Saturday, October 24, 2009
The Library Reading Room is in the process of a much-needed renovation.
The project started in June of this year and is scheduled for completion in January 2010.
Two months to go? There appears to be a lot of work left to do.
The view from my cubby. JoAnna is researching family history from two and three generations back and is having great success. I wonder when we're going to eat lunch. I'm getting very hungry for one of those Village Green double-cheeseburgers. And maybe a side of sweet-potato fries. OK, so it's not a healthy-eating day.
Alex Koppleman describes how the right, including Rush Limbaugh, falls for a hoax about the president's college thesis.
Excerpt: As a bit of basic research would have shown Limbaugh, Obama didn't technically write a thesis at Columbia -- at the time, Columbia didn't really have senior theses -- though he did write a thesis-length paper. But it was on Soviet nuclear disarmament, not the Constitution.
Research? It's not in a bloviator's job description.
Excerpt: While the Federal Communications Commission considers the first steps toward ensuring net neutrality–making certain that broadband providers do not discriminate against high traffic sites–the telecom firms that would be affected by the rules and their trade groups have been swamping Congress with a one-two punch of campaign contributions from the companies and their registered lobbyists. Some 244 members of Congress were the beneficiaries of these contribution clusters–totaling more than $9.4 million–from January 2007 to June 2009, an investigative collaboration of the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Responsive Politics has found. Telecom interests and their lobbyists engaged in more clustered giving than any industry save pharmaceuticals.
Overall, the top recipient of the largess was Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who took in $894,379 (many of those contributions were directed to his 2008 presidential campaign).
See this post for background.
Link to October 24 Eau Claire Leader-Telegram article, "Author examines origin of tall tale".
Excerpt: The identity of the person who told the first tall tale of Paul Bunyan may never be known.
According to author Michael Edmonds, one things is certain, though, and that is the stories were dreamt up in the early 1880s in the logging camps of northern Wisconsin - a few miles north of Tomahawk to be exact.
Edmonds, the head of digital collections and Web services at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, released his book "Out of the Northwoods: The Many Lives of Paul Bunyan" in early October, a book he said is meant to dispel any common misconceptions about the origins of Bunyan.
"Some people will say 'Oh, Paul Bunyan, that started in Minnesota,' " said Edmonds. "But, it didn't.
"(The tales) are not tied to any particular location, but Paul Bunyan as a character, I'm confident, was invented in the Wisconsin River Valley in the 1880s and quickly spread from there elsewhere."
Friday, October 23, 2009
Excerpt: For many people, cellphones have become indispensable appendages that make calls, deliver e-mail messages, locate restaurants and identify the song on the radio. After 20 years, 85 percent of adult Americans have cellphones, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. According to the Federal Communications Commission, cellphones caught on faster than cable TV and personal computers although, by some accounts, broadband Internet service was adopted faster.
Those who still do not have them, according to Pew, tend to be older or less educated Americans or those unable to afford phones. “These are people who have a bunch of other struggles in their lives and the expense of maintaining technology and mastering it is also pretty significant for them,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew project.
But there is also a smaller subset of adults who resist cellphones simply because they do not want them. They resent the way that ring tones, tiny keyboards and screens disrupt face-to-face conversation. They savor their moments alone and prize the fact that no one knows how to reach them.
Link to October 23 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "Some fear giant book retailers' deep discounts will hurt stores".
Excerpt: Lanora Hurley has loaded her online shopping cart with a bunch of new books that Amazon.com is selling for $9, the online retailer's latest response to a price war with Walmart.com and Target.com.
But she can't quite bring herself to click the "buy" button. As the owner of Next Chapter Book Shop, an independent bookstore in Mequon, Hurley doesn't like the idea of doing business with the enemy, even if it means getting books below the price she can get from her regular supplier.
"It's a better deal for me to get them from Amazon and sell them here," she said.
Independent booksellers say the price war - which erupted last week when Wal-Mart began offering six soon-to-be-released books online for $10 - will harm the entire industry. The American Booksellers Association on Thursday asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate, saying the moves by the three retail giants "constitute illegal predatory pricing that is damaging to the book industry and harmful to consumers."
Excerpt: Chairman Linda Valentine said she will put the issue on the November meeting agenda for consideration.
Meanwhile, the board heard from town attorney Richard Scholze that state statutes do require that if a new agreement is written for the library, it should have the board representation apportioned by population of the member municipalities. That would entitle Salem to four representatives. Each member municipality — Salem, Randall, Twin Lakes, Paddock Lake and Silver Lake — currently has two representatives on the board. Under a population-apportioned board, some municipalities would likely lose members.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Link to October 22 The Raw Story post, "McCain introduces bill to block Net neutrality".
The subheadline says it all: Republican strategy is to paint Net neutrality as government 'control' of Internet.
The Republican strategy is to suck the bucks from the telcom industry.
Until this year, the difference had been made up, as I understand it, by shifting funds from the UW System and/or UW Extension budgets.
How the process to address the structural deficit got underway. In January 2009, Chancellor David Wilson formed a joint Budget Planning Committee (BPC) for UW Colleges and UW‐Extension. This group recommended the further formation of a separate committees for each institution, which would recommend the specific details of how each campus should respond to required budget reductions. .
The recommendations of this committee are found at http://www.uwex.uwc.edu/
The rationale for UW Colleges Libraries reorganization is found at page 7.
A summary of target reductions ($3,690,000) is found on page 13.
One of the givens in this process is a recommendation is to preserve the current levels of enrollment and tuition at the UW Colleges, which is explained on page 8. In other words, they don't want to lay off faculty and eliminate courses if the impact will be a further reduction in revenue.
The UW Colleges administration, however, does not want to assume that this growth is going to be its continuing business model. What it does do, however, is give Chancellor David Wilson some breathing room; it takes the pressure off his making an immediate decision.
The Chancellor met with a group of UW Colleges librarians on October 9 in Fond du Lac.
At its October 20th meeting, the Wisconsin Library Association Board of Director voted to endorse the following statement.
Excerpt: A century after Melvil Dewey called Albany and the State Library home, the city's newest public libraries are poised to abandon his famous decimals. The shift starts next month at the overhauled Pine Hills branch, where the book collection will be sorted not by the Dewey Decimal System but by subject categories similar how it's done in most bookstores.
Excerpt: What exactly will libraries have to “check out” in the years ahead? Plenty.
Ironically, the digital revolution has increased demand for the fundamental services that libraries provide: Helping people understand how information is organized and how to find the best sources of the information they seek, whether it’s in the library stacks or on a digital file in some remote location.
Libraries that play their cards right find themselves moving into a new golden era. St. Louis stands at the leading edge of these possibilities.
Waller McGuire, is director of the St. Louis Public Library, one of the best-supported public library systems in the nation. He presides over a collection of more than 4 million items, housed at 16 facilities throughout the city, supported by a $22 million annual budget. He’s seen patron visits steadily increase by more than 1 million per year over the last decade — driven in part by a large investment in the renovation of community branch libraries.
He expects visits to exceed 3.5 million in 2009, an increase of between 5 to 10 percent from 2008.
Excerpt: But I hope we steer clear of arguments that we should downsize our ambitions because libraries are somehow a less-than-necessary, bygone relic.
In fact, I’d argue that in this dazzling, dizzying digital age, they’re more important than ever.
Earlier this month, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation released a sweeping report titled “Informing Communities — Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age.” It argues that the health of America’s democracy and communities rests on plugging troubling gaps between the nation’s information haves and have-nots. Access to broadband Internet, for example, is a luxury for most low-income households. And that access gap leaves many on the political, social and economic sidelines.
Libraries, the report contends, should become vital centers for digital and media training. They should also serve as highquality online access hubs and central sources for civic information.
“Digital access is essential to first-class citizenship in our society,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president and CEO. “If a job application at Walmart or McDonald’s must be made online, how can we pretend that we have equal opportunity if significant portions of our communities don’t have access? Libraries can be part of the solution.” Unlike newspapers, circulation at libraries is steadily growing. Between 1998 and 2008, visits to Iowa libraries rose 41 percent and the number of cardholders jumped 22 percent.
Roughly 2 million Iowans have active library cards.
Excerpt: The average Columbia County homeowner has an assessed valuation of $188,710 and can expect to pay a total property tax of about $3,204 in 2010. Of that, $833 goes to Columbia County.
Here's how Columbia County departments divvy up that $833 average annual property tax payment:
• Sheriff's office: $243
• Health and human services: $134
• Highway: $118
• Debt service: $80
• Building and grounds: $61
• General government: $52
• Information system management: $31
• Courts/legal: $28
• Zoning, land conservation: $24
• Libraries: $19
• Solid waste: $18
• Land information, register of deeds: $15
• Education, economic development: $10
Excerpt: Gov. Jim Doyle found little to praise about his party's only declared candidate for governor Wednesday.
Since the Democratic governor announced in August he wasn't running for a third term, Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton - who has never been seen as close to Doyle - has been the only major candidate to declare she was running in their party's primary.
Asked about Lawton's accomplishments in her nearly seven years in office, Doyle said she had been "quite visible."
Excerpt: In 2008, the Hudson Area Library Foundation proposed moving the Hudson library to the former corporate headquarters building. That proposal, however, failed to receive the needed support from all four municipal partners of the library in a November 2008 referendum.
Knudson resurrected the idea of the building being used for public purposes after a study by Frisbie Architects found the city’s public safety departments – and the police department in particular – to be in need of additional space.
The mayor proposed moving the police department and the library into the building.
In Tuesday’s phone call, he said he envisions a two-stage plan for the building. During the initial five-year period, the police and library would share the building. Then the library would buy the NMC building and the police would move into a new public safety building built by the city.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Link to October 16 Market Intelligence for Libraries post, "The Five WORST Excuses for Not Using Twitter."
1. "I don't use Twitter because I don't have anything to say."
2. "I don't use Twitter because you can say anything meaningful in 140 characters."
3. "I don't have time to use Twitter."
4. "I don't use Twitter because I'm not interested in hearing about what people are eating for breakfast."
5. "I don't use Twitter because it's a waste of time."
Excerpt: As Timothy Karr explained on Democracy Now last month:
And net neutrality is really the fundamental openness principle of the internet. Whenever you connect to the internet, net neutrality makes sure that you can connect to everyone else who’s on the internet. And this has been a tremendous engine for free speech, for economic innovation, for equal opportunity. And we are now fighting with some very prominent internet service providers, very powerful companies, to try to preserve that fundamental openness, so that whenever we go online we can choose, as users, where we go and what we do via the internet.
Somehow, Beck is able to transform this into an attack on "freedom of speech" -- when it obviously is precisely the opposite.
Excerpt: The lack of support for a referendum may be a sign of the political power of the library proposal itself, which at least at this point looks like a good bet to succeed. Mayor Dave Cieslewicz made the proposal for the new Central Library in his capital budget a few weeks ago, and while the City Council will have its say on that next month, there are few people on or off the council who have publicly opposed the Central Library so far.
In some ways, opposing a new Central Library has all the appeal of opposing apple pie, but many council members have also been swayed by the current library's state of disrepair. It would cost at least as much to modernize the 45-year-old building as to build a new one, officials say, and there are also historically low prices on new construction. If the council does add the Central Library project to the capital budget next month, construction could begin as early as next year, and the library could be completed by 2012.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Link to study.
Highlights reports in October 20 Library Research Service post.
- More than 71 percent of all libraries (and 79 percent of rural libraries) report they are the only source of free access to computers and the Internet in their communities.
- 66 percent of public libraries rank job-seeking services, including resume writing and Internet job searches, among the most crucial online services they offer – up from 44 percent two years ago.
- More than 90 percent of public libraries provide technology training such as online job-seeking and career-related classes.
Excerpt: Like the Kindle, the Nook has a built-in 3G wireless connection (AT&T is the carrier). However, the Nook also packs in Wi-Fi connectivity and a memory expansion slot--you get 2GB of internal memory, but can add up to a 16GB micro SD card.
The Nook does weigh an ounce more than the Kindle (11.2 ounces vs. 10.2 ounces) and can't match the Kindle's battery life (10 days vs. 14 days). And while it does play back MP3 audio and has a built-in speaker, it doesn't have the Kindle's text-to-speech feature. \
That said, Barnes & Noble is touting one very important new feature: the ability to lend out e-books you've purchased to friends for free for 14 days. The company says that you'll be able to send e-books to a friend's Nook, iPhone, or iPod Touch, select BlackBerry and Motorola smartphones, as well as Windows or Mac PCs that have the Barnes & Noble eReader software installed on them.
Excerpt: If given a choice between reading the 1,200-page epic novel "War and Peace" on a Kindle digital reader or curling up with an old-fashioned book, it's no contest for UW-Madison student Rule Johnstone.
He'll take the actual book.
"As soon as I even tried it on Kindle, I knew I couldn't do it," said Johnstone, 21, from New York City. "You want a sense of measure, you want a sense of scale in how far you've come in book. And on a Kindle, you can't tell that."
Johnstone is one of 20 students in Professor Jeremi Suri's upper level history seminar who was given Kindle DXs - one of Amazon's digital readers - to use for free as part of a pilot program at UW-Madison. UW-Madison Libraries purchased them last summer for $10,000 with private gifts from the Parents Fund, at a cost of $500 a piece.
Excerpt: Across the Dallas area, librarians are doubling as job counselors and libraries are finding new customers. The trend echoes around the nation, says the American Library Association.
Bustle near the bookshelves isn't likely to quiet soon. Economists predict the United States is in for a jobless recovery, in which there's growth in domestic product but little new stretch in payrolls.
In August, the Texas unemployment rate hit 8 percent for the first time in 22 years. In September, the state jobless rate jumped to 8.2 percent, according to figures released last week.
So it's not surprising that skills and job-search classes have expanded at Carrollton's two libraries. There's even a Monday morning career focus group for kick-starting the job search.
"Our classes are full almost immediately," said Cheri Gross, the city's library director.
Excerpt: After spending 12 years representing the Fond du La area in the 52nd Assembly District, Republican John Townsend plans to “smell the roses and pamper the grandchildren.”
Townsend announced Monday afternoon he will not run for a seventh term in the November 2010 election.
“I have decided to announce my intentions now so that the people of the 52nd Assembly District will have an ample opportunity to determine who can best serve them beginning in January 2011,” Townsend said.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Excerpt: Former Speaker of the House of Representative Thomas “Tip” O’Neill famously said that “All politics is local;” and social media is making that more true than ever before. It used to be that most of us couldn’t point out our local representative, councilman, alderman, or public advocate if we tripped over him or her, but that’s starting to change, thanks to social media helping us raise our civic literacy levels and altering the way politics are done. We now expect our local representative for our state or town Assembly or Senate or Council to connect with us on a more personal level. And it’s happening.
Excerpt: (Fort Wayne, IN) A 230,000-piece collection of Abrahan Lincoln memorabilia is being converted into digital images in an effort to make the history of the 16th president more accessible to scholars and Lincoln aficionados.
Librarians are matching images of the photographs, letters, pamphlets and books with other historical facts so that all are available simultaneously using a standard computer search engine.
The collection, owned by the Indiana State Museum, came from the now-defunct Lincoln Museum. Officials plan to work with the state museum to coordinate exhibits and make the items, insured at more than $18 million, accessible to the public.
Cheryl Ferverda, spokeswoman for the Allen County Public Library, said the Lincoln collection should be a "magnet" for library business even with the collection available online.
Excerpt: With Democrats in charge in Washington, supporters of so-called "net neutrality" rules seem poised to finally push through requirements that high-speed Internet providers give equal treatment to all data flowing over their networks.
These rules — at the heart of a five-year policy debate — are intended to guarantee that Internet users can go to any Web site and access any online service they want. Phone and cable companies, for instance, wouldn't be able to block subscribers from using cheaper Internet calling services or accessing online video sites that compete with their core businesses.
Yet making that happen is proving thorny — and it's likely that the courts and perhaps even Congress will ultimately get involved.
Excerpt: The American work force is graying -- and not just because the American population itself is graying. Older adults are staying in the labor force longer, and younger adults are staying out of it longer. Both trends took shape about two decades ago. Both have intensified during the current recession. And both are expected to continue after the economy recovers. According to one government estimate, 93% of the growth in the U.S. labor force from 2006 to 2016 will be among workers ages 55 and older.
Demographic and economic factors explain some -- but not all -- of these changes. Attitudes about work also play an important role -- in particular, the growing desire of an aging but healthy population to stay active well into the later years of life
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Excerpt: In a digital age where news comes on cell phones and readers download e-books, three bookmobiles chug along the back roads of New Mexico, bringing a library to people who otherwise live without one.
The New Mexico State Library's on-the-road program is unique.
"There are no other state-run bookmobile programs that I am aware of," said Michael Swendrowski of Milwaukee, chairman of the subcommittee on bookmobiles for the American Library Association, which last year celebrated 100 years of bookmobiles. Nowadays, most are operated by cities, counties or regions.
As for my answer to the question, "Is there a difference between having the author of the physical book tell the audio version, or is it better to have a professional narrator do the job?"
Absolutely, positively yes.
The only author-read audiobook I managed to finish was Myla Goldberg's The Bee Season. Toni Morrison, reading Beloved, put me to sleep. Richard Russo, reading his short stories, made me roll my eyes.
My nomination for the best recorded-book performance ever: A Confederacy of Dunces, featuring Barrett Whitener's tour de force.
Excerpt: It is hard to know sometimes how our life has changed until we stop for a moment and look at how different it is from ten or even five years ago. In recent years social media, likely more than anything else, has significantly impacted most of our daily lives. Envisioning the global conversation that has developed over the past few years because of tools like Facebook (Facebook) and Twitter (Twitter) might have been unimaginable for most people at the beginning of this decade.
Counting the ways:
1. Where we get our news
2. How we start and do business
3. How we meet and stay in touch with people
4. What we reveal
5. What we can influence
Excerpt: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow said he is "always amazed how big a footprint this campus makes on the city" when he flies above La Crosse.
The campus covers a substantial 128 acres. But the economic, cultural, intellectual and athletic imprint the 100-year-old school has left on the community undeniably has been just as substantial.