Friday, June 19, 2009
Excerpt: Personal income taxes paid to the states plummeted 26 percent, or $28.8 billion, in the first four months of 2009, compared with the same time period last year, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government said in its June 18 report.
Link to June 19 New York Times article, "Reader’s Digest Searches for a Contemporary Niche".
Sounds more like a trip in Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine. The 89-year-old publication is making a return to its traditional, conservative roots, though some might aver that the magazine never wavered from them throughout its long, illustrious history.
Excerpt: After years of trying to broaden the appeal of Reader’s Digest, the publishers are pushing it in a decidedly conservative direction. It is cutting down on celebrity profiles and ramping up on inspiring spiritual stories. Out are generic how-to magazine features; in are articles about military life.
Link to June 19 Smart Politics blog post, "Minnesota, Wisconsin Lead Nation in Largest Proportion of House Committee Leadership Posts".
Excerpt: With 37.5 percent of its House memberships now holding such committee leadership positions, Minnesota ties Wisconsin for the highest proportion of its House delegation to hold chairmanships or ranking member status across all 50 states.
Long-serving Wisconsin Representative David Obey (WI-07) chairs the powerful Appropriations Committee, emerging Republican leader Paul Ryan (WI-01) is the Ranking Member of the Budget Committee, and GOPer James Sensenbrenner (WI-05) is the Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Wisconsin also has an 8-member delegation to the House.
Excerpt: Local Democrats defended their use of controversial state budget "earmarks" as the only way to get funding for public projects threatened during a tough economy.
During state Assembly and Senate budget talks, local legislators managed to get or keep a few items into the budget, including highway repair in Chippewa County, money for Eau Claire's library and funding for a shooting range.
"We invest in the state as much as anybody else; it should come back to Eau Claire," said Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire.
Excerpt: A high-five from Grandma after completing a one-mile walk. A chance to win one of two gasoline gift cards. An opportunity to participate with or watch a group of free spirit women line dancers. All are possibilities at this year's third annual Fun Walk sponsored by the Friends of Lester Public Library of Rome on June 27.
Grandparents walking with their grandchildren will be the first to step up to the walk line, which begins a one-mile trek on a blacktop surface or a 5K (3.1 mile) walk that is interspersed with a walk through a woods and a meander through a nearby subdivision. Members of the Boys and Girls Club of South Wood County will be helping guide the walkers and also provide the walkers with water and snacks along the way.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Link to June 18 pcmag.com post "Learning from Iran's Twitter Revolution", by Sascha Segan.
Excerpt: How did we have revolutions before Twitter? It seems like democracy is an inevitable result of Internet access, something that officials in Iran and China are now both fumbling with at their peril. As we watch both nations' ham-handed efforts at cramming the Internet genie back into the bottle, it's obvious that connected people are empowered people. If we consider democracy to be a priority in the U.S., we have to make connectivity a priority, too.
The most spectacular example of Internet empowerment at the moment is in Iran. Protesters against the recent election results have been organizing and publicizing themselves on Twitter, even as the Iranian government keeps trying to whack this democratic mole: first shutting down text messaging, then blocking some IP addresses, then trying to hunt down individual Tweeters.
Iowa City PL is likely to join the Des Moines Public Library in the 1,500,000 Circ Club this year.
Library use comparisons, 2004-2008.
- Meeting rooms: +344%
- Public Internet computers: +275%
- Visits: +36%
- Circulation: +25%
Excerpt: William Robison, a principal partner in Milwaukee-based library consulting firm of Engberg Anderson, told aldermen the city needs a 140,000-square-foot facility in order to meet patron and staffing needs for the next 20 years.
The library is coping with record use, including a record 2,969 patrons on June 10, at its existing 88,000-square-foot facility on Oneida Street.
"Circulation is going through the roof," said Library Board president Terry Bergen. "The need is there for a new facility."
A concept plan endorsed Tuesday by the library board includes a 120-vehicle underground parking garage, 150-seat auditorium, drive-up service, lounge and reading room, numerous public meeting rooms with some open to the public after hours, expanded library material and staff space and room for expansion.
"A library is not inherently just a collection of books. It's a place for people to gather and learn," Robison said.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Link to June 17 Pew Internet & American Life Project report, "Home Broadband Adoption 2009".
Excerpt: Home broadband adoption stood at 63% of adult Americans as of April 2009, up from 55% in May 2008.
The latest findings of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project mark a departure from the stagnation in home high-speed adoption rates that had prevailed from December 2007 through December 2008. During that period, Pew Internet Project surveys found that home broadband penetration remained in a narrow range between 54% and 57%.
Change in percentages in specific subgroups from May 2008 to April 2009:
- Those 65 and older: 19% to 30%.
- Household income $20,o00 or less: 25% to 35%.
- African-Americans: 43% to 46%.
- Rural residents: 38% to 46%
- High-school graduates: 40% to 52%.
- Older baby boomers (50-64): 50% to 61%.
Link to June 16 boingboing post "China backs off on mandatory spyware".
Excerpt: China's turnaround comes as public outcry over the Green Dam Web filtering software struck a nerve both inside and outside China.
Analysis of the Green Dam Censorware System (revision 2.4, June 11, 2009) by Scott Wolchok, Randy Yao, and J. Alex Halderman, Computer Science and Engineering Division, The University of Michigan.
Link to June 16 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Odd Wisconsin: Traveling libraries helped inform citizens".
These were divided among 16 small collections of about 30 books each: "Each library was put up in a strong book case which had a shelf, double doors with a lock and key, [and] a record book for loans…," Stearns wrote. Over the next 20 years, more than 1,400 of these were sent to crossroads post offices, log schoolhouses and general stores all over the state.
"Odd Wisconsin" is the current ongoing exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Museum. Worth a visit!
And for much more on Wisconsin's traveling libraries and many other aspects of Wisconsin library history, you'll want to make regular visits the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center, a project of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation (Larry Nix, Steering Committee Chair.)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Link to June 16 stateline.org post, "Tracking the recession: State leaders suffer political backlash".
Excerpt: A recession is no time for governors and state legislators to win a popularity contest with voters. There’s not much upside to slashing programs and services and raising taxes, no matter which party you are in or how many votes you got in the last election.
The article focuses on 3 states: New York, where former guv Eliot Spitzer now has a higher approval rating than current guv David Patterson; New Jersey, where Corzine's current approval rating is his lowest ever;; and California, where the Governator has found himself in the deepest doo-doo of his life.
Gov. Doyle is mentioned as someone who's experienced a drop in popularity. However, a Research 2000 poll conducted for the Daily Kos shows these results.
June 6/8-10. Likely voters. MoE: ±4%.
Jim Doyle (D-inc) 48
Scott Walker (R) 36
Jim Doyle (D-inc) 49
Mark Neumann (R) 35
Jim Doyle (D-inc) 45
Tommy Thompson (R) 47
On the other hand, this poll has Doyle trailing Neumann.
Excerpt: Readers often take for granted the artistry that newspaper photographers are capable of, said Melissa Lake, UW-M/WC director of University Relations and coordinator of the exhibit.
"There are many images that these talented photographers capture that don't always work within a newspaper layout," Lake said. "This is an opportunity for the public to see and appreciate the remarkable photographs that may not have made the paper."
Congratulations to Cindy Schult!
Excerpt: Schult was the interim director in February and named new director in April. She is motivated and wants to hear from the community. She wants the library to fill a need for its community and welcomes any ideas or suggestions that could help improve what the library contributes to the community.
Schult brings a lot of zest to the library. She is very excited about implementing the new summer reading programs for children to young adults and the grants that the library has received.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Excerpt: In the decade since Napster's launch, digital music consumers have demonstrated their interest in five kinds of "free" selling points:
- Cost (zero or approaching zero).
- Portability (to any device).
- Mobility (wireless access to music).
- Choice (access to any song ever recorded).
- Remixability (freedom to remix and mashup music).
All of this makes for a tall order, but if history is any guide, music consumers usually get what they want. And as researchers look back on the first decade of the 21st century, many will no doubt point to the formative impact of file-sharing and peer-to-peer exchange of music on the internet. Napster and other peer-to-peer services "schooled" users in the social practice of downloading, uploading, and sharing digital content, which, in turn, has contributed to increased demand for broadband, greater processing power and mobile media devices. Further, the Napsterization effect extends to non-media areas such as sharing health information, oversight of politicians, access to government data and online dating via free social networking sites.
Excerpt: As Americans struggled with the worst fiscal crisis in a generation, states will remember the first half of 2009 for staggering budget deficits, record unemployment and the largest infusion of federal dollars into their treasuries since the Great Depression.
To date, lawmakers in about half the states have closed shop for the legislative year. But as tax revenues continue to come in lower than expected, it’s a good bet that many will have to reconvene to balance their budgets as required by law.
Stateline.org’s annual review of state-by-state legislative actions, thus far, finds four resorted to higher personal income and sales taxes, seven levied heftier tobacco taxes and at least 10 raised motor vehicle registration or court fees. But it may not be enough. Experts predict a mammoth $121 billion deficit awaits states in fiscal 2010, which starts July 1 for all but four states.
Excerpt: As school let out for summer Thursday at Muskego Elementary School, Joe Dorn watched his first- and second-grade students scamper off into a world temporarily free of structured class and homework.
Dorn could predict which students won't pick up a book again until fall, putting them at risk for falling behind academically.
The challenge of getting kids to read in the summer is nothing new. But for older students especially, more educators - and librarians are bypassing "recommended lists" of classic novels and instead suggesting graphic novels, magazines, Web sites, comic books - anything to get them reading.
Traditionalists may hope kids tackle something more substantial than the latest book-turned-popular movie. But others say what kids read is less important than instilling a want to read.
"If they're completely interested in dirt bikes, get them a subscription to a dirt bike magazine," said Kelly Hughbanks, coordinator of youth services for Milwaukee Public Library.
Excerpt: The Harbor Centre Business Improvement District (BID) will present "Lunch at the Library" at the water feature at the Mead Public Library each Wednesday for eight weeks, beginning June 17.
Each Wednesday, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the area on the Eighth Street side of the library, individuals can bring their lunch and the BID will have a musical performer, displays, and beginning June 24, interactive events for young people presented by Above & Beyond Children's Museum.
The BID is an association of businesses that are located on Eighth Street between Ontario Avenue and Indiana Avenue and on the riverfront and south pier. In all, there are 126 businesses involved, with the goal to bring and retain businesses in the downtown area and increase profile and interest in the unique lifestyle setting of the lakefront and businesses located there.
The first "Lunch at the Library" begins at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 17, with a performance by the barbershop quartet, Vaguely Familiar
Link to June 15 Marshfield News Herald article, "Summer reading will get creative".
Excerpt: It is that time of year again and the Marshfield Public Library wishes to announce the 2009 Summer Library Program. The theme this year is "Be Creative," and registration is under way. The summer events include story times, guest performers, movie matinees, game nights, a craft program and much more.
The Central Wisconsin State Fair Association also has joined the fun. It will give one free daily pass to the Central Wisconsin State Fair to all participants ages 6 and older who read 10 hours or more. Those who read the required hours also will be eligible to win one of 15 A&P Amusement Midway Ride wristbands.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Excerpt: A $125,000 earmark in the state budget for renovations to L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library began in February with conversations between Eau Claire City Councilman Dave Duax and the office of state Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire.
The additional funding for the renovations survived the latest version of the state budget, which the Assembly passed by a 50-48 margin Saturday. It still must be approved by the state Senate and signed by Gov. Jim Doyle.