dead by now.

Yeah, those librarian are good, but really, anyone can do what they do. All it takes, Mike asserts, is access. So what if you don't know beans about searching.

The Wall Street Journal's news research library is

....and apparently with no apologies. (Official shutdown date appears to be March 23.)

Link to February 11 Editor & Publisher post.

The librarian who operates The Wall Street Journal's news research library -- which is set to close with the elimination of her job and another staffer's -- said in a memo to other librarians that the shutdown is both a personal difficulty and a hit to news coverage.

"When I asked who will do research for the reporters, I was told, 'No one,'" the memo from Leslie A. Norman, posted on a librarian list serve last week, stated. "The reporters will probably be using a Lexis product called Due Diligence Dashboard (you know how your moms told you 'if you can't say something nice...')"

She later adds that it cannot replace the "knowledge about how to research using all the tricks we've learned over the years. We figure that the reporters will probably spend 10 times our compensation trying to do their own research."

Community Library Board makes no move to restore employee to position

Link to February 12 Kenosha News article.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In slumping economy, library use shoots up

Link to February 10 GM Today post.

Libraries in Washington County are seeing rising numbers of visitors and increased circulation as the national economy continues to slump.

"People are using the library more now. As a visual observation, there is a lot of traffic lately, more than last year," said Sue Cantrelle, assistant director at the West Bend Community Memorial Library. "Internet use has increased exponentially. People come in now to read magazines."

Read this article while listening to Jethro Tull

Link to February 5 post, "How to Save Your Newspaper", by Walter Isaacson.

Michael Kinsley dumps a big tub of water on Isaacson's idea. "You Can't Sell News by the Slice". (2/9/2009 New York Times.)

Jon Stewart has some fun with the idea at Isaacson's expense. And Isaacson's a good sport about it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

ADM giving $500,000 to Cedar Rapids library

Link to February 9 Cedar Rapids Gazette article.

Excerpt: Grain processing giant Archer Daniels Midland is giving $500,000 to help the Cedar Rapids Public Library rebuild after the flood.

Officials from ADM, a multinational corporation that operates a huge processing plant along Highway 30 southwest of Cedar Rapids, will present the check to the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation on Friday.

Newsweek Goes Niche

Link to February 8 New York Times article, "Newsweek Plans Makeover to Fit a Smaller Audience".

The coveted audience:
1. Well-educated
2. Well-off
3. News junkies

What to expect:
1. Heavier paper stock
2. More photographs (NewsLIFE?)
3. Ads for luxury goods. (Yeah, we definitely need more of these.)
4. New features, such as “The Bluffer’s Guide,” telling readers how to sound as if they are knowledgeable on a current topic, whether they are or not. (Or... you could just watch network and cable news for a few minutes and get 10 easy "or-not" lessons under your belt.)

In other words, Newsweek is no longer your standard newsweekly. (The venerable newsweekly’s ingrained role of obligatory coverage of the week’s big events will be abandoned once and for all, executives say.)

Peter Kafka: Not as Pumped as Stephen King

Link to Kafka's February 9 Media Memo post, "Kindle 2.0 Arrives — Just 9 Years After The First e-Books".

Whether Amazon’s Kindle is a big hit or a modest one, we’re probably going to have to wait some time before digital books are a mainstream reality.

These digital revolutions always take longer than they should — just ask the music business, which sells a product that is already delivered in digital form, yet derives just 20% of its revenue from digital products — a full nine years after the original Napster. Don’t plan on ripping down your bookshelves just yet.

Evolution, not so many words.

Racine Public Library's Language Bank

From the February 5 Racine Journal Times.

People who speak or write Danish, Portuguese, Czech or any one of the many world languages are wanted for the Racine Public Library’s Language Bank.The library uses the Language Bank to make referrals when requests are made for someone to translate such things as a postcard, letter, birth certificate or other document, or to serve as an interpreter for a phone call or foreign visitor. People listed in the Language Bank are free to accept or deny requests on an individual basis and they may charge for their services or work pro bono.There is currently no one listed in the Language Bank for the following languages: Armenian, Arabic, Bengal, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Farsi, Finnish, Gaelic, Modern Greek, Modern Hebrew, Icelandic, Korean, Latin, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

A quick Google search didn't locate any other libraries that provide this useful referral service, but it is offered by other community agencies.

Mobile County Alabama's Volunteer Language Bank.

Louisville Kentucky's Community Language Bank.

Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (Portland,Oregon) International Language Bank.

Parents upset over loss of library employee

Link to February 9 Kenosha News article.

Complaints from parents about incidents at the Salem Community Library, including the recent loss of youth services employee Vida Rose, are expected to be raised at a special Library Board meeting Tuesday.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Menasha library to display Fox Valley artists in new exhibi

Link to February 8 Appleton Post-Crescent article.

The Elisha D. Smith Public Library in Menasha is getting creative with its long-range planning.

Starting Thursday and extending through early April, people can check out a new art exhibit as they wait to check out their take-home materials.

The exhibit, featuring the work of Sherwood artist Jan Hughes and Appleton artist Shannon Farrey, is the most recent idea off a brainstorming list of art and music events the library plans to sponsor in coming years.