Friday, August 14, 2009

BookWings: Not Your Typical Day Camp

Link to August 14 Green Bay Post-Gazette article, "BookWings program aims to give preschoolers a love of the written word".

Excerpt: Head Start teachers Nicky Malicoat and Debbie Gustafson noticed a troublesome trend a few years ago while visiting their young students' homes.

Quite a few families didn't have books. Those who did often didn't have a place to store them and prevent damage.

The realization was part of the pair's motivation for starting BookWings, a preschool literacy camp at the Howe Neighborhood Family Resource Center in Green Bay. The program teaches 3-and 4-year-olds early literacy skills and — the teachers hope — a love of the written word.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Topeka/Shawnee County: Fines, fee to help address property tax shortfall

Link to August 13 Topeka Capital-Journal article, "No new taxes for library".

The budget calls for a number of changes to address that shortfall plus increases in expenses, mainly for employee benefits. The most controversial proposal is the implementation on Oct. 1 of fines for overdue materials. The library is making it as easy as possible for library users to request extensions of time, including a way to do it through the library's Web site. Two extensions will be granted.

The fines and fee budget line for the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library has been increased to $500,000 in 2010 from $110,000 in 2009.

The library will remain open 78 hours per week, including 12 to 9 on Sundays.

Omaha Branch Library Closure Stirs Up Florence Neighborhood

Link to August 12 Omaha World-Herald article, "Florence rallies for library".

Teresa Miller, 20, and her brother Jonas, 15, were checking out story and music CDs when they heard the news Tuesday.

“That's weird to close a library,” Jonas said. “I mean, you need books, right?”

It never occurred to Teresa that her childhood library had a shortage of customers. She said the Florence library probably has fewer visitors because it is smaller than most branches.

“I like the small things,” she said, adding that she's frustrated that she'll have to use more gas to drive to a different branch.

For Craig and Deborah Johnson, a stroll to their public library is a family affair they hate to see end.

The Florence branch, one of 11 facilities in the Omaha Public Library system -- a 12th (Saddlebrook*) is scheduled to open on August 17 -- will remain closed through the end of the year. In addition, Florence was scheduled to undergo a $768,000 renovation, but this project has been put on hold until next year.

*The Saddlebrook Joint Facility project is a collaborative effort between the Omaha Public Schools, Omaha Public Library and City of Omaha Parks and Recreation for a community based public use facility.

Middleton Budget Outlook Bleak for 2010

Link to August 13 Middleton Times-Tribune article.

Excerpt: Scaling back city services, shelving capital projects and requiring employees to take furloughs could all be considered, according to Mayor Kurt Sonnentag. Department heads were also instructed to look for additional funding sources. Another option would be the elimination of city staff positions.

"Effective immediately, department heads should withhold from spending in 2009 everything that is optional," stated the memo sent out by Davis. "Additionally, all one-time, as opposed to ongoing operational, expenses should be withheld from spending, whether for public safety departments or not." Department heads typically include decision items - which come with added costs - in their budget proposals. This year, they were informed the finance committee will not entertain such requests.

If I'd harbored any second thoughts during the past year about my retirement, they would have been immediately dispelled today.

PW reports: Bookstore sales up in June, still down for year

Link to August 13 Publishers Weekly post.

Interactive Map of Book Bans & Challenges, 2007-09

Banned Books Week
September 26-October 3, 2009

Link to map.

Illnois Multi-Type Regional Library Systems Hit with Cut in Funding

Link to August 13 message from North Suburban Library System Director Sarah Long.

In a conference call this morning initiated by the Illinois State Library (ISL) with the nine multi-type regional Library Systems, we were notified that Library Systems will be receiving a 16% reduction in funding through the Area & Per Capita grant. For NSLS this means a reduction of $406,192 from our state grant of $2.4 million. Similarly public library per capita grants will also be reduced by 16%. School library per capita grants will be reduced by 3%. The FY2010 federal LSTA grant program will be suspended for the year, since those monies are being redirected into the public library per capita grants. Free First Search database access for all residents of Illinois will continue.

Speaking Up for Libraries

This one in particular.

Two responses to the August 12 Hudson Star-Observer article, "Library board rejects report".

I don't need any reports at all. The Hudson library is and always has been inadequate. It's not an inviting, comfortable place to be. It's difficult to talk to librarians, no room for lines, no privacy. The best thing to happen to us as library users was the online catalog. Most of the books/materials we check out come from outside libraries. A community like Hudson should not rely on other, mostly smaller communities to supply our citizens with the materials they want/need. I don't have kids in the schools but that's where a big chunk of my tax dollar goes- as it should be, these kids are our future. The library is a place where I should be able to see and enjoy my tax dollars at work. It should be a place for young and old alike to relax, read, listen to music, use and expand your imagination. Hard as the staff tries, this library falls far short. I'm not buying it that the mayor isn't against a newer/better library. I think the way the referendum was set up it was meant to fail. Having great services costs money. A great library is an incredible value for it's citizens. Really, the best bargain around.

This 2nd response doesn't have the ringingly direct message of the first one. The writer is certainly "speaking up", but it's unclear to me how urgent it is to make improvements in an allegedly substandard library. He certainly takes Hudson's mayor to task.

This is not the first time a report by any group, anywhere, has not found the Hudson Library to be seriously lacking in all areas of comparison. I would definitely question the motivations of a mayor who takes time out of his busy schedule to prepare and deliver a powerpoint presentation to the city council that basically attacks a city department. As for the town chairs, what they know and understand about the library wouldn't fill a thimble. It's nice to know that the town chairs are willing to keep enabling Hudson to pull money from the library budget for rent and to process payroll--I guess they don't mind throwing their tax dollars into the city's pot. As a taxpayer, I DO mind, however. St. Joe needs to opt out of the joint library agreement. It's moronic to keep paying for a facility that a majority of St. Joe residents do not even use because it is so substandard. As for the mayor, he doesn't hate all libraries--just this one. If that were not the case, he wouldn't put so much energy into trashing a report that would have never received this much attention from anyone and would have died a quiet death as the countless reports of library inadequacy have died over the years. Here's an idea for the HSO: why don't you do your own comparison? Why should anyone believe the mayor's data without comparing it to anything else? Chicken?

Kimberly Physician to Challenge Incumbent Lasee

Link to August 13 Appleton Post-Crescent article, "Dr. Montgomery Elmer of Kimberly to challenge Wisconsin Sen. Alan Lasee for 1st Senate District seat".

Excerpt: A Buchanan resident, Elmer, 50, running as a Democrat, plans to kick off his campaign at noon Monday at the Kimberly Municipal Complex with state Sen. Dave Hansen by his side.

"He's a hard-working guy. He's going to fight like heck to win this seat. He's already out there talking to voters, doing the things he's got to do to win this," said Kory Kozloski, executive director of the State Senate Democratic Committee.

Reached Wednesday at his Town of Rockland farm, Lasee, 72, said he will not make a decision on whether to seek a 17th term until early next year because he does not want campaign distractions during the fall legislative session. (At a minimum, Retiring Guy says it's time to retire the hat.)

2009 Wisconsin State Legislature floor period
  • September 15 to 24, 2009 (Tuesday − Thursday)
  • October 20 to Nov. 5, 2009 (Tuesday − Thursday)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Abbott Laboratories Plays the Field

$6,000. Abbott Laboratories total PAC contributions Jan-Jun 09

$1,500. Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee (25%)

$1,500. Committee to Elect a Republican Senate (25%)

$1,500. Republican Assembly Campaign Committee (25%)

$1,500. State Senate Democratic Committee (25%)

Can you do the same with the chocolate bunny?
Source: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

AskColorado: Results of 2008 User Satisfaction Survey

Link to Library Research Service's 4-page report.

AskColorado has been in operation since September 2003.

Too 100 Online Searches by Kids

Link to August 10 news release, "School's Out and Your Kids Are Online: Do You Know What They've Been Searching for This Summer?"

Houston, we have a product plug here.
Symantec also uncovered 90 million "teachable moments" through OnlineFamily.Norton, which are opportunities for parents to start a dialogue with their kids about their online activity. These teachable moments occur when parents are informed by OnlineFamily.Norton that a house Internet rule is being broken, like kids visiting a restricted website, entering a false age on a social networking site, or going over their time limit on the computer.

Here's a link to the top 100.

Library Assessment Report Ruffles Municipal Feathers

Link to August 12 Hudson Star-Observer article, "Library board rejects report". (You may need to register for a free account to access article.)

Excerpt: ...Library Board President Jim O’Connor came under fire from board members and the top elected officials in three of the four municipalities that operate the library for publicizing the assessment report.

“We’ve got to stop making these comparisons, Jim, and run this library,” Dave Ostby, a town of Hudson supervisor and library board member, told O’Connor after the vote.

“Let’s just quit making these silly comparisons,” Ostby continued. “Let’s just move on. Let’s see what we can do to enhance this facility.”

From the Preliminary 2008 Wisconsin Public Library Annual Report Data

Hudson Area Public Library

  • Service area population: 30,833
  • Square footage: 8,139
  • Municipal/county revenue: $646,132
Franklin Public Library
  • Service area population: 33,560
  • Square footage: 40,000
  • Municipal/county revenue: $1,224,000
Germantown Public Library
  • Service area population: 31,690
  • Square footage: 26,900
  • Municipal/county revenue: $843,496
Marshfield Public Library
  • Service area population: 30,717
  • Square footage: 36,112
  • Municipal/county revenue: $1,318,310
Sun Prairie Public Library
  • Service area population: 33,704
  • Square footage: 36,000
  • Municipal/county revenue: $1,190,499

Link to horn-tooting about population growth in St. Croix County, where Hudson is located.

Excerpt: St. Croix County ranks among Wisconsin’s most dynamic counties. Historically, St. Croix is the state’s leader in population growth (by percentage increase). St. Croix is the only Wisconsin county included in the Census Bureau’s annual ranking of the 100 Fastest Growing Counties in the United States. St. Croix and Pierce counties in Wisconsin are combined with 11 counties in Minnesota to form the 13-county Minneapolis-St. Paul MN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

City of Hudson population
2000 census: 8,775
2008 est: 11,865

St. Croix County population
2000 census: 63,155
2008 est.: 82,487

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Washington Post Censors, Doesn't Let Readers Decide

Link to August 10 New York Times article, "Comic Strips on N.F.L. and Race: Fair Game or Out of Bounds?"

Excerpt: The six strips — which The Washington Post deemed “inappropriate” and has chosen not to run — portray N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell as torn about how to handle Vick and two other African-American players in legal trouble, receiver Donte’ Stallworth of the Cleveland Browns and Plaxico Burress, the former Giant.

The Washington Post. From exemplar to laughingstock in less than 40 years.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fairbanks Alaska Celebrates a Library Centennial

Link to August 2 Fairbanks News-Miner article, "George C. Thomas Memorial Library is 100 years old".

Excerpt: From the moment Episcopal missionary Hudson Stuck stepped off the sternwheeler that brought him to Fairbanks, he was determined to bring some elements of civility to the rough mining camp that was booming on the banks of the Chena. “The rascality of Alaska has flocked here,” he complained in a 1904 letter. “The whole of Front Street is given over to saloons.”

A public library, he believed, was the thing that was needed. It would give men an alternative to the “vice and dissipation of all sorts,” the dance halls and gambling dens that ran night and day in a town that had grown in two years from a single trading post to a population of 4,000 souls. Five years later, on Aug. 5, 1909, Stuck found himself as a featured speaker at the dedication of an elegant 40-by-40-foot log building that would serve as a center of Fairbanks community life for the next seven decades.

Library service has been provided to Fairbanks area residents at the Noel Wien Library since 1977.

400-Square-Foot Branch Library to Close

Link to August 3 Savannah Morning News, "Live Oak Public Libraries' Hitch Village branch to close".

Excerpt: The Live Oak Public Libraries' Hitch Village branch is not much to look at.

At just more than 400 square feet, the T-shaped room tucked inside the Housing Authority of Savannah's administrative building has a limited selection of books among its few shelves and four public computers.

Manager Tonya Johnson's desk sits crammed in a small corner in the back where she does check-ins and check-outs.

Still, some residents appreciate having the branch there, no matter its shortfalls.

Trustee Speaks Up for Springfield's Lincoln Library

Link to August 7 State Journal-Register op-ed piece, "In my view: Let voters, board control Lincoln Library".

Mark Denzler points out how municipal support is eroding.
  • Library’s share of the city property tax has decreased from 0.23 cents to 0.14 cents, almost 40 percent, in last 10 years.
  • Library hours at main branch have been cut to 53 from 70 per week.
  • 25% reduction in staffing in 2009 alone.
  • Book budget cut by 11% ($50,000)

Based on the following hours of operation, I understand why Denzler is calling for consolidating services at the main branch.

Main Library
326 S. 7th Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Monday through Wednesday 10 am - 8 pm
Thursday & Friday 10 am - 6 pm
Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday - Closed

Southeast Branch
2500 South Grand Ave. East
Springfield, IL 62703
Monday - Closed
Tuesday 10 am - 6 pm
Wednesday - Closed
Thursday 10 am - 6 pm
Friday through Sunday - Closed

West Branch
1251 West Washington St.
Springfield, IL 62702
Monday 10 am - 6 pm
Tuesday - Closed
Wednesday 10 am - 6 pm
Thursday through Sunday - Closed

Louisville Courier-Journal Editorial: "Our library needs you."

Link to August 8 editorial.

Excerpt: One of the truly iconic images of Louisville comes from the 1937 flood, during which water rose so high that Lincoln walked on water. That is to say, the statue of Mr. Lincoln at the Louisville Free Public Library downtown had water up to his feet.

There was a lot of heartbreak and heroism back then, as Louisville recovered from perhaps the greatest natural disaster it has suffered, but the city rallied. That's what it is doing again, in the backwash of a sudden deluge earlier this week. And once again there is a special focus on the library, which suffered terribly — some $5 million in damage, including the loss of 50,000 books, dozens of computers, four elevators, three bookmobiles, furniture and finishings, and mechanical systems such as boilers, chillers and air handlers.
Yes, there's insurance. But if you've ever worked through a claim on damage to your own home, you know that coverage is seldom complete. That certainly will be true at the library's main branch.

Send your contribution to:

Flood Recovery Fund
The Library Foundation,
301 York St.
Louisville, Ky.40203

Sunday, August 9, 2009

$104,000 in 2008: Friends of Washoe County Library Book Sale Revenue

Link to August 2 Reno Gazette-Journal article, "Washoe Library: volunteers busy well before big sale".

Excerpt: Library administrators welcome the assistance.

"Their role is crucial to a lot of programs we provide," said Jennifer Oliver, development officer and liaison with the Friends organization.

"They have it down to a machine," she said of the volunteers' sorting and sales system. "Their heart is for literacy and the library."

Watts applauds her fellow volunteers for their reliability in showing up to help move so many books.

"It's a social thing, too," she said of the camaraderie. "We talk books. If you like books, it's a wonderful way to help the library."

The Friends of the Middleton Public Library has a similarly active, dedicated, and sociable group of book sort/book sale volunteers. The revenue these sales generate supports a variety of children's, teen, and adult programs. Middleton has been most fortunate to have Friends like Kate Zimmerman, Anna Biermeier-Hanson, and JoAnn Kelly coordinate the activities.

People of the Sturgeon: (WI) Library Collection Development Suggestion

Link to August 9 Oshkosh Northwestern article, "Book on the history of sturgeon spearing is now available for purchase".

Excerpt: Kathleen Schmitt Kline and Frederick P. Binkowski also co-authored the book, which features more than 100 black-and-white and color photos — most of them taken by the late Bob Rashid.

The DNR partnered with Sturgeon for Tomorrow, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute and the Oshkosh Public Museum to conduct the book project. Bruch said Sturgeon for Tomorrow donated $25,000 toward publication costs.

Proceeds from the book sales, Bruch said, will go toward paying publishing costs and to the sturgeon program.

Spearing stories, photos, sturgeon recipes, decoys and management of the fish in the Winnebago System (Lake Winnebago and the upriver lakes of Poygan, Butte des Morts and Winneconne) are included in the book. Trained volunteers interviewed sturgeon spearers and others who had stories about the torpedo-shaped fish.