Saturday, January 31, 2009

Magazine Death Watch (2009-4)

From MIN online (Media Industry Newsletter).

Its closure last Wednesday (January 28) by Condé Nast president/ceo Chuck Townsend was sad but not shocking in this horrific economy, and, as it turned out, CN publishing director Bill Wackermann's January 12 addition of Domino just delayed the inevitable. From Domino's April 2005 start, vp/publisher...

Subscription required to access full article.

9 LINK libraries own this title.

Magazine Death Watch (2009-3)

From MIN online (Media Industry Newsletter).
Disney Publishing's upscale parenting magazine was designed to complement FamilyFun and compete with Cookie (Condé Nast) in March 2006, but the symptoms of the bad economy were seen last summer when Wondertime publisher Dave Mevorah and FF counterpart Mary...

Subscription required to access full article.

3 LINK libraries own this title.

Friday, January 30, 2009

(Crabby) Thoughts While Reading

A few evenings ago, I read the introduction and studied the index of a book published late last summer – Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives, yet another exploration into generational issues. This time the focus is on anyone born after 1980, when social digital technologies, such as Usenet and bulletin board systems, came online.

In other words, the authors cast a very wide net, one going beyond a single generation, in fact. And it does appear their intent is to discuss an entire generation, not just those members having easy and regular access to the requisite technologies.

From the first page, I developed a sense of déjà vu.

Haven’t I seen some of this material before? I asked myself

Here’s the best example, a fill-in-the-blank observation found on page 7.

Digital Natives will move markets and transform industries, education, and global politics.

Wasn’t there a magazine article I read in the mid-60s that posited baby boomers will move markets and transform industries, education, and global politics?

Or what about that book published in the early 80s declaring that Gen-Xers will move markets and transform industries, education, and global politics?

Or some similar sentiments.

These types of books tend to annoy me for a couple of reason. (And, to be fair, the jury is still out on whether or not Born Digital unequivocally fits this category.)

First of all, there’s the one-size-fits-all trap that bedevils many generational observers. They observe the behavior of the white, privileged, and, as time goes on, college-educated minority and then make sweeping generalizations, treating their subjects like the cast of a lushly choreographed Busby Berkeley musical.

The Gang’s All Here – and they’re all reading from the same script.

Secondly, they play down or ignore everything that doesn’t fit into their research parameters. In the case of Born Digital, the authors appear to have reworked the Genesis creation story.

Then God, in 1980, said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;…… And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be technologically savvy.

Getting back to my sense of déjà vu, I googled the term, “first TV generation”, but didn’t find the perfect analogy. The best I could manage was a link to a transcript of a 1977 address given by the apparently insufferable Harvey Beutner, an English professor at Illinois Wesleyan University.

In my own classes during the last ten years, I have noted the effects of cradle-to-college television. Often I write comments similar to this in the margins of student papers: “Your essay reminds me of a neon sign flashing in the night. The images, pictures, and ideas are often fresh and graphic and even beautiful, but there are no connecting links.” The point is that the student educated on TV expects me – the reader – to make the connections, to make the transitions, and to fill in the meaning.

And then there’s this comment from Born Digital.

They [Digital Natives] probably don’t even know what a library card looks like, much less have one; and if they do, they’ve probably never used it.

Sez who?

I suspect Palfrey and Gasser aren’t familiar with the work of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Here’s a quote from a 12/20/2007 report, “Information Searches That Solve Problems”.

The survey results challenge the assumption that libraries are losing relevance in the internet age. Libraries drew visits by more than half of Americans (53%) in the past year for all kinds of purposes, not just the problems mentioned in this survey. And it was the young adults in tech-loving Generation Y (age 18-30) who led the pack. Compared to their elders, Gen Y members were the most likely to use libraries for problem-solving information and in general patronage for any purpose. (My emphasis.)

Furthermore, it is young adults who are the most likely to say they will use libraries in the future when they encounter problems: 40% of Gen Y said they would do that, compared with 20% of those above age 30 who say they would go to a library.

Generation Y is generally defined as the cohort born in the years 1978-2000. In other words, the great majority of them are Digital Natives, according to Palfrey and Gasser’s definition.

Oh well. The authors did say their book would become quickly dated.

Survey Says

51% - Need that Computer and Cellphone.

Link to Pew Research Center report. (I'm getting a Page Load Error when I attempt to access the full report.)

Book Award Finalists Announced

Link to NBCC news release.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Survey Says

You say "po-ta-to" and I say "po-tah-to"

Link to January 29 post, "Traditional Media Use Stabilizes as Online Rises." puts a slightly different spin on its headline: "Old Media's Decline, New Media's Ascension."

We're All Red States Now


Link to January 29 post, "Jobless rates up in every state".

Politically, we're still turning blue.

Link to January 28 Gallup News report, "State of the States: Political Party Affiliation"

Survey Says

Contrary to the image of Generation Y as the "Net Generation," internet users in their twenties do not dominate every aspect of online life.

Link to January 28 Pew Internet & American Library Project report, "Generations Online in 2009".

Key findings:
1. Teens and Generation Y find entertainment and social networks online.
2. Older generations use the internet as a tool for research, shopping and banking.
3. Video downloads, online travel reservations and work-related research are now pursued more equally by young and old.
4. Broadband access has doubled for many age groups, tripled in oldest groups.

West county library group under fire

Twin Lakes branch

Link to January 28 Kenosha News article.

Randall and Twin Lakes officials are unhappy with the governence of the libraries serving western Kenosha County and will discuss severing ties with the system at a meeting next week.

Randall supervisor Ken Mangold also wants Community Library Director Mary Ellen Close to resign and Library Board president Shirley Boening to step down.

“We’re fed up,” Twin Lakes village president Howard Skinner said Wednesday. “The time has come to discuss our options.”

The issue of forming an independent library or affiliating again with Kenosha County will be discussed at the Twin Lakes Committee of the Whole meeting, set for 7 p.m. Monday. Randall officials will attend the meeting in Twin Lakes, Mangold said. Representatives from other municipalities and the Library Board have also been invited.

According to its website, [t]he Community Library is supported by the Villages of Paddock Lake, Silver Lake, and Twin Lakes, and the Towns of Randall and Salem. It is governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of two members appointed by each municipality and an eleventh member appointed by an area school district.

In bleak State of the State, Doyle calls for unity, sacrifice

Link to January 28 Capital Times article.

Excerpt: Addressing the state at a dark hour and calling it "a time of sacrifice," Gov. Jim Doyle sought to bolster Wisconsin's spirit Wednesday with the bare planks of his seventh and bleakest State of the State speech.

"It is a time when we will be responsible with what we have. This not a time for big new programs," Doyle said in a prepared speech devoid of the splashy spending initiatives unveiled in recent addresses. "What isn't needed will be cut. And unfortunately, some of what is needed will be cut, too."

The details will be found in the Governor's budget, which he's expected to introduce to the Legislature on February 10.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Magazine Death Watch (2009-xtra)

Link to January 8 Editor & Publisher post, "'Washington Post' Book Section Goes Out of Print".

Excerpt: The Washington Post is apparently the latest daily paper to kill its standalone book review, with the paper’s Book World section reportedly being shuttered after its Feb. 15 issue.

Twittering about Change

Link to January 27 The Hill post, "Republicans all a-Twitter over the visit".

Audiences usually treat presidents to a round of polite applause, but when President Obama addressed House Republicans on Tuesday, they started Twittering.

Just a week after being inaugurated and becoming the most powerful man in the world, Obama strode into the Republican redoubt on Capitol Hill, whereupon its denizens started texting accounts of the proceedings into cyberspace.

There could be no clearer demonstration of the way politics has moved into an age in which technology trumps formality.

While Obama implored Republicans behind closed doors to consider supporting his economic stimulus bill, GOP thumbs worked overtime, tapping updates onto the microblogging website for thousands to read.

“Impressive,” Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) remarked, before noting that everyone in the room — Obama and Republicans included — expressed “deep concern about unemployment.”

It's like the title of a Carly Simon song

to January 27 article at, "What the Web knows about you".

Here are lists of what Robert L. Mitchell, the author of the article, found and didn't find online about himself.

Information discovered online:

Full legal name
Date of birth
Social Security number
Current property addresses
Personal phone numbers
Business phone numbers
Previous addresses and phone numbers dating back to 1975 (except for cell phone numbers)
Real estate property deed descriptions and addresses
Property tax record from 2004
Assessed value of home from 1997
Identifying photographs
Digital image of signature
Mortgage documents (current and previous) and a legal agreement
Computerworld affiliation, stories and blog posts
Employment history
Resume with educational background going back to high school
Sex offender status (negative)
Affiliations with several nonprofits
Editorial award
Spouse's name, age and Social Security number
Names of friends and coworkers
Names, addresses, phone numbers and first six digits of Social Security numbers for neighbors past and present
Parents' names, address, phone and first five digits of Social Security numbers

Not (yet) found online:

Driver's license number
Vehicle registrations
Banking records
Medical records
Detailed demographic data from marketing databases
Insurance claims history
Vehicle registrations
Property records for land in Florida
Voter registration record/political affiliation
Mother's maiden name
City and state of birth

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Your Unofficial Guide to the Wisconsin State Legislature

From the You-Can't-Tell-the-Players-Without-a-Program Dept.

Link to "In Dubious Battle" by Marc Eisen.
(The best legislators? Hard to find. The two parties are so busy attacking each other that nothing has been getting accomplished.)

Be forewarned. Do not read certain sections of this article if you have liquids in or near your mouth.

John Updike, 1932-2009

The Great American Novel X 4

And I can't even give him a proper sendoff.

I had planned to listen to Wolfman Kadinsky's excellent reading of these 4 books -- consider it, in this case, the world's longest homily -- but his voice is heard only on the cassette tape version.

Then I checked LINKcat and discovered, to my great horror, that the Meadowridge branch of the Madison Public Library has the only copy on CD. Worse, it's on order, and, worst, someone else is ahead of me on the holds list. There's more. The CD version has a different reader: Arthur Morey. (Wasn't he a dancer?) ;-)

What just became a sad day has now devolved into a sadder day.

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: News Release

Provides reliable funding to Wisconsin communities during unpredictable times.

CONTACT: Tia Nelson, Executive Secretary (608) 266-8369

$4.7 Million in Loans Approved

MADISON – As Wisconsin communities continue to face tough and unpredictable credit markets, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands is working to provide a valuable safety net for school districts and municipalities working to secure financing for local projects.

The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, as administrator of the State Trust Fund Loan Program, approved $4,761,850 in loans to 11 Wisconsin municipalities and school districts at today’s board meeting. The loans will provide financing for a variety of public purpose projects ranging from street reconstruction and bridge repairs to the purchase of a tanker fire truck.

“The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands operates one of the largest public lending programs in the state,” said Board Chair Secretary of State Douglas La Follette. “The State Trust Fund Loan Program finances community and school projects across Wisconsin.”

In the last 12 months, including actions approved today, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands has 204 loans totaling $197.8 million. That’s a significant increase over the number of loans authorized in fiscal year 2007 (113 loans totaling just over $72 million).

“We are a reliable lender that is easy to work with, while offering reasonable rates of interest,” said State Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass. “We truly are the statewide lender that pays local dividends.”

Over the past five years, Wisconsin citizens have benefited from over $600 million in Trust Fund loans to support Wisconsin’s public infrastructure. The loans can be made to municipalities and school districts for any public purpose.

“The Board of Commissioner’s of Public Lands is proud to support public safety, community and school projects that are the backbone of our communities,” said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

Created in 1848 by the Wisconsin Constitution, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands was established to accept federal land grants and to manage trust funds for the benefit of public education in Wisconsin. The majority of Trust Fund assets are held in the Common School Fund, from which most State Trust Fund loans are issued. “Our cost of operations is very low so more than 95% of the interest collected on Trust Fund Loans is distributed as aid to the Common School Fund’s beneficiaries, K-12 public school libraries. This aid is critical to many students and schools. For many schools, this is their only source of library aid. That’s why we like to think of ourselves as the state-wide lender that pays local dividends,” said Tia Nelson, Executive Secretary of the Board.

A complete list of Wisconsin municipal and school projects funded by today’s Board action can be found here:

The agency’s biennial report can be found here:

Overview of Common School Fund found here.

Good Friends in High Places

Link to January 27 La Crosse Tribune article, "Vilsack promotes rural Internet access as new ag secretary".

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday the department he leads needs to be a supporter of 21st century rural communities and lent his support to a proposal to expand broadband Internet access in rural areas.

“The capacity of folks in rural communities to have access to the Internet cannot be underappreciated or underestimated,” Vilsack said. “You can’t open yourself up to world markets, to new opportunities, unless you have access to that tool.”

In Wisconsin, State Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center), is taking a leadership role on this issue. Read his news release for Universal Broadband for a Rural Region (UBER).

Senator Schultz is one of the featured speakers at this year's WLA/WEMTA Library Legislative Day, February 3, at the Inn on the Park in Madison.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Strapped states eye prison savings

Link to January 26 post.

The numbers:
2,300,000 people are locked up at any given time in federal, state, and local facilities.
1 of every 100 adults is incarcerated.
$50,000,000,000 price for states in 2007.
Where state dollars go:
1. Health care
2. Education
3. Corrections

Lawmakers in some states are slashing prisoner rehabilitation programs, releasing inmates early or packing them more tightly into crowded facilities to save money. Others are using technology, such as satellite tracking, to monitor sex offenders, drunken drivers and other criminals instead of keeping them behind bars. To avoid building new prisons, many states ship inmates to private facilities that often are thousands of miles away.

The statistics are alarming state lawmakers in all regions of the country and, increasingly, on both sides of the political aisle. Criminal justice reform — for years a controversial issue for legislators wary of being labeled “soft on crime” — is finding new proponents as public officials seek ways to save money. But a single strategy to tackle incarceration costs has yet to emerge, and some critics say state policymakers are dragging their feet and avoiding comprehensive changes that have become necessary.

The King Records Legacy

Link to January 25 New York Times article, "Rocking Cincinnati's R&B Cradle".

From amazon's editorial reviews: An 85-track sampling of the greatest R&B ever waxed from one of the legendary labels of that genre. Essential selections from Wynonie Harris, Tiny Bradshaw, Hank Ballard, and Freddie King dovetail seamlessly with magical tracks from the likes of the Swallows, the 5 Royales, and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. Songs that will change your life include Lula Reed's aching rendition of Ray Charles's "Drown in My Tears," Big Jay McNeely's frantic "Nervous Man, Nervous," and Lil Greenwood & the Four Jack's hilarious "Grandpaw Can Boogie Too." Music scribe Colin Escott and his compilers wisely assume that you can find all the James Brown you require a few bins over. But a half a CD of King Records overlord-tyrant Syd Nathan spouting off at his A and R team is an unforgivable sin in a compilation as important as this one. --Ken Hohman

Related links.
King Records Anniversary Concert and Exhibit at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Listen to a 4-part series at WVUX in Cincinnati.

"The King of Them All" at CityBeat Cincinnati.

"Have You Heard the News?" at allmusic blog. (Better late than never!)

Survey Says

Collectively, we get a "D" on the current events pop quiz.

Link to Pew Research Center Report: "60%--Common Knowledge".

I expect a perfect score from you reference librarians out there. (Take the quiz here.)

Strum man driven to help library

Strum Public Library
(If only it looked like this now!)

Link to January 25 Eau Claire Leader Telegram article.

George Johnson gets a bit enthused - well, greatly enthused - when he discusses the latest effort to help raise money for the Strum Public Library.

Johnson's idea of placing a junked car on Crystal Lake and having people pay money to guess when it will sink is generating interest and hopefully lots of money to help with the library's expenses.

"Our library is run by donations, and we have to have fundraisers to pay off the building," library director Dawn Hering said. "Right now, we are about $250,000 away from actually paying off the building.

"Hola!" Series at Fond du Lac Public Library

Link to January 26 Fond du Lac Reporter editorial, "Cheers 'Hola!' series offers insight into diverse FdL community".

The "Hola!" series at the Fond du Lac Public Library is providing area residents with a glimpse of what life is like for Hispanics and Latinos living in Fond du Lac.

'We applaud the efforts of the library, UW-Extension and Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce for sponsoring the series of four programs that began Jan. 8 and is scheduled to wrap up on Thursday, Feb. 5.

Population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the Hispanic population increased from 937 in 1990 to 3,121 in 2006 in Fond du Lac.

As Fond du Lac becomes an increasingly diverse community, some knowledge of what life is like for our Hispanic friends, neighbors and co-workers becomes more important. This series is helping to shed light on that subject.

This program, unfortunately, was not without its detractors.

'Living a Country Year' is choice for community reads project

Link to January 25 Fond du Lac Reporter article.

Contrary to popular belief, Wisconsin author Jerry Apps does not expound on the "good old days."

"There wasn't all that much good about them," he maintains, with a chuckle.

In his book "Living a Country Year," this year's choice for the annual community read-along known as "
Fond du Lac Reads," Apps brings to life the hardships people faced as well as the joyous moments that defined 1940s rural Wisconsin.

Link to impressive schedule of events.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cory Doctorow Digs Up Another Gem at Boing Boing

Cory's post.
And check out the detail at Modern Mechanix blog.

Point for further research: Did boys actually wear knee socks in 1951?

And looking at Mom's casual, left-hand, bye-bye wave, these commuter heliocopters don't create much air disturbance.

Thanks, Jeff!

I'd been meaning to place a hold on this book. (Wish an audio version was available.)

Link to Jeff Dawson's commentary in the January 25 Herald Times Reporter.

Jeff is the Director of the Lester Public Library in Two Rivers.

Sidelight: Two Rivers is my wife's hometown. JoAnna and I were married at St. Luke's Catholic Church in 1986. Due to consolidation of parishes, the church now houses a fitness center.

Reading Together aids students' reading abilities

Wausau's Grant Elementary School
A beautiful example of early 20th-century schoool architecture

Link to January 25 Wausau Daily Herald article.

The program was introduced last year as an after-school offering to help elementary students become independent readers.

Students work from a standardized kit, but educators found that the frequency of their work sessions had an impact.

A change to two meetings a week from one has given students the ability to build on each lesson and become more involved, said Korrin Traska, site coordinator for after-school programs at Grant Elementary School.

Through the course of 30 lessons, students work through three phases -- from decoding errors to building fluency.