Saturday, February 21, 2009

Supervisor Alert!

Bowman 2

Link to February 21 cnet news post, "Rainy day? Play these games".

Excerpt: As someone who spends the vast majority of his time each day on the Web, I've developed a unique love for casual online games. When I'm bored or just want to slip away from work for a while, I head over to one of my favorite online game sites and let the hours pass by.

But I should note that although there are thousands of online games out there, my favorites are relatively limited. In fact, I only play four online games regularly. These are the games I find so addicting that I can ignore the rest.

Mashable Offers Website Suggestions for Job Seekers

Lots more options today.

Link to February 19 Mashable post, "30+ Websites to Visit When You're Laid Off".

Excerpt: But the worst time to panic is when you are laid off and lose your main source of income. We live in a new and powerful era of communication, one where we can find support, gather news, and network without ever leaving our computers. The following collection of websites has been put together as a comprehensive resource for anybody who has lost their job and is looking to get back on their feet again. Our hope is that this post will be a hub for finding support and financial resources.

Friday, February 20, 2009

More Readers Than Viewers

Link to post, "Revolutionary Road Finds Readers, If Not Viewers".

Excerpt: The film, which faithfully captures that pain, promptly sank at the box office — grossing just $21 million so far — despite the fact that Winslet won a Golden Globe as Best Actress for her tortured role.

But the novel has caught fire. More than a million paperback copies of Revolutionary Road, which made little commercial ripple when it came out in 1961 (though it was nominated for a National Book Award), are now in print, and the Vintage paperback has been on the New York Times best seller list for 11 weeks.

Latest LINKcat tally: 202 holds on 30 copies.

I read the book in 1973 -- during the summer between college and library school. (And it's high on my list of re-reads.) Haven't seen the movie yet, but I suspect the combined formats would make a great book-to-film discussion.

Jesup library book theft case dismissed

Link to February 19 Cedar Rapids Gazette article.

Excerpt: The case of the Independence woman jailed for failure to return a library book ended Thursday when the Buchanan County Attorney’s Office dismissed a fifth-degree theft charge against Shelly Koontz.

In exchange, Koontz, 39, said she returned the book and paid $50 in court costs and a $13.95 fine to the Jesup Public Library.

“I made a mistake. I’m willing to pay for it and make it right. I’m just glad it’s over,” said Koontz, who had been scheduled to answer the charge in court next week.

Koontz was arrested and briefly jailed Jan. 22 for failure to return “The Freedom Writers Diary,” which she had checked out in April [2008, I assume] from the Jesup library. She was released after posting $250 bond.

As for the library.......rational response or overkill?

Jesup library officials have consistently declined to comment on the case.

This certainly wouldn't be a component of my PR plan.

School Loosen Their Head Lice Policies

Link to February 19 AP article, "Schools are no longer nitpicky about head lice". (Found via

Excerpt: It's a change recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses, and it has been welcomed by many educators and parents, who worried that students were missing too much school, moms and dads were missing work, and children were being made to feel ashamed.

Be Your Own Curriculum Support Committee

Link to February 20 A.V. Club post, "AVQ&A: Graduation requirements".

If you could make a single book, film, or album required material to graduate from high school, what would it be?

I might choose the book I'm currently re-reading.

As well as the greatest anti-war novel of all time.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where Retiring Guy Checked Out His First Book

Great Falls (Montana) Public Library, 1903-1966

Great Falls Public Library today

Link to February 19 Great Falls Tribune article, "More people flock to use library's free services during tighter times".

And what book caught my eye some 55 years ago?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New York Times: Online Paper of Record

Link to February 17 Media Memo post.

This graph says it all.
Although it should be pointed out that USA Today appears to be narrowing the gap.

State Superintendent Primary Results

Link to February 18 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, "Evers, Fernandez win April ballot spots".

The No. 2 at the Department of Public Instruction finished No. 1 in the primary election for the next head of the state education agency, setting up a general election showdown with the self-described "outsider" in the race.

Tony Evers, the deputy superintendent of public instruction for the past eight years, had widely been considered the favorite in the race to succeed his boss, who announced in October that she would not seek a third term.

On Tuesday, he finished just ahead of Rose Fernandez [note the campaign slogan], a former pediatric trauma nurse and parent advocate, in a five-person field.

Although she finished the night in second place, Fernandez, 51, characterized her performance as "a victory for real people over the special interests."

Three months after a split referendum, Fitchburg eyes a library

Link to February 18 Capital Times article.

Count Fitchburg among the scores of Wisconsin municipalities that have thrown their names in a hat, in hopes of sharing some of the estimated $3.5 billion in federal stimulus money that could soon flow into the state.

A request for $14 million for a Fitchburg library is on a list of more than 3,300 projects compiled in December by Gov. Jim Doyle's office from more than 140 cities, villages, towns, American Indian tribes, school districts and other public entities around the state. The vast majority of the projects on the list are public works-related, such as street, utility, bike path and sidewalk work.

Nekoosa Library Director: Library helps patrons save money in many ways

Charles and JoAnn Lester Library, Nekoosa

Link to Darla Allen's February 18 column in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune.

Excerpt: Lately, the economic forecast has been pretty depressing. Like everyone else in the area, I am concerned about the mills, the vacant storefronts and the increasing unemployment rate. I also realize that when times are tough, people start staying closer to home and saving their money. So if you are like me, I want to tell you about a little money saving secret: Go to your library.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Dirty Little Secret: Self-Censorship

Link to 2/1/2009 School Library Journal article.

Excerpt: When Barry Lyga finished writing his second young adult novel, he knew there’d be trouble. After all, Boy Toy was about a 12-year-old who has sex with a beautiful teacher twice his age, and Lyga expected it to spark letters to local papers, trigger complaints to the school board, and incite some parents to yank it off library shelves.

But none of those things ever happened.

There are 12 copies of B0y Toy listed in LINKcat. 8 are checked out. All are classified young adult.

Some other books mentioned in the article.
The Higher Power of Lucky. For use of the word "scrotum". 53 copies in children's collections.

Jibberwillies at Night. Overprotective librarian. 19 copies in children's collections.

Tyrell. Restricted access. 21 copies in young adult collections.

Box Out. Lesbian character. 9 copies in young adult collections.

And Tango Makes Three. Prominent gay characters, 2 Central Park Zoo male penguins. 30 copies in children's collections.

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things. Offensive language and sexual content. 28 copies, all but 1 in young adult collections. The other is in a juvey collection.

How Long Can You Hold Your Breath?

Until Tuesday evening? Wednesday morning?

Link to February 15 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, "Doyle warns of pain in budget proposal".

Excerpt: Doyle repeatedly cautioned last week that his budget will be both unpopular and pinch most - if not all - Wisconsin residents in one way or another.

"I've told all my friends: You better like me today, because you're not going to like me on Wednesday," Doyle joked when he appeared before Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's largest business group.

Doyle's public comments, and the first fix-the-deficit package that the governor and Democratic legislative leaders negotiated, signal that the governor's 2009-'11 spending plan will include targeted tax increases, fewer services and new cuts in state spending.

Tuesday, February 17. 7 pm: Governor Doyle's Budget Address, Assembly. Check Wisconsin Eye for coverage.

There's More Than One Way to Learn

Link to February 15 Wisconsin State Journal article, "University of Wisconsin-Madison's innovation room designed to provoke thought, professors say".

The innovation room described here is part of the biomedical engineering department.

But only recently have universities begun to go out of their way to cater to students’ desires for more varied learning areas, including lounge-like rooms that would cause any mother to cry, "sit up straight!"

Julie Grove, a campus architect, said the spaces are the manifestation of a trend in academia to encourage more interaction among students and small group learning.

"We need spaces to be designed to fill that purpose," Grove said. "The old standard classroom isn’t going to cut it anymore. We’re rethinking how we teach and how students learn."

On the street: For what do you use the district library?

Link to answers to the question of the week at the Rhinelander Daily News.

Many commented on the wonderful library we have in Rhinelander. A few expressed hopes that there weren’t budget cuts in the future. Most said they had been library patrons for most of their lives. It seems to be a habit, that once learned, carries over.

The Value of School Librarians

Photo credit: James Estrin for the New York Times

Link to February 15 New York Times article, "The Future of Reading: In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update".

Ms. Rosalia, 54, is part of a growing cadre of 21st-century multimedia specialists who help guide students through the digital ocean of information that confronts them on a daily basis. These new librarians believe that literacy includes, but also exceeds, books.

Growing cadre? Unfortunately, from reports that I read in journals and blogs and hear from school librarians, we're moving in the opposing direction. The cadre is shrinking. Here are some specifics from the early part of this decade. Imagine how long the accumulated list of cuts are in 2009.

The article does make note of the fact that just 1/3 of New York City's public school have certified librarians.

And that other problems exist. Before Ms. Rosalia arrived, the library was staffed by a teacher with no training in library science. Some books in the collection still described Germany as two nations, and others referred to the Soviet Union as if it still existed.

Related reading:
The Evidence-Based Manifesto for School Librarians, School Library Journal, 4/1/2008.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Tip of the Iceberg?

Fitchburg (Massachusetts) Public Library

Link to February 15 Fitchburg (MA), "Local libraries brace for budget cuts".

Here's the current worst-case, pre-brace scenario.

Fitchburg, Massachusetts, a community of 41,000, is located about 50 miles west-northwest of Boston. Last year, at the recommendation of Mayor Lisa Wong, the Fitchburg City Council approved a cut of $800,000 to the library's budget. As a result, the library is now open 3 days per week. (See for yourself.) In addition, the library lost its certification, which means, as far as I can tell, that Fitchburg residents can't go elsewhere to obtain library services. (See here and here.)

I suspect there might be more to the story that what's covered in the above linked article. I sorta stumbled across the blog "Save Fitchburg", googled "library", and read some less than flattering posts. (Not that other city services were spared any barbs.) 'Course I have no idea where contributors Karen and Jason stand politically, philosophically, morally, or otherwise. (They don't seem to be "About Me" kinda people.)

Fitchburg's main problems, though, is a loss of its manufacturing base with nothing much to replace it. Its unemployment and poverty rates are higher than the state averages. Last October, the Boston Globe featured Fitchburg in an article titled, "Where the cutbacks might hurt the most".

And just in case you missed this story about a seriously distressed city.......

At least its library seems to be doing better.

Onalaska library reopens after $2.2 million expansion, renovation

Link to February 15 La Crosse Tribune article.

The Onalaska Public Library resumed regular business hours last week after being closed since early December for completion of an addition/remodeling project that so far has cost about $2.2 million.

The project added 7,765 square feet to the 15,000-square-foot library, which first opened 20 years ago.

Some work remains, mainly on the large meeting room, which can seat 120 people and can be divided so two gatherings can go on at once.

The meeting room is expected to be ready in time for a grand opening celebration April 19.

Link to pictures of building project.

Using Social Networking Sites to Reach New Audiences

Link to February 15 Herald Times Reporter artricle.

Jeff Dawson admits he is addicted, and he's not the least bit embarrassed, ashamed or apologetic.

The director of the
Lester Public Library [Two Rivers] has gone way beyond creation of a Web site to tell prospective visitors about its programs and features.

His new Internet tools to brand the library go by such names as flickr, MySpace, Facebook, and Blogger.

"I'm not afraid to shamelessly promote my library … [example: Blogging LPL] we have to be in touch and be more aggressive," Dawson told a Chamber Cafe audience Tuesday at the Generose Enrichment Center at Silver Lake College.

Library uses GPS to help locate cemeteries

Link to February 15 Wisconsin Rapids Tribune article.

McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids has created an online guide to Wood County cemeteries using a Google Maps feature to make it easier for researchers to locate the county's more than 60 cemeteries.

"We get a lot of requests for cemetery lookups, and when we tell people that a burial is in a certain cemetery, we didn't have a way of telling them where it was," said Andy Barnett, the library's assistant director.

The guide includes a listing of each cemetery, a brief description of its location and the GPS coordinates, which can be used in conjunction with car navigation systems to obtain turn-by-turn directions.