Saturday, March 14, 2009

Free to Schools and Libraries

Link to March 14 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Memory of extinct passenger pigeon to live on in state schools, libraries".

Bud Gussel, owner of grocery distributor Holiday Wholesale, has an original painting of a pair of passenger pigeons painted by Owen Gromme in 1986 at Gussel’s request. The painting has hung in Gussel’s office ever since, but now Gussel is offering free copies of the painting to schools and libraries throughout the state.

The best article I've ever read about the passenger pigeon is found in the April 1961 edition of American Heritage, "The Passing of the Passenger Pigeon".

UW System Focusing on Need for Science and Math Teachers

Link to March 14 Stevens Point Journal article, "Science teachers needed".

Excerpt: Wisconsin hasn't escaped the dearth of good kindergarten through 12th-grade math and science teachers plaguing the country, and neither has the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

In 2007, for every physics teacher opening, there were only six applicants; for earth science and chemistry, 14 for each job; and for math and biology, 24. The numbers might not seem dire, but many applicants apply for the same jobs, so when one is hired, that drops the pool to five.

UWSP has the lowest number of math education students in 10 years.

But UWSP -- along with the rest of the UW System -- isn't standing pat. There are multiple directives working to entice more students to study for a career in teaching.

Before it's too late. U.S. Adults Fail Basic Science Literacy.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"No Cut is the New Increase"

Link to March 12 PW online report, "Bookstore Sales Flat in January".

This compares to a 8.3% drop for all retail sales. I'm sure most booksllers would say that flat is good right now.

An interesting, perhaps unexpected outcome with all the news about big increases in library use.

Pope Goes Digital

Link to March 13 New York Times article, "Pope Admits Online News Can Provide Infallible Aid".

Excerpt: But it [letter released by Pope Benedict XVI] also contained two sentences unique in the annals of church history.

“I have been told that consulting the information available on the Internet would have made it possible to perceive the problem early on,” Benedict wrote. “I have learned the lesson that in the future in the Holy See we will have to pay greater attention to that source of news.”

Harsh Words

Link to March 13 PCMAG.COM post, "Newspaper Publishers are Idiots".

Excerpt: For too long newspapers have taken on the role of cultural arbiter and distribution channel for popular culture ideas. That is all over and can never return.

I, too, am getting tired of the whining coming from the so-called Fourth Estate. I might have more sympathy if they'd spent less time being a transcription service these past few decades.

Kilbourn Public Library Shines Brightly

Link to March 13 article, "Library ranks at top of nation".

Excerpt: The Kilbourn Public Library [Wisconsin Dells] stands out among the nation's libraries as it attained the maximum five-star ranking in the Library Journal's Index of Public Library Service.

The report ranked 7,115 libraries across the country in categories based on the size of their budgets. The libraries were rated based on the number of visitors to the library, circulation, Internet use and participation in library programs. Two hundred fifty six were awarded three, four or five stars. Only 84 libraries of the 256 scoring in the top tiers placed in the five-star category.

Education v. Tourism: the Next Round

Sen. John Lehman (D-Racine)
Chair, Senate Education Committee

Link to March 12 Racine Journal Times article, "Lawmakers want to repeal school start date law".

Excerpt: The original law included a provision that allowed school districts to start before Sept. 1 in any year as long as there was a public hearing and the district adopted a resolution to do so.

Wisconsin’s law was quickly amended in 2001 when lawmakers eliminated that provision and forced districts to apply to the state Department of Public Instruction if officials wanted to start earlier.

The DPI can only grant requests if there are extraordinary reasons for doing so.Education groups have long opposed the law that the Legislature passed in 1999.

The law first took effect at the beginning of the 2000-01 school year.John Ashley, executive director of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, said his organization would like to see the law repealed. It is an issue of local control, Ashley said.

West Bend Library Board meeting postponed again

Link to March 12 GM Today article.

.....due to a scheduling conflict with the Maziarka family.

Comparative Studies

Compare this assessment

with the information you find here:
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And here.

Marshfield Public Library Self-Check Update

Link to March 12 Marshfield News Herald article.

Excerpt: Since the first month of use, about 30 percent of the items checked out are going through the self-check unit. That allows library staff to spend more time assisting patrons, checking in material and getting it back to the shelves quickly

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jamestown High School's Big Read

Link to March 12 Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal article.

Excerpt: The daylong event, part of The Big Read, was organized by Norma DeJoy, JHS English department chair.

''Different classrooms - English classes, history classes, activity classes - are taking part,'' Ms. DeJoy said. ''While this is going on, there are other activities going on in the library as well, to keep the kids busy while they're waiting for their turn to read.''

The other events included the showing of a documentary about the historical context of the novel, a design-your-own-bookmark station, film trailers based on the novel created by the school's Video Works club, an activity where students posted thoughts about various characters in the novel, a station where students signed a banner with the names of their favorite novels and authors, and a reading station where students could pick up novels by female authors and about the Great Depression era.

This news may not disappoint some folks

Link to March 12 cnet news post, "Outlook for cell phone makers worsens".

Excerpt: The global economic crisis is taking its toll on the cell phone business, with sales even in the hot smartphone category also expected to slow in 2009.

Two major market research firms published figures for the fourth quarter of 2008 this week. And they each have bleak news for the cell phone industry.

ACLU Monitors West Bend Materials Reconsideration Case

Link to March 11 GM Today article, "ACLU watching West Bend library's handling of gay-themed books". (Need to be a subscriber to access full text.)

Excerpt: "I heard a lot of misinformation about gays and lesbians from would-be censors at the meeting," said [ACLU of Wisconsin Youth and Programs Director Emilo] De Torre. "Libraries are about intellectual freedom. I went to support those who want our libraries to be places that serve all community members, young and old."

Congratulations to Elizabeth Burmaster

Link to Rhinelander Daily News article, "Burmaster named new president of Nicolet College".

Excerpt: The school’s board of trustees announced early Wednesday Elizabeth Burmaster has accepted the position of college president. Burmaster's first day on the job will be July 7. Adrian Lorbetske, the college’s president for the past 18 years, is retiring in June.

“The board is pleased to bring an extremely experienced educator with outstanding leadership abilities to Nicolet,” said Gene Carlson, President of the Nicolet Board of Trustees. “We had the luxury of reviewing a high quality pool of applicants, and we believe we have chosen someone who will provide strong college leadership for activities both in the Nicolet District and throughout the state.”

Congratulations, Libby, and best wishes on your new endeavor!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Comic Look at the Future of Libraries

c. 1970???
"That is the library. Everything is on microfilm."

SOURCE. Maag Microform Center, Youngstown, Ohio.

Speaking Out in Support of School Librarians

Link to March 11 Daily Union online article, "Jefferson librarians supported".

Excerpt: The School District of Jefferson Board of Education took no official action Monday on the 2009-10 budget, but members did hear from several staff and community members, as well as continuing discussion among themselves.

The majority of speakers during Monday's public comment period came before the school board to address the proposed reduction of 2.5 full-time certified library specialist positions.

If made, that cut will leave the Jefferson schools with only one certified library staff member for the district, plus one to two library paraprofessionals (aides) at each school.

Cheryl Kenders, library/media specialist at the high school, said that the current certified library staff services a population of 1,900 students plus 200-some staff members. Certified library staff, unlike aides, are involved in direct teaching of students as well as training other teachers and library media specialists in use of technology and other research materials.

"There is a great difference between what a library media specialist does and what a library paraprofessional does," Kenders said.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Joystiq on ALA's gaming initiative

Link to March 5 Joystiq post, "American Library Association goes gaming".

Under the Radar

Link to March 10 New York Times article, "A Story of a Teenager’s Suicide Quietly Becomes a Best Seller".

Excerpt: Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher, is made up of the transcripts of audiotapes that 16-year-old Hannah Baker recorded before committing suicide, interspersed with the reactions of a high school classmate who listens to them. Each tape reveals an anecdote about another classmate whose actions the girl blames for her death.

Since it was first published in October 2007 by Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Group U.S.A., the novel has sold 158,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of retail sales. Unlike most books, which are customarily released in paperback about a year after hardcover publication, “Thirteen Reasons Why” has remained in hardcover, with word of mouth and the author’s appearances fueling sales.

A Library in the Twilight Zone

Link to March 10 New York Times article, "College Awaits Rebirth as Its Library Labors On ".

Excerpt: A visit to Antioch College, which closed last summer, is a bit like a “Twilight Zone” episode — the picturesque small-town campus has no students or faculty, but it does have a functioning library.

“Traffic isn’t what it used to be, but we’re still here to do our work,” said Scott Sanders, who supervises the defunct college’s Antiochiana archives on the library’s second floor.

How Well Are You Feeling?

Should be middling, actually, if you're a fellow Wisconsinite.

Link to Gallup Survey, "Well-Being Rankings Reveal State Strengths and Weaknesses".

A score on the Well-Being Index is based on an average of the following factors:
1. Life evaluation
2. Healthy behaviors
3. Work environment
4. Physical health
5. Emotional health
6. Access to basic necessitie

Once again, it's greener on the Minnesota side.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Vintage Kids' Books Blog

David Pescovitz, writing at
gives this blog a big thumbs up.

Fewer Ink-Smudged Fingers

Link to Marcn 9 Editor & Publisher post, "January Sets Record for Newspaper Web Site Unique Users".

Excerpt: During the month, 74.8 million unique visitors went to newspaper Web sites, an increase of 11% year-over-year. It is the highest number of unique users recorded since the association started tracking online industry stats in 2004.

Nutty Idea of the Day

Courtesy of Rep. Todd Thomsen, Oklahoma Republican.

Trolling for Library News: March 9 edition

"Shhhh ... I'm taking your wallet". Los Angeles Times, 3/4/2009.
Follow-up. Los Angeles Times, 3/5/2009.

"Please stay on the line for an important call."

Link to Pew Research Center report, "New Tricks for Old -- and New -- Dogs:
Challenges and Opportunities Facing Communications Research".

The challenges include:
1. Declining respondent cooperation (from 72% in 1979 to 60% in 1996 to 48% in 2003).
2. Growing number of wireless households. (20% of total.)
3. Young respondents disappearing from landline sample. (See 2nd graph in article.)

Survey Says

Religion a factor as to where people stand on the issues.

Link to Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life report, "In Mammon We Trust? Religions Agree Economy is Issue Number One".

Survey Says

I'm satisfied living in Middleton....but I'd actually prefer to live in Spring Green, where I'd end up being less satisfied.

That seems to be the gist of this Pew Research survey, "Suburbs Not Most Popular, But Suburbanites Most Content".

Not as green as it looks?