Friday, July 24, 2009
Excerpt: It’s always nice to start out with a joke, but there’s nothing funny about this economy,” Chicago Federal Reserve researcher Bill Testa told the Smith and Gesteland Executive Speaker Series at Edgewood College Tuesday.
Despite the impact of losing GM in Janesville, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago research V.P. Testa said Wisconsin has probably seen the bottom of this “Great Recession.”
Too late to have any impact on 2010 municipal and county budget deliberations.
Excerpt: Libraries across Iowa are creating policies attempting to protect their traditional values while complying with the state’s revised sex offender law.
Excerpt: The law, which took effect July 1, prohibits people convicted of sex offenses against minors from being in public libraries, schools and child-care centers without permission, and from loitering within 300 feet of places intended primarily for children.
The new law presents an interesting challenge for library officials, often staunch defenders of privacy rights and freedom of information.
“It is very much a balancing act between those traditions of freedom of information and privacy of the individual but yet also trying to enact the law,” said Ellen Neuhaus, president of the Iowa Library Association and a reference librarian at the University of Northern Iowa.
Link to July 24 Stevens Point Journal article, "Library bikes deliver books".
Excerpt: Children in the neighborhood surrounding Madison Elementary School swarmed around two bicycles piping music and hauling baskets of goodies Thursday.
No, they weren't full of frozen treats, though it was the same concept as an ice cream truck. Instead of snow cones and Popsicles, children found food for thought -- hundreds of books to read.
Sponsored by the Central Wisconsin Reading Council, two Madison Elementary School teachers created a mobile library to ensure all students have the opportunity to read during the summer.
"A lot of these kids don't have transportation to the library, so we bring the library to them," said Paula Bartel, teacher and CWRC president
Excerpt: Peterson shared with the kids his favorite book he had as a kid. From the Scholastic Book program, he bought "The Run-a-Way Robot." This book was the stepping stone to his love for space. He shared how he used his imagination to build a space ship out of a cardboard box.
He told the kids, "There is a book like this for you over in the library." Any book might be the one that piques a kid's interest.
Peterson added, "I hope you go home with a book today."
The final song of the program was one performed by the singer and his audience. Peterson's line was, "What are you going to do today?" and the kids replied, "I'm going to read a book today."
Thursday, July 23, 2009
You might want to email the reporter, Rudolph Bush (firstname.lastname@example.org), to compliment him on the way he puts in a plug for libraries to open his story.
Excerpt: Whether you're hunting for a job, looking for a place to take the kids for an afternoon, seeking to learn about a new hobby or just trying to find the latest best-seller, chances are a Dallas Public Library could help you out.
But like so many other city services that residents have come to take for granted, there will be less of the libraries to go around come late September.
That's when the city of Dallas will adopt a new budget that shaves about $190 million from the planned $1.9 billion operating budget.
Libraries will bear a significant part of that burden. According to a June briefing, the library budget will slashed by a third to just under $22 million.
OK, what do we have here?
The City of Dallas is cutting its operating budget by 10%, but the library has to take a disproportionate cut of 33%. Tell me how this is fair.
Here are the damages found in the current proposal, yet to be approved by the city council:
1. Branch hours cut to 23 per week, half the current average. (The library plans to stagger hours among branches.)
2. Central Library closed on Sundays and Mondays, reducing hours open per week from 68 to 40.
3. New book purchases will drop from 52,000 to 5,000. (No getting around this one. People are just going to have to wait longer for popular materials. Good time for Dallasans to catch up on those books they've always wanted to read -- after they raise a big stink about these cuts.
Excerpt: The researchers found that people who are more “sociable are more likely to use Internet dating services than are those who are less sociable. This finding challenges the stereotypical profiling of Internet daters as being just lonely and socially anxious people.”
Link to Pew Internet & American Life Project article, "America Unwired".
Excerpt: Accessing the internet is for many Americans now a multiplatform affair. Just a few years ago, desktop or laptop computers were typical onramps to the internet for the tech-oriented crowd. The digerati, already accustomed to lugging their laptops around in search of ports for their Ethernet cables, rushed to equip their computers with wireless cards so they could take advantage of WiFi links to the net.
Today, the wireless router at home is the center of an untethered online access experience for many Americans that revolves around a range of devices that connect to the internet
Sidelight. According to the report, 2% of all American have an e-book reader.
Excerpt: An intriguing debate is shaping up between the Cedar Rapids City Council and the library board over where to build a new public library.
The council is looking to buy low-lying land outside the 100-year flood plain for the possible construction of new city buildings near the core of downtown. The library board would prefer to put a new library on higher ground a little farther from the downtown core.
The final decision, though, rests with the City Council.
Link to July 22 Editor & Publisher post, "'USA Today' Best-Seller List to Include Kindle Data".
Excerpt: Beginning with Thursday's edition, USA Today's weekly list of best-selling books will take into account Kindle book sales in the overall rankings.
The list has been published every Thursday in USA Today's Life section since Oct. 28, 1993.
"With the addition of sales figures from Kindle, we have created a more robust list which reflects the new platforms consumers and readers are using to purchase books," Susan Weiss, managing editor of the Life section, said in a statement.
Anyone locate any Kindle Titles on the Top 150?
Link to July 23 Kenosha News article, "Power loss closes library".
The library was closed from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. yesterday.
Excerpt: Lin Swartz-Truesdell, Kenosha Public Library support services manager, said the [Simmons] library was closed during the outage in the interest of safety.
Though the historic building receives natural light through windows and skylights, Swartz-Truesdell said no lighting was available on the staircase that leads to the library’s downstairs restrooms.
Link to news page of the Hudson Star-Observer. (You'll need to register for a free account to access fulltext of article, "Library undersized and underfunded, report says". )
Excerpt: The 42-page “Hudson Area Joint Library Assessment Report” is dated July 1, 2009, and was received by local library officials on July 13.
Library Board President Jim O’Connor talked about the report in a Monday morning interview at the library, located at 911 Fourth St. in the city of Hudson.
“We want to build public awareness of the need for improved library facilities and what they will provide to the public,” said O’Connor, speaking for members of a special planning committee that is exploring new options for expanding the library.
A plan to purchase the former Nuclear Management Co. building at 700 First St. and convert it into a library was defeated in a referendum last November.
Among the report's findings.
1. Ranks low in the size of its audio and video collections.
2. Has many fewer computers with Internet access than most other public libraries serving similar-size populations.
3. Ranks toward the bottom of its peer libraries in comparisons of the number of full-time-equivalent employees it has (9.91) and the number of hours per week that it is open (56).
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
This excerpt from the Lexington Herald-Leader doesn't tell the whole story, but it does seem to indicate a lack of good judgment on Imhoff's part. (Be sure to take a look at the graphic.)
Kathleen Imhoff, the Lexington Public Library's chief executive officer, had $134,158 in cash and credit-card expenses in five years. The library, funded by taxpayer dollars, paid more than $81,000 for travel, more than $15,000 for gifts and special events and nearly $11,000 for meals. Of those amounts, Imhoff or others have reimbursed the library for $6,568.
Excerpt: Back in West Bend, the Maziarkas and their supporters are gearing up for another go at the library, in part because the board now has its four new members. They do not want books burned, but they do want action.
"We want parents to decide whether they want their children to have access to these books ... and we want the library's help in identifying [them through labeling and moving]," Maziarka said. "It's just common sense."
In other words, they want it both ways.
Common sense would be for Ginny to understand that it's none of her damn business what other parents' kids want to read. Why does she think these are her decisions to make?
Excerpt: When “Sarah’s Key,” a novel about an American journalist investigating the 1942 roundup of Jews in Paris, was published in hardcover two years ago, it dropped with a thud. According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of sales, the book sold just 2,000 copies.
Indeed, the book, by the first-time novelist Tatiana de Rosnay, was well on its way to sinking out of sight last fall when Target, the discount retailer, chose the paperback version of “Sarah’s Key” as its Bookmarked Club Pick: a choice for a program that designates titles for prominent display throughout the chain’s stores. Suddenly sales exploded.
39 governors' seats are up next year.
Excerpt: “When I start looking at this chart, in some ways I’d sure rather be a Republican than a Democrat next year,” said Jennifer Duffy, who tracks governors’ races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
“There were a bunch of Democratic states I wasn’t looking too seriously at for a while — Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin — that I am taking new looks at because in the past several months, I have seen polling numbers for these governors tank,” Ms. Duffy said. “Let’s face it: Being governor is not the best job in America right now.”
Just 466 shopping days left until Election Day 2010.
Link to the Planning Commissioners Journal Planners Web. From this point, you can download a pdf file of "Libraries at the Heart of our Communities".
Excerpt from intro: For too long, libraries have been under-appreciated, often drawing less interest than a new sports arena, shopping complex, office tower, or theater. But the good news is that this has begun to change, as more communities are recognizing the value that having a strong library brings.
Not only do libraries provide valuable services for residents of all ages, incomes, and ethnic backgrounds, but they can also inject a healthy dose of vitality into downtowns, main streets, and neighborhoods.
I just sent the link to this article to Middleton's City Planner.
Link to Pew Research Center report, "Gen Next Squeezed By Recession, But Most See Better Times Ahead".
Excerpt: The youngest generation is also more likely to see government as effective and efficient than older age cohorts, more supportive of ensuring equal opportunity for all citizens and far less conservative on traditional and social values -- including attitudes toward homosexuality, women's roles, censorship, and whether there are clear guidelines about good and evil.
Excerpt: Here's the plot so far: Over its 131-year history, the library has developed a network of 12 neighborhood libraries, only a few miles from one another and from the Central Library downtown. Generations of Milwaukee residents have grown up with libraries within walking distance, a popular public service even as the libraries' emphasis has shifted from books to computers.
But now the city has fallen on hard times, beset by falling property values, rising benefit costs and stagnant state aid. Since 2000, the library's budget has been cut 20%, adjusted for inflation. And seven aging neighborhood libraries need new heating and cooling systems, at a cost of $750,000 each, or nearly $5.3 million total.
Yet any discussion of closing libraries has been ended by furious public opposition.
Now the Library Board is pondering options that would rebuild the citywide library system, combining some libraries with each other or with other facilities and creating as many as three new types of libraries. All of those plans would take several years to implement.
Link to Wausau Daily Herald article, "Schofield can't afford current service, mayor says".
Excerpt: But even before council members weighed in, Bremer was considering other possibilities. He recently contacted Rothschild to set up a meeting to discuss partnering with Rothschild, Police Chief Bill Schremp said. And he has asked for legal advice that could allow Schofield to pay nothing and rely upon the Marathon County Sheriff's Department for protection. (RG's emphasis.)
The Marathon County Public Library does not have a branch in Schofield.
But consider this: If paying for police service is dispensable, where does that place library service on a list of community priorities?
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Excerpt: New figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures show that states scrambling to balance their budgets already have closed at least $268.6 billion in gaps between projected spending and revenues since the recession started in December 2007. As a result of the previous eight-month-long recession, states erased $263.8 billion in red ink from fiscal 2002 to fiscal 2006.
The report released Monday (July 20) suggests legislators will face painful budget choices for years to come. (RG's emphasis.)
Excerpt: In one of the biggest projects in its 118-year history, the Prendergast Library will be temporarily closing its doors Aug. 31 for an asbestos removal project and renovation that could take up to three months.
With the current ballasts no longer being manufactured for the current light fixtures, the library had no choice but to install new fixtures or retrofit existings ones. Both of these actions require removing asbestos.
Below the carpet, flooring tiles also tested positive for the mineral and will need to be removed as well. Although the asbestos is not a threat to library visitors, it needed to be removed to comply with new laws and regulations. After replacing ceiling and floor tiles, the library will see a more modern facelift.
The project is estimated to cost $800,000.
Excerpt: City officials surprised the Rockford Public Library Board earlier this month announcing that the city will no longer contribute $683,000 to its employees’ pension in 2010, but that doesn’t mean the board will make a hasty decision on how to make up the shortfall.
On Monday, the board held off discussions in open and closed sessions about new revenue streams or the likelihood of library hours, staff and services being reduced.
Link to July 20 New York Times article, "Top Editor at Us Weekly Is Departing".
Excerpt: They turned what had been a celebrity-friendly magazine with some long articles into a quicker read with a much sharper tone and an appetite for scoops, scandal and candid, often unflattering, paparazzi shots.
Circulation has soared to more than 1.9 million, from more than 800,000 in 2000, second in the category to the mighty People, at more than 3 million. Us Weekly’s advertising sales also rose drastically, outpacing the industry every year in this decade. In the first half of this year, its ad pages declined almost 10 percent, a victory of sorts as the magazine industry fell 28 percent.
And where do libraries stand in this battle?
According to LINKcat, a South Central Library System consortium, 7 libraries subscribe to Us and 46 libraries, including all 8 Madison branches, subscribe to People.
You might want to double-check my math, but OWLSnet's infosoup.org shows a tally of 9 subscribers to Us and 41 subscribers to People.
We have a winner.
Telephone calls were once made with the assistance of an operator.
Families were once entertained by gathering around a console radio.
Men and women once wore hats to church -- and most other places they ventured.
People used to fill out paper forms to apply for jobs.
A lot has changed since the era of the backward-looking reverie found in William H. Wisner's "Restore the noble purpose of libraries". (Christian Science Monitor, July 17, 2009.) Libraries were once a sacred secular space of silence and reverence – a place where one automatically lowered one's voice. As a direct heir to the Enlightenment, the establishment of libraries was a testament to the self-evident integrity of mankind, the belief that we all desire to find the truth through knowledge.
Libraries, like all other entities in our society, have made ongoing and carefully considered adjustments in order to remain relevant. If I had somehow been allowed to transform the Middleton Public Library into a "space of silence and reverance" during my years there as Director, we would have ended up serving a small, specialized, admittedly grateful clientele. But not the needs and wishes of the community at large.
Sidebar. During a freshman orientation program at UW Stevens Point two weeks ago, the Director of Career Services itemized the skills that today’s employers demand of the college graduates that they hire: technical ability/computer literacy; critical thinking and problem solving skills across disciplines; imagination; communication skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening); interpersonal skills (tact, diplomacy); leadership, context experience (internships, practica), and conflict management.
Knowledge gained not solely through the activities of reading and study, in other words.
Excerpt: Comparing it to the beginning of divorce proceedings, city officials said last week that Town of Cedarburg officials' recent rejection of a city offer on shared services and a boundary agreement could result in a loss of services and higher fees for town residents.
"If the town walks away and divorces itself, there will be repercussions," Ald. Bob Loomis said at Monday night's Common Council meeting.
"As of last week, the city was under the impression we were still in discussion with the town," Cedarburg Mayor Greg Myers said at the same meeting. "Then we found out through a press release that we weren't."
The shared services agreement that expires at the end of the year includes library, senior services, and recreation.
And how much difference would it make to merge the city and town? In the 23 years I've lived in Middleton, I've learned that many Town of Middleton residents assume they live in the City of Middleton. They're surprised when they learn the Town is a separate governmental unit. The city and town having the same zip code (53562) plays a big role in this misunderstanding.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Link to July19 New York Times article, "Wikipedia May Be a Font of Facts, but It’s a Desert for Photos".
Excerpt: At a time when celebrities typically employ a team of professionals to control their images, Wikipedia is a place where chaos rules. Few high-quality photographs, particularly of celebrities, make it onto this site. This is because the site runs only pictures with the most permissive Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to use an image, for commercial purposes or not, as long as the photographer is credited.
Actually, it's a much bigger issue than the unflatering photographs of celebrities. Compare the visual presentation of Wikipedia's article on "Montana" -- or any other U.S. state -- with that of World Book encyclopedia.
Excerpt: Pending acceptance of an offer, the associate director at Douglas County Libraries in Castle Rock, Colo., will be the new director of the Cedar Rapids Public Library.
Robert Pasicznyuk, 45, of Colorado Springs will be offered the job as the library’s next director after a decision by the board of trustees last night. Board President Susan Corrigan was authorized to negotiate a contract with Pasicznyuk, and Corrigan said she anticipates a final outcome in the coming days.
“He’ll be instrumental in where we want to take this library in the future,” Corrigan said. “His use of technology at his current facility, and the things that they have done that provide a strong and cost-effective library system — those two things combined are very powerful.”
Pasicznyuk has spent the past 16 years at libraries in Colorado, including the last five years at Douglas County Libraries. He replaces Lori Barkema, who resigned in April 2008.
At Douglas County Libraries, Pasicznyuk spearheaded a transition to self-service checkout stations and automated returns, which helped the library keep pace during tremendous growth. Activity there has nearly doubled in the past four years, and circulation now runs around 8 million items per year. (According to preliminary data from the Library Research Services, the 2008 circulation for Douglas County libraries was 7,196,027. 2004 circ was 3,609,624. That's a very impressive increase, one that none of Wisconsin's larger libraries can match. But I'll double-check my figures and let you know if I'm wrong.)
Liven up your Monday with a look at this post at The Independent, "iSex: How pornography has revolutionised technology".
Here's what (un)covered:
1. Super 8 projector
2. Polaroid camera
3. Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP)
5. DVD players
6. The Internet
7. Pay-per-view cable or satellite
8. Interactive television
9. The video phone
Chris Matyszczyk muses at cnet news.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Link to July 19 Kenosha News article, "Library to get $30,000 in grants for new computers".
Excerpt: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday announced a donation of $6.5 million in grants to libraries in 11 states to provide for new computers and related software and equipment.
Wisconsin libraries are slated to receive $738,400 in grants, about $30,000 of which will go to Simmons, Northside and Uptown branches of the Kenosha Public Library.
“The grant is a wonderful kind of a thing,” said Lin Swartz-Truesdell, support services manager for the Kenosha Public Library.
Libraries receiving the grant were determined by the poverty and population of the areas they serve and the age of computers at those location.
Link to July 19 Wausau Daily Herald article, "More libraries add Wi-Fi Internet".
Excerpts: All branches of the Marathon County Public Library system had wireless Internet as of last year, and the T.B. Scott Free Library in Merrill went wireless in 2007.
"It is an expectation that libraries supply wireless," said Marathon County Public Library Director Phyllis Christensen.
"We have a limited number of wired computers, so (the wireless network) makes it unlimited," said T.B. Scott Free Library Director Stacy Stevens.
She said roughly 25 to 50 new users sign up by asking for the username and password to the system each month. The feature is so popular that some users access the Internet from the library parking lot when the building is closed.
Link to July 19 Sheboygan Press letter to the editor, "Don't let library system lose Mead".
Excerpt: The easy solution is to simply ignore the state statute. Is the Department of Public Instruction going to take any legal action? Obviously no. Why would they want to enforce a statute that will severely damage library service in two counties?
The second solution is to have the Ozaukee and Sheboygan county boards request the State Division for Libraries to waive the three-year average requirement. (Signed, Warren Stumpe, Mequon)