Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wisconsin State Journal Editorial Board Grades State Legislators

Link to May 1 Wisconsin State Journal editorial, "State leadership lacking".

Excerpt:  A lot of work didn't get done. Some of their effort was sloppy or incomplete. Too many lawmakers picked juvenile and distracting fights with their peers across the aisle.

Like anxious parents of struggling students, Wisconsin voters need to have a serious talk with their legislators during the fall campaigns.

Some state leaders are already dropping out of the East Wing and Legislature. Others are in danger of not returning if they don't turn around their performance, show more ambition and work together to get important assignments don

Dwight Foster Public Library's Period of Adjustment

Link to April 30 Daily Union Online article, "Library staff, patrons adjusting to new site".

Excerpt:   Doors officially opened at the temporary site on Monday, March 29, after a two-week moving process.

"I think people enjoy and appreciate this temporary facility," Meyer remarked. "Most people seem to really like it and have good things to say."

She said library patrons have been commenting on the nice wide aisles and extra space to get around.

"We don't want to have a cramped way to offer things," Meyer said. "We're really happy that we could make everything fit and flow in a way that is very accessible to people."

One thing people have remarked about is the greater number of books available in the collections.

Previously, due to space constraints, a large number of books were stored in the basement area of the library. They remained in circulation but patrons often were reluctant to ask library staff to retrieve them

Related articles:
Groundbreaking photos.  (4/5/2010)
Library now open in temporary quarters. (3/30/2010)
Moving Fort Atkinson Library a pain in many ways.  (3/23/2010)
Dwight Foster Library Lucks Out on Moving Day. (3/20/2010)

Sheboygan Mayor in Hot Water Again

Link to May 1 Sheboygan Press article, "State: Sexual harassment claim by former HR director Angela Payne against Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan 'believable'".

Excerpt: Angela Payne, an African-American who was fired as human resources director in August after six months with the city, filed a discrimination claim in October alleging she was fired because she spurned Ryan's sexual advances and because of her race.

The Department of Workforce Development investigated the claims — which Ryan denies — and made a preliminary determination last week that will send the matter before a judge

Semi-related articles:
Council approves Mayor's new appointments to library board.  (4/28/2010)
Mayor questioned about library board appointments.  (4/26/2010)
Sheboygan Press Editorial Board supports library funding deal.  (11/27/2009)
Library likely to maintain its Maintenance of Effort funding.  (11/24/2009)
Update on library's Maintenance of Effort.  (11/20/2009)
Maintenance of Effort and the Mead Public Library.  (7/6/2009)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Fox Lake District Library Grand Opening

Link to April 28 Daily Herald, "Fox Lake Public Library moves into spacious new digs".

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Officials Ask Local Municipalities for $3 Million Contribution

Link to April 30 Charlotte Observer article, "Library taps city, towns for funds".

Excerpt: The cash-strapped library system has come up with a new idea for easing a possible $17 million cut in county money for next year: Ask local municipalities to help make up some of the difference.

But some leaders from the cities and towns say that while they want to help the libraries, it will be very difficult - if not impossible - to come up with the $3 million Charlotte Mecklenburg Library officials have pitched.

Many are facing their own money problems, and appear leery to take on what might be a multi-year financial commitment. Plus, many already are well into their budget deliberations for next year


Mecklenburg County has told the library system to expect up to a 50percent cut in county money next year. Library leaders said a cut that large would lead to layoffs, branch closures and possibly reduced hours, among other changes.

Related articles:
Library Board chair speaks out.  (4/25/2010)
County commissioners seek ways to ease library cuts.  (4/23/2010)
Mecklenburg County needs to reduce $85-90 million deficit.  (4/16/2010)
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)

American Library Association Executive Director is Keynote Speaker at WAPL Conference

Link to April 30 Sheboygan Press article, "Libraries grapple with funding".

Excerpt: The head of the American Library Association was in Sheboygan Thursday meeting with more than 300 library officials from across the state and urging them to fight continued funding cuts that are forcing libraries to trim staff, close branches and reduce hours.

Keith Fiels, the association's executive director, said most U.S. libraries are in a tough position as library usage has soared during the recession, yet he estimates library funding has been cut by up to 15 percent on average nationwide.

Fiels talk came as Sheboygan leaders continue to grapple with how to adequately fund Mead Public Library as city revenues shrink.

According to Fiels, libraries have to adjust to current economic realities, but they can't accept cutbacks that don't allow them to meet growing demand, and they need to become better advocates.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where in the world is Retiring Guy?

Boston Public Library's State Funding At Risk

Link to April 22 Boston Globe article, "Closings may bar library's state funds".

Excerpt: The debate over closing four Boston libraries will be reignited next week on Beacon Hill when lawmakers consider a proposal that makes an unmistakable threat to the city: Shutter a single branch and say goodbye to what is left of your state funding.

The threat, submitted as a cluster of budget amendments, would withhold the $2.4 million the Boston Public Library expects to receive from the state next year. If the amendments pass, the city, in order to receive the funding, would have to keep open all its 26 library branches in some capacity, regardless of staffing levels, layoffs, or hours of operation

Related articles:
Library board votes to close 4 branches.  (4/10/2010)
Recommendation to close 4 branches (among other cuts).  (4/8/2010)
More than 100 gather to fight possible branch library closings.  (4/4/2010)
The Skinny on Boston's branch libraries.  (4/1/2010)
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)

Pampered, Overpaid Public Employees? Look Again!

Found at Playground Politics.

Link to report.

Madison's Emerson Elementary School Library to Get Makeover Courtesy of Target

Link to April 29 Wisconsin State Journal article.

Excerpt:    Emerson Elementary School found out Wednesday that it's one of 32 schools in the nation that will receive a library makeover this summer, courtesy of Target Corp. and The Heart of America Foundation, a national literacy nonprofit.

At the announcement at the East Side school, Target employees in red shirts and khakis mingled with about 15 to 20 third-graders in the cramped library. The long, narrow room has few computers, and the only spots for students to sit and read are four bean bag chairs.

"It's an exciting day for Emerson," said Karen Kepler, principal of the East Side school. "It will make (our library) look like a library, not a closet of books.

Ann Wentworth Gets Fan Mail

Where Retiring Guy attended school in 1962
(Where the library used to be located.)

Link to April 28 Fond du Lac Reporter letter to the editor, "Keep sex materials from young children".

Excerpt:   It’s a sorry state when the author, Ms. Sones, states: “The children at Theisen Middle School are going to be thinking about sex whether they read the book or not.”

With this type of logic, why don’t we put in Playboy?

It’s too bad that when parents try to do something about all of the sexual content that is bombarding our kids nowadays they get put down and ignored. It’s a sorry state when certain words and scenes have to be added to movies and books so they will sell. What is that saying about the adults that are supposed to be raising children?

I’m sorry but when I was 11 and 12 years old I certainly was not thinking about sex, and I don’t think any of my friends were either

Retiring was 12 years old in 1962 and remembers he and his friends thinking and talking about sex.  And, for the most part, we were laughably uninformed.  Better to have materials, both fiction and nonfiction, available at the library to clear up our confusions and gain a better understanding of the changes taking place in our bodies.

Related articles:
School board upholds decision to keep book on shelves.  (4/13/2010)
School library challenge moves to next step.   (4/5/2010)
Parent appeals decision to keep book.  (2/28/2010)
Fond du Lac School District: Update on Remaining Book Challenges
. (2/24/2010)
Sonya Sones Letter to Fond du Lac School Superintendent. (2/23/2010)

Port Washington Officials Support Library Reimbursement Plan

Link to April 28 Ozaukee Press article.

Excerpt: Port Washington aldermen last week asked Ozaukee County to support a five-year library plan that would increase the amount of money the Niederkorn Library receives for providing services to residents of areas without their own libraries.

Currently, the library is reimbursed for 85% of the cost to provide services to these residents, Library Director David Nimmer said.

The proposed library plan, which would affect all libraries in Ozaukee County, would increase that reimbursement to 93% by 2015, with an eye toward eventually fully reimbursing libraries for the cost of serving people in non-libraried areas, Nimmer said.

About 21% of the library services go to residents outside the city, he said.

“That’s significant,” Nimmer said.

Most aldermen agreed, saying full reimbursement is a matter of fairness.

“Effectively, our taxpayers are carrying some of the town taxpayers,” Ald. Tom Hudson, a member of the Port Library Board, said.

“It’s kind of an inequity. We make our library available to them, and I think that’s a wonderful thing, but they only pay us 85 cents on the dollar. I don’t think that’s quite fair. Everybody should carry their share of the load.”

City Administrator Mark Grams said the Niederkorn Library is used by more residents of the non-libraried areas than any other in the county.

“We’d like to see 100% reimbursement,” he said, noting it would increase the library’s revenues by $18,000.

Although the proposed library plan only calls for a 93% reimbursement, Nimmer said, “It is a step in the right direction.


The city doesn’t provide any other service to residents outside its border without full reimbursement, officials noted.

Hennen's American Public Library Ratings Begets News Releases

And and Naperville Sun is one of the first out of the gate.

Library again earns No. 1 national ranking.

Excerpt:   For an unprecedented 10th year in a row, the Naperville Public Library was again ranked No. 1 in the nationwide scorecard issued this week by Hennen's American Public Library Ratings. Almost 8,000 libraries across the nation were part of this ranking. Only 10 libraries across America have made it into all 10 editions, and Naperville is the only one to earn a rank of No. 1 in all 10 editions.

The rankings focus on how busy and library efficiency. Libraries that have low costs per item checked out, high number of visits per capita, and high number of check-outs per staff member receive higher rankings. Hennen's American Public Library Rating Index includes a weighting of 15 different factors.

The 2010 edition of HAPLR ratings is based on data published by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2009. The data cover reports from libraries that were filed in 2008, primarily on 2007 activities. Naperville's No. 1 ranking is in the 100,000 to 250,000 population category.

Recent Wisconsin Newspaper Book Reviews/Articles

'Beethoven's Hair' part history, part biography, part science. (Appleton Post-Crescent)

Novelist duo creates biker fiction.  (Racine Journal-Times)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane: 1977 IBM Portable Computer Commercial

[From boingboing]

Here's a bird's-eye view of where Retiring Guy worked in 1977.

And here's a bird's-eye view of where he lived.

Petersburg (Virginia) Public Library: A 50th Anniversary of a Different Sort

Link to February 26, 2010, AllBusiness article, "The 50th anniversary of the Petersburg library sit-in, the first of the civil rights era".

Excerpt:  On a crisp, cold winter morning 50 years ago, a group of African-American protesters, led by the Rev. Wyatt T. Walker and the Rev. R.G. Williams, did the unthinkable. They entered the strictly segregated Petersburg Public Library at 137 S. Sycamore St. through the front door on the first floor, which was reserved for the exclusive use of white patrons.

Walker approached the counter of Petersburg's central library and asked for a biography of Confederate hero Gen. Robert E. Lee. That simple walk up the steps of the William R. McKenney Central Library on Feb. 27, 1960, marked the beginning of racial integration in Petersburg, a city with a total population of 38,500, among them 18,000 African-Americans.

It also marked the first library sit-in held in the nation, according to the American Library Association. What followed was a nine-month struggle to integrate the library that involved three sit-ins, the arrest of 11 people, turmoil in city government and finally a victory in the early struggle against racial injustice.

What would later follow was the desegregation of the entire city -- from lunch counters to restaurants, from bus terminals to public swimming pools and, eventually, public schools. But it started with the sit-in on Feb. 27, 1960, with 23 African-Americans and the integration of the library later that year

Related article:
A time when public libraries weren't open and free to all.  (4/25/2010)

Golden Libraries

Congratulations to these libraries and library systems celebrating, having recently celebrated, or about to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

 Succasunna, New Jersey

Tallahassie, Florida

Race for Wisconsin's 80th Assembly District

Link to April 27 Janesville Gazette article, "Ringhand announces bid for 80th Assembly seat".

Excerpt:  An open seat in the 80th Assembly District is attracting Evansville alderwoman Janis Ringhand to make a third run at the Legislature.

Ringhand, a Democrat, announced Monday she will run for the district this fall. The seat is held by Rep. Brett Davis, R-Oregon, who is running for lieutenant governor.

Ringhand will face Republican Dan Henke, who is president of the Monroe City Council

Hudson Mayor to Run for Kitty Rhodes' Assembly Seat

Link to April 28 Hudson Star-Observer article, "Dean Knudson announces run for state Assembly".

Excerpt: Knudson said the state needs to adopt policies that support “new economy jobs” that are sustainable over the long term and don’t depend on federal government stimulus spending that isn’t going to continue.

“I look at things through the eyes of a small businessman. That’s the way I approach things,” he said.

Knudson, 48, and his wife are both veterinarians. They began Hillcrest Animal Hospital when they moved to Hudson in 1989 and sold the successful practice in 2003

Related articles:
Library assessment report ruffles municipal feathers.  8/12/2009)

Tom Nelson Running for Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor

Link to April 28 Appleton Post-Crescent article, "Assembly Majority Leader Tom Nelson gears up for lieutenant governor race".

Excerpt: Assembly Majority Leader Tom Nelson, a Kaukauna Democrat, has registered to run for lieutenant governor.

"I intend to make a (formal) announcement within a couple of weeks," Nelson said Tuesday evening.

Nelson, 34, registered with state elections officials earlier Tuesday. He said registering is one of the first steps in organizing a statewide campaign.

Nelson said he has had conversations with local and state leaders over the last couple of months about a bid for the office. However, he said he has been busy with the recently concluded legislative session, so he waited to focus his attention on this race

Sheboygan Council Approves Mayor's New Appointments to Library Board

Link to April 27 Sheboygan Press article.

Excerpt: The Sheboygan Common Council approved Mayor Bob Ryan's lengthy list of city board, committee and commission appointments Monday night, including his controversial shakeup of the Mead Library Board that involved replacing its two top officers.

The council voted, 14-2, to confirm Ryan's appointments, in which the mayor named former alderwomen Dolcye Johnson and Marge Segalle to the Library Board. They will take the place of board President Bernie Markevitch and Vice President Tom Peneski, who both had sought new terms, but weren't nominated by Ryan.

The 10-member Library Board will name a new president and vice president after Johnson and Segalle are seated.

In making the appointments, Ryan said he wanted to see some new faces and ideas on the Library Board.

"The decisions not to reappoint Mr. Peneski and Mr. Markevitch had nothing to do with personal feelings," Ryan told the council. "They were simply based on the end of their appointment and myself seeing that fresh blood was needed."

Ryan's decision angered some who thought Markevitch and
Peneski should remain on the board to provide continued leadership in a difficult budget year.

Related articles:
Mayor questioned about library board appointments.  (4/26/2010)
Sheboygan Press Editorial Board supports library funding deal.  (11/27/2009)
Library likely to maintain its Maintenance of Effort funding.  (11/24/2009)
Update on library's Maintenance of Effort.  (11/20/2009)
Maintenance of Effort and the Mead Public Library.  (7/6/2009)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Great News Regarding State Funding for Florida's Public Libraries

Florida Senate Panel Makes Partial Restoration of Library Funding.  (3/26/2010)
$500,000 "Placeholder" Keeps Florida Library Funding Alive -- Barely.  (3/17/2010)
Florida's $21.2 Million Aid to Public Libraries on Chopping Block. (3/12/2010

And this from LISNews:  "Florida's 'The library guy' takes a Capitol victory lap."

Eric Feld and Sadie Cooke Dump Facebook, Start Trend

Link to April 26 ABC News report, "Deactivated: College Students Giving up Facebook...By Choice".

Apparently, Lauren McGaha based this report on two interviews with college students.   At least that's all the evidence she offers.

Link to February 3, 2010, Pew Internet & American Life Project report, "Social Media and Young Adults".

Excerpt: New survey results also show that among adults 18 and older, Facebook has taken over as the social network of choice; 73% of adult profile owners use Facebook, 48% have a profile on MySpace and 14% use LinkedIn. “Blogging appears to have lost its luster for many young users,” said Lenhart. “The fad stage is over for teens and young adults and the move to Facebook -- which lacks a specific tool for blogging within the network -- may have contributed to the decline of blogging among young adults and teens.

Retiring Guy's not saying that things can't change quickly in this wireless world but a couple of anecdotes do not build a convincing case.

Pew Research: How American Interact With Government Online

In light of the above graphic, it would be interesting to know from where Americans are accessing government information:  home, work, school, library?  When clicking on "Explore Survey Questions", Retiring Guy gets the following message:  "The questions for this particular survey could not be found."

Link to April 27 Pew Internet & American Life project report.

SummaryAs government agencies at all levels bring their services online, Americans are turning in large numbers to government websites to access information and services. Fully 82% of internet users (representing 61% of all American adults) looked for information or completed a transaction on a government website in the 12 months preceding this survey. Some of the specific government website activities in which Americans take part include:

  • 48% of internet users have looked for information about a public policy or issue online with their local, state or federal government.
  • 46% have looked up what services a government agency provides.
  • 41% have downloaded government forms.
  • 35% have researched official government documents or statistics.
  • 33% have renewed a driver's license or auto registration.
  • 30% have gotten recreational or tourist information from a government agency.
  • 25% have gotten advice or information from a government agency about a health or safety issue.
  • 23% have gotten information about or applied for government benefits.
  • 19% have gotten information about how to apply for a government job.
  • 15% have paid a fine, such as a parking ticket.
  • 11% have applied for a recreational license, such as a fishing or hunting license.

Newspaper Circulation Continues Its Slide

Link to April 27 New York Times article, "Newspaper Circulation Falls Nearly 9%".

Excerpt: Newspaper circulation has been in decline for many years, but the drop accelerated in 2007 and even more rapidly through the recession. While the Internet is widely cited for the drop-off, the lower circulation figures have resulted in part from a conscious decision by publishers to focus on the most loyal and profitable readers, often raising prices and limiting discounts. Some publishers have also limited the area covered by delivery services.

Daily newspaper readership, 1964-1997.
Daily newspaper readership, 1998-2007.

Related article:
Newspaper circulation continues its dive.  (10/26/2009)

Dumpster Diving for Weeded Library Books

OK,  it was a recycling container.

Link to April 26 article, "Library books end up in trash".  (via Library Link of the Day)

Excerpt: Many book lovers know the feeling that seized John Everett earlier this month when he went to the Doylestown branch of the Bucks County Free Public Library to check out a book that had sparked his imagination years ago.

The Doylestown Township man wanted to reread a travelogue about an Englishman's epic trek along the Continental Divide from New Mexico into Canada, but the book wasn't on the shelf where it should have been, Everett said. He asked a librarian about the book who told him that it hadn't been checked out since 2005 and might have been removed as part of the library's process of "weeding" books from its collection, he said.

Everett said he understands the fact that the library must get rid of outdated and worn-out books, but he said he's deeply troubled by the fact that thousands of books wind up in a trash bin behind the library bound for a recycling plant.

"I'm outraged that they're throwing these books away. It's just crazy," Everett said.

In his disappointment, Everett poked around in the recycling container and found that many of the books appeared to be in good condition. Some had copyright dates as recent as 2007, he said.

"It blew my mind. It said to me, 'John, you really need to pursue this,'" Everett said.

He wondered why the library would throw away perfectly good books instead of selling them or simply giving them away, so he called library Director Martina Kominiarek, who explained the library's policy on weeding out books

And it's not as though the book isn't available elsewhere.

Related article:
Still have this book in your collection?  (10/9/2008)