Saturday, December 12, 2009
Excerpt: Andrew Carnegie and Benjamin Franklin provided some of the inspiration for efforts to build a new regional library in Fox Chapel, organizers say.
Their names were invoked by two speakers at a press conference this week to announce that Fox Chapel Council had donated $1 million toward the $6 million campaign.
The event was held Tuesday morning at the site of the proposed library on Fox Chapel Road, next door to the borough building. Fox Chapel had agreed previously to donate land for the structure.
The new gift from the borough will permit the start of construction in spring 2010, officials said.
A new regional library will improve the quality of life in all communities in the Fox Chapel Area School District, borough Mayor Harry McLaughlin Jr. said. It also will carry out the project's mission statement, "To cultivate a community of lifelong learners," he said.
From Columbus Metropolitan Library web alert:
Without Senate support of HB 318, more cuts to libraries and other important services are on the way. This bill must pass before the Ohio Senate is scheduled to adjourn before the end of the year.
1. Postpones the final cut in the state income tax until the state is on more solid financial footing
2. Provides enough money to balance the state budget next year
If HB 318 does not pass in 2009, the result will be an additional funding loss for libraries, schools and local governments.
Ohioans advocate here.
Excerpt: Olivier Charles creates his vision of the Stockholm Public Library, a virtual world of Architecture and CG Art. The result is an EXPOSÉ 7 Master Award winning image for Interior Architecture.
Climacophobes and metallophobes need not apply for the Library Page positions.
Excerpt: With 29 years of experience in the banking industry and eight years as an administrative assistant, Robach knows her way around computers.
But after two hours, Robach's search for a new job after being downsized out of a position in April came to a halt.
Robach gathered her coat and papers and made way for the next person waiting to use one of 28 public access computers in the adult section of the Appleton Public Library.
"When I moved recently I left my old, outdated computer behind. I hope to be able to afford a new one during Christmas sales," Robach said. "But until then I come to the library every single day and adamantly search for job on the Internet. Am I confident of finding a job? Yes
Friday, December 11, 2009
Hey, it's Video Day at Lazyfeed!
The North Natomas Library is a joint-use facility serving the North Natomas community, as well as the students, faculty and staff of both Inderkum High School and the Natomas Center of American River College.
The Friends of the North Natomas Library.
Link to December 11 cnet news post, "Most people say no to slow online video".
Excerpt: About 81 percent of Web users leave an online video page if they encounter mid-stream rebuffering, a new study from video analytics firm TubeMogul has found.
Rebuffering has become a major issue for most Web users. And even though TubeMogul found that just 7 percent of streaming video is slow-loading, it said Web video still can't quite match TV-quality viewing.
"The technology just isn't there yet to have a TV-like experience," David Burch, marketing director at TubeMogul, said in a statement. "And if it's an advertiser hosting video on a branded site or distributing it across the Web, people are just clicking away when they see that spinning wheel."
Excerpt: Simon & Schuster announced plans on Wednesday to postpone by four months the e-book releases of 35 titles that are to come out in hardcover between January and April.
Reason given: Ebooks sales are cannabalizing hardcover sales. So, like paperbacks, ebooks must now wait their turn, it appears.
Link to December 9 New York Times article, "Not Yet the Season for a Nook".
Excerpt: Unfortunately, we, the salivating public, might be afflicted with a little holiday disease of our own: Sucker Syndrome. Every one of the Nook’s vaunted distinctions comes fraught with buzz kill footnotes.
And the “loan e-books to friends?” part? You can’t lend a book unless its publisher has O.K.’ed this feature. And so far, B&N says, only half of its books are available for lending — only one-third of the current best sellers. (A LendMe icon on the B&N Web site lets you know when a book is lendable.) Furthermore, the book is gone from your own Nook during the loan period (a maximum of two weeks). And each book can be lent only once, ever.
Excerpt: The Pew Research Center will try to answer these questions through a yearlong series of original reports that explore the behaviors, values and opinions of today's teens and twenty-somethings.
Even without further research, we already know a few big things about the Millennials.
■They are the most ethnically and racially diverse cohort of youth in the nation's history. Among those ages 13 to 29: 18.5% are Hispanic; 14.2% are black; 4.3% are Asian; 3.2% are mixed race or other; and 59.8%, a record low, are white.
■They are starting out as the most politically progressive age group in modern history. In the 2008 election, Millennials voted for Barack Obama over John McCain by 66%-32%, while adults ages 30 and over split their votes 50%-49%. In the four decades since the development of Election Day exit polling, this is the largest gap ever seen in a presidential election between the votes of those under and over age 30.
■They are the first generation in human history who regard behaviors like tweeting and texting, along with websites like Facebook, YouTube, Google and Wikipedia, not as astonishing innovations of the digital era, but as everyday parts of their social lives and their search for understanding.
■They are the least religiously observant youths since survey research began charting religious behavior.
■They are more inclined toward trust in institutions than were either of their two predecessor generations -- Gen Xers (who are now ages 30 to 45) and Baby Boomers (now ages 46 to 64) when they were coming of age.
- Silent Generation (pre 1946)
- Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
- Generation X (1965-1980)
- Millennials (1981-2000)
Link to Amanda Lanyon-LeSage's (aka Amanda Hyphenated) blog, Do Nothing But Read Day.
Wonder if reading while watching the Packer game (@ Pittsburgh Steelers, 3:15 p.m. kickoff time) is permissable?
Excerpt: The library serves the village of Rosholt and the towns of Alban and Sharon. The patron base for the 760-square-foot area in the Rosholt Village Hall on Main Street has swelled to about 1,500 people. Circulation also has increased 33 percent in the past year.
There is no space for children's activities and no additional space for more books and media, a big problem when you have more people visiting.
But there seems to be help on the way. During the past few months, a library committee formed by the Rosholt Village Board has been working with The Rosholt Development Group to study the issue. Last week the group discussed its progress and asked the public for input.
A recent assessment suggested a library between 5,000 and 5,600 square feet would best serve the community's needs. Currently, there are four options on the table: Move to the vacant office in the Rosholt Clinic building, the old firehouse next door to the library or the deserted meat processing plant on Rudolph Street; or build a new library in Rosholt. Residents can vote for their preference on the village's Web site (www.rosholtvillage.com), and final results will be presented to the Rosholt Village Board on Monday.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Excerpt: Editor & Publisher, the bible of the newspaper industry and a journalism institution that traces its origins back to 1884, is ceasing publication.
An announcement, made by parent company The Nielsen Co., was made Thursday morning as staffers were informed that E&P, in both print and online, was shutting down.
The expressions of surprise and outpouring of strong support for E&P that have followed across the Web -- Editor & Publisher has even hit No. 4 as a Twitter trending topic -- raise the notion that the publication might yet continue in some form.
The only good news, I suppose, is that it might be one less RSS feed.
Excerpt from "Dear Colleagues" letter from Greg Farrar, President, Nielsen Business Media: Today, we announced that Nielsen Business Media has reached an agreement with e5 Global Media Holdings, LLC, a new company formed jointly by Pluribus Capital Management and Guggenheim Partners, for the sale of eight brands in the Media and Entertainment Group, including Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, The Clio Awards, Backstage, Billboard, Film Journal International and The Hollywood Reporter. e5 Global Media Holdings has also agreed to acquire our Film Expo business, which includes the ShoWest, ShowEast, Cinema Expo International and CineAsia trade shows.
In addition, we've made the decision to cease operations for Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews.
This move will allow us to strengthen investment in our core businesses � those parts of our portfolio that have the greatest potential for growth � and ensure our long-term success. We remain committed to building our trade show group and affiliated brands. These assets continue to be a key part of The Nielsen Company's overall portfolio and we strongly believe they are positioned to grow as the economy recovers. In addition, we'll continue to assess the strategic fit of our remaining portfolio of publications.
For more reaction, see December 10 Galleycat post, "Kirkus Reviews Closes; Twittersphere Ponders Future of Book Reviews".
Excerpt: As news broke that Kirkus Reviews would close, the Twittersphere exploded with commentary from worried writers, readers, and publishers around the world--can the book review survive the loss of this magazine that has reviewed literature since 1933?
Excerpt: Employers and career experts see a growing problem in American society — an abundance of college graduates, many burdened with tuition-loan debt, heading into the work world with a degree that doesn't mean much anymore.
The problem isn't just a soft job market — it's an oversupply of graduates. In 1973, a bachelor's degree was more of a rarity, since just 47% of high school graduates went on to college. By October 2008, that number had risen to nearly 70%. For many Americans today, a trip through college is considered as much of a birthright as a driver's license.
(See pictures of the college dorm's evolution.) Well, of course, let's jump to the important stuff.
The most important number is not included in the second excerpted paragraph. How many high school graduates who went on to college earned a bachelor's degree?
Link to December 9 Racine Journal-Times article, "Library to celebrate circulation milestone".
Excerpt: The Racine Public Library this week will reach a milestone. Officials are not exactly sure when it will happen, but sometime Thursday, the library will have checked out 1 million items to patrons in 2009.
The library's head of circulation, Bob Margis, said it was only fitting to celebrate the occasion - call it a circulation celebration if you will - and what better way to celebrate than with cake.
The public can help celebrate at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the library, 75 Seventh St., in the youth services department. Remember, there will be cake.
Link to December 9 Hudson Star-Observer article, "City Council votes to buy NMC building". (You may need to create a free account to access full text.)
Excerpt: Monday night, the Hudson City Council authorized Mayor Dean Knudson to sign documents finalizing the city’s purchase of the Nuclear Management Co. property for $2.5 million.
The unanimous decision makes it nearly certain that the Hudson Area Joint Library and the Hudson Police Department will be moving into the former corporate headquarters building at 700 First St. in 2010.
The library board must reapprove a slightly modified lease agreement and a minor property title issue has to be resolved before the deal can be finalized.
The board is expected to approve the amended lease when it meets next Monday night.
Excerpt: Job seekers may find a golden opportunity at the Fond du Lac Public Library.
The new Opportunity Center, located in the library’s lower level computer lab, caters to residents looking to hone their job-hunting skills.
Open in November, the center is part of a pilot program being offered in five chosen libraries in the state and funded through the American Recovery Reinvestment Act.
Americorps VISTA volunteers Josh Cowles and Sara Byrnes, along with professional volunteers from the community, are available to assist unemployed residents with resume writing, job searching, learning computer skills, and interview techniques.
Cowles said both day and evening hours are offered to give people a place to come for help after Fond du Lac’s Job Center closes at 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
University of California San Diego
Link to UC-San Diego's Global Information Industry Center report. (via Mashable)
Executive Summary (1st two paragraphs)
In 2008, Americans consumed information for about 1.3 trillion hours, an average of almost 12 hours per day. Consumption totaled 3.6 zettabytes and 10,845 trillion words, corresponding to 100,500 words and 34 gigabytes for an average person on an average day. A zettabyte is 10 to the 21st power bytes, a million million gigabytes. These estimates are from an analysis of more than 20 different sources of information, from very old (newspapers and books) to very new (portable computer games, satellite radio, and Internet video). Information at work is not included.
We defined "information" as flows of data delivered to people and we measured the bytes, words, and hours of consumer information. Video sources (moving pictures) dominate bytes of information, with 1.3 zettabytes from television and approximately 2 zettabytes of computer games. If hours or words are used as the measurement, information sources are more widely distributed, with substantial amounts from radio, Internet browsing, and others. All of our results are estimates.
I've linked it before, and I'll link it again.
In so many words: how technology reshapes the reading habit, by Rebecca Piirto Heath. American Demographics, March 1997.
Link to December 9 New York Times article, "Despite Ray Bradbury’s Efforts, a California Library Closes."
Excerpt: Even the author Ray Bradbury put up a fight, but it was not enough to save the H. P. Wright Library in Ventura, Calif.
The library, like so many around the country, had fallen on hard times as city and state budgets tightened. Mr. Bradbury, a fierce advocate for public libraries, appeared at a fund-raiser last June aimed at helping to save the ailing branch. While that helped the library hang on for a bit, the long-term picture was bleak, and a recent bond measure that would have helped close a $650,000 deficit sunk.
The library’s final day on Nov. 30 was met with a candlelight vigil. “Needless to say, they put up a good fight,” said Sydney Weisman, a spokeswoman for the San Buenaventura Friends of the Library, which tried to keep the library afloat.
Link to December 9 New York Times article, "Text Messages: Digital Lipstick on the Collar".
Excerpt: At the root of the issue is privacy — or rather the increasing lack of it in our show-and-tell digital culture. Text messages are considered private, much as telephone calls are, legal experts say. But if a cheating spouse’s cellphone is part of a family calling plan or regularly left unlocked and unattended on the dinner table or night stand, it is conceivable that a partner who suspects infidelity could make a case for sifting through the in-box.
“People who have something really private to say probably shouldn’t do it in a text on their cellphone,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a public interest research group based in Washington.All this new-fangled stuff has put Retiring Guy in the mood for Connie Francis.
Gatorade. Accenture. Gillette. Berkshire Hathaway.
Excerpt: The "sexual revolution" began in the 1960s when oral contraceptives saw FDA approval for the first time, reducing the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Since then society has struggled to keep up with a variety of sexual changes, such as growing acceptance of fetishes, alternate sexual orientations, and sexual entertainment.
Two new studies examine how technology has impacted the tail end of the sexual revolution, which is occurring today. The first, looks at the pornography viewing habits of males in their 20s. The study wanted to compare males who watched porn to those who didn't indulge. However, the researchers were unable to find a man who had not be exposed to pornography. (RG's emphasis.)
Maybe the researchers didn't ask the right people. (Here, too.) Or received a surprisingly honest answer from these sources for a change of pace.
But then again, "exposed" and "pornography" could be defined, pardon the pun, in very broad terms.
Excerpt: The Portage Public Library Board of Trustees took more steps toward a possible library expansion Tuesday.
Before the board's regular monthly meeting, several board members, meeting as a proposed expansion committee, talked with a representative from Gunderson Construction Co. of Portage to discuss the feasibility of a building expansion. The meeting was not listed on the city's Web site, and the Daily Register was not told it was scheduled.
Board President Richard Davis said he didn't want to talk about details of the meeting or of Gunderson's feasibility study because planning for a possible expansion is still in its early stages.
"Gunderson has done a feasibility study for us," Davis said, and he said the next step is for board members to discuss the results with the Bidwell Foundation, which paid for the study, and each other.
"We haven't even met as a full board to discuss the complete feasibility study," Davis said. "So they (Gunderson) just gave us a little more detail with respect to the feasibility of the project."
"We've got a plan, and we're going to move forward," he said.
Link to December 9 Green Bay Post-Gazette article, "Mulva Library carries through campus theme: Red brick reflects historical look of St. Norbert campus".
Excerpt: St. Norbert College opened in 1898 with one building, Main Hall. Its first building fully dedicated to be a library opened in 2009, with planners conscious of consistency.
"It's a modern building that's sensitive to its context," says Michael Flynn, project manager for Performa Inc., the architect of record.
The choice of colonial red brick and pre-cast concrete mimics the historical look and feel of brick and limestone on the rest of the campus buildings.
The library isn't "too dependent or derivative on the past but sensitive to it," Flynn says.
Highlighting the exterior architecture features are the front entrance and a nearby oval.
"We have a curtain wall aluminum system at the front entrance with a canopy," Flynn says. "I think it really mixes in well with the historical feel of the brick. And then we have the champagne color anodized aluminum door front. It gives it a nice modern look, very welcoming."
The use of glass enhances an interior galleria connecting two entrances. Glass also is used extensively for day lighting in library reading entrances
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Link to December 6 New York Times article, "Devices to Take Textbooks Beyond Texts".
Excerpt: Newspapers and novels are moving briskly from paper to pixels, but textbooks have yet to find the perfect electronic home. They are readable on laptops and smartphones, but the displays can be eye-taxing. Even dedicated e-readers with their crisp printlike displays can’t handle textbook staples like color illustrations or the videos and Web-linked supplements publishers increasingly supply.
Now there is a new approach that may adapt well to textbook pages: two-screen e-book readers with a traditional e-paper display on one screen and a liquid-crystal display on the other to render graphics like science animations in color.
The dual screens are linked by a central processor so that, for example, a link on the e-paper display can open on the color screen.
A two-screen device called the eDGe will be released by enTourage Systems in February for $490, said Doug Atkinson, vice president of marketing and business development for the company, based in McLean, Va.
Excerpt: At a glance, the far corner of the main floor of J&R Music looks familiar to anybody old enough to have scratched a record by accident. There are cardboard boxes filled with albums by the likes of Miles Davis and the Beach Boys that could be stacked in any musty attic in America.
But this is no music morgue; it is more like a life-support unit for an entertainment medium that has managed to avoid extinction, despite numerous predictions to the contrary. The bins above the boxes hold new records — freshly pressed albums of classic rock as well as vinyl versions of the latest releases from hip-hop icons like 50 Cent and Diddy and new pop stars like Norah Jones and Lady Gaga.
And with the curious resurgence of vinyl, a parallel revival has emerged: The turntable, once thought to have taken up obsolescence with reel-to-reel and eight-track tape players, has been reborn.
I confess; I spent way too much time studiously flipping through record bins during the 1970s. And most of the vinyl I purchased has been "redistributed". (Saying "thrown out" is just too painful.) I held onto to a few dozen titles that I was unable to find on CD. (Hookfoot's Good Times a' Comin', for example.) But I haven't owned a working turntable since the late 1980s.)
Link to December 7 New York Times article, "Google Adds Live Updates to Results ".
Excerpt: As part of its much-anticipated entrance into the field known as real-time search, Google said that over the next few days its users would begin seeing brand-new tweets, blog items, news articles and social networking updates in results for certain topical searches.
Previously it took a few minutes for updates from social networks and blogs to filter into Google’s results.
“Clearly in today’s world, that’s not fast enough,” Amit Singhal, a Google fellow, said at a press conference at the Computer History Museum here. “Information is being posted at a pace we’ve never seen before, and in this environment, seconds matter.”
Excerpt: At a time of price wars and pressure from electronic books, a group of independent bookstores has found at least one way to lure customers into paying premium prices for a hardcover title: import an eagerly awaited book from Britain several months before its release in the United States and then jack up the price.
Coming on the heels of the breakout success of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” the first two volumes in the posthumously published thriller trilogy by the Swedish author Stieg Larsson, booksellers are now importing British editions of “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” the third volume in the bestselling series six months before its publication here.
Charging as much as $45 for the book, which sells on Amazon in Britain for £8.99 (about $14.75), some booksellers have sold more than a hundred copies each.
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I wonder how many people attempted to place a hold on The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest after reading the Times article.
Retiring Guy decided he needs to learn what all the fuss is about. But I'll have to wait. I'm #92 on the list for 14 copies of the Dragon Tattoo audiobook. Maybe by spring break?
Monday, December 7, 2009
Excerpt: This year marks the 50th anniversary of Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs's weird, challenging, creepy, funny, cut-up trek through the Interzone. To celebrate, Grove Press published a new hardcover, slipcased edition of the book: Naked Lunch: 50th Anniversary Edition. This edition presents the original restored text of the novel and and Brion Gysin's original cover art that appeared on the first Olympia Press printing. Over at the Las Vegas Weekly, Mark Dery pays his respects to the mugwumps among us.
An edition of Naked Lunch is owned by the following 7 LINK libraries: Madison Central (4 copies, tho 1 is lost), Pinney Branch, Sequoya Branch (2 copies), Monona, Oregon, Stoughton, and Sun Prairie. LINK is a consortium of 49 public libraries.
Hmm, just a few copies in the reality zone but none outside of Dane County.
Excerpt: Web video may be the buzz of the TV industry, but Americans still spend the vast majority of their time watching video -- approximately 99% -- on traditional televisions, according to Nielsen's latest "three screens" report released Monday.
In the third quarter, the average American spent 31 hours, 19 minutes per week watching traditional TV, compared with 31 minutes watching time-shifted TV, 22 minutes of Internet video and just 3 minutes on a mobile phone, according to Nielsen's Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement (A2/M2) Three Screen Report for the period.Even among those 18-24 -- a cohort that typically consumes the most online video of any age group -- viewing is largely on TVs, with the demographic registering 22 hours, 44 minutes of traditional TV watching in the period compared with 35 minutes of Internet video and 19 minutes spent watching time-shifted TV.
Thanks to Mark Arend for passing along.
Excerpt: [David S.] Ferriero, who looks as much like an amiable police detective as an academic, was nominated by President Obama on July 28 and confirmed by the Senate on Nov. 6. His name rhymes with "stereo."
University of Wisconsin - Washington County
DIRECTOR OF THE LIBRARY
The Director of the Library is responsible for the management of the campus library and reports directly to the Campus Executive Officer/Dean. The position is an academic staff, twelve-month appointment (expectation of FTE commitment variable according to academic calendar). The Director develops, promotes, maintains and evaluates library services to faculty, staff, a varied student population, and the community. The Director trains, supervises and evaluates staff and student employees, supports the curriculum through active collaboration with faculty and staff, and is proficient in library computer technologies.
A Masters Degree in Library Science and a minimum of two years of relevant experience are required. Experience in an academic setting is preferred.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE LIBRARY
1. Within the framework of the campus mission and governance bodies, and in consultation with the Dean; set library policies, goals and objectives.
2. Administer all aspects of library and media services for the campus.
3. Maintain the library as a user-friendly, technologically sophisticated learning center. Actively consult with faculty, students, and staff in utilizing library resources and developing programs to serve their educational needs.
4. Maintain professional knowledge of library and information science. Communicate new developments and potential opportunities to the Dean and campus community. Keep current with developments in information technology and instructional media and their relationship to the library as a teaching and learning resource.
5. Participate in campus, UW Colleges, regional and statewide committees and represent campus issues, ideas, and concerns as appropriate. Serve on the Colleges Library Council. Actively participate in campus and university-wide planning and governance activities.
6. Manage library lending, collection maintenance, service agreements, and all user services.
7. Develop and implement policies and procedures relating to the library and its various functions.
8. Work closely with the Campus Library Committee, Library Support Services, and appropriate bodies and individuals to coordinate library operations and plans.
1. With the advice of faculty and staff, select books, periodicals, audiovisual materials and other information resources to support the campus mission and curriculum.
2. Maintain records and files necessary for access and inventory of library holdings. Collect, evaluate and report data regarding the Library’s collections in a timely and accurate manner.
1. Provide a wide range of reference and information services to meet the needs of campus clients and the public. Participate in regional library consortia, as appropriate. Provide technical advice on information services to the campus and community. Maintain a strong, friendly and professional image for the library.
2. Provide instruction and assistance to students, faculty, staff and the public on the use of information resources. Create library-related aids for users; work with faculty and IAS to develop library instruction presentations; stay current with curricular and pedagogical trends/developments, and keep campus informed of new information resources and services.
3. Collect, evaluate and report data regarding public services, and adapt services to serve changing needs.
1. Supervise and evaluate all library staff, including support staff and student employees. Develop and provide training in conjunction with other appropriate offices.
2. Maintain all required personnel records and manage all personnel matters related to the library.
1. Plan and administer the library budgets in consultation with the Dean, Campus Steering, Library Committees, and the Colleges Library Council.
2. Order materials, equipment and supplies following System, campus, and Library Support Services procedures and within budgetary amounts.
3. Seek funding and alternative resources to enhance the library’s ability to provide adequate collections, access to information resources, and services to its clients.
1. Participate in local, state, and national library professional organizations and activities, as appropriate.
2. Establish goodwill and working relationships with a variety of external groups and organizations for the benefit of the campus.
APPLYING FOR THE LIBRARY DIRECTOR POSITION
University of Wisconsin – Washington County
This is a 12-month, 83% position. Starting salary $49,058., excellent benefits.
Please send a letter of interest, resume, names, addresses, and phone numbers of three references to: Library Appointments Committee, UW-Washington County, 400 University Drive, West Bend, WI 53095.
Applications must be received by e-mail at Librarysearch@uwc.edu or postmarked on or before January 3, 2010.
Employment will require a criminal background check. An AA/EO employer.
Link to December 6 Technologizer post, "Your First Look at Nook: The Technologizer Review".
Excerpt: Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: The Nook isn’t a Kindle killer–not in this initial form, at least. For all its pleasing touches, intriguing innovations, and clear advantages over the Kindle, it feels like a less-than-perfectly-polished 1.0 product, just like Amazon’s first e-reader did a couple of years ago. The user interface is surprisingly sluggish, there are some usability gaffes, and I encountered a major bug with the device’s most-touted feature. Even the much-hyped lending feature has a major gotcha: You can lend a book once. Period.
Special Project summary. The future of the Chippewa Valley depends in part on many smaller communities that strengthen the regional economy and preserve its culture and character. As the percentage of people working in agriculture and manufacturing declines, leaders in area communities large and small must devise strategies to better position themselves in this rapidly changing environment.
To explore how one city has been affected by the changing economy and is trying to respond, the Leader-Telegram focused on Durand, the Pepin County seat and a close-knit community. The project, titled "Small Towns: Fork in the Road," illustrates how Durand, like so many other communities, faces important challenges and decisions as it tries to retain its character and commerce.
"Durand facing challenges familiar across Midwest".
Excerpt: Number don't lie. The numbers show the issues extend beyond just the business community, as the city's population has declined steadily since peaking at 2,103 in 1970. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the number of residents had fallen to 1,859, a drop of nearly 12 percent, by 2008.
By contrast, the population climbed 27 percent in Wisconsin and 50 percent in the United States during the same period.
At the same time, those who remain in Durand are getting older, with the median age increasing from 34.3 in 1970 to 41.1, or about five years higher than the state median, in 2000. Along with that, enrollment in the Durand school district has tumbled from about 1,500 in 1986 to 1,004 this year, bringing the budget pain that comes with the corresponding drop in state aid.
Excerpt: A decade after graduating from Durand High School, two-thirds of the class of 1999 no longer calls the Durand area home.
Five out of six members of the class don't work in Durand or the immediate area.
The results of a recent Leader-Telegram online survey of the 122-member class of 1999 drive home a key challenge facing leaders in many Wisconsin small towns: how to rejuvenate their communities by retaining more of their young people.
A full three-quarters of the 45 respondents indicated Durand doesn't offer adequate job opportunities in their field.
"Chippewa River critical to Durand's tourism, economic development".
Excerpt: Mayor Gerald Bauer acknowledged that some residents also refer to the city's position nestled between the Chippewa River and surrounding limestone bluffs as being stuck between a rock and a hard place. The assessment comes from the idea that those geographic features, though aesthetically pleasing, leave the city little room to grow and limit the amount of relatively flat land sought by industry.
But in recent years city fathers have come to realize that those supposed disadvantages have the potential to form the foundation upon which to build a new local economy.
They envision using the Pepin County seat's scenic spot along the shimmering Chippewa River - one of the central reasons residents cite for cherishing the quality of life in Durand - as the anchor of an effort to get more people to visit. In short, city leaders hope to reinvent Durand as a tourist town.
"You don't get here by accident," Durand school Superintendent Jerry Walters said. "A small town like Durand needs to have something that makes people want to come here. And then once they're here, we've got to have something that makes them want to stay."
"Farm country around Durand suggests the industry is holding its own ".
Excerpt: A snapshot of farming in Pepin County, according to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture.
54.6 - Average age of principal farm operators, up from 49.8 in 1997.
503 - Farms, 78 more than 1997, although slighly more than half of those operators declared farming was not their primary occupation.
252 - Farms with annual sales of less than $10,000, up from 125 in 1997.
$105,795 - Average market value of products sold per farm, up 53 percent from 1997.
108,426 - Acres of farmland, up 4 percent from 104,044 acres in 1997.
"Natural attractions, entrepreneurial spirit offer future for Durand".
Excerpt: "Durand's strength is people who want to live in a small community that's not too far from a big city; that is, if you call Eau Claire and Menomonie big cities," he [Pepin County Board Chairman Pete Adler] suggested.
"People who live here tend to stay here, if they can," he added. "They want a small-town atmosphere with a small-school population."
Adler said there is an "active group of people who want to do something to keep Durand vital," including artisans, business owners and civic leaders.
"Art, music, movies — Durand covers all bases ".
Excerpt: For a town of 2,000 souls, Durand boasts a thriving arts scene. Nestled along the Chippewa River, the Pepin County community has several entertainment options, including a movie theater, art gallery, blues festival and summer concert series.
Options range from reducing hours to laying off employees.
Under the library’s operating agreement with member communities Salem, Silver Lake, Paddock Lake, Randall and Twin Lakes, the library already has funding in place for 2010, approximately $1.2 million to run three libraries.
Library Board President Marlene Goodson, also president of Paddock Lake, said the existing budget for 2010 has a small deficit, about $1,000, [RG's emphasis: is this it?] in part because of increased employee retirement costs that will occur when Twin Lakes takes over as fiscal agent for the district, a change that forces the library to move its employees to the state employee retirement system.
Facing those increased costs, the finance committee presented a series of three options to the board last week, including reducing employee hours, closing the libraries at 8 p.m. rather than 9 p.m. during some portions of the year, or closing the libraries on very low-traffic days, such as the day after Thanksgiving.
Cuts would allow the district to maintain spending on library materials and build a capital improvement fund, Goodson said.
- Combine 4 supervisor positions into 2.
- Eliminate in-house computer services.
- Cut 3 part-time gardeners.
Link to Lori Belongia's column in the December 7 Marshfield News-Herald, "Library must respect individual's privacy".
Excerpt: Recently, I received a complaint in the library's suggestion box. The complaint was well thought out, and the writer's frustration clear.
The individual was upset that the library could not share specific information about overdue materials on a family member's account, creating an inconvenience for the family member. In addition, the person was concerned that the library was viewing the family as a secretive, unfriendly grouping.
Unfortunately, the complainant did not leave contact information so that I could explain the library's policy. However, this column is the perfect forum for me to address these concerns.
The Marshfield Public Library takes your privacy and confidentiality very seriously. The Library's Confidentiality Policy is not solely a local choice. It is based on chapter 43.30 (1m) Wisconsin Statutes,
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Excerpt: So why can’t I remember the last time I visited a library other than to say “hi” to the high school librarian? Here are a few reasons:
- I already have a pile of books and magazines waiting to be read.
- When I decide I want to read a certain book, I put in a request on Bookins, and more often than not I get what I want and just pay the shipping.
- The wonderful Flintridge Bookstore is up the street, and it stocks the required reading books for our school district. I like to support them since they’re big supporters of our local schools, and since their business suffered when the truck crashed into them last year.
- Amazon.com. Sorry, but I get free shipping.
- When I read a book, I don’t always finish in time to return it to the library.
- My local library is loud, bright and sometimes seems like an afterschool daycare facility. (The picture to the right is not of our local library: it’s a picture of the Camarillo Library, whose interior was designed by The Design Studio.)
- The library usually doesn’t have what I’m looking for in stock at our local branch. They’re good about ordering online, but that doesn’t help if I’m in a hurry.
- If I want to listen to an audiobook, I purchase it on iTunes and put it on my iPod.
- I don’t need to use the computers at the library, since I have one at home. And through it I can access more updated research information than the printed encyclopedia at the library has. (Are there printed copies of encyclopedias anymore?)
- My dog chewed up my library card, and then I lost it. Seriously. I was hoping to scan it for this post, but I can’t find it.
Excerpt: Farmville's popularity is impressive on a few levels--more people are playing it than World of Warcraft, than ever bought a Wii, and a look at my own Farmville friends list indicates it's seducing players to the joys of gaming who would never even pick up a video game under normal circumstances.
Granted, Farmville exists with a very different business model than most video games: you don't pay by the month to play it, you don't even shell out a one-time payment to play: you play for free, and then the game tries to sell you in-game perks and a chance to skip the grind to unlock all of the game's content by spending money rather than time.
It exists in a social rather than solitary space, while it's not an explicit pyramid scheme like some online games such as mybrute that rely on referrals, Farmville locks you out of some content unless you have enough friends playing Farmville with you, and having friends in your network playing Farmville is a reliable source of coins, experience, and gifts, the main resources of the game.
Excerpt: As I noted in my recent paper, “A Brief History of Media Merger Hysteria: From AOL-Time Warner to Comcast-NBC,” every time a media merger is proposed we hear all sorts of silly Chicken Little predictions of impending doom. Among the more entertaining claims we hear are conspiracy theories about supposed nefarious schemes to take over the media universe and control our minds, predictions of the death of journalism or democracy, or just good ol’ fashion screw-the-consumer price hikes. But, as I showed in my paper, those predictions have always proven to be bunk once the historical record is in–which usually only takes a few years. While most media mergers do end in misery–it’s for the merging firms and their shareholders, not the public. Unforeseen technological innovations and expanding media marketplace options typically doom most media mergers, while the viewing and listening public enjoys the fruits of continued marketplace evolution.
Link to December 6 New York Times article,
Excerpt: When Sharon Washington says she grew up with books, she is speaking literally: Her father, George King Washington, was a library custodian, a job that for much of the 20th century included shoveling coal into the furnace at all hours.
It came with an apartment, and a world of remembered magic for the little girl who grew up in the library, an only child. “It was the books, of course, but it was also my father, working on the furnace, feeding the dragon that ate the coal,” said Ms. Washington, 50 and a successful actor, shown above with her father in 1963. “I remember the coal truck deliveries.”
The coal sluiced down a chute next to the furnace. The pieces sparkled with blackness. Her father — a long, lean man — had a shovel nearly as tall as himself. She would sneak downstairs to watch him wield the shovel and spin the ashcans to the curb. “The family mantra was: Don’t let that furnace go out,” she recalled last week.