Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cedar Rapids Public Library Offers Free Music Downloads Via Freegal

Link to September 9 Cedar Rapids Gazette article, "Cedar Rapids library offering free music downloads".

Excerpt: The Cedar Rapids Public Library has introduced Freegal, a service for cardholders that offers access to songs from Sony Music’s catalog of legendary artists. The service will allow the Cedar Rapids Public Library to increase the size and diversity of its collection by offering access to hundreds of thousands of songs.

Card holders of the Cedar Rapids Public Library can download up to three Sony Music tracks in the MP3 format each week at no cost via the Cedar Rapids Library website

Bloglines to Shut Down October 1

Always a flaky news aggregator service.  Quite a few of my feeds were never delivered.  I'd slowly been migrating to Google Reader anyway.

Boston Globe Editorial Takes Library Officials to Task

Link to September 11 Boston Globe editorial, "Restore Saturday library hours".

Excerpt:   Boston Public Library officials are misreading the public if they think they can continually cut back on services and maintain their credibility, too. The wounds remain raw from the earlier announcement that library branches in Dorchester, Brighton, South Boston, and East Boston would be closed. While the city’s budget problem is real, it is becoming less clear if the library system is taking creative steps to solve the problem.

Library patrons are being told that the inability to open on Saturdays for the next six weeks is due mainly to problems in shifting unionized staff across the system. That shouldn’t be an insurmountable problem for a library system that is promising to use advanced technology to revolutionize library service. And the staffing excuse pales against the importance of providing the convenience of Saturday service, which can range from traditional book borrowing to English classes for new immigrants

Related articles:
BPL on the ropes.  (7/1/2010)
Four library branch closings delayed.  (6/22/2010)
Boston Magazine profiles Amy Ryan, Public Library President.  (6/5/2010)
State funding at risk.  (4/29/2010)
Library board votes to close 4 branches.  (4/10/2010)
Recommendation to close 4 branches (among other cuts).  (4/8/2010)
More than 100 gather to fight possible branch library closings.  (4/4/2010)
The Skinny on Boston's branch libraries.  (4/1/2010)
Library measures data published.  (3/31/2010)
Don't close the book on us. (3/29/2010)
Citywide Friends of BPL to Hold Demonstration.  (3/28/2010)
BPL Budget News Available at Website.  (3/25/2010)
A Small Branch Makes a Big Impact.  (3/24/2010)
Friends of Boston Public Library Host Read-in to Support Tax Increase. (3/14/2010)
Emotions Reach Boiling Point in Boston Public Library Discussion. (3/13/2010)
The Boston Public Library Dilemma, Continued. (3/12/2010)
Boston Speaks Up for Its Libraries. (3/10/2010)
Boston Public Library Branches to be Ranked in Consolidation Plan. (3/9/2010)
Boston Public Library Anticipating Budget Cuts in 2011. (3/2/2010)

Friday, September 10, 2010

What Did Retiring Guy Do To Deserve This? (Or, Mark Neumann is Stalking Me)

Here's what I discovered while browsing through my Bad Astromony RSS feed.

'Small' being the operative word.

So maybe this explains it.

OK, OK.  I confess.  I friended Mark Neumann on Facebook.  But it was for research purposes only!!

"He's everywhere he's everywhere!"

Columbus Metropolitan Library Levy Campaign: Keep Our Library Strong

For us "outsiders", let's encourage everyone we know who lives in the CML service area to VOTE YES ON ISSUE 4!

Related article:
CML going to voters for renewal levy in November.  (1/30/2010)

Friday Countdown: Geoffrey James Wants You to Weed These Books

Link to September 7 BNET 'Sales Machine' post, "The 10 Worst Business Books of All Time".

Intro: This post contains my personal list of the worst business books I have ever seen or read. Some are famous, others obscure, but all of them are, IMHO, first class turkeys that would have been better left unpublished.

#10 (10 copies in LINKcat)
I suspect the first paragraph of this obituary
irritates Geoffrey James to no end.

#9 (1 sound recording in LINKcat)

#8 (0 copies in LINKcat
although there is a copy of
The Fifth Generation Fallacy)
Not the same Howard Feigenbaum, apparently.

#7 (available via NetLibrary)
Not one of the books featured here.

#6 (0 copies found in LINKcat -- gratefully)

#5 (0 copies in LINKcat)
Zuccaro is a former 'Booby Prize' winner.

#4 (2 sound recordings in LINKcat)
including a photo of her
on a tricycle.)

#3 (14 copies in LINKcat)

#2 (0 copies in LINKcat)

#1 (4 copies in LINKcat)

The Bad Manager Checklist

Link to September 6 BNET "Corner Office" post by Steve Tobak, "7 signs you may be a bad manager".

The list (with library specifics added).

1.  Your group (department staff/library staff) is underperforming.

2.  Your manager (library director/library board) is turning up the heat.

3.  Allies (library colleagues/other library directors in your system or consortium) are distancing themselves from you.

4.  You're behaving like more of a jerk than usual.  (Tobak shows no mercy.)

5.  Your decision-making is compromised.

6.  Your personal relationships suck.  (In other words, it's bad all over.)

7.  Your employees are miserable.  (And, consequently, are providing crummy public service.)

'Operation Dark Heart': On order, but will it find its way to the shelves?

Link to September 10 New York Times article, "Pentagon Plan:  Buying Books to Keep Secrets".

Excerpt: Release of the book “could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to national security,” Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr., the D.I.A. director, wrote in an Aug. 6 memorandum. He said reviewers at the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and United States Special Operations Command had all found classified information in the manuscript.

The disputed material includes the names of American intelligence officers who served with Colonel Shaffer and his accounts of clandestine operations, including N.S.A. eavesdropping operations, according to two people briefed on the Pentagon’s objections. They asked not to be named because the negotiations are supposed to be confidential.

By the time the D.I.A. objected, however, several dozen copies of the unexpurgated 299-page book had already been sent out to potential reviewers, and some copies found their way to online booksellers. The New York Times was able to buy a copy online late last week

Video Game Sales Take a Dip

Link to September 10 San Jose Mercury News article, "Video game sales plunged in August".

Excerpt:   The video game industry last month posted its worst August sales results in four years, according to a new research report.

Adding to the gloom, Nintendo's Wii, the best selling of the current generation of game consoles, posted its worst sales month ever.

The overall sales numbers were "shockingly low," said Michael Pachter, a financial analyst who covers the game industry for Wedbush Securities. Total sales for last month were only $5 million higher than the industry posted in August 2006, Pachter noted.

He blamed the poor results on a variety of factors, including the lingering economic slowdown, relatively high prices for game consoles, increased time spent playing the free online multiplayer features of games such as "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," and consumer fatigue with the Wii. And none of those factors is likely to change any time soon.

"I think we're kind of stuck with this the rest of the year," Pachter said.

U.S. retail sales of game hardware, software and accessories fell 10 percent from the same month last year to $818.9 million, market research firm NPD Group reported on Thursday. In the year-to-date, games sales have fallen 8 percent to $8.4 billion. That drop comes on top of last year's 8 percent full-year decline from the year before.

Hacking ATMs with a Purpose

Link to September 9 San Jose Mercury News article, "Silicon Valley's Barnaby Jack hacks ATMs for the love of it".

Excerpt: Jack was back home in San Jose between trips in a summer of trips, including one in July to the Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas. That's where he achieved rock star status by demonstrating how he hacked two different models of ATMs and turned them into cash-spewing wonders.

The idea is not to rob banks blind, but to let the machine manufacturers know what bad guys could do if they worked at it as hard as Jack did. To that end, Jack experimented on two machines he bought online and shared his findings with the ATM manufacturers before he shared them with the world. Both manufacturers instituted fixes before Jack's presentatio

Volunteers Step Up at Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries

Link to September 8 Charlotte Observer article.

Excerpt: The volunteers will be doing behind-the-scenes work, such as shelving books and emptying the drop boxes, so that library staff can spend more time helping patrons.

The Davidson branch will also be open an additional day, starting Sept. 13, and the Mint Hill and Cornelius branches - also part of the pilot program - will be open an additional day, starting Oct. 1.

It's not clear whether the success of the pilot would prompt similar programs at other branches in the county.

Last year, volunteers worked 25,000 hours at various branches, and library officials would like to double that this year.

"We never doubted that people would come forward, but it's been amazing how quickly they came forward," said Privette-Keller. "They've all said, 'We've got to save the library. We'll do anything you want us to do.' It's affirming that we live in that kind of place.

Related articles:
2 branch libraries to open one more day per week.  (9/5/2010)
Library urban legend in the making?  (9/4/2010)
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)

Wisconsin's Sturm Memorial Library Centennial Celebration

CONGRATULATIONS to Director Ellen Connor, her staff and board, and the community of Manawa!

Follow the library on Facebook.

Read Director Ellen Connor's blog.

Celebrating Wisconsin's Clintonville Public Library (Continued)

Link to September 9 Waupaca Now article.

Excerpt: For the year 2009 the library's 6960 registered borrowers had access to 74,942 items owned by the library. Many more items were made available through interlibrary loan. Over 7,000 adults and children attended the 330 library programs. The library offers much technological advancement-five public access computers, wireless connection to the internet, a self-checkout system, and a new microform system. The library has a website,, and a Facebook page. Home delivery is available for the homebound and those unable to come to the library.

Related article:  
Celebrating Wisconsin's Clintonville Public Library.  (9/3/2010)

'A Grouse Hunter's Almanac' from UW Press

Link to September 10 Wausau Daily Herald article, "University of Wisconsin Marathon County lecture writes 'A Grouse Hunter's Almanac'."

Excerpt: The book is no shoot-'em-up or how-to. Parman provides an introspective look into the sport of grouse hunting and all the nuances within the sport. He writes about his love for hunting dogs, of being outside and of the quirky things that happens when one ventures out into the woods in a quest for game.

"It's about using dogs, respecting the quarry and really having a hunting ethic," Parman said.

Dogs are a recurring theme throughout the book, and in some ways it's more of a tribute to his late hunting dogs, Ox, an English setter, and Gunnar, a Weimaraner.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Best-Selling Fiction Shortly Before Retiring Guy Starts Kindergarten

The New York Times
August 28, 1955

Big Growth for Online Streaming Video

Link to September 9 Rapid TV News post, "US live online streaming video sees 600% growth."

Excerpt: Thanks to technology advances and the broadband connections that make watching online video a less painful experience than in the past, American viewership of streaming live video has grown 648%, to more than 1.4 billion minutes, in the past year.

In contrast, the time that Americans spent on non-live sites YouTube and increased 68% amd 75%, respectively, over the same time period.

The data, revealed in research from comScore, indicates that top live video publishers like Justintv, USTREAM, Livestream, LiveVideo, and Stickam are reaping most of the benefits of the hockey-stick uptake

Another Sign o' the Times: Poetry Series Stumbling to an End?

“A poetry reading, which takes time and requires that a person sit in one place for at least an hour, focusing every fiber of their being, isn’t something we’re used to doing much anymore.  You can’t multitask and listen to poetry.” --Leisha Douglas, Katonah Poetry Series director.

Link to September 9 New York Times article, "Even Poetry is Undergoing Cutbacks".

Excerpt: The series was started in 1967 by Robert Phillips, a local resident, adman and poet. He inveigled distinguished poets, most of whom he knew, to come to Katonah, paid them maybe $100, and brought a few jugs of low-grade wine and cheese and crackers for each reading. Back then poetry wasn’t a slam or an exercise in grantsmanship, and many poets were just grateful to have someplace to read. Participants over the years have included Joyce Carol Oates, Erica Jong, Stanley Kunitz, Howard Moss, James Merrill, Edward Hirsch, Adrienne Rich, Mark Strand, David Ignatow, Sharon Olds and Tony Hoagland.

Good Prognosis on Merriam-Webster Website

Retiring Guy likes the new 'all-in-one' format. There's really no need to use the 'thesaurus' tab anymore.  Synonyms and related words are included under the main entry.

Jimmy Page's Photographic Autobiography: Not Available on your Ebook Reader

I imagine there are 2,500 Jimmy Page fans worldwide willing to pay $2,500 for this book.

Link to September 8 New York Times article, "Few Words and a Whole Lotta Pictures".

Excerpt: Mr. Page, now 66, was never much of a talker, and when he gave interviews he mostly preferred talking about his music instead of about himself. He’s still that way. On Sept. 27 Genesis Publications, a British company that specializes in lushly designed rock photo books, will publish “Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page,” a 500-page collection of images that Mr. Page selected to represent his career.

Instead of a straight autobiography, it’s a career record in pictures, and while there are some candid shots at diners and customs checkpoints on the road, for the most part the book portrays Mr. Page in six-string-Adonis glory onstage. Catherine Roylance, a co-publisher, said Mr. Page immersed himself in the book’s design, down to the blue-black hue of the cover. The book, printed and hand-bound in Milan, is limited to 2,500 copies and available only through Genesis (, for £445 (about $685)

'Lucky' Magazine to Get Editorial Makeover? could also foretell a time when Lucky
 — as a brand — might exist only in digital form.

Link to September 9 New York Times article, "The Editor of Lucky Magazine is Replaced".

Excerpt: Lucky, when it was first published in December 2000, was considered a major innovation by some and an abomination by others.

Although women’s magazines had always served as a nexus of aspiration and commerce, Lucky baldly celebrated shopping as a kind of sport.

It was, in retrospect, ahead of its time, a print rendering of a shopping portal on the Web. It was well received by both the news media and advertisers, in part because it was a well executed magazine that did not take itself too seriously and in part because Ms. France had significant magazine credentials. She had worked at Sassy, Elle, New York, 7 Days and Spin.

But as the recession deepened and shopping became less of a sport than a guilty pleasure, Lucky suffered a significant loss in advertising pages. While the weak recovery has brought other magazines part of the way back, Lucky has continued to languish

14 of 49 LINKcat library locations subscribe to Lucky.

NASCAR Hall of Fame Congers Up a Surplus

"The mystical sway" (Charlotte version).

Link to September 9 Charlotte Observer article, "Despite generating less than half of the $1.65million expected, the Hall of Fame finished the month with a small surplus, officials say".

Excerpt:   The NASCAR Hall of Fame said it generated $818,364 in revenue for July, less than the $1.65million it had projected for the month.

Despite generating less than half of the money expected, the hall said it finished the month with a small surplus of $90,196. Much of the surplus was because of bills arriving later than expected, and those expenses will probably show up in next month's financial report, said Kimberly Meesters, a hall of fame spokesperson.  [Emphasis added.]

The NASCAR Hall of Fame made $577,616 from ticket admissions from monthly attendance of 33,312 people. It also made $240,747 from other sources, including merchandise sales, hall rentals and a sponsorship payment of nearly $74,000.

As a point of comparison, Charlotte Mecklenburg libraries tallied 6,316,895 visits in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, or an average of 526,407 per month.  (Not to mention that the Middleton Public Library reports 33,755 visits for the month of August 2010.)

The NASCAR Hall of Fame, which opened on May 11, 2010, is owned by the City of Charlotte, North Carolina. (As of June 2010, Mecklenburg County covered 96 percent of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system’s $30 million-plus budget.)

Seems like a case of bad timing. ("Economic Slowdown Catches Up with NASCAR. New York Times, 8/9/2010)

Somewhat related article:
Pro sports two-step:  seduce, threaten to abandon.  (9/8/2010)

Jersey City Free Public Library Cuts Hours of Operation

Link to September Jersey Journal article, "Jersey City library is cutting back on hours, with most branches open only two Saturdays through end of year".

Excerpt: The Jersey City Free Public Library is scaling back hours and closing most of its branches on Saturdays due to budget cuts.

Library Director Priscilla Gardner says more service cuts could be in the offing pending possible further layoffs and furloughs, noting that a staff reduction plan submitted to the state Civil Service Commission awaits approval.

The city is expected to provide the library $6 million this year, down from $7.7 million last year

Related articles:
Jersey City residents plead for their library.  (8/26/2010)
More bad news from New Jersey.  (8/9/2010)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Birmingham Public Library Makes Public Appeal for Donations to Buy Materials

Link to September 8 Birmingham News article, "With its books budget cut, the Birmingham Public Library seeks donations".

Excerpt:   The library's materials budget was cut from about $1.4 million to $800,000 this summer when the city of Birmingham slashed library funding. That came on top of $100,000 in materials funding the library had lost when the city revised its annual budget in April, Blalock said, for a total reduction of 48 percent.

Overall, the city's materials budget -- which hit a 13-year peak of $1.64 million in 2006 and has declined most years since then -- has had a hard time holding the line against inflation, Blalock said. In addition, the library must keep up with new demands for more expensive books and additional materials, including e-books and DVDs

Lawsuit Claims Hostile Work Environment At Birmingham's Main Library

And that's not all.

Link to September 2 Birmingham News article, "Lawsuit claims Birmingham's downtown library is a sexually hostile place".  (Vis LISNews)

Excerpt: Birmingham's library does have a policy for Internet use and subscribes to a filtering service for all public and staff workstations, according to the library's website.

The filtering service, however, will be turned off at the request of any adult user, according to the policy. While the filter limits the amount of pornographic or obscene materials available on the Internet, no filtering service is completely effective, the library's policy states. "The library does not control or edit what is made available or filtered out by this service," according to the policy.

"The library strives to balance the rights of users to access these resources with the rights of people to work in a public environment free from disruptive sounds and offensive visuals," the policy states

Birmingham library board meets to discuss librarian's lawsuit claiming it's a hostile workplace. (9/7/2010)

The Pro Sports Two-Step: Seduce, Threaten to Abandon

Link to September 8 New York Times article, "As Stadiums Vanish, Their Debt Lives On".

Excerpt:  How municipalities acquire so much debt on buildings that have been torn down or are underused illustrates the excesses of publicly financed stadiums and the almost mystical sway professional sports teams have over politicians, voters and fans.

Rather than confront teams, they have often buckled when owners — usually threatening to move — have demanded that the public pay for new suites, parking or arenas and stadiums.

With state and local budgets stretched by the recession, politicians are only now starting to look askance at privately held teams trying to tap the public till

They may be looking askance, but they're still caving.

And here's Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman's circular logic.

Speaking of Vegas.....

Seventeen full-time and two part-time employees of the city of Las Vegas will be notified in the next couple of days that they're out — they no longer have jobs with the city as of Jan. 29.

That's the most drastic of actions being taken by the city to deal with an expected budget shortfall of about $430 million during the next five years, City Manager Betsy Fretwell told the Las Vegas City Council this evening.

It must be the sun and heat.

The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday approved $7.1 million for the exhibits that will go into the downtown mob museum, which is expected to be open in less than a year. (7/7/2010)

Add School Crossing Guards to the Mix of Budget Cuts

Link to September 8 Boston Globe article, "Struggling towns cut crossing guards".

Excerpt: With cash-strapped cities and towns scouring budgets for expenses to slash, they’ve cut back on everything from teachers to libraries and sports programs, and as school begins this year, parents in some places were dismayed to learn of one of the latest economies.

How could they cut back on crossing guards?’’ exclaimed Richard Doyle, whose 9-year-old son found no escort to cross the busy street in front of Weymouth’s Frederick Murphy School last week. “What’s more important than the kids getting to school safe?

Camden's Fairview Branch Library is Closed for Good

Link to September 7 Philadelphia Inquirer article,"It's 'The End' for another Camden library".

Excerpt: The Fairview branch of the Camden Free Public Library shut its doors for good Tuesday, the victim of budget cuts brought on by a $28 million city budget deficit that could eventually shut down Camden's library system altogether.

Set in a former residence on Collings Avenue, the Fairview branch had been in operation since 1925, a cornerstone of the neighborhood that was built as a planned community for workers from the nearby shipyard after World War I.

Today, Fairview is a predominantly low-income neighborhood, where residents can be seen mowing their lawns and sitting out on park benches in Yorkship Square, trying to hold out against the city's problems.

"There's more drug dealers on the corners. It's not the same place it was when I moved here in the 1990s, but it's still a good neighborhood," said Ethel Randall, the library assistant.

There is concern among many in Fairview that with the library closed, neighborhood children will be more inclined to hang out on the street corners and fall into drug dealing, said Jerome Taylor, a community activist

Tuesday, September 7, 2010