Saturday, September 25, 2010

Celebrating P. T. Barnum @ the Bethel Public Library

Kay McSpadden: "Banned books limit freedom"

Link to September 25 guest column in the Charlotte Observer.

Excerpt: Involved parents help their children make informed choices by reading with them, talking about the books and using literature as a jumping off point for serious discussions about relevant issues.

Involved parents know that literature that deals with the issues children face helps develop empathy - and that censoring their choices takes away opportunities to learn the critical thinking skills they need for the rest of their lives.

They show that famed Missouri skepticism - isn't it the Show Me State? - and question the motives of people urging them to make decisions based on fearmongering and mischaracterizations.

And the school boards would do well to follow this mission statement: "Every effort will be made to provide materials that present all points of view concerning international, national and local problems and issues of our times. Books, or other instructional and media materials of sound factual authority, shall not be prescribed, nor removed from library shelves or classrooms on the basis of partisan or doctrinal approval or disapproval

SPARK Program at the Milwaukee Public Museum

Link to September 25 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "Where history sparks memories. Museum program helps those with dementia".

Excerpt: On a recent day at the Milwaukee Public Museum, Paul Strains says a phrase he doesn't use very often any more:

"I remember now."

Strains, who has dementia, spots the 19th-century tool in an exhibit case and calls his friends over to talk about it. "My father had one of those. It's called a tack hammer. His was bigger. I used it. He was a painter. I was a painter, too. I remember now."

The tack hammer, the museum and Strains joined together to rekindle memories as part of SPARK, a new ongoing program here. The Milwaukee Public Museum is the first natural history museum in the Midwest to offer SPARK, a free cultural series for people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia and their caregivers

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bing Crosby, Preservationist

Link to September 24 New York Times article, "In Bing Crosby's Wine Cellar, Vintage Baseball".

Excerpt:  Crosby, the singer and movie, radio and TV star, had more foresight than the television networks and stations, which erased or discarded nearly all of the Major League Baseball games they carried until the 1970s.

A canny preservationist of his own legacy, Crosby, who died in 1977, kept a half-century’s worth of records, tapes and films in the wine cellar turned vault in his Hillsborough, Calif., home.

“Bing Crosby was way ahead of his time,” said Nick Trotta, senior library and licensing manager for Major League Baseball Productions, the sport’s archivist.

Three years ago, Major League Baseball acquired the rights to Yankees pitcher Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series — leaving the finale of the 1960 World Series high on its wish list. The hunt for old games — this one unseen on TV since its original broadcast — is constant, subject to serendipity and often futile. Great games like Game 7 in 1960 are often recalled with just a few newsreel clips

 Link to review.

Ray Charles Memorial Library opens in L.A.

 LINK to Ray Charles Foundation

Link to September 24 San Jose Mercury News article.

Excerpt:   On what would have been his 80th birthday, Ray Charles has joined the likes of past presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan with his own namesake library in Southern California.

The Ray Charles Memorial Library officially opened its doors Thursday night. Housed in the studio and office building Charles built in South Los Angeles in the early 1960s, the library features interactive exhibits about the musician's life and career.

Charles' friends and colleagues—including Quincy Jones, B.B. King, producer Jimmy Jam and filmmaker Taylor Hackford—welcome visitors via video to each section of the library, which is more like an interactive museum. Touch screens invite guests to explore Charles' most
memorable recordings, while exhibits feature some of his Grammy awards, stage costumes, old contracts and ever-present sunglasses.

Friday Teaser: Blockbuster's Demise? Blame Libraries.

Offered tongue-in-cheek.

Link to September 23 AP article at, "Debt, changing media habits topple Blockbuster".  In other words, libraries had nothing to do with it.

As if we need a reminder that there are still some AV format naysayers out there, sonflwr68 offered this response to the Jersey Journal's 8/26/2010 daily poll:   Should municipalities drastically cut library funding in bad economic times?

There has to be controls and measures to ensure library funding is spent wisely. Just because a library has funding doesn't mean they spend it in a way that has a positive impact on society. For example, the Hoboken library offers video games and DVDs. I don't think this is something they should spend money on. This is not to say they don't have other good programs. I think the waste needs to be measured and although with anything improvement is always possible, I think the lack of accountability built into our library governance allows for more than acceptable waste. 

Which begs the question:   What is 'acceptable waste'?

Alliance Defense Fund Challenges New Jersey Library's Meeting Room Policy

As they have done elsewhere.

Link to September 23 Independence Press article, "Millburn library responds to First Amendment challenge from religious group".

Excerpt:    The Millburn Free Public library trustees are considering making a change to one of the library’s policies after receiving a letter from an attorney representing the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a group that was formed to defend religious freedom.

Township Committee member Jim Suell, who is the governing body’s liaison to the library, announced on Sept. 21 that Library Director Bill Swinson had received a letter from an attorney representing the ADF questioning why the library prohibits religious groups from renting out the library’s meeting rooms.

The attorney claimed that the policy contains an unconstitutional restriction on religious meetings and could subject the library to liability. Citing three decisions in which the Supreme Court ruled that similar policies violated the First Amendment, he urged that a policy change be made.
Illinois Libraries Receive Alliance Defense Fund Letters

From the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee Report to Council 2010 Annual Conference Washington, DC Tuesday, June 29, 2010.

Alliance Defense Fund Letters on Meeting Room Policies
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a Christian legal organization, has initiated a letter-writing campaign to libraries and schools around the country. The campaign targets libraries meeting room policies that restrict the use of the library’s meeting rooms for religious services. In its letter, ADF advises libraries receiving the letter that it believes the library’s meeting room policy is unconstitutional and that ADF will initiate legal action if the library does not change its policy. 

The Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has been providing librarians and library trustees with with answers to their questions about meeting room policies and the ADF’s letter including copies of model meeting room policies, information about court opinions addressing library meeting room policies, and advice on reviewing and revising meeting room policies in light of recommended best practices.

Librarians and library trustees who wish to speak to OIF about their meeting room policies and/or the ADF letter should call or write Deborah Caldwell-Stone, OIF’s Deputy Director. She can be reached at 800-545-2433 x4224, or

'BentLogic' Reacts to Opening of Philadelphia's SugarHouse Casino

Link to September 23 Philadelphia Inquirer article, "Hundreds wait in line to place bets at SugarHouse"

Excerpt:  Outside the SugarHouse Casino, more than 1,000 gamblers gathered double-file in a line that stretched the equivalent of about four city blocks before the doors opened at 1:30 p.m. Some had been there since early morning. 

BentLogic's comment.  Imagine if people found this kind of thrill in visiting a library and reading the thoughts of some of the great minds during this human era?  

State Iowa of Library Newsletter Looks at Public Library Funding Disparities

Additional required reading for session 5 of LIS 712 (The Public Library).

Link to full September 2010 issue of Footnotes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ebooks Scaling/Approaching/ Sitting Atop 'Peak of Inflated Expectations'

You make the call.

Link to September 21 MIT Technology Review article, "The Death of the Book has Been Greatly Exaggerated".

Excerpt:   Tech pundits recently moved up the date for the death of the book, to sometime around 2015, inspired largely by the rapid adoption of the iPad and the success of Amazon's Kindle e-reader. But in their rush to christen a new era of media consumption, have the pundits overreached?

I'm calling the peak of inflated expectations now. Get ready for the next phase of the hype cycle - the trough of disillusionment.

The signs of a hype bubble are all around us. Mostly in the form of irrational exuberance

Please say it with me again.

Media is not a zero-sum game.  Just because a new medium arrives doesn't mean an old media dies out.  --Paul Saffo

Related articles:
Book industry wrestlesl with print v. pixels.  (9/2/2010)
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)

Visiting the Georgia Archives? Plan Accordingly

Link to September 21 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, "Budget cuts force Georgia Archives to limit its hours".

Excerpt: The Georgia Archives has announced that effective this week it will be open to the public only from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Enlarge photo Johnny Crawford/ A photo of John L. Pinson from the Civil War period is part of the Georgia Archives collection.
Lunch and Learn programs, normally held on Tuesdays, will be rescheduled for Thursdays.

This change is due to budget cuts that have affected all state agencies and hopefully will be temporary, returning to the five-days-a-week schedule once the budget recovers.

So if you are going to do research at the Georgia Archives, be sure to plan ahead and let others know as well.

If you are going to research out of state, be sure to always check online for any changes for any archives or library you may be visiting.

The Georgia Archives, which began in 1918, has a large amount of material online. Check its website at There you can find plats, death certificates, photos from the archives' Vanishing Georgia collection, a catalog of its library volumes, and various research guidelines. There is also a link to the State Capitol Museum

North Columbus Public Library Patrons Get Reprieve from Unsolicited Religious Advice

Link to September 21 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, "Library bans teen for proselytizing".

Excerpt:   A 16-year-old who officials said continued to proselytize outside a library after officials warned him to stop has been banned from the Chattahoochee Valley Regional Library System for six months.

Kirsten Edwards, acting manager of the North Columbus Public Library, said in a letter that Caleb Hanson repeatedly asked patrons about their religious faith and offered biblical advice.

The teen said library employees first warned him to stop. "Then they took me into an office and told me not to do it," he said.

He said he then began talking to people outside the library, and patrons continued to complain.

Claudya Muller, director of the library system, said the ban had nothing to do with what the teen was saying. "As people came in, he would approach them. He prevented people from simply using the library."

The letter from Edwards says Caleb's library card has been blocked, and that if he returns before Feb. 28, he will be criminally trespassing

A quick check of a few library conduct policies didn't turn up a specific mention of 'proselytizing'.
Pikes Peak Library District "Code of Conduct Policy".
Soliciting or panhandling inside the Library or on Library property is prohibited.

Behavior Rules Governing the Use of Mulnomah County Library.
Any person who violates rules 6-19 while in or on library premises will be given up to one warning at the discretion of library staff; then the person will be asked to leave the premises for the day. Subsequent offenses by that person will result in that person's immediate ejection and exclusion from all Multnomah County Library premises. Any person so excluded shall lose all library privileges for a period of up to one year.
6. Engaging in conduct that disrupts or interferes with the normal operation of the library, or disturbs library staff or patrons, including, but not limited to, conduct that involves the use of abusive or threatening language or gestures, conduct that creates unreasonable noise, or conduct that consists of loud or boisterous physical behavior or talking.

Spokane Public Library

Barrett's Proposed 2011 City of Milwaukee Budget Provides for Increase in Some Branch Library Hours

Link to September 23 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "Barrett seeks to hold line on property taxes".

Excerpt: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is calling for a small cut in property taxes and a boost in hours for four libraries in the 2011 city budget he will unveil Thursday.

The $1.48 billion spending plan would shave $2,112, less than one-thousandth of 1%, off this year's $247.4 million property tax levy. Because the city's total assessed value has declined nearly 3%, the tax rate would rise 2.7%, from slightly less than $8.89 per $1,000 assessed value to slightly more than $9.12.

But the average home's assessed value has dropped, too, from about $127,000 to about $123,000, meaning the city line on the average tax bill would dip $6.44, or 0.6%, from $1,129.21 to $1,122.77.

If the Common Council agrees, it would be the first property tax cut since Barrett took office in 2004, and it comes as he is running for governor

Hours at the Bay View, East, Washington Park and Zablocki branch libraries would increase to 45 hours per week, up from the current 35.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bust Your Collection Development Budget with this 6-Volume Set

Link to September 22 New York Times article, "Gastronomes Await ‘Modernist Cuisine’".

Excerpt: The wait for the 30-hour cheeseburger just got a little longer. The dish, which takes more than a day to prepare, calls for a short-rib patty to be slow-cooked in a vacuum pack, then dunked in liquid nitrogen before it is deep fried. It is among more than a thousand recipes in “Modernist Cuisine,” a cookbook whose publishing delay, announced on Sept. 15, set off a collective sigh among gastronomes.
Enlarge This Image

Proofreading and packaging concerns pushed back the release of Nathan Myhrvold’s six-volume, 2,400-page, $625 book from December to March. But that merely sweetened the anticipation among chefs and the type of home cooks unafraid to make almond cream with a homogenizer

3D TV Purchase: Survey Says...

Link to September 22 CNET News post, "Survey: Most won't buy new TV just to get 3D".

Excerpt: According to the international accounting and consulting firm, 83 percent of consumers say that 3D isn't enough to make them want to buy a new television. Moreover, 60 percent of respondents said they simply aren't willing to pay extra for a television with 3D capabilities. Just 21 percent of those surveyed said they would pay 10 percent more for a 3D television over a set that doesn't have the technology.

A requirement for 3D glasses tends to be a major issue for consumers, Deloitte foun

Related articles:
3-D Movies on the Collection Development Horizon?  (9/16/2010)
Point/Counterpoint.  (5/29/2010)

Who Uses an E-Reader? Survey says...

...1 on 10 Americans.

Link to September 22 Harris Interactive news release, "One in Ten Americans Use an eReader; One in Ten Likely To Get One in Next Six Months".

Question #1.  Does "an electronic reader device of some kind" include iPhones?  That's what my wife and I currently use?

Questions #2.  Since the survey was conducted online, what do we make of this?

UW-Madison Continuing Studies Grant Opportunity

Click here for details

Dallas City Council Poised to Approve Tax Increase

Link to September 22 Dallas News report, "City Hall blog: Dallas council will vote today on budget that raises property tax rate".

Excerpt:  In a lengthy message to constituents and supporters, council member Angela Hunt said the city simply cannot afford further cuts.

"Our streets have become littered with potholes because we've cut the budget for street maintenance in half over the last ten years. Our parks budget has gone down by 38% and our libraries have been reduced 48% over the same period of time," she wrote.

In stinging commentary, she added that it is Leppert who has burdened taxpayers, through grand projects that add to the city's debt payments - an increasingly large piece of the city's annual costs

Related article:
Whodathunkit? Dallas City Council Votes to Increase Taxes. (9/14/2010)
Comerica makes donation to 2 branch libraries.  8/21/2010)
Another successful summer reading program, another round of budget cuts.  (8/15/2010)
City Manager's recommended budget includes lotsa library and park employee cuts.  (8/9/2010)
Attention library budget cutters:  These words still ring true.  (5/29/2010)
From 'sacred cow' to 'sacrificial lamb'.  (5/29/2010)
Axe is poised over library.  (5/24/2010)
Friends of Library board chairman speaks out.  (9/1/2009)
Dallas Public Library budget hacked (old-style).  (7/23/2009)

Jeff Dawson on Ordering Materials for the Lester Public Library

Link to September 22 Herald-Times-Reporter article.

Excerpt: With the popularity of "how do you do that?" shows on television, I thought I'd answer a question we get often here at the library: How do you order materials, and when do they come in? Every library does this a little differently, but let me share Lester Public Library's process.

Appleton Post-Crescent Q&A with Retiring Library Director Terry Dawson.

Watch live streaming video from postcrescent at

Link to edited transcript of last week's streaming live interview.

Excerpt: Dawson, who has worked at the library since 1978 and has been its director since 1996, will be retiring in January.

Dawson, 62, has seen a lot of changes in the library — and he talked about some of them last week in an interview shown live at www. He also discussed the progress of a proposal to build a new library or expand the current one.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

FEMA officials will meet in Cedar Rapids to discuss library ruling

Link to September 21 Cedar Rapids Gazette article.

Excerpt: Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s regional office in Kansas City, Mo., will be in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday to talk about federal support for the city’s plans to replace its flood-ruined library with a new one at a new downtown site, Mayor Ron Corbett said Monday.

Corbett said he asked to meet a top FEMA regional official after FEMA’s Iowa representatives caught City Hall off guard last week when they said they could not support the city’s decision to build its new library across from Greene Square Park on a site now occupied by TrueNorth Companies.

The mayor and Greg Eyerly, the city’s flood-recovery director, said last week that the city had followed the direction of FEMA’s Iowa officials in making plans for the library site. The city had figured that FEMA would pay for the least-costly of three options, and the city would find other funds to make up the difference between the least-costly site and the TrueNorth one. FEMA, though, said the least-costly plan actually was a fourth one — tearing down the existing library and building a new one there on higher ground, an option the city believed FEMA many, many months ago had excluded from consideration

Related articles:
FEMA Sez It Can't Support Site for New Cedar Rapids Library. (9/16/2010)
New library construction will include old bricks.  (8/18/2010)
Library circulation plummets at temporary location.  (8/6/2010)
Library staff looking at the best design ideas. (5/6/2010)
For sale, old library, needs work.  (4/9/2010)
Site Selection Raises Ethics Concerns.  (2/9/2010)
Cedar Rapids Library Board to Recommend Site for New Library. (01/26/2010)
FEMA Reconsiders, Decides Library Provides an Essential Service. (12/24/2009)
Hide and Seek: Downtown Cedar Rapids Satellite Branch Library. (11/30/2009)
Early Days of Cedar Rapids Public Library. (11/20/2009)

Wisconsin Legislative Special Committee on Local Service Consolidation

At a minimum, we need to get library district legislation on the special committee's radar screen.  Efforts are underway to do so.

Committee members

From the August 13, 2010, minutes.

Next meeting: Tuesday, October 5, 2010. (Agenda not yet posted.)

A Special 25th Anniversary for Charlotte Mecklenburg's West Boulevard Branch

Link to September 19 Charlotte Observer article, "Library celebrates 25 years. Money for event is tight, but neighbors pitch in".

Charlotte Observer to Harry Jones: Check your ego at the door

Link to September 19 Charlotte Observer editorial, "Jones' library e-mails wrong and harmful. Egos, acrimony must not get in way of library system revamp".

Excerpt:    The intemperate e-mail Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones fired off to Charlotte Mecklenburg Library board members last month has landed him in hot water. Deservedly so.

The e-mail was a petulant rant that sounded like the immature whining of a 5-year-old. It made hurtful insinuations about the integrity of respected people in this community. And it threatened to derail a process to find a sustainable financial structure for a nationally praised community resource struggling because of a $10 million county budget cut this year. As a result, library officials closed three of 24 branches, laid off 187 workers and reduced hours of operation.

Jones' e-mail emanated from a meeting of a steering committee that's laying the groundwork for a citizens' panel that will look at the library structure and recommend whether it should.

Related articles:
County manager regrets hitting the 'send' key. (9/18/2010)
Library steering committee veers into off-road territory.  (9/15/2010)
Bank of America and Carolina Panthers kick off library fundraising campaign. (9/14/2010)
Another branch extends hours thanks to volunteer support.  (9/12/2010)
Volunteers step up.  (9/10/2010)
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)

Hoboken Public Library's Inaugural 'Senior Day'

Link to September 20 Jersey Journal article, "Seniors get connected with the Hoboken Public Library".

Excerpt: This month, more surprised grandchildren could be getting "friend requested" by their grandparents on Facebook. That is, if their grandparents are from Hoboken.

The Hoboken Public Library is launching a new computer program just for senior citizens at the library.

Matt Lathum, who has already been teaching courses at Fox Hill Gardens senior citizen facility on the third Wednesday of each month, will teach the first course on mouse and keyboard use at the library tomorrow at 2 p.m.

"It's less of a clearing house for books and more of a community center now," said Lathum of the library. "It's a way to get a group that was under-served in town and has a lot of information needs."

The new program kicked off today as part of the library's inaugural "Senior Day" where over 50 senior citizens were treated to a lunch catered by Laura's Deli, live music, a tour of the library and a presentation of the online catalog in preparation for tomorrow's first class

Hoboken age distribution bar graph

Barrett, Walker Trades Jabs on Jobs

Link to September 21 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "Gubernatorial candidates spar on jobs record".

Excerpt:   Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett used a desolate strip of the Park East Corridor as the backdrop on Monday for what he described as Scott Walker's inaction at working to spur job creation as Milwaukee County executive.

Walker, in turn, said an emergency jobs plan would be his top priority as governor. He said he would call a special session of the Legislature on inauguration day and ask lawmakers to cut taxes for small business by up to 20% as part of his prescription to create 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

Both the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor focused on jobs and the economy on Monday, underscoring the importance of twin issues in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign


On Monday afternoon, he stood in the empty, weed-choked Park East Corridor near East Pointe Marketplace and criticized Walker for his part in the failure to develop 16 acres of county-owned land that became available after the demolition of the Park East Freeway.

Barrett contrasted it with the development that's taken place in the Menomonee Valley, where the City of Milwaukee has played a role.

He also reiterated his criticism of Walker for closing - then reopening - a county economic development office.

Damon Dorsey, a former high-speed rail planner for the state, won unanimous endorsement Monday from a Milwaukee County Board panel to take over as the county's economic development director

Related post:

Marathon County Public Library Director Phyllis Christensen Announces Her Retirement

Link to September 21 Wausau Daily Herald, "Library director retires suddenly".

Excerpt: The director of the Marathon County Public Library announced Monday she will retire in January amid apparent calls by employees for her resignation.

Phyllis Christensen, 65, did not cite a reason for her departure in a letter read Monday during the Marathon County Public Library Board of Trustees meeting by its president, Tim Gierl.

"It is a privilege to work for the Marathon County Public Library, and I appreciate the opportunities for professional development that have been provided me over the years," Christensen wrote in the letter.

Christensen will serve as director through Jan. 8, and the board's three-member personnel committee will begin the search for a new director within 10 days, Gierl said. He said the county hopes to find a new director prior to Christensen's retirement.

The Marathon County Public Library system has nine branches: the headquarters in Wausau and eight branches in other areas of the county. It serves more than 130,000 people, according to the 2008 census estimate, and more than 75,000 county residents are card holders. As director, Christensen was in charge of about 49 employees

Ron Johnson Subscribes to the Social Security as a Ponzi Scheme Meme

In addition to the commercial that I viewed on TV last night, there's this article in today's Appleton Post-Crescent. ("Officials say voter response to reports of Senate candidate Ron Johnson's inconsistency hard to predict".)

Link to December 28, 2008, Blomberg Businessweek EconoChat, "Is Social Security a Ponzi Scheme?" by Michael Mandel.

In the aftermath of the Madoff implosion, quite a few people have pointed out the parallels between a Ponzi scheme and Social Security. Arnold Kling, whom I respect, has written:
I’ve been thinking that Madoff is a perfect analogy for the public sector. The government gives people money, which it expects to obtain by taking the money from people in the future. Even the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, not known as a right-wing organization, sees the U.S. fiscal stance as unsustainable (pointer from Ezra Klein via Tyler Cowen)—in other words, a Ponzi scheme.
Other people have gone farther. Paul Mulshine of the New Jersey Star Ledger wrote a column entitled “The Ponzi scheme that Baby Boomers are waiting to cash in on.” And Jim Cramer has called Social Security the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

Superficially, these critics have a point, and there is a parallel between Social Security and a Ponzi scheme. But on a fundamental level, they are very wrong, and it’s worth explaining why.

As you might expect, the commenters take Mandel to task in a variety of ineloquent ways.

Fortune also addressed the myth on January 7, 2009.  ("Social Security a Ponzi scheme? No way".

Excerpt:   Essentially, here's their pitch: a Ponzi scheme is a fraud in which money from one group of people is used to pay promised returns to another group of people. The money isn't invested, it's just transferred, and at some point the scheme collapses because there's not enough income to satisfy withdrawals. (Madoff reportedly confessed to one of his sons that his $50 billion investment business fit that description.) Social Security's critics say it's a multitrillion-dollar Ponzi scheme because although individuals have "accounts," in fact the government uses income from current workers to pay benefits. When benefits exceed income, they say, the system will crumble, just like Madoff's.

It's hard to knock down such a persistent and seemingly elegant analogy. But since it creates a false impression of Social Security, and since I for one consider real Ponzi schemes too important and interesting to obfuscate, it's worth rebutting this myth.

Check out this Cato Insitute post from May 11, 1999.

I suppose this give us a general idea of where Johnson is getting his talking points.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wisconsin's (Major Party) Gubernatorial Candidates Present Their Jobs Plans

At its October 2nd meeting, the Wisconsin Library Association's Library Development & Legislation committee will be looking for points of alignment in building a common agenda with these plans.
Tom Barrett's Plan to Create Wisconsin Jobs

Specifically, there are six things we must do to make Wisconsin economically competitive with other states:

  • Lower taxes
  • Eliminate red tape
  • End frivolous lawsuits that kill jobs
  • Improve the education of tomorrow's workforce
  • Make health care affordable
  • Invest in infrastructure

1st Annual Waupaca Book Festival, October 1-2

Thanks to Melissa Carollo, Waupaca Area Public Library Teen/Reference Librarian, for bringing this great event to my attention.

Impressive lists of authorssponsors, and vendors. Should be a huge success!!

If you've never visited the Waupaca Area Public Library, it's a beautiful facility that includes this great space for teens.  (Click the link for more pics.)

Lorine Niedecker Wisconsin Poetry Festival: September 24 & 25

A short biography of Lorine Niedecker.

2010 Chippewa Valley Book Festival: October 18-24

Sheboygan Children's Book Festival announces authors, illustrators to appear

Link to September 19 Sheboygan Press article.

Excerpt: The award-winning children's and young adult authors and illustrators featured at the festival include Kathi Appelt, Avi, Keiko Kasza, James Dashner, Calef Brown and Matthew McElligott. Also appearing are some of Wisconsin's own critically-acclaimed authors and illustrators, including Lois Ehlert, Renèe Graef, Barbara Joosse, David McLimans, Lisa Moser, Gerald Morris, Jo Ann Early Macken, Ilsa Bick and Barbara Techel.

Free author talks and illustrator workshops for all ages will take place from Friday, Oct. 15, through Sunday, Oct. 17, at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Mead Public Library, Bookworm Gardens and the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan

Library Receives Low Priority on Janesville "Budget Scorecard"

I hope city officials understand that this type of online survey is decidedly unscientific.

Link to September 19 Janesville Gazette article, "Residents show more support for traditional services: Scorecard".

Excerpt: Janesville residents who filled out a city “budget scorecard” sent a clear message: A majority prefer a lower level of service in such areas as parks and library services to reduce taxes or hold them steady.

Conversely, a majority of respondents said the city should raise taxes and/or fees to maintain or even increase services for the traditional city services of police, fire, infrastructure maintenance and snow plowing.

A total of 766 residents took the online survey.

The city created the scorecard to give staff and city council members feedback as they compile the 2011 budget. The budget is scheduled to be presented to the council Oct. 11.

City Manager Eric Levitt recently said the council must close an estimated $1 million to $2 million budget gap. Factors producing the deficit include the rising cost of salaries and benefits for employees and a loss in revenue, such as $1 million drop in investment earnings

It puzzles me that the Hedberg Public Library isn't considered a traditional city service, at least by the writer of this article.  From the excerpt below, it's clear that the library has a long tradition of service to the Janesville community.

Service that continues to respond to critical needs.

U.S. Census Bureau Reports Increase in Poverty Rate

Link to September 16 U. S. Census Bureau news release, "Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009".

Excerpt: The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that real median household income in the United States in 2009 was $49,777, not statistically different from the 2008 median.

The nation's official poverty rate in 2009 was 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008 — the second statistically significant annual increase in the poverty rate since 2004. There were 43.6 million people in poverty in 2009, up from 39.8 million in 2008 — the third consecutive annual increase.

Meanwhile, the number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 46.3 million in 2008 to 50.7 million in 2009, while the percentage increased from 15.4 percent to 16.7 percent over the same period.

These findings are contained in the report Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Redbox Surpasses 1,000,000,000 Rentals

Redbox:  The 'Chickenman' of Video Rentals

Link to September 19 Rockford Register-Star article, "Movie fans like simplicity, low cost of one-box shopping".

Excerpt:   Redbox, in fact, rented its 1 billionth movie this month after debuting its self-service kiosks in Denver six years ago.

Today, renters can find new releases at more than 24,000 Redbox kiosks nationwide.

Redbox has 58 kiosks in the Rockford area renting more than 1.3 million DVDs since the kiosks debuted here in July 2008, company spokesman Christopher Goodrich said

Gotta do the math on this one.

1,300,000 divided by 58 kiosks = 22,414 rentals per kiosk.  (And of course not all 58 were in place in 2008.)

22,414 rentals divided by 780 days = 29 rentals per day per kiosk.  (Or 1,682 rentals per day in the Rockford area.)

Next step:  compare Redbox statistics with those of the Rockford Public Library.

I've accessed Illinois Public Library statistics many times before.
And what happens now when I clock on the 'Illinois data' link?

I guess this is what happens when your 'state librarian' has too many other irons in the fire.