Saturday, September 5, 2009
Excerpt: A day after the public library announced that someone had taken 21 pounds of quarters it had been collecting in a one-gallon glass cider jug since mid-January, a local radio personality has helped to replace the missing cash.
On the same morning the story appeared in The Recorder, Chris 'Monte' Belmonte, program director at WRSI The River at 93.9 FM, put a call out on his radio show to listeners, asking them to donate their quarters.
The Friends of the Library had begun collecting the quarters on Jan. 11 as part of the library's 100th birthday celebration.
Excerpt: In the 1870s the federal government, the state government, the railroad companies and a handful of land prospectors were hammering out deals that would open up the Northwoods timber resources to the national marketplace by laying a system of railroad tracks.
Today a similar coalition of entities are brokering a decision that could provide broadband access to the region and deliver the information infrastructure many believe it needs to stay relevant in today’s economy.
Will the decision result in exploitation or sustained development? A coalition of Northwoods-based government, business and tribal entities spearheaded by the Forest County Potawatomi-owned business One Prospect Technologies has the answer, but they don’t know if the federal government is listen
Friday, September 4, 2009
Link to September 4 Springfield (Mass) Republican article, "$400 to $500 worth of quarters stolen from Greenfield Public Library".
Excerpt: During regular afternoon library hours, someone stole a large glass cider jug with about 21 pounds of quarters, valued at $400 to $500, that had been chained to a bookcase.
"It literally happened right under our noses," said Sharon A. Sharry, library director. The chain was cut and left behind, she said.
She said about 700 people go through the doors of the library each day. "Obviously we can't pay attention to every person that comes through the door."
The jug had been placed across from the circulation desk near the front entry.
The Friends of the Greenfield Public Library had placed the jug in the library to collect 100 pounds of quarters in honor of the library's 100th birthday last January.
Excerpt: If you're like us, you've got a wallet or purse bulging with cards.
Credit cards, debit cards, insurance cards, discount cards, gift cards, coffee cards, hardware cards, grocery cards and even key cards to open doors.
But there's one card that shouldbe at the top of the stack, because it opens the door to the entire universe: a library card.The city of Great Falls has a beautiful and well-stocked public library, and by signing up for a free library card there, you get access to it all — movies, music and, most of all, books — at no cost to you. You can't beat that deal, even at a garage sale.
This trite opening -- The stereotypical library is dying -- and it's taking its shushing ladies, dank smell and endless shelves of books with it -- makes me wonder when John D. Sutter last visited a public library.
Otherwise, an instructive overview for the general reader.
The article is divided into 4 sections.
Library 2.0. People used to go online for the same information they could get from newspapers. Now they go to Facebook, Digg and Twitter to discuss their lives and the news of the day. Forward-looking librarians are trying to create that same conversational loop in public libraries. The one-way flow of information from book to patron isn't good enough anymore.
Community Centers. Jason M. Schultz, director of the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California at Berkeley Law School, said libraries always have served two roles in society: They're places where people can get free information; and they're community centers for civic debate.
Librarians. In a world where information is more social and more online, librarians are becoming debate moderators, givers of technical support and community outreach coordinators.
They're also no longer bound to the physical library, said Greenwalt, of the library in Skokie, Illinois. Librarians must venture into the digital space, where their potential patrons exist, to show them why the physical library is still necessary, he said.
Funding woes. In the United States, libraries are largely funded by local governments, many of which have been hit hard by the recession.
That means some libraries may not get to take part in technological advances. It also could mean some of the nation's 16,000 public libraries could be shut down or privatized. Schultz, of the Berkeley Law School, said it would be easy for public officials to point to the growing amount of free information online as further reason to cut public funding for libraries.
Excerpt: When donations streamed in last week to Omaha public libraries, it appeared that several impending cost-cutting measures at Florence and other branches had been prevented.
Now that happy ending is less certain.
Under any scenario, the Florence Library would stay open, thanks mainly to an independent fundraising effort by area residents. But programs and hours at Florence and other city library branches remain at risk.
At an emergency meeting Thursday, the Omaha Library Board noted that much of the $340,000 raised or pledged last week was contingent on city officials passing a 2010 budget that fully funded library services.
Although the City Council approved a budget Tuesday that appears to do that, Mayor Jim Suttle has questioned whether the council’s anticipated revenue streams were realistic.
Suttle, too, supported full funding of the library system next year. But, he said, if the revenue sources fall short in 2010, the city could wind up repeating this year’s round of cuts to city services, including libraries.
Excerpt: The Commission also recognizes that testing and certification of books published prior to 1985 is not required for libraries and resellers because they do not typically manufacture or import children’s books. Because older children’s books did not use the modern CMYK printing process and some have been found to contain lead, the Commission was unable to make a determination that older books or their components do not exceed the CPSIA’s lead limits. The Commission continues to recognize that used children’s books that are sold as collectors items to adults would not be considered to be “children’s products” as defined by the CPSIA because as collector’s items for adults such books would not be “designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger.”
Here's how The Wisconsin Way describes itself. The Wisconsin Way is a unique partnership of statewide organizations with the goal of finding a new and better way to fund public services. Our members come from different backgrounds, but we all want the same thing—lower property taxes without lowering our quality of life.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Link to September 2 Janesville Gazette article, "Images of Evansville: Montgomery puts history of Rock County city on display".
Excerpt: The history of Evansville unfolds throughout the pages of a new book by local historian Ruth Ann Montgomery.
The photos and captions tell stories of everything from Dr. John M. Evans—after whom the city was named—to the Rock County Fair, which was held in Evansville from 1899 to 1927.
“I really hope that it will start conversations about those stories that people remember about these places and people, that they will pass those stories on to others in the community that may not be as familiar with Evansville history,” Montgomery said.
“There’s a lot of stories that can’t be told in a book of that size.”
Montgomery, a native of Richland Center, has long been a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Evansville’s history. Her latest project is available for purchase Monday: the “Evansville” edition in the “Images of America” series.
The 128-page book from Arcadia Publishing features more than 200 photographs captioned by Montgomery. Many of the photos came from Montgomery’s own collection of about five albums of photos and postcards that she’s collected over the years at auctions, on eBay and from people who gave them to her.
From the Associated Press
A new 75-cent monthly fee for all cell phones, landlines or other devices capable of calling 911 starts Tuesday in Wisconsin.
The fee was approved by the Legislature earlier this year to help balance the state budget.
The money collected will go to county and local governments to help support police and fire protection services. If phone companies separately list the new fee on bills, it will appear as the "Police and Fire Protection Fee."
The $50 million a year raised originally was designed to help pay for 911 call centers.
But as the budget problem grew, the Legislature instead decided to divert the money to local governments to reduce pressure on raising property taxes.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Excerpt: Input from the public was obtained during two open houses two weeks ago, and the Wednesday report and the council’s discussion following it might shed some light on a few giant questions facing the city.
Will, for instance, City Hall return to the Veterans Memorial Building on May’s Island or will the city build a new City Hall? And where will a new public library be built?
Excerpt: The union leadership in each of the five unions is recommending that members back the proposal.
Leaders of the police union, which took up the proposal after the other unions, have not yet taken a position but could schedule a vote by members later this month.
The proposal would base raises for 2011 on three factors:
• The city's income from its investments.
• The city's revenue from selling permits.
• The shared revenue the city receives from the state.
A formula would determine whether employees would get any raises and, if so, how much.
The city would pledge to keep staffing at current levels, with no layoffs or furloughs.
There is no truth to the rumor that officials considered changing their municipality's nickname to West Allis: City of Fines, Fees & Forfeitures.
Excerpt: After months of planning, our renovation is complete. We invite you to come into our "new" library and check out all the changes we have made for you, the patrons.
I have beenthe library director for a little more than a year and during that time, I have been taking notes on what was working well in the library, and what things needed to be "tweaked." After a lot of people watching, question asking and problem solving, we have accomplished our goal of a more open, user-friendly library.
Excerpt: The default means the city's credit rating will certainly drop further from its current B1 negative outlook rating, eliminating it from traditional borrowing in financial markets for several years.
Without the ability to do traditional borrowing, tight budgets might require the city to reduce services, which may lead to lower property values in the community.
The last two paragraphs of the article summarize a municipal case study in how not to do business.
The steam plant cost $41 million to build — more than three times the original $12.8 million estimate — due to questionable engineering, faulty projections and hasty decisions to proceed on a design-build basis without a spending cap or securing an important fourth steam customer.
Net plant revenues are unable to cover the massive debt despite significant taxpayer subsidies.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Link to August 31 op-ed piece in Dallas Morning News, "David Kusin: In defense of our city's 'information brain'".
Excerpt: Unfortunately, the current draft of the Dallas city budget would effectively lobotomize the institution by cutting its already lean materials budget by 66 percent. More alarming still is the poor budget prognosis for the following budget year, during which these cuts would be sustained. Such a reduction will induce what amounts to institutional coma.
Even though some of the initially proposed cuts to library hours have been restored, that improvement will provide cold comfort to patrons when valuable materials – online job search databases, for instance – are no longer available. While such budgetary tinkering may provide "feel good" politics, it fails to preserve the core function of our free public library.
The fate of our greatly beloved library now lies in the hands of the Dallas City Council. Fortunately, it seems that some council members are beginning to understand what sustaining this treasure is worth versus the long-term cost of letting it wither. Will all their colleagues on the council join them? We'll know soon, won't we?
Friends of the Dallas Public Library on Facebook.
On this side we have north-side Alder Michael Schumacher. "At this point I am not yet ready to support it." He wants to hear first from area residents. (Not just his constituents?)
And over here we have Mayor Dave. "In building this new library, we’ll be able to take advantage of some of the lowest construction prices in decades, create hundreds of jobs and grow our tax base by opening up the block for development."
And somewhere in between is Lauren Cnare, Far East Side alder. "Personally, I like it. It’s important that we, as a community, have these civic landmarks." But she wants to hear from her constituents before making a final decision.
Council President Tim Bruer thinks a case case be made for a new (and "long overdue") central library, even when facing one of the tightest city budgets he can recall.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Link to August 31 cnn.com article, "Tiny librarian is hell on wheels".
Excerpt: By day, she's Beth Hollis, a 53-year-old reference librarian in Akron, Ohio. By night, she's MegaBeth, an ageless dynamo on the roller derby rink.
"All my life, when I tell people I'm a librarian, they say, 'You don't look like a librarian,' " Hollis said. "And now that I'm a roller derby girl, they say, 'You don't look like a roller derby girl, either.' So I don't know where I fit in."
Hollis has been fitting in at the Akron-Summit County Library for 27 years."She's my hero," said Diane Barton, 48, who has worked with Hollis at the library for 18 years. "I just think it's so cool she's doing something so different and so active and so aggressive. You know how we are. We're librarians, so we tend to have that meek and mild stereotype."
Excerpt: The money for the project came largely from the annual Panther Prowl, a fundraising walk the PSO launched three years ago. The Prowl, which features children walking a course at the school for pledges, has become so successful that the PSO has dropped most of its other fundraisers.
“The first year our goal was $3,000, and we raised about $10,000,” said organizer Lisa Ashmus. Since then it has grown even more successful, raising about $15,000 last school year.
Last year the theme for the event was “Laps for the Library.”
Excerpt: It is the first building on campus designed exclusively to serve as a library. The Todd Wehr Library was dedicated in 1978 in a building constructed as a residence hall in 1967.
Felice Maciejewski, director of the library, said the new facility has 60,000 square feet on three floors. It features a café, computer labs, wireless
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Excerpt: Charleston had no public library until a group of determined women -- the Woman's Kanawha Literary Club -- formed a committee in 1908 and drummed up support in the community.
The literary group, which dates back to 1896, still meets every other Tuesday over tea and dessert for a discussion of a scholarly paper presented by a member, said Anne Silbernagel, the immediate past president.
Excerpt: Convinced the timing and price are right, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is proposing to move forward with a new $37 million central library, the biggest city building project since Monona Terrace opened 12 years ago.
Cieslewicz on Tuesday will formally propose in his capital budget that the city use $37 million in borrowing, tax credits and private fundraising over the next three years to pursue a proposal by the Fiore Cos. for a six-story, glass and stone library at West Washington Avenue and Henry Street that would be part of a larger, more ambitious redevelopment.
Excerpt: Huberty, who works for the firm Engberg Anderson, said his design has to accommodate several factors not included in the conceptual design, including a possible roundabout at the intersection of Lacy Road and Research Park Drive, the need for two entrances (one at Lacy Road and another facing the parking zone on the upper level), and one that will provide more flexibility than the L-shaped conceptual design.
The City Council approved the contract with Engberg Anderson when it met July 28.
Huberty said he has planned a "fairly aggressive" schedule to produce a final design in October, although it will take longer to flesh out the building's details.
He plans to meet with elected officials and focus groups in early September, followed by public meetings. He will then produce several conceptual designs for public review.
Huberty, 50, said he has worked on about half the 84 libraries designed by the firm. Many are located in Wisconsin, including the South Branch and the Sequoia Branch in Madison, the library in Lake Mills, and libraries in Manitowoc, Two Rivers and Green Bay, to name a few.