Saturday, April 17, 2010

What's In Store for Indianapolis-Area Libraries?

Link to April 15 IndyStar column by Kevin Morgan, "What's in store for libraries?"

Excerpt:   I thought libraries were making a comeback.

During the past decade, Indianapolis not only has seen the striking expansion of its Central Library but has strengthened its system of neighborhood branches as well. Other cities and towns in the area have built or expanded their libraries, too.

Public use has increased as libraries expanded collections to include DVDs, computer access and other new resources.

So it's particularly jarring to hear that the Indianapolis library system might need to close six of its branches, including the popular and innovative library at Glendale Town Center -- second only to the Central Library as the system's most used.

In most of today's community editions of The Star, we're checking in to see if other library systems in the area are encountering similar problems because of the state's new cap on property taxes.

The news, at this point, is reassuring

Related articles:
Indiana Pacers bailout talks continue.  (4/16/2010)
Postscript.  (4/15/2010)
Look what's at the top of Indianapolis's to-do list.  (4/14/2010)
A Challenge to Indianapolis-Marion County:  Stand Up for Libraries.  (4/13/2010)
Library rally caps?  Get real, sez IndyStar editorial.  (4/12/2010)
Will Indianapolis rally for its libraries?  (4/12/2010)
Library considers branch closings.  (4/9/2010)

Recent Book Reviews in Wisconsin Newspapers

Appleton author Miriam Boleyn-Fitzgerald looks at the power of the brain in new book 'Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us About Who We Are'.  (Appleton Post-Crescent, 3/29/2010)

'Sit-in': A picture book even adults will enjoy.  (Wausau Daily Herald, 3/30/2010)

Local author pens fourth book, sets book signing.  (Wausau Daily Herald, 4/4/2010)

Ocean explorer honored in picture book.  (Wausau Daily Herald, 4/13/2010)

'One Good Dog' a great book, paws down.  (Marshfield Daily Herald, 4/15/2010)

Liberty Magazine, Digitized

Link to April 17 New York Times article, "A Magazine, Long Gone, is Given Digital CPR".

Excerpt:   Liberty Magazine traversed the American scene from the Jazz Age through the Great Depression and World War II before halting publication in 1950. Sometimes referred to in its time as the second-greatest magazine in the country next to The Saturday Evening Post, Liberty was started in 1924 by Joseph Medill Patterson, founder of The Daily News, and Col. Robert R. McCormick, the publisher of The Chicago Tribune.

Costing a nickel, it tried to go slightly downscale from The Post and aimed for a general audience; its slogan was “Liberty: A Weekly for Everybody.”

“What made Liberty unique was it was trying to be more for the masses,” said Jared Gardner, a professor of English, film and popular culture at Ohio State University who is also an editor of American Periodicals, a scholarly journal.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Houston Libraries Hammered

No end to the sad and disturbing news.

Link to April 16 Houston Chronicle article, "Double whammy:  Just when job hunters need them most, struggling Houston libraries cut their hours".

Excerpt:   While Houston is weathering the current recession far better than many American communities, it must still face some harsh realities when it comes to keeping the city afloat in the near term. With the city facing at least a $110 million budget shortfall over the next two years, Mayor Annise Parker has called for major belt-tightening on all fronts, even raising the possibility of layoffs and furloughs for city employees.

One of the most unkindest cuts of all is at the Houston Public Library system, where $2.2 million has been slashed from its 2010 budget of $39.3 million. As reported by the Chronicle's Allan Turner, the system is responding by closing most of its 42 branches on Saturdays, effective this weekend, shortening their hours from the current 71 to 51 per week. Only the downtown Central Library will be open on Sunday afternoons (though it will be closed on Fridays).

Libraries Offer Alternatives to Paying Fines

Link to April 16 San Francisco Chronicle article, "Many libraries offer readers ways to avoid fines".

Excerpt:   Twelve-year-old Audrey Conner owed about $7 in fines to the Salt Lake City public library system, but the voracious reader was a little short.

It didn't matter. Her nearby library branch had an alternative: Kids who can't pay the fine can do the time. So Audrey sat in a room reading a book of her choice, earning $1 for every 10 minutes. She paid her debt in a little over an hour.

"I actually timed myself with my cell phone, and they wrote down my starting time," Conner said.

Libraries across the country are experimenting with similar programs that offer readers an amnesty on overdue fines or do away with them completely. In Salt Lake City, anyone 18 and under can "read down" a debt

Shonda Brisco: A Nation Without School Libraries

Link to March 27 School Library Journal blogpost.  (Thanks to Louise Robbins for sharing.)

Excerpt:  In the map's color code system, blue push-pins represent schools or districts where librarians have already been eliminated. Red push pins represent warnings, schools or districts with pending emergencies.

Social Media Use: Survey Says...

...73% of U.S. Internet users participate at least once a week.

Link to April 15 Adweek article, "Social media use becomes pervasive".

Total social media audience: 127,000,000.

47% visit Facebook daily, compared to....

55% watch TV daily.
37% listen to radio daily.
22% read a newspaper daily.

27% play social games daily.
11% read a blog daily
6% use Twitter daily.

It's 1984 in Lower Merion, PA

Link to April 16 article, "1,000s of Web cam images, suit says".

Excerpt:   The system that Lower Merion school officials used to track lost and stolen laptops wound up secretly capturing thousands of images, including photographs of students in their homes, Web sites they visited, and excerpts of their online chats, says a new motion filed in a suit against the district.

More than once, the motion asserts, a laptop camera took photos of Harriton High School sophomore Blake Robbins as he slept in his bed.

The motion, filed in federal court late Thursday by his lawyers, says that each time the camera took Robbins' picture, it fired the image off to network servers at the School District.

Back at district offices, the Robbins motion says, employees with access to the images marveled at the tracking software. It was like a window into "a little LMSD soap opera," a staffer is quoted as saying in an e-mail to Carol Cafiero, the administrator running the program.

"I know, I love it," she is quoted as having replied

Indiana Pacers Bailout Talks Continue

Link to April 16 IndyStar article, "CIB might take over Conseco Fieldhouse.  Move by board would take $15.4M in operating costs out of Pacers' hands".

Excerpt:  It's not entirely clear how the CIB, which has faced its own financial struggles and is funded primarily by tax dollars, would pay for it.

Negotiations between Indianapolis and the team have been ongoing for months. Although city leaders have said they want to keep the Pacers in town, they have been quiet about their specific intentions.

Some criticized the potential deal as a taxpayer bailout for Herb Simon, the team's billionaire owner. Simon cited the Pacers' $200 million in losses when he first asked the city for help paying for Conseco's operations last spring
.  [Emphasis added.]

Indianapolis officials, here's the contact info you need.

Related articles:
Postscript.  (4/15/2010)
Look what's at the top of Indianapolis's to-do list.  (4/14/2010)
A Challenge to Indianapolis-Marion County:  Stand Up for Libraries.  (4/13/2010)
Library rally caps?  Get real, sez IndyStar editorial.  (4/12/2010)
Will Indianapolis rally for its libraries?  (4/12/2010)
Library considers branch closings.  (4/9/2010)

Someone You've Never Heard Of Drops Out of Wisconsin Governor's Race

Link to April 16 Appleton Post-Crescent article, "Appleton's Mark Todd out of Wisconsin governor's race".

"The Simple Book Club" of Wausau Wisconsin

Link to April 16 Wausau Daily Herald article, "Wausau book club reads "The Latehomecomer," better understands Hmong culture".

Excerpt:    In many ways, the women who are part of the Simple Book Club exemplify the backbone of our community.

They are all from Wausau and in their mid-50s. They are mothers, career women, well-educated, smart, open-minded and curious. Those common traits led them to form the book group about six years ago. They like to read and discuss a variety of books, including classics, biographies, fiction and history.

Last month they read "The Latehomecomer," by Minnesota author Kao Kalia Yang. Yang is familiar to many in the Wausau area because she was a keynote speaker at a Hmong History Month event last April, and she's appearing again as part of this year's festivities. She'll speak Saturday at John Muir Middle School in Wausau

Mecklenburg County Needs to Reduce $85-$90 Million Deficit

Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries:  Revenue Sources
From Insights, Fall 2009

Link to April 16 Charlotte Observer article, "Roberts: No tax hike, county will lay off workers".

Excerpt:  "Let me assure you, we will not raise taxes," she [Mecklenburg County Chair Jennnifer Roberts] said. "We simply will not add more economic distress to our community through additional taxes in an economy with an unemployment rate over 12 percent."
The remarks came on tax day and as school and public library leaders made plans in anticipation of severe county budget cutbacks.

Commissioners have previously signaled they would oppose a property tax hike, but Roberts' statement was the most unequivocal from the leader of the board's Democratic majority.

Commissioners are scheduled to vote on a final budget in June.

A nose dive in sales tax revenue, debt obligations and fallout from the nation's economic downturn have already led to reduced hours at public libraries, less maintenance in parks and lower staffing in code enforcement

It looks as though the worst isn't over for Charlotte Mecklenburg libraries.

Related articles:
County manager takes library board to task.  (4/10/2010)
Libraries now open fewer hours.  (4/6/2010)
"Save Our Libraries Sunday".  (3/29/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg users owe average of 55 cents in fines.  (3/27/2010)
Library announces new hours for branches.  (3/26/2010)
Library Board applies a Band-Aid to its bleeding system.  (3/25/2010)
Follow-up on Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board vote.  (3/25/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board votes to keep all branches open.  (3/24/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board presented with 2 budget-cutting alternatives.  (3/24/2010)
More and bigger cuts looming on horizon. (3/23/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library System Rethinks Closings. (3/22/2010)
A New Day is Dawning in Charlotte/Mecklenburg County. (3/21/2010)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Portland (Maine) Public Library Renovation Gets High Marks

WCSH-6, Portland.

Link to April 8 Portland Press-Herald article, "Library adds light, energy".

Excerpt:     Like a sculptor unveiling a work of art, library director Steve Podgajny pulls back a drop cloth hanging from a ceiling to reveal an enormous window overlooking Congress Street.

Daylight flashes through the Portland Public Library, transforming the dark and frumpy 31-year-old building into a bright and inviting public space.

That’s what a $7.3 million renovation project can do for a middle-aged building that had lost its zip.

Where in the world is Retiring Guy?

The Las Vegas Sun Has a Direct Link to Elvis

And well it should!  Elvis turned 75 this year.

Includes archived articles.

Presley, Brunette Beauty in Surprise Vegas Wedding.  (5/2/1967)
Presley Returns to Hilton Today.  (8/9/1971)
Elvis' Death Shocks LV.  (8/17/1977)

The Textbook to E-book Debate Continues

Link to April 15 Webster University Journal article, "The e-book switch: more problems than solutions?"  (via Resource Shelf)

Excerpt: Technology is improving. There is no doubt about that. But with new technology, there is a price. And for Webster University students, that price comes right out of their wallets.

The School of Communications would like to become more eco-friendly and go green. The idea is to completely switch from standard textbooks to e-texts and to have only one book for all of the mass media classes.

This idea is ludicrous. Mass media is a very broad subject, covering newsprint, magazines, broadcast journalism, photography, web design, public speaking and more. How can one book, even an e-text, begin to cover all these media?

It can't

Anya Orzel goes on to describe 4 problems with e-readers as a replacement for textbooks.

1.  3-4 hours of use on a fully-charged battery.
2.  Price, as in who's gonna foot the bill?
3.  Lack of sufficient storage space for note-taking.
4.  Academic freedom

Related articles:
All Fulltime Seton Hill University Students to Get iPad in Fall 2010.  (3/31/2010)
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)

Yesterday was National Bookmobile Day

And Retiring Guy missed it.

Having spent a portion of his career as Head of Extension Services at the Oshkosh Public Library, he has a lot of fond (and not-so-fond -- all of the latter having to do with mechanical problems) memories of bookmobile service. At the time he worked there, the library operated two bookmobiles.

Link to Facebook page

Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Postscript

Some figures to share.

The cost of a single visit to Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers.

The annual cost per resident in 2008, based on property taxes divided by population (890,879), for unlimited visits to any of the 23 locations of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library.
From "A Proud Tradition", 2008 annual report of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public library

Related articles:
Look what's at the top of Indianapolis's to-do list.  (4/14/2010)
A Challenge to Indianapolis-Marion County:  Stand Up for Libraries.  (4/13/2010)
Library rally caps?  Get real, sez IndyStar editorial.  (4/12/2010)
Will Indianapolis rally for its libraries?  (4/12/2010)
Library considers branch closings.  (4/9/2010)

"A Wise Liberal Democrat" Speaks Only to Tim St. Clair

Omitting the quotations marks leads you to a lot of right-wing ranting.

Link to April 15 Sheboygan Press letter to the editor, "Motor-voter bill will damage electoral process in

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tactile Minds: Filling a Niche for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Link to April 12 Telegraph (UK) post, "Pornographic magazine for the blind launched".

Excerpt:   The book, the brainchild of Lisa Murphy and called Tactile Minds, is designed to be 'enjoyed' by the blind and visually impaired - and is on sale for £150.

Among the 17 raised images include a naked woman in a 'disco pose', a woman with 'perfect breasts' and a 'male love robot'

Retiring Guy is confused.  Is it a book or a magazine?

And is it Tactile Mind or Tactile Minds?

Library of Congress Acquires Twitter Archive

1964 Interviews with Jacqueline Kennedy to be Published

Link to April 14 Boston Globe article, "Book to air interviews with JFK's widow in '64".

Excerpt:  Just a few months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, his widow, Jacqueline Kennedy, sat down for a series of interviews about him. Now, 50 years later, the public will find out what she said about her husband, his work, and life in the White House during an administration that was cut short.

The interviews, sealed after they were conducted, will be the basis of a book slated for publication in September 2011, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced yesterday.

The seven interviews were conducted in the spring of 1964 by historian and Kennedy aide Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. They were part of an oral history project that captured the memories of those close to the president, while recollections were still fresh. The president was assassinated in Dallas in November 1963.

Use for an iPad You May Not Have Considered

Spotted at Mashable.

Not in the book?  Retiring Guy wants to see it in the movie version anyway.

Madison Central Library: And the beat goes on

Link to April 13 Wisconsin State Journal article, "City council gets sales pitch on rebuilt library".

Excerpt:   Madison Library Board Chairman Tripp Widder on Tuesday told skeptical City Council members that rebuilding the Central Library is now the best way to achieve an attractive state-of-the art facility.

Despite questions about cost and other issues, council members seemed to warm to the option and all who spoke said a new library of some sort is a priority.

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is pushing to quickly rebuild the 45-year-old library rather than reopen talks with the Fiore Cos. and partners to build a new $37 million library on another site followed by a $50 million private project on the existing library property.

The Library Board unanimously endorsed the rebuilding option last week.

Library director Barb Dimick said the staff is “pretty excited” about a rebuilt facility with far more space

Related articles:
Mayor Responds to Critics on Library Issue.  (4/13/2010)
Board Endorses Renovation Plan.  (4/6/2010)
Some 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.

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)

Look What At the Top of Indianapolis's To-Do List

Link to April 14 IndyStar article, "Pacers would consider moving if deal isn't struck.  NBA team wants city to pick up $15M tab to run Conseco".

Excerpt: The Pacers, members of the CIB [Capital Improvement Board] and Mayor Greg Ballard's administration have held behind-closed-doors negotiations on that lease, which have centered on the team's push to have the CIB pick up the $15 million operating tab.

Those negotiations now, however, have reached a critical stage.

On Tuesday, Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Jim Morris said if a deal isn't inked by June 30, Simon would have to start searching for other solutions, and nothing would be off the table.

"We've been having conversations with the Ballard administration for two years," Morris said, "and we're now at the point where we need to wrap this up in the next 30, 40 days."

A $15,000,000 annual operating expenditure for a team that has the 4th-worst attendance record in the NBA so far this season?  As Mom would say back in the day, "You need your head examined!"  (In the 2008-2009 season, the Pacers ranked 28th out of 30 teams in attendance, with a total attendance of 581,472)

Here are some (better) numbers from the 2008 Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Annual Report.

Related articles:
A Challenge to Indianapolis-Marion County:  Stand Up for Libraries.  (4/13/2010)
Library rally caps?  Get real, sez IndyStar editorial.  (4/12/2010)
Will Indianapolis rally for its libraries?  (4/12/2010)
Library considers branch closings.  (4/9/2010)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

WISC-TV Covers Fitchburg Public Library Groundbreaking

Retiring Guy was unable to attend, as a meeting of the South Central Library System Foundation Board took precedence in his schedule.

Related articles:
City set for library groundbreaking.  (4/11/2010)
Library receives anonymous $1 million matching donation.  (2/3/2010)
Geothermal heating encouraged for new Fitchburg library.  (1/12/2010)

Link to emdigangi's Flickr photostream.

Collection Development: Bacon

Link to April 12 msnbc article, "Bacon -- our national food crush".

Excerpt:    Bacon is once more our true, national food crush, spanning all ages, all cultures and all meals. It binds us in its aromatic allure — and maybe in its outlaw luster. Like a freedom fighter emerging from an underground bunker, the smoky strips of crispy bliss somehow survived the rise and reign of the cholesterol cops.

Why fight it, colleagues?  Load up your collection with these sizzlin' titles.

Heather also has a website.

OK, this one's here mostly for the title.

'This Week' Adds Fact-Checking to Its Agenda

Link to April 13 New York Times article.

Excerpt:   The program is promoting an arrangement with the Web site whereby its editors apply its “Truth-O-Meter” — true, half true, false, “pants on fire!” — to the administration officials and lawmakers who are interviewed.  [Emphasis drolly added]

The fact checking, which started Sunday, stands in stark contrast to the he-said, she-said nature of most television chatfests, even though PolitiFact’s work takes place well after the facts and possible falsehoods are first uttered on TV. Both the Web site and ABC said that the checking is just an experiment, but it is already drawing attention online as a small measure of accountability for politicians and television interviewers

Retiring Guy has to say he's less than dazzled by the first ruling on the graphic shown above:  a "half-truth" for Hillary Clinton's statement, "I don't answer hypotheticals".

OK, admit it.  You're only interested in the "pants on fire" stuff.

Publishers Information Bureau Reports First Quarter Pockets of Ad Growth for Magazines

Overall, though, the total "rate-card-reported" advertising revenue is down 3.9% compared to the 1st quarter of 2009.

Link to April 12 MediaPost report, "Magazine Ad Data Shows Growth".

Excerpt:   The magazines that saw ad revenue and page growth in three of 12 major advertising categories during the first quarter of 2010 are Automotive; Financial, Insurance & Real Estate; and Toiletries & Cosmetics. This marks the first time since 2007, that the Auto category has posted an increase in both revenue and pages. The gains were driven primarily by Detroit activity. Cosmetics, personal hygiene and hair products boosted the Toiletries category, while credit cards and banking contributed to the growth in Finance.

Other major categories that saw an ad spending uptick within subsectors in the first quarter:  [These would be the silver linings.]

Pharmaceutical companies and fitness/diet programs in Drugs & Remedies

Footwear, jewelry and other clothing accessories in Apparel & Accessories

Branded clothing shops and discount department stores in Retail

Household appliances, supplies and cleansers in Home Furnishings & Supplies

Communications companies in Technology

A Challenge to Indianapolis-Marion County: Stand Up For Libraries

Link to April 13 Indystar op-ed column by Rabbi Sandy Sasso, "Let's make stand for libraries".

Excerpt:   How can we support efforts to increase literacy and then close library branches in the poorest areas of our city? How can we ask parents to read more to their children and then take away the availability of free literature? How can we recognize the significance of computer learning and then block the important access to technology that libraries provide? How can we advocate for healthy places for children to hang out, to keep them off the streets and from getting in trouble, and then close one of the safest havens for them to gather?

Free libraries are as essential to the future of democracy as public education. Access to knowledge should not be the exclusive right of those who can afford it

Related articles:
Library rally caps?  Get real, sez IndyStar editorial.  (4/12/2010)
Will Indianapolis rally for its libraries?  (4/12/2010)
Library considers branch closings.  (4/9/2010)

A Quiet Library is Probably an Empty Library

Link to April 12 New York Times article, Some, but Not All, Savor Silence in the Stacks".

Excerpt:  It’s not surprising that many linked the rise of digital technology, especially ubiquitous cellphone use, and the lowering of public etiquette standards. But it’s not that simple, as many non-cardigan or glasses-clad librarians pointed out. As neighborhood needs change, so has the mission of the library. Keepers of the silence wrote that making this space a more welcoming environment was a necessary step in the evolution of the system, as well as the retention of younger patrons, which are both vital to the sustainability of these community assets. No matter if these younger patrons treat the space like a Blockbuster store or an internet cafe, the library must keep its doors open.

It is also a design issue. Like sports arenas and churches, a large single room, as is the layout for many of these spaces, will be noisier than a series of smaller rooms. Patrons who want to burrow away in the stacks have fewer options with modern designs

Retiring Guy's take?  It's primarily a design issue.  (Which, of course, also makes it a cost issue.)

Between 1990 and 2003, Retiring Guy, as Director of the Middleton Public Library, collected a thick file of complaints about unacceptable levels of noise in the library, one of the hottest topics addressed via the library's comment forms.  During this time, all public services were located within a open, 14,000-square-foot floor plan.  (Reference desk used to be where elevator tower is now located.)  After a 2003-2004 remodeling and expansion project, he received just a few complaints until his retirement in 2008.  The difference:  the creation of a designated quiet area -- reference, computer lab, adult nonfiction, newspapers and magazines -- on the library's lower level.

Yesterday Retiring Guy spent an hour at the Hawthorne branch of the Madison Public Library at a particularly busy time of the day.  (To use the library's wi-fi service.)  The dozen or so computer stations were all in use, and people were working quietly, though not always silently, at them.  To my left, he heard a young, attentive (key word) mother keeping her occasionally fussy toddlers company.  Nothing bothersome, though.  One of my LIS 635 students was working at the reference desk -- Hawthorne is her practicum site -- and she had a steady stream of customers.  (And, no, it wasn't a spying mission -- just coincidental.)  Granted, not an atmosphere conducive to quiet study, but neither was it disruptive.  Retiring Guy could have easily tuned out his surroundings had he brought along his iPod.

Nevertheless, it's a tough balancing act for libraries that operate out of a single (i.e., undivided) space.  And we all know that some days are much worse than others.

All photos by Retiring Guy (2009)