Do I hear a concession here?
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Link to July 4 Daily Kos post, "Sanford Loses Book Deal".
Excerpt: Sentinel is the conservative arm of Penguin Group, so maybe they could switch to a different division, change the title from "Within Our Means" to "Within Her Jeans" and they'll have a blockbuster!
I suspect another, less strait-jacketed publisher will float Sanford a deal.
But not if Mr. Appalachian Trail keeps confessin' -- blabbin' all his material to anyone who'll listen.
(Sentinel is the proud publisher of this comic's collected scribblings.)
Excerpt: Family Circle partnered with Onboard Informatics, a New York City research firm that provides real estate, demographic and other data, to assemble an initial list of 1,700 cities and towns with populations between 15,000 and 150,000. From that, nearly 800 localities were selected with a high concentration of households with an average income of $75,000. We then assessed which places best met our family-friendly criteria --including affordable homes, quality schools, access to health care, green space, low crime rate and financial stability-and ranked them from top to bottom. Family Circle then selected the ten winners from among the highest-rated towns.
Family-friendly criteria? How do public libraries not make the cut?
The article appears in the August 2009 issue of Family Circle, available for sale on July 7.
Check out for yourself how the Sun Prairie Public Library contributes to the quality of life for families.
Excerpt: These boathouses are year-round, stationary and can’t move anywhere without being pushed or towed. Poles at each corner keep them in place, and they’re connected to shore by walkways. They stand on logs or plastic barrels, freezing into the ice in winter and floating in summer, moving up and down with changing water levels. They’re the humble homes of people and their boats.
Among them is Marti Greene Phillips of Rio, who became fascinated with them during a hike along the river nine years ago, She saw a lighted beer sign in a window of one of the odd little buildings, and was invited inside by the owner for a beer and some storytelling. Charmed by the intimacy with the water, waterlilies and wildlife, she bought one on the Minnesota side of the river in Brownsville for a weekend getaway.
She wanted to learn more about boathouses and their history but found nothing but a few newspaper articles and local lore. So before the generation of people who built them were gone and their stories lost forever, she decided to find them and write a book. “The Floating Boathouses on the Upper Mississippi: Their History, Their Stories” was self-published this spring.
Check out Martha's website here.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Excerpt: Net neutrality advocates got a boost of support Wednesday from the Obama administration when it released grant guidelines for spending the government's $7.2 billion broadband stimulus package.
Companies winning grants to help build new broadband infrastructure will have to follow the Federal Communications Commission's Internet Policy statement, which prohibits companies from deliberately blocking or slowing Internet traffic on their networks.
Excerpt: The Winding Rivers Library System, comprised of 34 public libraries in the La Crosse area, paid $2,437 this year for access to the digital content provided by OverDrive. That’s less than $100 per library.
Under the license agreement, libraries can’t circulate a copy to more than one patron at a time. But there’s no need to return items at the end of the seven-day loan period: The files simply stop working.
“There’s no such thing as a late charge on these things,” Krieg-Sigman said.
Among other benefits, the files are available to any patron with a library card and a computer, no matter where. On a business trip or on vacation, if you can access the Internet, you can download a book.
And since there’s no need to lug around multiple cassettes or discs, the digital format is more convenient for listening while traveling, exercising or gardening, said Kristen Anderson, education consultant for the Winding Rivers Library System.
The OverDrive catalog has been available for a couple of years, Anderson said, but now that the offerings have grown to include about 4,000 audio books, music and videos, libraries are promoting it.
Excerpt: The biggest hit to many municipalities will be the decision to cut state shared revenue. The 2.8 percent reduction will amount to $306,090 less in aid from the state, said finance director Peggy Steeno.
"That's our second largest revenue source after property taxes," City Manager Mark Rohloff said. "That money has been basically frozen since 1995, was cut back in 2001 and now this is cutting it even more."
The budget also requires municipalities to contribute more to the Wisconsin Retirement System, which will amount to at least $250,000, likely more, from Oshkosh's coffers, Steeno said. Winnebago County estimates the city will pay about $140,000 next year as a result of an increase in the state garbage tax that was also included in the budget.
Rohloff is unsure what, at this point, will need to be cut, but is asking departments to prioritize services to get an idea of what's most important to the city. He has directed city department heads to start work on their 2010 budgets as soon as they return to work from the long weekend.
Excerpt: "Decade of Despair, Winnebago County during the Great Depression, 1929 to 1939," a book by local authors Werner E. Braatz, professor emeritus of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and Thomas J. Rowland, history professor at UW-O, describes the economic conditions of the time and outlines the efforts made locally to ease the searing hardships faced by the people who lived through it.
The book, a regional study, contains both careful research and a human element as it describes what life was like in our nation's, and certainly the city of Oshkosh's, most trying economic time.
Rowland, whose area of expertise is Civil War-era history, came on board after the book had been started and was happy to help. He learned much about local history in the process. One thing that surprised him was the disparity of economic hardship in different parts of the county.
"Neenah and Menasha, anchored in the paper industry, were not unscathed but were not hit as hard," Rowland said. "The American public, despite its impoverished state, was still partial to the use of tissue paper."
Excerpt: Signed by Gov. Jim Doyle this week, the state budget includes a 3.5 percent cut to the amount of shared revenue distributed to local governments. According Stadelman, whose association represents 1,253 of the state's 1,257 towns, those cuts likely will result in towns being able repair fewer roads.
"Any cut (between) $3,000 and $10,000 probably means less road work; that's their biggest expenditure," he said. "You can't cut fire protection and some of those other things, and we don't have police protection in most towns. Roads are one of the areas where they can try to get by with less maintenance or improvements."
Thursday, July 2, 2009
The Economist. Up.
Link to theatlantic.com, "The Newsweekly’s Last Stand".
Excerpt: The secret to The Economist’s success is not its brilliance, or its hauteur, or its typeface. The writing in Time and Newsweek may be every bit as smart, as assured, as the writing in The Economist. But neither one feels like the only magazine you need to read. You may like the new Time and Newsweek. But you must—or at least, brilliant marketing has convinced you that you must—subscribe to The Economist.
They could go the KFC route -- what fried chicken? -- and just emphasize the acronym.
All of this makes me wonder....how did special librarians feel back in the mid-1970s when the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) was all over the news.
An additional $1.5 in expenses.
Excerpt: The increased spending doesn’t take into account requests from individual departments or union contracts still under negotiation.
Those aside, La Crosse leaders would need to cut at least $500,000 from its general operating budget to comply with the 3 percent state-mandated cap on how much the city can increase the local tax levy, Delagrave said.
Excerpt: Like fireworks, Manitowoc Public Library's window-painting event draws "ooohs and ahhhs" throughout the Fourth of July.
And the growing popularity of Paint the Library Red, White and Blue means more patriotism each year.
"Every year it seems like the (kids) that have done it in the past come back," said Ann Herrmann, youth services manager at the library. "They enjoy it so much, and they spread the word and new ones come."
Herrmann said the Manitowoc Public Library has held the activity for at least five years, and usually between 200 and 300 kids come out to paint patriotic pictures on the library windows.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Since 2002, KT has been the Director of the Cooperative Children's Book Center of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also served as a children’s librarian at Madison Public Library for nine years. She is the author of From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books (HarperCollins, 1997). She was named the 2010 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecturer for the American Library Association/ Association of Library Service to Children.
Click here for more information on KT's distinguished list of career accomplishments.
KT answers these and other questions.
You’ve also been a public librarian. What did you learn from that experience?
If you possessed superpowers and could have any job in the world, what would it be?
Excerpt: More people paying bills online and sending e-mails instead of letters has meant a staggering drop in mail going through the U.S. Postal Service, said Pete Nowacki, spokesman for the agency's Northland District, which covers most of Minnesota and the western third of Wisconsin.
"Mail volume is way down," Nowacki said. "Last year it was down 4.5 percent, and this year it will be worse."
Libraries were early adopters in this area. The Middleton Public Library's expenditures for postage dropped from $12,931 in 1996 to $2,428 in 2003 -- although they had increased to $4,482 by 2007. (Last year for which I have a final figure at my quick disposal.)
On the other hand, I still write and (snail)mail a weekly letter to my now 88-year-old, off-the-grid mom.
Excerpt: City figures showed Madison had one of the state's highest growth rates, adding about 22,500 residents or 10.7 percent between 2000 and 2008, including 1.4 percent growth from 2007 to 2008.
Between 2000 and 2008 Kenosha gained 7 percent and Sheboygan lost 6 percent.
Excerpt: The library board on June 16 approved establishment of a library building committee, but Clemons said Tuesday that the committee, to be appointed by Mayor Tim Hanna, would include too many members with ties to the library.
Library Director Terry Dawson said the proposed planning committee needs library-friendly members to give a voice to private donors willing to help pay for construction of a facility with an estimated price tag of $33 million.
"This project is unlike others in the city because we will be looking for significant private dollars to help fund it," Dawson said. "We need to have a voice for those people because the library board will have to be accountable to the donors."
Consultants in June outlined options for a new, 140,000-square-foot library in the downtown area. The library is coping with record use, including 2,969 patrons on June 10, at its 88,000-square-foot facility on Oneida Street.
Program design study found here.
Link to July 1 Marshfield News Herald article, "Marathon Co. could provide Internet access to rural areas".
Excerpt: The county will pay telecommunications firm Elert & Associates about $80,000 to study "gaps" in access and determine what it would take to make improvements, said Ed Hammer, county director of conservation, planning and zoning.
Officials working on the project say it could dramatically improve access for businesses and county residents.
"Hopefully, the independent study is going to be able to find out exactly what is out there and what the shortfall is. And is growth in business being hampered because there is nothing?" said County Board member Kurt Gibbs, who lives in the town of Cassel, where many residents have poor access.
The plan is in its early stages, though, leaving many questions unanswered.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Link to June 30 Library Research Services post, "IMLS Publishes 2007 Public Libraries Survey Report".
Excerpt: The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has issued the 2007 Public Libraries Survey (PLS) report which includes information on population of service areas, service outlets, library collections and services, library staff, and operating revenue and expenditures. New this year IMLS has included trend data (7-10 years) with graphs and maps on selected items.
Vibe magazine closes down
The bottom falling out of print advertising has claimed another victim, and a notable one, too: Vibe. Founded in 1992 by Quincy Jones, Vibe quickly became a widely read a respected voice covering hip-hop and R&B music. According to the New York Times Media Decoder blog it continued to enjoy a healthy circulation to the end. The trouble: Advertising, or a lack of it. The magazine will cease operations immediately.
Excerpt: The closure was due to a number of factors, including the loss of the large Fox Valley Technical College school bookstore contract and diminished business in the College Avenue store during the economic downturn, bridge construction and changing shopper habits.
Link to June 20 Oshkosh Northwestern letter to the editor, "Decision to print library security story unjustified".
Excerpt: The reporter who wrote the article did an excellent job of reporting the facts of the situation, but the decision to publish her story has put our library in an extremely vulnerable position!
Monday, June 29, 2009
Excerpt: Here's a silver lining in the economic recession -- Chicago Public Library circulation has spiked 30 percent in the past year.
"People are realizing, 'Why should I buy my books, my CDs -- I can get it free at the library,' " Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey said Saturday, speaking at the dedication of a new library in Beverly.
Link to June 29 Fond du Lac Reporter article, "County takes lead in going wireless".
Excerpt: A plan to provide high-speed wireless Internet capability to all citizens in Fond du Lac County is becoming reality — and is putting the county in a select group nationally.
"We signed the memorandum of understanding with Dotnet (June 12)," said Fond du Lac County Director of Administration Ellen Sorensen.
The Fond du Lac County Board, she said, approved the idea "conceptually" in January with Dotnet Acquisition Company.
As part of the agreement, Dotnet, based in Fond du Lac County, has access to six county radio towers in exchange for construction of high-speed wireless infrastructure. Fond du Lac County government is being provided the service at no cost, while citizens and businesses will have to contract with Dotnet to utilize the service.
The article notes that residential service will be available at a cost of $29.95 per month. Faster speeds are available for $39.95 and $49.95 per month. Which begs the question: how fast is "fast"?
And at a total annual cost of $359.40 for the basic package, home and/or business wireless access is likely to be too much of a budget-buster for some. I suspect this capability will have little impact on the Fond du Lac Public Library's network of public access Internet computers.
Excerpt: The works of central Wisconsin historian Malcolm Rosholt, out of print for more than a decade, have been digitized and are now available through McMillan Memorial Library's Web site at www.mcmillanlibrary.org/rosholt. Rosholt spent decades researching Wisconsin history, and his works are an important resource for students, genealogists and historians.
The 11 books cover such topics as logging, railroads and the early pioneers of central Wisconsin. All of the titles are well illustrated, and four of them are photographic albums.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Excerpt: Several hundred supporters of public libraries gathered outside the Statehouse at lunchtime today to protest cuts in state aid being proposed by Gov. Ted Strickland.
Advocates say the 30 percent reduction in funding on top of an earlier 20 percent cut will cause libraries to limit services and hours, and force some to close.
Among the messages advocates had for the governor: 8 million Ohioans have library cards, roughly about the same number as registered voters.
Late Friday, Strickland unveiled a plan to cut libraries' funding by $200 million over the next two years. The cut was part of a $2.4 billion reduction in state spending Strickland has proposed to help close a $3.2 billion shortfall in the upcoming two-year budget.
Since then, supporters of areas being cut have blitzed the governor's office and lawmakers with complaints via telephone and e-mail.
Excerpt: My summer reading list includes anything by F. Paul Wilson; in particular his Repairman Jack series is wildly entertaining. Author Lee Child's Jack Reacher is a character to die for, "literally" speaking, of course. Alex Kava takes me on dark journeys tracking serial killers with her hero, Maggie O'Dell. Kinky Friedman solves mysteries with his crew, the "Village Irregulars," using most irreverent and hilarious methods. For those who like their fiction hardboiled with very little mercy, give Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor series a try.This short reading list probably gives more information than you need on my psyche, but for me, escaping into these tales is extremely entertaining.
I offer up the Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben.
Suggestions from Donna Hertel, Reference Supervisor at Merrill's T. B. Scott Library; Jane Janke Johnson, co-owner of Janke's Book Store in Wausau; and Mike O'Connor, Reference Librarian at Marathon County Public Library.
Excerpt: I would like to respond to the Northwestern article about the Oshkosh Public Library security gap (June 21). It sounds to me like The Northwestern went public solely because it was miffed over being lied to, rather than any real concern for the loss of library materials to thieves. In this case, the library’s white lie to protect their collection was more justifiable than the right of the press to publish this story.
The article states that there will be a gradual switch to the new system because they can’t use volunteers to help with the RFID tagging due to union contracts (a ridiculous feature for a contract with a public institution, but that is a separate argument), and they can’t hire any more staff due to budget constraints. So it appears that the article will not help to protect the library’s collection at all.