Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chris Christie Needs to Hear the Mess Message

And it will be a big mess if these cuts are approved.

And to paraphrase...Every Day is a Library Advocacy Day.

New Jersey Libraries Face Big Cut in Governor Christie's Budget

Link to April 3 Philadelphia Inquirer article, "How libraries are facing Christie's budget cuts".

Excerpt:    With around 27,000 volumes and a single location, the Audubon Public Library is one of New Jersey's smaller libraries. A resident interested in an academic text or the early work of an obscure novelist would have to request the volume through the state's interlibrary loan system.

That program - which makes larger libraries' vast troves available to their smaller brethren, and vice versa - is among a number of popular services jeopardized by funding cuts in Gov. Christie's proposed budget, library advocates say.

"Someone likes James Patterson, we have the most recent novel. But one of his older novels, we'd usually have to borrow," said Audubon library administrator Kathy Ostberg. "We're a small library. We depend on those services."

Christie's plan would cut funding - which also pays for items such as database subscriptions and adult-education classes, and provides a proportion of individual library budgets - by $10.4 million, a 74 percent reduction from last year, according to the Office of the State Librarian.

"This is not shared suffering," said Pat Tumulty, executive director of the New Jersey Library Association, a nonprofit advocacy group

Where in the world is Retiring Guy?

North Las Vegas votes to eliminate 204 city jobs

Link to April 1 Las Vegas Sun article.

Excerpt:    The North Las Vegas City Council approved a budget-reduction plan Thursday night that will eliminate 204 municipal jobs.

Acting City Manager Maryann Ustick presented the proposal, which trimmed the number of jobs to be eliminated from 273 recommended in February.

The plan, aimed at helping close a $58.3 million shortfall in next year's budget, is expected to save $24.9 million.

The layoffs will impact the hours libraries and recreation centers are open and maintenance of city roads, parks and other facilities, Ustick said. The North Las Vegas Municipal Court will terminate night court sessions, she said.

The North Las Vegas Fire Department will eliminate 16 firefighter positions, saving about $2.8 million.

No police officers will be laid off, but the city will put off replacing police cars for two years and will put a hiring freeze on certain positions, Ustick said

Naperville Public Library to Offer Voluntary Buyouts

Link to April Daily Herald article.

Excerpt:   Naperville Public Library will offer voluntary buyouts to employees this year in hopes of preventing, or at least lessening, future layoffs.

The library board recently approved plans that will allow it to replace those who choose to leave with less expensive new hires.

The library employs 288 people, the majority of whom are part-time. Officials estimate they could save $5,000 to $25,000 per employee next fiscal year through the separation program.

Employees who have been with the library for three to five years will be eligible for three weeks of base salary if they take a buyout. Those with six to 10 years with the library will get six weeks of base salary and employees with 11 or more years will get eight weeks of base salary.

Employees taking a buyout must have been with the library for at least three years and can't have already signed a letter of resignation or retirement or be in the midst of disciplinary actio

Friday, April 2, 2010

Library Celebrates Anniversary with Supply Drive

Will the iPad Go Mainstream?

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Stephen Gets a Free iPad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform
Link to April 2 New York Times article, "Doing the iPad Math: Utility + Price + Desire".

Excerpt:   Many consumers do not understand the device’s purpose, who would want to pay $500 or more for it and why anyone would need another gadget on top of a computer and smartphone. After all, phones are performing an ever-expanding range of functions, as Apple points out in its many iPhone commercials.

“The first five million will be sold in a heartbeat,” said Guy Kawasaki, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who was a marketing executive at Apple in the 1980s. “But let’s see: you can’t make a phone call with it, you can’t take a picture with it, and you have to buy content that before now you were not willing to pay for. That seems tough to me.

Making the Case for School Librarians

Link to March 21 Los Angeles Times op-ed piece, "Saving the Google Students".  (via LISNews)

Excerpt:    As a librarian in the Pasadena Unified School District, I teach students research skills. But I've just been pink-slipped, along with five other middle school and high school librarians, and only a parcel tax on the city's May ballot can save the district's libraries. Closing libraries is always a bad idea, but for the Google generation, it could be disastrous. In a time when information literacy is increasingly crucial to life and work, not teaching kids how to search for information is like sending them out into the world without knowing how to read.

Instead of simply navigating books and the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature -- an annual index of magazine and newspaper articles used in the olden days -- today's students sift through an infinite number of options: books, Internet sources, academic databases. Much of the time they opt for Google, which is like beingtossed into the ocean without a paddle.

Building a Common Agenda in New Berlin

Link to March 30 New Berlin Now article, "Aldermanic hopefuls agree: Cuts loom if revenue can't be found. Candidates take one last chance to make their points".

Excerpt:     With the fat pretty much gone from the New Berlin city budget, the candidates for the New Berlin Common Council said service cuts loom.

Speaking before a crowd of about 40 residents at an aldermanic candidate forum Saturday afternoon at New Berlin West High School, they were eager to see the results of the survey soon to arrive in homes. The survey is aimed at finding out which city services residents prize most

Here's what they talked about.
  • Reconstruction of Calhoun Road
  • Improvements to industrial park
  • Business-friendly city environment
  • Special taxing district for the Mill Valley business park
  • Keeping property taxes down
  • Drainage/flooding problems
  • Reopening fire station #2
  • Keeping police strength at current level
  • Selling naming rights
What about the library?
As the Isley Brothers sing, there's "Work to Do".

Proposed Bill Amends Wisconsin's Election Laws

Link to April 1 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Fast-moving bill would bring sweeping changes to Wisconsin's election laws".   (Senate Bill 640)

Excerpt:   A bill that would bring sweeping changes to state election laws is rapidly moving through the Legislature.

If it becomes law,
[1] the Government Accountability Board would be required to automatically register people to vote when they sign up for driver's licenses. The bill also aims to [2] encourage absentee voting and  [3]voting at satellite locations, and to [4] make it easier for members of the military who are overseas to vote.

The legislation was the subject of a joint public hearing Wednesday, and Senate and Assembly committees on Thursday voted in favor of it. The Legislature's budget committee could take it up as soon as next week.

Lead sponsors Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire, and Sen. Spencer Coggs D-Milwaukee, along with Democratic leaders and other supporters, say the bill would encourage higher voter turnouts and help prevent voters from being intimidated at the polls

Kenosha's Big Read is a Big Success

Link to April 1 Kenosha News article.

Excerpt:     Kenosha readers turned up in bunches to take part in a month of activities centered on“The Grapes of Wrath.”

The Kenosha Public Library wrapped up “The Big Read,” a community-wide effort to promote reading John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” and attending activities related to the book and its themes, this week.

The program, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, started in January with free book distributions. Kris Neiman, head of administrative services for the Kenosha Public Library, said a total of 1,237 free copies of the book were distributed through the area

New York Times: The Walter Winchells of Cyberspace

Link to April 1 article, "The Rising Stars of Gossip Blogs".  Profiles include "major scoop" and "memorable gaffe".  The online headline does not include the reference to Walter Winchell (1897-1972).

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Free Library of Philadelphia's Refurbished Music Room

Photo source:  Philly Improv

Link to April 1 Philadelphia Inquirer article, "Central library tunes up for expansion".

Excerpt:   One morning not too long ago, staff arrived for work in the music room of the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia to find that a lighting fixture had dropped from the ceiling and was dangling in midair, a pile of rubble beneath it.
Eighteen months later, a new fixture is in - casting light on a substantially renovated music library with freshened ambitions.

With almost $500,000 from the city and private sources, highly detailed plasterwork was redone, new lighting was fabricated, and more sophisticated computers and listening stations were installed. The entire room - the city's only full-scale music library not part of a school - was reorganized to give the public greater access to reference books, recordings, music scores, and more.

The net effect is a brighter, more highly functioning library, boosting the department's ability to mine its treasures with an assist from technology.

The tune up is for this.

$175,000,000 fundraising goal for Central Library renovations

Leased Parking @ Your Library

This is a new one on Retiring Guy.

Not the library I visited when I lived in Great Falls in the mid-1950s.

The Skinny on Boston's Branch Libraries

Link to April 1 Boston Globe article, "Library releases data on traffic at branches".

Excerpt: A clearer picture emerged yesterday of which Boston library branches may be in danger of closing as the city released a wide range of data for each location, quantifying foot traffic, wireless Internet sessions, and attendance at public programs.

The 15 individual measures, which draw on statistics from 2009, lay out in stark detail which branches are less used, clustered close to other locations, and have inadequate facilities. The data revealed, for example, that almost twice as many people walked in the front door of the West End branch than the North End branch, which is roughly a dozen blocks away

Related articles:
Library measures data published.  (3/31/2010)
Don't close the book on us. (3/29/2010)
Citywide Friends of BPL to Hold Demonstration.  (3/28/2010)
BPL Budget News Available at Website.  (3/25/2010)
A Small Branch Makes a Big Impact.  (3/24/2010)
Friends of Boston Public Library Host Read-in to Support Tax Increase. (3/14/2010)
Emotions Reach Boiling Point in Boston Public Library Discussion. (3/13/2010)
The Boston Public Library Dilemma, Continued. (3/12/2010)
Boston Speaks Up for Its Libraries. (3/10/2010)
Boston Public Library Branches to be Ranked in Consolidation Plan. (3/9/2010)
Boston Public Library Anticipating Budget Cuts in 2011. (3/2/2010)

Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter Speaks Up for Print

Link to March 28 Mediaweek opinion piece, "Print Is Dying ... Really? At a time when magazines are everyone's whipping boy, Graydon Carter offers evidence to the contrary".

It's along the lines of Paul Saffo's comment, "Just because a new medium arrives doesn't mean an old medium dies out. We still have writing in an age of word processing, we still have reading in an age of video. That will continue, but the nature of reading will change as it has changed all along."

Excerpt:  The fact is that people still want great, well-told tales. We see it on, where our longer articles routinely top the Most Popular list. We see it in the fact that our print circulation (both newsstand and subscriptions) is emphatically up at a time when everyone tells us it is supposed to be down.

Commercial television is six-and-a-half decades old, the magazine is nearly 300 years old, and the printing press is five-and-a-half centuries old. But the art of storytelling is millennia older than all three. So if print journalism’s business model is changing, our only move as editors is to double down on delivering what our readers have always wanted from us: compelling stories and iconic photographs. And it won’t matter if they’re read on a laptop, a cell phone, or on paper.

You could argue that the magazine is as brilliant an invention as anything Apple will come up with. We take glorious stories, combine them with arresting photography, illustration and design, along with stunning advertising images, and bundle the whole thing into a package that is inexpensive, easy to use and available almost anywhere. (We’ll even deliver it to your door.) It can be passed on afterward or recycled. And you don’t need instructions or batteries

FiveThirtyEight: Analysis Done Right

Link to April 1 FiveThirtyEight post, "Study Claiming Link Between Stimulus Funding and Partisanship is Manifestly Flawed".

Excerpt:   A study purporting to find a connection between stimulus spending and the partisanship of a district suffers from an obvious flaw. But in so doing, it provides an example of why it's important to retain some common sense -- and some sense of context -- when conducting a statistical analysis.


At this point, it ought to be pretty obvious what is going on. The three districts receiving the largest amount of stimulus funds are home to the capitals of the three largest states -- New York, California, and Texas. Let's pause for a moment and make a bold prediction. I'll bet you that the district that ranks 4th on the list will contain the capital of the 4th largest state, Florida.

Bingo. Up 4th on the list is Florida's 2nd Congressional, home to Tallahassee

Publishers View iPad as Savior

Link to April 1 Reuters article, "Publishers bet future on iPad they haven't yet seen".

Excerpt:   Publishers are placing big bets that Apple Inc's iPad will kick-start a commercially viable transition to digital magazines and newspapers -- even though few executives have laid hands on the tablet ahead of launch.

In fact, many publishers likely will not announce their iPad applications until after the tablet hits U.S. stores on Saturday, due to the many constraints that Apple has placed on allowing its partners access to the device

Related article:
Conde Nast readies iPad versions of its top magazines.  (3/1/2010)

On the Internet, Every Day is April Fools' Day

Link to April 1 New York Times article, "Separating April Fools' From Fraud on the Web".

Best advice in this make-stuff-up-as-we-go-along world:  If it sounds too good to be true, be skeptical.  Do a little fact-checking.  (There's goes Retiring Guy again with one of his antiquated ideas!)

New York Times reporter Paul Boutin offers these 2 websites as good places to start. (one of RG's RSS feeds)

Oshkosh Public Library to Hold Listening Session on Its Strategic Plan

Oshkosh Public Library

Link to April 1 Oshkosh Northwestern article, "Listening session will highlight updated goals for Oshkosh Public Library".

Excerpt:   Community members are invited to attend the meeting to learn more about proposed goals the library will pursue from July 2010 to December 2011. These goals represent continued progress on the library’s strategic plan, which underwent a major overhaul in 2007.

Library Director Jeff Gilderson-Duwe will do a brief presentation and then take questions and comments from the public. The draft plan contains four broad strategies.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Boston Public Library Measures Data Published

From March 31 Boston Public Library news release.

In an ongoing effort to be transparent and engage the community in its budget deliberations, the Boston Public Library today published measurements about each library location. The information is posted on the Boston Public Library’s web site at The information is quantitative in nature; qualitative information will follow at the next meeting of the BPL Board of Trustees on April 7.

Link to "BPL Measures and Definitions".
1.  Public use measures  (circulation, foot traffic, public wireless Internet stations)
2.  Operational measures (accessibility, parking lot)
3.  Geographical measures (proximity to MBTA stations, bus routes, public schools, Center for Youth and Families)
4.  Other considerations (programs, capital projects)
5.  Additional definitions:  lead library, digital branch, and something called Boston About Results (BAR).

Link to "BPL Data" (Jan-Dec 2009 statistics)

1.  Books and audiovisual items borrowed
a.  Copley: 1,240,077 (high)
b.  Egleston:  29,071 (low)

2.  Foot traffic
a.  Copley:  1,598,887
b.  Grove Hall:  37,606*

3.  Public computer use
a.  Copley:  188,520
b.  Orient Heights:  7,644

4.  Program attendance
a.  Copley:  19,043
b.  Adams:    834

5.  Number of programs
a.  Copley:  836
b.  Adams:  101

6.  Public wireless Internet sessions
a.  Copley:  10,541
b.  South End:  20

Related articles:
Don't close the book on us. (3/29/2010)
Citywide Friends of BPL to Hold Demonstration.  (3/28/2010)
BPL Budget News Available at Website.  (3/25/2010)
A Small Branch Makes a Big Impact.  (3/24/2010)
Friends of Boston Public Library Host Read-in to Support Tax Increase. (3/14/2010)
Emotions Reach Boiling Point in Boston Public Library Discussion. (3/13/2010)
The Boston Public Library Dilemma, Continued. (3/12/2010)
Boston Speaks Up for Its Libraries. (3/10/2010)
Boston Public Library Branches to be Ranked in Consolidation Plan. (3/9/2010)
Boston Public Library Anticipating Budget Cuts in 2011. (3/2/2010)

Pew Research: The Impact of the Internet on Institutions in the Future

Lots to chew on here.

The paragraph in bold on the "Main Findings" page.

The imperatives and expectations created by the internet will force change in institutions, no matter how resistant they are. There is simply too much pressure from the ground up for institutions to retain 20th century forms. Media companies are classic examples of organizations that have to respond to the new digital realities. All institutions will have to start listening more intently to their stakeholders. “Molecular democracy” and “Long Tail economics” are asserting themselves.

All Fulltime Seton Hill University Students to Get iPad in Fall 2010

Seton Hill University (Greensburg, PA)
not to be confused with
Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ)

Related articles:
The Coming Shift in Textbook Formats.  (3/11/2010)
Revised As You Go: Customized, Interactive Textbooks. (2/22/2010)
Battle in Ebook War Likely to Take Place on College Campuses. (12/1/2009)
Ebook Readers Get Less Than Rave Reviews on Campus. (7/17/2009)

Digital Due Process Coalition Calls for Improved Web Privacy

Link to March 31 New York Times article, "Technology Coalition Seeks Stronger Privacy Laws".

Excerpt:  A broad coalition of technology companies, including AT&T, Google and Microsoft, and advocacy groups from across the political spectrum said Tuesday that it would push Congress to strengthen online privacy laws to protect private digital information from government access.

The group, calling itself the Digital Due Process coalition, said it wanted to ensure that as millions of people moved private documents from their filing cabinets and personal computers to the Web, those documents remained protected from easy access by law enforcement and other government authorities.

The coalition, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, wants law enforcement agencies to use a search warrant approved by a judge or a magistrate rather than rely on a simple subpoena from a prosecutor to obtain a citizen’s online data.

The group also said that it wanted to safeguard location-based information collected by cellphone companies and applications providers

E-Books Eliminate a Form of Free Advertising: The Book Jacket

Link to March 31 New York Times article, "As E-Books Gain Popularity, You Can't Even Judge a Cover".

Excerpt:    Bindu Wiles was on a Q train in Brooklyn this month when she spotted a woman reading a book whose cover had an arresting black silhouette of a girl’s head set against a bright orange background.

Ms. Wiles noticed that the woman looked about her age, 45, and was carrying a yoga mat, so she figured that they were like-minded and leaned in to catch the title: “Little Bee,” a novel by Chris Cleave. Ms. Wiles, a graduate student in nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College, tapped a note into her iPhone and bought the book later that week.

Such encounters are becoming increasingly difficult. With a growing number of people turning to Kindles and other electronic readers, and with the Apple iPad arriving on Saturday, it is not always possible to see what others are reading or to project your own literary tastes.

You can’t tell a book by its cover if it doesn’t have one.

Keeping the Dream of a New Madison Central Library Alive

Link to March 31 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Groups push to revive library proposal, but mayor focuses on renovation".

Excerpt:    As Mayor Dave Cieslewicz pushes to quickly renovate the central library, an influential Downtown group wants to revisit a more ambitious proposal by the Fiore Cos. to build a new $37 million central library with a second phase of private development on the existing library site.

Meanwhile, Hovde Properties, a major Downtown developer and landowner, is offering to help make the grand vision possible.

"We are encouraging the city to go back and continue the negotiations," said Susan Schmitz, president of Downtown Madison, Inc., which promotes the central city. "We think it's worth it."
In an e-mail last week responding to a question from the State Journal, William Kunkler, Fiore executive vice president, said, "If there was still hope in realizing this vision, we would be the first ones at the table."

Cieslewicz said he's willing to "talk to anybody at any time." But restarting negotiations with Fiore or chasing new options presented by Hovde could cause long delays that would add costs and put construction jobs on hold, he said.

Related articles:
Some Madison Council Members Not Ready to Move Forward on Mayor's Renovation Plan.  (3/30/2010)
Council President Pro Tem to Introduce Resolution Approving Madison Central Library Renovation Project.  (3/28/2010)
'Dissatisfaction' with Collapsed Madison Central Library Project. (3/25/2010)
Fiore Departure Seen as Beneficial to Madison Central Project.  (3/23/2010)
Matter of Principle" Dooms New Central Madison Library.  (3/20/2010)
Madison Central: The Dream Dies, It's Now Time to Renovate. (3/19/2010)
Dispute over Construction Costs Threatens to Derail New Central Madison Library. (3/17/2010)
Madison Public Library Project Faces Delay in 2011. (3/9/2010)
Construction, Cost Concerns May Delay Madison Central Library Project. (1/25/2010)
New Madison Central Library Wins Council Approval. (11/11/2009)
Capital Times Endorses New Madison Central Library. (11/10/2009)
Madison Council Begins Review of Mayor's Budget on Tuesday. (11/6/2009)
More Questions About Madison Central Library Project. (11/1/2009)
New Madison Public Library's First Change Order: Rooftop Garden. (10/28/2009)
Call for Referendum on New Madison Central Library Not Attracting Support. (10/21/2009)
Madison Board of Estimates Rejects Library Referendum. (10/13/2009)
Some Madison City Council Members Want Referendum on New Central Library. (10/9/2009)
Wisconsin State Journal Editorial on New Madison Central Library. (9/13/2009)
New Madison Central Library: Let the Positioning Begin. (9/1/2009)
New Madison Central Library on Mayor Dave's Front Burner. (8/30/2009)
New Madison Central Library: Build or Renovate? (7/7/2009)
Motley Brown Not Reason Enough. (6/11/2009)
Fiore Plan Receives Unanimous Support. (6/5/2009)
Fiore Plan Gets Nod from Committee. (5/15/2009)
Public Forum Focuses on Central Library Options. (4/24/2009)
Developer Sweetens the Deal. (4/21/2009)
Visualizing a Remodeled Madison Central Library. (4/4/2009)
Renovation Plan Put on Table for Madison Central Library. (3/26/2009)
Residents Critique Proposals to Rebuild Downtown Library. (1/9/2009)
Competing Developers Defend Their Central Library Plans. (1/8/2009)
Comparison of Downtown Madison Library Proposals. (12/17/2008)
Two Proposals for New Madison Central Library. (12/3/2008)
Best Headline of the Week. (9/6/2008)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Providence Public Library: Who are you going to believe?

Peering (1) into the Library

Link to March 10 Providence Journal article, "Providence's Central Library surviving, growing".

Surviving, yes.  But growing?  (A Wisconsin Badgers hockey taunt comes to mind:  "That's debatable!")

The Providence Public Library, a private, 135-year-old nonprofit organization, ran the central library and nine branches until July 1, 2009. On that day, the city transferred its $3.5-million library allocation to a new private nonprofit organization, the Providence Community Library, rather than allow the public library to close five branches to deal with a budget shortfall.

Executive Director Dale Thompson talks about a "great sense of excitement"* and "many positives"* for a library that has reduced its operating hours, cut staff, and seen its endowment shrink by perhaps as much as 20%.  (The library is open just 39 hours per week.)

Oh, plus they want to sell the building they currently occupy.
Whither then?

Among the positives?

The library still has the largest public collection in the state — about 1 million items. It still has some of the state’s most unique collections, including rare and original materials on the Civil War, slavery, the whaling industry and the state’s history. “Central is still the place where you go if you can’t find an item anywhere else,” says Mason.

OK, we already know the collection is less accessible.  And what about those "rare and original works"?  Are they being properly cared for?

Thompson also notes that circulation is up from last year, and attendance at library programs has also improved.

All of a sudden, Retiring Guy is from Missouri.  He's in a "show-me" mood.

Two comments are appended to the article.

[#1] It is hard to imagine a worse run public library. The loss of the branches, the battle with the city, the poorly conceived and expensive renovation, and now the possible sale of the historic building all show an institution in distress.

[#2] Dale Thompson is one of the classiest librarians in the country. Providence is lucky to have such as fine person at the helm of the top public library in Rhode Island.  [Hmm, Retiring Guy wonders what Ted Rao* would have to say about this comment.]

Who are you going to believe?

Related article.
A library revolution in Providence.  (Los Angeles Times, 1/7/2009)

Adweekmedia's 2010 Magazine Hot List Top 10 (Under 60)

Under 60 = less than $60,000,000 in annual revenue.

Retiring Guy wonders if The Week is shorthand for The Week in Glenn Beck.

All You.  Lucky-ish?

Fast Company. Fast Company sets the agenda, charting the evolution of business through a unique focus on the most creative individuals sparking change in the marketplace. By uncovering best and "next" practices, the magazine and website help a new breed of leader work smarter and more effectively.

ReadyMade.  "Instructions for everyday life".

Saveur.  Recipes, techniques, travels, kitchen, wine & drink.