Saturday, April 4, 2009

Colby Public Library Update

Link to April 4 Marshfield Daily Herald column, "Activities abound at library in April".

Library supporters in the area will want to attend this event. On April 22, the annual Lions Smelt Fry is being held from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Colby Lions Shelter. The Friends of the Colby Public Library has been chosen to serve at the dinner, with the Lions group graciously offering a monetary compensation to the library for each person dining in the shelter that evening. We are looking for people to help bus tables and serve patrons that night in two-hour shifts -- call or stop in the library to sign up.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The 50-page rule?

Link to April 3 Wall Street Journal post, "When to Put a Book Down".

What a coincidence. We were just talking about this topic in my SLIS class yesterday.

In my 20s and 30s, once I started a book -- always after careful consideration as I'm a big fan of reading lists -- I had to finish it. Now that I'm approaching 60, that rule has gone out the window. I've been known to toss aside a book before the end of page 1.

Drop Everything and Read

Link to April 3 Fond du Lac Reporter article, "High school community drops everything and reads".

Excerpt: According to a recent scholastic inventory, 87 out of the 525 ninth graders at Fondy High tested below a basic reading comprehension level. The findings led to a 14-month investigation by a literacy team into student reading patterns.

“It’s a big concern at any public school and we are trying to address it,” Wiltzius said. “Students who can read with comprehension and understanding achieve in all areas of their lives.”

Senior Tori Fanetori said when she heard about D.E.A.R. she told her principal it was a lame idea.

“Now I can’t put the book down, I even take it home with me,” she said of the novel “Please Stop Laughing at me” by Jodee Blanco.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Lighten up, Boss, I'm just resting my mind."

Link to April 2 techdirt post, "Those Who Surf Facebook And YouTube At Work Are Often More Productive".

Excerpt: People who do surf the internet for fun at work - within a reasonable limit of less than 20 per cent of their total time in the office - are more productive by about nine per cent than those who don't.... People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration.

"He hopes people don't Google his name."

As quoted in this article in today's New York Times.

Well, hey, let's help them out.

Digging Into the Past

Link to April 1 Janesville post, "Volunteers devoted to digging up Rock County history".

Excerpt: When four Los Angeles private detectives contacted the Rock County Archives & Research Center, archives manager Ruth Anderson knew there had to be a sizable estate involved.
"We had to locate a daughter of a daughter of a daughter of an ancestor who came to Beloit early on," Anderson said.

Two research center volunteers in January traced the family history through various indexes, including obituaries.

"Because we had indexed marriage license applications for Rock County from 1918-88, we were able to get information off one application to identify the current generation and with a couple phone calls she was found in Texas," Anderson said.

Adrenaline fueled the "chase" that Rock County Historical Society Volunteer Coordinator Tina Love likened to a treasure hunt.

It's one example of many requests to the archives and research center. In 2008, nine center volunteers donated nearly 3,000 hours researching requests from walk-ins, phone calls, e-mails, letters and appointments.

The Downside of the Downturn

The Arlington Heights Memorial Library
featured in NYT article.

Numerous articles have been published during the past few months about the boom in library use. More visits. More circulation. More computer use.

An article in today's New York Times, "People in Need Are Filling and Taxing Libraries", describes the stresses on staff that accompany the increased business libraries are experiencing. It also shows how some libraries are coping in these difficult times.

Excerpt: As the national economic crisis has deepened and social services have become casualties of budget cuts, libraries have come to fill a void for more people, particularly job-seekers and those who have fallen on hard times. Libraries across the country are seeing double-digit increases in patronage, often from 10 percent to 30 percent, over previous years.

But in some cities, this new popularity — some would call it overtaxing — is pushing libraries in directions not seen before, with librarians dealing with stresses that go far beyond overdue fines and misshelved books. Many say they feel ill-equipped for the newfound demands of the job, the result of working with anxious and often depressed patrons who say they have nowhere else to go.

The stresses have become so significant here that a therapist will soon be counseling library employees.

“I guess I’m not really used to people with tears in their eyes,” said Rosalie Bork, a reference librarian in Arlington Heights, a well-to-do suburb of Chicago. “It has been unexpectedly stressful. We feel so anxious to help these people, and it’s been so emotional for them.”

Homelessness has been a long-term problem for many libraries, but now librarians are dealing with these types of situations more frequently.
1. People lacking the skills to fill out job applications. (This trend will only accelerate as the availability of forms for employment and social services, to name two major areas, shifts from paper to online.)
2. People wanting to use the Internet but not knowing a thing about it. (Not mentioned in the article is the likelihood that they also have no keyboading skills and have never seen, let alone used, a mouse.)
3. Cubicles (study carrels?) used as sleeping spaces on a much more frequent basis.

Sign of the times? When I visited the Arlington Heights Memorial Library's homepage minutes ago, here's what immediately caught my eye. Meet Security Manager Mike Klean. Security Manager Mike Klean heads up a staff of four trained security personnel who monitor the Library every hour that it is open and enforce the Library´s Rules of Behavior. Get to know Mike and learn what the Library is doing to ensure the best possible experience more...

There is obviously some cause for concern and a need to assure people that the library is a safe place to visit. One Arlington Heights mother is quoted as saying, "I don't like my 16-year-old son to study at the library at night anymore." Although she doesn't like it, but she still allows him to go there.

Arlington Heights has taken some measures to address these new needs.
1. Welcome desk. (Not a regular library feature -- usually a circulation desk takes care of this function -- and this may not be a new feature at Arlington Heights.)
2. Job-search desk.
3. Volunteer professionals to review resumes.
4. Support and networking group for the unemployed.
5. Web site resources

Is there still anyone out there who thinks that libraries are a stress-free environment?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Joint Finance Committee Hearing at Appleton

From the Wheeler Report.
From Terry Dawson's The New Cybrary blog.

Guide for Bloggers and Nonprofit Organizations

The Litigation Group of Public Citizen has published an online Guide for Bloggers and Non-Profit Organizations About Writing With Libel in Mind.

Here is what's covered:
PART I - Why a Libel Review.
PART II - Basic Libel Principles.
PART III - Protocols for Libel Reviews.
PART IV - Conclusion and Appendix of Resources.

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

Lots More Where This Came From

Link to March 31 New York Times post, "Spam Back to 94% of All E-Mail".

Excerpt: Spam, that annoying but ignorable scourge of the Web, has finally recovered from the jolt it received last November, when Internet backbone providers cut off McColo Corporation, a California Web-hosting service that spammers were using to coordinate e-mail attacks.

The average seven-day spam volume during the latter half of March is now at roughly the same levels as October of last year — around 94 percent of all e-mail — according to the antispam company Postini, a division of Google.

"Crazy tasty"?? Thankfully, I can't remember.

2008 Books Sales Report Card

Link to March 31 Publishers Weekly report.

Total sales: $24,250,000,000. Down 2.8%
Biggest gainer: e-books, $113,200,000. Up 68% but representing just 0.5% of overall sales.
Biggest loser: spokenword audio, $172,402,000, down 21%

Link to Association of American Publishers 2008 S1 Report, Estimated Book Publishing Industry Net Sales, 2002-2008.

Update: West Bend Reconsideration of Library Materials

Link to March 31 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, "West Bend couple circulate petitions to remove library books they consider obscene".

Excerpts: A West Bend couple are circulating petitions this week asking the [West Bend] community library's board to remove books they consider to be obscene or child pornography from a section designated "Young Adults."

The books should be reclassified and placed in a restricted area requiring parental approval prior to being released to a child, Ginny Maziarka said. Also, such material should be labeled with a warning about its content, she said.

The petition drafted by Maziarka and her husband, Jim, also asks the Library Board to balance its collection of books about homosexuality with books "affirming traditional heterosexual perspectives" that are faith-based or written by "ex-gay" authors.

The couple object to "the overt indoctrination of the gay agenda into our community youth," Ginny Maziarka said.

And then there's Ginny's definition of pornography: Any sexual activity that is spelled out explicitly, even crudely.

That's Why YOUR Vote is so Important in this Race

Link to April 1 Capital Times article, "The face-off for schools superintendent generates little interest".

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Twitter Share

This live performance of "The Librarian Song" was brought to my attention by MIDlibrarian.

Bursting at the Seams

Link to March 26 Hudson Star-Observer post, "Library is crowded and busy".

Excerpt: It may be crowded and too small by some standards, but residents throughout the Hudson area continue to use their library.

According to information provided by the Hudson Area Joint Library, circulation has increased by 160 percent since 2000 and by a rate of more than 12 percent per year. That compares with a statewide circulation increase of 32 percent over the past eight years.

Beloit staff gets set for library move

Link to March 30 Beloit Daily News article, "Preparations set for library move".

Excerpt: Saturday will mark the last day of operations at the Beloit Public Library on Pleasant Street in downtown Beloit as it prepares to make the move to its new, more spacious location in the Eclipse Center.

The library will be open from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday. After that, it will be closed for three weeks while employees move to the new location, said Adult Services Librarian Jeni Schomber.

The new 55,000-square-foot library is under construction at the old JC Penney location in the Eclipse Center, formerly the Beloit Mall. The library will occupy a 5-acre landscaped campus. Parking at the new site will triple the amount of space offered at the current site.

The new library will feature an expanded collection of books and media, a drive-up book drop open 24 hours, a children's program room and outdoor garden, a large public meeting room with seating for 180 people, a computer center with a classroom, a quiet periodical room with a fireplace, and a young adult area for teens.

Spring Break Gaming Day at McMillan

Link to March 31 Wisconsin Rapids Tribune article.

Excerpt: It was old school and new school for the first day of no school Monday at McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids.

The children's department hosted its last after-school activity for the school year with a spring break gaming day.

More than 20 elementary-age students, parents and even grandparents showed up to play board and card games, video games and indulge in ice cream sundaes -- all at no cost.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Websites for Prospective College Students

Recommendations found in a March 29 cnet news post, "Choosing the right school: 11 sites that'll help".

Intro: By now, many prospective college students have received responses from all the colleges to which they've applied. But now comes the hard part: deciding where to go.

Luckily, there are some sites that help them in that endeavor and provide them with valid insight before they make their final decisions. Even better, these sites can also help those who haven't applied yet and are starting their initial research.

For the high school junior who is considering applying to different colleges or the high school senior who needs to make a decision, these sites are outstanding resources.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

McMillan Promotes Online Databases

Link to March 28 Wisconsin Rapids Tribune article, "Library users can access valuable databases".

Excerpt: Some of the best and most powerful online resources are not available to the public unless a subscription is purchased. These databases are often too expensive for individual people or individual institutions to afford. Online resources are made possible at McMillan Library through funding from the State of Wisconsin, the South Central Library System, SCLS member libraries and federal grants provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Most of these databases can be used by McMillan cardholders at any computer; a few of these resources can be used only in the library.

School Funding to be Top Priority After Election

Link to March 29 Green Bay Press Gazette article, "

Excerpt: School finance has been a hot topic of late, with a statewide coalition called the School Finance Network presenting its proposal for funding reform earlier this year.

The next state superintendent can have an important role to play when it comes to how schools are funded, said Tony Klaubauf, superintendent of the Denmark School District.

"One of the ways they can be leaders is taking the lead or emphasizing that we have to have a fair and equitable funding system for schools," Klaubauf said.

The new state superintendent also will have an important role to play with President Barack Obama's administration, said Green Bay School District Superintendent Greg Maass.

"I think with the new administration in Washington, there'll be strong connections, I think, with the state superintendents to the Department of Education," Maass said. "Secretary (Arne) Duncan is going to be very visible."