Saturday, January 3, 2009

More residents check out library to save money

Link to January 3 Rockford Register Star article.

James is among the many Rock River Valley residents leaning on their local public libraries while money is tight at home. Library patrons are saving hundreds of dollars on high-speed Internet, printer ink cartridges and movie rentals by using their local library.

“I need this library. I need this computer,” said James, a former legal aide, who discontinued her home Internet service after losing her full-time job in mid-November. “I work some nights, but I need something more dependable. There just isn’t much out there.”

Library usage is up throughout the region, say Rock River Valley librarians. More people are walking through library doors this year, more library materials are circulating among cardholders, computer usage is experiencing a bump, and more people are attending library programs.

The More Things Change....

Link to December 30 "College on the Record" post, "73.4 Percent of All Wikipedia Edits Are Made By Roughly 1,400 People".

The next time you're in the vicinity of a library reference collection, take a look at the long list of names of editors and contributors to World Book, Encyclopedia Americana, or Encyclopedia Britannica.

Freshman legislators temper goals with budget realities

Link to January 2 Eau Claire Leader-Telegram article.

Newly elected state legislators often head to Madison with big dreams of all they can accomplish - and spend - for their districts.

But things are a little different for the freshman class of 2009.
Sure, the three representatives-elect from west-central Wisconsin still believe they will be able help their constituents, but they recognize that filling the state's $5.4 billion budget hole will dominate the agenda.

The Democratic trio - Kristen Dexter of Eau Claire, Chris Danou of Trempealeau and Mark Radcliffe of Black River Falls - has gone through orientation programs for new Assembly members and hopes to hit the ground running after inauguration ceremonies on Monday.

Which melting products are most effective, least harmful?

Link to January 3 Janesville Gazette post.

Celebrating Braille

Link to January 2 Wisconsin State Journal article.

It is Braille's genius that will be remembered at the Braille Birthday Party, hosted by the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (WCB) on Wednesday. The celebration, open to the public, will include reading demonstrations, French refreshments (in honor of Braille's nationality) and informative talks with national and state advocates for literacy issues that the visually impaired face.

What: Braille's Birthday Party
When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday (January 7)
Where: Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, 754 Williamson St., Madison
Admission: Free

Crandon Public Library to extend hours

Link to January 2 Rhinelander Daily News article.

Nice to see an expanding rather than a contracting schedule of hours.

Stewart hired to lead Manitowoc library

Link to January 3 Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter article.

Cherilyn Stewart has been named director of the Manitowoc Public Library by its Board of Trustees, the library announced Friday.

Stewart begins work here Feb. 2. She replaces Patty Wanninger, who was hired as library director Feb. 11 and terminated four months later with the explanation she wasn't "a good fit" with the library's Board of Trustees. In the interim, former library system coordinator Carol Gibson has been fulfilling the director's duties.

Stewart comes to Manitowoc from the Chicago Public Library, where she has been serving as branch manager of Logan Square on the city's north side. She has directed daily operations there for the past five years, serving a community of 85,000 people.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Top 500 Worst Passwords of All Time

Link to January 2 boing boing post.

And "password" is not #1.

Fifth Candidate Announces for State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Green Party member Todd Price running for Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction (from Austin Cassidy's Independent Political Report)

Todd Price Running for Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction (from the Green Party Watch)

A Hurricane Katrina Aimed at Public Education: Renewing No Child Left Behind? by Todd Alan Price

Todd's contributions to

The other announced candidates:
Tony Evers, Department of Public Instruction Deputy Secretary.
Van Mobley, Concordia University professor
Rose Fernandez, president of the Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families.
Lowell Holtz, Beloit Schools Superintendent.

Library Shelves Grieve, But Breathe Easier

Prolific author Donald Westlake dies at 75. Published more than 100 books, all on a manual typewriter.

Westlake's official website.

As the economy goes down, traffic at the library goes up

Link to January 1 Wisconsin State Journal article.

Includes quotes from Tracy Herold, Sun Prairie Public Library Director; Phyllis Davis, South Central Library System Director; Tana Elias, Web Resources Coordinator at the Madison Public Library, Bryan McCormack, Hedberg Public Library Director (Janesville); David Weinhold, Eastern Shores Library System Director; Jessica MacPhail, Racine Public Library Director

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Album sales continue to slide in '08

Link to January 1 Variety post.

The downlow:
1. Sales of albums, CDs and downloads combined, totaled 428.4 million, down 14% from 2007.
2. As a point of comparison, 618.9 million albums were sold in 2005.
3. Sales of digital tracks increased by 27% to 1.07 billion. Downloads comprised 32% of all music purchases.
4. Sales of vinyl album nearly doubled to 1.88 million. (Call it a "bubbling under the hot 100" phenomenon.)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Study Finds Less Diversity in Newbery Books.

Link to December 30 "Arts, Briefly" article in the New York Times.

Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication abstract: Do You See What I See?: Portrayals of Diversity in Newbery Medal-Winning Children’s Literature • Anthony Nisse, Brigham Young University • Children’s literature plays a significant role in society because it reflects values and attitudes that will be passed to children as they read. One of the most prestigious awards for children’s literature is the John Newbery Medal, which is presented annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished contribution to literature for children. Newbery books have a large readership, and are consistently among the most requested books in bookstores and libraries.

The Sounds of Silence

Link to December 30 New York Times article, "Still Paging Mr. Salinger".

Mr. Salinger’s disappearing act has succeeded so well, in fact, that it may be hard for readers who aren’t middle-aged to appreciate what a sensation he once caused. With its very first sentence, his novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” which came out in 1951, introduced a brand-new voice in American writing, and it quickly became a cult book, a rite of passage for the brainy and disaffected. “Nine Stories,” published two years later, made Mr. Salinger a darling of the critics as well, for the way it dismantled the traditional architecture of the short story and replaced it with one in which a story could turn on a tiny shift of mood or tone.

In the 1960s, though, when he was at the peak of his fame, Mr. Salinger went silent. “Franny and Zooey,” a collection of two long stories about the fictional Glass family, came out in 1961; two more long stories about the Glasses, “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters” and “Seymour: An Introduction,” appeared together in book form in 1963. The last work of Mr. Salinger’s to appear in print was “Hapworth 16, 1924,” a short story that took up most of the June 19, 1965, issue of The New Yorker. In the ’70s he stopped giving interviews, and in the late ’80s he went all the way to the Supreme Court to block the British critic Ian Hamilton from quoting his letters in a biography.

Franny and Zooey is on Retiring Guy's list of re-reads for 2009.

Where's the Trust?

Where are the fact checkers?!

Is my face red!!

Link to December 31 New York Times article, "As Another Memoir Is Faked, Trust Suffers".

The story of Herman and Roma Rosenblat, who said they reunited years later on a blind date in New York, turned out to be fabricated, and over the weekend the publisher of his memoir, “Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love That Survived,” canceled the February release of the book. This isn’t the first time either a publisher or Ms. Winfrey has been gullible in the face of an exaggerated tale. Now both Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin Books, and Ms. Winfrey are faces on a media dartboard, with Ms. Winfrey dodging criticisms of what the media blog Gawker called her “liar’s club.”

A. V. Club Picks the Best DVDs of 2008

#1 (Great choice!)

Link to December 31 A. V. Club post.

Interview with Tom Nelson, Assembly Majority Leader

Link to December 31 Appleton Post-Crescent Community Conversation feature, "Burning Questions: Kaukauna Democrat Tom Nelson discusses new role as Wisconsin Assembly majority leader".

The 32-year-old, 2-term legislator, Nelson (D-Kaukauna) was re-elected to the 5th Assembly District in November, and the elected by his Democratic Assembly colleagues to the position of Majority Leader on November 13.

Like Retiring Guy, Tom is a PK.

Who or what was your biggest influence?

I have to go back to an experience that happened when I was 4 or 5 years old. My dad brought our family to the Valley to start the Christ the King Lutheran Church in the Heart of the Valley. He began that ministry by going door-to-door inviting our neighbors in the community to join us at this new church. Just as my dad found that he could serve his community through his ministry, I found I could best serve my community through politics.

I believe that politics is a high calling. This job is extremely important to me. I've worked very hard. I've knocked on over 85,000 doors. And because the Democrats were in a position to take over the Assembly, I was able to run for this leadership post. It offers a seat at the table to make decisions on issues I care passionately about.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rice Lake High School Reading Program

Link to December 30 The Chronotype post, "Read 180 turns students around".

Read 180 was implemented at High School last year. It is a 90-minute instructional model using whole group instruction, small group/individual instruction, instructional software and independent reading.

The Read 180 software is made up of four components - reading zone, word zone, spelling zone and success zone.

In the reading zone, students watch a video that helps them picture a mental model of what they read. In the word zone students build word recognition and increase fluency. In the spelling zone students practice spelling. And in the success zone students apply comprehension and vocabulary strategies and make a final audio recording to demonstrate mastery of the passage they read.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Game Wars

Link to December 29 cnet news post, "Why the Wii and Xbox are killing Sony's PS3".

Dave Rosenberg expands these 5 reasons.
1. Lack of exclusive games.
2. Minimal modern touches.
3. Out-marketed by competition.
4. (Somewhat) burdenson user experience.
5. The Internet.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

As economy dips, Fox Valley libraries have 'banner year'

Link to December 28 Fond du Lac Reporter article.

"Library use is going up. This is not a surprise to us. We've seen this pattern in the past when the economy has soured," said Jim Rettig, president of the American Library Association. "People have to make decisions and they rediscover the value their library offers."

Rettig said the top reason people use library computers, after K-12 education, is career development and job hunting.

"There are an awful lot of companies now that will not accept a job application unless it's submitted online," he said. "Somebody who is out of work or looking to change jobs might not have access to the Internet.

"In 73 percent of the communities in the U.S., their best, and maybe only hope for free Internet access, is their public library."

Fox Valley library directors and staff said an increasing number of patrons are job seekers.

More Little Pieces

Link to December 27 Editor & Publisher post, "Publisher Cancels New 'Holocaust' Book After Press Reports Doubts -- Oprah Goofed Again ".