Saturday, October 17, 2009

Call Me a Cab

I'm outta here.

Link to October 17 cnet news post, "'Moby-Dick' to be rewritten in emoticons".

Seattle Public Library Fee Increases

Link to October 8 Seattle Times post, article, "Seattle library policy changing".

$5 fee for an interlibrary loan. (Previously available at no charge.)

$85 fee for a non-resident card. (Up from $55.)

$25 fee for 3-month visitor card. (Up fromm $15.)

In addition, borrowers are limited to 50 items checked out at one time. (One comment: Clearly I am not reading enough books.)

Also a limit of 25 holds.

Henrico County's Banned Books Reading Room

Back by popular demand!

Phone Book Vanishing Act

Ready for the recycling bin

Link to Jim Stingl's opinion column in the October 15 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "White pages going the way of operators".

Excerpt: You know how the white pages phone book appears magically on the porch this time of year?

Well, not in the Milwaukee area anymore, unless you ask for one.

The way we look up numbers and make calls - increasingly with unlisted cell phones - is turning the thousand-page doorstop into a dinosaur.

The change was announced in a widely ignored news release last month. It also was mentioned in a flier attached to the new AT&T Real Yellow Pages, which will continue to be delivered to everyone. It includes business and government listings, along with maps, area codes, ZIP codes, calendars and such.

The rest of Wisconsin outside the four-county Milwaukee area will keep getting the white pages as usual, at least this year.

Waunakee Resurrects Library Plan

Waunakee's current public library facility

Link to October 14 HometownNewsGroup post, "Committee recommends mixed use library site for Main, Madison St."

Faced with an empty lot in one of the village's central business locations, a committee recommended Monday that the Waunakee resurrect a plan for a library in a mixed-use development.

The ad hoc committee had been formed to recommend a best use for the village's downtown Tax Incremental District.

If the village board accepts the recommendation, the members could seek proposals from developers for a library and residential project at Madison and Main Street in November or December, said John Laubmeier, board president.

Computers in Libraries: Keeping Up with Demand

Link to October 17 Rhinelander Daily News article, "Computers in overdrive: Libraries scramble to keep up with demand".

Excerpt: Whether you walk into the public library in Rhinelander, Minocqua or Eagle River, you detect a hum of busyness that isn’t associated with books. Books are still being checked out the old-fashioned way, but the hum comes from all the computers in use — whether they’re the in-house hardwired ones or private laptops scattered about, drawing on free access to wireless. It’s the bank of hardwired computers provided by each library that is taking its toll on resources, and area libraries are looking for ways to keep up with the burgeoning demand.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Naperville Public Library Cuts $1.1 Million from Budget

Link to October 16 Daily Herald article.

Library staff is analyzing hours of library usage as it discusses where to make the cuts.

The library is looking at opening an hour later on Sundays and eliminating the premium pay for its employees on those days. Those moves would save an estimated $200,000.

The library also is exploring voluntary separations and could implement furlough days for its employees. Library facilities would be closed on these furlough days.

Hours per week for full-time staff may also be reduced. That in turn could also mean fewer library hours. If those are morning hours, some children's programming could be cut. If those are afternoon hours, it could be teen programming that gets the ax.

The majority of the library's roughly 290 employees already work part-time. Lebeau said the library follows a continuous improvement model so it already runs a tight ship.

"We're looking at this all the time," she said. "Is there a better, faster way of doing something. So there really hasn't been a lot of room."

The library already eliminated paid public programming and reduced its training and materials costs. Further cuts to the materials budget are likely.

Top 5 Myths About Librarians

The countdown.

5. Librarians have no stress
4. They pay you to read all day
3. Librarians are little old ladies with their hair pulled back and wear glasses.
2. Librarians have read every book in the library.
1. Librarians know the answer to everything.

Multiple sources: here, here, and here.

National Lampoon Covers (1970-1998)


A magazine that started strong but limped along for years to reach the finish line.

Top 100 Most Visited Wikipedia Articles (2009)


OK, who of you out there is livin' in the early-to-mid '50s?

Not So Fast With That Death of Email Thing

Link to October 14 post, "Why Facebook, Twitter, Google Wave Still Bow to King E-Mail".

Excerpt: E-mail may be boring, but, sorry, it remains the king of communications. Despite Nicholas Carr's assertion that asynchornous communication is now our enemy, we can't always be connected, nor do we want to always engage with real-time services.

As anyone who has suffered the headache-inducing, co-editing cursors of Google Wave can attest, always-on connectivity hurts productivity worse than e-mail. Sometimes we need to unplug, regardless of whether we are working or playing.

The notion that e-mail is some bygone, passé application is wishful talk perpetuated by Silicon Valley folk breathing in every bit of Web 2.0 asbestos imaginable. Try this new widget! Have you checked out this recommendation engine? You mean you're still using Snurl?! You have to try

Facebook and Twitter are great social networks that spark fun, often frivolous and speedy communications. But these platforms are hardly supplanting Outlook, Lotus Notes or even Gmail in businesses.

Manitowoc-Calumet Library System Looking for New Director

Here's the job posting.

Organization: Manitowoc-Calumet Library System
Position: Director
Close date: Open until filled. Interviews will begin after Nov. 9, 2009.

Description: Serving the libraries between Lake Michigan and Lake Winnebago, the Manitowoc-Calumet Library System (MCLS) is composed of six member libraries, three in each county. The MCLS service area covers 912 square miles and has a population of over 131,000 people. The Director is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of a 15-member Board of Trustees. As the chief executive officer, the Director is responsible to the Board for helping MCLS fulfill its mission of ensuring access to public library services for all residents of the system area; coordinating planning, cooperation, resource sharing, and application of information technologies among member libraries; and providing services that support, improve, and promote the member libraries, within the context of Wisconsin statutory requirements. MCLS currently has a staff of approximately 3 FTE's.

The position requires a Master's degree in library science and Grade 1 certification; at least five years of professional librarian experience (public library experience preferred); management/supervisory experience including responsibility for budget, finance, personnel, and library technology; ability to communicate effectively with staff, member library directors, Board, and governmental funding authorities. Willingness to relocate into MCLS service area is a plus.

MCLS will provide a competitive salary and benefits. Beginning salary is negotiable depending on qualifications.

For a complete job description and other information, visit our website at

Send confidential resume to:

Cheryl Kjelstrup, President
MCLS Board of Trustees
4519 Lincoln Ave.
Two Rivers, WI 54241

Phone: 920-553-6257
Fax: 920-553-6259

Baraboo Council Supports Funds for Library Expansion

Link to October 16 Baraboo News Republic article, "Council puts more expenses in budget".

Excerpt: Among the most expensive was a request by Library Director Richard MacDonald for a $200,000 yearly contribution toward constructing an addition to as much as double the size of the library. MacDonald said the library is working to purchase an office building east of the library and discussing purchasing land from the United Methodist Church at Fourth Avenue and Broadway.

The project will remove the office building, construct an addition east of the 100-year-old Carnegie library and remodel the historic library building, MacDonald said.

Liston said he strongly supports the library addition and several council members agreed.

"I'm a very big supporter of the library, I've got two children," said recently-elected Alderman Peter Chambas. "We go there all the time. We're kind of sorry it's not open on Sunday."

Hudson Considers Purchase of Building for Shared Police/Library Facility

Link to October 14 Hudson Star-Observer article, "City still considering purchase of NMC building for police, library".

Excerpt: “We’ve been working on a completely different approach” to remodeling and using the building than the $10 million plan put forth by the Hudson Area Library Foundation in 2008, [Hudson Mayor Dean] Knudson said. “If we go forward with this now, it will look almost nothing like that plan.”

For example, the floors of the building wouldn’t require the expensive reinforcement that was called for the initial proposal, according to the mayor. He said that plan assumed a building filled with seven- or eight-foot shelves stacked with books, but many libraries don’t have shelves that high anymore.

Cue the Dragnet theme music. This article raises a number of red flags for me. "Working on a completely different approach"? And who is "we"? "Look almost nothing like that plan", in reference to the Hudson Area Library Foundation, whose members are, perhaps, as surprised as I am this morning.

Not to be sacreligious, but I hear the words of an old hymn inside my head.

"Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble."

By the way, this is the same mayor who, among others, threw a hissy fit this summer over a deservedly unflattering library assessment report.

Appleton, Madison, Neenah & Oshkosh: Can you feel the adversity being lifted from your shoulders?

An older version of the Adversity Index map.

MSNBC can.

Excerpt: The recession finally ended in August in one out of every five metro areas in the United States, especially in the Midwest and Great Plains, according to the latest Adversity Index from Moody's and

This is the first month this year when any metro area has moved from recession into the "recovery" category, indicating that the economy grew from six months earlier. Out of 384 metro areas in the nation, 79 are in recovery, according to the August data on jobs, manufacturing and housing. Another 270 areas have a "moderating recession," meaning their economies were not contracting as severely as earlier. That leaves 35 metro areas in a full-blown recession.

News from the Hometown Gazette: Warren Public Library Faces Another $100,000 Cut in Funding

Link to October 9 Warren Times Observer article, "Library funding in peril".

Excerpt: On Thursday, Warren Public Library Director Patty Sherbondy received an email from Glenn Miller, executive director of the Pennsylvania Library Association, in which he confidently predicted the state legislature will finally end the state's budget impasse in the next several days, resulting in a 26.7 percent funding cut for libraries across the state after the budget is signed into law by Gov. Ed Rendell.

"On the eve of Day 100 of the state budget impasse," wrote Miller, "a deal has been sealed finally and without any further significant changes. The State House debated the final deal last night and passed it by a vote of 107-93. Early passage in the Senate is expected since both the Republicans and Democrats there already had signaled their support. The final Senate vote could occur Thursday evening or Friday. The Governor will sign the budget soon after."

Unless something changes drastically, Warren Public Library is looking at a cut of more than $100,000 from its state funding, according to Sherbondy.

The library lost an additional $100,000 in funding from Warren County earlier this fiscal year.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Saving America's Libraries: Another Critical Round


Reading is Not a Zero-Sum Game

Link to October 14 New York Times "Room for Debate" feature, "Does the Brain Like E-Books?"

Excerpt: Writing and reading — from newspapers to novels, academic reports to gossip magazines — are migrating ever faster to digital screens, like laptops, Kindles and cellphones. Traditional book publishers are putting out "vooks", which place videos in electronic text that can be read online or on an iPhone. Others are republishing old books in electronic form. And libraries, responding to demand, are offering more e-books for download.

Is there a difference in the way the brain takes in or absorbs information when it is presented electronically versus on paper? Does the reading experience change, from retention to comprehension, depending on the medium?

The things that people get paid for nowadays.

One more time.

Ebook Adoption and Reading Habits

Link to October 15 Library Shop Talk blogpost (John Repplinger), "Publishers, Libraries, and Digital Lending".

One of the big issues for libraries in the future will be the adoption of e-books. There has been a subtle cultural shift in reading habits among our society; people are reading more through electronic access. This is not to say that individuals are reading less from printed materials. However, what I am saying is that people seem to be reading digital materials in addition to reading what they normally read in print. This is from my personal observations of people’s reading habits instead of anecdotal evidence.

Don Costa on Fixing Email

Link to October 14 post, "E-mail isn't Dead -- But it Is Broken".

Excerpt: Given my job, I am a huge fan of technological solutions, but fixing e-mail is going to require some serious behavioral modification. We need to rethink how we use e-mail. It isn't a real-time communication tool, and shouldn't be used as one. It may seem like we can send and receive an infinite supply of e-mail, but we can't. Sending a lot of e-mail doesn't make you more productive—in fact, it makes everyone else less productive. Choose your e-mails carefully, for you own productivity and sanity. And for mine, too.

Shining a Light on Anti-Neutrality Research

Link to October 15 boingboing post, "Internet brownouts, pay-per-byte, and other doom-claims of anti-Neutrality 'researchers'."

Ars Technica's Nate Anderson does a nice job evaluating the claims coming from Internet research firm Nemertes Research, who made headlines in 2007 by predicting a huge spike in traffic by 2010 (the "exaflood") that would cause internet "brownouts" (Nemertes' answer was to limit what people were allowed to do on the internet by giving ISPs the power to cut off access to services that they didn't like).

Guild of Radical Militant Librarians: T-shirts and Totes Available

From Cory Doctorow's October 15 boingboing post: Just ran into a Norwegian librarian at Internet Librarian International in London wearing this killer tee-shirt, created in protest of the PATRIOT Act's provision to force librarians to reveal which books their patrons were checking out. The Latin translates as "We know what you read, and we're not saying."

Story Circles at Two Rivers' Lester Public Library

Link to October 15 Herald-Times-Reporter article, "Sharing the past".

Excerpt: Nelson was one of a half-dozen people who gathered Wednesday morning at Lester Public Library to talk about life during the Great Depression. It was the latest session of Story Circles, a monthly program the library added in the spring.

Anyone interested can come and reminisce. Participants do not need to live in Two Rivers or have a library card. Attendance typically has consisted of four or five seniors drawn from a small pool of regular participants, according to Susie Menk, reference associate at the library.
Story Circles was Menk's brainchild.

She said the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, where she also works, has recorded oral histories, and she wanted to bring the idea to the library.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Remember Background Notes?

Check it out here.

2009 Magazine Update: Folds & Launches

Regionals shine in new magazine launches

Link to October 13 post, "383 magazines fold in first nine months of 2009, and 259 launch".

Excerpt: Over the last nine months, the Regional Interest category was the top category for new launches with 15 new titles including Maine Magazine and The 45th (N. Michigan). Food had 14 new magazines, including Edible Queens. Other popular magazine categories for new launches were Health & Fitness and Home with 13 new titles each, in the first nine months of 2009.

The State of Reading: More Choices, More Opportunities

Link to October 14 New York Times article, "Libraries and Readers Wade Into Digital Lending".

Eager to attract digitally savvy patrons and capitalize on the growing popularity of electronic readers, public libraries across the country are expanding collections of books that reside on servers rather than shelves.

The idea is to capture borrowers who might not otherwise use the library, as well as to give existing customers the opportunity to try new formats.

Social Media Revolution

Percentage of American who have a library card.
70% Echo boomers (18-31)
68% Generation X (32-43)
67% Baby Boomers (44-62)
65% Mature (63+)


Library Security Gate Rant

Other ItsKingsleyBitch youtube videos found here.

Just riffin'....describing an actual experience....or somewhere in-between?

Picking Apart Classroom Reading Assignments

Link to October 11 Toronto Globe and Mail article, "The battle over Boo Radley".

Excerpt: Much to the dismay of the average teenager, the Pythagorean theorem and natural selection are required elements of a high-school education. But when it comes to the classics of literature like Brave New World and To Kill a Mockingbird , the lines begin to blur.

Campaigns for wholesale bans on these and other classic works make occasional headlines, but many students are barred from reading such books through a simple request from a parent.

The question of how often this happens, and whether the practice should be allowed, is forcing its way into public debate following a controversy at the country's largest school board, where a formal policy allows students to opt out.

No work of literature is mandatory at Toronto's public schools: Parents can simply ask the principal to excuse their children from reading any book. And no one knows which books are substituted or how often because no one keeps a tally.

Perhaps this trend is why more teaching are adopting a Reading Workshop to teaching literature.

What are the odds? The Book of Odds Knows

Partial screenshot from "library" search

Here's a brand-new website worth exploring.

[From "About Us"]
What is Book of Odds?

Book of Odds is the world’s first reference on the odds of everyday life. It is a destination where people come to learn about the things that worry or excite them, to read engaging and thoughtful articles, and to participate in a community of users that share their interests and ambitions.

For over three years we have been building what we believe is the missing dictionary, one filled not with words, but with numbers – the odds of everyday life. It contains hundreds of thousands of Odds Statements, from the odds of being the only one to survive a plane crash, to the odds of having a heart attack, to the odds of having ever eaten cold pizza for breakfast. Book of Odds not only allows you to search for those odds that concern or interest you the most, but also to understand probability by comparing the odds of unfamiliar events to others you have personally experienced. Book of Odds was built for you, and we hope you’ll enjoy it.

FEMA: Site New Cedar Rapids Library Elsewhere

Link to October 13 Cedar Rapids Gazette article, "FEMA says downtown library must go on a new site; extra FEMA bucks to buy land in the offing".

Excerpt: The Federal Emergency Management Agency has decided that the city must build its new downtown library on a site other than the site of flood-wrecked library on First Street SE along the Cedar River.

City Council member and mayoral candidate Brian Fagan slipped the announcement of the FEMA decision into the mayoral debate last night at Coe College. Fagan said the FEMA decision would bring with it an extra $4 million in disaster payments for the library.

"Wimpy Kid" Explained

Link to October 12 New York Times article, "Behind the 'Wimpy Kid' Phenomenon".

Excerpt: But given the books’ powerful appeal among both girls and boys, child development experts say parents have a lot to learn from Greg and company. While books like the Harry Potter series create an imaginative fantasy world, the Wimpy Kid books give us a rare glimpse into a child’s ethical mind.

“It really captures the struggle of a child that age trying to figure out what it means to be a person,” said Dr. Joshua Sparrow, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sparrow read the first Wimpy Kid book after a young patient told him about it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stocking Stuffer?

Link to October 13 Mashable post, "Would You Pay $99 for Wikipedia in Your Pocket?

Excerpt: The WikiReader is a small handheld device about the size of a stack of Post-It notes that exists to serve one function and one function only: access to Wikipedia from the palm of your hand.

The device embodies simplicity with a monochrome touchscreen and 3 simple buttons: Search, History, and Random.

Thanks, but I'll take the Post-it notes.

Ebook Reader Marketplace Heats Up

Link to October 11 post, "Kindle Killers? The Boom in New E-Readers".

Excerpt: Success breeds imitators. Amazon is about to be attacked by a squadron of would-be Kindle killers that are being brought to market by some of the biggest names in consumer electronics and publishing. To complicate the increasingly competitive landscape even further, Apple and, according to rumor, Microsoft are working on tablet computers that could prove to be handy e-readers but with more functions and features, such as video-display capability and full Web browsers. The year "2009 is a breakout year for e-readers," says Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research. "But we're still in the early stages."

Will consumers embrace this technology in a big way or end up confused by the increasing number of choices?

According to retrevo, Survey Says "All Signs Point to Strong Holiday Season for eBook Readers".

Will you buy an e-Reader this year?
21% yes
79% no

26% male
17% female

Brand name
62% Amazon Kindle
32% Sony Reader
6% other

29% under 25
40% 25-34
22% 35-44
10% 45 and older (RG increasingly inclined to purchase)

16% $50,000-$100,000
33% $100,000-$200,000

29% Northeast
22% South
20% Midwest
14% West

Neil Gaiman's Latest Internet Experiment

Link to October 12 cnet news post, "Neil Gaiman to create audio book based on tweets".

Excerpt: "When roughly 1,000 tweets are logged, we'll edit the contributions and compile a script, then head into the studio to record and produce the audiobook. The final audiobook will be downloadable free on our Web site and also available as a digital download at iTunes and other audiobook retailers," the BBC Audiobooks America Blog says.

Given that Gaiman has 1.2 million followers, I suspect it shouldn't take long to get 1,000 contributions.

It's not clear where this idea came from, but Gaiman has a history of using the Internet in interesting ways. He came up with the idea of raising money for causes by auctioning off the names of characters in upcoming books on eBay, and organized such an auction with other writers in 2005.

Eau Claire Library Renovation at Finishing Touches Stage

Link to October 13 Eau Claire Leader-Telegram article, "Library renovation nears completion".

Excerpt: Regular L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library customers already have been able to take advantage of some renovated features.

The checkout desk has been moved to the side of the atrium, out of the main entryway. A reading area for magazines and newspapers has softer chairs and takes advantage of natural light and a view of the outdoors from a set of windows.

But some spaces still need work.

The new microfiche room has been constructed, but machines still need to be wired. New lobby furniture will be coming in the next couple weeks. The youth services area will reopen Nov. 7 after movers transfer materials from temporary storage into the renovated space. A new sign will be installed at the library, higher on the building so it is more visible and less likely to be vandalized.

Separate grand opening festivities are planned for donors, frequent users of the youth services area and the general public.

Shannon Stiller is New Portage Public Library Director

Link to October 12 Portage Daily Register article, "New library director named".

Excerpt: Library work is a second career for Stiller. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, she worked in clinical laboratory science. She said she found enjoyment in the work, particularly in the educational side of it, but something was missing.

"It wasn't people-centered enough to keep me fulfilled," she said. "I needed a little bit more personal of a mission."

Stiller said someone suggested she imagine winning a lottery and not having to work for a living. What, the person asked, would she do?

"'Work in a library,'" Stiller said she answered somewhat flippantly.

But she said that once she thought seriously about the idea, she realized it might be a real possibility for her. Stiller said she researched the field and decided to pursue the work.

In 2003, she graduated from Syracuse University with a master's of science degree in library and information science. Her library career includes work at the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Shannon begins her duties on Monday, November 9.

Madison Board of Estimates Rejects Library Referendum

Link to October 12 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Board rejects library referendum, OKs $37 million for project".

Excerpt: Madison's financial committee on Monday scrutinized but endorsed Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's proposals for a $37 million central library and $16 million in public assistance for redevelopment of the Edgewater Hotel.

In a marathon six-hour meeting, the Board of Estimates voted 6-0 to reject a bid for a binding public referendum on the library in April, and it deadlocked 3-3 with Cieslewicz casing a tie-breaking vote to keep $16 million in tax incremental Financing (TIF) support for the Edgewater project in the mayor's proposed $185.8 million capital budget for next year.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Reading One Book a Day for a Year

Partial screenshot from Nina Sankovitch's blog.

Link to October 11 New York Times article, "A Quest to Read a Book a Day for 365 Days".

Excerpt: Aside from the pleasure of it, Ms. Sankovitch had other goals — inspiring a love of books in others and finding her way through a period of sorrow and soul-searching brought on by the death of her sister Anne-Marie in 2005.

“I’ve always thought great literature is all one needs to read to understand human psychology, emotions, even history,” she said. “For someone sitting around reading books, it’s been a really lively year.”

Ms. Sankovitch, who has a law degree from Harvard and reads fast but does not speed read, is no doubt smarter than the average bear. Yet she’s convinced that reading a book a week is something most people can do.

Panorama View: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville Branch

Link to

The sad news is that this 1898 architectural gem is one of 5 of CLP's 19 branches that are schedule to close to cover a $1.2 million budget deficit.

Nate Anderson on the Fear and Loathing of Technological Innovations

Then what of the national throat?
Will it not weaken?
What of the national chest?
Will it not shrink?"
John Philip Sousa
"The Menace of Mechnical Music"
Appleton's Magazine (1906)

Link to October 11 ars technica post, "100 years of Big Content fearing technology—in its own words".

Excerpt: It's almost a truism in the tech world that copyright owners reflexively oppose new inventions that do (or might) disrupt existing business models. But how many techies actually know what rightsholders have said and written for the last hundred years on the subject?

The anxious rhetoric around new technology is really quite shocking in its vehemence, from claims that the player piano will destroy musical taste and the "national throat" to concerns that the VCR is like the "Boston strangler" to claims that only Hollywood's premier content could make the DTV transition a success. Most of it turned out to be absurd hyperbole, but it's interesting to see just how consistent the words and the fears remain across more than a century of innovation and a host of very different devices.

So here they are, in their own words—the copyright holders who demanded restrictions on player pianos, photocopiers, VCRs, home taping, DAT, MP3 players, Napster, the DVR, digital radio, and digital TV.

Editorial Touts Fond du Lac Library's Opportunity Center

Link to October 12 editorial in Fond du Lac Reporter: "Jobless get boost with new library program".

Excerpt: Two volunteers from the VISTA program are helping unemployed Fond du Lac County residents get the assistance they need in getting back into the work force.

The volunteers are headquartered on the second floor of the Fond du Lac Public Library in a newly created Opportunity Center.

The two — Sara Byrnes and Josh Cowles — are working to connect the unemployed with state and local programs assisting with the nation's economic recovery. Those programs range from training and job searching to support groups.

VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is often referred to as the domestic Peace Corps. Its volunteers are usually recent college graduates who devote a year or more of their lives to helping improve the quality of life in communities across the United States.

Marathon County Needs to Close $1 Million Budget Gap

Link to October 12 Wausau Daily Herald article, "Marathon County tax rate to rise as Administrator Brad Karger changes funding process, proposes cuts".

County priorities
As part of the 2010 budget process, Marathon County Board members ranked funding priorities for public services following focus groups with residents. They are:
1. Public safety
2. Health
3. Vulnerable populations
4. Transportation
5. Community development
6. Education

A photo caption notes that [t]he county budget proposes freezing or cutting library funding.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Between the Lines: Cottage Grove Library Relegated to "In Your Dreams" Status

Link to October 10 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Mikalsen promises to continue focus on spending as Cottage Grove president".

Excerpt: Mike Mikalsen, appointed Cottage Grove's new village president Monday by the Village Board, has promised to continue his predecessor's focus on reducing village spending and bringing more businesses to the community.

"Frankly the village has to bring the spending into line with the village's ability to pay," he said Friday, his fifth day in office.

The board appointed Mikalsen, known in the Capitol as a prolific and high-profile aide to state Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, after former village President Scott Norton resigned abruptly on Sept. 18, only five months into a two-year term.

"The Dog Whisperer" Featured in Lengthy New York Times Profile

Link to October 10 New York Times article, "Whispering to Rottweilers, and to C.E.O.’s".

Excerpt: With his wife, Ilusion, he runs Cesar Millan Inc., the center of a constellation of businesses that coordinates all things Cesar beyond the show, including speaking engagements; executive leadership seminars; a line of organic dog food, fortified water, shampoos and toys that sells at Petco; and the charitable foundation financed by an undisclosed percentage of the company’s revenue.

His Web site,, grosses annual sales in the mid-seven figures, according to a company spokesman, chiefly from DVDs, books and merchandise like the Illusion Collar, designed by his wife to help control challenging dogs. Nearly 400,000 visitors are on the site monthly. Then there’s his Dog Psychology Center, a 43-acre mecca he calls a “Disneyland for dogs.” Under construction north of here, near where he and his family live, it will be the first of many such centers nationwide, he says.