Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ten Things That Mobile Phones Will Make Obsolete

Link to November 21 post. (via slashdot)

The list.
1. Phone boxes. (Some of us refer to them as telephone booths.)
2. Wristwatches. (Pocket watches, too, I suspect.)
3. Bedside alarm clock. (What about the clock radio?)
4. MP3 players. (The iPods that I purchased for JoAnna and Eddie late last year no longer function. The one I bought for myself four years ago is still in fine working order.)
5. Landline home phones. (JoAnna and I are thisclose to giving up ours.)
6. Compact digital cameras. (I'm still a fan.)
7. Netbooks.
8. Handheld game consoles.
9. Paper. (With the implication that it'll be one less reason for people to visit a library.)
10 Thinking. (Offered for yuks.)

These lists are surely as fun to put together as they are to read, but I'd also like to offer the words of forecaster and essayist Paul Saffo, as an antidote: "Just because a new medium arrives doesn't mean an old medium dies out."

Professional Collection Development Suggestion

Link to November 21 Internet Marketing Book post, "Building a Buzz: Libraries and Word-of-mouth Marketing".

Table of contents.

It's an approach that even the smallest of libraries can use.

Just believe in this simple customer service mantra: Service provided to library users is not an interruption of work but is rather the purpose of it.

This bar graph (click on it to enlarge) from Envirosell Final Report (April 29, 2008) for the Metropolitan (IL) Library System confirms what library patrons appreciate the most: "friendless/helpfulness of staff".

Early Days of the Cedar Rapids Public Library

Carnegie library, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Dedicated June 23, 1905

Link to November 20 post, "Even in 19th century, new Cedar Rapids library was contentious, funded from out of town".

Excerpt: Here’s an excerpt from the book “Tales of the Town: Little-known anecdotes of life in Cedar Rapids,” by Ralph Clements, published in 1967 by Stamats.

Like most cities and towns in the late 19th century, Cedar Rapids showed considerable apathy toward a public library. In the 1870’s a subscription library was ventured but soon was forced to discontinue through lack of funds.

Had it not been for Mrs. C.D. Van Vechten, president of the City Federation of Ladies Literary clubs, organized in 1895, the Cedar Rapids Public library might have been a long time coming. Mrs. Van Vechten insisted that one of the objectives of the new federation should be the establishment of a free library, and its constitution so state. She was the moving spirit in the campaign to enthuse citizens toward such a project. Her group staged dinners and other money-raising activities to help the cause along. Finally an election was scheduled for March 2, 1896, and it carried by a slim margin — yes 1,105, no 1,046.

The Cedar Rapid Museum of Art now occupies the former library building.

Computerworld's Matt Hamblen on the Future of E-Readers

Link to November 19 article at SFGate (San Francisco Chronicle), "Eight reasons e-readers could fail".

Hamblen discusses the following 8 concerns:
1. Price of devices
2. Price of e-books
3. Smartphones
4. Apple's rumored tablet computer
5. Popular authors aren't sure about e-books
6. Digital rights
7. Open publishing standards, or not?
8. Librarians and small bookstores. (Excerpt: While some groups, including the New York Public Library and the Texas Book Festival, have semi-endorsed e-readers as a way to encourage reading and lessen illiteracy, it appears that many librarians are mostly remaining quiet about the technology and perceive it as a possible threat to what they offer.)

Though there might be a kernal of truth in the above statement, I suspect that Hamblen might not be fully aware of the how library consortia already provide a gateway to e-books.

Wisconsin Public Library Consortium

San Francisco City Librarian Advocates for Strong Urban Libraries

Source: Wikipedia Commons

Link to November 8 Sunday Insight column at SFGate (San Francisco Chronicle), "Great cities need libraries now, more than ever ".

Excerpt: Yet, while the need for libraries is ever more critical, libraries across the country are facing significant cutbacks. From Cleveland to Phoenix, Philadelphia to Seattle, major urban libraries are facing severe reductions in funding, resulting in fewer open hours and reduced services.

San Francisco is bucking the national trend of diminished funding and services thanks to a budget set-aside, which received overwhelming approval by voters in 2007, and substantial progress on the largest capital improvement program in the history of the city's library.

In 2008, libraries increased open hours by 10.5 percent. Now all of the libraries are open a minimum of six days per week, and more than a third of all libraries are open seven days. The budget for books, media and databases has increased significantly, providing access to 2.5 million items in more than 40 languages.

The payback for San Franciscans' support of libraries is huge. When a renovated branch library opens, the number of new library card holders at that branch increases an average of 149 percent and visits to libraries increase by a whopping 42percent. This year the library is on track to set a record in the number of visitors and materials borrowed with more than 6 million visitors checking out 8 million items. Access to technology is also impressive: 16 million hits to the San Francisco Public Library Web sites in English, Chinese and Spanish and almost a million public computer sessions in 2008.

Colton City Council Receives Earful Over Library Closures

Link to November 17 San Bernadino Sun article, " Colton City Council bombarded with complaints over libarary [sic] closures".

Excerpt: Nearly 100 people crammed into the City Council Chambers Tuesday night to hear complaints about the recent closure of the city's three libraries.
Several who spoke said they were flabbergasted by the decision and questioned why other options weren't considered before such a brash move was made.

"There are things that can be done when you ask the community for help," said Linda Tripp, vice president of Friends of the Colton Public Library. "You need to reach out to the community before you do something this drastic."

Colton (CA) Residents React to Abrupt Closing of Libraries

Link to November 14 Press-Enterprise article, "Residents mourn loss of library".

Excerpt: Molly Kates stood dumbfounded in front of the Colton Public Library on Friday morning as she read a sign on the door saying the library was closed. Until further notice.

"It's horrible," Kates said as she gripped the hand of her 4-year-old niece, the girl she brought with her to return a book. "This is the only resource we have here in Colton."

Kates, a Colton native, is taking a developmental psychology class at San Bernardino Valley College. She doesn't have a computer at home, so she uses the library daily to do Internet research. Her nieces frequently come along to check out books and read.

"I don't know where we'll go at this point," Kates said.

Shock and disappointment were rampant in Colton after the city abruptly shut down its two libraries and a learning center, and laid off about five dozen employees in a cost-cutting move to stave off a $5 million budget deficit.

Clinton Presidential Library Remains Popular Destination

Link to November 16 GenealogyBlog post, "Clinton Presidential Library Continues to Draw Crowds". (via Lazyfeed)

Excerpt: The number of visitors each year to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library has slipped only slightly in the library’s first five years, surpassing everyone’s expectations, its top administrator says.

“We’re at about 300,000 (visitors per year) for the last two years,” said Terri Garner, director of the Clinton Library. “The first year we had half a million. Normally in the presidential library system, at about year three and four you start really falling off, even sometimes below 200,000. We are the only one that has maintained at that high of a level into the fifth year.”

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wesleyan University: Three Major Changes in Library Service

1 of 3 graphs that Pat Tully includes in his post.

to November 13 From the University Librarian blogpost, "1998-2009: How libraries have changed. (via Lazyfeed)

Excerpt: In the past decade libraries have been transformed:

- More and more resources are being converted from a print or other physical formats to an electronic format.

- There has been an amazing increase in the variety and amount of content available or findable online.

- Library collections have become more interdependent as the universe of available content grows.

Colton "Closed Until Further Notice": Tough Times for Libraries in California

Screen shot from the

Link to City of Colton news release.

Link to November 19 Los Angeles Times article, "Many libraries go quiet as local budget cuts deepen". (via Lazyfeed)

Excerpt: As tax revenues plummet and desperate local governments struggle to close widening deficits, some are looking for cuts in quieter places long considered off limits, like public libraries.

Last week the city of Colton shut down its three libraries and laid off nearly 60 employees to help plug a $5-million hole in its budget. Moves are afoot to shutter a library in Ventura, and other communities are slashing library hours.

"I've never seen such devastation in libraries," said Jackie Griffin, head of Ventura County's system. She recently returned from a meeting of Southern California library officials where more than half reported having to institute furloughs, layoffs and other austerity measures.

The bad times for libraries are coming just as more people are discovering how useful they can be.

"The demand for Internet access alone is phenomenal," said Barbara Roberts, head of the Palm Springs libraries, which are now closed on Mondays. "There are lines out the door every morning."

The Best of the Best: Flannery O'Connor's "The Complete Stories"

Link to November 19 New York Times ArtsBeat column, "Voters Choose Flannery O’Connor in National Book Award Poll".

And what a great choice it is.

Excerpt: Among the National Book Awards winners named on Wednesday night whose names may elude you, one honoree you’ve almost certainly heard of is Flannery O’Connor. In an online poll conducted by the National Book Foundation, her collection “The Complete Stories” was named the best work to have won the National Book Award for fiction in the contest’s 60-year history. The competition was steep: other finalists in the poll were “The Stories of John Cheever,” William Faulkner’s “Collected Stories,” “The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty,” Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” and Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow.”

OK, so now can we have the audio version, please?

Merriam-Webster Announces "Word of the Year".

Link to news release at Merriam Webster website. (via The Resource Shelf)

The word and the 9 runners-up:
1. admonish
2. emaciated
3. empathy
4. furlough
5. inaugurate
6. nugatory
7. pandemic
8. philanderer
9. repose
10. rogue

I worked as an Associate Editor/Editorial Librarian for Merriam-Webster in Springfield, Massachusetts, from March 1976 to August 1978. One of my duties was reading proofs of new editions of M-W's family of dictionaries. In other words, I got paid for reading the dictionary. You can't imagine how happy I was when I was offered the Head of Extension Services position at the Oshkosh Public Library in August 1978. Some of my M-W colleagues from that era are still there: Frederick Mish, Jim Lowe, Kathleen Doherty, Dan Hopkins.

College Enrollment: Survey Says

39.6% of all young adults ages 18 to 24, were enrolled in either a two- or four-year college in October 2008 (the most recent date for which comprehensive nationwide data are available).

Line graph from October 29, 2009, Pew Research Center report, "College Enrollment Hits All-Time High, Fueled by Community College Surge". Read the full report here.

"Going Rogue" Indexed

Link to November 17 Slate post, "The Going Rogue Index.
Sarah Palin didn't put an index in her book. So we made one for her."

Related story: "The Missing Pages in Sarah Palin's Book" by Samuel P. Jacobs in a November 20 The Daily Beast post.

Excerpt: Sarah Palin’s book hits stores on Tuesday. For Washington’s navel-gazing elite, particularly its Republican branch, the publishing event of the season carries with it a crucial question: Does the former vice-presidential candidate mention you?

It used to be that there was an easy way to find out. All the big names in town would do it: stop by the Georgetown Barnes & Noble or Politics and Prose, stare admiringly at the cover, then furtively flip to the index to make sure your place in the power structure was secure.

But, according to a source at the book’s publishing house, Palin has a surprise for Washington’s self-important set: Going Rogue has no index.

Sunday Hours to Resume at Racine Public Library in January

Link to November 19 Racine Journal-Times article, "Library to be open on Sundays".

Excerpt: The library will be open Sundays beginning in January, the Racine Public Library Board of Trustees decided unanimously Thursday.

In October, the library, 75 Seventh St., didn't reopen on Sunday as it normally does during the school year, said Director Jessica MacPhail.

The City Council voted Tuesday to include an additional $33,000 in the tax levy to reopen the library on Sundays but that decision wasn't final until the board actually voted on it.

Thankfully, it has nothing to do with maintenance of effort

Gee, it looks like a nice enough place.
(Source: City of Sheboygan homepage )

Link to November 20 Oshkosh Northwestern article, "Sheboygan ranked among cities with weirdest news".

Business Week Magazine Selects "Best Places to Raise Your Kids"

(Hey, folks, it's a photoshop festival!)

Link to slide show.

And after the 26th slide (out of 52), I asked myself, "Don't any of these communities have public libraries?" It is an important element of community life for many parents. Libraries matter.

Update: Sheboygan's Mead Public Library and Maintenance of Effort

Link to November 20 Sheboygan Press article, "Mead Public Library in Sheboygan may be cut out of Eastern Shores Library System".

Excerpt: Mead Public Library would have to use about $250,000 in city tax money for services such as material deliveries, online cataloging and a shared automation system with other libraries if it gets booted from the Eastern Shores Library System, according to a fiscal study released Thursday.

Mead would also lose $50,000 next year it would receive from Eastern Shores for serving as the resource library for the district.

No other library in Wisconsin is outside one of the state's 17 public library systems. Eastern Shores covers 13 libraries in Sheboygan and Ozaukee counties, and Mead is the largest of the libraries in the system.

"There's a lot of risk I think if they leave the system, we don't have any other model in the state to look at," said David Ward, founder and CEO of NorthStar Economics Inc., which was paid $18,000 by the library to do the cost study.

The Library Board received the study at its meeting Thursday.

"Every other library is a member of the system," Ward said. "The out-of-pocket costs are pretty evident, it's $300,000 or more, and then beyond that is this risk factor because I just don't think you know where that's going to go," Ward said.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Milwaukee Legislators Propose Legislation Relating to Public Library Boards in a First Class City

Senator Spencer Coggs and Representative Pedro Colon propose the following, in order to improve the ability of the Milwaukee Public Library Board to attain a quorum at its monthly meetings

Expand the territory from which the County Executive can appoint his or her designee. Currently the County Executive’s designee must reside within Milwaukee County, but not within the City of Milwaukee. Typically, the designee has been a County Supervisor. This change would give the County Executive an expanded number of County Supervisors from which to make the appointment, to include those who are city residents. The County Executive supports the change.

Alter the current quorum requirement of 7 of 12 members to instead be a majority of the filled seats. With vacant seats, it has been very difficult to attain a quorum at many meetings. This change would allow the Board to more efficiently conduct library business, especially during extended periods of vacant appointments, such as have been recently experienced.

At this point, Coggs and Colon are looking for co-sponsors to their proposed legislation.

(I just talked with Mike Cross, Director of Public Library Development for the DPI Division of Libraries, Technology and Community Learning, and he didn't raise any red flags over these 2 proposals.)

Bethlehem (PA) High School Senior Speaks Up for Libraries

Link to November 8 letter to The Morning Call, "First teachers, now libraries. Where will budget ax fall next?"

Excerpt: It was once said by the late American scholar Archibald MacLeish, ''What is more important in a library than anything else -- than everything else -- is the fact that it exists.''

Public libraries have always been a treasure to many people, providing a way of reading and research for all communities and for all who have a thirst for learning.

Even though libraries have not always been so popular, it seems as though more and more people are dependent on them due to the downfall of the economy.

Think about it. Libraries not only provide reading sources, but many other important services as well -- such as story hours for preschoolers, book clubs, assistance with research for those in high school and college, free videos for those who can't afford the cost of movie rentals at Blockbuster
and even books on tape for those who are visually impaired.

Just as MacLeish states, libraries should always exist, for all those reasons.

But for some local residents, this will all change.

Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese!

Link to November 18, 2009, A Day in Pictures.

Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese! is a special public relations campaign to show you the business and “busy-ness” of Wisconsin’s wonderful libraries

Genoa City (WI) Public Library: Reading Between the Lines

Link to November 11 post, "Cut this, cut that: Genoa City's proposed 2010 budget".

Excerpt: Keeping expenditures in line with revenues in the proposed 2010 budget was the greatest challenge for village officials this budget season.

But officials slashed numbers from several expenditure areas, including those for the Village Hall, police patrol, building inspector, parks, public works and tree and brush removal.

Notice that the library is conspicuously missing from this list.

Recent municipal contributions to the operation of the Genoa City Public Library, according to the Wisconsin Public Library Service Data. (The library, located in Walworth County, is a member of the Lakeshores Library System.)

$23,670 in 2003.
$37,567 in 2004.
$39,351 in 2005.
$44,241 in 2006.
$41,959 in 2007.
$49,651 in 2008.
$_____ in 2009?

Collection Development Suggestion: "The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin"

Link to Doug Moe's November 18 Wisconsin State Journal column, "They wrote the book on cheesemakers".

Excerpt: Jim Norton says that while he has always been passionate about food, he never really wrote about it until recently. But that's not strictly true.

Norton, 34, a Madison native and West High grad, has a new book, "The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin," produced with his photographer wife, Becca Dilley, who is also a West graduate. The couple will be at the Memorial Union's Main Lounge from 5:30-7 p.m. to discuss the book and provide samples of some of the best Wisconsin cheeses.

But I first read Jim Norton nearly seven years ago, and he was writing about food - chicken wings on State Street.

Checking LINKcat, I find that there are 9 copies with 19 holds. (Let's make this a collection development alert.)

And as long as we're checking things out, take a look at Jim and Becca's book blog. It contains lots of great links, including one to Cedar Grove Cheese, who supplied two large trays of specialty cheeses for the South Central Library System Foundation reception honoring Peter and Ann Hamon. (Thanks again, Bob Wills!!)

Jim and Becca's book tour included a stop at the McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Public Meeting at Jessamine County Public Library: A Fuller, Decidedly Dramatic Account

Link to November 18 Lexington Herald-Leader article, "Jessamine library board hears public comment about book-checkout policy".

Excerpt: An evangelist yelled at the Jessamine County Public Library Board, then turned his attention to the seated crowd of more than 100: "If this is not pornography, what is?"

He had passed out photocopies of a page out of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier to each of the board's members, and he held a copy aloft as he spoke.

Earl Lee Watts, who said he evangelizes around the state but has no parish, then explained to the rest of the crowd what the picture contained: A naked woman sitting on a naked man's lap being fondled.

Bobbi Stout responded by saying that she had spent some time studying the Bill of Rights and Freedom of Speech and what her preacher daddy who fought in World War II had said about standing up for what you believe. "It's dangerous to democracy when an interest group imposes its views on another," she said. "Stand up for the Constitution."

It was not business as usual during the public comment interval of the library board's November meeting.

Then there's this curious testimony.

West Jessamine High School sophomore Alexis Kierstead brought a petition signed by 244 students asking that the board guide their reading decisions. She said they all believe that "it takes a village to raise a child." She also confessed to having hidden books from her parents.

Alexis, my guess is that the library staff is already doing this -- and much more!

Public Meeting at Jessamine County Public Library

Link to November 18 WKYT (bare-bones)report, "Public weighs in on library book battle".

Excerpt: Wednesday's meeting at the library was a standing room only crowd.

Dozens of people on both sides spoke out.

The library policy currently states it's a parents responsibility to determine what a child may or may not read.

The library board says its now reviewing its policy to see if a change is needed. But members say it may be months before a decision is made.

Stark Raving Elvis: Perhaps the Best Book You've Never Heard Of

Published in 1984 in hardcover to great reviews. And this snippet from a Boston Magazine review by Lee Grove sums it up for me. Henderson has a real feel for the sad, ridiculous squalor in America, the tacky bars and beauty shops and motel swimming pools, the even cheaper dreams of the people who hang out at them. What Henderson does best, though, is transform the seedy into musical prose.

And guess what library still has the 1987 trade paperback edition? [Liz probably doesn't dare weed it. ;-) ]

Subscription Media Services Not Taking a Hit During Recession

Link to November 16 The Hollywood Reporter post, "Spending on subscription media up 7%".

Americans are spending about $115 a month per household on subscription media services, up 7% from a year ago. That figure includes television, DVR, satellite radio, subscription music, newspapers and magazines, mobile phone data, Internet access, Netflix and similar offerings, and online gaming services. The data comes from researcher NPD and is contained in its just-released "Entertainment Trends in America" study. "Despite concerns that the recession would cause consumers to reduce spending on entertainment subscription services, most forms of subscription entertainment are doing just fine," NPD analyst Russ Crupnick said.

Author Writes Groaningly Bad Kid's Book to Bash Liberals

Link to November 18 The Raw Story post, "New kid’s book hits Pelosi as radical, uses Yiddish term to depict Jewish senator".

Excerpt: A new soon-to-be-released book by conservative author Katharine DeBrecht combats what she perceives as a left-wing agenda being forced on children by American media and culture.

The novel, titled Help! Mom! Radical Are Ruining My Country! paints House Speaker Nancy Pelosidubbed “Speaker Queenosie” – as a elitist, tiara-wearing radical who is out of touch with regular Americans. An excerpt reads:

Tell me about it, Darrrling, Speaker Queenosie primed her professionally styled hair. Little common people are entitled to a swingset just like the rest of you commoners, she jiggled a pair of jet keys through her perfectly manicured fingers.

OK, what is it, a kid's book or a novel?

And what is the target age group? There's way too much text, and unfamiliar vocabulary, for it to be a picture book. And it doesn't seem to fit the chapter book format. I think DeBrecht would have been best served with a graphic novel format.

See for yourself. The author's webpage provide sample pages. The text and illustrations strike me as a ham-handed effort to strike a jaunty, irreverent Mad-like tone.

Jessamine County Update: Library Books Now Threat to Public Safety

Link to November 17 WKYT news story, "Library book causes Controvery". (via LISNews)

Excerpt: Library policy clearly states that responsibility for a child's reading must rest with the parent or guardian, not with the library. But the two workers who were fired point out that any child 11 or older can check out a book without parental consent.

Director Critchfield can not talk about the firings, but he did say he was surprised Tuesday to receive a petition saying The Black Dossier and 3 other books represent a threat to public safety.

The petition reads in part, "This community is known to have sexual predators, and works such as these encourage those predators to act out their desires or at the very least justify their desires."

Stay tuned for more. There's an open meeting at the Jessamine County Public Library at 3:30 this afternoon (11/18).

University of South Carolina Celebrates (and Retires) the Card Catalog

Great library links at Lazyfeed today, if you hadn't already noticed!

From December 11, 2008, Times,
a publication for faculty, staff, and friends
of the University of South Carolina
Link to "What Can You Make With Catalog Cards" Contest on Flickr. (Deadline 11/30/2009)

University of South Carolina University Libraries "It's All in the Cards" webpage.

Castro Valley (CA): Another New East Bay Library

Rendering of new Castro Valley Library

Link to November 17 Albany (CA) Public Library blogpost, "East Bay welcomes 2 new libraries". (via Lazyfeed)

During the past few weeks, new, beautiful state-of-the-art libraries opened in Castro Valley and Lafayette. Both were funded through a California State grant competitive process that included a sizable local match as well as community fundraising. Albany staff helped out at opening day for the Castro Valley Library. The day started with the Great Book Pass – 1800 residents lined up and passed books from the old library to the new. Everyone got a t-shirt (recycled cotton) with the slogan: ” 20 years to go 7/10ths of a mile.” Special features include the high LEED rating for the pro-environmental aspects of the building and the amazing art work commissioned by the Alameda County Art Commission.

Castro Valley Library photostream on Flickr.

Link to November 1 article, "The new Castro Valley Library is a great resource for homeschooling families".

Excerpt: The Library itself is a beautiful representation of the dedication that the Castro Valley Community has to education and life long learning. Its open and well lit reading area are inviting to adults and children. There is a separated teen room with glass walls perfect for parents to keep an eye on them yet private enough to give the feeling of their own sacred space. Computers are available in the children's section with Jumpstart, an educational game, ready to be played. The childrens section also included a good variety of educational books. Parents will be able to browse a selection of home education books such as Carschooling by Diane Keith.

Throughout the library displays of art work adorned the walls and filled display cabinets. The café and book store are available for you to shop and enjoy a snack.

Newburgh (NY) Free Library Initiates "Read Away Your Fines" Program for Children

Link to November 17 Hudson Valley Parent blogpost, "Children can read away fines at the Newburgh Free Library". (via Lazyfeed)

Excerpt: Youngsters who cannot check out books due to overdue fines are invited to take part in the Read Away Your Fines Program offered by the Newburgh Free Library during December and January. It’s an easy and simple program that helps children make a fresh start so they can once again check out books or use the Internet.

Head of Youth Services & Children’s Librarian, Lisa Kochik, says that this sort of program has been offered at numerous libraries including the Queens Public Library in the past and Newburgh has always wanted to try it. According to Kochik, the library’s goal is to “offer kids an opportunity to regain their borrowing privileges, without dependency on parents providing money to them, and then encourage the kids to keep their cards “clean” afterward so that they can enjoy using the library again and feel proud and accomplished that they created that opportunity for themselves!”

For the program, children fill out a “read away your fines” contract and spend time at an Open Reading Session which allows them to read silently in the library for up to 45 minutes at a time. For every 15 minutes that they read, children will earn one Library Buck which equals $1 in fines. This program is for Newburgh Free Library Card Holders Only.

Survey Says: Pay for Content? Nearly 50% Say "Yes"

Or so we're led to believe.

Link to November 15 New York Times article, "About Half in U.S. Would Pay for Online News, Study Finds".

Excerpt: Among regular Internet users in the United States, 48 percent said in the survey, conducted in October, that they would pay to read news online, including on mobile devices. That result tied with Britain for the lowest figure among nine countries where Boston Consulting commissioned surveys. In several Western European countries, more than 60 percent said they would pay.

When asked how much they would pay, Americans averaged just $3 a month, tied with Australia for the lowest figure — and less than half the $7 average for Italians. The other countries included in the study were Germany, France, Spain, Norway and Finland.

“Consumer willingness and intent to pay is related to the availability of a rich amount of free content,” said John Rose, a senior partner and head of the group’s global media practice. “There is more, better, richer free in the United States than anywhere else.”

OK, first off, we have a misleading headline. "Half of U.S."

But the article's lead sentence says, 48% of regular Internet users.

Here are some statistics from a March 25, 2009 Pew Internet & American Life Report.

Drifting Surfers: 14% of adults are light users -- despite having a lot of ICTs -- and say they could do without modern gadgets and services.

Information Encumbered: 10% of adults feel overwhelmed by information and inadequate to troubleshoot modern ICTs.

The Tech Indifferent: 10% of adults are unenthusiastic about the internet and cell phone.

Off the Network: 14% of adults are neither cell phone users nor internet users.

Doing the math, I'd say 48% of adults are not considered regular Internet users.

And what about this Boston Consulting Group?

Here's what they say about themselves on their website.

SHAPING THE FUTURE. TOGETHER. We partner with our clients to deliver customized solutions that resolve their most significant issues and create lasting competitive advantage. Utilizing decades of industry experience and functional expertise, BCG looks beyond standard solutions to develop new insights, mobilize organizations, drive tangible results, and make companies more capable.

Keywords: shaping, partner, clients, customized

Oshkosh Common Council Restores Funds to Library's Materials Budget

Link to November 18 Oshkosh Northwestern article, "Councilors support more funding in budget for library".

Excerpt: A majority of the Oshkosh Common Council showed support for restoring some funds for the Oshkosh Public Library and making creation of a municipal sustainability plan a priority in 2010.

Councilor Tony Palmeri sought and received council support for restoring about $34,000, equivalent to one cent on the city's tax rate, to the library's materials budget. In the proposed budget, the library's $365,000 budget for the acquisition of new books, movies, music and other products was cut 22 percent to $300,000.

"I think it has been documented that the library has really taken quite a few hits in the last several years," Palmeri said. "Other departments would also like additional funding, but I think this is a case of trying to minimally restore what the library has been hit with over the years. The library has taken a disproportionate share in trying to get us to a balanced budget."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rockford Library Board OKs Union Contract

Link to November 16 Rockford Register-Star article."

Excerpt: After months of proposals and counter proposals, the Rockford Public Library Board and union members have a one-year contract.

The board of trustees held a special meeting today and unanimously approved the pact, which goes into effect Jan. 1. Board member Paul Logli was not present.

The agreement, ratified by the union on a 45-4 vote earlier this month, includes a wage freeze for more than 80 union employees and includes about 30 layoffs: 14 to 16 union members and 14 to 16 nonunion members, said Rockford Public Library Executive Director Frank Novak.

Union President Karla Janssen was pleased the board accepted the union’s proposal.

“I think it was the best decision we could make, given the circumstances,” she said.

The library found itself in the midst of a crisis when the city announced several months ago that it would no longer use property tax collections to pay for the library’s employee pensions, workers’ compensation and audits totaling $856,897. The Library Board is a separate taxing body and will have to pick up the cost. The loss of city revenue, coupled with the loss of other forms of revenue and an estimated $295,000 hike in expenses, meant the library was facing a $1.7 million deficit in 2010.

Geo-Volunteers Map New Routes, Correct Existing Ones

Link to November 16 New York Times article, "Online Maps: Everyman Offers New Directions".

: Mr. Hintz, a 62-year-old engineer who lives in Berkeley, Calif., has tweaked the locations of more than 200 business listings and points of interest in cities across the state, sliding an on-screen place marker down the block here, moving another one across the street there. Farther afield, he has mapped parts of Cambodia and Laos, where he likes to go on motorcycle trips.

Mr. Hintz said these acts of geo-volunteerism were motivated in part by self-interest: he wants to know where he’s going. But “it has this added attraction that it helps others,” he said.

Mr. Hintz is a foot soldier in an army of volunteer cartographers who are logging every detail of neighborhoods near and far into online atlases. From Petaluma to Peshawar, these amateurs are arming themselves with GPS devices and easy-to-use software to create digital maps where none were available before, or fixing mistakes and adding information to existing ones.

Acorn (IL) Public Library: Website of the Day

Beloit Public Library Director Search

Link to November 13 Beloit Daily News article, "Library director search ends soon".

Excerpt: This latest search yielded five finalists who were all eliminated at a committee meeting earlier this week. The committee instead selected Kate Fitzgerald- Fleck, who was on a previous list, according to Balson.

Fitzgerald-Fleck, who declined to be interviewed until she was further along in the interviewing process, currently serves as the manager of children’s services at the Waukesha Public Library.

Balson said he first plans to interview her on the phone before inviting her to Beloit for an in-person interview.

The five finalists the committee considered this week were eliminated Balson said because they either took other jobs, declined the opportunity or simply didn’t fit the board’s expectations for the director position.

Balson said he’s looking for someone who is forward-looking, who can take a strong leadership role and, more importantly, has some experience who can be in the position long-term.

"This Book is Overdue!"

No, not your book. Marilyn Johnson's book.

Source: Library Love Fest

Link to October 23 Library Love Fest post, "This Book is Overdue!" (via Closed Stacks)

The book will be published in February 2010, but you can read the first chapter at the Library Love Fest blog.

Johnson describes how the book came about. I became interested in librarians while researching my first book, about obituaries. With the exception of a few showy eccentrics, like the former soldier in Hitler's army who had a sex change operation and took up professional whistling, the most engaging obit subjects were librarians. An obituary of a librarian could be about anything under the sun, a woman with a phenomenal memory who recalled the books her aging parents read as children -- and was also, incidentally, the best sailor on her stretch of the coast of Maine -- or a man obsessed with map, who helped automate the Library of Congress's map catalog and paved the way for wonders like Google Maps.

Police Protection: Local Support or Contract for Service

Link to November 17 Fond du Lac Reporter article, "Can small-town police forces survive today's budget crunch?"

Excerpt: As municipalities scramble to get the biggest bang for their tax dollars, local officials are taking a hard look at their budgets.

Some cities and villages have opted to remove some overhead from municipal tax rolls by cutting or eliminating police protection as one of their services.

Wisconsin Act 40 passed in 2005, cities and villages have the option of abolishing their police departments if a contract can be struck with the county sheriff's department to provide law enforcement services.

"The villages of Cambria in Columbia County did this just a few months ago.
It's a sensitive issue in which emotions play a significant role," said Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls.

In addition, many sheriff departments are already dealing with budget cuts and staffing reductions.

Sheboygan's Mead Public Library and Maintenance of Effort Funding

Link to November 17 Sheboygan Press article, "Mayor gets earful on city budget".

Excerpt from third-to-last paragraph: The city's Finance Committee is considering taking $228,000 from the library budget [thus putting the Mead Public Library out of compliance with the maintenance of effort requirement for public library system membership] and using the money to fill the police officer positions, a plan which was criticized by several residents who want to keep the library as it is.

Developing the Concept of Bookless Libraries

Former reference collection shelving
Madison Public Library

Link to November 16 The Tartan (Carnegie Mellon University's student newspaper), "Bookless libraries increase accessibility".

Excerpt: There are many who have concerns about transitioning to an electronic medium. Johnsen points out that the idea of a bookless library is still very new and its execution has not yet been perfected. “I know of a project where many books were sent from the United States to foreign countries for cheap scanning. The books returned disbound and tied in bundles and unusable as books,” recounted [Mary Catharine] Johnsen, Posner Memorial Collection special collections and design librarian. “The pixels were not sent back to the United States in an accessible form. Therefore, until the pixels are accounted for, the books have died.”

Johnsen also said that even in successful scans of books to electronic formats, the many subtleties in a book’s presentation and metadata may be lost in an online medium. “For literature students, you really want to see the original format of the work as received by its first public. Was it a fancy coffee-table book? Was it a cheap paperback or flimsy pamphlet? Was it a colorful book to tempt you in a Victorian train station or an airport bookstall?”

Monday, November 16, 2009

More on the Lafayette Library and Learning Center

Link to November 16 New York Times article, "Community cheers as new library opens".

Excerpt: The opening of the new Lafayette Library and Learning Center on Saturday morning offered a needed respite from the doldrums of downbeat economic news along with some hope that communities can rise above the current bout of budget woes to create something amazing.

At the entrance of the new $42 million library, a bronze sculpture named Speechless, by Brian Goggin, appears to be a teetering stack of book pages flying away with the wind. Laughing Squid has a good drawing of what the permanent sculpture looks like.

Inside: vaulted ceilings of wood that remind some of the inside of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, nooks with pillows and leather chairs and an outdoor patio that sports a glass sculpture that both captures the periodic table and the creeks of Lafayette.

Oh yes there are books — 110,000 — throughout the 30,880 square-foot facility. But Saturday was not a day to browse but to marvel at what can happen when people work together: More than 25 percent of Lafayette residents gave money to the project, which was mostly paid through state grants and the city’s redevelopment agency. More than $1 million in used book sale proceeds was donated by the Friends of the Lafayette Library.

Lafayette, California: A Library at the Heart of Its Community

Rendering from Friends of the Lafayette Library website

Link to November 16 MediaNews editorial, "New library in Lafayette is a major community asset".

Excerpt: There are few services local government provides that are more important than libraries. Yes, police, fire protection and schools are essential. But, after that, when we look for an institution that provides a place of community, a place for people of all ages to learn and grow intellectually, it's our libraries. (RG's emphasis)

That's why we're ecstatic to see the opening of the new Lafayette Library and Learning Center, the culmination of a decade of community planning. City Manager Steven Falk is so right when he says that it's the most important public improvement in the city's 40-year history.

With the advent of the Internet, the role of libraries has expanded from a lender of books and periodicals to an information and learning center. The elegant Lafayette facility, which opened over the weekend, is a testimonial to that with more than 30,000 square feet that includes space for more than 110,000 books, 42 public computers, 186 reader seats, three group study rooms, separate areas for teens and adults, an art and discovery center, and outdoor meeting and reading areas.

The $42.5 million building was made possible by money from the city's redevelopment agency, state grants and $12.5 million raised by the library foundation. The community is fortunate that this project was started before the economy went into the tank and local governments were financially cut off at the knees.

Drinking and Library Use

This news item calls for a Venn diagram.

Not based on scientific evidence

Link to November 15 Boston Globe article, "Some liquid assets do well in downturns".

Excerpt: Bartending may be the ultimate recession-proof career: employment is expected to increase 13 percent between 2006 to 2016. [Wish we could say the same about librarianship.] “People aren’t going to stop drinking when things go bad,’’ says Toste. “In fact, they go out and drink more.’’

I don't know about you, but Toste's comment has a familiar ring to it.

Retiring Guy paraphrases, "People aren't going to stop reading when things go bad. In fact, they go to their public library more."

Three Cheers for libraries.