Saturday, September 26, 2009

Link to September 25 Watertown Daily News article, "Watertown Elks distribute free dictionaries to third-grade classes".

Excerpt: The local Dictionary Project is being funded through a donation from the Watertown Elks Lodge. The idea for The Dictionary Project began in 1992 when Annie Plummer of Savannah, Ga., gave 50 dictionaries to children who attended a school close to her home. Each year she continued to give this gift, raising money to help give more and more books so that in her lifetime she raised enough money to buy 17,000 dictionaries for children in Savannah.

The reference librarian in me asked, "What dictionary has been selected for distribution?" I don't know for a fact that it's the reputable Merriam-Webster's title (shown above), but a picture of its cover appears on The Dictionary Project's website.

McMillan Library Celebrates 1st Anniversary of Coffee House

Link to September 26 Wisconsin Rapids Tribune column by Library Director Ron McCabe.

Plus highlights of fall programs.

Friday, September 25, 2009

$28 Million Overhaul Project for Peoria Public Library

Link to September 20 Peoria Star-Journal article, "Peoria library overhaul ready for next chapter".

Excerpt: So far the only shovels in the ground have been ceremonial, but the $28 million overhaul of the Peoria Public Library system is now officially beyond the preliminary design phase and headed soon for the construction phase. And if projected construction timelines hold, both the new $11 million north branch library and the $10 million redo of the Main Street library could open by spring 2011.

New Zealand Author Jumps the Shark

Have you seen this book?

Link to September 23 Brian Edwards Media blogpost, "Why Public Libraries are Just a Form of Theft".

Excerpt: But there’s a principle here: when one person buys a book and lends it to another person to read, they effectively become an accessory to theft. Their generous act amounts to little more than stealing the author’s work. When a public library buys a book and lends it to thousands of other people to read, it’s grand theft copyright and really no different from illegally downloading music or movies or copying CDs or DVDs on your computer.

Madison's Monroe Street Branch to Reopen Sept 27

Link to Madison Public Library website.

Excerpt: The remodel includes a fresh look for the popular neighborhood library, including new carpet and paint, a new ceiling, energy-efficient lighting, and new locally-purchased furniture and shelving. A revised floor plan features “open holds” shelving and a reconfigured and relocated service desk. The newly remodeled library also offers two additional computers for public use.

Oak Brook (IL) Public Library: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Although from the sound of it, someone never earned that moniker.

Link to post, "Residents protest Oak Brook library cuts".

In this corner, we have Hope Sabbagha.

I went in there today to find a book for my daughter. There was nobody there to help me. I'm very disappointed in your priorities. I feel that what you have done shows that you do not take the library as a priority. I heard we're going to get rid of things that aren't necessary in our village. The library is very necessary in our village."

And in this corner, we have Mr. Xinos.

"....step up to the plate and do something about it. I don't care that you guys miss the librarian and that she was nice and that she helped you find books. I want the policeman to answer 24 hours per day, and the fireman, that's what I want."

The "step up and do something about it" involves library supporters asking village residents to restore the cuts to the library out of their own pockets.

Is this another one of those 21st century ideas?

(Thanks to Sue Mannix for the link!)

Oak Brook (IL) Public Library: Loyalty is off the table

Link to September 15 post, "Oak Brook Library employees, including director, laid off".

Excerpt 1: After employees at the library joined the Teamsters union in August, the news prompted members of the Citizen's Finance Advisory Committee to recommend that the Village Board consider cutting all "nonessential village services."

Excerpt 2: Library Associates Companies, a private company, was hired by the Village Board to find ways to cut the library's budget without affecting services. LAC released a report in August and mentioned the library's director, saying Klinkow-Hartmann's "demonstrated loyalty to her staff" would be one factor that would make changes at the library difficult.

The Village Board had asked the consultants to find ways to cut $300,000.

According to the 2005-06 Illinois Public Library Statistics (latest edition available on web), Oak Brooks income was $1,242,780.

And here's some irony. Library Associates Companies is the 2009 sponsor of the Illinois Library Association's Libraian of the Year Award.

(Thanks to Sue Mannix for the link.)

Authors Take Direct Approach to Reaching Readers

Link to September 24 Washington Post article, "On Web, A Most Novel Approach. With Promotion Money Tight, Authors Take to Online Sites To Toot Their Own Horns".

Meet first-time author Kelly Corrigan.

Here's what happened before she devised her own book marketing action plan:
1. No invitation to National Book Festival on the Mall.
2. No reviews in major newspapers.
3. No publisher's tour.

Taking matters into her own hand, she.....
1. Produced her own book trailer on a home computer.
2. Had 20 friends host book parties.
3. Posted a YouTube video of herself reading an essay at one of these parties.

The results:
1. Her book, The Middle Place, sold 80,000 copies in hardcover and 260,000 in paperback.
2. Her book has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 20 weeks.
3. Her homemade trailer attraced 100,000 views.
4. She booked a boatload of speaking engagements.

That's a very effective horn she's tooting!

Governor's Race: Wisconsin 2010

Link to September 24 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "Eyes on Barrett as Kind opts out of governor's race".

Excerpt: "There will be an immense amount of pressure brought to bear on him," said one prominent Democratic activist. "People will really expect that it's now going to be Tom."

Kind's move caught the party by surprise, just as Doyle's bombshell decision did in mid-August.

A few weeks ago Kind seemed like a near-lock to run. Barrett was recovering from an assault outside the State Fair and scrambling to deal with a gloomy city budget. One or the other would run, observers believed.

But a poll now circulating among supporters of the party showed Barrett way ahead of Kind on name recognition and essentially in a dead heat with Scott Walker in a head-to-head matchup. Walker, the Republican Milwaukee County executive, is in a contest with Mark Neumann in the GOP primary next fall.

Church Library Association Chapter Meeting to Focus on "Shelf 13"

Link to September 25 Green Bay Press-Gazette article, "National Church Library Association fall meeting set".

The fall meeting of the Fox Valley Chapter of the National Church Library Association will be held Oct. 3 at Ascension Lutheran Church, 2911 Libal St. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. with registration and concludes with a light lunch at noon.

"Shelf 13 — What's On It For Kids?" is the meeting theme. Church libraries using Erwin John Classification are familiar with Shelf 13, the part of our church libraries dealing with serious personal and family issues.

(I'm coming up empty-handed searching for information on Shelf 13.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Net Neutrality: The Fight is Over for Now

But rest assured, it's just a momentary pause.

Link to September 24 Daily Tech post, "Republicans Give Up Fight Against FCC's Net Neutrality".

Excerpt: In the eleventh hour, they backed down, though, thanks to the FCC staff reaching out to them. A Republican staffer stated to The Washington Post, "While we are still generally opposed to net neutrality regulations, we have decided to hold off on the amendment because [FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski] approached us and we are beginning a dialogue."

The real debate will likely occur in October when the proposal is officially presented. It will then go through a regularly scheduled notice of proposed rule making (NPRM), a session in which the ISPs and Republicans will likely push the FCC to relax certain parts of the rules or make changes.

Recommended Reading (And Not Just for Guys)

Link to September 22 Guys Lit Wire post by Steve Berman, "Echoes of Bradbury and the summers we all miss".

Excerpt: When I want to become younger, a boy again, there are a few books on my shelf that transform me, take me back to an age when I believed anything could happen. Boy's Life by Robert McCammon is one of them.

Although McCammon's Gone South (1992) is my favorite book -- always duking it out for supremacy with A Confederacy of Dunces, both set in Louisiana -- I hold the same special fondness for Boy's Life (1990) that Berman does. While reading this book, I simultaneously relived my own summer of 1964 in Warren, Pennsylvania. Very evocative.

When McCammon announced, shortly after the publication of Gone South, that he was taking a break from writing to rest and spend time with his family, I felt abandoned, heartbroken, confused. I'd been so eager to discover where he was going next. Turns out to have been Speaks the Nightbird, which, I guess you could say, I've boycotted since its publication in 2002.

The best of the rest: Mine and They Thirst. The only time in my life I experienced nightmares was while reading They Thirst. (Can't believe the book's never been made into a movie.)

Survey Says.....

....there's a lot of people out there who'd fail a current events quiz. (And maybe they're the luckiest folks among us.)


City of Milwaukee's 2010 Budget Outlook: "Grim"

Link to September 23 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "City budget is grim all over".

The general theme: Charging taxpayers more money for less service

Some of the specifics:

  • $1.4 billion spending plan
  • $90 million deficit
  • $49 million city contribution to make up for stock market losses in pension funds
Excerpt: Most neighborhood libraries would be open only 35 hours a week, down from 45 to 56 hours now. Hours would not change at the Central Library downtown or the federally funded Center Street Library.

[Chairman of the council's Finance & Personnel Committee Michael] Murphy said he was dismayed by the library cuts at a time when unemployed residents need library services more. Hines said he was concerned about whether libraries would be able to deliver adequate service.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One more reason to go on living

70, actually.

Libraries and H1N1: When to Ask Patrons to Leave?

Something (below) to share with all library staff.

Link to September 20 LibraryLaw blog post, "Asking library users to leave if they have H1N1".

Excerpt: Bottom line: If you suspect a customer has H1N1, and you ask them to leave for that reason, you are taking a huge risk if you guess wrong. The better approach would be to encourage the customer to comply with posted guidelines for protecting himself, herself, and the community.

Magazine Cover of the Year Finalists

Link to September 23 post.
Link to American Society of Magazine Editors website.

Storytime Photos from the Archives of

cincylibrary tweets Did you know that our librarians have been telling stories to kids since 1901?

You'll find the pics here.

40 Years of LIFE

Now available on Google Books.

Here's what happens when you speak from ignorance

As the many comments clearly point out.
Link to September 16 post at

Close all the libraries; alternatives exist

Summary: The day of the neighborhood library is over.

• Its services are duplicated by elementary, middle, high school and university libraries.
• The public should be given access to these taxpayer-supported school libraries.
• Books are cheap enough in bookstores, even more so in used bookstores.
• Taxpayers could save $10 million a year simply by surrendering this responsibility to the school system and to the internet, which has changed how knowledge and information is delivered.

The essay and responses to comments are consistently, and hilariously, off the wall. Here's my favorite.

Incidentally, did you know that the Book of the Month Club consistently offers new members four books for a buck each? Dan Brown’s new thriller is the current hook. It’ll cost you 25 cents. Check it out. There’s a shipping and handling charge, of course, which means you wind up spending about 3 bucks a book. First edition hardback. Yours to keep, and to lend to all your friends. There are 21st century ways to do these things.

Book of the Month Club. A 21st-century way of doing things. This is better than the 3 Stooges!

Bob Hafeman Selected as Director of Moline (IL) Public Library

Link to September 22 Quad City Times article.

Bob leaves his position as Systems Coordinator with the Manitowoc-Calumet Library System in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

La Crosse Mayor Introduces 2010 Budget

Link to September 23 La Crosse Tribune article, "Harter holds down tax rate on first budget".

Excerpt: The annual operating budget has widely been viewed as the mayor's first test since taking office in April.

He was confronted with significant reductions in state aid and investment earnings, coupled with unavoidable increases in contributions to health care and the employee retirement system.

The $72,440,164 Harter proposes spending in 2010 is about $3.7 million more than 2009, but he suggests offsetting the increase by shifting $1 million from the city's surplus account and asking department heads to hold spending to 2009 levels.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Well, at least he didn't rip off his local public library

Not the smart way to build a personal library of DVDs -- or supplement an income.

"The Lost Symbol": 2,000,000 and counting

Link to September 22 PW post.

That many copies sold and still no breakdown by format.

Harris Survey: The Library Business is Indeed Booming

Link to September 23 American Library Association news release, "New national poll shows library card registration reaches historic high".

Survey says........

68% of American have a library card, up 5% compared to a 2006 survey.
  • 73% women
  • 62% men
  • 72% Midwest
  • 71% West
  • 65% East
  • 63% South

76% of Americans who have a library card visited their local public library during the past year, up 10% compared to 2006.

41% of cardholders visited their library's website in the past year, compared to 23.6% in 2006.

Purpose of cardholders visits. (Respondents were asked to pick their top 2 activities.)

  • 39% check out books
  • 12% check CD, videos, computer software
  • 10% use a computer to see what library has available
  • 9% use reference materials
  • 8% use Internet-access computers

How respondents view the library
  • 92% as important education resource
  • 72% as pillar of community
  • 71% as comunity center
  • 70% as family destination
  • 69% as cultural center

Satisfaction levels (all respondents)
  • 59% extremely or very satisfied
  • 22% somewhat satisfied

Satisfaction levels (library cardholders)
  • 68% extremely or very satisfied
  • 22% somewhat satisfied
Survey conducted between August 11-17, 2008.

Net Neutrality: The Goliaths are not amused

Link to September 22 Wall Street Journal article, "Internet Providers Push Back Against 'Net Neutrality' Proposal".

Excerpt: Phone and cable companies expressed concern about proposed rules that would prohibit Internet service providers from slowing competitors' Web traffic or impeding access to legal Web content.

Large phone and video providers, including Comcast, Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc., have argued the government shouldn't tell them how to manage their Internet networks. Wireless providers are worried that a surge in bandwidth-consuming applications such as video downloads could hobble their networks unless they are allowed to control the flow.

And here you thought Paul Marcarelli was on your side.

Our Gadgets Come with a Cost

The Kindle has students eager to save money and the environment but publishers on their heels as the $25 billion book market stands on the verge of a technological shake-up.

This quote from the previous post (re: UW-Milwaukee's experiment with Kindle) reminds me of an article I read on Sunday.

Link to September 19 New York Times article, "Plugged-In Age Feeds a Hunger for Electricity".
Excerpt: The proliferation of personal computers, iPods, cellphones, game consoles and all the rest amounts to the fastest-growing source of power demand in the world. Americans now have about 25 consumer electronic products in every household, compared with just three in 1980.

Worldwide, consumer electronics now represent 15 percent of household power demand, and that is expected to triple over the next two decades, according to the International Energy Agency, making it more difficult to tackle the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming.

To satisfy the demand from gadgets will require building the equivalent of 560 coal-fired power plants, or 230 nuclear plants, according to the agency.

Not that I'm anyone to preach, but it does appear we need to move beyond a "saving trees" mentality.

UW-Milwaukee Experiments with Kindle

Link to September 21 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "UW students hitting the e-books in trial".

A very limited trial.

Excerpt: Instead of lugging around hundreds of dollars in books in strained backpacks, 20 students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have little more than a pound to keep with them this fall for one class.

They are part of the university's $10,000 pilot program introducing online retailer's electronic reader gadget, the Kindle.

The Kindle has students eager to save money and the environment but publishers on their heels as the $25 billion book market stands on the verge of a technological shake-up.

History professor Jeremi Suri joined the project funded by UW's library to examine the possibility of eliminating paper, saving money and increasing collaborative learning.

"We thought of how we could take the wisdom of the ages and apply it to the crazy world we live in today," Suri said of his history seminar that is the first to try out the gizmo this fall at UW

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Western Massachusetts Regional Library System Holds Fundrasier

Link to September 19 post, "Western Mass. Regional Library System to hold road race to help serve Pioneer Valley libraries".

Excerpt: The system's bookmobile, which delivers materials to close to half of the system's 351 member libraries, is now only able to make visits every 12 to 13 weeks, rather than every two months.

Its annual budget of $1,659,293 is just $11,874, or less than 1 percent, more than it had for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Hard economic times mean libraries, too, are having a more difficult time balancing their (financial) books, so runners and walkers will take to the road on Oct. 3 for the Western Massachusetts Regional Library System.

The regional system - which calls itself the "libraries' library - is turning to a more traditional fund-raiser, a road race, to gather funds for its services to foster cooperation, communication and sharing among member libraries.

"Popular Materials Center" aside, public libraries have always been in Long Tail mode

Even before it was a theory.

Link to September 16 Knowledge@Wharton post, "Rethinking the Long Tail Theory: How to Define 'Hits' and 'Niches'".

Excerpt: The Long Tail theory suggests that, as the Internet makes distribution easier -- and uses state-of-the-art recommendation systems that allows consumers to become aware of more obscure products -- demand will shift from the most popular products at the "head" of a demand curve -- as charted on an xy axis -- to the aggregate power of a long "tail" made up of demand for many different niche products.

The Wharton researchers find that the Long Tail effect holds true in some cases, but when factoring in expanding product variety and consumer demand, mass appeal products retain their importance.

Talking from the Same Page? Gangsta Rappers and Conservative Talk Show Hosts

Today's required reading from the New York Times, "Call It Ludacris: The Rap-Talk Kinship".

David Segal's provocative piece includes the following points of comparison:
  • Ego
  • Haters
  • Feuds
  • Verbal skills

Neenah Joint School District installs computer surveillance system

Link to September 20 Appleton Post-Crescent article.

Excerpt: The Neenah Joint School District will install a surveillance system this fall to monitor computer use by students and staff, right down to the keystroke.

The system, called Aristotle Academic, brings to mind George Orwell's Big Brother character in the novel "1984." It can pinpoint who visited an inappropriate Web site, who downloaded a particular music video or who printed a bomb threat.

It also can combat plagiarism by identifying the author of a written assignment, and it can fight hacking by ensuring only authorized users access the district's grading system.

Steve Dreger, Neenah's director of curriculum and instructional technology, said students and staff would be told about the system and the consequences for inappropriate or unethical computer use.

"Would be told"? Apparently, students and staff have just learned about this as I have, through this news article. I see no mention of the system on the school district's homepage. (But I'm willing to give administration the benefit of the doubt and consider the possibility that they sent out an announcement via email.)

[Click on image to enlarge.]