Saturday, August 6, 2011

Toronto Councillors Not Lining Up to Support Mayor's Call to Close Libraries


Closing libraries doesn’t sit well with Toronto councillors. (Toronto Globe & Mail, 8/4/2011)

Excerpt: Call it the Atwood effect. At least half-a-dozen more city councillors – including several members of mayor Rob Ford’s inner circle – have added their names to the growing list of prominent Torontonians speaking out against potential library closings.

Those sentiments clash with a recent KPMG review of city services that suggests shuttering libraries as a cost-saving measure, a proposal to which the mayor’s brother, Etobicoke Councillor Doug Ford, lent his hearty support.

The Globe and Mail took a straw poll of councillors whose wards contain the city’s 30 lowest-circulation libraries and found that Mr. Ford would find little agreement on council, even among political allies
.

Related posts:
Library rallies its supporters.  (8/6/2011)
Toronto mayor Doug Ford goes hyperbolic. (7/29/2011)
Toronto councilor uses his position to bully Margaret Atwood  .(7/27/2011)

The Toronto Public Library Rallies Its Supporters



Related posts:
Toronto mayor Doug Ford goes hyperbolic. (7/29/2011)
Toronto councilor uses his position to bully Margaret Atwood  .(7/27/2011)

DVDs @ Your Staten Island Branches of the New York Public Library


As movie-rental business withers, Staten Island's 12 New York Public Library branches step into the breach. (Staten Island Advance, 8/2/2011)

ExcerptMovie buffs are flocking like never before to Staten Island's 12 New York Public Library branches, which offer an extensive selection ranging from the newest titles to foreign films.

The branches are filling a void created by the demise of the once-ubiquitous movie-rental outlets. Only two Blockbuster Video locations remain in the borough, in Rossville and Port Richmond.

On-demand movie providers like Netflix undercut the rentals, but they are no longer the bargain they used to be: Netflix is raising prices as much as 60 percent.

Enter the library, with its unbeatable price: Free
.

Oak Park Public Library: Love Your Library! Show Your Card!



What's it all about? 

At Day in Our Village 2011 we shot over 40 short videos of what people love about the Oak Park Public Library.

Steve Almond on the Banning of "Slaughter-House Five"


Vonnegut banned: Will we ever stop to think? (Indianapolis Star, 8/6/2011)

ExcerptAs we've seen over the past few weeks, our country was pushed to the brink of default by a faction of radical lawmakers who didn't seem to even understand what the debt ceiling is: a financial obligation to pay our outstanding bills, not permission to spend more.

The fanaticism of the extreme right in this country is rooted in a kind of childish denial that Vonnegut spent his career lamenting.

It's a mindset that says, essentially: If we ignore the horrors of war, war will become heroic. If we ignore our scientists, the planet will stop warming. If we ignore the suffering of the poor and sick, they will disappear. And yes, if we ban books, our innocent little children will never be exposed to sex or swear words.

After all, the Internet -- where children spend so much of their lives -- has almost no corrupting material, right?

It's fruitless to attempt to educate people like Wesley Scroggins. They already know everything they'll ever know. But it's vital that their voices not drown out the voices of reason in our communities. The world is too dangerous and complex for immature thinking.

I hope a few brave, compassionate citizens will be compelled by the banning of "Slaughter-House Five" to run for school board in Republic. Now more than ever, the kids could use your help
.

New Website and Logo for Cedar Rapids Public Library


Cedar Rapids library to launch new logo, website. (Cedar Rapids Gazette, 8/5/2011)

Excerpt: The opening of a new Cedar Rapids Public Library might be a couple of years out, but the excitement is starting now with the launch later this month of a new website and logo designed to resemble the future facility’s unique architecture.

“We wanted to create a brand and a logo that reflect a more modern library and relate to the building itself,” said library spokeswoman Amber Mussman.

As for the new website — which will debut along with the new logo on Aug. 19 — officials hope it will become a virtual library branch. With user-friendly portals allowing patrons to check out electronic materials, browse the stock and hold books, the new site will provide a glimpse into the upgrades and convenience of the future library, Mussman said
.

Story on Library Outreach Services Uses the Term "Invisible Libraries"

Not sure how a bookmobile can be considered invisible, as it serves as a traveling billboard promoting library services.

The Dane County bookmobile visits Paoli

Libraries expanding use of ‘invisible’ branches. (Columbus Dispatch, 8/3/2011)

Excerpt:   Some of the most important library branches aren’t made of brick and mortar.

These “invisible branches” might be a bookmobile, home delivery service or other bridge between library patrons and materials.

Bookmobiles aren’t new. They go back hundreds of years, to when they were book wagons, said Miguel Figueroa, acting director of the American Library Association’s office for literacy and outreach services.

Time out.

Hundreds of years?

Traveling collections of books, perhaps.

But not book wagons.

Source of both PowerPoint slides:  Famous First Facts.

“That idea of getting outside of the branch building and going to people who cannot get to the library has been around for a while,” he said.

But an aging, more diverse population has led many libraries to expand upon the typical bookmobile, despite tighter budgets.

Rural and urban library districts often use their outreach services in different ways. Districts with few branches may try to bring books to underserved areas. An urban district might have plenty of nearby branches but wants to target a specific population.

This fall, Columbus Metropolitan Library will use a $500,000 grant from the Nationwide Foundation to bolster its Ready to Read Corps. The library is purchasing a bookmobile and hiring staff to visit families in areas with low kindergarten readiness scores.

Wisconsin State Senate Republicans Pull a Fast One on One of Their Own

 Not a lot to smile about lately

Except for the fact that he refuses to abandon his principles.

Senator says Walker 'decoyed' him into missing chance to offer amendment. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 8/4/2011)

ExcerptRepublican state Sen. Dale Schultz said this week he was "decoyed" on Feb. 17 by Gov. Scott Walker into missing a key chance on the Senate floor to put in play a compromise on Walker's plan to eliminate most union bargaining for public employees.

A Walker spokesman confirmed that a meeting occurred that morning in the GOP governor's office amid a day of drama and chaos at the Capitol.

But the Walker aide and the top two Republican leaders in the Senate strongly denied that there was any intent or plan to lure Schultz into missing a vote in the Senate.

Schultz acknowledged that he had no proof of the governor's intent and that he didn't ask the Senate to reconsider its action later that day on Walker's budget-repair bill or use another opportunity the following week to introduce his amendment.

But he told the Journal Sentinel that he felt he was having some success getting members of the Senate Republican caucus to sign on to his compromise, in which he sought larger financial concessions from public employees but a two-year sunset on the limits to collective bargaining.

"You're damned right I think that's what they were doing," Schultz said of Walker's intent. "It's appalling to think about it.
"


What's intriguing to think about is this.  Let's say the Senate Democrats end up with a net gain of two seats in the recall elections, which leaves the Republicans with a 17-16 edge.  Could Schultz end up giving the Democrats a working majority?  At least on some issues.

Here's a description of a "Lunch with Senator Tim Cullen and Dale Schultz" event.

Sen. Cullen [D-Janesville] and Sen. Schultz [R-Richland Center] are currently visiting each other's districts in an effort to understand the challenges facing their constituents. It is hoped that by understanding each other's districts, it can be proven that bipartisanship is not dead in Wisconsin. Sen. Cullen visited cities in the 17th District last week, and now Sen. Schultz will visit the 15th District; Janesville in the morning and Beloit in the afternoon. This luncheon provides members with the opportunity to ask questions regarding political issues facing the State of Wisconsin.

Mark Pocan Interviewed by Thom Hartmann on his Visit to the ALEC Convention in New Orleans



ALEC Watch: What I Did on my Summer Vacation. (The Progressive, 8/4/2011)

52 -- Count 'em -- 52 Assembly Representatives Sign on for Top Priority Legislation of Pro-Life Wisconsin

Wish for the day when the Wisconsin library community gets such support for a piece of legislation.



Campus Connection: UW officials say bill would have 'chilling effect' on biomedical research. (Capital Times, 8/6/2011.

Excerpt: With its fiscal agenda mostly complete, members of the state's Republican leadership now are turning their attention to social issues.

On Tuesday, Assembly Republicans introduced a bill backed by an anti-abortion group that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation a "fetal body part." Many fear the legislation would have a "chilling effect" on a range of biomedical research conducted at places such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"The current legislation is worded so broadly that it will eliminate promising lines of research on campus, including studies of childhood leukemia and infectious diseases," said a statement issued jointly by UW-Madison and UW Health. "It is important to note that federal law permits use of federal funds to support research involving fetal tissue as long as provisions of federal law are met.


Lester Public Library Provides Free Books at Maxwell Street Day and Community Care Day


Two Rivers gives back to community. (Herald Times Reporter, 8/6/2011)

Excerpt: Lester Public Library Director Jeff Dawson was manning a station for the library, giving away free books.

"It's become a bit of a tradition and people are expecting it, so that's awesome," he said. "(Being at the event) just raises awareness that one of the community services is the library and how important it is. It really feels good to give back to the community with my time and free books."

Dawson said he hd given away about half of the books within the first two hours.



Just one?

Friday, August 5, 2011

About the Access Wisconsin Lawsuit (and the Need for Legislative Action)


The following information was included in a July email from Jennifer Smith, Communications & Web Manager, UW Extension Office of Broadband Sustainability, but it’s certainly worth repeating at this time.

About the Access Wisconsin lawsuit:
§  The Wisconsin Independent Telecommunications Systems, operating as Access Wisconsin, filed a lawsuit [or here] July 20, 2011, against the UW Board of Regents, WiscNet, CCI Systems and the state Department of Transportation seeking to stop the BCCB [Building Community Capacity through Broadband] federally funded project.
§  Access Wisconsin will present its side and UW System lawyers will present the BCCB side at an Aug. 30, 2011, hearing presided over by Judge Anderson.
§  Judge Anderson’s decision is expected in about a week after the hearing.
§  If Judge Anderson decides in favor of BCCB going forward, Access Wisconsin can appeal in the District 4 Court of Appeals in Madison.
§  If Judge Anderson rules in favor of Access Wisconsin, next steps would depend on findings of fact and the wording of an injunction.” 

Whatever the outcome of the Access Wisconsin lawsuit, it is still necessary to develop legislation (securing sponsors and everything else the process entails) to address Walker's veto of the following provision in the 2011-13 budget bill.  (Text below is found on page 8 of Legislative Fiscal Bureau summary.)


Related WiscNet/BCCB posts:
Case summary with names of defendants' attorneys.  (8/4/2011)
An example of how advocacy works.  (7/31/2011)
From Peter C. Anderson's Court Official Calendar for Dane County.  (7/24/2011)
Lawsuit update and summary.  (7/22/2011)
Judge Anderson denies UW broadband restraining order.  (7/21/2011)
Plaintiffs v. Defendants.  (7/20/2011)
Telcos whine while Wisconsin falls behind.  (7/20/2011)
Access Wisconsin news release.  (7/19/2011)
LRB clarifies WiscNet veto. (6/30/2011)
WiscNet:  Moving Forward.  (6/30/2011)
Walker's WiscNet veto:  What does it mean?  (6/27/2011)
Rest assured they'll be more fights in this battle.  (6/24/2011)
Wisconsin Senate passes budget.  (6/17/2011)
Amendment update.    (6/16/2011)
Assembly passes budget at 3:05 a.m.  (6/16/2011)
Wispolitics budget blog.  (6/15/2011)
Wisconsin ranks 43rd for broadband Internet coverage.  (6/15/2011)
Ron Kind news release.  (6/15/2011)
Assembly 8.  (6/15/2011)
Highest level alert.  (6/15/2011)
This is what democracy looks like.  (6/15/2011)
WSTA's day of disappointment.  (6/14/2011)
They can hear us now.  (6/14/2011)
Appleton Post-Crescent editorial.  (6/14/2011)
YouTube video.  (6/14/2011)
Hedberg Public Library promotes WiscNet.  (6/14/2011)
League of Wisconsin Municipalities press release.  (6/14/2011)
UW General Counsel opinion.  (6/13/2011)
Ars Technica WiscNet coverage.  (6/13/2011)
Wausau Daily Herald editorial.  (6/13/2011)
If your representative is Robin Vos...   (9/13/2011)
Baraboo School Board unhappy with JFC WiscNet action.  (6/13/2011)
WiscNet debate from the NE WI prospective.  (6/12/2011)
David Weinhold letter to editor.  (6122010
Rep. Moelpske's statement. (6/11/2011)
COLAND letter to Sen. Fitzgerald.  (6/10/2011)
Rhonda Puntney's op-ed piece.  (6/10/2011)
Nass letter to Fitzgerald and Vos.  (6/9/2011)
CINC response.  (6/9/2011)
UW response.  (6/9/2011)
Manna from heaven.  (6/8/2011)

Daily Union Series on Public Libraries and the Elimination of Maintenance of Effort (Johnson Creek Public Library)

Creek library determined to maintain services. (Jefferson County Daily Union, 8/4/2011)

Excerpt:    Luci Bledsoe, director of the Johnson Creek Public Library, said that come what may, she will work her hardest despite inevitable budget cuts to maintain all of the services her small village library now provides.

"We might have to be a little creative, or make some changes, but I am determined we are not going to go backwards," Bledsoe said.

Since she came to the Johnson Creek library in 1992, Bledsoe said, the area has seen phenomenal growth in new homes and businesses, which has translated into greatly increased library usage.

In Johnson Creek's case, the village library already has seen its budgets limited for the past four years to what the Maintenance of Effort statute required.

"We have been on a tight budget for years now," she said. "That means we really have no reserves."

Meanwhile, the costs of materials, energy and technology have gone up and up.

With the elimination of the MOE requirement, anything could happen. However, Bledsoe said she hopes Johnson Creek decisionmakers realize the value they are getting out of the local library and pledge to maintain the services it already provide
s.

Related posts:
Dwight Foster Public Library, Fort Atkinson.  (8/4/2011)
Jefferson Public Library.  (8/3/2011)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The ALEC Watch



ALEC bills itself as a nonpartisan individual membership organization of state legislators which favors federalism and conservative public policy solutions.

An Audit of the Universal Service Fund

Six Republicans, including the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance, and four Democrats serve on the 2011-12 Joint Legislative Audit Committee.   Although it's not on the agenda, the members of the Wisconsin Library Association Library Development & Legislation Committee will discuss the potential impact of this report at an August 5th meeting.  I'll be interested to see if any of the Audit Committee members prepare a news release about the USF report.

LINK


Selected text, most of which shines a light on the shift of funding public library system aids from GPR (general purpose revenue) to USF (Universal Service Fund):

Letter to co-chairs Interim State Auditor Joe Chrisman.  Two programs—the Educational Telecommunications Access Program and Aid to Public Library Systems—represented nearly 80.0 percent of the USF’s FY 2009-10 program expenditures.


Page 3.  During the two-year period we audited, it funded programs that were managed by four state agencies: the Department of Administration (DOA), the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), University of Wisconsin (UW) System, and the Public Service Commission (PSC), which also establishes policies and procedures for the USF and is responsible for levying the assessments paid by telecommunications providers to fund USF programs.

Page 4. The USF has replaced GPR as the funding source for Aid to Public Library Systems.  The State of Wisconsin provided general purpose revenue (GPR) as aid to public libraries until 2003 Wisconsin Act 33 required the USF to fund a portion of that aid beginning in FY 2003-04. By FY 2008-09, the USF had become the sole funding source for the Aid to Public Library Systems program, which is managed by DPI. As shown in Figure 1, $16.2 million in Aid to Public Library Systems expenditures represented 38.7 percent of all USF program expenditures in FY 2009-10.

Page 6.  Provider assessment revenues increased 73.0 percent from FY 2008-09 to FY 2009-10.  Program expenditures did not increase significantly during the two-year period we reviewed. However, provider assessment revenues increased 73.0 percent, primarily because 2009 Wisconsin Act 28 also made the USF the sole source of funding for Aid to Public Library Systems and required the PSC to include that program’s FY 2008-09 and FY 2009-10 costs in telecommunications provider assessments for FY 2009-10. (It should be noted that program expenditures for Aid to Public Library Systems declined from $16.8 million in FY 2008-09 to $16.2 million in FY 2009-10.)

Page 7.  We estimate that the USF has paid DOA at least $4.3 million in excess fees that were subsequently lapsed to the General Fund.  (These 2007-09 and 2009-11 overpayments are, at minimum, a significant eyebrow-raiser, and the only area in the report where the auditors make a recommendation.)

Using Your Library: There's an App for That



Smartphones Replacing Old-Fashioned Library Cards. (Government Technology, 8/3/2011)

Anyone else feel themselves getting defensive when the words "old-fashioned" and "library" are placed next to each other?

Excerpt:  Public libraries sometimes get a bad rap for not utilizing the latest technology, but in reality more of them are pushing their services onto smartphones. Checking a book out on a smartphone rather than at a counter is becoming a more common occurrence.

For example, the Catawba County, N.C., Library System recently began using an app, called LS2 Mobile, to give its registered patrons access to its catalog of available books and other media. The free app provides a searchable list of titles, and users can also renew items, place items on hold and check their account status.

“[Patrons] can then go and pick the item up at their library; they don’t have to pull it off the shelves themselves,” said Regina Reitzel, a Catawba County information services librarian. “They can also see how many books they have out.”

The app is available on the iPod Touch and iPhone, and soon is expected to be made available on Android and BlackBerry. The app’s features also can be accessed by logging on to the county library’s website
.

Are You Sure That's Still in Baseball's Rule Book?

From  today's New York Times:  "Alex Rodriguez to Be Asked About Poker Games".

Under the rules that govern baseball players, Rodriguez will have to truthfully answer baseball’s questions.

Imagine!  Not just answer questions, but answer them truthfully.  Sounds like something out of Normal Rockwell.

New Reporting in a "Lightening" Round Age

Internet Explorer story was hoax.

The Telegraph.  Original headline remains with update below the graphic in small print.


Huffington Post.  Update.  Previously......


Newser.  Read less and still be dumber than a rock.


Lightening?

Paying Full Price for Luxury Goods in a Dollar General Economy

$775

Even Marked Up, Luxury Goods Fly Off Shelves. (The New York Times, 8/4/2011)

Excerpt: Nordstrom has a waiting list for a Chanel sequined tweed coat with a $9,010 price. Neiman Marcus has sold out in almost every size of Christian Louboutin “Bianca” platform pumps, at $775 a pair. Mercedes-Benz said it sold more cars last month in the United States than it had in any July in five years.

Even with the economy in a funk and many Americans pulling back on spending, the rich are again buying designer clothing, luxury cars and about anything that catches their fancy. Luxury goods stores, which fared much worse than other retailers in the recession, are more than recovering — they are zooming. Many high-end businesses are even able to mark up, rather than discount, items to attract customers who equate quality with price
.

WiscNet Lawsuit Case Summary Now Includes Names of Defendants' Attorneys

It was reported at a meeting hosted by DPI staff on Tuesday, August 2, that Wisconsin Independent Telecommunications System/Access Wisconsin has filed more detail on their complaint.  I have not seen this additional information but will certainly pass it along when it becomes publicly available.

Note that the injunction hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, August 30, at 1:00 p.m.


Related WiscNet/BCCB posts:
An example of how advocacy works.  (7/31/2011)
From Peter C. Anderson's Court Official Calendar for Dane County.  (7/24/2011)
Lawsuit update and summary.  (7/22/2011)
Judge Anderson denies UW broadband restraining order.  (7/21/2011)
Plaintiffs v. Defendants.  (7/20/2011)
Telcos whine while Wisconsin falls behind.  (7/20/2011)
Access Wisconsin news release.  (7/19/2011)
LRB clarifies WiscNet veto. (6/30/2011)
WiscNet:  Moving Forward.  (6/30/2011)
Walker's WiscNet veto:  What does it mean?  (6/27/2011)
Rest assured they'll be more fights in this battle.  (6/24/2011)
Wisconsin Senate passes budget.  (6/17/2011)
Amendment update.    (6/16/2011)
Assembly passes budget at 3:05 a.m.  (6/16/2011)
Wispolitics budget blog.  (6/15/2011)
Wisconsin ranks 43rd for broadband Internet coverage.  (6/15/2011)
Ron Kind news release.  (6/15/2011)
Assembly 8.  (6/15/2011)
Highest level alert.  (6/15/2011)
This is what democracy looks like.  (6/15/2011)
WSTA's day of disappointment.  (6/14/2011)
They can hear us now.  (6/14/2011)
Appleton Post-Crescent editorial.  (6/14/2011)
YouTube video.  (6/14/2011)
Hedberg Public Library promotes WiscNet.  (6/14/2011)
League of Wisconsin Municipalities press release.  (6/14/2011)
UW General Counsel opinion.  (6/13/2011)
Ars Technica WiscNet coverage.  (6/13/2011)
Wausau Daily Herald editorial.  (6/13/2011)
If your representative is Robin Vos...   (9/13/2011)
Baraboo School Board unhappy with JFC WiscNet action.  (6/13/2011)
WiscNet debate from the NE WI prospective.  (6/12/2011)
David Weinhold letter to editor.  (6122010
Rep. Moelpske's statement. (6/11/2011)
COLAND letter to Sen. Fitzgerald.  (6/10/2011)
Rhonda Puntney's op-ed piece.  (6/10/2011)
Nass letter to Fitzgerald and Vos.  (6/9/2011)
CINC response.  (6/9/2011)
UW response.  (6/9/2011)
Manna from heaven.  (6/8/2011)

Daily Union Series on Public Libraries and the Elimination of Maintenance of Effort (2nd Installment)


Costs are up and funds down at the Dwight Foster Library in Fort. (Jefferson County Daily Union, 8/3/2011)

Excerpt:   Librarians all over the state are concerned about the elimination of the Maintenance of Effort statutes that required municipalities to provide fairly steady support to their libraries. Under Governor Scott Walker and the Legislature, this requirement, which had been in force for the last three decades, has been eliminated.

In the past, this requirement has dictated that municipalities should continue to fund their libraries at the same level of funding as they have in the average of the last three years.

"This has been part of the law for a long time," Meyer said.

Explaining the reasoning behind it, she said that if one municipality funds its library at a much lower level, it will impact other area libraries as people turn elsewhere to check out and use library resources.

"At some point, a library becomes a drain on a system when it's not contributing as much as it's taking away from other libraries," Meyer said. "Now that this protection has been removed, there's a lot of concern and fear about what that may bring."

In Fort Atkinson's case, she said, she has a lot of faith in the city council and in the local community to continue supporting the library as it has in the past.

"It took a lot of faith on the part of the community to try to build a new library in this time, and now that we have the new library, I think it's going to continue to be supported," Meyer said.

Meanwhile, she said, library planners must be very creative about conserving their resources while still offering the high level of service that the community has grown to expect.

Meyer said she is extremely relieved that the state's Joint Finance Committee decided to restore WiscNet, the low-cost Internet service for the state's libraries and schools.

"It is the backbone for our automation system and how we share materials," Meyer stated.


Related post:
Jefferson Public Library. (8/3/2011)

A Bright Future for the Troy Michigan Public Library



Newly refunded Troy library sees bright future. (Oakland Press, 8/3/2011)

Excerpt: A planned public closure of April 30 was put off when the Troy City Council vowed to find other ways to keep the library open.

Despite four requests to operate an independent library that were turned down by voters last November, the Troy City Council decided to let voters decide on a five-year dedicated millage on Tuesday. This time, the voters approved the millage request by a margin of 12,246 to 8,799 votes.

“It’s been a tough year,” Kwik said. “With the layoffs last year, we were down from 120 employees to 70, and now we’re down to 55 as people went off to find new jobs.”

Of the 45 library employees, only four are full-time as compared to 15 before the July 2010 layoffs.

With a new millage that’s dedicated to library operations only, Kwik and the staff at the Troy Public Library are planning how to get things back up to speed.


Related posts:
After contentious millage vote, library focuses on providing services.  (8/4/2011)
Millage vote wrap-up.  (8/3/2011)
It's official.  (8/2/2011)
Biggest library story of the day, continued.  (8/2/2011)
Very early vote tally.  (8/2/2011)
Keep your fingers crossed for Troy Public Library.  (8/2/2011)
Kids speak up for the Troy Public Library.  (8/1/2011)
Partisan politics emerge in Troy Public Library vote.  (8/1/2011)
Residents to vote on library village on August 2.  (7/28/2011)
Patrons speak up for their library.  (7/24/2011)
Safeguarding American Families:  Vote yes to save Troy Library.  (7/14/2011)
Troy mayor is upbeat.  (7/14/2011)
Oakland Press editorial.  (7/14/2011)
Book burning listed on Detroit News events calendar.  (7/12/2011)
Troy Chamber supports millage request for library.  (7/10/2011)
A half-million dollar library collection up in flames?  Not gonna happen.  (7/9/2011)
I)s it just me or are things heating up in Troy Michigan?  (7/6/2011)
The battle lines are drawn.  (6/28/2011)
August 2nd a "This Is It" moment for the Troy Public Library..  (5/17/2011)
Working to keep the library open.  (5/10/2011)
Will there be a library after June 30th?  (4/20/2011)
Keep the Troy Public Library open:  Council members told to 'figure it out'.  (4/19/2011)
May Day!  May Day!  Two Michigan libraries set to close on May 1.  (4/17/2011)
Library to close on May 1.  (2/23/2011)
Troy Michigan (population: 80,000) still on track to close its library.  (2/8/2011)
Voters wave bye-bye to their library.  (11/3/2010)
Giving voters more choices than they need.  (8/13/2010)
Library threatened with closure, part 2.  (5/19/2010)
Library threatened with closure, part 1.  (4/25/2010)

After Contentious Millage Vote, Troy Michigan Public Library Focuses on Providing Services


Troy library vows to increase services. With tax hike OK'd, more materials and programs on the way. (Detroit News, 8/4/2011)

Excerpt: "We're going to look at enhanced services that will change the way we do business," said Phillip Kwik, the library's director of public services.

"We haven't had the chance to be real creative. We weren't thinking of a future."

Kwik said the library is looking into self-checkout machines, new materials and reinstating story time programs and classes. There are also plans to evaluate staffing, which was reduced to 70 people in July 2010 after layoffs, and through attrition is now down to 55.

"We want to plan and see where the holes are now and what we can do," he said. "We'll also engage the community and see how they want their millage money spent."


Related posts:
Millage vote wrap-up.  (8/3/2011)
It's official.  (8/2/2011)
Biggest library story of the day, continued.  (8/2/2011)
Very early vote tally.  (8/2/2011)
Keep your fingers crossed for Troy Public Library.  (8/2/2011)
Kids speak up for the Troy Public Library.  (8/1/2011)
Partisan politics emerge in Troy Public Library vote.  (8/1/2011)
Residents to vote on library village on August 2.  (7/28/2011)
Patrons speak up for their library.  (7/24/2011)
Safeguarding American Families:  Vote yes to save Troy Library.  (7/14/2011)
Troy mayor is upbeat.  (7/14/2011)
Oakland Press editorial.  (7/14/2011)
Book burning listed on Detroit News events calendar.  (7/12/2011)
Troy Chamber supports millage request for library.  (7/10/2011)
A half-million dollar library collection up in flames?  Not gonna happen.  (7/9/2011)
I)s it just me or are things heating up in Troy Michigan?  (7/6/2011)
The battle lines are drawn.  (6/28/2011)
August 2nd a "This Is It" moment for the Troy Public Library..  (5/17/2011)
Working to keep the library open.  (5/10/2011)
Will there be a library after June 30th?  (4/20/2011)
Keep the Troy Public Library open:  Council members told to 'figure it out'.  (4/19/2011)
May Day!  May Day!  Two Michigan libraries set to close on May 1.  (4/17/2011)
Library to close on May 1.  (2/23/2011)
Troy Michigan (population: 80,000) still on track to close its library.  (2/8/2011)
Voters wave bye-bye to their library.  (11/3/2010)
Giving voters more choices than they need.  (8/13/2010)
Library threatened with closure, part 2.  (5/19/2010)
Library threatened with closure, part 1.  (4/25/2010)

Book to Film: Golf in the Kingdom


Doug Moe: Golf a great game, just not on film. (Capital Times, 8/1/2011)

Excerpt: It was never going to be easy to make a film out of “Golf in the Kingdom,” Michael Murphy’s 1972 novel that, to some of us, is the best golf book ever written.

Murphy thought it was going to happen more than a decade ago. He told me so the only time I ever spoke to him.

“Clint absolutely swears he will do it before 2000,” Murphy said when we chatted in October 1998.
Clint was Clint Eastwood, who owned the film rights to the novel — a somewhat mystical account of a golf match in Scotland and its aftermath — for many years.

Sean Connery also was interested for a long time. Connery wanted to play Shivas Irons, the novel’s wise and mysterious golf pro.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Federal and State Budget Cuts Push the Pain Down to the Local Level


Spending Cuts Cascade Down to Local Level. (Wisconsin Budget Project, 8/3/2011)

Excerpt:  Both the federal government and the state government are reducing spending, in large part by shifting costs to other levels of government. Faced with cascading cuts in spending, local governments have fewer options and are facing the possibility of having to make steep cuts in areas important to keeping our communities safe, well-functioning, and economically viable.

[snip]

At the federal and state levels, governments have the ability to push some of the pain of budget cuts down a level. Local governments don’t have that option. Instead they will have to make drastic cutbacks that will have detrimental effects on our safety, our local economies, and our quality of life.


Milwaukee Public Library Laptop Program


Milwaukee Public Library rolls out new laptop program. (OnMilwaukee.com, 7/26/2011)

ExcerptThanks to both the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant, six Milwaukee Public Library locations have laptops available for on-site check-out. Included in the grant are improvements for broadband service at all 13 MPL locations.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to expand access to technology and the Internet in communities where home access is limited," said library director Paula Kiely.

"With these laptops, the number of computers available has more than doubled at each participating library, giving customers greater ability to search for jobs, develop their computer skills, search for information and connect to the vast resources found online."

Six MPL branches will each have 40 laptops available for library patron use
.

Slow Clap for Congress on the Debt Deal



Watch more, if you're so inclined.

Hispanics Have Highest Ownership Rates for Ereaders, Tablets


Hispanics Have Highest Tablet Adoption.  (eMarketer, 8/3/2011)

Excerpt:  Like for many newer devices, young, affluent college graduates are the overall heaviest users of tablets and ereaders. But when device ownership is broken down by race and ethnicity, the results go beyond the typical early adopter profile. Hispanics skew higher than black or white consumers in ownership of both types of device.

Troy Michigan Public Library Millage Vote Wrap-Up


Last-ditch millage vote saves Troy library. (Detroit News, 8/3/2011)

Excerpt:    The library doors will stay open in Troy after voters on Tuesday approved a controversial tax hike that divided the community and included threats of book-burning if the measure failed.

More than 58 percent of voters said yes to the city's third attempt at a millage increase to save the library, which city officials said would have to close without additional funding. Residents voted down two similar proposals last year.

"It's a great statement," said Sue Martin, a co-founder of the resident group TRUST, Troy Residents Unified for a Strong Troy, which also formed the ballot committee SAVE Troy to advocate for the library millage.

"The community is committed to supporting not only the library, but the community at large. This was a vote for Troy, not just for the library."

Community groups have been at odds over the five-year, 0.7-mill tax that would cost the owner of a $200,000 home $70 a year.

Deborah DeBacker, a committee member of the anti-tax group Troy Citizens United, said her group crunched the numbers and believes the library could be spared without the new tax.
DeBacker says voters were scared that the library, near the city's municipal offices on Big Beaver, would be shuttered on Friday, as city officials have warned.

"People were scared. It's a shame," she said. "Two out of three times we voted no, and they never closed the library."

The millage proposal has been a contentious issue that even led members of the organization Safeguarding American Families (SAFE) to threaten to hold a book-burning party if the proposal failed.

The tax levy, which passed 12,246 to 8,799, will generate $3.1 million for library services.


TROY LIBRARY SAVED.  Residents approve 5-year millage.  (Oakland Press, 8/3/2011)

Excerpt: Work remains for city library staff to restore library services, which have lapsed since the library prepared for an Aug. 5 shutdown.

“We have things to renew, books to buy, and people to hire,” said Phillip Kwik, head of public service of the Troy Public Library. “We’ve been in shutdown mode for the past three to four months.”


Related posts:
It's official.  (8/2/2011)
Biggest library story of the day, continued.  (8/2/2011)
Very early vote tally.  (8/2/2011)
Keep your fingers crossed for Troy Public Library.  (8/2/2011)
Kids speak up for the Troy Public Library.  (8/1/2011)
Partisan politics emerge in Troy Public Library vote.  (8/1/2011)
Residents to vote on library village on August 2.  (7/28/2011)
Patrons speak up for their library.  (7/24/2011)
Safeguarding American Families:  Vote yes to save Troy Library.  (7/14/2011)
Troy mayor is upbeat.  (7/14/2011)
Oakland Press editorial.  (7/14/2011)
Book burning listed on Detroit News events calendar.  (7/12/2011)
Troy Chamber supports millage request for library.  (7/10/2011)
A half-million dollar library collection up in flames?  Not gonna happen.  (7/9/2011)
I)s it just me or are things heating up in Troy Michigan?  (7/6/2011)
The battle lines are drawn.  (6/28/2011)
August 2nd a "This Is It" moment for the Troy Public Library..  (5/17/2011)
Working to keep the library open.  (5/10/2011)
Will there be a library after June 30th?  (4/20/2011)
Keep the Troy Public Library open:  Council members told to 'figure it out'.  (4/19/2011)
May Day!  May Day!  Two Michigan libraries set to close on May 1.  (4/17/2011)
Library to close on May 1.  (2/23/2011)
Troy Michigan (population: 80,000) still on track to close its library.  (2/8/2011)
Voters wave bye-bye to their library.  (11/3/2010)
Giving voters more choices than they need.  (8/13/2010)
Library threatened with closure, part 2.  (5/19/2010)
Library threatened with closure, part 1.  (4/25/2010)

Milwaukee County's Stark Fiscal Landscape


Report: State budget pushes Milwaukee County deeper into fiscal hole. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 8/3/2011)

Excerpt: The new state budget has pushed Milwaukee County more than $21 million deeper into a fiscal hole, increasing the chances that massive service cuts could be needed to fill the gap, a nonpartisan local think tank says in a report being released Wednesday.

Transit, parks and social services all could be chopped, while layoffs and benefit cuts could be ahead for county workers, the Public Policy Forum report says in its preview of the challenges in crafting the 2012 county budget. For revenue, the county has one last chance to raise property taxes by $10 million, in addition to boosting fees and imposing a controversial wheel tax, the report says.

County Executive Chris Abele's top aide agreed that Abele and the County Board will face tough spending decisions, but he repeated Abele's position that tax increases are not an option in the budget the executive will propose in September.

"It is a stark landscape," said Patrick Farley, county director of administrative services. "A lot of very difficult choices have to be made
."

Daily Union Series on Public Libraries and the Elimination of Maintenance of Effort


Jefferson's Bubolz strives to preserve library budgets. (Jefferson County Daily Union, 8/2/2011)

Excerpt:  Editor's note:  This is the first in a series on how local libraries are reacting to changes in the state budget which cut state assistance to certain programs and which allows municipalities to cut library budgets by any amount, as opposed to the limited cuts dictated by the now-eliminated Maintenance of Effort statute.)

Jocelyn Bu­bolz, director of the Jefferson Public Library, has taken a very active role in spreading the word about changes to the state budget that affect libraries.

As soon as she found out about the provisions in the proposed budget, she began speaking out and writing letters.

First, she made information available to local library patrons, to make sure they knew about some of the measures that were buried within the budget proposal. She also contacted legislators, both the local ones and those from her home district, and she even wrote to the governor.

The Jefferson librarian said she contacted all of the area legislators and those in key decision-making positions.

"I truly appreciate Andy Jorgensen's attention to this issue," Bubolz said of the local state representative, from Fort Atkinson. "He received about 4,000 calls from constituents and he still managed to get back to me more than once."

Until WiscNet was restored to the budget, she alerted patrons and decision-makers how the elimination of the library and school Internet service would impact local library budgets, and the services they would be able to provide.

With WiscNet restored, she focused her efforts on what she considered the most egregious of the remaining changes, the elimination of the "Maintenance of Effort" statute.

Black River Falls Library Board Responds to Staff's Safety Concerns


Library moving forward with new security. (Jackson County Chronicle, 7/27/2011)

Excerpt: The Black River Falls Public Library will now move forward with strengthening the facility’s security.

The Library Board authorized the move following a 6-0 vote at its July 12 meeting. There currently is no timeline for installing the panic button-like system, but Library Board President Jon Warmke said the new measure will be a positive change for the facility’s employees and patrons.

“We’re open to the public, and there’s a lot of nooks and crannies,” Warmke said. “It was a way of calming some of the nerves of our staff and ensuring that they are safe in the building.
“I think we want to ensure the library is a safe place for patrons and our employees.


Related post:
Staff security an issue at library.  (6/15/2011)

A Love of Reading Inspired by the Harry Potter Series


Jordan’s Journal: Harry Potter taught me to love reading. (Hudson Star-Observer, 7/22/2011)

Excerpt: Since the day I picked up “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” I have been reading as much as I can as often as I can. I have spent many a late night with my bed-side lamp burning bright to get through just a few more pages or stayed inside on a sunny Saturday afternoon reading instead of going outside to play.

When the series was made into movies, I couldn’t have been happier. The movies only added to my love of the books and projected the world I had seen only inside my own mind for so many years onto the big screen. I was seeing my favorite series in theaters and could relive the stories I had enjoyed so much in book form over and over again. It made me all the more anxious for the rest of the novels to come out.

I can remember the day that the last book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” that I had preordered months before, arrived at my door. After I had the book in my hands, I disappeared into my room for the next few days until I had read all there was to read all the way to the last word on the final page that brought a conclusion to one of my favorite series of all time.

At the time, I knew I still had the rest of the Harry Potter movies to look forward so it did not really feel like the end. But with the final film installment of the Harry Potter epic now out in theaters, there is no way to deny that it is all over, once and for all.

Last Friday, July 15, marked the end of an era for me and all the other young adults who grew up on the stories of a teenage wizard who defied remarkable odds and became a hero. It will be hard to say goodbye to the world of Harry Potter given how much joy it has supplied me with over the years. There will never be another book that will do for me what J.K. Rowling’s series has.

It is incredible to think that there was ever a time when I hated to read. Books have become a huge part of my life and have made me who I am today. I owe a lot to J.K. Rowling and the universe she created. It is hard to consider how different my life would be if Mrs. Wiora had never read Harry Potter to my fourth-grade class or if Rowling had never put pen to paper and written the masterpiece that is Harry Potter
.