Saturday, December 5, 2009

Live Oak Tree at Live Oak Library

NatureMaker President Gary Hanick

Link to December 4 NatureMaker blogpost.

Excerpt: Savannah, GA’s Live Oak Public Library system recently opened its newest, state-of-the-art branch on the south side (Southwest Chatham) of the historic city. The library, Chatham County’s first to open in twenty years, is also its first LEED registered building. At 50,000 square feet, the southwest Chatham branch is the second largest library in the system. Watch video

In its effort to create a magical place for families to explore lifetime learning together in a welcoming environment, the library commissioned NatureMaker to create its first “Giving Tree” around a prominent structural column in the children’s department. Befitting the library’s moniker, as well as the region’s most famous tree, NatureMaker spent months researching the nuances of the live oak tree, including a detailed study of the bark texture, growth patterns, characteristics and so-called “imperfections.”

Magazine Death Watch 2009: National Geographic Adventure

Link to December 4 New York Times article, "National Geographic Adventure Magazine Folds".

Excerpt: National Geographic announced on Thursday that it was ceasing regular publication of National Geographic Adventure, its 10-year-old magazine about travel and the outdoors published eight times a year. However, it will keep the brand alive in two annual newsstand-only publications, in books and on the Web.

Did they mean to say "semi-annual" instead of "two annual"? Guess we'll have to wait and see.
LINK libraries affected: Baraboo, Brodhead, Cambridge, Dane County bookmobile, Madison Central, Madison Ashman Branch, Reedsburg, Sauk City, Sun Prairie, and Verona.

Orfordville (WI) Plans for New Library

Link to December 5 Janesville Gazette article, "Plans for new library taking shape in Orfordville".

Excerpt: A new Orfordville Library is now less talk and more plan.

The library board bought a parcel of land at 115 N. Center St. for $32,000 about a year ago. On Monday, library officials will request a variance for less parking than required at the new site during the village's plan commission meeting.

The new site is less than a block away from the current library at 203 W. Beloit St., where no parking spaces are available. Ten off-street parking spaces will be at the new library. The new site also is across the street from the municipal building and its parking lot.

"The building project has been something wanted and needed for many years," librarian Sarah Strunz said.

The board has raised $40,000 over the last year through small fundraisers, but it plans to start a full campaign once drawings are complete, hopefully early next year, Strunz said.

The board wants to stay within $500,000 to $600,000 for the project, she said.

"I would love to see the building built within the next three years," she said.

The current facility consists of 1,200 square feet on 2 levels. The second floor is not handicap-accessible.

Rosholt Branch Library Needs More Space

Link to December 5 Stevens Point Journal article, "Efforts to expand Rosholt library gather steam".

Excerpt: The Rosholt Public Library has been cramped for years.

Patrons from Rosholt and the towns of Alban and Sharon have asked for more space, but to little avail.

With circulation up 33 percent in the last year, however, village officials now are taking a serious look at expanding or finding a new location for the 760-square-foot library.

During the past few months, a library committee formed by the Rosholt Village Board has been working with The Rosholt Development Group to study the issue

Colby Public Library Offers Holiday Gift Certificates

Link to December 5 Marshfield News-Leader article, "Make gift certificates redeemable at library:Make gift certificates redeemable at library".

Among the choices:
Good for one cooking/baking session.
Good for one story night.
Good for a music night.
Let's have a craft party.
Deck the halls.
Movie night.

Link to Colby Public Library website.

Marathon County Public Library to Celebrate 1,000,000 Circs

Link to December 4 Wausau Daily Herald article, "Marathon County library to mark million items checked out".

Excerpt: Visit any library location or log on to by Dec. 11 to sign up for your chance to win. Grand prize is a $50 gas card from Riiser Energy. Other prizes include gift cards from City Grill, Great Dane Pub and Brewing Company, Village Inn of Marathon, New Roots Coffee Company and Wausau Mine Company and a family certificate to Nine Mile Forest Recreation Area.

Winners will be announced in a program at 11:30 a.m. Dec.18 at the downtown library and do not need to be present to win.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster's First 100 Days

Or thereabouts.

Link to December 4 Rhinelander Daily News article, "Burmaster reflects on early days at Nicolet".

Excerpt: With a reported increase in enrollment of 12 percent for the Fall Semester, Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster said this week the technical college is working hard to meet the needs of students.

“It’s never been a more important time for Nicolet College,” she said.

Burmaster, who took over as college president in July following the retirement of Adrian Lorbetske, said the economic downturn has produced dislocated workers who are seeking the technical college for retraining and retooling
of their skills.

Jessamine County Recataloging Project

Link to December 4 Lexington Herald-Leader article, "Jessamine library to move its collection of graphic novels".

Excerpt: The graphic novel that got two employees fired and launched a book-banning campaign in Jessamine County is being recataloged, along with other graphic novels with mature themes, to the adult section of the library.

Critics had contended that Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier was shelved in a section of the Jessamine County Public Library that was too close to the young adult fiction. They also said it was too obscene for young readers and too similar to comic book material.

The graphic novels that belong in the teen section will be moved as well, library director Ron Critchfield said.

Comparing Wisconsin and Colorado Interlibrary Loan Activity

Link to December 4 Library Research Service Fast Facts report, "State's Collaborative Climate Fosters Interlibrary Loan in Colorado".

Looks like we need to use a verb stronger than "foster" to describe Wisconsin's collaborative climate.

Link to Wisconsin Public Library Service Data reports.

Gerard, next time buy your coffee filters at Costco

You'll never run out.

Link to Lake Mills Library.

LINK Collection Development Alert

32 holds.
9 copies.

Cory Doctorow gives it a rave review in a December 4 boingboing post.

Excerpt: Jonathan Lethem's extraordinary new novel Chronic City tells the story of Chase Insteadman, a washed up, grown up child actor living off his sitcom residuals in wealthy, Upper East Side New York. Chase is caught between two improbabilities: his fiancee, a dying astronaut stranded on a space-station walled off from Earth by a Chinese orbital minefield, from which vantage she commands daily headlines; and Perkus Tooth, a media-obsessed Philip-K-Dickian ex-rock-critic who lives in a weed-smoke- filled cave of a rent- controlled apartment from which he obsessively watches obscure movies and reads obscure books.

Mashable Founder and CEO Looks at Web Trends

Link to December 3 post,"10 Web trends to watch in 2010".

The list and excerpts/summaries:

1. Real time ramps up. (The term represents the growing demand for immediacy in our interactions. Immediacy is compelling, engaging, highly addictive ... it's a sense of living in the now.)

2. Location, location, location. (Soon, our whereabouts may optionally be appended to every Tweet, blog comment, photo or video we post.)

3. Augmented reality. ([I]magine walking around a city and seeing it come to life with reviews of the restaurants you walk past and Wikipedia entries about the sights you see.)

4. Content "curation". (Your friends are your filter.)

5. Cloud computing. ( and applications cease to reside on our desktops and instead exist on servers elsewhere...)

6. Internet TV and movies. (Think Hulu, etc.)

7. Convergence conundrum. (Smartphones v. task-specific devices, such as ebook readers.)

8. Social gaming. (FarmVille and the rise of virtual currencies.)

9. Mobile payments. (Like how you pay for stuff at the Apple Store.)

10. Fame abundance, privacy scarcity. (...ongoing voluntary erosion of privacy...)

Pink Glove Dance: the Latest Viral Sensation

Created to raise money and awareness to fight breast cancer.

Via Mashable.

Twoddler: Tongue Twister of the Day

Twoddler: Twittering Toddlers from Bart Swennen on Vimeo.

Via December 3 Mashable post, "Twoddler: the Baby Toy That Tweets".

Excerpt: Earlier this year we looked at devices that are integrating Twitter in remarkable ways, from enabling your plants to tweet when they need water to automated updates from bakeries when stuff comes fresh out of the oven.

Add another innovation to that list: the Twoddler. The prototype device, developed by a team at Hasselt University in Belgium, essentially hooks up a Fisher Price toy to a Twitter account, such that when the baby performs different actions, the account is updated.

Plants that tweet? What about a water softener that lets us know when we need to add more salt pellets?

Library Collection Development: Earning a Place on the Shelves

Link to December 4 Cedar Rapids Gazette article, "Library director plans to improve operations, circulation".

Excerpt: Pasicznyuk wants to increase circulation by 10 percent, so that 35 percent of the library’s materials are checked out on a given day.

“If more of our collection is in the hands of people, we can have a larger collection, because we don’t have to store it all,” he said.

Books that don’t get checked out will be dropped from the collection, he said, and popular books will be marketed better. Cookbooks, home improvement books and other popular items will be displayed prominently, sometimes on outward-facing shelves, he said.

“Something has to earn its place on our shelf,” he said. “I know a lot of people get antsy when you talk about weeding a library, but I can tell you the most effective libraries do it constantly.”

Appleton Public Library Director Responds to "Frequently Observed Misconceptions"

Link to December 4 Commentary in Appleton Post-Crescent, "Getting a clearer read on Appleton Library".

Excerpt: The future of the Appleton Public Library remains a hot topic.

Though a Common Council committee moved money for a site selection process from the 2010 budget to 2011, a committee is still looking at the question of what's next for the library.

A consultant recommended earlier this year that the city build a new library, but there's a long way to go before a decision will be made.

That hasn't stopped debate about the issue, though. Library director Terry Dawson recently addressed the debate on his blog, the New Cybrary, at, hoping to answer questions about the project.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

GraphJam on "Literacy"

funny graphs and charts
see more Funny Graphs

GraphJam practices a variation of the public library mandate; they offer something to offend everyone. In this case, Twilight fans, primarily.

More Geo-Targeted Display Ads to Appear on your Monitor

Geotargeting (Old School)

Link to December 2 ClickZ article, "Geo-Targeted Display Ads Set for Growth".

: The market for geo-targeted display ads is poised for aggressive growth over the next few years, from $897 million in 2008 to more than $1.9 billion in 2013, according to digital media consulting firm BIA/Kelsey.

Geo-targeted ads -- banners that are presented only to people logging on from a particular region, or that appear different depending on the location of the user -- currently represent only about 10.2 percent of display ad units, according to BAI/Kelsey, which is based in Los Angeles.

But that share will increase to 15 percent by 2013, the firm says, as advertisers look for cheap alternatives to search ads and publishers and ad networks look for creative ways to unload a glut of display inventory.

"Resellers like AT&T and the Yahoo Newspaper Consortium...are going to start to sell these geotargeted display products because the search CPCs are really high," said Matt Booth, SVP and program director at BIA/Kelsey. "If you're a reseller, you're buying a search click for $2 and you can get 1,000 impressions for 45 cents, the economics are in favor of shifting to this market."

Robert Darnton's "The Case for Books"

Link to December 3 Harvard Gazette article, "In defense of books: Library Director Robert Darnton says the form will survive". (via Lazyfeed)

Excerpt: Next year, Darnton will publish a book with Harvard University Press about Parisian street songs. “The reader of the print edition will be able to tune in to the online material and hear the songs sung to their original tunes, while following text on the page.”

But this library leader also has concerns about the difficulties of preserving digital works: “Their hardware and software will become obsolete; they are fragile; their digits can unravel, and their metadata may not be adequate to locate them, years hence, in cyberspace.”

Darnton agrees that the physicality of books provides irreplaceable pleasure, saying, “They delight the eye, feel good to the touch, and even smell good.” He tells of a French producer of e-books who “offered its customers a sticker that they can put on their computers and scratch to produce a musty smell like that of an old volume.”

Book Dealer/Customer Conversations

Some librarians may have similar encounters to share.

Link to December 3 the Book Mine post, "Stupid Quotes". (via boingboing)

Here's a sample:

(phone call)

Do you buy books?

Yes. What do you have?

Reading books.

Reading books?

Yea. Books you read.

Ok. But I am not sure what it is you have.

I just said. Reading books. Do you buy them?

No. Thanks for calling.

Break Time: The Alps timelapse movies set to music

Timelapse movie: The Alps -- part I from Michael Rissi on Vimeo.

boingboing regulars have already viewed it!

Fort Atkinson Library to Move to Temporary Quarters

Link to December 2 Daily Union online article, "Library moving during revamp. Former Digi-Star building"

Excerpt: The Dwight Foster Public Library will have a new, temporary home while the historic 93-year-old structure undergoes a substantial remodeling and expansion project beginning in 2010.

The Fort Atkinson City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved approximately $131,000 in costs associated with a plan to relocate the library's materials and services to the former Digi-Star building, located at the corner of Janesville and West Rockwell avenues.

The library will be located in the lower level of the facility, which is owned by Nasco. The space measures approximately 17,000 square feet and has ample parking, handicapped access and visibility, City Manager John Wilmet said.

Survey Says: We Love Breakfast

Any time of day.

Retiring Guy's Favorite Breakfast Location

Link to December 2 Marketing Daily post, "Customers Crave All-Day Breakfast Option.

Excerpt: Nearly half (46%) of U.S. consumers would like to see full-service restaurants offer a breakfast menu throughout the day, and about a third (32%) would like the option in limited-service restaurants, according to recent surveys by food service industry consultant Technomic.

Consumers in general find breakfast fare comforting -- and women are particularly keen on the all-day option, Technomic found in surveying 1,500 U.S. consumers about breakfast preferences and behaviors for its "
Breakfast Consumer Trend Report."

My favorite breakfast locations (listed in descending order of preference):
Marigold Kitchen.
Pancake Cafe.
Hubbard Avenue Diner.
Original Pancake House.

Wisconsin Ranks 30th on 2009 Small Business Survival Index

Better Dead Than Red?

Link to December 1 SBE Council news release.

Excerpt: The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) today released its 14th annual rankings of the states according to their public policy climates for small business and entrepreneurship in the “Small Business Survival Index 2009: Ranking the Policy Environment for Entrepreneurship Across the Nation.” (Access the SBSI 2009map of the states by visiting

SBE Council chief economist Raymond J. Keating, author of the study, said: “It’s hard to find any good news at the national level for entrepreneurs, small business and their employees. The U.S. economy slipped into a recession in December 2007, with matters getting far worse late last year. Congress and the White House have not offered positive solutions to help the job-creating sector. In fact, most of their actions will hurt, not help, small businesses. But what about the states? The ‘Small Business Survival Index’ helps business owners and investors understand the publicpolicy burdens placed on entrepreneurship and small business, with the states ranked accordingly.”

Link to full SBE Council report.

Link to SBE Council website.

In 2008, Wisconsin ranked 48th on Forbes best-for-business list.

High-Speed Internet Data-Use Meters in Oregon

Link to December 1 Multichannel News post, "Comcast Tests Data-Usage Meter In Oregon".

Excerpt: More than a year after instituting an "excessive usage" cap for all of its broadband customers, Comcast is launching a usage-metering pilot for subscribers in Portland, Ore., that will let them track how much Internet bandwidth they consume.

Beginning Tuesday and continuing over the next couple of weeks, all of Comcast's high-speed Internet customers in Portland will receive e-mails informing them that the meter is available via their account details on the Customer Central Web portal.

"Our hope is that people will see how little data they actually consume, and have some comfort that see that they're not even close to the limit," Comcast director of corporate communications Charlie Douglas said. "If you have to ask if you're an excessive user, you probably aren't one."

Nielsen to Measure Online Audience

Link to December 2 Advertising Age article, "Under Threat, Nielsen Accelerates Plan to Measure Online Video".

Excerpt: Facing a client insurgency that could threaten its TV-ratings franchise, Nielsen took a step toward linking TV and online video measurement, making better comparisons possible between online and offline audiences for shows such as "Desperate Housewives" and "30 Rock."

Three years in development, Nielsen today told clients it will begin installing electronic meters in Nielsen homes to measure web activity, which will ultimately allow it to include online viewing in its standard TV-ratings service. The hope is a "single source" of data will allow accurate comparisons between TV and online, allowing ratings to include, for instance, viewing for "The Daily Show" Comedy Central, Hulu and

Nielsen starts the process of installing meters in 7,500 homes later this month and hopes to begin collecting data by Aug. 31, 2010. In September, the company had pegged 2011 as the earliest it could begin to do so.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Progress Information Literacy Progress Report: "Lessons Learned"

Link to 42-page report "Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age". (via Lazyfeed)

Abstract: A report of findings from 2,318 respondents to a survey carried out among college students on six campuses distributed across the U.S. in the spring of 2009, as part of Project Information Literacy. Respondents, while curious in the beginning stages of research, employed a consistent and predictable research strategy for finding information, whether they were conducting course-related or everyday life research. Almost all of the respondents turned to the same set of tried and true information resources in the initial stages of research, regardless of their information goals. Almost all students used course readings and Google first for course-related research and Google and Wikipedia for everyday life research. Most students used library resources, especially scholarly databases for course-related research and far fewer, in comparison, used library services that required interacting with librarians. The findings suggest that students conceptualize research, especially tasks associated with seeking information, as a competency learned by rote, rather than as an opportunity to learn, develop, or expand upon an information-gathering strategy which leverages the wide range of resources available to them in the digital age.


Free Range Librarian
December 1 post, "Must-read Project Information Literacy Report"

The Informavens' Desktop
December 2 post, "Librarians fail; again".

Throwing Down the "Library Sciences" Gauntlet

Link to December 2 Blogging for Soup post, "Library Sciences?" (via Lazyfeed)

Excerpt: My friend’s brother is going to school for library sciences. I didn’t even know that was a designated degree path. I know a good librarian needs to know a lot about reference books, research methods, and general literature, but isn’t that one of those things that comes with experience? Besides, books are sadly becoming obsolete.

Sherman Alexie's Appearance on Colbert Nation

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sherman Alexie
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

to December 2 techdirt post, "Author Sherman Alexie's Rants On Colbert Against Ebooks, Piracy And 'Open Source Culture'".

Excerpt: On last night's Colbert Report, author Sherman Alexie spent most of the interview ranting against digital books and how "piracy" was destroying the book business. The whole thing was odd not just because of how uninformed it was, but also because he seemed to contradict himself multiple times. I haven't read any of Alexie's books, but if his logic is so twisted, it's difficult to think that his books are worth reading:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pittsburgh City Council Vote May Save Branches

Link to December 1 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, "Pittsburgh Council approves $600,000 to help libraries".

Excerpt: Pittsburgh City Council today cast a final vote to dedicate $600,000 to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh system, in advance of a Dec. 14 meeting of the library Board of Trustees that could postpone the planned closing of four branches and the merger of two others.

The money comes from a fund the city uses to pay for vehicle fuel. A dip in fuel prices has left that fund with excess cash, which Council President Doug Shields eyed as a temporary fix for the library's budget gap.

The library trustees voted Oct. 5 to close the Beechview, Hazelwood, Lawrenceville and West End libraries, merge the Carrick and Knoxville branches, and move the Mt. Washington branch from Grandview Avenue to Virginia Avenue.

"What we did learn in all of this is the importance of the library system, and the importance of those libraries in neighborhoods," said Councilman Jim Motznik, prior to council's unanimous vote. "The Beechview branch is so, so important to that community -- I can't tell you how much."

Battles in Ebook War Likely to Take Place on College Campuses

Link to November 29 Delaware Online post, "Digital textbooks likely to energize e-book war: Sony, Amazon eager to seize opportunity in academic world". (via The Kept-Up Academic Librarian)

: As Sony Corp.'s e-book devices vie with the Kindle to win over readers, the real showdown may come later: when a shift to electronic textbooks at schools threatens to eclipse the current market for the products.

Sony and Inc.'s Kindle are both expanding into the academic world. Students at Blyth Academy in Toronto do all their reading on Sony devices, and five U.S. universities are testing the Kindle. The days of students lugging around heavy textbooks may be numbered, said Sony executive Steve Haber.

"The only ones upset about this are going to be chiropractors," Haber, who oversees the digital reading unit, said this week. "It makes perfect sense to move to education."

Within five years, textbooks will be the biggest market for e-book devices, dwarfing sales to casual readers, predicts Sarah Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. Corning Inc., which is developing glass screens for e-readers, expects textbooks to fuel about 80 percent of demand for those components by 2019.

Palatine Public Library District (IL) Completes Renovation Project

Link to November 30 Daily Herald article, "Palatine library ready to show off renovations".

Excerpt: By repurposing staff space, the renovation has transformed nearly 5,000 square feet for public use. One of the highlights is a larger, 16-seat computer training lab created to accommodate the high-demand computer classes.

he room will be available for patron use when classes are not in session.

Three additional group study rooms have been added, making a total of five rooms suitable for small meetings. In addition, a small self-serve cafe provides a place for patrons to take a break with a snack or beverage.

"Through careful, long-term decision-making and saving, we have economically expanded public floor space within the Main Library's original footprint," said Carol Barnes, board president.

"The building was designed to accommodate a projected larger work force. With process improvements, use of technology and a flexible staff we were able to convert underutilized spaces into exciting new areas for the public. We are confident our patrons will take full advantage of these improvements."

Frank Furness, Architect of Penn's Fisher Fine Arts Library

Anne & Jerome Fisher Fine Arts Library
(Image: Wikipedia Commons)

Link to November 14 Wall Street Journal article, "This Library Speaks Volumes: Frank Furness treated reading as an active enterprise". (via Lazyfeed)

Excerpt: It is hard to imagine an architect of libraries (of which he designed half a dozen) less bookish than Furness. His entire life seems a sustained effort to evade books altogether, no easy feat in his extraordinarily literary family. His father was the Rev. William Henry Furness, Philadelphia's celebrated Unitarian minister, who wrote a score of books and seemed unable to go from breakfast to dinner without writing at least a small pamphlet. Frank's brother Horace Howard Furness spent his life producing the mighty Shakespeare Variorum, a guide to every variant edition of Shakespeare's plays. Even his sister Annis translated German poetry into English, evidently for relaxation.

But young Frank shunned reading for more physical pursuits, earning the Congressional Medal of Honor in the Civil War for his battlefield exploits. When he began to practice architecture after the war, he had no patience for designers who took their inspiration from books. An awestruck Louis Sullivan, who began his own career as a draftsman for Furness, noted how he made his buildings "out of his head." Another draftsman observed that the only book Furness ever praised was Viollet-le-Duc's richly illustrated Dictionnaire RaisonnĂ© de l'Architecture. (With characteristic perversity, Furness—who had no French—cited the one book he was unable to read.)

Yahoo Top Searches of 2009


Link to November 30 Mashable post.

Top ten categories include......

1. Overall searches
2. Mobile searches (Michael Jackson and Megan Fox are the only repeaters from the overall search list.)
3. Economy-related searches
4. Obama searches
5. Celebrity farewell searches (Michael edges out Farrah.)
6. Sudden-fame searches

America's Oldest Public Library (?) Falls on Hard Times

Link to November 30 post, "Despite hard times, Darby vows to save library".

Excerpt: In Darby Borough, where the number of families living below the poverty line is twice the national average, a few dollars mean a lot.

Yet Darby officials, facing the possible closing of the historic library founded in 1743, say they are committed to keeping it open, even if taxes go up.

"The residents said that if we had to raise taxes, they would appreciate that we do," Mayor Helen Thomas said. "Everybody wants to save the library."

Still, in a community where industry crumbled long ago, officials aren't sure how they'll find the money. Library director Susan Borders said she hoped the township would fund the library with $50,000, about $5 per person, almost double the $2.70 per person it receives now through a dedicated real estate tax.

Borough Council President Janice Davis isn't sure residents can afford that.

But wait a minute. The Peterborough (New Hampshire) Town Library calls itself "the oldest public library in the world". Who are we to believe?

Peterborough Town Library

Here's what Famous First Facts has to say on the subject.

The above slide is from Retiring Guy's PowerPoint presentation for LIS 712 (The Public Library) session 3, "History and Development of Public Library Service".

Do we have a controversy on our hands, a la Two Rivers Wisconsin and Ithaca New York?

Recycled Phone Box as Library

Imagine the possibilities with this cluster

Link to November 29 BBC News post, "Phone box has new life as library". (via boingboing)

Excerpt: Villagers from Westbury-sub-Mendip in Somerset can use the library around the clock, selecting books, DVDs and CDs.

Users simply stock it with a book they have read, swapping it for one they have not.

According to the boing boing post, [a]resident dreamed up the idea when the village lost its phone box and mobile library in quick succession.

In the Market for a Typewriter? Cormac McCarthy is Selling His

Link to November 30 New York Times article,"No Country for Old Typewriters: A Well-Used One Heads to Auction".

Excerpt: Cormac McCarthy has written more than a dozen novels, several screenplays, two plays, two short stories, countless drafts, letters and more — and nearly every one of them was tapped out on a portable Olivetti manual typewriter he bought in a Knoxville, Tenn., pawnshop around 1963 for $50.

Lately this dependable machine has been showing irrevocable signs of age. So after his friend and colleague John Miller offered to buy him another, Mr. McCarthy agreed to auction off his Olivetti Lettera 32 and donate the proceeds to the Santa Fe Institute, a nonprofit interdisciplinary scientific research organization with which both men are affiliated.

“He found another one just like this,” a portable Olivetti that looks practically brand new, Mr. McCarthy said from his home in New Mexico. “I think he paid $11, and the shipping was about $19.95.”

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hey, folks, it's not that kind of weed

Click on screenshots to enlarge.

Strange bedfellows: Christian Cinema and Weed Mix News. Family-approved? Dunno about that.

Braddock Carnegie Library Celebrates Its 120th Year

Link to November 30 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, "Braddock celebrates life of library".

Excerpt: Braddock has seen its share of endings: the end of its heyday as a bustling steel community, the end of many local businesses and most recently the announcement of the possible end of UPMC Braddock in late January.

But the
Braddock Carnegie Library -- the first of more than 1,600 Carnegie libraries built across the country -- has withstood all the upheaval and downturns and is celebrating its 120th anniversary.

Now That Barrett is in the Race, Let the Polling Bombardment Begin

As you knew it would!

Link to November 27 Public Policy Polling news release. (Thanks to Tony Driessen.)

Excerpt: Wisconsin appears to be headed for a close Gubernatorial race in 2010. Likely Democratic candidate Tom Barrett is within the margin of error against three potential Republicans opponents. He leads Tommy Thompson 46-41, is up 41-39 against Mark Neumann, and finds himself tied 40-40 with Scott Walker.

For the most part the candidates are unknown with the exception of Thompson who is known but not liked. 57% of voters don’t know enough about Neumann to have an opinion, 48% say the same of Barrett, and Walker is a relatively blank slate to 44% of the state as well.

Time for a New Set of Talking Points? As the article states, hell has not frozen over.

Link to November 26 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "Wisconsin improves its ranking on taxes. Share of income steady as other states worsen; observers divided".

Excerpt: Dented by income tax cuts and a marked spending slowdown on education, Wisconsin's national status as a tax hell is fading.

Hell has not frozen over.

But in comparison to other states, Wisconsin's total tax bite on incomes plummeted to just above the national average in newly released figures.

And the Badger State's consistent top-five tax perch has slipped steadily down to 15th in the latest rankings.

Wisconsin even dropped below the U.S. mark on both taxing and spending based on another common measure, dollars per person. That is a first on taxes going back at least two decades. On spending, it's the second straight year.

The Journal Sentinel analyzed 2007 census figures on taxing and spending by state and local governments to reach the conclusions. The data is the latest available.

What's going on? Has Wisconsin really shed its high-tax ways? If so, how?

Those who closely
watch the rankings agree on much about the new figures but react to them in differing ways. (Aren't we surprised!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Colby Public Library Celebrates 130 Years of Continuous Service

Link to November 28 Marshfield News-Herald column by Library Director Vicky Calmes, "It's a party and you're invited to Colby library".

It was in December 1879, six years after the city was formed, that a donation of $200 was given by visiting railroad officials to form a library. The office of Attorney C.F. Grow housed the collection, which only could be used by village of Colby residents. The following rule was established: The librarian shall have full charge of the library. In 1889, the Niagara Chorus Club formed to set up a reading program for young people.