Thursday, December 31, 2009

Banished Words

Link to Lake Superior State College List of 2010 Banished Words.

: Word "czars" at Lake Superior State University "unfriended" 15 words and phrases and declared them "shovel-ready" for inclusion on the university's 35th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

"The list this year is a 'teachable moment' conducted free of 'tweets,'" said a Word Banishment spokesman who was "chillaxin'" for the holidays. "'In these economic times', purging our language of 'toxic assets' is a 'stimulus' effort that's 'too big to fail.'"

Former LSSU Public Relations Director Bill Rabe and friends created "word banishment" in 1975 at a New Year's Eve party and released the first list on New Year's Day. Since then, LSSU has received tens of thousands of nominations for the list, which includes words and phrases from marketing, media, education, technology and more.

The complete list:







Friend as a verb

Teachable moment

In these economic times...


Toxic assets

Too big to fail



Obama-prefix or roots?

If it hadn't already been included on the list in 2002, I would have included "athleticism", a word that sportscasters remain incapable of removing from their vocabularies. It's instructive to note that this word tends to be used in reference to black athletes.

Banished words archives found here.

3D TV: Coming to Your House Soon?

Link to December 30 Business Week article, "3D TV: Not So Fast". (via USTelecom dailyLead)

Excerpt: But as much as consumers demand 3D in theaters, they may not quickly usher it into their homes. Making a living room theater 3D-capable can cost upwards of $4,000, a hurdle that even the most ardent 3D backers say may slow adoption. "We don't expect to see an explosion of 3D in the home until the 2012 time frame," says Mike Fasulo, chief marketing officer for Sony Electronics, which nevertheless is betting its future on the technology. Sony is among the electronics makers that plan to introduce 3D-friendly TVs and DVD players at the Consumer Electronics Show, due to begin Jan. 7 in Las Vegas. Sony (SNE) expects 3D TVs to account for up to 50% of its total TV shipments in the financial year that ends March 2013, up from zero percent this year.

Ja, that $4,000 is some hurdle!
Link to December 31 Kenosha News article, "Community Library Board offers settlement to demoted director".

[Library Board President Marlene] Goodson said she could not disclose the settlement the board is offering.

Since her demotion, Close has remained on staff at the same pay she received as director.

The board never outlined its reasons for demoting Close, who had led the library district since its formation nearly 26 years ago. The board voted 6-2 in favor of the demotion, with another two board members resigning before the vote rather than take part.

It appears Close was targeted by representatives of Twin Lakes and Randall. Prior to the demotion, the Library Board had received letters from the chairman of the Randall Town Board, and the presidents of the Silver Lake and Twin Lakes village boards demanding that Close be fired, in part because they believe Close favored changing representation on the Library Board to meet guidelines required by state law.

This quote brings a quotation to mind.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Printer Ink: More Precious Than Blood

Posted at on December 23. (via boingboing)

AbeBooks' Weird Book Room

American & British covers

Link (via boingboing, of course)

About: Welcome to AbeBooks' Weird Book Room - heralded by The Times, The Guardian, New York Times, and Canada's Globe and Mail as the finest source of everything that's bizarre, odd and downright weird in books. We now have 101 crazy and strange titles about every oddball aspect of life you could possibly imagine and a few things you couldn't possibly imagine. We invite you to not only revel in our collection of literary oddities but to also send us your suggestions.

There are 19 copies of this book, Lynch's 1st of 3, in LINKcat. One is currently checked out.

Are the Times Really a-Changin'?

Toll Ahead?

Link to December 28 New York Times article, "Adding Fees and Fences on Media Sites".

Over more than a decade, consumers became accustomed to the sweet, steady flow of free news, pictures, videos and music on the Internet. Paying was for suckers and old fogeys. Content, like wild horses, wanted to be free.

Now, however, there are growing signs that this free ride is drawing to a close.

Newspapers, including this one, are weighing whether to ask online readers to pay for at least some of what they offer, as a handful of papers, like The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, already do. Indeed, in the next several weeks, industry executives and analysts expect some publications to take the plunge.

Retiring Guy Can Relate to Tongue-in-Cheek Essay on 60s TV Shows

Link to December 28 New York Times article, "Innocence Undone, Frame by Frame".

Excerpt: Many years ago, in the blissful days of three and only three networks, that boy — i.e., me — would watch the offered television fare and be amazed by the bravery of the actors and the magical qualities of the land in which they lived, a land where things like the rules of gravity seemed to be optional. For decades this innocent awe somehow sustained the boy as he meandered into adulthood and the drabness of real life. “Sure,” he would tell himself, “the car battery is dead and the medical bills are unpaid, but it’s O.K. because somewhere hats can fly off people’s heads straight up, and a girl can shoot bottles out of midair.”

Then these beloved old shows — “F Troop,” “The Munsters” and the rest — started showing up on DVD, making it possible to watch them in super slow motion, even frame by frame. And the boy, now grown, has begun to realize that many of his foundational memories were just tricks of the eye. So hurray that home DVD sales appear to be on their way to another decline in 2009. It’s imperative that these things disappear from the marketplace before any more old television series are digitized. Some shows were never intended for the DVD microscope.

And while we're on the subject of Yvonne de Carlo, if you have 98 minutes to spare, check her out in this film noir classic. (Middleton and Wisconsin Rapids have the only copies in LINKcat.)

Great still.

Selections from "100 Things to Watch in 2010"

Compiled by JWT, a marketing communications company.

Link to December 29 Open Forum post.


11. Electronic Libraries
Digital books are fast becoming available to the public for free: Libraries are starting to lend e-books and downloadable audio books that patrons can access from home; Google is working with authorities on its controversial plan to create the world’s biggest digital library; and the EU’s i2010 initiative includes a digital libraries program.

18. Lifestreaming
Online sharing will accelerate with the emergence of lifestreaming: aggregating one’s social media channels via applications like Posterous and Tumblr, resulting in a centralized stream of text, images, videos and links. This new communication channel bridges old-school blogs and Twitter.

19. Local, Nonprofit Online Newspapers
Watch for more so-called public media organizations that emulate the Voice of San Diego, MinnPost in the Twin Cities, the new Texas Tribune and a well-funded upcoming San Francisco venture, among others. Meanwhile, legislation before the U.S. Congress would help existing newspapers gain nonprofit status.

26. Paying for Online Content
Content providers will attempt to engineer a paradigm shift from free to fee. Five major magazine and newspaper publishers in the U.S. recently launched a venture that would create an iTunes-like digital store for their content. In the U.K., about 70 percent of respondents to an annual survey by the Association of Online Publishers said they plan to start charging for content or already do so.

31. Retail as Third Space
Retail spaces will increasingly serve as a “third space” that’s only partly about shopping. Cash-strapped consumers can enjoy free services and entertainment or just socialize, while retailers attract more potential shoppers. Apple stores are a prime example; now Apple’s Steve Jobs is leading a revamp of Disney stores intended to make them more experiential. In China, IKEA has become a daytrip destination.

34. Slow Communication
A backlash against today’s proliferation of speedy and thoughtless Tweets, status updates and e-mails, and our always-on, skim-and-pass-along communication habits. Watch for more Web-based products and services like, a Twitter-parody site that requires at least 1,400 characters per post, and Email Addict from Google Labs, which forces 15-minute e-mail breaks by freezing the user’s e-mail window.

38. TV/Web Integration
At the same time that TV viewers are migrating in droves to the Web, many new TV sets are adding Web access capabilities. As real-time, interactive TV viewing gains steam, watch for more live chat and Tweeting to accompany broadcasts. Watch also for more futuristic technology, like the remote control IBM is developing that automatically blogs or Tweets what the user is watching.

How Technology is Reshaping the Reading Habit

Link to December 30 NPR story, "How E-Books Will Change Reading and Writing". (via Resource Shelf)

Excerpt: "When printed books first became popular, thanks to Gutenberg's press, you saw this great expansion of eloquence and experimentation," says [writer Nicholas] Carr. "All of which came out of the fact that here was a technology that encouraged people to read deeply, with great concentration and focus. And as we move to the new technology of the screen ... it has a very different effect, an almost opposite effect, and you will see a retreat from the sophistication and eloquence that characterized the printed page."

As digital platforms proliferate, writers are trying to figure out how to use them. Novelist Rick Moody recently wrote a story on the social networking site Twitter. Moody says he got intrigued by the idea of writing in abbreviated form to fit within the 140-character limitations of each Twitter post.

Labor Negotiations Delay Sunday Hours at Racine Public Library

Link to December 30 Racine Journal Times article, "Library will reopen on Sundays - but not right now".

Excerpt: The Downtown library will not reopen the first Sunday in January as originally hoped by library officials.

The Racine Public Library, 75 Seventh St., was scheduled to reopen on Sundays in January as long as labor negotiations were complete. But those negotiations have taken longer than expected so the library's doors will remain closed on Sundays until further notice.

"We're just kind of waiting," said library Board of Trustees President Theron Snell. "I know we are not going to meet the target which was the first Sunday in January."

The target date was missed because of ongoing negotiations among Racine Deputy City Attorney Scott Letteney, the AFSCME Local 67 union and the Racine Professional Employees Association union, said library Director Jessica MacPhail.

She said those bargaining units are negotiating a rotation schedule for Sunday workers. Snell said the groups are also negotiating the amount and manner of paying employees for Sunday work.

Milton Public Library Sees Big Increase in Use

Link to December 30 Janesville Gazette, "Online catalogue, new programs boost library use".

Excerpt: Milton has increased its circulation by 11 percent this year, Director Lisa Brooks wrote in the city’s annual newsletter. It has doubled circulation in the last six years.

Several reasons account for the increase, including the library’s participation in the RockCat program, Brooks said. RockCat in 2007 converged the online catalogues of all seven Rock County libraries, allowing patrons of one library to browse and request items from another library over the Internet.

Brooks became library directory at about the same time, and in RockCat she saw an opportunity to show Milton residents what their library has to offer.

“People have come into Milton to pick up materials that normally might have gone to Hedberg (Public Library in Janesville), and then they see the selection that we have at Milton,” she said.

Also in 2007, the library completed a $42,000 remodeling project that added open space, a sitting area and public computers

The Big Read Kenosha

Link to December 30 Kenosha News article, "Ready, set, read ... ‘The Grapes of Wrath’".

The new year will bring a new reading assignment for all of Kenosha residents: Free copies of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” will be distributed throughout the city starting Monday.

Kenosha was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts to participate in the Big Read program in 2010. The program involves distributing copies of a book throughout the city and creating a series of discussions, events and activities around the book in an effort to promote reading in the community.

More information at Kenosha Public Library website.

LA Times Picks Top 10 Social Media Moments in 2009

Link to December 29 Los Angeles Times article. (via AAF SmartBrief)

The countdown:

10. "Word of Web" (As opposed to word of mouth.)

9. Whopper sacrifice. (Delete 10 friends in exchange for a burger.)

8. Google Wave. (Retiring Guy has yet to experience this moment.)

7. Twitter and Facebook under hack attack.

6. Ashton Kutcher vs. CNN. (What the article also refers to as the "top 1 stupidest moments [sic] in social media". So then why is it #6? Stupid is as stupid does.)

5. Susan Boyle launches career. (Retiring Guy has watched a few Lady Gaga videos online -- I actually like "Bad Romance"-- but has so far avoided the Boyle phenomenon.)

4. R.I.P. Michael Jackson.

3. R. I. P. Jeff Goldblum? (One of many bogobits.)

2. Iran "green" protests.

1. Hudson River plane landing.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Madison's Sequoya Branch Library: Speaking of the March to a Million

Sequoya Branch Library's 2009 circulation as of November 30th: 930,714.

Sequoya's 30% increase appears to be partially at the expense of two other branches:
  • Alicia Ashman. Down 9%
  • Monroe Street. Down 17%

  • Based on the statistics reported in the 2008 Wisconsin Public Library Data, I'll predict that Sequoya's 2009 circulation will be in the top ten for all library facilities. It already exceeds Madison Central's circ by more than 100,000.

    Quite impressive for a branch library.

    Best Business Books of 2009

    As selected by the readers of Small Business Trends.

    Link to December 28 Open Forum post, "10 Books You Should Read, Say Entrepreneurs and Business Owners".

    To be eligible, books had to be (1) relevant to small business personnel; and (2) newly released during 2009. That excluded older business classics, no matter how good they are! It also excluded books that focus primarily on “big business,” economics or Wall Street/investing – as those topics would not be as much practical help to the entrepreneur faced with starting or operating a small business.

    Listed in alphabetical order.

    Awesomely Simple: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action by John Spence.

    BAM: Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World by Barry Moltz and Mary Jane Grinstead.

    Career Renegade by Jonathan Fields.

    The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing by Eric Groves.

    Crush It! Why NOW is the Time to Cash in on your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk.

    Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim.

    Immigrant, Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs are Driving the New Economy by Richard Herman and Robert Smith.

    The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web by Tamar Weinberg.

    The Sassy Ladies Toolkit for Startup Business by Michelle Girasole, Wendy Hanson, and Miriam Perry.

    Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.

    New Technology Disrupts Newspaper Industry!

    Link to December 17 The Economist article, "Network efforts". (via boingboing)

    Excerpt: Change is in the air. A new communications technology threatens a dramatic upheaval in America’s newspaper industry, overturning the status quo and disrupting the business model that has served the industry for years. This “great revolution”, warns one editor, will mean that some publications “must submit to destiny, and go out of existence.” With many American papers declaring bankruptcy in the past few months, their readers and advertisers lured away by cheaper alternatives on the internet, this doom-laden prediction sounds familiar. But it was in fact made in May 1845, when the revolutionary technology of the day was not the internet—but the electric telegraph.

    It was only a year earlier, in May 1844, that Samuel Morse had connected Washington, DC, and Baltimore by wire and sent the first official message, in dots and dashes: “WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT”. The second message sent down Morse’s line was of more practical value, however: “HAVE YOU ANY NEWS”. (There was no question-mark in Morse’s original alphabet.) As a network of wires spread across the country, referred to as “the great highway of thought” by one contemporary observer, it was obvious that this new technology was going to have a huge impact on the newspaper industry. But would the telegraph be friend or foe?

    Libraries Loosen Up their Overdue Policies

    No more library fine mug shots?

    Link to December 29 New York Times article, "New and Creative Leniency for Overdue Library Books".

    Excerpt: In the Illinois towns of Joliet and Palos Park, the economic downturn has pushed the public libraries into the grocery business, of sorts. Patrons with overdue books and hefty outstanding fines were recently given a way to clear their records: Donate canned goods or other groceries through the library to local shelters and food pantries.

    Dozens of library patrons in both towns jumped at the opportunity.

    In Colorado, despite a multimillion-dollar deficit, the Denver Public Library has practically done away with fixed-rate fines. Now librarians there are free to negotiate a fee structure that feels fair to them based on individual cases, or to charge nothing at all.

    Since the beginning of the economic downturn, librarians across the country have speculated that fines for overdue items are keeping people from using the library — particularly large families whose children take out (and forget to return) many books at a time. Some libraries learned that the fines, which are often as low as 25 cents an item per day, quickly multiplied for many people and were becoming an added hardship.

    Link to 11/8/2009 Daily Herald article, "Pay Gail Borden library fines with food".

    World Weekly News on Google Books

    Link to December 29 boingboing post.

    Retiring Guy may have to put up the "Do Not Disturb" sign, as I delve into these articles.

    "Church Offers Spiritual Insurance! Your Family Profits if You Go to Hell!"

    "Global Warming Claims Another Victim: Mojave Desert Losing Its Mojo".
    (What? No exclamation point?!!)

    And another chapter in the never-ending space invaders saga.....
    "Flying Saucers Come for Dishes -- Spacemen Abduct Bathing Beauties!"

    "Neighborhood Readers" Program at Sheboygan Elementary School

    Link to December 29 Sheboygan Press article, "Well-Read".

    Excerpt: For nearly 20 years, retirees living in the James Madison Elementary School neighborhood have been spending time once a week with second-graders listening to them read. It's part of an initiative known as Neighborhood Readers.

    "Children need repetition. They need lots of practice to become good readers, and even if they are good readers, they still need lots of practice," said Lynda Larson, a Madison School retired teacher and founder of the Neighborhood Readers program.

    "I become a better piano player by playing those pieces over and over again and I think it's the same with reading. We live in a society where families are busy and don't always have time to listen to children read, and they need that practice."

    The one-on-one support, extra reading time and relationship-building is not only good for the students who continue to learn and thrive, but also for the citizens who give their time every week.

    Monday, December 28, 2009

    10 Tech Predictions for 2010

    Link to December 28 annotated list of predictions by Tim Bajarin.

    *Of most interest to Retiring Guy

    1. The netbook market will peak.
    2. Cloud computing will suffer a setback.
    3. Tablets and mini-tablets will become the next big thing in mobile.
    4. *Mini-tablets become the new e-book platform.
    5. More industry consolidation.
    6. Apple gains more market share.
    7. TV goes 3D. (If it involves buying a new set, fuhgedaboutdit!)
    8. Touch and gestures expand PC user interfaces.
    9. *DVDs will be replaced by streaming movies.
    10. Solid state drives become more widespread as their prices decline.

    Viroqua's McIntosh Memorial Library's Space Needs Task Force

    Link to December 28 Viroqua Broadcaster article, "Library task force keeping its options open".

    Excerpt: A task force established to look into the future space needs of the McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua has not settled on any plans.

    Bill Brooke, president of the library board, recently said that a sketch of the library using part of the old city pool bathhouse in its construction was not sought by the task force.

    “The library is still in the very early stages of considering all possibilities of location and possible partners of a new library here in Viroqua,” Bill Brooke, president of the library board, said. “The library did not request the sketch of the library at the bathhouse on South Rock Avenue. I wanted to make that clear. We continue to have conversations with a variety of possible relationships for a new library here in Viroqua. The library board will continue to patiently scrutinize all options for a new library here in Viroqua.”

    Saukville's Oscar Grady Library Welcomes New Director Jen Gerber

    Photo source: Ozaukee News

    Link to December 23 Ozaukee News article, "New library director touts local roots".

    Excerpt: Jen Gerber, the newly hired director of the Oscar Grady Library in Saukville, comes to the job with a background in publishing and library services.

    Gerber was hired by the Village Board last week, on the unanimous recommendation of the Library Board.
    She was the patron services manager at the F.L. Weyenberg Library in Mequon before accepting the Saukville job.

    That background made her an appealing choice from a field of 16 candidates, but officials said Gerber brought more to the table than just experience in the field.

    “I think her strongest asset was her enthusiasm and her high level of energy,” said Library Board President Joann Weisner.

    Record-breaking Year for Marshfield Public Library

    Link to December 28 Marshfield News Herald article, "Library will reach historic milestone".

    Excerpt: This is a banner year for the Marshfield Public Library -- more than 500,000 items will be borrowed by local residents. About half of the items checked out are CDs or DVDs, said Kathy Baker, assistant director. As the numbers of items borrowed increases, so does the revenue generated by late fees. More than $40,000 in fines is collected each year, said Lori Belongia, library director. "It's a significant amount of money," she said. The fines are factored into the library budget annually.

    Record-Breaking Year for Wisconsin Rapids' McMillan Library

    Link to December 26 Wisconsin Rapids Tribune article, "Library reaches record use numbers".

    Excerpt: The year 2008 was record-breaking for library use. To our surprise and delight, 2009 topped 2008 in almost every service category. Last year, the library loaned a total of 489,554 books and other materials. This year, we passed the 500,000 mark with two weeks remaining in December. Adult programming attendance rose from 3,756 last year to 5,371 in 2009. It is great to see so many people enjoying the library's educational and cultural resources.

    Saturday, December 26, 2009

    Understanding the Search Experiences of Children

    Link to December 26 New York Times article, "Helping Children Find What They Need on the Internet".

    Excerpt: Sponsored by Google and developed by the University of Maryland and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the research was aimed at discerning the differences between how children and adults search and identify the barriers children face when trying to retrieve information.

    Like other children, Benjamin was frustrated by his lack of search skills or, depending on your view, the limits of search engines.

    When considering children, search engines had long focused on filtering out explicit material from results. But now, because increasing numbers of children are using search as a starting point for homework, exploration or entertainment, more engineers are looking to children for guidance on how to improve their tools.

    Friday, December 25, 2009

    Corvallis-Benton County Public Library Top 20 Circulating Books (July-Dec 2009)

    1. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

    2. Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

    3. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

    4. The Associate by John Grisham

    5. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

    6. Swimsuit by James Patterson

    7. Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients by Jeff Hertzberg

    8. Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

    9. Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer

    10. The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

    11. True Compass: A Memoir by Ted Kennedy

    12. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

    13. Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder

    14. First Family by David Balducci

    15. The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow

    16. Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

    17. Brimstone by Douglas J. Preston

    18. Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford

    19. The 8th Confession by James Patterson

    20. Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body by Jillian Michaels

    Carson City Library Foundation's Big Apple New Year's Eve Party

    Link to December Nevada Appeal article, "Carson City Library hosts New York New Year".

    Excerpt: Carson City can ring in the New Year in grand New York fashion — or at least on New York time. The Carson City Library Foundation is hosting its second annual Big Apple New Year's Eve Party.

    Although it will draw on a New York atmosphere, the true appeal is the time difference, according to organizer Phyllis Patton.

    “We felt there was a group of people out there who did not enjoy going out to casinos and partying all night,” said Patton, chairwoman of the library foundation. “In New York, it's all over and done with by 9 o'clock (Pacific time).”

    Yellowstone National Park Public Domain Photographs

    Link to Yellowstone Digital Slide File. (via Resource Shelf)

    Rachel Maddow In So Many Words: Library Card = Access to Information

    Link to December 25 Crooks and Liars post, "Rachel Maddow Exposes John Birth Society Conspiracy Theories".

    Excerpt: Another issue the nice people at the John Birch Society say that we got wrong on this show was their position on the fluoridation of drinking water. In their online retort to our segment from last week, the John Birch Society said it never labeled fluoridation of water as a communist mind control plot, because that sounds crazy, right? They wrote that actually, the John Birch Society opposed water fluoridation because it represented, quote, "a precedent for the socialized medicine Maddow supports."

    I know they would love that to be true. But, well, here`s a page from the March 1960 John Birch Society bulletin. You`ll see that there is a section here at the bottom of the page -- do we have here? Yes.

    A section at the bottom of page 13 titled, "How to Defeat Fluoridation in Your City." After advising the reader to paper his or her city council school board PTA and church community with anti-fluoridation pamphlets, the John Birch Society warns, quote, "If you live in a large enough city, or if the communists have been able to beguile a sufficiently large enough, powerful enough, and determined enough clique into supporting fluoridation, the above formula, alone, may not stop them."

    John Birch Society, you may wish that you hadn`t said that fluoridation was a secret communist plot -- but you did in writing, and we have a library card. (Retiring Guy's emphasis)

    Record-breaking Year for Portage County Public Library

    Link to December 25 Stevens Point Journal article, "Libraries see record use in 2009".

    Excerpt: The Portage County Public Library system is anticipating a record-breaking circulation year for 2009.

    The system, which has libraries in Plover, Almond, Rosholt and Stevens Point, expects to have loaned a little more than 500,000 items out in 2009, surpassing its previous high of 498,000 items in 2005, library director Bob Stack said.

    "I'm fairly confident for us it's going to be a record," he said.

    But the Portage County system is not alone.

    "In good times and bad, public libraries are a great value, but historically, people turn to their libraries in tough economic times. This year was no exception," said Phyllis Davis, director of the
    South Central Library System, which serves Adams, Columbia, Dane, Green, Portage, Sauk and Wood counties.

    She said of the 40 libraries that use the shared automated system in the South Central network circulation is up an average of 7.05 percent.

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    FEMA Reconsiders, Decides Public Library Provides an Essential Community Service

    Link to December 24 Cedar Rapids Gazette article, "FEMA reverses, grants relocation money to Cedar Rapids library".

    Excerpt: The Cedar Rapids Public Library received notice Wednesday that FEMA approved the second appeal for temporary relocation assistance following the flood of 2008, stating that the library does, in fact, provide essential community services.

    The news was announced first by Sen. Tom Harkin’s office.

    Previous attempts to get reimbursement funding from FEMA for temporary relocation were denied based on federal law which does not list libraries among essential community services, such as police and fire departments.

    “This is a major victory not just for the Cedar Rapids Public Library, but for any library that may be in a similar situation in the future,” said Bob Pasicznyuk, library director.

    The money will cover 18 months of rent, utilities, and other expenses, but library officials aren’t sure yet which 18 months it will apply to. The library has been without its central location in downtown Cedar Rapids since the flood.

    RFID and Pour Data

    And not a drop too much.

    Link to December 23 Restaurants & Institutions article, "Technology Drives Savings Behind the Bar".

    Excerpt: The RFID spouts, equipped with wireless transmitters that send pour data to a central computer, can track liquor use by the bottle, drink, bartender, shift or just about any other metric. The system integrates with the restaurant’s point-of-sale (POS) system to determine the types of drinks ordered and their ingredients. If the amount of inventory used varies from what is expected, the system calls out the discrepancy.

    Not a capability likely to be found in a library's RFID RFI.

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Hide and Seek: Downtown Cedar Rapids Satellite Branch Library

    Link to November 30 AP article in Mason City Globe-Gazette.

    The Cedar Rapids Public Library opened a satellite branch in downtown months ago. But administrators and employees say it has been a challenge attracting customers.

    Managing director Christina Riedel says there is apparently a lack of awareness the office is open for business.

    Riedel admits the satellite office has a different dynamic than did the old library before last year's flood. Its 1,800-square-foot space is more of a hole-in-the-wall library compared with its former 85,000-square-foot downtown location

    Beat the Drum Slowly: Streets of Laredo Soon Without a Bookstore

    There's always the public library

    Link to December 16 Arizona Daily Sun article, "Laredo could be largest US city without bookstore".

    Excerpt: The final chapter has been written for the lone bookstore on the streets of Laredo.

    With a population of nearly a quarter-million people, this city could soon be the largest in the nation without a single bookseller.

    The situation is so grim that schoolchildren have pleaded for a reprieve from next month's planned shutdown of the B. Dalton bookstore. After that, the nearest store will be 150 miles away in San Antonio.

    The B. Dalton store was never a community destination with comfy couches and an espresso bar, but its closing will create a literary void in a city with a high illiteracy rate. Industry analysts and book associations could not name a larger American city without a single bookseller.

    America's Most Literate Cities, 2009

    Link to Central Connecticut State University website.

    The criteria
    1. Newspaper circulation
    2. Number of bookstores
    3. Library resources
    4. Periodical publishing resources
    5. Educational attainment
    6. Internet resources

    Library Flash Mob: The Third Post is not the Charm

    Link to December 11 WKTR-TV report, "Hundreds of students swarm ODU library in flash mob, are pepper sprayed by campus police".

    Link to Old Dominion University Flash Mob Facebook page.

    Wisconsin Attorney General Informal Opinion: "Making Salem Better" Website a Public Record

    Link to Wisconsin Department of Justice December 23 news release.

    Excerpt: Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today issued an informal opinion concluding that the content of a “Google group” website called “Making Salem Better,” which is maintained by the Salem Town Chair, was a public record and that access to the materials from the website should be made available for inspection upon reasonable request.

    Link to December 23 J. B. Van Hollen letter.

    Internet Use: Survey Says.....

    U.S. adults spend an average of 13 hours online. (Excluding email.)

    Which is actually down a percentage point from a year ago.

    Link to December 23 cnet news post.

    Link to December 22 Harris Interactive press release.

    A Look at St. Norbert College Mulva Library Design Features

    Link to December 23 Green Bay Press-Gazette article, "Mulva Library uses light, space to create atmosphere".

    Excerpt: Yes, there are rows and rows of book stacks in the Mulva Library at St. Norbert College. But the designer also created an aura of contemporary openness that's sometimes playful on the eye.

    "I think what the designer had in mind was this very interactive, very connected social space," Michael Flynn, project manager, says of Hillier Architecture of New Jersey.

    "It's just multilayered. There's lots of glass, a lot of shapes and spaces, both positive spaces and open, or negative, spaces that I think have a real interesting interplay with the amount of glass, the amount of light."

    Cookbook Publishers' Latest Strategy: Bigger is Better

    928 pages
    4 1/2 pounds
    2000+ recipes

    Link to December 23 AP article in the Stevens Point Journal, "Publishers fight the Web with behemoth cookbooks".

    Excerpt: What exactly is one person supposed to do with 2,000 Italian recipes? Or 1,400 French dishes? A new generation of comprehensive (some would say behemoth) cookbooks is cramming thousands of recipes into weighty volumes, some nearly 3 inches thick and weighing more than 4 pounds.

    Why the heavyweights? Publishers say it's a matter of survival, crediting the Internet and the tough economy with driving the trend.

    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    Profile of Ebook Owners

    Link to December MarketingProfs post, "E-Books Attract Internet-Savvy, Educated". (via Resource Shelf)

    E-book owners are 116% more likely than average to be heavy Internet users. Moreover, they are 199% more likely to have accessed the Internet using a Wi-Fi or wireless connection outside the home and 154% more likely to have accessed the Internet using a cell phone or other mobile device.

    Other key attributes of e-book owners:

    • 11% more likely than average to own their home
    • 87% more likely to have a household income of $100,000 or higher annually
    • 111% more likely to have obtained a Bachelor's or post-graduate degree
    "Clearly, users of the current generation of e-readers are highly educated, upscale, and Internet savvy," said Anne Marie Kelly, SVP, Marketing & Strategic Planning, at Mediamark Research & Intelligence. "With Sony preparing to ship its Reader Daily Edition and Barnes & Noble about to enter the market with its Nook product, it will be interesting to see how quickly e-books catch on in greater numbers with the more mainstream population."

    The Tipping Point for Ebooks?

    Link to December 21 Christian Science Monitor article, "The e-book, the e-reader, and the future of reading".

    Excerpt: E-book sales remain a minuscule part of the publishing industry – just 1.4 percent of the total $10.9 billion sales in the first nine months of this year, according to the Association of American Publishers. But, not unlike the way digital music overtook traditional CDs overnight, e-books will probably dominate publishing industry sales within 10 years, estimates Mr. Haber, who helped develop the Sony Reader. “It’s been building up for a year or so, but going into the [2009] holiday season it’s suddenly mass exposure, multiple players in the market, multiple players rumored to be coming into the market. And that’s what drives innovation. Every year from now on is going to be a leap ahead.”

    Multiples that lead to confusion in a lot of quarters.

    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Chat Reference for Physicians

    For decorative purposes only

    $45 will get you 10 minutes.

    Link to December 21 Impact Lab post, "NowClinic: Virtual House Call To Go Nationwide in 2010". (via Slashdot)

    Excerpt: Americans could soon be able to see a doctor without getting out of bed, in a modern-day version of the house call that takes place over the Web.

    OptumHealth, a division of UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, plans to offer NowClinic, a service that connects patients and doctors using video chat, nationwide next year. It is introducing it state by state, starting with Texas, but not without resistance from state medical associations.

    Without getting out of bed? Who's doing NowClinic's market research?

    For now, I don't think state medical associations have much to worry about.

    For a reality check, see the May 7, 2009, Business Week article, "Growing Pains for Online Video Chat: Seesmic, TokBox, and other startups in this area of social media must contend with issues of personality and, especially, privacy".

    Ultimately, a good social app is driven by a strong sense of accessibility, simplicity of use, and even privacy. Otherwise users get turned off. That's what happened to Seesmic; it had a hard time retaining early adopters and didn't grow beyond a core user base. Seesmic peaked at 150,000 monthly unique visitors in October 2008 before dropping to its current level of 92,000. Another startup, 12 Seconds, was heralded by tech pundits as the Twitter of video but suffered a similar fate. It's now nothing more than a micro social video community.

    Change for the Better, Change for the Worse


    Link to December 21 Pew Research Center report, "Public Looks Back at Worst Decade in 50 Years".

    Excerpt: As the current decade draws to a close, relatively few Americans have positive things to say about it. By roughly two-to-one, more say they have a generally negative (50%) rather than a generally positive (27%) impression of the past 10 years. This stands in stark contrast to the public's recollection of other decades in the past half-century. When asked to look back on the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, positive feelings outweigh negative in all case.

    To be sure, the passage of time may affect the way people view these historical periods. For example, had we asked the public's impression of the 1970s in December of 1979, the negatives may well have outweighed the positives.

    Opinions of Technological and Social Changes

    Top 5 Changes for the Better
    1. Cellphones (69%)
    2. Green products (68%)
    3. Email (65%)
    4. The internet (65%)
    5. Increasing racial/ethnic diversity (61%)

    Top 5 Changes for the Worse
    1. Reality TV shows (63%)*
    2. More people getting tattoos (40%)
    3. More people in the stock market (34%)
    4. Cable news talk & opinion shows (30%)
    5. Acceptance of gays & lesbians (28%)

    Why does #1 under changes for the worse bring to mind this recent story?

    Twitter's Outlook for 2010

    Link to December 21 ClickZ post, "Opportunity Is Ripe for Twitter to Offer Marketing Tools in 2010".

    Excerpt: There's little doubt Twitter will be hailed as one of the success stories of 2009, having continued to grow throughout the year from the solid base it achieved during 2008, and attracting a steady stream of media attention along the way.

    According to Nielsen, traffic to the network's Web site alone increased 1,448 percent year-over-year in the month of May, from 1.2 million unique visitors in 2008 to 18.2 million in May 2009. That data excludes use from third-party software such as Tweetdeck and mobile applications, suggesting the actual numbers could be higher.

    But it's the last sentence of this article that really caught Retiring Guy's attention.

    Surely marketers will be waiting with baited breath to see what else might be on offer in 2010, and if those features are worth paying for.

    Technologizer's Version of Esquire's "Dubious Achievements"

    Once upon a time,
    the most achingly funny read of the year.

    Link to December 20 Technologizer post, "This Dumb Decade: The 87 Lamest Moments in Tech, 2000-2009".

    Excerpt: If ever a decade began dumb, it was this one.* When clocks struck midnight on January 1st and the dreaded Y2K bug turned out to be nothing but a mild irritant, it proved once again that the experts often don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.

    Which was a relief–and a fitting way to kick off the technological era we’ve lived in ever since. Yes, it’s been an amazing time. But it’s also seen more than its share of misbegotten decisions, bizarre dramas, pointless hype, and lackluster products and technologies–often involving the same people and companies responsible for all the amazing stuff.

    So–with a respectful tip of the Technologizer hat to Business 2.0 and Fortune’s 101 Dumbest Moments in Business and, of course, to Esquire’s Dubious Achievement Awards–let’s recap, shall we?

    LISNews: Ten Notable News Stories of 2009

    Link to December 18 LISNews post, "Ten Stories That Shaped 2009".

    1. It's (Still) the Economy.
    2. New Moon Mania.
    3. Google Books Settlement.
    4. Bookless School Library (Cushing Academy, Ashburnham, MA).
    5. Judith Krug, 1940-2009.
    6. Aren't We Cool? (Libraries offering video games and comic books.)
    7. Whither Wikipedia. (Growing pains & loss of volunteers.)
    8. Decline of newspapers.
    9. E-Books and Orwell.
    10 Censorship Lives On.

    Lakeland College's Revamped Website

    Old Main Hall, Lakeland College

    Link to December 21 Sheboygan Press article, "Lakeland College's new Web site puts visitors in control".

    Excerpt: The new site's design features more, larger and engaging photos of students and the campus to add visual appeal. The new site also introduces a campus video tour, hosted by Lakeland's student ambassadors, and easy access to everything from Lakeland's NCAA athletic team scores to a financial aid estimator for new students.

    The site will interface with popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, accommodating the ability to gather and share information between prospective students and their parents.