Saturday, July 31, 2010

Somebody's Watching You

And taking lots of notes.

In lieu of Big Brother

Link to July 30 Wall Street Journal article, " The Web's New Gold Mine:  Your Secrets." (via Technologizer)

Excerpt: Hidden inside Ashley Hayes-Beaty's computer, a tiny file helps gather personal details about her, all to be put up for sale for a tenth of a penny.

The file consists of a single code— 4c812db292272995e5416a323e79bd37—that secretly identifies her as a 26-year-old female in Nashville, Tenn.

The code knows that her favorite movies include "The Princess Bride," "50 First Dates" and "10 Things I Hate About You." It knows she enjoys the "Sex and the City" series. It knows she browses entertainment news and likes to take quizzes.

"Well, I like to think I have some mystery left to me, but apparently not!" Ms. Hayes-Beaty said when told what that snippet of code reveals about her. "The profile is eerily correct."

Libraries 2100000, Netflix 2000000

A 3-on-1 contest, though, leaves libraries in the dust.

Initial reaction to this article:   From political and advocacy standpoints, I wouldn't use this information as a centerpiece for tooting the library's horn.  As some of us in Wisconsin are already aware, there are more than a few state legislators who would eagerly allow public libraries to charge for lending DVDs -- without the current stipulation that a 'free' copy also be available for checkout.  And as The Fixx once sang, "One thing leads to another".  (In addition, just because we have a new, i.e. downloadable, format to offer, doesn't automatically mean the end of a physical collection of discs in libraries.  In fact, I still find plenty of videocassettes -- and books on tape -- on AV display shelves.)

Link to OCLC report

Link to July 25 Hartford Courant article, "Study: Libraries Top The Competition In Lending Movies".

Excerpt: The survey, released this year by OCLC, a nonprofit library co-operative and research organization, found that public libraries in the United States lend an average 2.1 million videos every day, slightly more than the 2 million that Netflix ships. The other top two competitors, Redbox and Blockbuster, come in at 1.4 million and 1.2 million respectively, according to daily averages provided by company representatives.

The findings were part of a report called "How Libraries Stack Up," which highlights the many roles that libraries play in communities, according to OCLC market analysis manager Peggy Gallagher. It also includes statistics on career assistance and Wi-Fi use — the extent of which might be surprising to the general public or even to businesses offering similar services

Read the instructive and mostly thoughtful series of comments on this topic at The Consumerist.

Op-Ed: High School Teacher and Mom on Why Boys Read Less Than Girls

Link to July 31 Charlotte Observer article, "Why won't Johnny read?"

Excerpt:  That boys read less than girls is no surprise. Nor is the fact that they do not read as well. For at least two decades, boys have lagged in standardized reading test scores, a gap that shows up in almost all states and is growing wider.

The reasons are many. Some researchers blame schools and the emphasis on visual and auditory learning styles - looking and listening to learn - instead of the way quite a few boys seem to learn best, by moving around and doing. Those kinesthetic/tactile learners are often less willing or able to sit still for long stretches of time, and reading effectively requires that kind of practice.

Another reason that boys read less has to do with the limits boys place on themselves. In my own experience as a mother of sons and as a high school teacher, I've noted that boys are less likely to read fiction than girls, and when they do, they do not choose stories with a female protagonist.

The social pressure and the unstated taboos concerning masculine identity may be at work, making boys leery about reading books that will label them as somehow being "girly." Girls, on the other hand, read all genres and don't seem to care whether or not a protagonist is male or female

This doesn't seem to be an issue exclusive to young adult males.

A few 'boys to men' authors off the top of my head:

C. J. Box (The hat will certainly provide a level of masculine comfort.)

James Lee Burke  (Author is appropriately grizzled; old truck on the cover of one of his books.)

Tom Clancy  (Guns and ammo, the bigger the better)

Lee Child  (In my estimation, the manliest of toothbrush-totin', loner fiction heroes.  And Dick Hill captures Jack Reacher's essence in the audio versions of the series.)

Vince Flynn  (Solidly masculine titles -- Pursuit of Honor, Consent to Kill, Executive Power -- and cover art, although the author himself looks a bit overgroomed.)

Carl Hiaasen should be, but then there are those dang covers.   Not like to attract the uninitiated male reader.

Please add your suggestions to the list.

'Boo U' Library Director Opening

Friday, July 30, 2010

Gotta love the Internet as a source of new fiction

Entertainment on the topic of willful ignorance provided by the Truth-o-Meter.

Iowa Libraries Embrace New Reader Technology

Link to Cedar Rapids Gazette article, "Local libraries embracing new reader technology".

Excerpt: Dean Jones got out of the library habit when he got old enough to buy his own books, but he’s patronizing the library again, even if he hasn’t actually walked in the door.

“When I was younger, I used to spend hours in libraries,” said Jones, 54, of Cedar Rapids. “It’s been a few decades since I’ve had a library card, because the technology is changing and checking out a book for a few weeks doesn’t really suit my style.”

What brought Jones back, at least virtually, is Metro Library Network’s eBook service. The service by Overdrive allows patrons in Marion, Hiawatha and Cedar Rapids to download from home any of more than 500 titles, for free

Related articles:
Ebooks and libraries.  (5/4/2010)
Textbook to ebook debate continues.  (4/15/2010)
Ebooks eliminate a free form of advertising:  the book jacket.  (3/31/2010)
Ebooks:  Another round of false promises?  (3/19/2010)
The coming shift in textbook formats.  (3/11/2010)
The skinny on ebooks.  (3/8/2010)
Hardcover vs. ebooks:  Breaking down the costs.  (3/1/2010)
Ebook buyers balk at...and bloviate over...price hikes.  (2/11/2010)
Book Industry Study Group:  Survey of consumer attitudes over ebook reading.  (1/15/2010)
Digital piracy hits the ebook industry.  (1/2/2010)
Profile of ebook owners.  (12/22/2009)
The tipping point for books?  (12/22/2009)
Battles in ebook war likely to take place on college campuses.  (12/1/2009)
Ebooks and print books:  We are fam-a-lee.  (10/28/2009)
Not everyone is enamored of ebooks.  (10/20/2009)
The state of reading:  More choices, more opportunities.  (10/14/2009)
Ebooks readers:  Still a niche device. (9/11/2009)
Ebook readers get less than rave reviews on campus.  (7/17/2009)
Why can't we live together in peace?  (7/15/2009)

Beloit Public Library Close to Making Decision on New Director

Link to July 23 Beloit Daily News article, "City of Beloit looking to hire three".

Excerpt: The City of Beloit is looking to fill three positions: transit supervisor, library director and assistant to the city manager.

City officials have had difficulty finding suitable candidates for the first two positions, with searches still continuing after six months to over a year.

The library board, however, is coming close to finding a new director, according to board member Carl Balson.

After hiring a recruiter earlier this year, three candidates have been selected to be interviewed next week.

“They’re very good people,” Balson said. “Any one of the three would do us well.”

The candidates include: Tom Carson, the head of reference services at the Kenosha Public Library, Carol Foreman, the reference director at the Aurora Public Library in Colorado, and Kristi Howe, the head of youth services at the Helen Plum Memorial Library in Lombard, Ill

Related article:
Beloit Public Library Director search. (11/17/2009)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Canadian Library Has Success with Vending Machines

Link to July 25 Ottawa Citizen article, "Vending machine library hits the spot".  (Thanks to Tony Driessen for the catch.)

Excerpt:    It looks like a regular vending machine, the kind you might feed loonies and toonies in exchange for a chocolate bar or bag of chips.

But if you were looking for a quick junk-food fix from this unit, you’d be out of luck. Instead of a box of Smarties, it dispenses Stella, Queen of the Snow.

These library kiosks — there are two of them in the foyer of the Hunt Club-Riverside Community Centre — are the first of their kind in Canada. They work just like regular vending machines, except that users swipe their Ottawa library cards instead of inserting coins into the machine. And instead of buying a pack of gum, the user is borrowing a library book or DVD. The printed receipt tells the library customer when the item is due back.

At last count, almost 1,700 items have been checked out since the program began in April. One machine stocks children’s materials, while the other offers items for teens and adults in both English and French

Another reason to make sure that all staff are familiar with emergency policies and procedures

Source:  Bray Architects
Link to July 28 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel item, "Gas leak prompts evacuation in Greenfield".

Excerpt: The Greenfield Public Library has been evacuated and the city's Police Department and municipal court have been partially evacuated because of a gas leak, a Greenfield police official said.
The leak was caused by a contractor who struck a gas main between the Law Enforcement Center and the library in the 5300 block of W. Layton Ave. about 10:15 a.m., Deputy Inspector Bradley Wentlandt said in an e-mail

Wednesday at 10:15 a.m.  A likely time for a storytime to be in session.

Retiring Guy's favorite comment: Sorry bout that. It's that darn Taco Bell again!

Milwaukee Public Library Drive-up to get First Major Overhaul Since 1956

Link to July 28 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "Central Library drive-up to close for renovations".

Excerpt:    Renovations include an automated handling system for returns; improved light, insulation and window glazing - which will help with energy efficiency - plus digital signage and driveway improvements to more safely separate pedestrians and vehicles. Accessibility for the disabled to Centennial Hall, just south of the drive-up, also will be improved.

This news item sounds like an occasion for a library alert

Link to July 28 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Madison middle and high school students to get early release most Wednesdays".

Excerpt: With about five weeks left until the first day of school, the Madison School District announced Wednesday middle and high school students will get out an hour early most Wednesdays to allow more time for teachers to work together.

But some parents aren't thrilled with the change — especially so close to the start of school.

"It's just going to be really interesting to manage with very little additional time to plan for it," said Murielle Sago, who has children at Sennett Middle School and La Follette High School. "I just think it's going to take some adjusting to."

Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library projects a $7.3 million deficit by 2014

Link to July 25 Indianapolis Star article, "Too many losses on the books".

Excerpt: The fine line between luxury and necessity becomes starkly visible to anyone who arrives at his or her favorite library branch to discover -- oops -- that it now closes at 6 p.m. instead of 8, or no longer is open on Sundays.

The new recommendation from the mayor's High Performance Government Team to reduce hours and perhaps close branches on a rotating basis would, if adopted by the library board, continue an already painful austerity trend necessitated by reduced revenues in the face of growing demand

Related articles:
Library board sez no branch closings in 2011.  (7/15/2010)
Library supporters question Pacers deal. (7/15/2010)
High performance government team report.  (7/11/2010)
Library board delays decision on libraries.  (6/5/2010)
Another big turnout for libraries.  (5/13/2010)
Mayor vows to keep library branches open.  (5/12/2010)
Residents speak up for their libraries.  (5/11/2010)
The neighborhood library as refuge.  (5/2/2010)
Indianapolis Star editorial board keeps library funding issue front and center.  (4/25/2010)
Efficiency experts look for ways to keep branch libraries open.  (4/23/2010)
More than 1400 sign petition to keep Glendale branch open.  (4/20/2010)
Editorial:  Find resources for library.  (4/19/2010)
What's in store for Indianapolis-area libraries?  (4/17/2010)
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)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Not your typical library news story

Link to July 27 San Jose Mercury News AP story, "Md. man sentenced for stealing library's tarantula".

The victim.  (Actually, an everystockphoto stand-in.)

The scene of the crime.

New Intel Chip Moves 100 Hours of Digital Music in a Second

And that's not all.

Link to July 27 San Jose Mercury News article, "Revolutionary Intel chip uses light to send data".

Excerpt: In a development that could revolutionize how PCs and other tech gadgets communicate, Intel announced Tuesday that it had made the first chip that sends and receives information using beams of light.

The Santa Clara chipmaker said the fingernail-size research prototype already can move 100 hours of digital music or 45 million tweets in a second from one device to another. And the company expects to make one eventually that can transmit a laptop's hard drive in one second and the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress in less than two minutes.

Moreover, because the chips are made of the same material the company uses for its brainy microprocessors, Intel envisions mass producing these "silicon photonic links" at low cost, making them practical for use in everything from personal computers to smartphones

Trendsetting Library Cafe to Close

Link to July 26 Daily Herald article, "Warren-Newport library cafe in Gurnee shutting after 12 years".

Excerpt:   Warren-Newport Public Library in Gurnee was among the trendsetters when it set aside space for a cafe in the 1990s, but that option is going away next month.

Library officials say the latest contracted operator, K-Sweets Cafe, will close Aug. 15. The shop is just inside the library's main entrance.

Instead of a cafe with fresh coffee and food, the library will create an area with vending machines for patrons in need of snacks or beverages.

Library Director Stephen Bero said part of the problem was most of K-Sweets' clientele was high school students who typically bought lower-cost drinks and snacks. He said sales of higher priced sandwiches to older library patrons never took off

Group to Study County Library Merger

Link to July 27 Charlotte Observer article.

ExcerptThe initiative comes at the urging of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, which agreed to ease library budget cuts this year if the system would look for ways to save money.

The task force will examine such things as the scope of library services, location and size of branches, and how the system can find more sources of money.

Currently, the libraries get most of their dollars from the county, which cut about $11 million this budget year. As a result, three branches were closed, hours were sharply reduced and two departments were consolidated with the county. The system's workforce was also cut in half - from just over 600 employees in January 2009 to about 300 now.

Related articles:
Book stores help out the library.  (7/21/2010)
Libraries hope to expand hours with volunteers at 4 branches.  (7/20/2010)
Another change in hours.  (7/18/2010)
Matthews branch library sends out plea for volunteers.  (7/13/2010)
Most county commissioners cool to sales tax hike.  (7/9/2010)
New hours in effect.  (7/6/2010)
Charlotte Observer editorial board laments the passing of the Novello Festival of the Book.  (6/28/2010)
Shuttered branch could  become Friends' used book store.  (6/25/2010)
A reduced future.  (6/23/2010)
Interlocal cooperation pact.  (6/22/2010)
Three branches close.  (6/19/2010)
Town of Mint Hill perspective.  (6/18/2010)
Five towns tentatively OK $730,000 for libraries.  (6/18/2010)
Carmel, two other branches to close.  (6/16/2010)
Now that the ax has fallen.  (6/16/2010)
Commissioners to vote on budget today.  (6/15/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries:  It's complicated.  (6/9/2010)
Mayor wins straw vote at emotional council meeting.  (6/7/2010)
Editorial:  Should city 'stay in its lane' on libraries.  (6/4/2010)
County commissioners restore some cuts to libraries.  (6/4/2010)
Straw votes begin on Mecklinburg County budget.  (6/3/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries continue to look for one-time financial help.  (5/31/2010)
High school junior speaks out eloquently for libraries.  (5/30/2010)
Mayor Foxx on the art of governing.  (5/30/2010)
Mayor supports financial help for library.  (5/27/2010)
County budget:  Oh, yeah, this is fair.  (5/25/2010)
Bailout proposal not gaining traction.  (5/23/2010)
Library trustees vote to close 4 branches.  (5/20/2010)
Mecklenburg County tightens its belt.  (5/20/2010)
County manager cuts $14.7 million from library budget.  (5/18/2010)
2010-11 Mecklenburg County budget to be unveiled today.  (5/18/2010)
North Carolina woman plans on "going straight to the top" to keep Charlotte libraries open.  (5/16/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg officials ask local municipalities for $3 million contribution.  (4/30/2010Library 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)