Friday, December 18, 2009

Do You See a Pattern Here?

Kickin' It Up Major Notches at Marquette's Raynor Library

Is There a Guinness World Records Category for This?

Maintaining the spirit
of the proverbial smoke-filled room.

Link to December 17 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "Town of Cedarburg violated open meetings law, complaint says".

Excerpt: Town of Cedarburg officials knowingly violated the state open meetings law by attending 27 secret sessions this year (RG's emphasis), City of Cedarburg Attorney Kaye Vance says in a complaint filed Thursday with Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol.

The complaint follows on the heels of a town decision in October to end more than a decade of sharing costs of library, recreation and senior services with the city.

The increasingly bitter rift between the neighboring communities appears to threaten progress on the town's long-sought goal of a cooperative boundary plan with the city, since there have been no further talks.

The closed-door meetings were held to discuss possible lawsuits or negotiations on specific issues - shared services and future use of the former Prochnow landfill - involving the city, according to Vance.

A public relations consultant sat in on at least four of the closed-door meetings, raising the question of why town board members needed to meet privately with legal counsel if someone else was allowed to sit in on the discussion, Vance said.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Authors Share What They Read This Year

Link to November 17 New Yorker post, "What We Read This Year".

Contributions by.............
David Remnick
Jane Mayer
Jeffrey Toobin
Paul Muldoon
Ariel Levy
Stephen King
Jonathan Lethem
Margaret Talbot
George Packer
Hilton Als
Elizabeth Kolbert
Lauren Collins
Tom Sleigh
Tad Friend
Richard Brody
Philip Schultz
Yiyun Li
David Denby
Joshua Ferris
Rebecca Mead
Robert Pinsky
Joan Acocella
Ben Greenman
Rita Dove

Advertising Age Picks the Top Ten Tech Trends of the Decade

Link to December 14 post.

No intro, just an annotated list, and I'm guessing in priority order -- from the top.

1. Broadband penetration.
2. Search marketing.
3. Social networks.
4. DVRs
5. iPhone
6. Ad networks & exchanges
7. Twitter
8. GPS
9. Flash
10. Open APIs (application programming interface)

Congratulations to the West Bend Community Memorial Library

Link to December 17 School Library Journal post, "West Bend Community Memorial Library Wins Intellectual Freedom Award".

Excerpt: The West Bend Community Memorial Library, located just outside of Milwaukee, WI, is making news again—but this time it's being honored for defending intellectual freedom in the face of a library challenge that gained national attention earlier this year.

Library director Michael Tyree (left front row in white shirt) and his staff are recipients of the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award.

Library director Michael Tyree and his staff are recipients of the 2009 Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award, given by the faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which voted overwhelmingly in favor of the library winning this year’s honor.

“The West Bend librarians, library board, and library supporters demonstrated the strong and steadfast advocacy on behalf of intellectual freedom that is the focus of the Downs Award,” says Christine Jenkins, GSLIS associate professor and director of the Center for Children’s Books “Despite the enormous media attention that the controversy received, they were unwavering in their support of the public library's responsibility to provide a diverse collection to serve *all* community members.”

So far, no comment from WISSUP.

Wisconsin DPI News Release: State funding supports library system services

Though budget cuts reduced nearly all state programs, including library system aid, Wisconsin’s 17 federated public library systems will continue to economize and share resources with $16.1 million in state aid for 2010.

Library system funding is the state’s primary program of support for public library service statewide. Systems recently received the first of two aid payments for 2010. Total aid for next year is $16,165,400.

“Public libraries tailor their services to balance budgetary limits and community needs. All of our libraries have targeted resources to help patrons search for jobs, update resumes, and improve employability skills. And, many are working with Job Service staff and other organizations to offer assistance to the unemployed and underemployed,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “The state’s aid program to public library systems is a wise use of state funds to support the valuable services and materials local public libraries provide.”

Wisconsin’s 385 independent public libraries have all voluntarily joined a public library system. The systems are regional library organizations created to improve public library services, increase Wisconsin residents’ access to library materials and services, and reduce duplication. Systems use funds according to plans developed and adopted by regional boards to meet the needs of each public library system area. Library system services include:

• ensuring that system residents have complete access to all public libraries within the system area. State residents made 33.5 million visits to public libraries and checked out 62.4 million items last year, both increased from the previous year.

• coordinating the sharing of library materials among participating libraries to meet user needs. Annually, libraries loan 8 million items to each other in response to users’ requests. System-supported delivery networks deliver interlibrary loan items.

• providing training and continuing education for local library staff to help them offer the best possible service to their communities.

• coordinating cooperative library technology projects. About 90 percent of the state’s public libraries now participate in shared computer systems that offer users on-line catalog access to regional library holdings. All public libraries provide the public with the use of computers with high-speed Internet connections and 97 percent of the state’s public libraries provide free wireless access for laptop users in the library.

Link to news release, which includes a list of public library system aid payments in 2010.

Marathon County Public Library Reaches 1,000,000 Circs For First Time

Marathon County Public Library
(click on screenshot to enlarge)

Link to December 17 Wausau Daily Herald, "Library celebrates a million milestone".

Excerpt: The million tally includes all items -- from books to magazines, CDs, DVDs, art work, video games and more -- from all nine sites in the Marathon County library system. The number of people who have library cards has remained relatively stable, said Mike Hartkopf, the library's customer service manager, which means "people are checking out more and more items."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Smart Politics", Dumb Conclusion

Link to December 15 Smart Politics post, "Minnesota Among Leaders in Adult Literacy and High School Graduation Rates Despite Middling Library Resources".

Apparently, in Minnesota, "public libraries per capita" is the clearest and perhaps only indicator of quality library service.

What kind of mushrooms are these folks putting in their omelets?

Excerpt: A new Smart Politics analysis of various education indicators finds that Minnesota ranks at or near the top of key education outputs, despite having only a moderate number of public libraries in the state.

With slightly more than 350 public libraries, the Gopher State ranks just 21st in the nation in terms of libraries per capita, at 1 public library for every 14,623 residents, according to U.S. Census Bureau 2008 population estimates and library data provided by

Library Book Returned 99 Years Late

Link to December 15 post, "One fine day; New Bedford native returns long-overdue library book".

There was no spring in his step as Stanley Dudek approached the entrance to the New Bedford Public Library Monday morning with a book tucked under his arm. Dudek was returning it on behalf of his deceased mother, and he was feeling a tad nervous because the book was overdue. Considerably overdue.

It was, in fact, 99 years, seven months and 12 days overdue.

The green stamp in the back of the small, red volume entitled "Facts I Ought to Know about the Government of My Country" indicated it should have been returned to the library on May 2, 1910.

Google "99 years overdue". Lotta links, right?

Wouldn't it be great if the media could report about what we do today with the same breathlessness?

iPhone Curmudgeon

Link to John Dvorak's December 15 post, "The iPhone is Ruining the Country".

Excerpt: I suppose this whole thing began a couple of years ago. Now it's completely out of control. At some point cell phones captured the collective consciousness of computer users. Now they're all anyone talks about anymore.

I noticed this phenomenon on a recent podcast I was asked to take part in. The show was supposed to be broadly about tech—computers specifically—but 90 percent of the conversation revolved around the mobile phone, the issues with new handsets, in particular.

The trend is horrid, but it's not it's not the trend that bothers me. What annoys me is the fact that there is little talk about anything other than hardware features. People talk about the screen, the keyboard, the On and Off button, the layout of the icons, etc. etc. Nobody ever talks about the lame applications. Wait, did I say "lame?" Actually, maybe that's the reason.

Hudson Area Joint Library Board Approves Lease Agreement

Link to December 16 Hudson Star-Observer article, "Library board approves lease". (Access to full text may require login.)

Excerpt: The board of the Hudson Area Joint Library on Monday night gave final approval to leasing 20,000 square feet of the Nuclear Management Co. building at the corner of First and Vine streets.

The 7-0 vote sets the ground for the city of Hudson to finalize its purchase of the NMC property. The library plans to move into the former corporate headquarters building in the spring of 2010.

The city had until Wednesday (Dec. 16) to inform Xcel Energy, owner of the building, whether it intended to go ahead with purchase. The city would lose $100,000 in earnest money if it backed out now.

The initial term of the library’s lease is for five years, beginning Jan. 1, 2010. The rental rate during the first year is $120,000, but the library will pay just $5,000 per month for the first three months.

The Periodical Tablet

Link to December 15 New York Times article, "Magazines Get Ready for Tablets".

Excerpt: Magazine publishers are taking a mulligan.

Sports Illustrated developed a demonstration version of how it might translate its print articles on a tablet computer. The tablet version can pull live sports scores and display videos and other interactive content.

After letting the Internet slip away from them and watching electronic readers like the Kindle from Amazon develop without their input, publishers are trying again with Apple iPhones and, especially, tablet computers.

Although publishers have not exactly been on the cutting edge of technology, two magazines — Esquire and GQ — have developed iPhone versions, while Wired and Sports Illustrated have made mockups of tablet versions of their print editions, months before any such tablets come to market. Publishers are using the opportunity to fix their business model, too.

McDonald's to Offer Free Wi-Fi

Link to December 15 Wall Street Journal article, "McDonald's to Offer Free Wireless Internet".

Excerpt: McDonald's Corp. will soon start offering free wireless Internet access at its U.S. restaurants as part of the fast-food chain's transformation from its hamburger roots into a hang-out destination.

Starting in mid-January, McDonald's will lift a $2.95 fee that it had charged customers for two hours of wireless Internet access, available at about 11,000 of its 14,000 domestic locations, McDonald's USA Chief Information Officer David Grooms said in an interview.

The free access comes under a partnership with AT&T Inc., which provides McDonald's stores with wireless Internet. Mr. Grooms wouldn't discuss financial details of the arrangement, nor would he say how much McDonald's earned from such charges.

McDonald's hopes the free Internet could encourage customers to hang around during down times between meals, providing a captive audience that may buy some of the chain's McCafe line of coffee drinks. The chain also plans to begin selling items like frappes and smoothies by mid-2010 that aim to appeal to customers during the snacking hours that could get a lift from greater traffic.

Federal Budget Bill to Benefit Brown County Library, St. Norbert Collge

Link to December 16 Green Bay Post-Gazette article, "Green Bay Metro bus line, library, St. Norbert, YWCA in line for federal funds".

Excerpt: Education and transportation in Northeastern Wisconsin are primed to benefit from the massive spending bill awaiting President Barack Obama's signature. When Obama signs the $1.1 trillion bill to fund government agencies through next September, he will clear the way for Green Bay Metro to receive $1.1 million for buses and facilities. Other local organizations receiving funding in the legislation include the Brown County Library and St. Norbert College, according to a statement released by U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton.

The Brown County Public Library will receive $300,000, to be used for renovations at the Central Library.

St. Norbert College will use its $910,000 allocation for instructional technology, laboratory equipment, classroom furnishings, and science discovery center supplies.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Legislative Alert!!!

Link to December 15 boingboing post, "Insert cheese-head joke here".

Excerpt: Assembly Bill 556: An act designating the bacterium Lactococcus lactis as the Wisconsin state microbe. Lactococcus lactis would be the bacterium responsible for turning milk into cheese. "We call those people who oppose it lactose intolerant," said Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie). (Via Microbe World)

Editor & Publisher Readers' Demands Heard

For the moment, anyway.

Link to December 14 Editor & Publisher post, "'E&P' To Publish January Issue -- Hope Remains?"

Excerpt: Due to overwhelming reader and advertiser demand, Editor & Publisher will publish its next issue, the January 2010 edition, as planned, Editor Greg Mitchell announced today.

The issue will be mailed to subscribers around Jan. 4.

But it may still be the final issue of E&P, after 125 years.

IO9 Picks the Best SciFi of the Decade

Link to December 11 post. (via boingboing)

Excerpt: After much mulling and culling, we've come up with our list of the twenty best books of the decade. The list is weighted towards science fiction, but does have healthy doses of fantasy and horror. And a few surprises.

This list is alphabetical, and not in order of awesomeness. All are equally great and worthy of your attention. In deciding which would make the list and which wouldn't, we weighed not only our opinions, but also those of the critical community at large - looking at how each book was received by reviewers for mainstream publications as well as science fiction magazines. There were many, many books we love that almost made the cut - if we'd let ourselves go it would have been more like the 100 best books of the decade.

Also, all of the books on this list were originally published in English. Regrettably I'm not conversant enough in global science fiction to make an educated "best of" list that includes works written in other languages. I hope those of you who are will add your picks to the comments below.

Stephen Covey Inks Ebook Deal with Amazon

Link to December 14 New York Times article, "Top Author Shifts E-Book Rights to".

Excerpt: Ever since electronic books emerged as a major growth market, New York’s largest publishing houses have worried that big-name authors might sign deals directly with e-book retailers or other new ventures, bypassing traditional publishers entirely.

Now, one well-known author is doing just that.

Stephen R. Covey, one of the most successful business authors of the last two decades, has moved e-book rights to two of his best-selling books from his print publisher, Simon & Schuster, a division of the CBS Corporation, to a digital publisher that will sell the e-books to for one year.

Paramount Creates Online Video Clip Service

Link to December 14 New York Times article, "Paramount to Start Online Service to Sell Movie Clips".

Excerpt: Paramount will initially restrict use to business customers — advertising agencies, mobile carriers, foreign broadcasters — that want to license pieces of films for commercial use. The plan is to ultimately open the site to consumers. People wanting to embed a specific scene from “The Godfather” on their blog could go to and buy it.

Did Paramount just make me an offer I can't refuse?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Going to the Library in Philadelphia? Call First.

Link to December 14 Philadelphia Daily News article, "Libraries hit by random closings".

On any given day this year, one or more branches of the 54-branch Free Library of Philadelphia have been closed unexpectedly due to staff shortages.

The daily closings have increased significantly since September, ranging from four to seven branches on most days. Ten branches closed or reduced their hours unexpectedly Dec. 3, for example.

"The library is critically short-staffed," said Amy Dougherty, director of the Friends of the Free Library of Philadelphia, who has been tracking the unscheduled closings. "Librarians [are] completely stressed out. They wake up not knowing what branches they're going to that day."

The closings are just the latest trouble for the beleaguered system.

Mixed Feelings About Kirkus' Demise

Link to December 11 New York Times article, "End of Kirkus Reviews Brings Anguish and Relief".

Excerpt: In some ways it seemed that the passing of Kirkus was mourned much like the local deli that finally closes after a long battle with a landlord — missed as much in theory as because of its practical effect on the market.

“While I hate to see the closing of another major book review outlet, truth be told, it’s been a long time since a review there actually moved the needle in any meaningful way,” wrote Tim Duggan, executive editor at Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, in an e-mail message. “It has less to do with Kirkus than with the way the rest of the media marketplace has evolved.”

Still, some publishers noted that Kirkus reviews, reliably cantankerous, often differed from the other prepublication reviewers. “It wasn’t just broad, it was rigorous, curmudgeonly, and it was often a dissenting or idiosyncratic voice,” said Nan Graham, editor in chief of Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Some books received Kirkus' patented slice-and-dice treatment. When I worked at Oshkosh Public, we used to share and chuckle over our favorites skewerings. Unfortunately, I can't recall any of the most outrageous bon mots. Guess I wasn't eating enough blueberries back then.

54 Years Overdue, but $1,750 Fine Forgiven

Ledger Live: N.J. man returns a library book 54 years overdue

December 7 Ledger Live (via boing boing)

Gerunding Your Way to Teamwork

Link to December 10 Open Forum article, "The Most Important Factor in Business Begins with 'P'".

As in "people".

Excerpt: Sociologists have a series of terms for what teams (or any work group) go through en route to operating effectively. Forming, storming, norming and then performing are the words that describe these steps.

· Forming is the stage in which each person stakes out what role they would prefer to play, or not play in the team’s efforts....

· Storming is the process by which these conflicts are worked out....

· Norming is agreeing on a set of behavioral norms—rules, if you will—about how the members of the team will work together, interact and behave.

· Performing is what people do when they work together collaboratively to achieve more as a unit than they could have individually.

Business Website Profiles Six Twitter Types

Link to December 11 Open Forum post.

Where do you fit in?
1. The Newbie. "What am I doing?"

2. The Brand. "What can I get away with?"

3. The Smore. "What's in it for me?" (Smore is shorthand for "social media whore". Catchy word; too bad it's already taken.)

4. The Bitch. "What can I complain about?"

5. The Maven. "What's interesting in my niche?"

6. The Mensch. "How can I help?"

We Need to Eat More Blueberries

And all this other good stuff.

Link to December 12 Brandweek post, "KFC's Grilled Chicken Tops Most-Recalled '09 Launches".

Excerpt: The times seem to have hurt Americans’ memories as well. Worried about jobs, pay cuts and holding on to their homes, a whopping 93 percent of respondents—the highest level in eight years of the survey—could not name one new product launch from a list of 50, according to the survey.

Computer Viruses: They're Everywhere, They're Everywhere!

Oh, for the days of jammed keys.

Link to December 14 New York Times article, "Crooks Hijack Facebook Accounts, Injuring Dignity".

Excerpt: It used to be that computer viruses attacked only your hard drive. Now they attack your dignity.

Malicious programs are rampaging through Web sites like Facebook and Twitter, spreading themselves by taking over people’s accounts and sending out messages to all of their friends and followers. The result is that people are inadvertently telling their co-workers and loved ones how to raise their I.Q.’s or make money instantly, or urging them to watch an awesome new video in which they star.

“I wonder what people are thinking of me right now?” said Matt Marquess, an employee at a public relations firm in San Francisco whose Twitter account was recently hijacked, showering his followers with messages that appeared to offer a $500 gift card to Victoria’s Secret.

Technology Liberation Front's Review of Ken Auletta's "Googled"

Link to Adam Theirer's December 13 Technology Liberation Front book review.

Excerpt: Indeed, the book is as much about the decline of old media as it is about Google’s ascendancy. What Auletta has done so brilliantly here is to tell their stories together and ask how much old media’s recent woes can be blamed on Google and digital disintermediation in general. “If Google is destroying or weakening old business models,” Auletta argues, “it is because the Internet inevitably destroys old ways of doing things, spurs ‘creative destruction.’ This does not mean that Google is not ambitious to grow, and will not grow at the expense of others. But the rewards, and the pain, are unavoidable,” he concludes. Google is essentially just the tip of a giant wave of digital disintermediation that is tearing through the media landscape, Auletta argues.

Working Moms: Survey Says.....

40% feel rushed, but 36% are happy (same as at-home moms).

Read the full Pew Research Center report.

Link to December 14 Pew Research Center Daily Number report.

Excerpt: Working mothers often feel the pull of their competing roles in the office and at home. While only 24% of the public reports always being rushed, fully 40% of working mothers with children under age 18 say they always feel rushed, and another 52% say they sometimes feel rushed. Mothers who do not work (26%) and working fathers (25%) are much less likely to always feel rushed. Stay-at-home moms are about as likely to feel stressed (82%) as are working moms (86%) but both are significantly more stressed than are working fathers (74%). Still, while working mothers may face a more chaotic life, they are no less happy than other parents.

Marathon County Public Library's "March to a Million"

Link to December 14 Wausau Daily Herald article, "Marathon County libraries to celebrate milestone of loaning 1 million items this year".

Excerpt: The Marathon County Public Library system is on the cusp of a historic milestone.

If patron trends hold out for a few more days, someone will check out the millionth item for 2009 on Wednesday. The tally includes all books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, art work, video games and all other items people have checked out from the system's nine locations scattered across the county.

Library officials will commemorate the record Friday with a "March to a Million" party that includes a drawing with several prizes. The most likely reason behind the record use of the library, however, is nothing to celebrate.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Library Service Returns to Colton California

Link to December 1 San Bernadino County Sun article, "Colton libraries reopen with six-day schedule".

Excerpt: Pete Carrasco, chairman of the Colton Public Library Board of Trustees, said he's glad the city responded to the public's request to restore the libraries.

"I think the community spoke out and they're responding to the community," he said. "I think it's a step in the right direction."

The libraries and homework assistance center that was housed at the Carnegie building were closed in November as cost-cutting measures to offset a projected $5 million deficit for the fiscal year.

William Styron's Family Battles Over Ebook Rights

Link to December 12 New York Times article, "Legal Battles Over E-Book Rights to Older Books".

Excerpt: William Styron may have been one of the leading literary lions of recent decades, but his books are not selling much these days. Now his family has a plan to lure digital-age readers with e-book versions of titles like “Sophie’s Choice,” “The Confessions of Nat Turner” and Mr. Styron’s memoir of depression, “Darkness Visible.”

But the question of exactly who owns the electronic rights to such older titles is in dispute, making it a rising source of conflict in one of the publishing industry’s last remaining areas of growth.

Mr. Styron’s family believes it retains the rights, since the books were first published before e-books existed. Random House, Mr. Styron’s longtime publisher, says it owns those rights, and it is determined to secure its place — and continuing profits — in the Kindle era.

The article notes that "[Styron's] books are not selling much these days".

Nor are they checked out of libraries all that much, at least according to a sampling I just did. Of the 27 copies of The Confessions of Nat Turner in LINKcat, only 1 is currently checked out.

The New Digital Divide

via Tame the Web.

I found this quote particularly interesting.

According to Wikipedia, Howard Rheingold (born July 7, 1947) is a critic, writer, and teacher; his specialties are on the cultural, social and political implications of modern communication media such as the Internet, mobile telephony and virtual communities (a term he is credited with inventing).