Saturday, January 16, 2010
Excerpt: With double-digit unemployment in many West Michigan communities, residents are looking for ways to save instead of spend. As a result, libraries are experiencing a surge in popularity. After all, it’s free to check out books, music and movies.
“We’re busy, and that’s good,” said Richard Schneider, assistant director of the Muskegon Area District Library. “Obviously, the economy is playing a part.”
In 2008, Schneider said 415,737 items were checked out of the countywide district’s libraries through November — that included books, CDs and DVDs. During the same period this year, the number jumped to 461,305.
And it’s not just circulation figures that are soaring, Schneider said.
The district’s 10 libraries are seeing record use of public computers. The district’s computer labs last year averaged 4,000 users every month. This year, that number jumped to more than 5,000 per month.
Link to January 12 HometownNewsGroup.com post, "Commission urges against library referendum".
Excerpt: The newly formed Waunakee Economic Development Commission is recommending that the village board go ahead and request proposals to build a library without asking the voters. "My personal bias has always been to go to referendum, but in this case, a referendum could kill the project," said John Laubmeier, village board president and commission member. The recommendation was one of several arrived at by the new committee. The economic development commission, a new incarnation of the previous Development Advisory Committee, was formed to address several economic issues.
Link to Waupaca Now post, "Library to host mystery films".
Excerpt: Classic mysteries will be the topic of a film discussion series in February at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Four films will be screened at 1:30 p.m. Thursdays, Feb. 4-25. Jack Rhodes, who facilitated the popular discussion series on Westerns, will lead the discussion.
The films are free and open to the public. Free popcorn and refreshments will be served.
“The series is really about sharing the common experience of film,” according to Peg Burington, the library’s director. “Even if it is a film you’ve seen before, Jack Rhodes will ask that you look at it with new eyes, watching for elements of style or something important to the mystery genre.”
Excerpt: Himmel and Wilson, the consulting firm for the McIntosh Memorial Library, returned to Viroqua, Tuesday, to gather information to update the building program statement it started in 2005.
The library task force is in the process of discovering all of the options available for building a new library that meets their energy efficiency, disabled accessibility and space needs. The report from Himmel and Wilson should be complete by March and will be ready to turn over to an architect to design the new library.
"They’ll talk to us about any changes to the library and they’ll look at the annual report," Bill Brooke, library board president, said. "They’ll find out what we want and what our expectations are."
The building program statement needs to be updated to incorporate any changes in the last four years.
"Technology is a major focal point of libraries now, where in 2004-05, it really wasn’t," Trina Erickson, library director, said. "It’s a big part of this discussion."
Link to January 15 Hudson Star-Observer article, "Archives hold historic treasures". (You may need to log in -- at no charge -- to read entire article.)
Excerpt: Interim Archivist Tim Ericson describes some of the content stored in the archives, which, at the end of November, moved into its fourth and final new home.
The center contains community- and university-related records and manuscripts that include journals, diaries, church records, letters and other documents from all towns within the center’s four-county area. Ericson says not all records for every town are there, but at least some from each.
The archives hold a comprehensive collection of community newspapers on microfilm — “nearly everything,” says Ericson. People might come there to look at old census or local government records, to read through one of the self-serve history books, or to request to view something from the secure storage in the back.
The center is hosting an Open House from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Link to BISG announcement.
The survey is already underway and will continue through July 2010.
Among the questions being asked:
- When did you first begin acquiring e-books?
- Where do you typically acquire e-books?
- Which genre(s) are you more likely to read as an e-book rather than a print book?
- What device do you now use most frequently to read e-books?
- How likely are you to buy a dedicated e-reader such as Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble nook, or Sony Reader for yourself or to give as a gift (in the next 2 months)?
Link to January 14 American Library Association news release.
Excerpt: But just when people need their public libraries the most, funding for this valued resource is decreasing, as governments cut library budgets as a way of addressing state and local deficits. More than half of responding state library agencies (52 percent or 24 states) reported cuts in state funding for public libraries between FY2009 and FY2010; and 11 of these states reported cuts were greater than 11 percent, double what was reported last year. In addition, nearly 75 percent of state library agencies also have received cuts resulting in fewer available staff, reduced funding for library materials and subscription databases, and continuing education for public library staff and trustees. Funding for Pennsylvania’s Office for Commonwealth Libraries, for instance, was cut in half and reduced staff levels from 56 to 21.
“Public libraries are uniquely positioned to provide a full range of resources American families rely on as they trim expenses and seek employment,” said ALA President Camila Alire. “As the poor economy continues to fuel deep library budget cuts, I’m haunted by the notion that for each hour a library is closed, and for every service lost, thousands will lose the opportunity to better their lives through education.”
Decreased funding has impacted staffing levels at many public libraries. The number one challenge affecting libraries’ ability to help job seekers is a lack of adequate staff to effectively help patrons with their job-seeking needs. Almost 60 percent of libraries surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that the library does not have enough staff to help patrons with job-seeking needs. Forty-six percent agreed or strongly agreed that library staff does not have the necessary skills to meet patron demand; and about 36 percent agreed or strongly agreed the library has too few public computers to meet demand.
Barnes & Noble Nook
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Excerpt: Editor & Publisher, the only independent news organization reporting on all aspects of the transforming newspaper business, has resumed publication in print and online following its sale Thursday to Duncan McIntosh Co. Inc., the Irvine, Calif.-based magazine and newspaper publisher.
The announcement came exactly two weeks after the closing of E&P, the acknowledged "bible of the newspaper industry," which can trace its roots back 126 years.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Link to January 14 New York Times obituary of William J. Lederer.
Lesson not learned? “The Ugly American” portrayed the American foreign service community as isolated and self-congratulatory, its workers as inept and smugly arrogant in their dealings with the local population.
From TVO's Facebook page. TVO is Ontario's public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires, and stimulates curiosity and thought.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
Excerpt: U.S. broadband policy in recent months has been driven by a widely held assumption that the availability of broadband in an area will help improve the economy. A study released Wednesday puts some scholarship behind that assumption, with the author saying that broadband indeed has economic benefits.
Areas that moved from having no broadband to having between one and three service providers between 1999 and 2006 saw employment growth that was 6.4 percent higher than areas without broadband, said the study. In recent months, there's been "unprecedented" government support for broadband as an economic stimulus mechanism, said study author Jed Kolko, associate director and research fellow at Public Policy Institute of California.
Excerpt: Library Board President Marlene Goodson said the Silver Lake branch has been closed since late last month due to ongoing facility problems, including water leaking from the back of the roof and “bubbles coming out of the ceiling.”
“I shut it down because there was a great possibility it was not safe for the public,” she said.
Excerpt: The Hudson Area Joint Library Board got a glimpse Monday night at what the new library will look like when it moves to 700 First St. this spring.
Drawings of the floor plan of both levels in the new facility were presented by architect Cindy McCleary of BKV Group Architects and Engineers of Minneapolis. BKV was the original designer of the building when it was constructed by Erickson Diversified. They were also the firm that was consulted by the Hudson Library Foundation in 2008 when they were looking into the purchase of the building and the cost to renovate it. In addition to her firm’s familiarity with the building and its new use, McCleary herself has significant experience in designing and planning libraries throughout the region.
According to board president Jim O’Connor, the renovations to the 20,000 square foot space are expected to cost $500,000. The money will come from several sources including from impact fees collected by the City of Hudson and the Village of North Hudson over the past 10 years, a federal grant of $147,000 that has been requested, and donations that have been made and saved for the purpose of a new library of around $150,000.
Link to Gannett Wisconsin Media article in January 14 Oshkosh Northwestern, "Nation's governors embrance 'tweeting' trend".
Excerpt: A growing number of politicians are getting their messages across in 140 characters or less.
Thirty-two of the nation’s 50 governors use the micro-blogging site Twitter for everything from alerting followers to storm and travel news to telling them what they just had for breakfast, a Gannett Wisconsin Media review found. Twenty-three of them began tweeting last year.
Wisconsin’s Gov. Jim Doyle has yet to send a tweet, although he is considering an account.
“You know my natural instinct is, why in the world would somebody want to know up to the second what I’m thinking or doing at a particular time,” he said. “Having said that, maybe I have to get with it.”
Some examples (ones that are at or near the top of a Twitter "Find People" search for "Governor":
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Excerpt: The Hennepin County Board was reviewing its five-year facilities plan when board Chairman Mike Opat spotted the dollar figures for the county library system.
Hennepin's 25 suburban libraries, the chart showed, would need $5.7 million over the next few years for maintenance, energy and lighting upgrades. On the other hand, the 16 Minneapolis libraries recently added to the county system were slated for $7.6 million in similar work. And that didn't include another $915,000 for automation system improvements.
"What did we take over here?" he asked, his voice edged with frustration. "How decrepit are these [Minneapolis library] buildings ...? Was any of this disclosed to us by the Minneapolis Library Board, or Minneapolis City Council, to any degree that would suggest this order of magnitude?"
Nearly two years after the Hennepin County merger that rescued Minneapolis libraries from mounting financial problems, the two systems have consolidated their catalogs, developed a single website and united their nonprofit arms.
Link to January 2 Star-Tribune article, "St. Paul keeps libraries open amid budget, staff shortages".
Excerpt: St. Paulites are pretty passionate about their libraries.
When a proposal to shut down the Hamline Midway branch surfaced in 2009, a community uproar kept the doors open.
When Mayor Chris Coleman proposed cutting the library's 2010 budget by 6.7 percent, the City Council lessened the blow at the last minute to 4.8 percent.
When the economy turned sour, more people turned to the library.
While the St. Paul Public Library continues to keep its doors open to all, the civic institution has been going through a transformation. That has meant dealing with a leaner budget, fewer employees and an explosion in digital technology that presents both challenges and opportunities in fulfilling a century-old mission: to provide free public education.
Link to Sarah Long's January Daily Herald column, "Regional libraries have not received a funding increase since 1989".
Excerpt: There are 10 regional library systems around the state. One is the Chicago Public Library, but the other nine are made up of libraries of all types (academic, public, school, and special) in a geographic area. For example, the North Suburban Library System serves about 650 library buildings north of the Chicago city limits, including all of Lake County, north, and northwest Cook County, and portions of Kane and McHenry counties.
We help libraries do their work. We negotiate agreements among them so that tax payers in one library area can also use the libraries of other areas. We provide a delivery service so that materials from one library can be moved around to serve anyone in the region.
We provide education and training to keep library workers cognizant of new developments and competent with new skills. We serve as the research and development arm of your local library. We negotiate and offer discounts ranging from health care to online databases. We build and host electronic "helps" for libraries such as Digital Past for local history, and host online forums for sharing knowledge.
Sarah Long is Executive Director of the North Suburban Library System.
Excerpt: Portage Public Library board members have talked for months about the idea of adding another 6,000 square feet to the 15-year-old library building. Sometime in the next few months, Portage residents might be asked for their input about how the library's space and resources, existing or future, ought to be used.
Space for an expansion to the Edgewater Street building would come from an adjacent lot occupied by a vacant brick house built in 1865; board member Karen Kaiser has said city engineers told her the house is sound enough to be moved. It also could be razed.
What might be done with additional space is another question.
"Until we know what the community wants and needs and have something to offer them ... it almost seems we're starting the conversation ahead of where we are in the actual plan," said library director Shannon Stiller. "My objective is to make sure the library fits the needs of the community."
"I think we need the space," Stiller said. ‘I want to see the expansion happen."
But, she said, residents' wishes must be known before planning for the use of that space begins in earnest. To that end, in Tuesday's library board meeting, Stiller said she would put together a program to assess residents' needs and wishes as well as a time line for how future action toward an expansion might proceed.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Excerpt from Overview page.
The City of Madison’s annual resident satisfaction survey is mailed to 1,000 randomly selected households. Fifty are sent to each of our 20 aldermanic districts. A representative sample is built using a random selection of addresses from Madison Gas & Electric (MGE). This list includes both homeowners and renters.
This survey is the second of three annual surveys conducted on the City’s behalf by the University of
Wisconsin’s Survey Center. The 2009 survey was deployed in two waves of mailings – one on September 11 and the second on October 9.
A sample of the 2009 survey instrument follows this summary. The survey featured five general questions relating to:
- Overall quality of life
- Satisfaction with 16 City services (Table1)
- Importance of the same 16 City services (Table 2)
- Overall service quality
- Additional comments (open ended).
Table 1: Satisfaction
Table 2: Importance
Link to Terry Dawson's thoughtful response at the New Cybrary, "Thinking about library futures".
Genre albums sales.
Record company market share.
Top ten selling albums.
Top ten selling artists.
Top ten digital selling songs.
Top ten digital selling artists.
Top ten vinyl albums. (#1 is the Beatles' Abbey Road.)
Factoids and more. Lots more.
Excerpt: A puny 2.4% of print subscribers is the average number of people paying for online content at the handful of daily newspapers that have been bold enough to erect pay walls, according to a new survey.
In the first comprehensive study of actual consumer willingness to pay for online news, ITZ/Belden Interactive delivered both good and bad tidings to publishers hoping to begin charging for their content.
The bad news, of course, is the limited number of online readers who were willing to pay for online access to the 26 U.S. dailies included in the survey.
The good news, as you can see in the table (here), is that the few consumers who are willing to pay for online content appear to be largely indifferent to how much it costs. . .
Link to January 12 boingboing post, "Search the Harper's "Index" index".
Excerpt: Whether you have some productive reason to search for stats, or you just need a daily factoid fix, Harper's magazine's online "Index" search will pull up decades' worth of short, sourced blurbs on 1000s of topics ... and open up delightful rabbit holes by linking one factoid to other, connected, topic searches.
Excerpt: The technology industry is going retro — moving away from remote controls, mice and joysticks to something that arrives without batteries, wires or a user manual.
It’s called a hand.
In the coming months, the likes of Microsoft, Hitachi and major PC makers will begin selling devices that will allow people to flip channels on the TV or move documents on a computer monitor with simple hand gestures. The technology, one of the most significant changes to human-device interfaces since the mouse appeared next to computers in the early 1980s, was being shown in private sessions during the immense Consumer Electronics Show here last week. Past attempts at similar technology have proved clunky and disappointing. In contrast, the latest crop of gesture-powered devices arrives with a refreshing surprise: they actually work.
Link to January 12 ClickZ post, "Yahoo's TV Widgets Gain Traction with TV Manufacturers and Content Firms".
Excerpt: As if holding the attention of channel-flippers wasn't tough enough -- now television advertisers may have to contend with "content snackers."
At least the buzz for Yahoo's TV widgets coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week suggests so. And marketing dollars are starting to back the hype: a major flat-screen manufacturer ran spots during last weekend's NFL playoff games while prominently featuring the interactive widgets.
The widgets allow viewers to access content from the newest TV models with a push of a remote control button. They appear at the bottom of the screen, looking similar to the way software programs appear on a Mac computer dock. When end users activate a widget, they can call up its content (video clips, for the most part) without switching the channel.
"This is about 'content snacking,'" said Jeff Whatcott, SVP of marketing for online video services firm Brightcove. "I think, ultimately, TV ads are going to have more to compete with for consumers' attention... We'll see more ads in the widget content as well as an advertising strategy over time."
Excerpt: Rep. Paul Ryan will be making a political stop in New Hampshire next month in what some see as an effort to take his national profile up a notch.
New Hampshire, the site of nation's first presidential primary every four years, is a favored location for potential presidential candidates. Ryan's visit to the Granite State set off some speculation that he's positioning himself for a future White House bid. But the Janesville Republican says he's not interested in running for president - at least in the short term.
"There is a zero percent chance I will be seeking the Republicans' nomination for president in 2012," Ryan said in a statement.
Others, however, note that Ryan, 39, has plenty of time to develop national ambitions.
Excerpt: On Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Fitchburg City Council will make a once-in-a-century decision: Shall it borrow against future energy savings to install geothermal heating and cooling in its new library building?
The building is otherwise designed for a 100-year service life. The decision must be made now, however, whether to install a 20th or 21st century heating and cooling plant. The conventional system burns natural gas for heating and uses electricity to power air conditioning, while the geothermal system uses electric heat pump technology to cool the building (and warm the earth under the parking lot) in the summer and warm the building with the heat stored underground in the winter. Both systems use electricity for moving air and controlling dampers. Unfortunately, the two systems require different building designs.
Excerpt: Sen. Alan Lasee, a cowboy-hat wearing Republican who unsuccessfully fought to bring back capital punishment in Wisconsin, said Monday he was retiring after 36 years in the Wisconsin Legislature.
Lasee, 72, of Rockland, said he decided to retire rather than run for re-election this fall after "a great deal of thought and consideration."
"It's a difficult decision, but it's time," said Lasee, whose district covers Door and Kewaunee counties as well as parts of Manitowoc, Brown, Calumet and Outagamie counties.
"The fire is gone."
Monday, January 11, 2010
Link to January 10 Washington Examiner article, "Area libraries see resurgence as economy falters". (via Resource Shelf)
Excerpt: The reign of the Kindle may not spell disaster for books after all. (I guess that makes it an oligarchy--RG.)
Washington-area residents are returning to libraries in droves to check out paperbacks, hardcovers, audiobooks, e-books, DVDs and CDs as the slow economy encourages cheaper leisure.
Book rentals at D.C's Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library have more than doubled since 2006 and the numbers are continuing to grow, according to branch Manager Norberta Winborne.
"We used to have just a few people working nights and weekends," Winborne said. "Now, we need everybody around all the time."
Nearly 2 million books, DVDs, CDs and other items have been checked out from D.C.'s public libraries in the last year -- up from 1 million in 2006 -- according to library spokesman George Williams.
attractive and well-designed homepage.
The Joe Hunter Trio performs at the library on January 21. Here's a preview.
Link to January 10 New York Times article, "A Peak Into Netflix Queues".
Examine Netflix rental patterns, neighborhood by neighborhood, in a dozen cities. (New York, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco (Bay Area), Los Angeles.)
Excerpt: The study found 53 different sources of local news — general-interest newspapers like The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and their Web sites, several smaller papers in the region, publications devoted to a niche like local business, local television and radio stations, and new online news sites and blogs. Even the reporting done by traditional media was driven mostly by government statements rather than journalists’ own digging, the study found. [RG's emphasis.]
Real news? Reporting? I think it's called stenography. (More commentary here, here, and here.)
Link to January 11 Pew Center Project for Excellence in Journalism report, "How News Happens: A Study of the Ecosystem of One American City".
Excerpt: The study, which examined all the outlets that produced local news in Baltimore, Md., for one week, surveyed their output and then did a closer examination of six major narratives during the week, finds that much of the “news” people receive contains no original reporting. Fully eight out of ten stories studied simply repeated or repackaged previously published information.
Excerpt: Have you ever wondered how the month January got its name? In Roman mythology, Janus is the god of gates, doors, beginnings and endings. Often he is illustrated with two faces. One faces forward and the other back. As the new year begins at the library, I feel as if I'm looking in two directions, too.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Excerpt: My daughter’s worldview and life will be shaped in very deliberate ways by technologies like the Kindle and the new magical high-tech gadgets coming out this year — Google’s Nexus One phone and Apple’s impending tablet among them. She’ll know nothing other than a world with digital books, Skype video chats with faraway relatives, and toddler-friendly video games on the iPhone. She’ll see the world a lot differently from her parents.
But these are also technology tools that children even 10 years older did not grow up with, and I’ve begun to think that my daughter’s generation will also be utterly unlike those that preceded it.
Researchers are exploring this notion too. They theorize that the ever-accelerating pace of technological change may be minting a series of mini-generation gaps, with each group of children uniquely influenced by the tech tools available in their formative stages of development.
“People two, three or four years apart are having completely different experiences with technology,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. “College students scratch their heads at what their high school siblings are doing, and they scratch their heads at their younger siblings. It has sped up generational differences.”
The article mentions.....(for your further research).....
Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.
Larry Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hill.
Rosen's book, Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn.
Mizuko Ito, cultural anthropologist and associate researcher at the University of California Humanities Research Center.
Vicky Rideout, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
1. Home 3-D will flop again in 2010.
2. AT&T will buy DIRECTV.
3. Comcast-NBC merger will fail.
4. Your TV provider will lose channels (often).
5. DIRECTV will offer less than 200 HD channels.
6. 10 million Blu-ray players will be sold.
Bracing for Blu-ray. (Library Journal, 11/15/2009)
High-Definition Blu-ray Disc Availability Growing in U.S. Public Libraries. (atyourlibrary.org, 9/22/2009)
Blu-ray Discs sliding into public libraries -- has yours made the move? (engadgetHD.com, 3/19/2009)
7. Online HD movies will continue to struggle.
Link to January 10 Appleton Post-Crescent article, "Grand Chute still trying to escape Appleton shadow".
There is at least one similarity to Retiring Guy's situation. Many Town of Middleton residents assume they live in the City of Middleton.
The topic of libraries isn't addressed in the Post-Crescent article, but during the mid-1990s, the Town of Middleton administrator made repeated efforts -- all of them unsuccessful -- to cut the town's library tax bill from the county. He even floated the idea of a joint library with the City of Middleton, offering up a level of support that was about half of what had been budgeted for the county library tax. Needless to say, the suggestion went nowhere.
Towns vs. cities
Towns are the traditional form of local government in Wisconsin and the only one that still allows residents direct local decision-making authority by votes at annual meetings.
Towns cover the vast majority of Wisconsin's territory, but most of that is sparsely populated.
Towns tend to offer basic local services so their operating costs are kept low. They take pride in preserving America's directly democratic heritage.
Cities and villages are home to most of the state's population but little of its land. Their governments are more complex than those of towns and they offer the more sophisticated array of services required in urbanized areas.
Successful cities expand their boundaries at the expense of neighboring towns, acquiring land through annexations sought by landowners needing utilities and services.
Grand Chute is a town, but its population, predominantly urban character, service levels and tax base are more typical of a city. A boundary agreement with the city of Appleton protects the town's territory west of State 47 eliminating much of its incentive to incorporate.