Saturday, October 23, 2010

Winnetka to Survey Community About Library Services

Link to October 20 Chicago Tribune article, "Winnetka library survey could determine building’s future:.

Excerpt: Many of the survey’s questions are directed toward why people use – or don’t use – the Winnetka branch library. Preliminary feedback indicates that many community members prefer to peruse books at a bookstore, rather than the library.

That may play a factor in redesigning the library and how it offers its services to patrons; for instance – whether to serve coffee or not. And whether to create a space large enough to host large events, like author appearances.

The survey will also address teens’ needs, and anecdotal feedback shows that young adults would like a place to work on small group projects together with the ability to talk and snack

Link to Strategic Plan page

Des Plaines Public Library Board Looks for Alternatives to End-of-Year Closure

Link to October 20 Chicago Tribune article, "Library staff cuts alternative to closure?"

Excerpt: Faced with community pressure against a recommendation to close the Des Plaines Public Library for budget reasons, its board on Tuesday night decided to first look into cutting staff and other ways to trim expenses during November and December.

“It’s the responsibility of the board to keep the library open, not to shut it down,” said Eugene Fregetto, a new library trustee, about the recommendation by the finance committee to close for most of December.

The financial squeeze has been caused by Cook County not releasing $2.7 million in property tax payments. The library has depleted nearly all of its $1.7 million reserve fund to stay afloat and asked the city to co-sign a loan of up to $1.5 million. The loan won’t be considered by the city council until next month

Related article:
'Back to basics' sez Mayor to Library.  (10/19/2010)
A bleak December may be in store for Des Plaines Public Library users.  (10/14/2010)
Mayor grouses about library's possible need for loan.  (9/29/2010)
Mayor offers veiled threat to library board.  (10/27/2009; note comment.)

The New Glenview (Illinois) Public Library

Link to October 22 Chicago Tribune article, "Book places: Glenview Public Library".

Excerpt: The new Glenview Public Library is filled with unique spaces and nooks that beckon visitors to get comfy with a book. It is the type of place where guests can find a special spot complete with lounge chairs or desks, openness or privacy, silence or discussion.

After a decade of planning and more than a month of moving, the Glenview library has established itself in a new, eco-friendly building that seems to dwarf the old building, which is being torn down to create a parking lot. The entrance is decorated with a rotating exhibit of artwork by local artists and the first floor is marked by a giant fireplace, comfy chairs and an atmosphere that encourages talking; upstairs is where visitors will find the classic, hush-hush library experience

DVD Sales fall 16.5%, Digital Downloads Up 23%

Link to October 22 AP article in the San Jose Mercury News, "US home video revenue down; DVD sales off 16.5 pct".

Now There Appears to be Money to Keep Trenton's Branches Open

Link to October 22 article, "Book it: Trenton says four libraries to reopen".

Excerpt:   City officials said yesterday enough money has been budgeted to reopen the four shuttered branches of the Trenton Free Public Library.

The admission comes one day after the library’s director said the four branches would be vacated and turned back over to the city by Nov. 1 because the city had not confirmed its intentions to provide enough money to maintain them. Only the main branch on Academy Street has been open since September.

In an e-mail sent Tuesday to library director Kimberly Matthews, acting business administrator Andrew McCrosson said the library had been allocated $2,737,248 in the city’s fiscal year 2011 budget introduced last month.

Matthews said yesterday the plan to empty the shuttered branches of their books and equipment will not be reversed until the board hears from Mayor Tony Mack about the funding.

The city originally offered the library $2.1 million

Related articles:
Reprieve unlikely for 4 branches.  (10/22/2010)
Trenton Mayor, Library Director need unified vision & common agenda.  (9/12/2010)
Preserving Trenton's libraries.  (8/15/2010)
Board president laments closing of 4 branches.  (8/7/2010)

Target School Library Makeovers Program Bring Excitement to Philadelphia Elementary School

Link to October 23 Philadelphia Inquirer article, "Potter-Thomas students excited by their new library".

Excerpt: Potter-Thomas Elementary School students were not used to using their library.
The second-floor library space had been neglected in recent years and used for storage.

All of that changed over the last month as volunteers from throughout the region moved in to renovate the library and haul in new books and equipment.

"Every chance we get, we peek in there," eighth grader Ngozi Atwood said, describing the students' mounting excitement over the project.

The pre-K-to-eighth-grade school at 3001 N. Sixth St. in North Philadelphia was selected in the spring as one of 32 schools in 30 cities to get a new library as a part of the Target School Library Makeovers program, which helps provide new facilities and resources to schools that need them the most

Appleton Parent Challenges Use of 'The Body of Christopher Creed' in Freshman Curriculum

Link to October 23 Appleton Post-Crescent article.

Excerpt: For the first time in recent memory, a novel used in class is being challenged in the Appleton Area School District.

Appleton East High School parent Linda Hash will take her concerns regarding the age appropriateness of a novel read in freshman communication arts classes to a special school district panel Monday.

The book in question is "The Body of Christopher Creed," a novel for young adults by Claire Plum-Ucci.

Told from a teen's viewpoint, it is the story of the mysterious disappearance of a class misfit and how it affects everyone from the cool rich kids who teased and bullied him to the "boonies" (unpopular rural kids) in his small New Jersey town. It is billed as a coming-of-age story.

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book
[2001] and an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults [2001], it was also on a list of banned and challenged books in the Texas public schools in 2002-03.

One Book New Jersey 2004.

From the Appleton Area School District Policy and Procedures Manual (Series 300):

Friday, October 22, 2010

Inflation Factor Set at 3% for Expenditure Restraint Payments

Link to League of Wisconsin Municipalities October 21 Capital Buzz.

Excerpt: This effectively means that municipalities, with various adjustments, will be allowed a 3% to 5% increase in their general operations spending and still remain eligible for the program. More than 300 municipalities are eligible to qualify for payments under the program, which is currently funded at $58.1 million.

Link to Department of Revenue memo to Joint Committee on Finance.

Background info, including eligibility and payments.

Hearing Loop Technology @ the Waupaca Area Public Library

Link to October 20 Waupaca Now post, "Group helps library expand hearing loop technology".

Excerpt:   The circulation desk is the second area in the Waupaca Area Public Library to receive hearing loop technology.

The $670 cost for the hearing loop was funded by a $200 donation from the Lynwood Women's Club, with the rest of the cost covered by an anonymous donation.

A hearing loop uses induction technology to transmit sound from a public address system's microphone directly and wirelessly to the hearing aid's built in telecoil, or T-coil, receiver. The technology also reduces background noise.

Last June, a hearing loop was installed in the library's meeting rooms. It allows those who wear a hearing aid to be connected directly to the library's public address system by simply flipping a switch on their hearing aid.

Waupaca's library, as well as the Appleton Public Library, received this technology through a Library Services and Technology Act Grant.

Kenosha Chrysler Plant Closing: The End of the Car-Making Era in Wisconsin Manufacturing


Link to October 22 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "End of the line for Chrysler engine plant in Kenosha".

Excerpt: The last engine produced at the Chrysler plant in Kenosha is due to roll off the line Friday, taking with it the last remnant of big-time automaking in Wisconsin - and leaving behind many unanswered questions about the future of the once-bustling facility.

In its heyday as an American Motors Corp. plant in the 1960s, the site employed some 14,000 people. Most of the more than 500 who remain today will either retire or take jobs at other Chrysler facilities, primarily in Illinois and Michigan.

"It's really sort of the end of an era, and that's a sad thing," said U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), whose district has lost two Delphi facilities, the General Motors assembly plant in Janesville and now the Chrysler engine plant since 2008.

"We were really proud of what we produced from these communities," Ryan said. "These were multiple generations that took pride in their work producing autos for the world."

Coupled with a long-shuttered AMC plant in Milwaukee that once employed 10,000, the Kenosha automaking facilities provided family-supporting jobs and symbolized the region's manufacturing might.

"It was a huge economic presence in southeast Wisconsin for many, many years," said John Drew, regional representative for the United Auto Workers union who was employed at the Kenosha plant for 30 years.

The Spirit Is Still Alive: American Motors Corporation 1954-1987.

Chrysler factories, offices, and testing grounds, 1925-2010.

Community Library Stakeholders Agree to Postpone to Disagree

(Population 5,677)

Link to October 18 West of the I post, "Twin Lakes delays decision on library separation until December".

Excerpt: Community Library Board President Ken Mangold asked the Twin Lakes Village Board to give his board another 18 months to continue to make progress in bringing more equitable services to the village before Twin Lakes gives separating further consideration.

What Mangold got was a Dec. 1 deadline to come up with an agreement between the five member municipalities that would guarantee that tax money from Twin Lakes and Randall would come back to the branch meant to serve those municipalities.

The Village Board was considering withdrawing from the Community Library at the urging of its representatives on the board, Michael Mahoney and Sharon Bower, who also is a village trustee. The village could then form its own library

Community Library in the news:
DWD Equal Rights Division:  No discrimination on Community Library case.  (10/18/2010)
Need for more space at Twin Lakes/Randall Branch of Community Library.  (8/23/2010)
More disagreements at Community Library.  (5/25/2010)
Maggie Rivals Dewey for Attention.  (5/24/2010)
Board Member Raises Objections to Library Cat.  (5/9/2010)
New Director Hired.  (4/20/2010)
A Library Board Appointment Not According to Hoyle.  (4/13/2010)
Former Library Director Sues for Wages after Firing.  (3/16/2010)
Position Announcement:  Library Executive Director, Community Library, Salem, Wisconsin.  (2/5/2010)
Former Director of Community Library: From Demotion to Dismissal. (1/29/2010)
 Community Library Board Member Wields Machete to Address $1,000 Deficit. (12/06/2009)
New Community Library Representative to Wilmot School Board
. (11/11/2009)
Demoted director to fight for job
. (10/30/2009)
Library Board confirms interim director. (10/27/2009)
Community Library Soap Opera Continues
. (10/23/2009)
Community Library Update: "What we have here is...failure to communicate. (10/09/2009)
Community Library Board of Trustees: Riding Roughshod? (10/01/2009)
Library Board's "Positive Direction" Takes an Immediate Detour. (9/30/2009)
West county library group under fire. (1/29/2009)

Reprieve Unlikely for 4 Trenton New Jersey Library Branches

Link to October 21 post, "Four Trenton library branches to be vacated by Nov. 1".

Excerpt: Barring an 11th hour windfall, the four branches of the beleaguered Trenton Free Public Library will officially be vacated and turned over to the city Nov. 1.

The branches — Briggs, Cadwalader, East Trenton and Skelton — were closed in mid-August amid budget cuts that also led to the layoffs or demotions of 17 staff members.

And as bills mount for insurance, security and maintenance, library executive director Kimberly Matthews said the library can no longer pay for the upkeep on four empty, unused buildings.

“It is our intention to vacate those buildings on Nov. 1,” Matthews said yesterday. “We cannot afford the costs associated with maintaining those facilities.”

There were hopes the city — or private donors — could dig deep and come up with the $845,982 Matthews estimated would be needed to reopen the four branches

Related articles:
Trenton Mayor, Library Director need unified vision & common agenda.  (9/12/2010)
Preserving Trenton's libraries.  (8/15/2010)
Board president laments closing of 4 branches.  (8/7/2010)

When It Comes to their Own Messages, Governors Don't Like Filters

I'm not sure if this is the message Governor Tan Man wanted to get out to his constituents.  (985,300 views versus, for example, 28 for 'Charlie Crist addresses the Ripon Society').

Link to October 22 Appleton Post-Crescent article, "Governors send unfiltered message to public with YouTube videos".

Excerpt: A growing number of the nation's governors are joining the laughing babies and dancing cats on YouTube with videos aimed at getting their unfiltered message to constituents.

At least 38 governors have videos on the online site, including nine who have started this year, a Gannett Wisconsin Media review shows. At least nine other governors have posted videos using other services and state websites.

"It's helpful in getting the message out directly to the public," says Rachel Reeves, a spokeswoman for Kansas Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson. "Social media, in general, really helps in getting your message out directly to constituents, unfiltered, without any sort of press sort of narrowing it down to a couple of quotes he may have used."  [Irony alert]

YouTube use by governors is a bipartisan activity. Seventeen Republicans, 20 Democrats and one independent — Florida Gov. Charlie Crist — currently have videos posted there, the review shows

And if you go to Crist's audio-video gallery page, the most recent video is from May 25, 2006.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Budget Cuts = Reduced Hours at 37 Buffalo and Erie County Libraries

Link to October 21 Buffalo News article, "Library spells out impact of deep cuts in county funds.  Hours to drop sharply while use increases".

Excerpt: Erie County's proposed budget cuts will have a profound impact on its system of 37 public libraries.

At eight city branches, combined hours will drop from 332 to 205 a week. Three Amherst branches will go from 162 1/2 hours to 105 hours a week.

Hours at branches in Alden and Boston will drop by more than half -- with Lackawanna's reduced by nearly two-thirds.

This means reduced access to books, media, computers and after-school programs.

The sobering news for the embattled Buffalo & Erie County Public Library was presented Wednesday by Library Director Bridget Quinn-Carey to the Erie County Legislature. The system faces a $6.8 million shortfall next year, with the biggest gap resulting from the loss of $4 million in county property tax revenue that County Executive Chris Collins has ordered

Related articles:
Deep cuts (again) in the works.  (9/17/2010)
Editorial puts in 'a word about libraries'.  (8/30/2010)
Library could lose 25% of funding.  (8/19/2009)

Freegal Off to Slow Start at Rockford Public Library

Link to October 15 Rockford Register-Star article, "Music download program off to slow start at Rockford library".

Excerpt:   The Rockford Public Library’s new free music download program was met with limited use during the first day and a half.

By midday Wednesday, card holders had downloaded just 47 songs off Freegal, a new product the library is offering that allows up to three music downloads a week at no charge.

“Like any new service at the library, I would expect that Freegal usage will grow exponentially as our customers try it out, see how easy it is and then tell all their friends and family,” said library spokeswoman Emily Hartzog. “Over time, we’ll be able to identify trends and have a better idea about how our customers are using it.”

The library has an overall limit of 623 songs a week, which resets at the beginning of each week

And a service area population of 150,000.

Not enuf Cheap Trick?

Rockford Public Library: Branch Closures Off the Table

Link to October 20 Rockford Register-Star article, "Rockford Public Library plan no longer includes branch closures".

Excerpt Plans to potentially shutter two Rockford Public Library branches are off the table as library officials reconsider how to best stretch limited dollars to serve customers in the coming years.

The city’s library board hopes to soon approve a strategic plan to guide its decisions through 2015. The 22-page plan has been trimmed to nine pages, with many of the key initiatives taken out, since a draft of the plan was introduced last month.

No longer is the library suggesting the closure of the Rock River branch, branch closures or ideas of becoming a library district. Gone are talks of video games and moving to a bar code-based or RFID system.

The draft has been trimmed down from 22 pages to nine pages, the number of detailed goals has gone from 19 to 10 and a target date of 2012 has been replaced with 2015

Related articles:

Documents of Founding Fathers to be Available Online in 2012

Link to October 20 AP story in the Raleigh News and Observer, "Founding Fathers' papers to be available online".

Excerpt: History buffs will soon be able to explore the private thoughts and official writings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers in a public, online clearinghouse of their letters, journals and other documents.

The University of Virginia Press is putting the published papers of Washington, Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin on a National Archives website that is expected to be accessible to the public in 2012.

When complete, the website will allow users to read, browse and search the text of tens of thousands of documents from the period

Link to The National Archives news release.

Netflix Adds 1,900,000 New Subscribers in 3rd Quarter

Link to October 20 AP story in the Raleigh News and Observer, "Netflix customer growth eclipses 3Q earnings miss".

Excerpt: The explosive growth has coincided with Netflix's efforts to expand an Internet video streaming library that initially was designed to supplement the DVD-by-mail service that it launched in 1999.

With high-speed online access now becoming a household staple and an array of gadgets making it easier to connect high-definition TVs to the Web, Netflix is about to reach a tipping point in its evolution as Internet streaming goes mainstream

Greensboro City Council: "A Community Standard of a Sense of Decency" @ Their Library

Link to October 20 Greensboro News and Record article, "Library to block porn on kids' computers".

Excerpt: Library computers will soon have a new layer of Internet protection for children.

City Council members voted 8-1 Tuesday night to add pornography-blocking software to computers used by children and the library's wireless Internet. Councilwoman Trudy Wade voted “no.”

Internet access for adults — excluding wireless — will continue to be affected by the current technology, which slows pornographic images or videos from loading on computers.

Council members did not discuss costs Tuesday night, but the city staff estimated that the technology could cost between $8,000 and $10,000.

The issue of porn on library computers was raised by Councilman Danny Thompson earlier this summer, when he asked his colleagues to use blocking software. But it was Councilman Zack Matheny who offered a compromise on the issue

An issue not delegated by the city council to the library board as one of the latter group's powers and duties.

Link to Chapter 153 of North Carolina State Statutes.

According to North Carolina library law, [t]he governing body of a county or city may appoint a library board of trustees.  [Emphasis added.]  In other words, the law is 'permissive', i.e. optional, and board members serve in an advisory capacity.

Wisconsin state law, on the other hand, requires the formation of library boards.

43.54 Municipal library board composition. (1) (a)   Each public library established under s. 43.52 shall be administered by a library board composed in each city of the 2nd or 3rd class or school district of 9 members, in each city of the 4th class of 7 members and in each village, town, tribal government or tribal association of 5 members.  [Emphasis added.]


Link to bylaws of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board of Trustees.  Note the wording of Article III, Sections 4 & 5.

In Wisconsin, for example, instead of receiving and disbursing, [t]he library board shall have exclusive control of the expenditure of all moneys collected, donated or appropriated for the library fund, and of the purchase of a site and the erection of the library building whenever authorized.  (Emphasis added.]

Related articles.
These statistics are unlikely to appear on the library's annual report.  (9/26/2010)
Library computer users viewing porn anger parents. (11/15/2009)
Editorial:  Libraries versus porn.  (11/19/2010)
A man with a mission to root out porn.  (4/18/2010)
Libraries may get filters for websites.  (8/3/2010)
Editorial:  No easy way to filter library computers. (8/5/2010)
Letter to the editor:  Do city council members have their library cards?  (8/11/2010)
Library trustees pick less restrictive Internet filter.  (8/17/2010)
Council won't filter library computers.  (8/18/2010)
Editorial:  The library, unfiltered.  (8/21/2010)

Charlotte Mecklenburg's Future of the Library Task Force

Link to October 21 Charlotte Observer article, "Task force will study similar libraries".

Excerpt: Members of a task force looking at the future of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library say they want to get a better handle on how the local system compares to those in similar communities, and how other libraries have responded to budget cuts.

The panel hopes to use the information in shaping recommendations on how the local libraries should operate - including identifying other funding sources for the system.

The 17-member task force was created after deep cuts in county money to the library system, which led to layoffs, reduced hours and services and the permanent closure of three branches. The library has seen its county funding - its largest funding source - drop by just over $15 million since 2008-09.

The cuts have led many to say the library needs to look at different ways of providing services

Related articles:
Volunteers to the rescue.  (10/17/2010)
Charlotte Observer to Harry Jones:  Check your ego at the door.  (9/21/2010)
County manager regrets hitting the 'send' key. (9/18/2010)
Library steering committee veers into off-road territory.  (9/15/2010)
Bank of America and Carolina Panthers kick off library fundraising campaign. (9/14/2010)
Another branch extends hours thanks to volunteer support.  (9/12/2010)
Volunteers step up.  (9/10/2010)
2 branch libraries to open one more day per week.  (9/5/2010)
Library urban legend in the making?  (9/4/2010)
Library launches pilot program to expand hours with volunteers.  (8/31/2010)
Group to study county library merger.  (7/28/2010)
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)

Hoboken Public Library Celebrates Its 120th Anniversary

Link to October 20 The Jersey Journal article, "One of NJ's oldest libraries celebrates 120 years in Hoboken, fights for a place in the Digital Age".

Excerpt: On Oct. 2, 1890, the Hoboken Public Library opened its doors to the public for the first time. Well, it's cellar doors, anyway, as the first location was the basement of the National Bank on Second Street.

120 years later, over 40 people gathered in the library's permanent location on Park Ave. last night for a crash course in the library's history and even getting a chance to meet its first female librarian Nina Hatfield played by local thespian Florence Pape.

For instance, did you know the library is the third oldest libraries in the state founded under the General Library Act of 1894, behind Newark and Paterson? Or that the Stevens family, founders of Stevens Institute of Technology, donated the land the library has rested on since 1897?

"It's really connected to the history of Hoboken, to the Stevens family...," said Library Director Lina Podles. "There's a lot of history that we should be proud of.

Beloit: Drop in Property Valuation Leads to (Proposed) Hike in Tax Rate

Proposed 3% increase for the library.

Link to October 16 Beloit Daily News article, "Beloit budget hearing slated".

Excerpt: The Beloit City Council will hold a public hearing on Monday for the proposed 2011 budget.

City Manager Larry Arft introduced the budget to the council two weeks ago when he called for a property tax rate increase of more than $1 per $1,000 assessed valuation — a boost exceeding 12 percent.

The rate hike will increase the levy — the amount raised through property taxes to fund the city’s portion of property taxes — by $568,585, or 4.49 percent.

That variance — a relatively large tax rate increase to raise a more modest levy increase — occurs because the city’s overall property valuation has dropped 7.4 percent from $1.684 billion to $1.558 billion.

The proposed 2011 tax rate is $9.987 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of $1.09 or 12 percent from 2010’s rate of $8.895

Link to 2011 proposed budget.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MIT Economist on the Polarization of the Workforce

Here how one company promotes its product line.

Link to October 13 GOOD article, "Automation Insurance: Robots Are Replacing Middle Class Jobs".

Excerpt: In his report, Autor says that a leading explanation for the disappearance of the middle class is “ongoing automation and off-shoring of middle-skilled ‘routine’ tasks that were formerly performed primarily by workers with moderate education (a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree).” Routine tasks, he explains, are ones that “can be carried out successfully by either a computer executing a program or, alternatively, by a comparatively less-educated worker in a developing country.”

The culprit, in other words, is technology. The hard truth—and you don’t see it addressed in news reports—is that the middle class is disappearing in large part because technology is rendering middle-class skills obsolete

For some odd reason, Metropolis springs to mind.

Vintage Book Covers on T-shirts

Found at boingboing.
Lots more found here.

And I'd Be Remiss If I Didn't Promote This Middleton Public Library Friends Event

Library Friends' Idea Worth Stealing: Appleton Public Library's Book 'n' Bowl

Love the 'Ren & Stimpy' background.
(Time to update the newsletter.)

Link to October 19 Charlotte Observer article, "It's sad to see books go, but surviving libraries will benefit".

Excerpt: Some of the fallout from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's decision to close three of its branches will be laid out for all to see - and buy - beginning Thursday at Quail Corners Shopping Center.

Fifteen thousand books will be up for sale in a vacated Blockbuster store as part of the Friends of the Library's biggest-ever fundraiser.

That's enough books to fill 2 1/2 18-wheelers.

The nonprofit group's goal is to raise at least $30,000 to help supplement the public library's book-buying budget, which was slashed 46 percent.

Most of the books are from the Carmel, CheckIt Outlet and Belmont Center branches, which were closed after a budget crisis forced the county to cut library support by $10 million

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

As Paul Saffo says, "Just because a new medium arrives doesn't mean an old medium dies out. "

Though it may certainly go into decline.

2010 figures are through August

Adult hardcover sales are up 5.2% so far in 2010

Hard to ignore that trendline, however.

Link to CNN article, "Will physical books be gone in 5 years?"

Excerpt:   As e-book readers and tablet computers become more common, one prominent tech mogul says that physical books could disappear sooner than expected.

In an interview with CNN's Howard Kurtz on "Reliable Sources," author Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop per Child, said the physical book's days are numbered.

"It will be in five years," said Negroponte. "The physical medium cannot be distributed to enough people. When you go to Africa, half a million people want books ... you can't send the physical thing."

Negroponte emphasized the efficiency of being able to put hundreds of books on the laptops his organization sends to villages. "We put 100 books on a laptop, but we also send 100 laptops. That village now has 10,000 books," he said.

When it comes to making e-books standard, Negroponte thinks that developing countries may actually be faster than developed countries.

"That's what cell phones did," Negroponte said. "Cell phones were more popular in Cambodia and Uganda because they didn't have phones. We had phones in this country, and we were very late to the table. They're going to adopt e-books much faster than we do

Interesting personal perspective on Negroponte's Uganda/cell phone reference.

Anonymous Donation Gives Big Boost to Billings Montana Library Fundraising Campaign

Link to October 18 Billings Gazette article, "$2 million pledged by anonymous donor for new library".

Excerpt: The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous for now, offered the gift to spur a communitywide fundraising campaign, Modrow said in a press release. She said the $2 million donation would be the largest single gift to a city of Billings project.

The donor’s focus is the building, the release said, hoping that the gift will enable the city of Billings and residents throughout Yellowstone County to have a new library that is architecturally appealing. The donor is not interested in the design or layout of the interior.

Modrow said the donation shows that the foundation is on target to raise $5 million in private funds for a new library building.

The downtown library facility committee, which was appointed to advise the Billings Library Board and City Council on the best location for a downtown library, met over recent months to help chart the future of the Parmly Billings Library

"Back to Basics" Sez Des Plaines Mayor to Library

Link to October 15 Chicago Sun-Times article, "Stick to lending books, suburb mayor tells library".  (Thanks to Jason Skoog)

Excerpt:  If the Des Plaines Public Library wants the $600,000 loan that its staff says it needs to avoid a temporary shutdown, the facility should focus on what libraries do best: lending books, the city's mayor said Thursday.

"They have to come in front of the city council and justify why they want this loan . . . [and] justify to the city council that they are making the necessary cuts so they won't have to come to us for loans in the future," Mayor Marty Moylan said.

He said the library needs to return to its core mission of making "basic reading material available." Moylan said he has heard comments in the community that the library shouldn't, for example, be in the business of loaning out CDs and movies for free

Related article:
A bleak December may be in store for Des Plaines Public Library users.  (10/14/2010)
Mayor grouses about library's possible need for loan.  (9/29/2010)
Mayor offers veiled threat to library board.  (10/27/2009; note comment.)