Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pierpont Morgan's 1906 Library Restoration

Public Libraries and Internet Access

Link to October 21 The Economist article, "The librarian's tale. Too much demand for too few terminals".

Excerpt: Almost all of America’s public libraries provide free internet access. Over the past two years, hard-hit Americans have been economising by cancelling their broadband contracts at home and looking to public libraries to fill the gap. At the same time, companies and government agencies are saving money by moving job applications and services online; so a rush of new visitors is arriving at libraries just as the local governments that fund them run out of money.

This year three-quarters of America’s public libraries have told the American Library Association that public use of the internet increased at their branches, and roughly the same number said that they didn’t have enough computers to meet demand. A majority of American states have cut funding to their libraries during the year.

The weak economy is forcing libraries to redefine their role


Perversely, computers are often more expensive for public libraries than for individuals, and harder to buy. In Albuquerque, any city purchase over $500 requires approval by a technical review committee. A single library desktop, with all of the officially necessary licences and security and session-management programmes, costs the city a whopping $1,800.

Des Plaines Public Library to Remain Open with Limited Hours, Minimum Staffing

To get through the year without Cook County funding payment.

Link to October 28 Daily Herald article, "Des Plaines Public Library won't go dark in December after all".

Excerpt: However, the library board this week approved an alternate plan to keep the library open with minimum staffing and limited hours.

Under the proposal, library hours will be reduced from 72 hours to 52 hours a week, and staffing would be cut from the current 100 employees to 32 employees for the month.

Patrons will continue to have access to basic library services during those hours, Director Holly Sorensen said.

“So that would allow us to stay open with essential services and we would be able to pay everybody,” Sorensen said. “We hope it doesn’t come to that though. It’s still a better option (than closing)

Related articles:
'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.)

An Old-Fashioned Travel Book as "the Most Versatile Form of Technology Available"

Link to Lonely Planet

Link to October 28 New York Times article, "Mobile Travel Guides Can Help but Trust Books".

As with so many smartphone apps, it is tempting to look at the current spate of mobile travel guides and proclaim the end of their paper counterparts as we know them.

But to borrow a phrase often delivered to impatient travelers, we’re not there yet

'Be careful what you wish for' opines the Herald Times Reporter Editorial Board

Link to editorial in the October 28 (Manitowoc) Herald Times Reporter.

Excerpt: A new poll suggests that nearly half of American voters would rather be represented in Congress by someone with absolutely no political experience than by someone who's been in office for more than 10 years.

This finding from a survey of 1,000 registered voters by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal shows how far the "throw the bums out" spirit of the "tea party" movement has rippled through the electorate. It's an understandable sentiment, given how little progress Washington has made in lowering unemployment or spurring economic growth.

But what's happened in California over the past decade* should serve as a cautionary tale to voters who consider inexperience a prerequisite for the difficult tasks facing lawmakers. It turns out that amateurs can be at least as inept at fixing structural failures in government as the veterans they replaced.

That doesn't mean we should reflexively vote for incumbents; instead, it's a reason to question whether incumbency is the real problem

*Political amateur hour in CaliforniaImagine: At a time when California is lurching from crisis to crisis, a legislator has an idea to make life better. He puts together a bill, gathers support and shepherds it into law.

If only Sacramento worked like that. Instead, it often works like this:

A lobbyist has an idea to make life better — but only for his client. The lobbyist writes the bill, shops for a willing lawmaker to introduce it and lines up the support. The legislator? He has to do little more than show up and vote.

Other polls to ponder.
Growing Number of Americans Say Obama is a Muslim.  (24%; Pew Research)
Scientific consensus on evolution not shared by public.  (Pew Research)

Senior Citizens Picket Delray Beach Public Library

Link to October 29 Palm Beach Post article, "Delray Beach library cancels senior group over rowdiness".

Excerpt: Some parked their walkers in a corner. Others held bright yellow signs outside while others piled hurriedly into an auditorium. The 60 senior citizens who showed up Tuesday at Delray Beach Public Library all had one thing in common: They were angry.

The source of their ire was the library's decision to cancel the Current Events discussion group that has been meeting weekly for the past 10 years. Group members said the library made a unilateral decision to cancel the group after a complaint about a discussion turned heated.

"It was so undemocratic," said Loise Cammorata, 72, who held a yellow sign outside the library. "They never got the other side of the story."

Picketers wanted library officials to hear their side of the story and to restore the program that services hundreds of seniors during season.

For their part, library officials say the program has a long history of unruly behavior. Participants have been told to shut up for their opposing points of view, there's been name calling and once there was a fist fight in the parking lot

Still on the calendar for November.

Friday, October 29, 2010

British Library to Create "a Snapshot of English in the Early 21st Century"

Link to October 29 AP article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Watching their language".

Excerpt:    If you say tomato, and I say tomahto, the British Library wants to know.

The research institution is inviting people to have their voices recorded as part of a project to chart the way pronunciation and accents in English are changing.

The library wants visitors to read aloud a passage from a children's book, Mr. Tickle, so linguists can compare the way people make vowel sounds, learn how they deal with words ending in -ing, and hear whether they pronounce garage to rhyme with marriage or mirage.

Roger Walshe, the library's head of learning, said Thursday that the result would be "a snapshot of English in the early 21st century."

Visitors to the Evolving English exhibition, which opens Nov. 12, can record themselves in sound booths, and others can submit audio clips on the library's website, Results will be preserved for future researchers in the library's sound archive

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fayetteville Public Library's Bankruptcy Policy

(Like the appearance of the Mayor!)

Link to article, "Fayetteville Public Library Board Puts Bankruptcy Policy in Place".

Excerpt: Over the past three years, library fees have been listed in nearly 60 bankruptcy filings by library patrons.

"This issue has come up, and so we're trying to be proactive with this as something we'll deal with in our economic times," said Communications Manager for the Fayetteville Public Library Sarah Terry.

Now, there's a policy in place for patrons who can't afford their library fees and haven't returned their rentals.

"These belong to the community and so it's important that we get as many of these items back as possible," Terry explained.

Some of those fees have tallied more than $1,200.

"How long would you have to have a book for it to get to that point? I'm thinking like years," Bashlor said.

"I never have a library fee that was more than I could find in my couch cushions. So, that's kind of surprising to me," said another patron Reid Johnson.

"For a large amount for fines like that, there needs to be a stop point before they could get that large," said former librarian Devis Fruchtl


Under the new policy, patrons who file bankruptcy and list the library as a creditor will not lose their library privileges. But for the following year, their check out rights will be limited. After that year, the restriction will be removed, if the patron remains in good standing.

Nothing in the "Fines and Charges" policy about loss of borrowing privileges if the amount owed reaches a certain level, although the NWA articles mentions a $10 threshold.  Retiring Guy wants to know.... how does someone reach the stratospheric level of $1,200?

Dunkirk (Indiana) Public Library policy.

Myron and Win Are Back in Action on March 22, 2011

Already 2 copies on order in LINKcat.
14 -- make that 15 -- holds.

For the uninitiated:
Harlan Coben's fictional alter ego, Myron Bolitar, gets the adventure — but Coben got the girl.

Bobby's Books for Boys Book Group @ the Kansas City Public Library

Retiring Guy follows the Kansas City Public Library on Twitter.

Link to October 27 Wednesday Sun article, "Librarian begins book club to encourage boys to read".

Excerpt: The newest book club selections in the Kansas City Public Library are for boys only.

Bobby Gordon, children’s associate librarian, started “Bobby’s Books for Boys Book Group” on Oct. 20 at the Plaza Library, 4801 Main St., to encourage young men to read.

Gordon said he wanted to create the group for quite a while.

Many times, when boys come to the library, they play on the computers. Gordon hopes to help them gravitate toward books instead.

“They just get on the computers, although I do have some readers,” Gordon said. “… I thought let’s see how many I could get together and that’s what we’re doing

Related article:
Getting boys excited about reading.  (4/10/2009)

Break Time!

Life Imitating 'Art' Has Its Consequences

I confess; I was unfamiliar with the term 'drifting'. Here are some examples. Can't imagine most of you will want to view the entire video.

Link to October 28 Philadelphia Inquirer article, "‘Drifting’ kills woman, 81; boy charged".

Excerpt: The boy lost control of his 2000 Volkswagen Passat, which struck Zita Egitto. Egitto, 81, was walking on the sidewalk on Reed Street on her way to meet a friend, Ferman said.

The car struck Egitto was such force that she was catapulted onto the porch of a home. She died of multiple injuries Oct. 15 at Abington Memorial Hospital, said First Asst. District Attorney Kevin R. Steele

Ferman described Egitto as "a picture of wonderful health" who volunteered at the public library and stayed active well into her latter years.

"This woman was simply walking down the street and was run over by a car that lost control," Ferman said

Hen House Tour in Belmont Massachusetts Supports New Library

What a 'funky' idea.
LINK to library website

Link to October 28 Boston Globe article, "Chicken coop tour?. Trek offers a peep into the world of backyard poultry farming".

Excerpt: As freshly laid eggs grow increasingly popular among suburbanites, a fund-raiser in Belmont this Saturday for a new town library provides a chance to see how eight homeowners have incorporated henhouses into their backyard decor.

Belmont has 18 licensed coops around town, said John Maguranis, Belmont’s animal control officer and chicken coop inspector.

“It’s a craze,’’ said Nancy Murphy, the owner of five chickens whose coop is a stop on the tour. “Seems like people who don’t have cats or dogs have chickens.’’

Linda Atkinson, a member of the Belmont Library Foundation and the organizer of the henhouse tour, got her chickens about 3 1/2 years ago. She was inspired to create the tour, during which owners will stand by to answer questions, by all the curiosity about her own chickens

Related article.
Branch library to reopen with use of volunteers, private funds.  (10/7/2010)

Can't vouch for the directions.

'One Card' Program for Boston Public School Students

Can't find any details here.

Link to October 28 Boston Globe article, "New student card: Big benefit or Big Brother?"

Excerpt: City officials plan to launch a pilot program today to make it easier for some public school students to use city services by providing them with one card they can use to ride the MBTA, withdraw books from city libraries, play sports, attend after-school programs at community centers, and access meal programs at their schools.  [Emphasis added.  Just books?]

The so-called BostONEcard will also be used to take attendance and may eventually serve as a debit card, among other potential uses.

“We’re working hard to focus the assets of the whole city on the development of the whole child,’’ Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement. “This card will help make the assets of our city more accessible and remind each student every day that there are community centers and libraries for them to explore.’’

This program is starting at the Josiah Quincy Upper School in Chinatown, where all 530 students in grades 6 through 12 are being provided a card, which has multiple barcodes, a radio frequency device to use on the T, and their photos.

Federal Judge Blocks Massachusetts' Hastily Written Internet Obscenity Law

Link to October 28 Boston Globe article, "Internet predator statute blocked. Federal judge says state’s new obscenity law is too broad".

Excerpt: After lawmakers hastily passed new language, a coalition of booksellers and website publishers sued, arguing that the new law would hold criminally liable anyone who operates a website with nudity or sexual material, potentially including a vast range of subjects, from art to health information on pregnancy. They said the law failed to distinguish between open websites and obscene material sent knowingly to a child.

In granting a preliminary injunction against the law yesterday, US District Judge Rya W. Zobel said the plaintiffs demonstrated “without question’’ that the law violated the First Amendment by inhibiting free speech, which civil rights advocates called a clear victory

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reimagining the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

Related articles:
Budget cuts = reduced hours.  (10/21/2010)
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)

Did Whitefish Montana Cut Off Its Nose to Spite Its Face?

Link to October 21 Daily Inter Lake article, "Whitefish to leave county library".

Excerpt:  Whitefish will have its own independent library, the Whitefish City Council decided Monday.

The council voted 5-0 to give notice to the Flathead County Library board of trustees of the city’s intent to terminate its interlocal agreement with the county on July 1, 2011, and establish a separate tax-supported city library.

The decision was based on a final opinion from Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock that says Whitefish can legally create its own city library and may collect revenue from the 5.95 mill levy the county currently collects for its valleywide library system. That means Whitefish city residents will be exempted from the county levy for library services, but will be taxed the same amount by the city of Whitefish.

The tax levy from Whitefish residents generates about $120,000 a year, but the total amount spent annually to operate the Whitefish branch is much higher than that, Flathead Library Director Kim Crowley said. Total compensation for the Whitefish library staff alone is $114,000, she added

Related article:
Feudin', fussin', and a-fightin'.  (9/28/2009)

Houston Public e-Libraries

Of special interest to those who love both libraries AND architecture.

Link to October 21 Houston Chronicle article, "The Frank e-library is crucial to community".

Excerpt:   I'd driven in search of the Frank Library because "Public/Service," a new exhibit at ArCH, the gallery at the Architecture Center Houston, intrigued me. Its judges had picked a handful of the Houston area's best new civic projects - generally, projects that gave new life to old institutions, and sometimes, to old buildings. I already knew and liked most of them (Miller Outdoor Theater, the Clayton Library, the Julia Ideson Building, New Hope Housing). But I'd never even heard of the Frank Library.

And I was especially curious about it. I love books, but I'm also fascinated by Kindles and iPads, and I've been wondering: As the Internet nibbles away at the printed word, what will libraries become?

As it turns out, the Houston Public Library was way ahead of me. Eight years ago, it hired m Architects to draw up an e-library prototype: an "Express" branch that would emphasize public computers more than books. Unlike bigger, traditional, built-from-scratch libraries, an e-library would be popped into an existing building: a strip mall, maybe, or an airport. Reusing a building like that is far better for the planet than building one from scratch. And - maybe more relevant to the cash-strapped library system - it would also be cheaper than building and operating the traditional kind.

Since then, Houston Public Library has built four e-libraries. It's inserted two express branches into city buildings (the South Post Oak Multi-Service Center, and the Southwest Multi-Service Center). And it wedged a teeny-tiny version into one of the buildings at Discovery Green.

But the most interesting of the four is the Frank Library: a public place in a private office building, a new idea in an old mid-rise, a library where books are not the main point

Trenton Library Officials Still Haven't Seen the Money

Link to October 26 article "Trenton library officials still skeptical of mayor’s funding offer".

Excerpt: The director and board of the city’s public library system do not trust that Mayor Tony Mack will provide the full amount they say it will cost to reopen four shuttered branch libraries, according to e-mail correspondence the director provided last night.

A $1 million cut — to $2.1 million a year — in the city’s contribution to the independent library system led director Kimberly Matthews and the board to close the branches in mid-August, leaving only the main downtown branch in operation.

Mack asked the board to reopen the branches for four hours a day, five days a week, which Matthews calculated would cost $845,000 a year. The administration said it would provide sufficient funding, but Matthews and the board have so far refused to authorize the reopenings, saying they need written confirmation from Mack that he will provide that exact amount.

The power struggle continued at last night’s council meeting. Matthews gave council members copies of e-mails she exchanged with acting business administrator Andrew McCrosson in mid-September in which she repeatedly asked for confirmation of the $845,000 figure, and he repeatedly declined to give it

Trenton Mayor Tony Mack called out by councilman at heated meeting. (The Trentonian, 10/27/2010)

Previously noted in RGD:
Library officials to mayor:  "Show us the money".  10/26/2010)
Now there appears to be money to keep Trenton's branches open.  (10/23/2010)
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)

The Visitability Movement

Link to October 25 column by Daniel Rubin in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Access is her lifelong cause.

'Her' being, Eleanor Smith, the grandmother of the visitability movement.

Excerpt:   Her goal is to get builders to start thinking about those who have trouble walking on their own. Odds are we'll all be there one day.

At age 3, Smith contracted polio. In the 1940s, Eureka, Ill., had no curb cuts, so the library and the grocery store were not open to her. In her first apartment, the door to the bathroom was so narrow that to get to the toilet she had to crawl.

She taught college-level literature and English as a second language and was working as a social worker in the mid-1970s when she heard an architect say: "Disability is not caused by the physical condition; disability is caused by the built environment."

Those words changed her world.

"I realized that people actually make decisions that let me get into one building and not another," she said. "It's kind of obvious. But it wasn't to me then. I thought, 'If what he says is true, it's horrible and has to be changed.' "

She started reading magazines such as the Disability Rag, an unapologetic advocate for basic rights, and found her voice. "Most disabled people I knew weren't angry," she says. "They were just coping."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Camarillo Sez Goodbye to Ventura County, Hello to Library Systems

Link to October 25 Los Angeles Times article, "Private company to take over Camarillo's public library".

Excerpt: In Camarillo, city officials cast themselves as victims of their own success. Their showplace library drew more patrons than the smaller one it replaced in 2007 but, as a result, the fees they paid to be part of the county's system increased. Unable to negotiate lower rates, Camarillo turned to the private company, which promised savings of about $700,000.

"We wanted better budget and operational control, a better say over what we were purchasing for the collections," said Bruce Feng, Camarillo's city manager. "And the savings can only help everyone."

Santa Clarita officials, too, felt they were giving a lot more to their county system than the county was delivering in library services. It was especially unfair, said assistant city manager Ken Striplin, because Santa Clarita residents pay a special library tax.

The switch will save the city $1.2 million, Striplin said, "the vast majority" of it from no longer having to contribute to library workers' county pensions.

Stevens, of the American Library Assn., was skeptical. "It's a great sales job," she said, "and cities are falling for it.

Uh...not that many yet.

Library Services customer base:  15 administrative units and 67 locations.

U.S. public libraries:  9,221 administrative unites and 16,671 locations.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries and Parks: Survey Says...

...63% of respondents to the annual Carolinas Poll, conducted for The Observer, WCNC-TV and WFAE public radio, say they don't like 'em.

(Red highlights are mine)

Link to October 26 Charlotte Observer article.

Excerpt: The county's park and recreation department and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library faced steep cuts this year as the county trimmed some $71 million in the 2010-11 budget.

The parks department lost $14.18 million for the budget year that started July 1, while the libraries saw about $10 million in county cuts. The city and some towns gave money to support the libraries this year.

The reductions forced both agencies to lay off staff, close some facilities and make deep cuts to many services.

Libraries and parks took a proportionally larger hit than most other county departments and agencies because they aren't mandatory services like some health and social service programs

Related articles:
Future of the library task force.  (10/21/2010)
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)

Trenton Library Officials to Mayor: "Show us the money"

Link to October 25 article, "Mack finds Trenton library’s demand for written funding promise ‘tiresome’."

Excerpt:   The city’s mayor and library officials butted heads yesterday over when, and if, the Trenton Free Public Library’s four branches would be reopened.

Criticizing what he called “tiresome back and forth conversations,” Mayor Tony Mack took a swipe at city library officials yesterday for failing to reopen the libraries after he said members of his administration confirmed the city’s ability to fund a partial reopening of the four branches.

“It is unacceptable and inconceivable that our administration engaged in tiresome back and forth conversations with Library officials which have yet to amount to keeping our libraries open,” Mack said in a news release yesterday.

“We adjusted our allocation per their request; we cannot continue to jeopardize our children or their future,” he continued.

Mack also called for the creation of a community-based library task force “who will identify best practices for operating and maintaining our libraries and day to day operations,” a move the board supported in a letter written to Mack weeks ago

Related articles:
Now there appears to be money to keep Trenton's branches open.  (10/23/2010)
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)

Boston Residents Fight to Keep 4 Neighborhood Branches Open

Link to October 26 Boston Globe article, "Rhetoric softens to keep library branches open".

Excerpt:   Boston Public Library president Amy E. Ryan expressed a renewed openness yesterday to keep doors open at four neighborhood branches scheduled to close at the end of March. But any reprieve would require a fresh infusion of cash.

An additional $372,000 would keep the four buildings open through the fiscal year, which ends June 30, according to library officials. That brief stay would push talks about any closures into next year’s budget, acting like a reset button for a controversy smoldering for months.

“If more funding is available for the branches, I’m in favor of keeping all the branches open,’’ Ryan said yesterday in an interview. “I would make that recommendation to the library Board of Trustees, who I believe would support this option.’’

The subtle but significant shift in tone from the library, which had been resolved to shutter the branches to stabilize the system, buoyed the spirits of residents fighting to save the branches. It also increased pressure on Boston’s delegation at the State House to find the money

Related articles:
Editorial takes library officials to task.  (9/11/2010)
BPL on the ropes.  (7/1/2010)
Four library branch closings delayed.  (6/22/2010)
Boston Magazine profiles Amy Ryan, Public Library President.  (6/5/2010)
State funding at risk.  (4/29/2010)
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)

$500,000 Gift Boosts Prairie du Sac's Library Fundraising Effort

($150,000 away from $1,400,000 goal)

Link to October 20 Sauk Prairie Eagle article, "Bequeathed gift 'awes' many".

Excerpt: Prairie du Sac library director Jennifer Endres said this summer when the library found out how much money it would receive from the Schrieber estate, it galvanized the fundraising efforts for the new Ruth Culver Community Library in downtown Prairie du Sac where the public library will be relocating.

"It was amazing because people we talked to about the project could see there was already support for the library," Endres said. "It let people know we could reach our goal. It's just been amazing."

The adult collection of the new library will be dedicated in the memory of Ann Schrieber and her husband William Schreiber, and the library will continue fundraising until the end of this year in hopes that it will raise enough money to do extensive renovations of the former Culver's building on Water Street where it will move in 2012.

So far, the library has raised $1.25 million, which included Ann Schrieber's donation

Related articles:
Building committee votes to extend fundraising effort for new Prairie du Sac library.  (8/23/2010)
The Ruth Culver Memorial Library.  (6/4/2009)
Culver's donates facility for new Prairie du Sac Library.  (5/22/2009)

Appleton Area School District Materials Review Committee Supports Use of Book in Curriculum

Link to October 26 Appleton Post-Crescent article, "Appleton school panel rejects parent's plea to ban novel, 'The Body of Christopher Creed'."

Excerpt: The advisory panel, which includes educators, students and community members, thought differently.

After listening to Hash and other presenters, and working through a checklist to determine whether the book fits the goals and objectives of the freshman curriculum, the panel recommended unanimously to School Supt. Lee Allinger that the book remain where it is.

Allinger, who attended Monday's session, said he will review the recommendation and let Hash know his decision soon.

Hash, who met with Allinger afterward, said she has not made up her mind whether to appeal because she isn't sure how "fruitful" that would be.

"It's one thing to satisfy the curriculum. It's another thing to think about how we want to satisfy the curriculum and that's one thing they didn't address. Is this the way we want to fulfill the curriculum? I don't think so."

Appleton East High School communication arts teacher Eric Ward, who has used the novel in class this year and last, provided the panel with a detailed account of how he connects the book and its real-life situations with the curriculum around the freshman theme emphasizing relationships and raising self-awareness through literature

Related article:
Parent challenges uses of 'The Body of Christopher Creed' in freshman curriculum.  (10/23/2010)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Actually, Conor, It's Librarians Doing Their Damndest to Provide Library Services to Where They Are Needed

Link to October 25 Wall Street Journal article, "New Library Technologies Dispense With Librarians".  (Thanks to Tony Driessen for the catch.)

Well, first of all, these lockers wouldn't exist without remote access to a shared public-access library catalog, such as the 41-member LINKcat consortium.   Not to mention a physical collection that needs to be 'developed'.  Can we please get over this either-or-stuff?  Paging Paul Saffo.

(Red arrow notes Hugo's location)
Dear Wall Street Journal, we call it 'outreach'.

Excerpt: Some library directors worry that such machines are the first step toward a future in which the physical library—along with its reference staffs and children's programs—fades from existence. James Lund, director of the Red Wing Public Library in Red Wing, Minn., recently wrote skeptically about the "vending library" in Library Journal, a trade publication.

"The basis of the vending machine is to reduce the library to a public-book locker," Mr. Lund said in an interview. "Our real mission is public education and public education can't be done from a vending machine. It takes educators, it takes people, it takes interaction."

Public libraries are an American creation. The first was introduced by Benjamin Franklin, who created a co-operative library funded by people who used it. The first tax-supported library was founded in Peterborough, N.H., in 1833, according to Larry Nix, a retired librarian and library historian. Today there are about 16,700 public library buildings in the country

Newspaper Circulation Continues to Drop

Source:  Statistical Abstract of the United States

Link to October 25 New York Times "Media Decoder" blogpost.

Excerpt: Figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations showed that overall weekday circulation at 635 newspapers declined 5 percent from circulation in the same six months last year. The decline last year was at more than twice that rate.

Sunday circulation fell at a slightly slower pace of 4.5 percent, the latest figures showed.

The newspaper reporting the highest weekday circulation was The Wall Street Journal at just over 2 million, though that number includes 450,000 electronic subscriptions. The number of individually paid printed copies the journal distributes each weekday averaged 1.4 million

Additional historical circulation figures/U.S. population
1990:  62,300,000 / 248,710,000
1985:  62,800,000 / 237,924,000
1980:  62,200,000 / 226,456,000
1975:  60,700,000 /
1970:  62,100,000 / 203,302,000

Newspaper circulation was already flat well before the Internet entered our lives.  (Hmm, all of a sudden I want to graph the audience numbers for traditional nightly TV news broadcasts.  My parents favored Walter Cronkite.)

Most instructive statistic:  The number of evening newspapers declined from 36,200,000 in 1970 to 7,700,000 in 2004.

Drawing the Shades on the Web's Eyes

Link to October 25 San Jose Mercury News article, "Tools for maintaining privacy on the Web".

Excerpt: Virtually everything you do online is scrutinized by search engines and advertising networks that evaluate you as a potential customer based on what you search for, the sites you visit and the ads you see -- whether you click on those ads or not.

"It's as though every time you pick up a magazine or a book or you browse a storefront, you might be reading the magazine, but it's reading you back, and the ads in the magazine are reading you," said Peter Eckersley, senior staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties organization that monitors the online world.

Marketers argue that "behavioral advertising" -- which serves up ads based on a person's browsing history and demographics -- is good because it produces ads that fit a person's interests. But privacy advocates like Eckersley say the "ubiquitous surveillance" violates "a fundamental civil liberty" -- the right to read in private. Another threat, he said, is that someone else could get hold of your data.

So if everything on the Web has eyes, how do you draw the shades?

Daily Herald Editorial Board Gives Thumbs Down to St. Charles Library Referenda

View of what voters must agree to fund

Link to October 25 Daily Herald editorial, "Timing is bad for library proposals".

Excerpt: Bond rates and construction costs are favorable, and it will almost certainly be more expensive to upgrade the library a couple years from now. However, a bigger, better structure means little if overall tax bills force residents to move from the library’s service area. Additionally, books are being digitized and, in the age of direct-to-DVR movies and online music sites, DVDs and CDs (available at the library) face an uncertain future. In two years, technologies will not regress.

The library’s heart is in the right place, its timing not so much. We encourage residents to vote “No” in the referendums. And we encourage the library to try again during better economic times and see if the extra space is still necessary

This translates into a tax increase of $26.88 a year per $100,000 of a home’s market value.

Related article:
Houses demolished to make way for (hoped-for) library expansion.  (4/24/2010)

Meeting Room Snafu at Idaho Public Library: "I don't care who he is!"

Link to October 23 (Twin Falls, Idaho) Times-News article, "Candidates and wedding crashers: GOP bus tour interrupts Jerome wedding party".

Excerpt: Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter wasn’t invited to stay for the cutting of the cake and garter toss, but he made an impression at a wedding reception held in the Jerome Public Library.

Otter and other Republican candidates on a pre-election bus tour arrived around 5 p.m. Wednesday for a scheduled campaign stop, and promptly left the building 10 minutes later after being ordered out by a surprised wedding guest.

The meeting room had been reserved three weeks before for the wedding of a member of Jerome’s Friends of the Library organization, and the GOP candidates and their constituents weren’t on the guest list.

Librarian Patty Metcalf said she was unaware the governor’s campaign was scheduled to stop in.

“A bus load of people showed up and just invaded the library,” Metcalf said. “It was chaotic because the library staff was not forewarned.

Next Wisconsin Governor Faces Big Decisions on Education Funding

Link to October 23 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "Education issue looms large in governor's race. Next governor could have big effect on schools, taxing, spending".

Excerpt: Education may not be the first thing that comes to voters' minds this year when they think of the Wisconsin governor's race, but maybe it should be.

After all, soon after the next governor raises his hand to take the oath of office, he is likely to immediately be confronted with the state's 2011-'13 biennial budget and a shortfall of about $3 billion.

Education now consumes more than half of the spending by the State of Wisconsin - school aid for kindergarten through 12th grades alone cost about $5 billion this year - even though the state's portion of education funding has fallen in the last two years and has needed help from federal stimulus dollars.

So, whoever voters select for the state's top spot could have a big effect on their neighborhood schools as well as on state taxing and spending.

"It's huge," Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, said about the school funding issue. "By mathematical definition, if the state has big financial problems, it has real implications for education."

Education has declined as a priority for Wisconsin voters over the last decade as pocketbook issues such as jobs have taken a larger role, said Wendy Scattergood, a professor and pollster at St. Norbert College in De Pere.

But Scattergood said education is still a significant issue for voters of both parties, with Democrats focusing on funding for schools and GOP voters emphasizing other aspects such as choice schools

Not to mention this significant piece of the state budget.

New Necedah Library to Open in Mid-November

Link to October 23 Juneau County Star Times article, "The wait is over: new Necedah library building set to open in mid-November".

Excerpt: After years of planning, thousands of dollars in grants and a massive community fundraising effort, the new $1.3 million, 4,800 square foot building for the Necedah Community Siegler Memorial Library is near completion.

"We're hoping that second week of November we'll be open," said library Director Jim Eliason. "It depends on the move."

The new location at the former site of Northern Bay West Golf Course offers library patrons more room to stretch out and read.

"We'll have almost twice the square footage for the stacks and computers," said Eliason.
Likewise, the building features a reading area surrounding a fireplace, wireless Internet access throughout, a coffee bar, expanded children's area and high-top study tables, as well as a 2,400-square-foot community room owned by the village.

Increased space for parking, drastically improved handicap-access and a drive-up book drop round out the exterior features of the facility

Related articles:
Library project postponed.  (4/8/2010)
Library plans progressing.  (2/8/2010)

Proposed 2011 City of Whitewater Budget Reduces Spending by 0.58%

Library budget up 0.37%, not enough to maintain 2010's level of service.

Link to 2011 budget proposal.

Link to October 20 Daily Union article, "Whitewater takes look at budget".

Excerpt:   City Manager Kevin Brunner said that he directed city staff members to keep their 2011 budgets at 2010 levels.

"I have worked very hard with the department heads to realize this objective and I am pleased to say that the proposed 2011 budget that I am submitting for your consideration is actually less than the 2010 budget by over $53,000," Brunner said. "Further, the proposed 2011 budget is less than the 2008 general fund expenditures by over $168,000."

The total 2011 operating budget, as proposed, calls for spending $9,264,199, down about 0.58 percent from the 2010 budget of $9,318,019

• Saturday open hours cut 4.5 hours weekly from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning Jan. 1, 2011.
• One library assistant position that was funded 50-percent General Fund/50-percent. 
 Library Special Revenue Fund has been changed to 100-percent Special Revenue Fund (essentially shifting the cost from city residents to rural residents through the county funding formula).
• Summer library aide position hours reduced.

Mindoro Community Library in Limbo

Link to October 13 Jackson County Chronicle article.

Excerpt: New shelving and a computer in the Farmington Town Hall are the building blocks for a future Mindoro Community Library building.

In May, thanks to Hearts and Hammers volunteers who built shelving from materials paid for by the town of Farmington, the library’s collections were moved into the Farmington Town Hall on Highway 108 in Mindoro.

Volunteers staff the library 4-6 p.m. on Mondays. In addition, materials can be checked out during town hall hours. Materials are checked out on an honor system.

The plans for a new building might be on hold or slowly progressing, but fundraising activity for a new building hasn’t stopped and neither has the regular programming

Related articles:
Mindoro Library moving to town hall.  (Coulee News, 5/14/2010)
Town vote puts brakes on Mindoro library project.  (Coulee News, 4/22/2010)
Town lawyer OKs Mindoro library architect contract.  (Coulee News, 1/25/2010)

Fox Lake Public Library Undergoes an Inspection

Link to October 21 post, "Fox Lake Library safe and sound".

Excerpt: A structural engineer spoke to the Fox Lake City Council about the condition of the library building Wednesday.

The city had the library inspected after someone made claims that the building was unsafe.

Kent Fish, a registered professional engineer from General Engineering, inspected the building on Sept. 14 and said the library "was in good shape, with the exception of one area" - a concrete slab porch that is settling. He said an old cistern or fuel tank may be failing under it and recommended the slab be removed to find out what the problem is so it can be corrected.

Fish also addressed concerns about drywall cracking. He said when there is snow on the roof, the weight of the snow causes the roof to deflect, and cracks the drywall.

"Does it look bad? Yes," Fish said. "Is it a structural problem? No."

He said problems with leaking and mold in the basement of the library were caused by a downspout that had come loose. Water was dumping next to the building, which created a depression. City public works employees have already filled in the depression to correct the problem.

"The library should be in good shape structurally," Fish said.

He said it would be feasible to add on to the library

Conceptual Designs for New Madison Central Library

Link to October 24 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Central Library design concepts narrowed to four".

Excerpt: All of the concepts would expand the 45-year-old library from 95,000 to about 120,000 square feet, with much of the new space coming from the addition of a partial third floor and an atrium enclosure of the existing open entrance area.

The project, budgeted at $29.5 million, includes $8 million from private fundraising. The architects for the project are Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle of Minneapolis and Potter Lawson of Madison.

The architectural team presented seven options at a public meeting two weeks ago, then used feedback to shape the four design concepts. The concepts aren’t either/or alternatives — the final design could incorporate elements of several or all of them, said Rachel Strauch-Nelson, spokeswoman for Mayor Dave Cieslewicz

Related articles:
One possible message: Don't settle for less.  (8/5/2010)
Possible temporary location has asbestos problem.  (6/18/2010)
Architectural firm selected for Madison Central project.  (5/26/2010)
State Journal editorial board sez Madison City Council made right decision on Central Library. (5/10/2010)
Council vote on library goes under the radar.  (5/8/2010)
And the beat goes on.  (4/14/2010)
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)