Saturday, June 7, 2008

National Trendwatch: Legislating Against Cyberbullying

Link to June 7 News Blog post, "A Rallying Cry Against Cyberbullying".

Quote: Legislators are newly arming themselves with laws that will protect kids from being repeatedly harassed via the Internet, text messages, or other electronic devices. In recent weeks, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.) proposed a federal law that would criminalize acts of so-called cyberbullying (PDF). And Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt was scheduled Friday to sign into state law a similar measure, but the event was postponed because of inclement weather in St. Louis.

Link to April 2008 School Library Journal interview with WiredSafety's Parry Aftab, an Internet privacy and security lawyer.

Quote: We're finding that tweens are a hotbed of cyberbullying. Fourth grade is the peak at the younger ages. Then there's another peak as they get into seventh and eighth grade. Kids are doing all kinds of things to hurt themselves and each other. And because kids who are involved in this issue are getting younger and younger, we need to make sure that those who educate them are getting younger and younger.

Aftab's organization, encourages a "Take 5" educational approach.

Going to the Source

Truth, as it turns out here, is synonymous with fiction.

Link to June 7 TPM Election Central post, "Is Bogus Michelle Obama Rumor Based On A Work Of Fiction?"

Quote: Now Jim Geraghty of National Review has claimed that the rumor may be based on...fiction. A political thriller called The Power Broker, published in 2006 by Stephen Frey, features the presidential campaign of Dem candidate Jesse Wood, who's aspiring to be the country's first African-American president.

The story is likely to be discredited here, too.

Friday, June 6, 2008

This Has Art Reproductions Beat Hands Down

American "I'm Not Bucky" Badger

Link to June 6 Ramshackle Solid blog post, "Natural History Museum's Loan Service".

Quote: One of the greatest benefits of membership to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is the Members' Loan Service. Downstairs across from the Discovery Center, the museum offers a lending library from their collection, ranging from plexiglas encased stuffed bobcats to a canine tooth of a saber-toothed cat.

Krugman on Digital Content, Intellectual Property, and E-books

Link to Paul Krugman's June 6 New York Times column, "Bits, Bands and Books".
Quote: According to a report in The Times, the buzz at this year’s BookExpo America was all about electronic books. Now, e-books have been the coming, but somehow not yet arrived, thing for a very long time. (There’s an old Brazilian joke: “Brazil is the country of the future — and always will be.” E-books have been like that.) But we may finally have reached the point at which e-books are about to become a widely used alternative to paper and ink.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos has certainly been pushing us in this direction, but I become skeptical about an e-book tipping point when he won't reveal sales figures for the Kindle.

A business view from Business Week, October 27, 2007 ("The Future of E-Books")
Quote: Standard & Poor's thinks e-books could have the strongest future in higher education since today's students are more adept and versatile in their use of multimedia. Electronic textbooks can allow for greater interaction and can be tailored to fit each course.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

How About a Library Problem Patron Video Game?

Link to June 5 Techdirt post, "Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Gets Into... Video Gaming?"

from the didn't-see-that-coming dept

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor made a statement at a conference that I think we can all agree with:

"If someone told me when I retired from court that I'd be talking at a conference about digital gaming, I'd think they'd had one drink too many."

However, not only did she talk at a conference about digital gaming, she's working on a project to
create a video game about the court system, to try to make students more informed about the judicial system and some of the difficult decisions it makes.

Latest Proposal for New Madison Central Library

The current Central Library facility opened in 1965

Link to June 5 Capital Times article, "New library has been on city's mind for years".

From Mifflin Street to the far east side, public libraries have been an important component in several development plans around Madison.

This spring, local developer Terrence Wall proposed tearing down the downtown library in the 200 block of West Mifflin Street and replacing it with a nine-story, $45 million building. That development would house a new and bigger library, several floors of private office space and retail on the ground floor.

Wi-Fi, video games all part of public libraries version 2.0

Link to June 5 Capital Times article.

Opening paragraphs:
With Nintendo Wii gaming controllers strapped to their wrists, four keenly focused boys whooped it up as they battled through a game of "Super Smash Brothers Brawl."

Assorted spectators, some waiting their turn at the video game, occasionally barked out appreciative or caustic commentary.

While it might sound like a sacrilegious activity to take place in a public library, the gamers didn't draw any dirty looks from librarians, let alone the dreaded "Shhhh!" In fact, that scene is common at libraries around Madison these days. Mere feet away, other patrons of the Alicia Ashman branch library were reading quietly, oblivious to the exuberant competition behind the door of the west side library's community room.

Link to "Game On: Games in Libraries" blog, created in 2005 as a supplement to the Google LibGaming email group, a forum for discussion of gaming in libraries.

Governor's Campus Safety Report Earns Honorable Mention from Government Information Round Table

Link to Office of Justice Assistance news release.

The Governor's Task Force on Campus Safety Final Report was recognized this week as one of the year's best government documents by a board of librarians who review hundreds of state and local government-produced reports.

The Wisconsin Library Association Government Information Round Table serves librarians and other library staff who work with the information provided in all formats by government agencies at the local, state, federal, and international levels.

Repetitive strain injury costing businesses millions

Link to May 6 TechWorld post.

Work-related RSI cases are at an all-time high and the cost to businesses is spiralling, new Microsoft research reveals.

Repetitive strain injury cases have soared by over 30 percent in the last year, costing businesses over US$600 million in lost working hours - and causing pain and debilitating discomfort to over-worked staff.

Microsoft claims the rapidly emerging trend of 'mobile working' - with office-based employees now working on the move for an average of an hour more per day than they did two years ago using laptops and mobile devices - is behind this alarming climb in work-related injury.

For answers to the ten most common ergonomic issues found in libraries, see "How to Minimize Repetitive Strain Injuries in Libraries Through Ergonomic Interventions" at Education Safety Association of Ontario.

Listening to Your Customers

Link to June 5 Wausau Daily Herald article, "Library turns to teens in renovation talks".

Staff members revamping the Marathon County Public Library "teen zone" are turning to what they figure is a logical group of consultants -- the teenagers themselves.

The library in downtown Wausau is preparing to launch its "Extreme Makeover: Teen Zone Edition" project, which will improve and expand an area on the library's second floor. Employees are accepting applications for teens to serve on a panel that will provide ideas and vote on possible changes to the teen zone.

They're All at the Library

Or does it just seem that way on some days?

Link to June 5 New York Times article, "Call It Predictable: Cell Phones Users are Easy to Find". (newspaper headline)

(Curiously, the online headline was changed to "Cellphone Tracking Study Shows We’re Creatures of Habit".)

Quote: The researchers said they used the potentially controversial data only after any information that could identify individuals had been scrambled. Even so, they wrote, people’s wanderings are so subject to routine that by using the patterns of movement that emerged from the research, “we can obtain the likelihood of finding a user in any location.”

At the risk of appearing completely "old school", I offer these 2 links (here & here) as a sidebar.

Alternative title for this post: "Privacy? What Privacy?"

Link to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, "When a Cell Phone Is More than a Phone: Protecting Your Privacy in the Age of the Super-Phone". (Originally posted in August 2005; updated October 2006.)
Link to alphabetical list of topics.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

And What If Your Library Was Located in a "Certain" Neighborhood?

Link to June 4 boingboing post, "D.C. to require ID to enter certain neighborhoods?"

Original post is here. "Police to Seal Off D.C. Neighborhoods."
Quote: Can you say Police State? The Examiner has the scoop on a controversial new program announced today that would create so-called "Neighborhood Safety Zones".

Unsure About Adding Blu-ray Discs to your Collection?

Link to NewsBlog post "Majority of Americans still clueless about Blu-ray".

Quote: According to The NPD Group, a market research company that tracks consumer awareness, while 45 percent of HDTV owners surveyed said they were "familiar" with the format, only 9 percent said they planned on buying a Blu-ray player in the next six months. That's only slightly higher than the general population, 6 percent of which said they planned a similar purchase.

"Holy Toledo: Blu-Ray in Libraries". (amazon blu-ray forum link)

Why Not Just Go for the Full-Throttle SWOT Analysis?

Link to June 4 New York Times article, "Opponents of Evolution Adopting a New Strategy".

Starting this summer, the state education board will determine the curriculum for the next decade and decide whether the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution should be taught. The benign-sounding phrase, some argue, is a reasonable effort at balance. But critics say it is a new strategy taking shape across the nation to undermine the teaching of evolution, a way for students to hear religious objections under the heading of scientific discourse.

Already, legislators in a half-dozen states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri and South Carolina — have tried to require that classrooms be open to “views about the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory,” according to a petition from the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based strategic center of the intelligent design movement.

For background on this movement, see here, here, and here.

And check out the headline of this article.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Collection Development Suggestion: Bo Diddley

Link to a June 2 New York Times discography of the songs that Bo Diddley influenced, "Bo Diddley: The Beat That Will Go On".

Quote: He was a 45-r.p.m. singles artist, and “The Chess Box,” a two-disc, 45-track collection released in 1990, demonstrates his genius pretty well, from his canonical boasts and schoolyard chants (“Bo Diddley,” “I’m a Man,” “Hey Bo Diddley,” “Who Do You Love”) to his more mysterious masterpieces (“Mona,” “Dearest Darling” and the slow instrumental violin-blues shuffle “The Clock Strikes Twelve”). His early black-and-white television appearances, which you can see on YouTube, are essential too.

Unfortunately, "The Chess Box" appears to be out of print (although it is available as an MP3 download). According to WorldCat, only 5 Wisconsin libraries own the CD set.

Best in-print alternative is "His Best : The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection". (6 Wisconsin locations in WorldCat.)

Link to a June 2 New York Times appraisal, "Bo Diddley, Who Gave Rock His Beat, Dies at 79 ".

Monday, June 2, 2008

Still a Way to Go Until DVD's Demise

Link to NewsBlog post, "Netflix is dead if it listens to Wall Street".

Quote: But that's not going to happen overnight. [Customers switching from receiving DVDs through the mail to getting "content" via the Web.]

What [Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael] Pachter doesn't seem to get is that the online distribution of movies is coming whether investors like it or not. [Netflix CEO Reed] Hastings said last week that he expects his DVD revenue to peak within five years. [My emphasis.] Perhaps the best proof that the move-rental business is on the threshold of dramatic change is the set-top box introduced two weeks ago by none other than Netflix.

In this scenario, public libraries are likely to keep DVDs in their collections at least until my 70th birthday. (And maybe by then I'll have watched all 3 discs -- 1003 minutes -- of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 1 set that I purchased a few years ago.)

Would We Have Noticed?

Link to "Star-Tribune Will Keep Book Coverage", from PW Online.

Quote: The decision to keep book review coverage runs counter to the general trend in the newspaper industry to cut space devoted to books.

Sunday book reviews in the Star-Trib are found in the arts section.

In the May 25 edition, the following books are reviewed:

The Boat by Nam Le.
5 copies in LINK; 12 holds.

Lady Lazarus by Andrew Foster Altschul.
1 copy in LINK; no holds; not checked out.

Shelter Half by Carol Bly.
No copies in LINK.

Me Sexy by Drew Hayden Taylor.
No copies in LINK.

And you can probably guess what was featured on the front page of the May 25 Arts section.

Please Come to Wisconsin

Link to "Best Buy to recycle electronics for free".

Beginning Sunday, Best Buy began allowing customers to bring two items per household per day into some stores in Baltimore, San Francisco, and Minnesota for free. But if you're looking to unload that mammoth front-projection TV--not so fast, there are some restrictions.

Included in the program are computers, phones, cameras, PC peripherals, and TVs with monitors smaller than 32 inches diagonal. Not included: larger TVs, air conditioners, microwaves, and large household appliances.

Hmmm.......let's see, if I get every staff member at the Middleton Public Library to participate, we might be able to get rid of the bulk of our outta-use just-collecting-dust inventory.

BookExpo America: Hand-Wringing over Electronic Books

Link to June 2 New York Times article, "Electronic Device Stirs Unease at Book Fair ".

Quote: Much of the talk was focused on the Kindle, Amazon’s electronic reader, which has gained widespread acclaim for its ease of use. Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, spent much of a packed session on Friday evangelizing about the Kindle, which he said already accounts for 6 percent of his company’s unit sales of books that are available in both paper and electronic formats.

To read some of the key findings from the 2008/2009 edition of "Library Use of E-Books", published by the Primary Research Group, click here. (The full report will cost you $75.)

A sampling of the findings.

How-to books were used occasionally by about 37% of the libraries in the sample, but most said that they were little used. Non-U.S. libraries reported higher use than did U.S.-based libraries.

Many libraries reported significant use of electronic directories. 12.5% reported extensive use and 30% said that use was significant. The larger libraries reported the heaviest use.

Business books were among the most popular e-books, perhaps reflecting the great familiarity with electronic information in the corporate world and among students of that world. Nearly 23% of the libraries in the sample reported quite extensive use of their electronic collections of business books, and the same percentage reported significant use. Non-U.S. libraries reported even heavier use than did U.S. libraries.

Fiction e-books were not used extensively and close to 71% of libraries said that they were used little. Less than 10% reported extensive or significant use of fiction e-books.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

More Economic Gloom on the Horizon?

Link to June 1 New York Times article, "Think the Economy Is Bad? Wait Till the States Cut Back".

Quote: That share [of the economy] is gigantic. At $1.8 trillion annually in a $14 trillion economy, the states and municipalities spend almost twice as much as the federal government, including the cost of the Iraq war. When librarians, lifeguards, teachers, transit workers, road repair crews and health care workers disappear, or airport and school construction is halted, the economy trembles. None of that, or very little, has happened so far, not even in California, despite a significant decline in tax revenue.

We might need to gear up our local library advocacy networks like never before this fall budget season.