Saturday, May 30, 2009

"The Sound of Found"

Oops, wrong Bing.

Link to May 28 New York Times article, "Microsoft’s Search for a Name Ends With a Bing".

Excerpt: Bing, the name Microsoft gave to the new search service it unveiled Thursday, is its answer to Google — a noun that once meant little but has become part of the language as a verb that is a synonym for executing a Web search. After months of, uh, searching, Microsoft settled on Bing to replace the all-too-forgettable Live Search, which itself replaced MSN Search.

A 2:46 demo is found here.

According to this corporate announcement, Bing goes worldwide on Wednesday, June 3.

A Story with 72 Chapters

Link to May 29 Daily Union online article, " County finance committee holds first listening session on budget woes"

Excerpt: Lake Mills area residents got a first-hand look at Jefferson County's 2009 and 2010 budget picture Thursday night and the picture they saw was not a pretty one.

The County Board's Finance Committee was in Lake Mills to hold the first of four informational/listening sessions about the county's growing structural deficit and what it means for county residents.

Regardless of the course residents and the board decides to take, the passage will be a rough one.

"Due to declining economic conditions the county could end 2009 with a deficit that will impact us in the future," said County Administrator Gary Petre. "Our investment revenue is going to be half a million dollars versus the $1 million we estimated when we put the budget together."

When compared to the amount of revenue the county was receiving in investment income as recently as Dec. 31, 2007, Petre said that the county is now getting $1.6 million less than the $2.1 million it earned then.

"Sales tax revenues are $4 million instead of the $5 million we budgeted for," added Petre.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Crying Wolf: A Technology Timeline

Link to May 29 World of Psychology post, "Teens Text a Lot, Adults Worry".

Excerpt: With each significant technological development within society, we can go back into history and find newspaper and magazine reports about the potentially “harmful effects” of the technology, led by academics and researchers. For instance, it was very disturbing to many in society at the time when the radio entered into the American household and suddenly changed the nature of many families communications. Instead of reading or playing games, studying or going to bed, now the whole family gathered around the radio and tuned into the evening’s entertainment. “Shhh… I’m trying to listen!” There goes family conversation.

The television certainly didn’t help matters in the 1950s and 1960s, and the advent of the video game in the 1970s and 1980s just added to childrens’ and teens’ distractions away from the core family. Kids who grew up during these times didn’t turn out nearly as badly as some professionals thought they would. (Heck, even I managed to turn out okay, despite hours upon hours of video game playing every day in the 1980s.) Parents also couldn’t understand why their children spent so much time on that dang telephone, talking to their friends they just saw in school.

At Least There's One Piece of Good News

Among the earmarks in the state budget passed by Joint Finance early this morning: $125,000 to remodel an Eau Claire library.

That would be the L. E. Phillips Memorial Public Library.

Update on Baraboo Library Expansion Plans

Link to May 29 Baraboo News Republic article, "Library moves forward on expansion".

Excerpt: The Baraboo Library Board and its Building Committee began work on an expansion of the library building last year. In late April and early May, a team of architects and designers with OPN Architects of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Dorschner Associates of Madison held an interactive design process called a charrette in the library's ground floor program room. The library's staff, governing board and local residents consulted back and forth with them as they hashed out ideas for an addition to the 100-year-old Carnegie library.

The resulting design ideas call for the library to expand to the east with a ground-level entrance between the existing library and its addition.

The outward appearance of the addition would be harmonious with the look of the 100-year-old Carnegie structure that serves Baraboo now, but would not mimic it, the architects said during a public presentation of the designs. The existing entrance would be closed and modified as a decorative detail on the building.

West Bend Library Listening Session Set for June 2

Link to May 29 GM Today article, "West Bend Library Board ready to listen".

The West Bend Library Board will listen to citizen comments and decide how to deal with complaints about certain books in the young adult section of the library Tuesday evening.

"We need to resolve this," said Library Board President Barbara Deters. "The division in the community is not a good thing."

The Library Board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the McLane Elementary School gymnasium, 833 Chestnut St. The front doors of the school will open at 5:30 p.m.

"We’re anticipating a large crowd," said Deters, who is an elementary school librarian in the West Bend School District.

I'm sure the group would prefer to be a full strength.

Jo Ann Carr Advocates for Sheboygan School District Librarians

Link to May 29 Sheboygan Press letter to the editor from Jo Ann Carr, President, Wisconsin Educational Technology and Media Association (WEMTA)

Excerpt: We understand that the board plans to assign aides to the libraries. Although aides may be able to keep the library doors open, they are not fellow teachers who can provide direct instruction to students, consult with other teachers in developing the curriculum, or build and manage a library media program that supports student achievement in the Sheboygan Area School District.

Letter to SASD families and staff.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"The Chicago Defender" Artifacts Donated to Chicago Public Library

Link to May 27 New York Times article, "Historical Trove, Freed From Storage, Gets a Home".

Excerpts: On a sweltering day two summers ago, a University of Chicago scholar, Jacqueline Goldsby, began to dig through a maze of cardboard boxes crammed to the ceiling in a loft on Ogden Avenue. As she peeked inside the boxes, bulging with hidden remnants from The Chicago Defender, the famed black newspaper, she gasped.

The collection has some 4,000 photographs, including unpublished shots of the boxer Jack Johnson and the bandleader Duke Ellington, as well as letters from every United States president from Truman to Bill Clinton. One historic front page features the Chicago homecoming of the World War II hero Dorie Miller, a black cook at Pearl Harbor who picked up a machine gun after the Japanese attack and brought down enemy fighter planes.

What's Your Guilty Pleasure?

Link to May 27 National Public Radio post, "Real Men Read (And Love) 'Twilight' — Really".

NPR introduces a new series, "My Guilty Pleasure", in which authors reveal the books they have secretly loved.

Here's mine.

I'm particularly enamored of the (cassette) audio version read by Christina Moore. Her detached, seemingly disinterested reading perfectly captures Esther's roiling interior world.

Mashing the Demographics

Link to May 27 Mashable post, "Users Over 55 Quitting Facebook: The Baby Boom Times Over?"

Excerpt: According to new data from Inside Facebook, users over the age of 55 haven’t been as actively using Facebook over the past two months after triple digit growth in that demographic earlier this year. The report has resulted in speculation that while older people are trying Facebook, they’re not sticking around.

Between November 2008 and February 2009, the baby boomer set (age 55-65) was one of the fastest growing segments on the social network, up 175.3% for females and 137.8% for males, according to the statistics. But that user boom was short-lived, and those users aren’t returning in the same numbers.

And really, why should this surprise anyone? You probably figured out this trend on your own after finding friends and acquaintances from the past, clicking on their "View Friends" link, and discovering they had none.

But this observation isn't the main reason for this post.

The 55-to-65 age group is not the baby boomer set. The standard definition for this cohort is those born from 1946 to 1964. (But don't look to Wikipedia for guidance here.) In other words, baby boomers range in age from to 45 to 63.

And as for the Generation Jones designation, oy vey!

Another Example of the Value of School Librarians

Lake Superior Elementary School

Link to May 27 Superior Telegram article, "Cafe draws kids to books".

Excerpt: The smell of warm cocoa and the murmur of young voices drifted through the library of Lake Superior School Friday. For 45 minutes, third graders discussed literary mysteries — among them Gary Paulson’s “The Case of the Dirty Bird,” “The Spy Down the Street” by Irene Schultz and a number of Cam Jansen cases, written by David A. Adler.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Recommended "Niche" Title for Library DVD Collections

This movie had a couple of successful weekend runs at UB's Conference Theater in Norton Union in the early 1970s. Our general assessment: gorgeous cinematography, eclectic soundtrack, muddled screenplay. And the two pretty leads can't quite carry it off. (And you probably don't even remember what happened to Mark Frechette and Daria Helprin.)

West Bend Library: Headline News

From the May 27 Ozaukee-Washington Daily News.

(Full article requires subscription.)

Library Board applications open
Applications for appointments to the West Bend Library Board are now being accepted, Mayor Kristine Deiss announced, and are due in her office by the end of business hours June 2.

I assume from this announcement there won't be another effort to reappoint the four library board members unceremoniously dumped by the West Bend Common Council.

Group Shows Its Support for West Bend Library

Link to May 27 GM Today article, "West Bend Library supporters plan march, 'read-in'".

A march, read-in and potluck supper will be held Friday to show support for the West Bend Community Memorial Library and to oppose efforts to restrict certain books now in the Young Adult section of the library.

The event is being organized by West Bend resident Jacob Jurss, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, using the Facebook social networking site on the Internet.

The event has garnered support from the citizen group West Bend Parents for Free Speech, which arose in recent months to counter efforts by another citizens group to remove and restrict access to certain books that contain sexual references now offered in the young adult section.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Libraries Meet the Need for Proctoring

Link to May 26 Green Bay Press Gazette article, "Libraries take on new roles, proctor exams".

Excerpt: It is no longer the public library your parents used.

As part of a vision to become major community centers, today's libraries are taking a greater role in helping people take college or employment tests.

It's called proctoring, when a library employee oversees the testing process then mails the results to the college or business.

"We're happy to provide that," said Brown County Library Director Lynn Stainbrook. "It's our part in the economy to help people get back on their feet."

The increase in unemployment and online college programs has more people taking work aptitude tests or college exams. Stainbrook said the need for proctoring has increased from about once a month to two or three times a week at the Brown County Central Library in downtown Green Bay, and more at the library branches.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Economy Sets Back Library Plans

Link to May 24 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Cottage Grove's library plans put back on the shelf".

Excerpt: Cottage Grove has dissolved its Library Board, signaling that the community will likely be years without a permanent place to check out books.

"Because of economic times, the board felt that it really wasn’t the time to be actively pursuing a library in Cottage Grove," said village administrator Kim Manley. "I don’t believe that means our board is not in favor of a library."

In November, Cottage Grove residents rejected a referendum to build and equip a library on just under seven acres near Glacial Drumlin School, purchased by the Library Board. The proposal on the ballot was for an 18,000-square-foot library that would cost just over $7 million.

See also "CG Library Board transfers land and donations to Friends group" (May 13) at