Saturday, January 9, 2010

Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center

Link to January 4 Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette article, "Librarian tells how roots enrich".

Excerpt: It took unconventional and even idiosyncratic steps to make the Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center the highly touted, prominent tourist destination it is today, according to the man who heads up the center.

And Curt Witcher says unconventional thinking will keep it that way.

During a lecture at the Allen County Historical Museum on Sunday, Witcher said that making hefty portions of genealogy collections free on the Web is actually good for tourism and that technology brings people to the library who otherwise would never have set foot in Fort Wayne.

All of which flies in the face of conventional thinking that says people won’t come to see something they can call up at home with their fingertips.

Gary Indiana: Not Louisiana, Paris, France, New York, or Rome

Link to January 5 Lake County Post-Tribune article, "Gary library should turn page on turmoil".

The Gary library system has enough problems on its own without its director finding new ones. A state audit released last summer was riddled with so many errors state auditors couldn't render an opinion on the library's finances. Now, new property tax caps will reduce revenue at the library system by as much as $4 million.

Gary Public Library Kennedy Branch: When It Rains, It Pours

Link to January 2 Lake County Post-Tribune article, "Library could reopen in March".

: The Kennedy branch of the Gary public library system in the city's Glen Park neighborhood will reopen in March 2010 -- maybe.

At its special meeting Wednesday night, library Director Sherri Ervin told library board members extensive renovations, including repairs from two vehicles crashing into the building, 3953 Broadway, just a month apart, should be completed by early spring.

"There's a few things that need to be done, and the public deserves a nice facility," Ervin told board members, stressing the March opening is tentative.

The library has been closed since June 22. Initially, the building was closed to address a laundry list of extensive renovations, including asbestos abatement and roof replacement.

Before the June project began, Kennedy had not had any renovations in its 40-year history, Ervin said.

Fee for Indiana Public Library Access Card Increases 67%

Link to December 28 Kokomo Tribune article, "State library card rate increases".

Excerpt: Local library patrons who have a Public Library Access Card could be in for a surprise when they renew their cards in 2010, as the Indiana Library & Historical Board has raised the fee 66 percent.

Charles Joray, director of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, said he received notice Dec. 14 from the board, which governs state libraries, that the fee would be raised from $30 to $50 per year starting Friday.

The PLAC card is a statewide library card, which allows Indiana residents who have a valid library card to check out materials from libraries other than their home libraries. Card holders pay an annual fee, and revenue from the cards is used to reimburse libraries.

The fee increase only impacts people who buy PLAC cards. Those who hold only cards for the library in their taxing district are not affected.

Dumb and Dumber Steal Aluminum from Library Site

Link to January 8 Daily Herald article, "Cops: Pair stole metal from Fox Lake library site".

Two men have been arrested for stealing about $8,000 worth of aluminum from the construction yard at the new Fox Lake Public Library, then selling the metal for $150, police said Friday.

Keith Wisowaty, 25, of the 200 block of Enfield Drive in Grayslake, and Jesse Pecht, 22, of the 4900 block of East Kuhn Drive in Richmond, were charged Thursday with felony theft over $300, Fox Lake Police Lt. Jeff Norris said.

Supposedly....Reportedly....Burning Books

Link to January 6 The Guardian article, "Why are they burning books in south Wales?" (via Marginal Revolution)

Excerpt: As an act of wanton barbarism, there is little to rival the symbolism of setting fire to a book. It is, therefore, genuinely shocking to learn that book-burning is taking place in south Wales. Pensioners in Swansea are reportedly buying books from charity shops for just a few pence each and taking them home for fuel. With temperatures plummeting and energy costs on the rise, thick books such as encyclopaedias are said to be particularly sought after.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rockford Public Library Staggers into 2010

Link to January 8 Rockford Register-Star article, "Big changes for Rockford libraries".

Excerpt: The Rockford Public Library will undergo a massive change in operating hours and staffing levels next week as it embarks on a new world of providing services in a tough economy.

All six library branches will close Thursday to implement the changes and reopen on staggered dates from Friday to Jan. 18.

Starting Jan. 18, weekly library hours will be reduced from 312 to 225. Hours of operation at all branches, except the Rock River branch on 11th Street, will be cut. The library’s newest branch, the East Branch on East State Street, will be open 45 hours a week during the school year as opposed to 76. The library’s main branch on Wyman Street will go from 65 hours a week to 40.

And hours at the Lewis Lemon branch will be cut in half.

Robert Darnton on Preservation

Link to January 8 Bloomberg News article, "Google’s Digital Library May Not Outlast Paper".

: Invoking the great fires that destroyed the library at ancient Alexandria and the U.S. Library of Congress, Google co-founder Sergey Brin says electronic texts will preserve the world’s cultural heritage.

Google Books aims to create a digital mega-library with millions of books and periodicals available online.

Well, remember microfilm? Worried about the decay of paper, librarians rushed to put their collections on film, discarding many of the originals in the process. Instead of lasting forever, frames tore, shrank, melted together, sprouted bubbles, blemishes and sometimes even fungi.

Since bits become degraded over time, digitization may not prove any more reliable in the long term. Documents could easily disappear into cyberspace as their coding becomes obsolete. The accelerating speed of technological change may overcome even mighty Google, ultimately rendering its database as useless as floppy discs and CD-ROMs.

The best way to preserve texts is still to print them with ink on paper, says Robert Darnton, author of “The Case for Books: Past, Present and Future”

eBook Readers: Scaring Consumers Away with Too Many Choices?

Link to January 8 Technologizer post, "Too Many eBook Readers".

A statement, apparently, as there is no question mark in the headline.

Excerpt: The Las Vegas Convention Center is bursting at the seams with new e-readers, and for every one with a high profile. there seem to be seventy-three anonymous ones from companies you’ve never heard of.

boingboing on Wikibumps

Link to January 7 boingboing post.

Excerpt: The elegant and useful Wikipedia article traffic statistics utility is a great poor man's Q score, but it has a lot of delightfully useless uses as well. One of my favorites is monitoring "wikibumps," the jump in traffic that happens when an article is in the news.

It turns out that wikibumps usually peak in the first 24 hours, then taper off in about a week, giving further evidence for the hypothesis that the public's memory generally extends back to the last issue of People magazine.

Guestblogger Andrea James, "Los Angeles-based writer and troublemaker", provides examples of the best ways to get a Wikibump:

1. Die unexpectedly while famous.

2. Be involved in a controversial incident.

Just for fun, I checked a few topics unrelated to the above two Wikibump criteria.

Libraries: 5,425 views in 12/2009. (Twice as many as average on Dec. 3 and 4.)

Avatar: 1,583,543 views in 12/2009. (Biggest day on the Monday after it opened.)

Green Bay Packers: 82,433 views in 12/2009. (10,600 of them occurred on Tuesday, December 8, the day after they played the Ravens on Monday Night Football.)

Bo Ryan: 5,135 views in 12/2009. (Wow! Less than libraries. 1,500 of these occurred on Thursday, December 3, the day after the Badgers upset Duke at the Kohl Center.)

You're absolutely right, Andrea. It's delightfully useless fun!

Stuff You Won't See on Fox News

Link to GISS Surface Temperature Analysis. (via boingboing)

Link to November 24, 2009, BBC article, "This year 'in top five warmest'."

Link to January 5, 2010, Media Matters post, "Hannity repeats false claim that 2009 was 'coldest year on record'."

Madison Branch Library Key Element of Villager Mall Renovation

Link to January 8 Capital Times article, "Rallying Around the Library".

Excerpt: It’s just a dark and empty space now, barely visible through the windows in the deep red fa├žade on busy South Park Street. But by the end of 2010, the ground floor space in the new Urban League of Greater Madison building should be alive with users of the South Madison Branch Library, and the $700,000 fundraising campaign it took to build it completed.

With about $435,000 pledged or now in hand, the private fundraising effort has a ways to go. But neighborhood residents, library patrons and the Madison Public Library Foundation say that with grass-roots fundraisers from garage sales to cocktail parties, traditional appeals and major donations from businesses and foundations, they are confident they will meet the goal by year’s end.

A new, expanded South Madison Library branch is a key part of a multi-million-dollar renovation of the Villager mall intended to make it a hub of activity in the struggling neighborhood located just north of Park Street’s interchange with the Beltline.

South Madison interior plans on Flickr.

Additional renderings.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Prendergast Library to Reopen After 19-Week Closure

Link to January 6 Jamestown (NY) Post-Journal article, "Library to Reopen".

Excerpt: The library has been closed for the last 19 weeks as construction crews and library workers alike have been hard at work on the project.

It all began as a simple light-replacement project when library officials learned ballasts would no longer be manufactured for the light fixtures in the main reading room and the children's room, forcing them to choose between retrofitting the existing fixtures or installing new ones. Both choices involved the removal of asbestos located in the ceiling tiles in the front portion of the library.

While that work was being done, library officials reasoned, the asbestos located in tiles beneath the carpet should also be removed.

''From the beginning, we've asked people to focus on improvements to be made rather than temporary inconvenience,'' Ms. Way said. ''The payoff for their patience is at hand.''

Library renovation on Flickr.

Do You Want Some Distraction with that Drive Time?

Link to January 7 New York Times article, "Despite Risks, Internet Creeps Onto Car Dashboards".

Excerpt: Technology giants like Intel and Google are turning their attention from the desktop to the dashboard, hoping to bring the power of the PC to the car. They see vast opportunity for profit in working with automakers to create the next generation of irresistible devices.

This week at the Consumer Electronics Show, the neon-drenched annual trade show here, these companies are demonstrating the breadth of their ambitions, like 10-inch screens above the gearshift showing high-definition videos, 3-D maps and Web pages.

The first wave of these “infotainment systems,” as the tech and car industries call them, will hit the market this year. While built-in navigation features were once costly options, the new systems are likely to be standard equipment in a wide range of cars before long. They prevent drivers from watching video and using some other functions while the car is moving, but they can still pull up content as varied as restaurant reviews and the covers of music albums with the tap of a finger.

The Technology Liberation Front thinks it's groovy, though, and provides us with its now Pavlovian response: Education, not regulation, is the answer.

Education. As in here, here, here, here, and here.

Pew Research Takes Another Look at Millennials

Link to January 7 Pew Research report, "Millennials: They’re Younger -- But Their Preferences Aren't That Different".

Excerpt: As might be expected, members of the Millennial generation are enthusiastic about the technological and communication advances of the past decade. They are also highly accepting of societal changes such as the greater availability of green products and more racial and ethnic diversity. What may be less expected is that, in many cases, they are not much different from the age groups that precede them. And on at least one issue -- the advent of reality TV shows -- their views differ not at all from those of the oldest Americans.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that most Americans, young and old, offer a gloomy assessment of the past decade. Still, not all of the changes Americans have experienced in recent years are seen in a negative light. In particular, innovations in cell phones, email and online shopping are seen as changes for the better by most Americans with positive views reaching well beyond the youngest Millennial generation. These kinds of change are viewed at least as favorably by Americans in their 30s and 40s as they are by those in their late-teens and 20s and, in many cases, it is only those 65 and older who have less enthusiastic views of these innovations.

I'll call them the it's-about-time-somebody-wised-up generation.

At 26%, Millennials are the least likely to say that "cable talk news shows" represent a change for the better. (As opposed to 40% of the 65+ generation.)

Oh, and it looks as though we'll be seeing lots more tattoos.

Take Your Pick: Jailing Teachers or Supporting School Libraries

Source: Lucerne Elementary School Library website

Link to December 16 special letter to the Detroit News, "Libraries hold key to Detroit progress". (via LISNews)

Detroit is looking in all the wrong places to explain its low reading scores and is ignoring the most obvious ("Detroit parents want DPS teachers, officials jailed over low test scores," Dec. 13). Jailing teachers, new reading initiatives and volunteer tutors are not the answer. The answer is improved school libraries staffed by certified librarians.

Study after study has confirmed the common-sense idea that reading itself is the best way to develop reading ability: Children who read more do better on all tests of literacy, including the fourth grade National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test, the test Detroit children did so poorly on.

But to read, children need access to books. For children of low-income families, the only source is the school library. Research done by me, as well as Jeff McQuillan, has confirmed that access to books is strongly related to performance on the NAEP exam for fourth-graders, even when we control for the effects of poverty.

Letter written byStephen Krashen , Professor Emeritus, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Compact Discs Continue to Lose Their Shine

Shrinking, shrinking, shrinking sales

Link to January 7 New York Times article, "Albums by Swift and Boyle Top 2009 Charts, as Sales Continue Plunge".

The music industry rounded out a difficult decade with a difficult year.

For the year that ended on Sunday, a total of 373.9 million albums were sold in the United States, according to data from Nielsen SoundScan. That is a 12.7 percent drop from 2008, and a 52 percent fall since 2000, as consumers have continued to turn from CDs to less profitable — and often illegal — forms of digital music.

As sales plunged in the 2000s, music retailers have also taken a severe hit. Since 2004 the HMV, Tower and Virgin chains have all closed their American stores, and Trans World Entertainment, which operates F.Y.E., one of the last remaining music chains, said on Wednesday that it would close 137 of its roughly 700 locations.

Top 5 best-selling artists of the 2000s

1. Eninem (32,200,000)

2. The Beatles (30,200,000; this is not a typo.)

3. Tim McGraw (24,800,000)

4. Toby Keith (<23,000,000)

5. Britney Spears (<23,000,000)

Texas Library Is Ongoing Target of Vandalism

Link to December 21 report on KTRK-TV website, "Brazen vandals target public library". (via LISNews)

Excerpt: It's the worst in a string of vandalism incident at the library over the last 18 months. They've replaced the front glass doors four times in the last six months. There's been graffiti on the outside and in. Right out front, workers say they routinely find broken beer bottles and used condoms.

No one has been able to say for sure who is responsible and if any of the incidents are connected, but they also note that there is an intermediate school just a block away. Students do congregate at the library.

Cleaning up costs money. Replacing the 50 or so books costs money. In this economy folks agree, that's what really hurts.

"It detracts from what we could be doing otherwise," Loranc said.

There are no surveillance cameras at the library. The city council voted just last week to approve funding for cameras.

Gadgeteers Alert! boingboing Reports on the International Consumer Electronics Show

Link to January 7 boingboing post, "CES in brief: Tablet galore".

Wisconsin State Journal Headline Writer Shows Appalling Ignorance

Even kids know better.

And, miracle of miracles, Michelle Bachman might be getting the message.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Joe Arpaio: Right Hand Doesn't Know What Left Hand is Doing

Link to January 4 The Wonk Room post, "Arpaio Admits To Not Reading His Own Book, Blames 'Reconquista' References on Co-Author."

The Web as America's Playground

Here's some online content for your consumption.

Link to January 6 cnet news post, "Nielsen: Broadband use up, users more social".

Excerpt: The Web has quickly become America's playground. A new study from Nielsen finds that more U.S. Web users are using broadband, going social, and checking out Web videos.

According to Nielsen, of the 195 million active Web users in the U.S, 160.3 million, or 93.3 percent, access the Web with a broadband connection, representing a 16 percent increase over 2008 figures.

Nielsen also found that more Americans than ever are consuming online video content. The research firm said 138.4 million unique viewers watched online video in 2009, up 11.4 percent from 2008. All told, they average 11.2 billion video streams per month. The typical U.S.-based Web viewer watches 200.1 minutes of video per month.

Netflix Deals with Warner Brothers

Link to January 6 Mashable post, "28 Days Later: Say Goodbye to the Netflix New Release Rental".

Excerpt: Today is sad day for Netflix customers. The online video rental supplier has just announced an agreement with Warner Bros. that will forever alter your online rental experience. Now should you wish to rent a Warner Bros. flick you’ll have to wait out a 28-day holding period after the film’s initial DVD release date.

Of course the partnership rooted in money-making greed — Warner Bros. wants you to buy the DVD instead of rent it —was to be expected. But the new deal is a first of its kind, and we could soon see several other studios follow in Warner Bros. footsteps.

Some might say, "Call the wambulance!'

As for Retiring Guy, it's no big deal. He prefers his movie experience where it belongs. In a theater.

And this is his kind of double-bill.

We Like Them, We Really Like Them!!

Or so manufacturers of e-reader devices believe.

Link to January 6 Publishers Weekly article, "Digital Reading Takes Over the Consumer Electronics Show".

Excerpt: The Consumer Electronics Show opens tomorrow in Las Vegas and we can expect to see a veritable explosion of e-reading devices in every shape and format. Indeed, the CES Web site lists an eBook TechZone that features about 23 different manufacturers and it looks as though every major e-reader device producer –from IREX, Sony and Plastic Logic to Bookeen and Ditto—and many we’ve never heard of, will be on hand to show off a range of previously unveiled, new or upgraded devices. Baker & Taylor will use CES to provide more details on Blio.

American Libraries New Look

2010 Book Preview

1/18 pub. date
Just placed a LINKcat hold (#17)

Link to January 5 The Millions post, "Most Anticipated: The Great 2010 Book Preview". (via Marginal Revolution)

Excerpt: There’s something for every lover of fiction coming in 2010, but, oddly enough, the dominant theme may be posthumous publication.

Ferris wrote And Then We Came to an End, one of my favorite reads in 2007.

Survey says.....we love our TVs

Link to January 6 cnet news post, "Nielsen: You sure have a lot of TVs".

Here's the latest research from Nielsen. (November 2009)

Where the sets are:

29.9% of TV-owning households have 4 or more sets.

25.1% have 3 sets.

28.3% have 2 sets.

16.7% have 1 set.

(The percentage of households without a TV set is about 1.5%.)

Change from 2007 to 2009.

-10%. Number of VCRs in American homes.

+1%. Number of DVD players in American homes.

+12%. Number of DVRs in American homes.

Tablets: Here They Come to Save the Day

....for magazine publishers.

A skeptic, Jeff Bercovici, begs to differ.

Link to January 5 The New York Observer post, "Tablets from Above".

Excerpt: If you ever hear about a company whose new technology is going to save magazines from extinction … short it. You’ll make a killing.

Step back in time. The old list of possible solutions to the magazine industry’s existential crisis is a long one: a perfect electronic replica of ink-and-paper editions, in PDF format; Web sites loaded with social networking features and user-generated content; mobile phone editions; flexible e-paper; print-on-demand copies and on and on it goes.

Cumulative net difference made by all of the above to the survival prospects of magazines: zero.

But now there’s a new savior on the horizon, and, hoo boy, this one is really going to change everything. The deus ex machina du jour involves notepad-size wireless computers with full-color, touch-screen displays. Publishers are tripping over themselves in their haste to be ready when the first of these devices hits the market later this year.

Read like.....patrons at the Half Hollow Hills Community Library

PAFA.NET via Lazyfeed.

From library's website.

Link to "Read Like Larry" blogpost.

Or read like Retiring Guy is currently reading.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Katherine Paterson, Ambassador

Link to January 5 New York Times article, "New Envoy’s Old Advice for Children: Read More".

Ms. Paterson, who is perhaps best known for the novel “Bridge to Terabithia,” said it was reading that informed her future writing self. As the daughter of missionary parents in China, she read her way through her parents’ library of children’s classics by A. A. Milne, Beatrix Potter, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Kenneth Grahame and Frances Hodgson Burnett. “That is where the friends were,” she said, evoking her lonely childhood.

Now, as ambassador — a joint appointment by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book and Every Child a Reader, a nonprofit group affiliated with the Children’s Book Council, a trade association for children’s book publishers — Ms. Paterson hopes to share the unfettered pleasure that reading can deliver.

Kirkus Continues Publishing

Link to January 5 Daily Finance article, "Book Magazine Kirkus Reviews Lives to Write Another Day". (via EarlyWord)

Excerpt: Late last year, Nielsen Business Media announced it would shut down two venerable trade magazines: newspaper industry-centric Editor & Publisher and book industry publication Kirkus Reviews. Just a few days into 2010, the news for both magazines is much more positive. The staffers of E&P have launched an exile blog while awaiting a possible sale, and Kirkus Reviews will continue publication for the foreseeable future.

Cloud Computing Forecast: Wispy for Now

Link to January 4 Computer World article, "Cloud computing still raises security, reliability concerns". (via US Telecom dailyLead)

Excerpt: Cloud service providers will need to address several IT management concerns -- including security, reliability and vendor lock-in -- before they can win more early adopters, according to Frank Gens, chief analyst at IDC.

In a late-2009 IDC survey of 263 IT and business executives, respondents cited the following concerns about cloud computing (in descending order): security, availability, performance, possibly higher costs, and a lack of interoperability standards.

Respondents said the benefits of cloud computing could include faster deployments, payments based on actual usage, and a need for fewer in-house staffers.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Skiff Reader: New Entry in eReader Sweepstakes

to January 4 Mashable post, "CES: Hearst to Show Off the Skiff Reader".

Excerpt: If it seems like everybody and their second cousin is making an eReader device, it’s because they pretty much are. Beyond the industry-leading Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader, a veritable troupe of newcomers are taking the stage to challenge the digital reading device market: the Barnes & Noble Nook, Plastic Logic Que, Spring Design Alex, LG’s solar eReader and more will be vying for a share of the digital book market along with the now official Skiff Reader from Hearst.

In partnership with Sprint, who will supply 3G connectivity to the device, The Skiff Reader plans to come out swinging with a large 11.5-inch size and a high 1200 x 1600 pixel screen resolution. It will also be on the svelte side at just over a quarter-inch thick and just over a pound — the thinnest eReader on the market to date.

The Skiff Reader is also notable for using an entirely new technology to power its display. Unlike the glass screens that are the hall marks of the current generation of eReader devices, the Skiff uses a flexible display based on a thin sheet of stainless-steel foil. LG is the manufacturer behind the new screens, which help the Skiff stay slim and carry less risk of breakage.

King's College London research team says, "Weed this book".

Link to January 4 BBC News article, "The G-spot 'doesn't appear to exist', say researchers".

Excerpt: The elusive erogenous zone said to exist in some women may be a myth, say researchers who have hunted for it.

Their study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine is the biggest yet, involving 1,800 women, and it found no proof.

The King's College London team believe the G-spot may be a figment of women's imagination, encouraged by magazines and sex therapists.

But sexologist Beverley Whipple who helped popularise the G-spot idea [and one of the authors of the above candidate for weeding] said the work was "flawed".

Hunted for it, huh? Does that ever bring to mind some comical imagery!

If this were 1970, or thereabouts, Woody Allen might have found his inspiration for a new movie.

Congratulations to Larry Nix, the Library History Buff

What great news!

Larry's blog, "The Library History Buff", has been selected by Librarian and Information Science News as "10 Librarian Blogs To Read in 2010".

Excerpt: The Library History Buff: "Promoting the appreciation, enjoyment, and preservation of our library heritage" The Library History Buff Blog was one of only 2 blogs we could all agree on. Larry blogs about, well you can probably guess from the name, library history. It's fascinating to see how far we've come, and yet how little some things have changed.

The Top 5 Technology Panics of 2009

Link to December 23 h+ article. (via Slashdot)

In countdown order:

5. Exploding iPods (THE REALITY: While lithium batteries have been known to do some unpleasant things, these incidents are, on the whole, incredibly rare.)

4. Robots attack. (THE REALITY: Factory work is dangerous and it always has been, ever since the Industrial Revolution began two hundred years ago. Indeed, most workplaces have actually gotten much safer over the years.)

3. "Sexting". (THE REALITY: The vast majority of these “child pornographers” are... the teenagers themselves. Most of the photos are of themselves, their boyfriends, or their girlfriends. And the recipients of the photos are almost always the other children at school.)

2. Bombing the moon. (THE REALITY: NASA‘s “missile” isn‘t a bomb, an explosive, a nuke, or indeed anything special at all — it‘s just an old, burnt-out rocket stage without any fuel left.)

1. Flesh eating robots. (THE REALITY: After the rumors started making their way around the Internet, EATR‘s designers stepped in to clarify: the “flesh-eating robot” will consume vegetable matter only, and it comes equipped with a suite of sensors and computers to help it determine whether the things it comes across are animal, vegetable or neither.)

Reference Materials: Used and Abused in Any Format

see more Funny Graphs

"Grizzly" cuts to the chase and offers the most insightful comment.

I recall that teachers didn’t quite like encyclopedias either when I was in school. Like encyclopedias though Wikipedia provides a high level background to a topic and may point the way to primary sources for further research. Basing a paper on Wikipedia is like basing a paper on an encyclopedia entry, only with the encyclopedia you got (perhaps) a more error-free ride.

The Baby-sitters' Club Redux

Link to December 31 New York Times article, "Comeback Planned for Girls’ Book Series".

Taking a page from Broadway and George Lucas, Scholastic Inc., the children’s book publisher, is trying for a revival — with a prequel attached.

In April the company plans to reissue repackaged and slightly revised versions of the first two volumes in one of its most successful series, “The Baby-Sitters Club,” in the hopes of igniting enthusiasm in a new generation of readers. And just as Mr. Lucas brought “Star Wars” back with a whole new arc of stories that began before the original series, Scholastic is publishing a newly written prequel, “The Summer Before,” by Ann M. Martin, the original author of “The Baby-Sitters Club” books.

It's 2010. Have you advocated for your library yet?

Bill Berry has! (And the Wisconsin Library Association and Wisconsin Education Media & Technology Association thank him for helping to set the stage for this year's Library Legislative Day.]

Link to Berry's January 4 column in the Capital Times, "Keep the library lights burning".

Excerpt: In these tough times, it comes down to defining essential services. By almost any measure, and especially in the current economy, libraries are essential to many people. Folks need to tell that to officials who are making budget decisions.

The wave of budget cuts hasn’t hit Wisconsin communities as hard as those in other states, but several local libraries have cut bookmobile and branch services. On the other hand, Madison residents will soon benefit from a much-needed, $37 million new central library.

But library advocacy groups predict more cuts across the country. Privatization is being pushed as another alternative.

Wisconsin communities fund libraries in a variety of ways, including property taxes, some state revenues and support from patrons, foundations and other groups. In central Wisconsin, the
Mead-Witter Foundation [WLA Citation of Merit] has been a big supporter, providing much-needed grants to community libraries. Construction of the central library here in Portage County was funded by tax dollars and a major capital campaign that asked local residents and businesses to chip with donations. They did.

It pays off, too. A 2008 research study commissioned by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on the contribution of Wisconsin public libraries to the state economy found that tax dollars invested in Wisconsin public libraries produced a return on investment of $4.06 of library services for each $1 of taxpayer investment, including both direct economic contributions and the total market value of library services.

Oshkosh Northwestern Editorial Board Gives Kudos to Laurie Magee

Link to January 4 Oshkosh Northwestern editorial, "Librarian had positive impact on children".

Excerpt: Magee retired last week after 22-years with the library and among her multitude of duties was interacting with parents and children to expose them to the joys of reading books. In a day and age when children are more likely to gravitate to video games, IPods, DVDs, text messaging and other electronic diversions, Oshkosh is fortunate to have had such a strong advocate for books and reading. We wish her well in retirement and thank her keeping children and families in the forefront of the library's mission.

Related article.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fiction with a Western Pennsylvania Setting

Link to January 3 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, "25 novels use Western Pennsylvania as a setting in 2009".

Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: "Video games were invented by the devil"

I hear a few respectful echoes of Erma Bombeck in the first half of this column.

Link to December 27 Orange County Register "Mom Blog".

Excerpt: We have the only house in our neighborhood with no video games. My son has explained to me many times how this makes us freakish aliens from space.

I truly believe that video games were created by Satan to turn otherwise normal children into his drooling, glassy-eyed stooges. After my son plays them at his friends’ houses, he comes home irritable and testy for the rest of the day.

Even though his skin is normally mocha-colored, after a day spent in a darkened room with a controller in his hand, he comes home with a sickly pallor.

This is a huge dilemma for me, because I always had this fantasy that my house would be the one that all the kids congregated at after school. I would be the “fun mom,” the one who made popsicles, the one in the TV commercial with all the kids crowded around the kitchen counter, demanding more of those little pizza nuggets.

Unfortunately, since we have neither video games nor a swimming pool, this does not happen.

Yorba Linda Public Library Reminder & Most Requested List

Yorba Linda Public Library

Link to December 30 Orange County Register article, "Thrills top the list".

Excerpt: Thrillers topped the list of most-requested books this week at the Yorba Linda Public Library, which updates the list online every day to give patrons ideas on what to read.

Laurie Magee, Head of Children's and Family Outreach Services at the Oshkosh Public Library

Link to January 3 Oshkosh Northwestern article, "Librarian's efforts extend beyond library walls".

Excerpt: Magee joined the Oshkosh Public Library in 1988 and began helping others immediately, establishing a home delivery program using volunteers to bring books and other materials to those who were unable to leave their homes to go to the library and co-founded the Winnebago County Literacy Council in 1989. Two programs aimed at bringing the benefits of literacy to children – the Roving Reader program and Book Fest – were created in the mid-1990s.

Her efforts continued this past decade with the creation of FamilySpace, a family resource center located at the library that provides parenting information and programming along with environments and spaces where families can spend time together. As a result of FamilySpace, the children's department in the basement of the library was reconfigured into a space that was more child-friendly and usable for families.

A Year of Colorful Activities Awaits You at the Colby Public Library

Link to January 2 Marshfield News Herald column by Director Vicky Calmes, "Color Your World at the Colby Public Library in 2010".

Excerpt: January: Pick a Palette

Help us decide a color to paint our library. We will be closed part of the last week in January (Jan. 25 to 28) for a V-Cat system upgrade. While the computers are down, we will be painting the library. Stop in the library during January and vote for your favorite color from a palette of hues. The color with the most votes will find its way to decorate our library walls.

And as for those 2009 tech predictions?

Link to "8 Tech Predictions for 2009".

Excerpt: 4. Netbook sales will double in 2009. People want cheaper laptops, ones that provide more mobility. Manufacturers should sell about 18 million netbooks this year, and at least another 36 to 38 million worldwide in 2009.

The outcome?

Link to December 23, 2009, Crave, the Gadget Blog from Cnet, "2009 sales of Netbooks rise but notebooks fall".

Excerpt: It's been a hot year for Netbooks, but not so much for the rest of the portable PC market.

Netbook sales are likely to hit $11.4 billion this year, a 72 percent rise from last year, thanks to a 103 percent leap in shipments, according to a new report from DisplaySearch. But notebook revenue overall will be down around 7 percent from last year.

The latest DisplaySearch Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report, released Tuesday, found that the surge in Netbook (mini-notebook) sales was not enough to offset declines for ultra-portables and larger laptops. Aside from Netbooks, annual revenue will likely be down in every portable PC category.

Though notebook shipments are expected to grow 5 percent for the year, average selling prices (ASPs) will show a 20 percent drop as vendors have slashed prices throughout the year, DisplaySearch has forecasted. Average prices for Netbooks and 13-inch to 16-inch notebooks will probably be down 15 percent for the year, a significant cut as these two categories make up 85 percent of the overall notebook market.

Close enough for a cigar?
Certainly not one of these.