Saturday, August 1, 2009

Portsmouth Public Library: $1 Mil Reduction

Continuing the trek along the Ohio trail of tears.

Link to August 1 Portsmouth Daily News article, "Library Cuts Positions, Hours".

Excerpt: Highlights of the plan approved by the board include:

• Effective Aug. 9, a 5 percent pay cut for nine senior management and administrative staff.

• Eliminate 12 part-time and five full-time positions; six positions have already been eliminated through attrition.

• Effective Aug. 10, reducing open hours at all locations: hours at the main library reduced from 66.5 to 53; Northwest, reduced from 27 to 20; Lucasville, New Boston, South Webster and Wheelersburg libraries from 57 to 24, and the Bookmobile will make stops throughout the county Monday through Thursday.

• The materials budget reduced by 40 percent and eliminate outside programming.

Middletown Public Library System: $1.7 Mil Reduction

More dreadful news from Ohio.
Link to post, "West Chester library cuts hours, staff".

Excerpt: Doug Bean, director of the Middletown Public Library System, said the job cuts at West Chester are about half of those passed by the library board this week. Another 11 people will lose their jobs at the Middletown branch. Altogether, the layoffs represent 18 percent of the staff, he said.

The cost-cutting measures are necessary to help make up the $1.7 million lost to state budget cuts and a drop in the General Revenue Fund.

The libraries will be open six days a week on shortened hours and will be closed on Friday, when business is slowest. The hours for West Chester and Middletown libraries are trimmed to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays during fall and winter.

Cuyahoga County Public Library: $14 Mil Reduction in State Support

Library card irony.

Link to July 27 post, "Cuyahoga County Public Library announces which 7 branches will stay open Sundays this fall".

Excerpt: The library, which started Sunday hours in 1984, extended them into summer at all branches this year for the first time because of recession-fed demand for services. But a projected reduction of $14 million in state support for libraries and local tax collections, through 2010, forced conservation measures. They include limiting Sunday hours, cutting staff, freezing pay and reducing the purchase of new items.

Old Media's Narrow View

Link to post, "Why Can't Old Media Understand the Viral Effect?"

Excerpt: And now, the Associated Press and many newspapers are showing their ignorance of the viral effect and its potential value to them by attacking bloggers and other online users who "poach" their stories despite the fact that there are always links back to the source. They actually reject the value of the viral effect, mostly because they do not understand its potential positive impact on their business. While we in the tech community love to ride the RIAA for being dummies regarding its understanding of both the network effect and simple modern marketing, the newspaper folks are just as vulnerable to this criticism

2010 Budget: Eau Claire Looks at Project $2 Mil Deficit

Link to July 31 Eau Claire Leader Telegram article, "City officials search for sources of revenue".

Excerpt: The city already collects money by selling exclusive beverage pouring rights at Carson Park. It sells advertising inside Hobbs Ice Center and outside on its buses.

But next year's projected deficit and projected future budget shortfalls have city officials considering other ways to raise money.

Last week the city Fiscal Policy Advisory Committee discussed potentially paying the San Diego-based Active Government consulting firm to develop a list of more sponsorship possibilities. The City Council is expected to discuss that idea and others, such as possibly adopting a local vehicle registration fee, at a Thursday night work session.

Making the Case for Broadband to Non-Adapters

Link to August 1 Green Bay Press-Gazette guest column, "Broadband so what? Here's what".

Excerpt: We know it’s routine for students to submit their assignments online, or for job seekers to find and apply for employment. What’s less obvious is that high-speed Internet is the new growth engine for innovation, collaboration, education, learning and professional development opportunities. This is why broadband networks will impact the future growth of our communities, our nation and our lives as individuals.

In the Cleveland area, for example, public libraries offer summer programs to teach children 3-D imaging, animation and other skills that will prepare them for tomorrow’s opportunities.

Record-Setting Summer at Colby Public Library

Link to to August 1 Marshfield Daily Herald column, "Young readers break library record".

Excerpt: A record number of youths -- 175 -- read the minimum of 500 pages to be included in the prize drawing. These names were placed in a drawing container according to clubs. The 85 Blue Club (2,000 or more pages) member names were drawn first, allowing them to enter the "Gallery of Prizes." Twenty Green Club (1,500 pages) members were in the drawing next, followed by 27 Yellow Club (1,000 pages) members and 43 Red Club (500 pages) readers. Each reader was excited to be able to select the prize he or she desired.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Los Lonely Boy

Link to July 31 techdirt post, "Why Segway Failed To Reshape The World: Focused On Invention, Rather Than Innovation".

Excerpt: [T]his highlights the difference between invention (believing that you alone have come up with the perfect idea for a great product) and innovation (the ongoing iterative process of going back and forth with the market to test and understand what the market wants and how to make your product meet their needs). By focusing so much on the invention, Segway missed the real opportunity for innovation, and that's caused all sorts of problems for the company.

Time Spent Reading Newspapers Online and in Print

Link to July 31 post, "Print Newspapers Still Dominate Readers' Attention", by Ryan Chittum.

Excerpt: For those of us of a certain small-but-growing subset—the blogging, commenting, techno-savvy, early-adopting, extreme-news consumers—it’s sometimes easy to forget that most people don’t live like we do. They don’t use RSS. They don’t Twitter. They don’t read twenty blogs a day. They (some 100 million or so) still actually pick up the newspaper and read it.

Martin Langeveld published a fascinating analysis
a few months ago on how much reading of a newspaper is done online versus in print and came up with a shocking estimate: 96.5 percent print, 3.5 percent online.

Outagamie County Ponders the Sales Tax Option

Link to July 31 Oshkosh Northwestern article, "Wobbly economy prompts counties to take another look at sales tax".

Excerpt: Since 1986, every county in Wisconsin has had the option of imposing a half-percent sales tax in addition to the state’s 5 percent tax. Seven of the holdouts form a contiguous block. They are Calumet, Fond du Lac, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Outagamie, Sheboygan and Winnebago counties. Most have toyed with and rejected the idea. Among the most adamant opponents is Manitowoc County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer.

Oshkosh Library Board Sets Ambitious Timeline for RFID Tagging

Link to July 31 Oshkosh Northwestern article, "Library set timeline for tagging".

Excerpt: Securing all 300,000 items at the Oshkosh Public Library will take two years and six months under a new timeline approved by the library's Board of Trustees on Thursday.

That's double the pace library staff started at before a Northwestern report in June revealed the library was operating without a working security system. An automated checkout system installed in February is not compatible with the old security system.

You Dog You

Link to July 30 New York Times article, "Ads Follow Web Users, and Get More Personal".

Excerpt: But consumer advocates say such unseen tracking is troubling. On the old Internet, nobody knew you were a dog. On the new targeted Internet, they now know what kind of dog you are, your favorite leash color, the last time you had fleas and the date you were neutered.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

West Bend Book Controversy a Blogosphere Sensation

Third biggest story!

Link to June 30 Pew Research report, "Bloggers Seize on Obama's Slipping Poll Numbers". (The bloggers who live and lie by Rasmussen's manipulated numbers.)

Nazareth: Library Love Hurts

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Nailed 'Em - Library Crime
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTasers
Link to July 29 School Library Journal post, "Facts from Nazareth Library Director regarding Dominic Phillips & the Colbert video".

Columbus Metropolitan Library Addresses $8.5 Million Budget Shortfall

Link to July 30 Columbus Dispatch article, "Hours cut as libraries make do".

Excerpt: Budget cuts prompted by lower state aid will mean no Sunday hours at most branches, employee pay cuts and reduced services at the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Among the reduced services:
  • 1988-level materials budget
  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. hours of operation on Friday and Saturday at all locations.
You don't have to be a Buckeye State resident to feel a keen sense of loss as Ohio's public libraries cut services and reduce staff.

Just to provide some perspective, only 2 public libraries in Wisconsin (Milwaukee and Madison) had a total 2008 income greater than $8,500,000.

Suburban Columbus Libraries Feel the Pain

Link to July 29 Columbus Dispatch article, "Suburban libraries cut hours, employees to cope".

Excerpt: At least a couple of suburban library systems might ask voters to approve new local taxes after state cuts decimated their budgets. Almost all libraries are set to cut hours, eliminate Sunday service, lay off employees and pare wages. They will buy fewer titles and fewer copies.

Cuts at Ohio's Troy-Miami County Public Library

Link to July 16 Dayton Daily News article, "Troy public library reduces services, cuts staffers".

Excerpt: Hoping to keep up with funding cuts, the Troy-Miami County Public Library is laying off six staff members, reducing hours for most others, parking its bookmobile, increasing fines and closing the main library and a branch one day per week.

Bookmobile services were eliminated beginning Monday, July 13, to save around $80,000 through the end of this calendar year, Rachelle Miller, library director, said. The bookmobile has been a library service since 1939.

Miller said the cuts, the second this year, result from proposed funding reductions at the state level plus the current financial situation overall.

Dayton Art Institute Library Now Closed to Public

Link to July 7 Dayton Daily News article.

Excerpt: It’s a sign of the times. The Dayton Art Institute continues to make adjustments as a result of continuing economic pressures.

The Lott Memorial Library, previously open to the public by appointment, is now closed to outsiders, effective July 1. Established in 1922, the library holds a large collection related to the visual arts and architecture.

Toledo-Lucas County Public Library Loses $1.4 in State Funding

Main Library facility

Cuts approved by the Library Board on Thursday, July 23, include the following:
  • Eliminate Sunday hours, except for the Sanger Branch Library, which will maintain Sunday hours year-long.
  • Reduction in the budget spent on books, DVDs, videos, CDs, and other items.
  • Eliminate page hours (Library pages perform manual duties such as sorting and shelving materials).
  • Reduction to the system's information technology budget.
  • Reduction in new furniture and equipment purchases.
  • No pay increases for exempt staff.
Source: Toledo Blade.

Can We Talk?

Survey says 79% of respondents believe there's a major difference in the point of view of younger people and older people.

Compared to 74% in 1969 and 60% in 1979.

Link to Pew Research Center report "Talkin' 'Bout my Generation".

Link to "Growing Old in America: Expectations vs. Reality".

Info tidbit on the daily activities of older Americans, i.e. 65 and up.

Taking a nap (40%) beats using the Internet (28%).

Although I'm a little suspicious of the naptime percentage, as 77% claimed to watch more than 1 hour of TV. What better way to fall asleep!

On the other hand, 83% say they read a book, magazine, or newspaper.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ohio Public Libraries: Painful Adjustments to Loss of State Aid

Link to July29 article in The Gazette of Medina County, "Libraries across county forced to cut back".

The following cuts are enumerated:

Medina County District Library

  • Budget cut by nearly $300,000 for rest of year.
  • Reduced hours at Buckeye, Seville and Highland branches.
  • Layoffs and hour reductions for employees.

Wadsworth Public Library

  • Budget cut by nearly $400,000 for rest of the year.
  • Reduced hours starting Sept. 1 — 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday (2 hours less), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday (2 hours less) and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday (four hours less).
  • Elimination of bookmobiles, possible layoffs and lower materials budget.

Governor Rell's Blind Spot

Refusing to see the value of coordinated purchasing and resource sharing.

Link to a great piece of library advocacy in the July 20 Ridgefield (Connecticut) Press, "Library cuts are penny wise, pound foolish".

Excerpt: Currently Connecticut’s libraries, by coordinating services and purchases through the state, receive discounts not available to individual local libraries. Gov. Rell’s cuts would force each library, including Ridgefield’s, to fend for itself. The net result will be for the people of Connecticut to spend more money to receive the same level of library services. This is not only foolish, it is fiscally irresponsible.

Dan Costa on What Not to Do While Driving

Texting—And 8 Other Things NOT to Do While Driving.

talk on the phone


re-plot your GPS

watch TV

download copyrighted music

e-file your taxes

build an AMD-based gaming computer

take a shower

To which I can add.....


search for the audiobook disc that just slipped out of your hand

reach into the back seat for the audiobook case that's just out of reach

rummage through the glove box for a pen or pencil to write down the title of the next audiobook you want to place on hold.

[Retiring Guy is currently listening to Nothing to Lose by Lee Child. OK, is there some irony here?]

Library Fines: Go Get 'Em, Sez H-T-R

Link to July 29 Herald-Times-Reporter editorial, "Pursue library fines. Go after the nickels and dimes".

Excerpt: People often overlook their library fines because the amounts are so small. It's like borrowing a quarter from a friend and conveniently forgetting to return the money. Once or even twice is OK, but sometimes it turns into a persistent bad habit.

Those with the library fine "habit" should be held accountable

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pol(e)s and Pot: Looking for New Revenue Sources

Link to July 28 post, "Strip clubs, marijuana eyed during budget crunch".

In California, Democratic State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced a bill legalizing marijuana -- with a $50 per oz tax. Current status: shelved, likely to be re-introduced.

In Georgia, Republican State Senator Jack Murphy proposed a $5 entrance fee for all strip club visitors. As you'd expect, it's been dubbed a "pole tax" -- and wasn't approved.

Hopscotching to the West Bend Beat

Link to July 23 Playground Politics blog post, "With no jobs to be found, West Bend puts its best foot forward."

The Recess Supervisor muses about that popular article. You know, the one with "book burning" in the headline. Third-most emailed story at its peak.

Nicholas Baker on the Kindle

Link to The New Yorker website, "A New Page: Can the Kindle Really Improve on the Book?"

As with anything written by Baker, there's much that's quote-worthy.

Lots of ordinary people were excited about the Kindle 2, too—there were then about fifteen hundred five-star customer reviews at the Kindle Store, saying “I love my Kindle” over and over, and only a few hundred bitter one-stars. Kindle books were clean. “I’ve always been creeped out by library books and used books,” one visitor, Christine Ring, wrote on the Amazon Web site. “You never know where they’ve been!”

Based on library circulation figures so far this year, those who are creeped out are a distinct minority.

Baker provides a full transcription of his experience -- from pondering to ordering to opening the box to experimenting to musing. Lots of musing -- and our reading lives are the richer for it.

Jefferson County Officials Address Budget Concerns

Link to July 24 Daily Union online article.

Excerpt: Due to the recession, Petre said, the county could end 2009 fiscal year with a deficit. He said current projections show that investment revenue is estimated to be $400,000 under budget, and sales tax revenue is projected to be approximately $800,000 under budget.

To help address these issues, county departments have identified an approximately $1.3 million expenditure reduction and revenue increases to help offset the losses, Petre said, adding that the plan is to carry forward those concepts into the 2010 budget, as well to maintain that level of savings.

Wisconsin Library Association 2009 Library of the Year

Link to July 28 Sheboygan Press article, "Tops in the state".

Excerpt: No one quite knows how many libraries are in Wisconsin, between the 387 public libraries, 130-some college and university libraries, 2,000-ish public school libraries and untold private libraries.

But one thing is for sure — the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan's University Library topped them all this year.

Two years after moving from the basement to high-tech new digs in the Acuity Technology Center, the college's library has been named the 2009 Library of the Year by the Wisconsin Library Association. The award is the first won in Sheboygan County in more than 30 years and the first ever given to one of the 13 two-year UW Colleges.

Congratulations to Library Director Jeffrey Ellair and his staff.

Manitowoc PL Considers Lowering Fine Threshold

Link to July 28 Herald-Times-Reporter article, "Library board considers cracking down on fines".

As the library board of trustees devises ways to increase revenue, one consideration will be a tougher policy on collecting overdue fines.

It is "kind of sad, but true — increasing our revenue by collecting more dimes from the public," said library Director Cherilyn Stewart during Monday night's board meeting.

Overdue fines account for about $40,000 of the library's roughly $2.3 million budget. Currently, however, the library allows patrons to renew their cards even if they have outstanding fines of up to $10.

According to a report from last year, about 6,000 patrons have outstanding fines up to $10, but library policy does not force them to pay their debt. A patron's library privileges are not withheld until they owe more than $10 in overdue fines.

Marathon County Public Library on "March to a Million"

Link to July 28 Wausau Daily Herald brief, "Library aims for million check-outs".

It's doable. According to the preliminary 2008 Wisconsin public library annual report data, Marathon County's 2008 circulation was 942,107.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bokodes: the New Barcode

Link to July 26 BBC news post, "Barcode replacement shown off".

Excerpt: A similar system could be used in a library, said Dr Mohan.

"Let's say you're standing in a library with 20 shelves in front of you and thousands of books."

"You could take a picture and you'd immediately know where the book you're looking for is."

Sorry, but I won't be happy until it works from home.

Tobias Wolff Begat Frank McCourt

Link to July 25 New York Times article, "Frank McCourt and the American Memoir".

But the heartland of memoir is still childhood, a place of magically vivid but fragmentary (and often uncheckable) memories that fairly cry out for imaginative reconstruction. While Mr. McCourt had the greater success, it was really Tobias Wolff who in 1989 set the template for the contemporary literary memoir with “This Boy’s Life,” according to Ben Yagoda, a professor at the University of Delaware and the author of a coming history of the memoir.

I agree. "This Boy's Life" is a prime candidate for a library's book-to-movie discussion.

Lands End: No Longer a Local Partner

Link to July 27 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Dodgeville braces for major cuts to pay back Lands’ End".

Excerpt: A Richland County Circuit Court judge ruled in May that the city over-assessed the apparel retailer’s 202-acre corporate headquarters.

That means the governmental units that receive tax money from the company will likely be forced to make cuts in order to refund the excess amount.

Lands’ End has asked for a refund of $524,000 from its 2005 payment and $734,000 from 2006. It also wants interest on the money and is challenging the assessments from 2007 and 2008.

“It comes as a blow,” said Diane Messer, superintendent of the Dodge-ville School District. “It’s disconcerting, but we have to keep in mind that Lands’ End as we knew it is not Lands’ End any longer. The
Sears culture has had its impact.”

The article details the impact on the Dodgeville School District, but it undoubtedly will provide a challenge to Iowa County's and the City of Dodgeville's ability to provide the same level of services in 2010.

Anyone not shopping at Sears anymore?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Movie Ratings Game: Trying to Everyone While Pleasing No One

Sort of like the unattainable goal of crowning a national collegiate football champion.

to July 25 New York Times article, "The Web is Pouncing on Hollywood's Ratings".

Excerpt: But the ratings system is coming under fresh attack via the Web, and that may make bigger changes inevitable, some Hollywood veterans fret. Studios count a movie’s rating as one of their primary marketing tools, and they worry that any recalibration would cut into their attendance — and profits.

The standard Hollywood ratings — G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17 — must now compete with all manner of Internet-based ratings alternatives, some of which are gaining new traction through social networking tools.

Examples cited:

SceneSmoking.0rg (Smoking is bad for your health, but this website is bad for your eyes. What were they thinking with this design?) Things aren't going well here. Revenues are down, and the site was recently hacked. The Hurt Locker, which I saw on Friday, gets a "3" (out of 10) for sex/nudity (the sex is all talk and the nudity is of a man's chest), "8" for violence/gore (uh, what would you expect from a movie about the U.S. Army's Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit), and "10" for profanity (led by 73 utterances of "fuck-". Did one person do the counting or was it a group average?) Ratings from a Christian perspective, which explains why Fireproof, starring the TV-sitcom has-been Kirk Cameron, is a BIG fav. As you would expect, they hate Woody Allen's latest, Whatever Works. In fact, they really, REALLY hate it-- a Sally Field in smokin', sorehead reverse. (Subscription required for full reviews.)

Expansion at UWM's Golda Meir Library Emphasizes Open-Study Concept

Link to July 24 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, "UWM library expands to provide students with more open environment".

Excerpt: The school is putting finishing touches on the new Daniel M. Soref Learning Commons, set to open Aug. 24. The project is funded by $3.5 million in state-supported borrowing and a $1.75 million gift from the Milwaukee-based Daniel M. Soref Charitable Trust.

From study nooks that look like restaurant booths to an expanded café, the building's renovated West Wing aims to update the staid library into an open, inviting space that accommodates the way today's students study - in groups and on the Internet.

And it's bigger - after relocating several staffers who don't work directly with students to the second floor and dispersing the reference collection, the Commons has also added usable space, from 18,500 to 32,500 square feet. Instead of accommodating about 130 students, the area will now hold about 400.

Dwight Foster Public Library Kicks Off Its Capital Campaign

Link to July 24 Daily Online post, "Funds sought for Fort library".

Excerpt from great article by Union staff writer James Debilzen.

Fundraising for the renovation and expansion of the Dwight Foster Public Library is within $500,000 of its goal.

During the "Foster Growth Capital Campaign" kickoff at the Fort Atkinson library on Thursday afternoon, community leaders announced that approximately $1 million and a $1.5 million matching grant already have been pledged by donors for the $3 million project. Now, they are turning to the community to provide the remaining amount.

A Great Opportunity for Library Advocacy

Link to July 25 Eau Claire Leader Telegraph article, "Council seeking more public input on budget".

The council has solicited public budget input at the past couple of meetings, and so far budget advice has been nearly nonexistent as people haven't turned out to talk about city finances. [RG's emphasis.] Council members hope that changes as the council's approval of the budget in November nears.

"Hopefully we will have more people showing up at the start of our meetings, but we haven't had much success with that yet," councilman Bob Von Haden said.

Author of Family History Unhappy with Google Library Project

Link to July 26 Capital Times article, "Is Google-UW book deal fair to authors?"

Excerpt: UW-Madison joined the Google project in 2006, and expanded its agreement with the company on July 8. To date, the university has digitized about 200,000 works from University Libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society -- including a 177-page book Fevens authored and owns the copyright to: "Fevens, a family history."

The 55-year-old unemployed carpenter, lobster fisherman and jack-of-all-trades living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, stumbled across his work in the Google book archives on May 13 while poking around the Internet.

According to Fevens, the Google book search indicated that the online copy of "Fevens, a family history" had been scanned from UW-Madison's archives.

Although the whole book wasn't available online -- only a few lines of text, or what Google calls "snippets," were shown -- Fevens was nonetheless outraged.

McMillan Library has Lots to Offer

Link to July 25 Wisconsin Rapids Tribune column Library Director Ron McCabe, "From music to movies, library entertains".

Excerpt: Here at McMillan Library, the library fountain is bubbling away while children and teens enjoy reading and special summer library program events. The Circus Manduhai will perform at 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday to conclude the summer library program. June broke our previous record for the most loans in one month with 47,448 library materials loaned to the public. On July 16, 255 people attended the performance of blues guitarists Bob Bingham and Gordon Thorne.