Saturday, September 4, 2010

Time's Fiction Best Sellers, August 31, 1970



Library Urban Legend in the Making?


Link to Randy Cohen's September 4 "On Ethics" Charlotte Observer column, "Surge of volunteers for library prompts staff cuts".

Excerpt: Q: Community members have responded to our town's tight budget by volunteering at the library, so much so that the library laid off several full-time employees, people who are our friends and neighbors. Having fewer municipal employees means a slight reduction in property taxes for everyone, but it harms those left jobless. Should town residents consider that before volunteering?

Two things come to mind immediately.

You'd think that Randy Cohen would have checked with the Charlotte Mecklenburg administration to verify the writer's comments.  (Please say it ain't so, Charles Brown.)

And secondly, you'd think Randy would read the paper in which his column appears.

From 8/31/2010 Charlotte Observer article, "Library pilot program that expands hours to launch early".

The library system already has a long history of using volunteers to help out. Last year, volunteers worked 25,000 hours at various branches. The goal this year is to double that.

The pilot effort, which was supposed to start Oct. 1, is focused on the towns that gave money or in-kind services this year to the library system. In exchange, the system agreed to experiment with expanding hours at the towns' branches with volunteers.

In those cases, volunteers will handle behind-the-scenes chores, enabling library staff to use more time for helping patrons, including homework assistance and children's programs.

And more time to recruit, interview, train, supervise, and evaluate the increased number of volunteers the library uses.  Whatever duties assigned to volunteers needs to be regularly monitored by "trained professionals".

Related articles:
Library launches pilot program to expand hours with volunteers.  (8/31/2010)
Group to study county library merger.  (7/28/2010)
Book stores help out the library.  (7/21/2010)
Libraries hope to expand hours with volunteers at 4 branches.  (7/20/2010)
Another change in hours.  (7/18/2010)
Matthews branch library sends out plea for volunteers.  (7/13/2010)
Most county commissioners cool to sales tax hike.  (7/9/2010)
New hours in effect.  (7/6/2010)
Charlotte Observer editorial board laments the passing of the Novello Festival of the Book.  (6/28/2010)
Shuttered branch could  become Friends' used book store.  (6/25/2010)
A reduced future.  (6/23/2010)
Interlocal cooperation pact.  (6/22/2010)
Three branches close.  (6/19/2010)
Town of Mint Hill perspective.  (6/18/2010)
Five towns tentatively OK $730,000 for libraries.  (6/18/2010)
Carmel, two other branches to close.  (6/16/2010)
Now that the ax has fallen.  (6/16/2010)
Commissioners to vote on budget today.  (6/15/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries:  It's complicated.  (6/9/2010)
Mayor wins straw vote at emotional council meeting.  (6/7/2010)
Editorial:  Should city 'stay in its lane' on libraries.  (6/4/2010)
County commissioners restore some cuts to libraries.  (6/4/2010)
Straw votes begin on Mecklinburg County budget.  (6/3/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries continue to look for one-time financial help.  (5/31/2010)
High school junior speaks out eloquently for libraries.  (5/30/2010)
Mayor Foxx on the art of governing.  (5/30/2010)
Mayor supports financial help for library.  (5/27/2010)
County budget:  Oh, yeah, this is fair.  (5/25/2010)
Bailout proposal not gaining traction.  (5/23/2010)
Library trustees vote to close 4 branches.  (5/20/2010)
Mecklenburg County tightens its belt.  (5/20/2010)
County manager cuts $14.7 million from library budget.  (5/18/2010)
2010-11 Mecklenburg County budget to be unveiled today.  (5/18/2010)
North Carolina woman plans on "going straight to the top" to keep Charlotte libraries open.  (5/16/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg officials ask local municipalities for $3 million contribution.  (4/30/2010Library Board chair speaks out.  (4/25/2010)
County commissioners seek ways to ease library cuts.  (4/23/2010)
Mecklenburg County needs to reduce $85-90 million deficit.  (4/16/2010)
County manager takes library board to task.  (4/10/2010)
Libraries now open fewer hours.  (4/6/2010)
"Save Our Libraries Sunday".  (3/29/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg users owe average of 55 cents in fines.  (3/27/2010)
Library announces new hours for branches.  (3/26/2010)
Library Board applies a Band-Aid to its bleeding system.  (3/25/2010)
Follow-up on Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board vote.  (3/25/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board votes to keep all branches open.  (3/24/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board presented with 2 budget-cutting alternatives.  (3/24/2010)
More and bigger cuts looming on horizon. (3/23/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library System Rethinks Closings. (3/22/2010)
A New Day is Dawning in Charlotte/Mecklenburg County. (3/21/2010)

Friday, September 3, 2010

WTF: "WiFi is absent"?

And here we thought The Economist was the smart newsweekly.

Link to September 1 The Economist post, "Is it time to revive the library?"

Excerpt:   This is of course grim news for those who love to browse and thumb through actual physical books, and share space with others who are doing the same thing. But now would be a good time to recall another community landmark where we once happily did all of those things, and for free: the library. It's true that there is something vaguely titillating about browsing in an atmosphere where the temptations are to purchase and own, not simply borrow and read. It's also true that libraries have felt like dormant, dated spaces of late, where WiFi is absent, coffee is banned and budget cuts are rife. But if book-buying trends now sidestep bookstores, yet people still crave hushed public spaces in an atmosphere of books, then it is time to rethink our libraries—what they look like, what they offer and how they store their wares. (September, incidentally, is Library Card Sign-Up Month in America, but you probably knew that already.)

It bears repeating:
The 2010 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study also finds that:

  • 67 percent of libraries report they are the only provider of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities;
  • Public computer and Wi-Fi use was up last year for more than 70 percent of all libraries;
  • 89 percent of libraries provide formal or informal technology training, including classes in computer skills, software use and online job-seeking;
  • 82 percent of libraries provide Wi-Fi access (95% in Wisconsin);
  • A majority of libraries offer Internet services ranging from subscription databases (95 percent) to online homework resources (88 percent) to ebooks (66 percent); and
  • 66 percent of libraries provide assistance to patrons completing government forms.
Now, granted, The Economist is not a U.S. publication, but the article starts out with a U.S. focus. 
This week Barnes & Noble announced that it will be closing its Manhattan bookstore .at 66th Street and Broadway at the end of January.

Public Library 'Triage' in Virginia



Link to September 1 hburgnews.com post, "Do public libraries still have value?"

Excerpt:    Last week, Massanutten Regional Library announced that it would close two of its branches in the small communities of Bergton and Stanley, while reducing hours of operation at four of its other locations. In announcing its decision of triage the library’s Board of Trustees sited a quarter million dollars in funding that has been lost over the past three years in spite of the fact that nearly 6,000 new patrons have signed up for library cards during the same period.

Budget cuts erode an institution like weather strips paint from a house. First a few cracks. Then things start to look shabby. “We’d like to fix it this year but we just don’t have the money. Maybe next.” Then the wood is stripped bare. The foundation starts to crumble and before you know it the shell that’s left isn’t worth fixing.

Another Reason Why 3-D TV Might be Just a Gimmick?

Link to September 3 Technologizer post, "Want Avatar on 3D Blu-ray? First, You’ll Need a Panasonic TV".

Excerpt:   Nine months after Avatar’s theatrical release, it’s still regarded as the pinnacle of 3D entertainment. So it’s too bad that only buyers of Panasonic 3D televisions will get the movie when it’s released on 3D Blu-ray in December.

For an undisclosed period of time, Avatar will be bundled with Panasonic’s 3D televisions, and won’t be sold through any other means, Twice reports. Panasonic wants to make the movie available to people who have already purchased a Panasonic 3D TV, but is still working out the details. Avatar could be bundled with Panasonic 3D Blu-ray players and home theaters as well, but the company wouldn’t confirm whether this was going to happen
.

James Cameron, the thrill is gone. (Or so sez Box Office Mojo.)

Drake University: What were they thinking?!

Read about it here.

Shades of Menasha, Harrisburg Feels the Singe of an Incinerator


Link to September 3 New York Times article, "Harrisburg Expects to Miss a Bond Payment".

Excerpt:   Harrisburg’s financial difficulties have been mounting for some time. Even before this week, it had missed several payments in connection with another batch of bonds. It had guaranteed nearly $282 million of bonds issued by a separate entity, the Harrisburg Authority, which raised the money to build a huge trash incinerator.

The incinerator has been a flop, leaving the authority wallowing in debt that it cannot pay, including $35 million that will mature in December. Harrisburg has failed to make good on its guarantee, pointing to Dauphin County, a co-guarantor on some of the incinerator bonds
.

Unfortunately for the city of Harrisburg, as the article goes on to describe, this debacle isn't the worst of it.

Harrisburg is part of the Dauphin County Library System.


Related article:
Menasha default:  What does it mean for city services?  (9/2/2009)

September 2010 Public Management: "Public Libraries Daring to be Different"


Link to article.  (Thanks to Paula Kiely for sharing.)

To me, the skills described below are all about building a common agenda.

Kudos to Molly Donelan and Liz Miller for this spot-on summary.

(Just added this excellent article to this fall's LIS 712 (The Public Library) reading list.)

Survey Says: Employees Pay Increased Costs of Health Care

Annual national survey of nonfederal private 
and public employers with three or more workers.

Link to September 3 New York Times article, "Employers Pushed Costs for Health on Workers".

Excerpt: In contrast to past practices of absorbing higher prices, some companies chose this year to keep their costs the same by passing the entire increase in premiums for family coverage onto their workers, according to a new survey released on Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research group.

Workers’ share of the cost of a family policy jumped an average of 14 percent, an increase of about $500 a year. The cost of a policy rose just 3 percent, to an average of $13,770.

Workers are now paying nearly $4,000 for family coverage, according to the survey, and their costs have increased much faster than those of employers.

Since 2005, while wages have increased just 18 percent, workers’ contributions to premiums have jumped 47 percent, almost twice as fast as the rise in the policy’s overall cost
.

Link to 8-page summary of findings.

What History Has to Say About Wisconsin's 2010 Senate and Gubernatorial Races


Link to September 2 Smart Politics blogpost, "History Says Barrett Win in Wisconsin Governor's Race Hinges on Feingold Victory".

Excerpt: A general rule of thumb when anticipating results on Election Day is that the race at the top of the ticket in a state will frequently dictate what happens in contests further down the ballot.

But when it comes to gubernatorial elections in Wisconsin, there has been a different calculus at work.

A Smart Politics analysis of historical election returns in Wisconsin finds that Democratic gubernatorial candidates have lost every election since 1914 in which the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate did not prevail - 15 out of 15 races
.

San Francisco's 1959 North Beach Branch as Landmark?



Link to August 31 San Francisco Chronicle article.

Excerpt:   San Francisco's North Beach branch library is a case study in where the preservation movement is going - and how, in some cases, it's in danger of going too far.

The 1959 structure resembles an oversize ranch house, albeit one with thick brick walls and too few windows. It can't expand without disrupting the playground that hems it in on three sides. And far from being unique, it is one of eight branches designed by the firm Appleton & Wolfard between 1951 and 1965.

Despite all this, there is a good chance that the city's Historic Preservation Commission will recommend that the library be declared a landmark at its meeting Wednesday
.

Scandinavia PL's Summer Reading Program Raises Money to Protest Water Resources


Link to September 2 Waupaca Now article, "Scandinavia readers raise $207 for water causes".

Excerpt:    As part of the Scandinavia Public Library's 2010 summer reading program, children were able to participate in the Read to Make a Difference fundraiser.

For each hour the children read, 75 cents was donated to Wisconsin organizations doing valuable and necessary work protecting our state's natural water resources.

This year 32 readers recorded 276 hours of reading in eight weeks
.

Celebrating Wisconsin's Clintonville Public Library


Links to August 20 and August 26 Waupaca County Post articles.

Excerpt from 8/ 26 article: In February, 1905, the Christian Endeavor Society offered its collection to the city of Clintonville, if the city would provide housing and care for the books. The offer was refused. But in December, the offer was repeated and accepted. The City Council appropriated $200 for library use and appointed the first Library Board.

Two rooms at the city hall were provided for the library-one to house the books and one to be used as a reading room. Miss Emmeline Sedgwick was appointed the first librarian with Meta Zachow as her assistant. The salary was five dollars per month, equally divided between the two women. The library was open Wednesday afternoons from three to five and Saturday from three to five and seven to nine. During the first five months under city supervision, 231 peopled signed library registration cards, 1111 books were checked out and the library owned 558 volumes.

On Dec. 6, 1909, the Library Board began the policy permitting people outside the city limits library privileges for a fee of one dollar per year. All children from outside the city limits, but attending a Clintonville school, had free access to the library. In April, 1914, it was decided "that the fee of one dollar per year for library privileges to our country friends be taken off and they accorded the same privileges as our city people." This policy is still in effect
.

Have you checked the construction progress of the Dwight Foster Public Library lately?



Related articles:  
Why a building project needs a contingency fund.  (8/20/2010)
Groundbreaking pics.  (4/5/2010)
For Atkinson Library Moves to Temporary Home. (3/13/2010)
Fort Atkinson Library Building Project Update. (2/17/2010)
Fort Atkinson library to move to temporary quarters. (12/3/2009)

Wendy Rawson Named Director of Fitchburg Public Library


Link to August 20 Fitchburg Star article.

Excerpt:   The Fitchburg Library board this week appointed Wendy Rawson as the library director. She will be the first full-time library director for Fitchburg, according to a news release by the City.

Rawson will assume her duties as library director effective Oct. 4.

The Board made a unanimous decision to appoint Rawson after an extensive nation-wide recruitment process, Library Board President Jayne Kuehn said.

“Wendy has demonstrated her ability to fill the responsibilities of this position within a highly competitive field of candidates,” she said. “We look forward to working with her and welcoming her to our community.”

Rawson was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. She received a bachelor’s in sociology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and a master’s in library science from Indiana University.

She has worked for Worthington Libraries in Worthington, Ohio for the past 10 years, beginning as a reference librarian, becoming a Lead Librarian in 2004 and then a Library Manager in 2007, according to the news release
.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Public Libraries and the Long Overdue End of the Quiet Era


Link to September 2 Newark Star-Ledger article, "Newark library frequenters hold read-in vigil to protest reduced hours".

Frequenters?  Seems to me, they're advocates.

Excerpt:   The library lost $2.45 million in funding from the city and that forced Library Director Wilma Grey to come up with a belt tightening plan that closed the First Avenue and Madison branches last month. Through December all library services will be closed two days a week. Salary freezes and 31 layoffs are slated, too.

"I think so often, not only here in Newark, government doesn’t realize what impact the library has had on people,’’ Grey said. "We are a quiet institution and sometimes you don’t know until many years later how the library has helped them find their way in life
.’’  [Emphasis added.]


If ever there was a time to
it's now!

Related articles:
24-hour vigil (video).  (9/1/2010)
Library adjusts to budget cuts.  (7/5/2010)

Camden library board postpones decision on closing branch


Link to Septemer 2 Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Excerpt:   The Camden library board, at the request of the mayor's office, postponed a decision Wednesday on whether to close one of its two remaining branches.
Mayor Dana L. Redd's office asked for the delay as the city negotiates to join the Camden County Library System.

A third branch, in the Fairview section, is scheduled to close on Tuesday due to budget cuts.

The delay puts pressure on the county and the mayor's office to come to a deal quickly as the Camden Free Public Library runs through the last of its funds. Library officials had said they had enough money to keep the downtown and Centerville branches open through November
.

Related articles:
"An oasis in the desert".  (8/15/2010)
Camden New Jersey squeeze play?  (8/11/2010)
Camden mayor plays an odd game of library advocacy.  (8/9/2010)
The library dumpster solution.  (8/6/2010)
Mayor proposes 70% cut in library funding.  (7/19/2010)

David Weinhold: 'Libraries are Community Centers"


Link to September 2 David Weinhold's Letter to the Editor in the Sheboygan Press.

Excerpt:   September is Library Card Sign-up Month. Libraries support literacy education by providing teaching resources, space for tutoring and information and referral services, as well as with free access to music, DVDs, the Internet, books and more. By getting children to read, librarians create lifelong readers, and that makes for better citizens and that makes for a healthier democracy.

Of course, library cards aren't just for kids. A recent report found that the importance of libraries in American life continued to grow in 2010 — and accelerated dramatically as the national economy sank and people looked for sources of cost-effective help in a time of crisis. In fact, 68 percent of American adults have a library card. Now, more than ever, Americans turn to — and depend on — their libraries and librarians for financial information, computer and Internet access, and, of course, books, movies and more.

Public libraries are community centers where people of common or disparate interests gather to play chess, knit and visit, receive community information, listen to candidate debates, visit with state and national legislators, discuss books, meet authors and the list goes on. Many community agencies in the library System find the library meeting rooms a convenient place to meet
.

Book Industry Wrestles with Print v. Pixels


Link to September 2 New York Times article, "Of Two Minds About Books".

Excerpt: Sony, which introduced a new line of e-readers Wednesday, said they were smaller and lighter than before, with clearer text and touch screens, all to make them feel more like printed books. “Consistently the No. 1 thing we heard was it needs to feel like a book, so you just forget that you have a device in your hand,” said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division.

This straddle-the-line marketing underscores a deeper tension: the desire to keep the print business alive so as not to alienate a core market, while establishing a base for a future that publishers see as increasingly digital, said James L. McQuivey, an e-reader industry analyst with Forrester.


According to Forrester Research statistics presented in the article......


Related articles:
Coming soon to a screen near you:  Ads in ebooks.  (8/20/2010)
Ebooks now comprise 8/5% of book sales. (8/12/2010)
Genre paperback publishers drops print.  (8/6/2010)
Ebooks and libraries.  (5/4/2010)
Ebooks eliminate a free form of adversiting:  the book jacket.  (3/31/2010)
Ebooks: another round of false promises?  (3/19/2010)
The skinny on ebooks.  (3/8/2010)
Hardcover vs. ebook:  Breaking down the costs.  (3/1/2010)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

'Kiosk Trends May Surprise'


Link to August 17 Digital Screenmedia Association post, "Kiosk trends may surprise, confound industry, report finds".

Excerpt: For starters, self-check in at airlines has met its technological match, and it’s called the smart phone. Kiosks will remain a strong force in the sector, but many consumers eventually will switch to getting to their plane with the help of their phone.

“Airport check-in (via kiosk) is a very mature market sector. You will see incremental increases and updates of products. Smart phones will change the long-term dynamics,” Mendelsohn said.

Here’s how: Travelers will download a barcode to their smart phone when they conduct pre- check-in thru the Web before going to the airport. With the barcode loaded, the traveler will go to the airport and head straight to the security stop, bypassing the airline’s check-in kiosk to pick up a paper boarding pass. A device at the security stop will read the barcode displayed on the smart phone, and the traveler is good to go.

Mendelsohn says several major carriers, including American, Delta and United, have begun offering this smart phone application at select airports
.

Reading List Idea for Your Older Patrons

Haben Sie Helle Lichter, gro├če Stadt?
(Ausscheidende Guy liebt dieses Buch.)

Link to August 31 Yahoo News article, "Older people enjoy reading negative stories about young".

Excerpt: German researchers said older people tend to be portrayed negatively in society. Although they are often described as wise, they are also be shown as being slow and forgetful.

"Living in a youth centered culture, they may appreciate a boost in self-esteem. That's why they prefer the negative stories about younger people, who are seen as having a higher status in our society," said Dr. Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, of Ohio State University.

Knoblock-Westerwick and her co-author Matthias Hastall, of Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany, studied 276 German adults, including 178 aged 18 to 30 and 98 between 55 and 60. Their findings are published in the Journal of Communication
.

Pew Research Daily Number(s), 85 v. 51: Latino Digital Divide

Link to summary and full report.

Russ Feingold 'Holds On Tight'


Link to September 1 New York Times article, "In Wisconsin, an Incumbent Holds on Tight".

Excerpt: “Frankly, I love being the underdog,” Mr. Feingold said. “Let me have it.”

As the senator talks to voters across Wisconsin, that description is perhaps an exaggeration for an incumbent with a national reputation, but it has become a central part of his pitch. He is not eager to concede that control of the Senate could hinge on his seat — though it very well could — but he hopes the warning cry will prompt his loyal Democratic followers to rally to his side in a challenging election year.

“Clearly if somehow I lost, it would be a sign that we’re getting close to the line,” Mr. Feingold said in an interview on a recent day of campaigning. “We won’t lose, but it is something that is legitimate for me to mention — this seat could determine things
.”


Link to August 31 New York Times 'The Caucus' blog, "10 Questions for Russ Feingold".

He handles the second one particularly well.

Q.You’re running for a fourth term in the Senate. Does that make you a career politician as your opponent says?

A.“Instead of taking a very high paying type of law job or something that I might be able to do, I have been a legislator. That’s what I do. I think it’s an honorable profession – if you’re honest and have integrity and work hard. If the question is, ‘Have I chosen a career as a legislator?’ the answer is yes. If somebody wants to put a label on it and call it a politician, that’s like saying, ‘Is a doctor a quack or something?’ You can use a negative term for it if you want, but to me, public service is an honorable thing if you do it honorably. I don’t rehire myself. The people hire me.”

For Retiring Guy, it's this soul classic



Link to September 1 San Jose Mercury News article, "Dumbed-down dialing: Cellphones do the remembering for us".

Excerpt: After a day by the surf in Daytona Beach, Fla., last year, Travis Erickson, 21, discovered that his cell phone had been either stolen or lost in the sand. He also discovered that he was stranded.

Though there were plenty of pay phones and beach-goers willing to lend their cell phones, he couldn't call his girlfriend of more than a year — with whom he lived and who was on her way to pick him up. He didn't know her phone number.

"I didn't even think about trying to know it, because we lived together," said Erickson, a model.

Like many of the 91 percent of Americans who are cell phone users, according to CTIA-The Wireless Association, an industry trade group, he programs all his numbers into the phone and dials by calling up names — not numbers — on the screen.

"I never had to know it," Erickson said, "because it was always in my pocket on my phone."

With our increased reliance on these dialing shortcuts, it may be that the only phone number many of us will remember in the future is the one in the 1982 Tommy Tutone song with the catchy chorus, "867-5309."


Nevertheless.....

Dallas Police and Fire Unions Agree to Pay Cuts



Link to September 1 Dallas Morning News article, "Dallas' police, fire unions agree to cuts to help budget deficit".

Excerpt: The deal will save City Hall about $22.4 million in the coming budget, a healthy chunk of the $130 million gap City Manager Mary Suhm has had to fill.

But it will require that officers and firefighters take 40 hours of unpaid leave during the coming work year.

That time will be taken off on officers and firefighters' own schedules, not on days set by the city.

The city's sworn employees will also take compensatory time instead of being paid overtime under the agreement.

For many, that will represent a significant pay reduction
.

Related article:
City manager's recommended budgets includes lotsa library and park employee cuts.  (8/9/2010)

Indianapolis-Marion County Library Board Votes to Include 'Shortfall Appeal' Option


Link to August 31 Indianapolis Star article, "Library, IndyGo raise curtain on shortfall appeal".

Excerpt: The one-time levy, which would not increase the actual tax rate, would increase taxes by $1.21 for a $100,000 property, said library Chief Financial Officer Becky Dixon. The IndyGo increase would be roughly $1 per $100,000.

"The right thing to do was look at all the options," said Library Board President Thomas S. Shevlot. "This will cover some expenses.

"We cannot continue to operate the library in deficit mode."

The library is especially dependent on property taxes -- about 75 percent of its budget. IndyGo gets 35 percent of its funds from property taxes
.

Related articles:
Library board to consider 'shortfall appeal'.  (8/31/2010)
In close vote, library board cuts hours, staff.  (8/20/2010)
Library grapples with its sustainable future.  (8/16/2010)
Library projects a $7.3 million deficit by 2014.  (7/29/2010)
Library board sez no branch closings in 2011.  (7/15/2010)
Library supporters question Pacers deal. (7/15/2010)
High performance government team report.  (7/11/2010)
Library board delays decision on libraries.  (6/5/2010)
Another big turnout for libraries.  (5/13/2010)
Mayor vows to keep library branches open.  (5/12/2010)
Residents speak up for their libraries.  (5/11/2010)
The neighborhood library as refuge.  (5/2/2010)
Indianapolis Star editorial board keeps library funding issue front and center.  (4/25/2010)
Efficiency experts look for ways to keep branch libraries open.  (4/23/2010)
More than 1400 sign petition to keep Glendale branch open.  (4/20/2010)
Editorial:  Find resources for library.  (4/19/2010)
What's in store for Indianapolis-area libraries?  (4/17/2010)
Indiana Pacers bailout talks continue.  (4/16/2010)
Postscript.  (4/15/2010)
Look what's at the top of Indianapolis's to-do list.  (4/14/2010)
A Challenge to Indianapolis-Marion County:  Stand Up for Libraries.  (4/13/2010)
Library rally caps?  Get real, sez IndyStar editorial.  (4/12/2010)
Will Indianapolis rally for its libraries?  (4/12/2010)
Library considers branch closings.  (4/9/2010)

24-Hour Vigil at Newark Public Library

Newark residents hold reading vigil in effort to revive the Newark Public Library

Link to Newark Star-Ledger.

Newark residents held a 24-hour reading vigil on Tuesday in an attempt to restore the Newark Public Library. The library has lost $2.45 million in funding from the city, closed the First Avenue and Madison branches last month, and will only be open 3 days a week through December.

Related article:
Library adjusts to budget cuts.  (7/5/2010)

TV: The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same


Link to September 1 New York Times article, "Newscasts Vie for Early-to-Rise (or Late-to-Bed)".

Excerpt:   In catering to the earliest of the early risers, stations are reacting to the behavior patterns that are evident in the Nielsen ratings. Simply put, Americans are either staying awake later or waking up earlier — and either way, they are keeping the television on.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

1970 Flashback: The Videocassette as the Third Wave of Electronic-Appliance Age



...RCA officials contend that their SelectaVision system 
will eventually dominate the consumer market...

Link to August 10, 1970, Time magazine article, "Video Cartridges: A Promise of Future Shock".

Excerpt: Quickened Change. Seldom has the arrival of new hardware stirred such excitement in the entertainment and communications industry, or aroused such anxiety among the potential victims of change. Enthusiasts insist that video cartridges in time will radically alter the status quo in television, motion pictures, theater, music, journalism, book publishing and many other fields. Some futurists, notably Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock (TIME, Aug. 3), argue that TV cassettes will quicken the already bewildering pace of change in American life, carrying the U.S. farther away from standardization in the arts, education and cultural tastes. Many young TV makers feel that the new equipment will lead to an era in which video cameras may outstrip typewriters as instruments for creative expression. Marshall McLuhan prophesies that cartridges will affect "every aspect of our lives—will give us new needs, goals and desires, and will upset all political, educational and commercial establishments.

Other predictions:

Yet Guber insists that when "the cartridge revolution" strikes, the Hollywood work force, now 40% unemployed, will not only expand but scramble to make films in three shifts around the clock.

...network TV will be reduced to producing little more than sports and news.

Time is Running Out to Take the Link Wisconsin Online Survey

(Thanks to David Weinhold for sharing.)

The 37 questions took me about 10 minutes to answer.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Launches Pilot Program to Expand Hours with Volunteers


Link to August 31 Charlotte Observer article, "Library pilot program that expands hours to launch early. Volunteers will boost branch staff in Matthews, Davidson".

Excerpt: A pilot program to see if volunteers can be used to expand the county's drastically cut library hours is being launched Sept. 13, two weeks earlier than expected.

Library officials credit enthusiastic public response with prompting the early launch, which will result in Matthews and Davidson branch libraries being open one additional day per week: Mondays, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Branches in Mint Hill and Cornelius are expected to open an additional day in October, as part of the same program.

It remains unclear if success of the pilot would mean expanding hours for the entire system, which lost 40 percent of its staff due to budget cuts. The cuts resulted in branch hours going from six days to four days, systemwide
.

Related articles:
Group to study county library merger.  (7/28/2010)
Book stores help out the library.  (7/21/2010)
Libraries hope to expand hours with volunteers at 4 branches.  (7/20/2010)
Another change in hours.  (7/18/2010)
Matthews branch library sends out plea for volunteers.  (7/13/2010)
Most county commissioners cool to sales tax hike.  (7/9/2010)
New hours in effect.  (7/6/2010)
Charlotte Observer editorial board laments the passing of the Novello Festival of the Book.  (6/28/2010)
Shuttered branch could  become Friends' used book store.  (6/25/2010)
A reduced future.  (6/23/2010)
Interlocal cooperation pact.  (6/22/2010)
Three branches close.  (6/19/2010)
Town of Mint Hill perspective.  (6/18/2010)
Five towns tentatively OK $730,000 for libraries.  (6/18/2010)
Carmel, two other branches to close.  (6/16/2010)
Now that the ax has fallen.  (6/16/2010)
Commissioners to vote on budget today.  (6/15/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries:  It's complicated.  (6/9/2010)
Mayor wins straw vote at emotional council meeting.  (6/7/2010)
Editorial:  Should city 'stay in its lane' on libraries.  (6/4/2010)
County commissioners restore some cuts to libraries.  (6/4/2010)
Straw votes begin on Mecklinburg County budget.  (6/3/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries continue to look for one-time financial help.  (5/31/2010)
High school junior speaks out eloquently for libraries.  (5/30/2010)
Mayor Foxx on the art of governing.  (5/30/2010)
Mayor supports financial help for library.  (5/27/2010)
County budget:  Oh, yeah, this is fair.  (5/25/2010)
Bailout proposal not gaining traction.  (5/23/2010)
Library trustees vote to close 4 branches.  (5/20/2010)
Mecklenburg County tightens its belt.  (5/20/2010)
County manager cuts $14.7 million from library budget.  (5/18/2010)
2010-11 Mecklenburg County budget to be unveiled today.  (5/18/2010)
North Carolina woman plans on "going straight to the top" to keep Charlotte libraries open.  (5/16/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg officials ask local municipalities for $3 million contribution.  (4/30/2010Library Board chair speaks out.  (4/25/2010)
County commissioners seek ways to ease library cuts.  (4/23/2010)
Mecklenburg County needs to reduce $85-90 million deficit.  (4/16/2010)
County manager takes library board to task.  (4/10/2010)
Libraries now open fewer hours.  (4/6/2010)
"Save Our Libraries Sunday".  (3/29/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg users owe average of 55 cents in fines.  (3/27/2010)
Library announces new hours for branches.  (3/26/2010)
Library Board applies a Band-Aid to its bleeding system.  (3/25/2010)
Follow-up on Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board vote.  (3/25/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board votes to keep all branches open.  (3/24/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board presented with 2 budget-cutting alternatives.  (3/24/2010)
More and bigger cuts looming on horizon. (3/23/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library System Rethinks Closings. (3/22/2010)
A New Day is Dawning in Charlotte/Mecklenburg County. (3/21/2010)

Badger Reference Alert: Wisconsin's New Electronics Recycling Law Goes into Effect Sept. 1


Link to August 30 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "Ashes to ashes, silicon to silicon".

Excerpt: As of Wednesday, Wisconsin's electronics recycling law bans the use of landfills or incineration to dispose of electronic devices. The ban covers televisions; computers (including desktop, laptop, netbook and tablet computers); computer monitors; desktop printers (including those that scan, fax, or copy); other computer accessories, including keyboards, mice, speakers, external hard drives and flash drives; DVD players, DVRs, VCRs and other video players; Fax machines; and cell phones.

The ban covers everyone in the state, and applies no matter where a device was purchased or who used it. Households, schools, businesses, governments and institutions are all covered under the ban.


Link to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources news release.

Link to full text of Wisconsin recycling law (2009 Wisconsin Act 50)

Wi-Fi Hotspots in Wisconsin

Link to jiwire wi-fi finder

Link to August 30 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "State has 1,300 Wi-Fi hotspots, with 62% offering free access".

Excerpt: More than half of Wisconsin's Wi-Fi hotspots are now free as consumers increasingly turn to coffee shops, restaurants and other businesses for an Internet connection.

Wisconsin has about 1,300 hotspots where the general public can get online with a wireless connection, according to Wired Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization that follows telecommunications issues.

About 800 of those, or 62%, are provided as a free service, compared with 55% nationally.

The number of free Wi-Fi locations has risen steadily. Nationwide, it's up 13% from the first three months of the year and represents the first time that a majority of the locations are free, according to a recent study
.


Last week I sent the following email to Thad Nation at Wireless Wisconsin:

Based on the statistics shared below, I found it disappointing that the August 24 Wired Wisconsin news release neglects to mention public libraries as providers of free wi-fi access.

From the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Channel Weekly, July 1, 2010:

The 2010 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study also finds that:

  • 67 percent of libraries report they are the only provider of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities;
  • Public computer and Wi-Fi use was up last year for more than 70 percent of all libraries;
  • 89 percent of libraries provide formal or informal technology training, including classes in computer skills, software use and online job-seeking;
  • 82 percent of libraries provide Wi-Fi access;  (And as Bob Bocher pointed out, 95% of Wisconsin public libraries provide Wi-Fi access.)
  • A majority of libraries offer Internet services ranging from subscription databases (95 percent) to online homework resources (88 percent) to ebooks (66 percent); and
  • 66 percent of libraries provide assistance to patrons completing government forms.  

The full report is found at 
http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/archives/digital-supplement/summer-2010-digital-supplement .

Thad's quick response.   Paul, your point is very valid. We were working with data released by Citi, which apparently did not factor libraries in. We will male sure to include libraries in our WI-FI descriptions going forward.

Thad followed up yesterday with a heads-up about the Journal-Sentinel article.  Just wanted to follow up with you from last week. Wanted to let you know that there should be an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tomorrow on the issue of free wi-fi spots. We made sure to pass along the library information that you provided.

I guess reporter Rick Barrett couldn't find a way to fit this information into his story.  'Libraries' did receive one mention:  in the 2nd paragraph after the heading 'Wi-Fi won't fly'.  Maybe he's working on a separate story that features libraries.

Related articles:
Coffee shop owners have second thoughts about wi-fi.  (8/8/2010)
No seat for you!  (8/3/2010)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Buffalo News Editorial Puts in 'a Word About Libraries'



Link to August 29 Buffalo News.

Excerpt: In economic times such as these, when taxpayers are stretched and governments knocked off balance, no public function can be completely immune from the need to tighten every belt. Not even one as crucial to the heart and soul of any community as its public libraries.

But the ongoing strain on the public purse and private billfolds only increases the importance of the services that modern public libraries provide. That must not be forgotten as the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, and the county government that provides the bulk of its annual funding, put together their budgets for 2011
.

Oxford University Press Makes Most Anti-Climactic Announcement of the Year


Link to August 30 Daily Mail article, "Death of the published dictionary: Oxford English Dictionary to exist solely online".

Excerpt: It was first published 126 years ago and is respected the world over.

But the Oxford English Dictionary will never appear in print again, its owners have announced.

Instead, the 80 lexicographers who have been working on the third edition for the past 21 years have been told the fruits of their labour will exist solely online.

Check Your Friends' Book Sale Shelves for this 'Special Value'



Link to August 30 New York Times Books of the Times, "Preppily Perplexed? A New Guidebook".

Excerpt: In 1980 “The Official Preppy Handbook” arrived as a field guide to the habits of the cotillion-hopping, madras-wearing, loafer-shod upper crust. Was it a valentine, a joke or a prophecy? This much is clear: It began life as a $4.95 paperback and stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for more than a year. Copies were plentiful, yet asking prices for used ones today can easily top $100 and sometimes exceed $1,000. Somebody must think it contains useful information.

As LINKcat indicates, perhaps lightning doesn't strike twice.


Related article:
The Official Preppy Handbook:  Unable to leave well enough alone.  (4/4/2010)

The New Orange County California

(Still Surfin' U.S.A.?)

Link to August 30 New York Times article, "Orange County is No Longer Nixon Country".

Excerpt:   Orange County has been a national symbol of conservatism for more than 50 years: birthplace of President Richard M. Nixon and home to John Wayne, a bastion for the John Birch Society, a land of orange groves and affluence, the region of California where Republican presidential candidates could always count on a friendly audience.

But this iconic county of 3.1 million people passed something of a milestone in June. The percentage of registered Republican voters dropped to 43 percent, the lowest level in 70 years.

It was the latest sign of the demographic, ethnic and political changes that are transforming the county and challenging long-held views of a region whose colorful — its detractors might suggest zany — reputation extends well beyond the borders of this state.

At the end of 2009, nearly 45 percent of the county’s residents spoke a language other than English at home, according to county officials. Whites now make up only 45 percent of the population; this county is teeming with Hispanics, as well as Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese families. Its percentage of foreign-born residents jumped to 30 percent in 2008 from 6 percent in 1970, and visits to some of its corners can feel like a trip to a foreign land
.


Retiring Guy can't help but wonder if this is what politicians of a particular persuasion are thinking about when they exhort us to "take our country back".

                                                                 (books, books)

Residents Eager for Dallas Branch Library to be Built

Rendering of White Rock Hill branch library

Link to August 30 Dallas Morning News article, "Construction of Far East Dallas library moving forward".

Excerpt:  When Thelma Mims moved into the Buckner Park Apartments, it was a lovely place with swimming pools and play areas. But 25 years later, the complex is pretty grim. She said the pools are closed, the courtyards are barren and young people "gang up" with nothing to do.

Residents say a new city branch library to be built across the street can't open soon enough. Rose Long, who has lived at the apartments for 11 years, already raised her hand as a volunteer.

Construction plans for the $4.2 million White Rock Hills library in Far East Dallas are moving forward, even while city leaders debate cutting library funds for staff and materials to help trim the city budget. That's because the project is funded with voter-approved bond money, said David Darnell, an administrator who oversees library construction
.

Indianapolis-Marion County Library Board to Consider 'Shortfall Appeal'

LINK to 8/30/2010 Special Meeting Agenda
 
Link to August 30 Indianapolis Star article, "Action by IndyGo and library could nick taxpayers".

Excerpt: As the library and IndyGo trim already bare-bone budgets, trying to avoid cuts to service and quality, they have one untapped option on the table -- one that could rake in millions.

But it's also an option some are not all too thrilled to see happen.

Municipal corporations that receive less tax money than expected can file what's called a shortfall appeal with the Department of Local Government Finance. If approved, that will raise how much the corporations receive the next year, but it also will raise property taxes for those who are not paying the maximum under the tax cap.

How much is still unclear, but 77 percent of homeowners in Marion County are currently below the cap, which is 1 percent of assessed value for homes; 85 percent of businesses are below their 3 percent cap.

Each July, the DLGF sets the amount the municipal corporations will receive in property taxes during the next year. When taxpayers haven't paid in full or have received higher than anticipated refunds, it can result in a shortfall for those corporations
.

Related articles:
In close vote, library board cuts hours, staff.  (8/20/2010)
Library grapples with its sustainable future.  (8/16/2010)
Library projects a $7.3 million deficit by 2014.  (7/29/2010)
Library board sez no branch closings in 2011.  (7/15/2010)
Library supporters question Pacers deal. (7/15/2010)
High performance government team report.  (7/11/2010)
Library board delays decision on libraries.  (6/5/2010)
Another big turnout for libraries.  (5/13/2010)
Mayor vows to keep library branches open.  (5/12/2010)
Residents speak up for their libraries.  (5/11/2010)
The neighborhood library as refuge.  (5/2/2010)
Indianapolis Star editorial board keeps library funding issue front and center.  (4/25/2010)
Efficiency experts look for ways to keep branch libraries open.  (4/23/2010)
More than 1400 sign petition to keep Glendale branch open.  (4/20/2010)
Editorial:  Find resources for library.  (4/19/2010)
What's in store for Indianapolis-area libraries?  (4/17/2010)
Indiana Pacers bailout talks continue.  (4/16/2010)
Postscript.  (4/15/2010)
Look what's at the top of Indianapolis's to-do list.  (4/14/2010)
A Challenge to Indianapolis-Marion County:  Stand Up for Libraries.  (4/13/2010)
Library rally caps?  Get real, sez IndyStar editorial.  (4/12/2010)
Will Indianapolis rally for its libraries?  (4/12/2010)
Library considers branch closings.  (4/9/2010)