Saturday, April 25, 2009

The New Beloit Public Library, Part 3

The tour continues.

28 computers in this room

12 computers in enclosed classroom

Seating in teen area

Close-up of teen seating area

As you'll gather from these last 4 photos, I'm fascinated by these plastic bubbles. The staff person I talked with wasn't able to provide a clear explanation of their design and purpose, but I assume they're intended to prevent sound from carrying to other areas of the library?

Next series of photos. Youth Services.

The New Beloit Public Library, Part 2

The tour continues.

The reference collection

The photos may not give you a sense of the way the interior spaces are perfectlly lit. Evenly distributed and very gentle on the eyes.
The fireplace in the quiet reading room.

Another reading room view.

From the entrance of the quiet reading room.

A portion of the nonfiction collection.

Large-print (I think).
I didn't have a pen to take notes.

Space, space, and more space.
Welcoming and bright.

Focusing on the windows resulted in the underexposure.

At the end of the dedication program in the Library's meeting room, Board President Carl Balson gave the standing-room-only audience an indication of what our reaction would be once we began our self-guided tours.

I'm here to tell you he wasn't exaggerating.

The New Beloit Public Library, Part 1

Rain didn't dampen the enthusiasm or diminish the turnout for the Beloit Public Library's dedication and open house today.

The Entrance

The Library is located in the space previously occupied by J. C. Penney in the Beloit Mall. The 55,000-square-foot facility on two levels is an expertly engineered and beautifully designed re-use of space. Look for what is now called the Eclipse Center to become a vital civic center.

The Lobby

Commemorating today's dedication

Just inside the second set of doors
(looking at circulation desk)

"Peek-a-boo" window looking into
the children's department

Lots of room to maneuver
behind the circulation desk

A view from the opposite end
of the circulation desk

The reference desk

New books display/browsing area

"No, Hon, you can't check out until Monday."

At this point in my self-guided tour, I was (almost) ready to come out of retirement. The Beloit Public Library is looking for a new Director, by the way. From what I heard, candidates with well-developed skills in working with community organizations are encouraged to apply.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rhapsodic Ode to E-Books

And the Kindle Reader in particular

Link to April 20 Wall Street Journal article, "How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write".

I confess -- Johnson just about has me ready to place my order.

West Bend Library: UWM School of Information Studies Statement of Support

Link to April 14 news release.

We, the faculty and teaching academic staff at the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin‐Milwaukee, along with the SOIS Graduate Student Organization, commend the West Bend Community Memorial Library Board of Trustees, administration, and staff for their support of the principle of intellectual freedom in the face of pressure to abandon their professional and communal commitments.

West Bend Group Supports Its Library

Link to April 23 GM Today article, "West Bend library backers find strength in numbers".

Excerpt: A grassroots community group took steps to support the West Bend Community Memorial Library's policies on Wednesday night.

West Bend Parents for Free Speech held a two-hour petition signing at the library hours that generated a steady flow of supporters. By the conclusion of the signing period, about 200 signatures were obtained. The group has also generated 155 signatures on its Web site as of 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The group was formed this month by West Bend resident Maria Hanrahan, in response to a petition being circulated by Ginny and Jim Maziarka, of the town of West Bend, and their newly formed group, West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries.

Looks like a weekend of dueling petitions for West Bend area residents. Let's hope that Maria's efforts reach the widest audience.

Measured Response to San Jose PL Decision

Link to April 23 post at 13th Floor blog, "Porn Available on Library Computers".

Ellen Perlman, author of the post, agrees with an analogy provided by San Jose councilman Sam Liccardo, who compares filtering to "fighting a global naval strategy by deploying all our ships to Lake Tahoe."

Link to April 21 San Jose Mercury News article, "San Jose council votes down porn filters at public library computers".

Public Forum Focuses on Central Library Options

Link to April 23 Capital Times article, "Central Library talk heats up; mayor urges 'bold, aggressive' action".

Excerpt: Madison's Central Library was the talk of the town Wednesday, garnering a prominent mention in Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's "State of the City" speech and drawing about 100 people from all over Madison for a public hearing on rebuilding it.

The public forum, hosted by Capitol Neighborhoods Inc., was the first public meeting after the city's Central Library committee heard about the potential for renovating rather than rebuilding the library. Currently, the committee is grappling with two plans to rebuild the library at a cost of $38 million or $43 million, as well as several remodeling schemes that cost between $15 million and $20 million.

Representatives of both rebuilding projects emphasized the added value of their more expensive projects, with both bringing economic development and increased property taxes in the form of office, hotel or retail space.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What is bookarmy?

From the horse's mouth:

...a social networking website for every sort of reader. Whether you’re a bookaholic or someone who picks up a book only once a year while relaxing on holiday, bookarmy is the place to discuss and review books, build reading lists, get the best book recommendations, and where you and your friends, family or classmates can read books together.

What makes bookarmy different from other book sites is that here you can make direct contact with authors; see what star rating they have given books, browse their reading lists, ask them questions about their own writing, and recommend titles to them.

I searched "Marcus Sakey". No one had yet reviewed any of his 3 books. I registered and provided a brief comment on "The Blade Itself". Haven't seen it posted yet.

This story has a familiar ring to it

Link to April 22 Daily Tech post, "Time Warner, Embarq Fight to Outlaw 100 Mbps Community Broadband in Wilson, NC".

Excerpt: Rather than admit defeat to the pesky local service and go quietly, Time Warner Inc. and Embarq decided to take the fight to the state government, lobbying for several years to get the state government to pass laws to try to destroy the local effort. And sure enough, thanks to a lot of hard work (and money), the cable companies are close to getting their wish -- North Carolina's State Senate have proposed bills to not only effectively crippling or banning the local service, but also to prevent such services from getting funds under the broadband portion of the national Stimulus law.

Survey Says

There's a lot of wishful thinking out there.

Link to Pew Research Center Survey, "57% - I Want To Go Where It’s Warm".

Excerpt: Most like it hot: Fully 57% of the public prefer a hotter climate while 29% would rather live in a colder one. Men or women, rich or poor, college grad or high school dropout, similarly-sized majorities favor living in a place that is hotter over one that is colder. Though blacks (69%) and Hispanics (62%) are significantly more likely than whites to prefer to live in a hotter place, a majority of whites still choose a warmer community (54%). This doesn't mean that Americans don't like colder cities. Often-snow-covered Denver and less-than-balmy Seattle are high on warm-weather supporters list of favorite cities.

Then there's this article in today's New York Times, "Slump Creates Lack of Mobility for Americans".

Excerpt: Stranded by the nationwide slump in housing and jobs, fewer Americans are moving, the Census Bureau said Wednesday.

The bureau found that the number of people who changed residences declined to 35.2 million from March 2007 to March 2008, the lowest number since 1962, when the nation had 120 million fewer people.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

United Nations' World Digital Library

The World Digital Library (WDL) makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.

The principal objectives of the WDL are to promote international and intercultural understanding; expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet; provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences; and build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries.

The Drama in West Bend Continues

Link to April 22 GM Today article, "Four tossed off West Bend Library Board".

Excerpt: The West Bend Common Council, upset over the handling of a citizen call to restrict sexually-explicit books in the listing recommended for teen-age readers, rejected reappointing four members of the city’s Library Board Tuesday night.

"They’re all good people," said Alderman Terry Vrana, who voted against the four reappointments. "I disagree with them."

He said the appointees were not serving the interests of the community "with their ideology."

Vrana said he wanted people on the Library Board "who think and use a little common sense. I’m concerned about the morality of this city."

Note that in this article, the items in question aren't so-called sexually-explicit books.

The 5-3 vote comes as no surprise to those following West Bend local politics.

Status of West Bend Ethics Complaint

Link to April 22 GM Today article, "Couple may not pursue ethics complaint in West Bend".

Excerpt: A call for an ethics investigation into the handling of a citizens group's protest of so-called sexually-explicit books at the library by the mayor and an alderman needs to be notarized before it can be considered a formal complaint, West Bend City Attorney Mary Schanning ruled Monday.

Yesterday's Action at JFC Exec Session

Link to April 21 Capital Times article, "Cell phone users might not see promised rebates".

You'll have to look elsewhere for that extra Abe.

Excerpt: The Democratic-controlled committee decided to give local governments $20 million that was supposed to be sent back to cell phone users in $5 checks. Instead, local governments would get the money as Doyle proposed to help them pay for services such as police and fire protection and to keep down property taxes.

The committee also approved imposing a new fee of up to 75 cents starting Oct. 1 on users of cell phones and other devices that can call 911 in order to pay for those services. The roughly $50 million raised a year would go to pay for staffing and equipping 911 service centers across the state.

Also approved was a new fee on all phone users to pay for six new positions with the state agency that investigates complaints against telephone companies.

See Legislative Fiscal Bureau Paper 665 for background.

If any legislator broached the issue of using the Universal Service Fund to pay for all statewide library services in 2009-2011, it's not indicated in this article.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Developer Sweetens the Deal

Link to April 21 Capital Times article, "Wall offers $3M donation for downtown library if his plan is picked".

Excerpt: Wall has proposed tearing down the existing 43-year-old library at Mifflin and Fairchild streets and building a nine-story structure on the site. The public library would occupy the second, third and fourth floors, with the rest of the building dedicated to private office or retail space.

T. Wall would purchase the current site from the city for $4 million then sell the library portion back to the city once the building goes up. The city would complete the interior build-out of the library's three floors on its own, at an estimated cost of $38 million.

[Not that I have anything to say about it, but Retiring Guy prefers a design that provides a ground-floor entrance to the library. From the design of the glass atrium, though, it appears that there is a direct visual contact with the upper floors.]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Library Trustees with Deep Pockets

Link to WBUR Boston website, "BPL President: In Downturns, The Library Is A ‘Soft Place’".

Excerpt: The Boston Public Library got some good news last week. It will not have to close the main Copley Square branch on five Sundays, a move that was planned in an effort to save money.

Two library trustees, Jeffrey Rudman and Raymond Tye, came forward with $55,000 of their own money to keep the library open on those Sundays.

Like most libraries around the country, the Boston library has to balance tighter than ever finances with an increasing number of patrons.

Boston Public Library President Amy Ryan’s been trying to preserve services and must cut $4 million from her budget. She’s already slashed $1.3 million in spending.

Headline News

West Bend Community Library

Headline from the Ozaukee-Washington Daily News
Petition started to oppose restricting access to library books

There are now dueling petitions offering advice on how to deal with sexually explicit books at the West Bend Community Memorial Library. (Well, at least we know where the Daily News stands on the issue.)

Access to full article requires a print subscription to newspaper.

Wausau Newspaper Hosts Chat with Author: Excerpts

Link to "Excerpts of chat with 'ttyl' author".

Although the Daily Herald editorialized against keeping ttyl in the John Muir Middle School library, I admire the way the newspaper has encouraged an open and civil community discussion of what is appropriate for teens to read.

Collection Development in a Middle School Library

Link to April 20 Wausau Daily Herald article, "Middle school libraries a challenge to stock".

Excerpt: The first goal, said Sue Engel, the librarian at Horace Mann Middle School in Wausau, "is to support teachers and the curriculum." After that, her mission is "to do everything I can to get these kids to read."

That means books need to reflect a range of interests, and cover plenty of topics and a range of maturity levels.

"We're not going to put graphic sex and graphic violence on our shelves," Engel said. But many books reflect the complicated world in which middle schoolers live and have mature themes.

Although all the books won't be every student's cup of tea, there should be some books in which any student will be interested.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Any Such Thing as Recession-Proof?

Link to April 19 cnet news post, "Video game sales hit the wall in March".

Excerpt: New March sales data from NPD Group reveals that video game sales are finally being hit (and hit hard) by the recession. Despite a strong showing through February, March sales across the board dropped by 15 percent to 18 percent year over year from 2008 to 2009.

And a Big Fan of Libraries

Link to April 19 Wisconsin State Journal article, "KNOW YOUR MADISONIAN: C. Albert Harr".

Mr. Harr is a regular at the Middleton Public Library.

State Journal Front-Page Feature Article on Michael Perry

(Perry's new book goes on sale Tuesday, April 21)

Link to April 19 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Wisconsin author Perry's tales shift easily from one musing to another".

LA CROSSE — After church service and brunch in a hotel ballroom, more than 150 attendees of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Women's Conference await the event's keynote speaker: writer Michael Perry.

It's 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning, chilly and drab outside. Perry, 44, wears a thick black-and-white checkered flannel over a plain brown T-shirt, faded jeans and gym shoes. Unbuttoned and untucked, the flannel almost looks like a suit jacket. Perry means no disrespect. This is how he dresses whether eating in a highbrow New York restaurant to meet his literary agent or feeding pigs at his small farm in rural Eau Claire.

The conference features a polite crowd, but a tough one — not the easiest group to entertain with book readings for 70 minutes.

Editorial Disagrees with Wausau School Board Action

Link to April 19 Wausau Daily Herald editorial, "Our View: Not all books appropriate for all students".

Excerpt: It is true that no parent can control 100 percent of what his or her child sees, hears or learns about the world -- nor should parents try. But adults are entitled to set some common-sense limits on the messages their kids receive and the role models they learnto emulate.

That's why we disagree with the decision by the Wausau School Board last week to keep the young adult novel "ttyl," which contains some awfully graphic sexual language, on the shelves in the John Muir Middle School library.

It may very well be the case that "ttyl" has literary value as a young adult novel. At the least, crafting an epistolary novel composed entirely of Internet instant messages is something of a literary feat. (For the uninitiated, "ttyl" stands for "talk to you later" in online chats or text messages.)

Readers' responses to editorial found here.