Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cecil Didn't Check His Email

Arizona GOP lawmaker wants a holiday celebrating white people. (The Raw Story, 2/4/2012)

Hey, guy, we have our own blog.  That's not enough?!

Here's the 2009 celebration.

2010:  I suppose that's one way to look at it.

Alabama State Senator Shadrack McGill Scales the Mount Ararat of Crazy

Alabama State Senator Says Low Teacher Pay Is ‘A Biblical Principle’. (CBS Atlanta, 2/2/2012)

Excerpt:   “It’s a Biblical principle,” she [??] said, according to the Times-Journal. “If you double a teacher’s pay scale, you’ll attract people who aren’t called to teach.”

"She" looks like a "he" to me.

Left In Alabama has more to say.

Cajun Broadband b/w OECD Statistics

Louisiana city blazes high-speed Web trail. (USA Today, 2/1/2012)

Excerpt: Once a broadband leader, the USA has slipped to 15th in a poll by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that ranks countries according to the percentage of households and businesses using broadband, falling behind Finland, France, Canada and other countries. The USA's "duopoly problem" — 96% of households have access to two or fewer broadband service providers — has contributed to the slide in ranking, according to the Federal Communications Commission. In its National Broadband Plan, the FCC urges Congress to clarify federal rules allowing state and local governments to provide broadband service. 

Local governments are increasingly trying to bring broadband service to rural stretches where private providers don't operate but they are met with stiff resistance from the companies, Mitchell says. "These companies fundamentally aren't built for acting in a competitive environment," he says.

"They're built as monopolies. They don't know how to operate any other way."

The article also enumerates the three primary ways by which telecommunications companies fight projects like LUS Fiber.
  • Misinformation campaigns
  • Lawsuits 
  • Lobbying for restrictive state laws 

Sound familiar?

OECD Broadband Portal links

Hat tip to Bryan McCormick

Getting a Handle on the Views of Komen's Senior Vice President for Public Policy

(Love the Internet archive wayback machine.)

From a blogpost she wrote while running for Governor in 2010.

There it is in black and white, if you disregard my orange highlight:  I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.

Numerous news reports refer to Handel as the "architect" of the Komen Organization's decision to cut their grants to Planned Parenthood.   

I wouldn't necessarily call the above statement a "smoking gun", but it certainly gives credence to Handel being the primary "person of interest" in this story.

Booze, Bands & Books @ the St. Paul Public Library

St. Paul Public Library parties feature booze, bands and books. (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 1/17/2012)

Excerpt:   On four Thursday evenings, the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library will host local bands, music trivia and a cash bar at the James J. Hill Reference Library in downtown St. Paul. 

"Book It: The Party" events "offer attendees a chance to experience the library in a new way," according to promotional literature. Library staff will be on hand to register city residents for library cards. 

Tickets are $15, or $10 for members of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library or the James J. Hill Reference Library. All attendees over 21 who bring a current library card from any library system will receive a free beer, courtesy of Summit Brewing.

Also.......Books and Bars

The Komen Uproar: What the New York Times Reported on Wednesday

Uproar as Breast Cancer Group Ends Partnership With Planned Parenthood. (The New York Times, 2/1/2012)  

Excerpt with emphasis added: The foundation’s decision to eliminate most of its grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening caused a cascade of criticism from prominent women’s groups, politicians and public health advocates and a similarly strong outpouring of support from conservative women and religious groups that oppose abortion.


Although I wouldn't sit back thinking this issue has been resolved.

Well, Newt, There's Always the Nuge

G.O.P. Candidates Are Told, Don’t Use the Verses, It’s Not Your Song. (The New York Times, 2/4/2012)

Excerpt:   So rare is it for Republicans to get rockers’ support that it surprised many in the music business when in early December Mr. Romney asked Kid Rock for permission to use “Born Free” during the campaign and got his blessing. 

It seems that every campaign season the issue of politicians’ use of pop songs without permission crops up, often with partisan overtones. And with the Internet making it easier for musicians to track the use of their songs, and with the country’s politics becoming more bitterly divided, more musicians are making legal complaints and prevailing.

Bidding the Second Time Around @ the Madison Public Library

Findorff and Son win Central Library bid again. Wisconsin State Journal, 2/3/2012)

Excerpt:  Madison officials chose Findorff for the project last year but reopened the bidding process in early January because of expected legal challenges. The city's initial bidding process included a requirement it was not entitled to impose that the contractors use a percentage of subcontractors owned by minorities and women. 

The legal glitch put off construction from an expected start of Feb. 13 to March 28. 

Findorff's bid must still go through a review process involving representatives from the city's civil rights department, the engineering department and the public library. A final decision is expected by next Tuesday afternoon, said Bryan Cooper, project manager for the reconstruction. 

The process would then move to the city's public works committee, which meets Feb. 22, followed by a hearing and possible decision by the City Council on Feb. 28.

Related articles:
City to rebid library project. (12/22/2011)
Madison Community Foundation awards $500,000 grant for new Madison Central Library.   (12/16/2011)
Retiring Guy takes a last look at the 1960s-era Madison Central Library.  (11/13/2011)
Madison Central Library prepares for move to temporary facility. (11/9/2011)
Madison Public Library misses cut on $4.5 million tax credit.  (9/14/2011)
Board to consider Plan B financing.  (9/1/2011)
Central library to relocate in November.  (7/27/2011)
Central library reconstruction project to proceed.  (4/29/2011)
Negotiations continue.  (4/27/2011)
Central library not a major issue with candidate or mayor Soglin. (4/19/2011)
Soglin wants to make sure ducks are in a row for Central Library Project.  (4/16/2011)
Latest design review.  (4/8/2011)
Midway Design presentation for Madison Central Library.  (2/25/2011)
Final design for renovated central library unveiled.  (12/8/2010)
And the beat goes on.  (4/14/2010)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rockford Register-Star Editorial Board to Library: More Public Input, Please

Editorial:  Future of Rockford Public Library needs public input. (Rockford Register-Star, 1/28/2012)

Excerpt  [with emphasis added along the way]: 

The recent debate about how much money the Rockford Public Library should spend on its digital collection is a small piece in the broader question of what we want our library to look like.

Not only what should it look like and offer, but how does the library make itself relevant to the almost two-thirds of the population that doesn’t have an active library card.

The library’s move toward spending more on digital resources is inevitable. Most companies, including newspapers, have been slow to adapt to new technology and the Internet.

The Register Star, for example, started dabbling with online content in the mid-1990s. Today, 16 percent of our readers access us only online and 45 percent of our print subscribers also read us via the Web. The mission of any taxpayer-supported entity should be to serve as many people as possible.

A Harris survey in 2008, which was drawn to our attention by the American Library Association, showed that 68 percent of Americans had a library card. In the Midwest, the number was 72 percent.

The number of active cardholders in the Rockford Public Library system is 55,154 out of a potential of more than 150,000, or about 36 percent. Rockford’s historic low educational levels probably factor into that number.

Related article:
Save Our Rockford Library members pack board meeting.  (1/28/2012)
Save Our Rockford Library (SOL) calls for more public input in library's strategic planning. (1/14/2012) 
Rockford Public Library will boost spending on digital and audio books in 2012. (10/13/2011)
Supportive editorial for Rockford Public Library needs a fact checker. (9/1/2011)
Rockford Public Library circulates 0.05 ebooks per capita in 1st half of 2011. (7/13/2011)

In the Social Network Classroom: First SOPA Supporters, Now the Komen Organization

Outcry Grows Fiercer After Funding Cut by Cancer Group.  (The New York Times, 2/3/2012)

Excerpt: The nation’s leading breast cancer advocacy organization confronted the growing furor Thursday over its decision to largely end its decades-long partnership with Planned Parenthood, with rising dissension in its own ranks and a roiling anger on the Internet showing the power of social media to harness protest.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Atlanta Housing Meltdown Continues

But first, a little refresher.

The Property Tax Domino Effect (Atlanta Metro Area).  From December 26, 2010.

In Atlanta, Housing Woes Reflect Nation's Pain.  (The New York Times, 2/1/2012)

Excerpt: A sprawling Southern metropolis, Atlanta has become one of the biggest laggards in the economic recovery. In November, prices of single-family homes were down close to 12 percent compared with a year earlier, the largest decline among major metropolitan areas, according to data released on Tuesday in the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Home prices regionally are now below their levels of 2000, making Atlanta one of only four metro areas to have experienced such a slide. The price of entry-level housing in the area — the lowest tier of the market, valued at just under $96,600 — fell by close to a third last year.


Where the region once attracted thousands of prospective home buyers drawn by plentiful jobs and more affordable living, that influx has dwindled. Local unemployment, at 9.2 percent, is slightly higher than the national rate, in part because one in every four jobs lost was connected to real estate [which is why my sister-in-law Kim's brother is back in Pennsylvania], a much higher rate than in the rest of the country. Those jobs have yet to return, while even people with work are having trouble qualifying for loans.

 As a result.....

Excerpt;    Starting with the first session Thursday, the commission’s budget committee wants to hear from every department and office about their expenses. Part of the presentation must also include how offices would operate with a 5 percent or 10 percent cut to their individual spending in Chief Executive Burrell Ellis' proposed $547 million budget.

That would include this department, I assume.

The Alan Lomax Collection From the American Folklife Center

Folklorist’s Global Jukebox Goes Digital. (The New York Times, 1/31/2012)

ExcerptA decade after his death technology has finally caught up to Lomax’s imagination. Just as he dreamed, his vast archive — some 5,000 hours of sound recordings, 400,000 feet of film, 3,000 videotapes, 5,000 photographs and piles of manuscripts, much of it tucked away in forgotten or inaccessible corners — is being digitized so that the collection can be accessed online. About 17,000 music tracks will be available for free streaming by the end of February, and later some of that music may be for sale as CDs or digital downloads.

On Tuesday, to commemorate what would have been Lomax’s 97th birthday, the Global Jukebox label is releasing “The Alan Lomax Collection From the American Folklife Center,” a digital download sampler of 16 field recordings from different locales and stages of Lomax’s career.

Getting to Know Chapter 43 of the Wisconsin State Statutes: Libraries (Part 5: COLAND)

43.07 Council on library and network development.

The state superintendent and the division shall seek the advice of and consult with the council on library and network development in performing their duties in regard to library service. The state superintendent or the administrator of the division shall attend every meeting of the council. The council may initiate consultations with the department and the division.

The council shall:

(1) Make recommendations to the division in regard to the development of standards for the certification of public librarians and standards for public library systems under s. 43.09.

(2) Advise the state superintendent in regard to the general policies and activities of the state’s program for library development, interlibrary cooperation and network development.

(3) Advise the state superintendent in regard to the general policies and activities of the state’s program for the development of school library media programs and facilities and the coordination of these programs with other library services.

(4) Hold a biennial meeting for the purpose of discussing the report submitted by the state superintendent under s. 43.03 (3) (d). Notice of the meeting shall be sent to public libraries, public library systems, school libraries and other types of libraries and related agencies. After the meeting, the council shall make recommendations to the state superintendent regarding the report and any other matter the council deems appropriate.

(5) On or before July 1 of every odd−numbered year, transmit to the state superintendent a descriptive and statistical report on the condition and progress of library services [report dated July 8, 2011] in the state and recommendations on how library services in the state may be improved. The state superintendent shall include the report as an addendum to the department’s biennial report under s. 15.04 (1)(d).

(6) Review that portion of the budget of the department relating to library service. Recommendations of the council in regard to the budget shall accompany the department’s budget request to the governor.

(7) Receive complaints, suggestions and inquiries regarding the programs and policies of the department relating to library and network development, inquire into such complaints, suggestions and inquiries, and advise the state superintendent and the division on any action to be taken.

COLAND bylaws.
COLAND agendas and minutes, 2003-2012.
Beginnings Report on theFuture of Wisconsin Libraries, 2008-2018.

1979 Assembly Bill 20.  (See sections 4 & 13.)
1985 Wisconsin Act 177.  (See sections 1 & 11)

Related posts:
Part 1:  Legislative findings and declaration of policy.
Part 2:  Definitions.
Part 3:  General duties of the State Superintendent.
Part 4:  General duties of the Division.

Clintonville Public Library Among Beneficiaries of Billings Estate

Billings estate gives $1.43 million to community. (Waupaca County Post, 2/1/2012)

Excerpt:    The Clintonville Public Library will receive $286,000.

"We are thrilled and very grateful for the donation from the Billings estate," said Clintonville Public Library Director Kathy Mitchell. "Jane K. Billings was Director of the Clintonville Public Library from 1939-1949 before she took the position of Librarian at Clintonville High School. Robert and Jane Billings were generous supporters of the library throughout their lives, especially the library's local history collection which is housed in the Wisconsin Room. "

The Library Board of Trustees just learned of the amount of the donation and has not had time to plan for the use of these funds," Mitchell continued. "Before his death, Mr. Billings gave the library permission to digitize the book 'Some Movers and Shakers of Clintonville and Points North' written by Jane K. Billings. It is now available online as part of the Clintonville Memory Project in InfoSoup, the online catalog of over 50 libraries in Northeastern Wisconsin.

Future of Viroqua Center in Hands of City Council

Council to have say in Viroqua Center. (Vernon County Broadcaster, 2/1/2012)

Excerpt:     The future of how the Viroqua Center initiative proceeds is in the hands of the Viroqua City Council.

The council could meet and discuss as early as Feb. 12 whether to allow the library task force to continue planning the project as a collaboration or task the library board with designing a stand-alone facility.

The Viroqua City Council held a special meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 25, and discussed the work of the library task force to date. The task force gave an hour-long presentation of its work to the council.

Alderman Terry Noble said the library board has gone as far as it can under a May 2010 resolution made by the council. That resolution asked for the library to investigate the costs and construction of a new 17,500-square-foot library.

"I want to caution everyone about signing contracts and hiring companies and applying for grants under the name of the Viroqua Center," Noble said. "There is no approved Viroqua Center by this council... We have to decide in principle whether that's what we want to do - have the library as a self-standing entity or with it as part of a Viroqua Center project."

The Viroqua Center is an ongoing collaboration between the McIntosh Memorial Library, Western Technical College and other possible community partners.

Related posts:

Students meet Racine Reads 1 million books goal. (Racine Journal Times, 2/1/2012)

Excerpt: Racine Reads organizers were initially “frightened” by the 1 million goal and even considered not setting a numerical goal at all. In the end they went ahead with 1 million, hoping it would be achievable, Barbian said. “

When we first were talking about Racine Reads and what our goal should be, 1 million just seemed such an out-of-reach number. I think it averages 100 books per child,” she said. “At the kindergarten and first-grade level where they read picture books it might not be that many but when fourth- and fifth-graders are reading Harry Potter books that takes some time.”

Related posts:
Racine Reads status report.  (11/28/2011)
Racine Reads: Dream Big! A year-long reading incentive program.  (10/4/2011)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rep. Robin Vos Pushes Back Hard on WiscNet Deadline Extension and WSTA Eats It Up

Before you read the first paragraph of Bill Esbeck's latest missive, consider this fact noted by then-WLA President Rhonda Puntney in a June 9, 2011, op-ed.

The irony is that telecommunications companies, including AccessWisconsin members, currently benefit from about $90 million annually in taxpayer funding through the Universal Service Fund to enhance their ability to provide cost-effective service in rural areas. We would say that is a wise investment.

The Service Line of Demarcation Between Elk Grove Village and Schaumburg Has Been Drawn

Feud heightens between Elk Grove, Schaumburg libraries. (Daily Herald, 1/30/2012)

Excerpt [with bold highlights added]: Due to a deal struck more than 25 years ago, those west of Rohlwing residents were enjoying benefits at both libraries with dual library cards, though legally paying taxes only to the Schaumburg Township District Library. 

“It’s the only area in the entire state ever to have that sort of ability to hold two library cards, that is essentially prohibited by (state law),” Schaumburg Township library Director Stephanie Sarnoff said.  

The tax-sharing deal between both libraries originally was established to stop residents from being double-taxed because that territory of Elk Grove Village’s municipal library overlapped with the Schaumburg Township library district. 

Until a 1983 referendum, residents of the western third of Elk Grove Village belonged and paid taxes to both libraries. A majority of voters supported joining the Schaumburg district. 

Per the deal, Schaumburg Township library remitted a portion of tax revenue generated from Elk Grove Village residents to the Elk Grove library. That amounted to more than $200,000 in fiscal year 2011 — and more than $3.4 million over the years. 

That funding makes up about 4 percent of the Elk Grove library’s roughly $4.6 million operating budget, and about 1.5 percent of the Schaumburg library’s $14.8 million operating budget for the 2011 fiscal year. 

However, the Schaumburg Township library board decided last July to end the tax-sharing agreement due to financial constraints.

Related post:
"Unlibraried" Illinois Residents Face a Patchwork of Fees.  (10/15/2011)

Pot Calls Kettle Black


Foundation for Child Development: 2012 State Child and Youth Well-Being Index (CWI)

The key findings from this study are: 

Higher State Taxes Are Better for Children. States that have higher tax rates generate higher revenues and have higher CWI [Child Well-being Index] values than states with lower tax rates.

Public Investments in Children Matter. The amount of public investments in programs is strongly related to CWI values among states. Specifically, higher per-pupil spending on education, higher Medicaid child-eligibility thresholds, and higher levels of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families(TANF) benefits show a substantial correlation with child well-being across states.

A Child’s Well-Being Is Strongly Related to the State Where He or She Lives. Child well-being varies tremendously from state to state, ranging from a 0.85 index value for New Jersey, the highest ranked state, to a negative 0.96 index value for New Mexico, the lowest-ranked state.

Lester Public Library Receives an Historic Preservation Award from the Manitowoc County Historical Society

Lester Public Library receives 2011 Historic Preservation Award. (Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter, 1/31/2012)

Excerpt:      Lester Public Library was honored to receive one of the Manitowoc County Historical Society's 2011 Historic Preservation Awards in Preservation Service for the Digitization of the Hubert R. Wentorf Photo Collection and Fisher-Hamilton Industries Product Catalogs.

Least Surprising Headline of the Day

Study finds many wealthy retirees leave Wisconsin. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/31/2012)

Excerpt:  It turns out between 2006 and 2010 nearly 45,000 people left Wisconsin for Florida or Arizona, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. Put another way, the number of Wisconsinites heading south was roughly the size of a sellout crowd at Miller Park.

OK, that's an average of 9,000 residents per year.

And here's how  many people attended games at Miller Park from 2006 through 2011.

The retirement reality for a typical Arizona resident.

Related articles:
Retirement: Reality Not As Rosy As Expectations.  (NPR, 9/27/2011)
Worst States to Retire 2012:  Northeast and Midwest Come Up Losers. (  In my experience, family considerations are frequently the primary consideration as to where and how individuals and couples plan for and then tweak their decisions in retirement.

How Much Does a Wine Chilling Unit Cost?

If you need to ask.....

Sub-Zero to close Madison plant, 100 will lose jobs. (Wisconsin State Journal, 1/31/2012)

Excerpt:  [Dave] Goodspeed [business representative for Sheet Metal Workers Local 565, the union representing Sub-Zero/Wolf factory workers] said the job losses are not a surprise. Sub-Zero said in October 2010 that it planned to consolidate production of its wine chilling units, refrigeration drawers and under-the-counter units at a huge, 440,000-square-foot factory it had purchased in Goodyear, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix.

Luxury Market Research — Affluent Consumers Plan Less Spending on Major Home Appliances. (4/26/2009)

Getting to Know Chapter 43 of the Wisconsin State Statutes: Libraries (Part 4)

43.05 General duties of the division.  [For Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning]

The Division consists of 4 teams.

The division shall:

(1) Coordinate and conduct continuing education programs for librarians of school library media programs, public libraries, public library systems and institutional library programs.

(2) As it deems appropriate, assist libraries in the identification and recruitment of qualified personnel.

(3) Provide professional and technical advisory, consulting and informational services to assist:
(a) School districts establishing, maintaining or expanding school library media programs and facilities;

(b) Public libraries, municipalities establishing, maintaining or expanding public libraries, counties establishing, maintaining or expanding public library services, public library systems and their governing bodies;

(c) State agencies and officers; and

(d) Institutional library programs.

(4) Collect library statistics and conduct studies and surveys of library needs throughout the state and report and publish the findings. The research shall be coordinated with statewide library planning.

(5) Designate a librarian to serve as a coordinator of activities for state document depository libraries under ss. 35.81 to 35.835 and to fulfill its responsibilities under ss. 35.81 to 35.835.

(6) Recommend and distribute standards for school library programs and facilities to school library media programs, standards for public libraries to public library governing bodies and standards for institutional library programs to governing bodies and administrators of institutional library programs and to heads of departments, as defined under s. 15.01 (8), which administer institutional libraries.

(7) Establish standards for public library systems under s. 43.09 (2).

(8) Establish standards for and issue certificates to public librarians under s. 43.09 (1).

(9) Approve the establishment of public library systems under s. 43.13.

(10) Administer aids to public library systems under s. 43.24.

(11) Maintain a reference and loan library to supplement the collections of all types of libraries in this state by providing specialized materials not appropriately held and information sources not provided by local libraries or readily available from other area or state−level resource providers.

  • The library shall provide specialized information services to
    • state agency libraries and state employees,
    • institution libraries,
    • public library systems,
    • public libraries,
    • school libraries and other types of libraries according to policies developed by the division.
  • Library and information services may include
    • development of collections of specialized materials,
    • interlibrary loan services,
    • reference services,
    • provision of database search services and
    • maintenance of a statewide database of library materials.
  • The library may contract with state agencies and libraries to provide library material cataloging and processing services.

(12) Assist the council on library and network development in the preparation of the descriptive and statistical report to be prepared by the council under s. 43.07 (5).

(13) Carry out such other programs and policies as directed by the state superintendent.

(14) (a) In this subsection, “participating municipality” has the meaning given in s. 43.18 (1) (ag).

(b) Conduct a review of a public library system if at least 30% of the libraries in participating municipalities that include at least 30% of the population of all participating municipalities state in the report under s. 43.58 (6) (c) that the public library system did not adequately meet the needs of the library. If the division determines that the public library system did not adequately meet the needs of libraries participating in the system, it shall prepare an advisory plan suggesting how the public library system can so do in the future, including suggestions designed to foster intrasystem communications and local dispute resolution. The advisory plan shall be distributed to the public library system board, the boards of all libraries participating in the system and the county boards of all counties participating in the system.


1979 Assembly Bill 20Summary  An act to repeal 15.377 (2) and (3), 43.01 and 43.09 (3) ; to amend 43.001 (4) and 43.24 (3) ; to repeal and recreate 43.03, 43.05, 43.07 and 43.24 (1) ; and to create 15.377 (6), 43.001 (5) and 43.27 of the statutes, relating to...
  • abolishing the council on library development and the council on public library certificates and standards,
  • creating a council on library and network development,
  • assigning duties relating to library services in this state, state aids to public library systems and making an appropriation.

1983 Wisconsin Act 189.  Among the 27 pages of underscored and stricken text:  SECTION 23 [of the bill].  43.001 (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the statutes are renumbered 43.001 (5), (4), (2) and (3) .

1985 Wisconsin Act 29.  (515 pages of underscored and stricken text.  Miscellaneous changes to chapter 43 found on pages 157-159.)

1991 Wisconsin Act 285,   (43.05 (5) of the statutes is repealed and recreated to read: Designate a librarian to serve as a coordinator of activities for state document depository libraries under ss . 35.81 to 35.835 and to fulfill itsresponsibilities under ss . 35.81 to 35.835.)

1995 Wisconsin Act 27.  Language changes pertaining to the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

1997 Wisconsin Act 27.  Language changes pertaining to the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

1999 Wisconsin Act 83.  (43.18 amended.)

Related posts:
Part 1:  Legislative findings and declaration of policy.
Part 2:  Definitions.
Part 3:  General duties of the State Superintendent.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Carl Zimmer Responds to Jonathan Franzen

Ebooks: More Boon to Literacy Than Threat to Democracy. (Discover, 1/31/2012)

Excerpt:    Books were not frozen solid before the invention of the Kindle. Charles Darwin, for instance, rushed out The Origin of Species in 1859 in a fit of desperation, his hand forced by Alfred Russel Wallace’s near-simultaneous discovery of evolution. Darwin was not terribly happy with how the book turned out, and so he continued to revise it for decades, churning out six editions all told. He was perpetually adding clarifications, correcting typographical errors, removing arguments that he no longer liked. A century before computers, Darwin could not resist the urge to “delete that, change that, move it around.” And despite Darwin’s ebook-like compulsion to alter his own text, he still managed to establish the foundation of modern biology. 

It’s certainly true that ebooks are an awkward young format that’s still sloppy and hard to manage. There are plenty of fly-by-night ebook editions of Fitzgerald’s writing, panned in customer reviews for their sloppy formatting. But you can also buy a Kindle edition of The Great Gatsby from, yes, Scribner—the same house that originally published the book in hardback. 

Rather than set the world on fire with radical contigency, I expect that ebooks will follow much the same trajectory as paperbacks. They will start out being frowned upon as shabby, and then they will deliver literature conveniently to millions of people who might not otherwise have read it. In fact, I just discovered to my surprise that I no longer have my paperback copy of The Great Gatsby. It must have disappeared on one of my moves. To fill the gap, I’ve downloaded an ebook version, which I’m looking forward to rereading this evening. And for that, whether he likes it or not, I have Franzen to thank.

Companion piece:
Jonathan Franzen:  ebooks are damaging society.  (Telegraph, 1/29/2012)

From the You-Probably-Don't-Want-to-Know Department

Found at Flowing Data.

I suspect there's a Facebook page for everything under the sun.

Survey says......Bathroom Reading: Study Finds Droid Users Most Likely To Be On-The-Go While Going

City of Manitowoc Elected Officials Write New Employment Policy Manual

Manitowoc looks at sick leave, pay issues. (Manitowoc Herald-Times-Reporter, 1/30/2012)

Such as....
  • Clothing allowances
  • New sick leave bank accrual system.  (sick leave cannot be accrued beyond 10 weeks and will be canceled upon termination of employment with no payment made.)
  • Automatic pay raises
  • Whether Streets workers could continue changing the oil on their cars and trucks at the Department of Public Works shop.
  • Seniority no longer would be the exclusive factor when it comes to layoffs  ("Management (will) retain those employees who are most qualified to perform the available work, regardless of length of employment."
  • No automatic "progression step" raises based on longevity; some council support for a merit-based pay raise system.

New Legislative Strategy: Libraries and Homebrew

Editorial: A tall, cold one can bring politicians together. (Oshkosh Northwestern, 1/30/2012)

Excerpt:   Rep. Dean Kaufert, R-Neenah, and Sen. Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, are pursuing the issue here; it has bipartisan support from five state senators and 14 Assembly members and has been referred to the Committee on Energy, Biotechnology and Consumer Protection.

Like the current homebrewing law, the new bill doesn't allow for the sale of homebrewed wines or beer. It simply allows the concoctions to be transported — so homebrew groups can share their creations with friends and family and the public at festivals and competitions.

As for SB375, we have the support of 11 senators (4 Republicans, 7 Democrats) and 15 Assembly representatives (10 Republicans, 5 Democrats.) Ellis, no. Kaufert, yes.  More on this bill later in the week.

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's only Monday, but this is still the best ebook headline of the week

E-Readers Stimulating the Sales of Erotica eBooks. (Good Reader, 1/30/2012)

Excerpt:    Sales are rising of erotic ebooks due to the constant proliferation of e-readers. At any given time there are numerous erotica books in the best seller list on Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

British Columbia owned eXtasy Books [homepage not explicit] recently told the CBC that “Customers are starting to discover them and finding that they can read certain books that they do not want other people to see and in privacy.” The e-publisher notes that sales took off in early 2010 and doubled last year. She expects them to triple in 2012 with a majority of downloaders being female. Xtasy has more than 1,000 titles in its “store” including ones such as the paranormal Dragon’s Pearl, the hybrid fantasy/Victorian Lady Mechatronic and the Steampunk Pirates and the Western-tinged Dead Man’s Diamond.

John Evangelist Walsh Explains How Monroe Wisconsin Got Its Library

LINK (page 1 of 12)

Hat tip to Janel Keizer, one of my LIS 712 students this semester.

Jonathan Franzen Has Something to Say about Ebooks

Jonathan Franzen: e-books are damaging society. (The Telegraph, 1/29/2012)

Excerpt:  The author of Freedom and The Corrections, regarded as one of America’s greatest living novelists, said consumers had been conned into thinking that they need the latest technology.

“The technology I like is the American paperback edition of Freedom. I can spill water on it and it would still work! So it's pretty good technology. And what’s more, it will work great 10 years from now. So no wonder the capitalists hate it. It’s a bad business model,” said Franzen, who famously cuts off all connection to the internet when he is writing.

“I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change.

“Will there still be readers 50 years from now who feel that way? Who have that hunger for something permanent and unalterable? I don’t have a crystal ball.

“But I do fear that it’s going to be very hard to make the world work if there’s no permanence like that. That kind of radical contingency is not compatible with a system of justice or responsible self-government.”