Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rockford Public Library 2012 Community Survey

Rockford library survey supports keeping branches, same hours. (Rockford Register-Star, 8/30/2012)

Community survey conducted by Perspectives Consulting Group of Paw Paw, Michigan.
  • 420 Rockford residents contacted
  • All over 18 
  • 50/50 split between library users/nonusers
Cost:  $23,000.

Some findings:
  • Hours/Days of operations
    • Two-thirds of library users said current hours and days of operation met their needs. 
    • No consensus among one-third of library users whose needs weren't met, e.g.,
      • Sunday hours
      • Monday hours
      • Morning hours 
    • Non-users did not indicate that hours was an issue.
  • Library materials
    • Majority of library users emphasize print materials over electronic 
    • Funding priorities ("very important" or "important" response)
      • Materials that can be checked out:  9 of 10 respondents
      • Electronic materials:  5 of 10 respondents
  • Branch consolidation (Lewis Lemon, Montague, Rockton Center)
    • Split decision (one-third support, one-third oppose, one-third unsure)
  • Programs, facilities, and staff receive overwhelmingly positive support
  • General use
    • 62.6% of survey respondents used Rockford Public Library at some time in their lives
    • 49.0% used library during past year
  • Reasons given for no library use (page 12-13 of report)
    • Busy/no time
    • Doesn't read
    • Get books/information elsewhere
    • Location
    • No need/not interested (category with most responses)

Amsterdam Public Library (The Netherlands)

Santa Ana Public Library Promotional Video

Governor Scott Walker: Going His Own Way

In an August 31st E-update, Governor Scott Walker boasts that according to the federally verified statistics Wisconsin created 37,464 jobs from March 2011 to March 2012.

I'm still trying to figure out how this seemingly apples-to-oranges comparison, i.e., 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics and 2012 WorkNet data, is supposed to add up to 37,464.

A table published in the June 28, 2012 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ("Jobs data now official: Wisconsin gains but lags behind most states") notes that Wisconsin's private sector job growth has lagged behind most other states.

The statistical information from the latest U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary (reissued 8/31/2012) paints a different picture, as it includes public sector employment.

An excerpt from the report in bullet points: In July 2012, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 30 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 20 states. 

The largest over-the-month increase in employment occurred in 
  • California (+25,200), followed by 
  • Michigan (+21,800) and 
  • Virginia (+21,300). 

The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in 
  • New Jersey (-12,000), followed by 
  • Missouri (-7,700) and 
  • Illinois (-7,100).

...the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment 
  • Vermont (+0.8 percent), followed by 
  • Virginia (+0.6 percent) and the 
  • District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kansas, and Michigan (+0.5 percent each). 

...the largest over-the-month percentage decline in employment
  • Alaska  (-1.0 percent), followed by 
  • Idaho, New Hampshire, and South Dakota (-0.4 percent each). 

Over the year, nonfarm employment increased in 41 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 9 states

The largest over-the-year percentage increase occurred in 
  • North Dakota (+6.8 percent), followed by 
  • California (+2.6 percent) and Oklahoma (+2.4 percent). 

The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in 

  • Rhode Island (-1.6 percent), followed by 
  • Wisconsin (-0.8 percent) and 
  • Alaska and Missouri (-0.5 percent each).

Then there's this report.

Which notes that Wisconsin has lost 19,200 jobs since June 1, 2012.

And remember this schizophrenic approach to headline writing?



The bottom line is that Wisconsin has experienced a net decrease of 27,000 jobs since December 2010.  Governor Scott Walker took the oath of office on January 3, 2011.

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment in Local Government (excluding Education)

Current Employment Statistics Highlights July 2012

Local government employment shows an increase (6,000 in July 2012) for the 4th consecutive month.  This follows a loss of 256,000 jobs from July 2009 to December 2011.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Gee, I wonder why the Republicans oppose the National Popular Vote Bill

After all, the Republicans found it much more advantageous to focus on just one state.

...for the GOP's elite ruling class.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

2012 Republican Party Platform: The Preamble

In annotated bits and pieces.
  • The American Dream is a dream of equal opportunity for all. And the Republican Party is the party of opportunity.  [But curiously, not the party of equal opportunity.]
  • Our nation faces unprecedented uncertainty.....
  • ......four years of lost American leadership.....
  • Put simply: The times call for trustworthy leadership and honest talk  ["Ignored factchecks and the media’s crisis of confidence."  Columbia Journalism Review, 8/30/2012] about the challenges we face.
  • Providence has put us at the fork in the road......
  • .....or a positive, optimistic view of an opportunity society ["The Not-So-Much Opportunity Society, The New York Times, 3/19/2012], where any American who works hard, dreams big and follows the rules can achieve anything he or she wants.
  • [The American people] are the most generous people on earth, giving sacrificially of their time, talent, and treasure.  [U.S. ranks 1st on World Giving Index 2011.]
  • ....if we return government to its proper role, making it smaller and smarter.  ["National debt graph by President.  zFacts.]
  • As President Reagan ["10 Things Conservatives Don't Want You to Know About Ronald Reagan".  ThinkProgress, 2/5/2011] issued the clarion call to “tear down this Wall,” so must we always stand against tyranny and oppression.
  • We possess an owner’s manual: the Constitution of the United States, the greatest political document ever written. That sacred document shows us the path forward. 
    • Trust the people. ["Rule changes makes way for special interests."  Daily Iowan, 8/30/2012]
    • Limit government.    ["America's Peculiar Amnesia:   People have already forgotten how George W. Bush and the Republican Congress expanded government spending."  Slate, 8/2/2010.] 
    • Respect federalism. 
    • Guarantee opportunity, not outcomes. ["The Conscience of a Liberal:  Economics and Morality.  Paul Krugman in The New York Times, 1/18/2011]
    • Adhere to the rule of law.  ["Iowa View: State's GOP leaders undermine rule of law.  Altoona Herald-Index, 8/25/2012]   
    • Reaffirm that our rights come from God, are protected by government, and that the only just government is one that truly governs with the consent of the governed.

Ron Johnson (R-Koch Industries) and David Koch Save America Over Dinner

Sen. Johnson dined with David Koch.  (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 8/29/2012)

Excerpt:    The Center for Responsive Politics also lists Koch Industries as the single largest outside contributor to Johnson's campaign....

In Other Words, a Variation of "My Way or the Highway"

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on the perils of bipartisanship. (Washington Post, 8/29/2012)

Excerpt: Walker embodies a view of governing that has increasingly taken hold in the Republican Party, a view that says it’s better to tell voters what you want to do and then stick to those principles, even if the public isn’t initially with you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I guess the rest of us had better things to do

Not One, but Two Library Groundbreakings in Parma, Ohio

What Time Is It @ the Cuyahoga County Public Library

Libraries are open.

Libraries are closed.  (It's "after dark".)

Read @ the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Sources of Federal Tax Revenue

Policy Basics: Where Do Federal Tax Revenues Come From?   (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 8/20/2012)

Excerpt: Over recent decades, individual income and payroll taxes have become an increasingly large majority of revenue, while the share of federal revenues coming from corporate tax and other revenues has fallen.

Last year.

Since before I was born.

When It Comes to Government Employees, Wisconsin is No Lake Wobegon

Wisconsin Has One of the Leanest Public Sectors in the Nation. (Wisconsin Budget Project, 8/29/2012)

Wisconsin currently ranks 40th among all states.

Excerpt:   Wisconsin has long had a lean public sector compared to other states, and in 2011 the number of state and local government employees per state resident in Wisconsin decreased to its lowest level in nearly 20 years. In light of the property tax constraints and significant local assistance cuts in the 2011-13 state budget, it’s likely that the number of government employees in Wisconsin will continue to decrease in the coming years.

Some Basic Facts on State and Local Government Workers.  (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 6/15/2012)

Excerpt:  This brief report presents some basic facts about state and local employees: the jobs they perform, how many there are, how their pay compares with pay in the private sector, and how much states and localities — mainly school districts, cities, and counties — spend on pay and benefits.

"The library is dying", sez George Hageman

Some initial, random thoughts.

Though Hegman's comments, made in response to a recently passed library levy, are primarily geared to a Seattle audience, he does make a few hyperbolic blanket statements along the way.

On the other hand, I heartily agree with his library (re)design ideas, an increasing concern, especially as it applied to public gathering/meeting/study spaces, during my last few years at Middleton.

Op ed: Seattle's libraries need a makeover for the digital world. (Seattle Times, 8/27/2012)

Excerpt:    Specifically, we need to create a librarian portal, where each librarian is tagged with his or her specialty (history, sports, cooking). Whenever any patron asks a question in-person, over the phone or online, the librarian with the most expertise is automatically alerted. He or she would leverage information-management skills -- as well as a deep understanding of library databases -- to pull the perfect book or find the perfect online resource. Best of all, they can provide assistance remotely, from another branch or from home.

Comment:  In my 30 years of experience working at a reference desk (8 years at the Oshkosh Public Library and 22 years at the Middleton Public Library), finding the perfect book or online resource was overtaken in the early 2000s, if not before, by the customer-fueled emphasis of providing a variety of informal assistance in the use of public access computers:  word processing, Excel spreadsheets, email, filling out online forms, and all kinds of Internet searches.

In general, just how well would George's Seattle model work in Wisconsin?

As shown in the first table, half of Wisconsin's public libraries are located in communities of less then 2,500 population.  The average FTE (fulltime equivalent) among there 196 libraries employee is 1.75.  Oftentimes, the person with the most expertise is working alone.  And this staff member, though being certified or having participated in training workshops, is not likely possess an MLS.

Source:  Institute of Museum and Library Services

George's essay reminds of a comment a friend of mine from college made one brisk, downbeat fall day.  (Some of you have already heard this story -- more than once.)

After an English literature class with the occasionally insufferable Neil Schmitz, we're walking to Norton Union on the UB campus on Wednesday, November 8, 1972.

Crestfallen, Sue says, "I can't believe that Nixon won.  Everybody I know voted for McGovern."

Obviously, Sue needed to expand her horizons.

Two more things, George.

It's not as though libraries have been treading water.  They are transforming themselves, evolving, just as they always have.

In addition, I have an almost 22-year-old Wikipedia-surfing, smartphone-tapping, game-playing son who has regularly used the Middleton Public Library and the UW-Madison Memorial Library to check out print books this summer.  He even read the 1000+ page Shogun*, for crying out loud, in a hardcover-reinforced paperback edition.  (*Not sure if this is the site where he discovered this title.)

Some Republican Delegates Give "the Lady from Puerto Rico" No Respect

Puerto Rican GOP Delegate Interrupted by Chants of “USA! USA!” on Convention Floor.  (Latino Rebels, 8/28/2012)

As the blogpost notes, there are conflicting reports about this incident (splitting hairs here, I'd say),  but whatever the case, it certainly reflects poorly on some of the convention delegates.  Check out Reince Preibus' body language and exasperated tone of voice in the video.  (Starting at 0:56.  "We have to proceed with the order of business....", as he attempts to gavel the crowd to order.)

A Troubling Chant on the Convention Floor.  (Harper's, 8/28/20112)

Most vivid description:  ... it was astonishing to see all the brittle work of narrative construction that is a modern political convention suddenly crack before our eyes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Todd Akin Breastmilk Comment is Satire, but Curtis Had Already Subscribed to this Myth in 2010

Here's a comment by Curtis, no medical expert you can be sure, in response to the article Joel Osteen gets a lecture on homosexuality on ‘The View’.(11/19/2010)

Since Curtis mentions both "breast milk" and "animal proteins", I assume his definition of "breast" includes a cow's udder.

Apparently, the Weston A. Price Foundation* bears some responsibility for this claim with its concerted program of soy misinformation.  

(*The link is to "Reflections on the Weston A  Price Foundation" at  I received a "this site may harm your computer message" when attempting to access the Foundation's website.)

Excerpt from "Update on the Soy Controversy".  :  

There is just a huge amount of information and misinformation floating around on the internet about the supposed dangers of soy. The loudest anti-soy voices are coming mostly from a close-knit group associated with promoting the nutritional agenda of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF). Sally Fallon, Kaayla T. Daniel, Mary Enig, Julia Ross and Joseph Mercola are all members of the board at WAPF, or honorary members. 

The WAPF was founded by the early 20th century dentist Dr. Weston Price, who traveled around the world to research the diets of populations who enjoyed the greatest longevity. Today the foundation promotes a nutrition agenda based solely on “nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats.”

Well, I guess I just have to find another way to find out what the Salem Public Library looks like

The library's Facebook page provides this 'teaser' photo.

Library Technology offers another view.

What is this?  A jigsaw puzzle?

Thank you, Waymarking.  A photo with an appropriate mood of Pacific Northwest dreariness.

Art Deco Treasures @ the New York Public Library

Meet Clayton Kirking, Chief of Art Information Services.

More NYPL treasures.

Chemung County Library District: Your Public Library is There for You

Let's county the ways.
  • Your public library is there for your parents when they plan for your arrival.
  • Your public library is there for your parents when they need to take care of you.
  • Your public library is there for you as you learn and grow.
  • Your public library is there for you as you start to change.
  • Your public library is there for you as you finish high school and plan for the next step of your life.
  • Your public library is there for you as you find that special someone.  
  • Your public library is there for you as you plan the biggest day of your life.
  • Your public library is there for you as you adjust to married life.
  • Your public library is there for you as you create your career.
  • Your public library is there for you should your world get turned upside down.
  • Your public library is there for you as you enjoy your personal interests.
  • Your public library is there for you when the end is closer than the beginning.

But hey, don't take my word for it.  Watch the video and see for yourself.

The Steele Memorial Library on Panoramio.

Austin Public Library's New Online Catalog

94 hits for Flannery O'Connor. Hey, that in itself is impressive!

Cobb County Public Library System: What Can Your Library Card Do For You

Let's count the ways.
  • "My library card taught me Spanish."
  • "......helped me find a job."
  • "......helped me travel to new worlds."
  • "......helped me find my great-grandparents."
  • "..... helped me fix my car."
  • "......taught me how to knit."
  • "......helped me pass my real estate exam."
  • "......helped my child learn to read."
  • "......brought me to the State Park".
  • "......helped me check my stock portfolio."

Paul Ryan as Thinker: Just Plain Creepy

Paul Ryan Said Something That Should Force Him Off the Ticket, But You Probably Didn't Hear About It.  (Huffington Post, 8/27/2012)

Yes, indeed, this is Paul Ryan as thinker.  Oy!

Books and Beers

Although in a world of stereotyping people by what they drive, the translation doesn't quite fit.

Not mine, by the way.

Wisconsin car owners, want you own personalized license plate?