Saturday, March 12, 2011

Scenes from Today's Farmer Labor Tractorcade and Rally

The answer is here?

A Wisconsin Home-Grown Success Story

Madison husband-and-wife team has become force in children's book world. (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 2/21/2011)

Excerpt: Celebrated children's book author Kevin Henkes doesn't worry about fan mail clogging up his inbox. He has simply done away with e-mail.

"Having e-mail would complicate my life in a way that I wouldn't like, and using the phone and mail seems to work," said Henkes, who still prefers a typewriter to a computer for his more formal communication.

If Henkes needs to get a message to his publisher, Greenwillow Books in New York City, via e-mail, his wife, artist Laura Dronzek, steps in. But snail mail usually works just fine.

"(Greenwillow) has a blog, and for his blog posts, Kevin types them up on his typewriter and mails them," Dronzek said.

Henkes, 50, and Dronzek, 49, have been collaborating in life and art for more than 25 years, managing to maintain a prodigious presence in the book world from their home in Madison. Known for his picture books, such as "Kitten's First Full Moon," and his mouse books, including "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse," Henkes is a bestselling author and illustrator who has won a Caldecott Medal and a Newbery Honor

Let the Sun Shine Especially Bright on Wisconsin

Sunshine Week, a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information, will be observed March 13-19.

As we all know, action speaks louder than words.

Read this and take action yourself.

Wisconsin DOJ Tracks Sender (Note the Singular) of Threatening Emails

Friday, March 11, 2011

He Said/She Said @ the East Baton Rouge Parish Library

Official says library ‘friends’ group not ‘mysterious’. (Baton Rouge Advocate, 2/18/2011)

He, David Farrar, Director of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, said:   ...if Berry wanted information about POPL, the proper venue to ask questions was a POPL board meeting and not at the Library Board of Control meeting.

She, Mary Stein, Assistant Director of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, said: ...patrons of the East Baton Rouge Public Library, known as POPL, is a group that provides funding and volunteer services to the library.

Frosty and Company Tilt Toward Reading on the Roof of the Menasha Public Library

No Comeback for Newspaper Classified Ads?

Why your newspaper's editorial board is increasingly echoing his masters' voice.

Will Classified Advertising Come Back? (Editor & Publisher, 3/9/2011)

Excerpt:   While classified advertising delivered more than 40 percent of newspaper revenues as recently as 2000, want ads produced barely 22 percent of the industry's revenues by the end of 2010 - the lowest contribution in 50 years. To put it another way, the classified crash was responsible for 58 percent of the drop in revenues that brought total newspaper ad sales to some $26 billion at the end of 2010 from an all-time high of $49.4 billion in 2005.

Now that the economy is - sort of - on the mend, the big question for publishers is how much the classified advertising market will rebound. Although economic upswings historically have reinvigorated classified advertising, this time may be different.

The principal reasons that classifieds may never regain their former strength are that people are hunting for jobs, buying cars, and shopping for homes in decidedly different ways today than they did even five years ago. They have moved to the Web. And employers, car dealers, and real estate agents are enthusiastically following them

Dad's Taxi Service Prefers Text Messages

Texting: The Demise of the Phone Call. (Daily Tech, 3/11/2011

Excerpt: More and more teens and adults use text messaging and other electronic means of communication instead of voice contact

An MIT researcher has found that texting has replaced the phone call for a large number of teens, and while this may not seem too surprising, she also found that a number of adults are making the same transition.

Case in point.

I just texted the following message to my son, a sophomore at UW-Madison.

"Let me know when you want taxi service."

Spring break starts in a few hours.

New Haven Free Public Library Cuts Hours, Eliminates Interlibrary Loan

New Haven Library branch hours cut back. (New Haven Register, 3/7/2011)

Excerpt: The city has turned another page in the quest to close its budget deficit: Hours of the New Haven Free Public Library branches will be cut, and all interlibrary lending of books will cease.

“I am disheartened beyond belief that the state of the city budget can no longer sustain the current structure of public library services,” City Librarian and Executive Director Christopher Korenowsky said in a statement.

In the statement, Korenowsky said when he moved to the city in October, he intended to increase the number of hours at all of the library’s branches.

“Today, all departments of the city are going to feel the impact of this economy and the public library is not exempt from that reality,” he said

Materials will still be shared among the library branches -- but with other libraries and library systems.

Sorry, Jack Schlotthauer of Hatley Wisconsin, But You Are Wrong

Walker hopeful GOP, Dems can work together. (Stevens Point Journal, 3/2/11/2011)

Excerpt: Schlotthauer said he respected public employees but doesn't understand why there is so much opposition to Walker's plan.

"He's doing exactly what he promised during the campaign," Schlotthauer said. "My only objection is to people who think the taxpayer is forever wealthy. We can't keep spending money we don't have.

Take a Stroll Through Scott Walker's Mind

Amusement park? Chamber of horrors? Desert expanse? Arctic tundra? You make the call.

Walker hopeful GOP, Dems can work together. (Stevens Point Journal, 3/2/11/2011)

Excerpt: Gov. Scott Walker said he is confident that Wisconsin Democratic lawmakers will work with him on the state's budget and other projects, despite nearly a month of controversy over his proposal to strip most collective bargaining rights from public employees.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

8 Year Old to Jersey City Council: "Make a Splash and Budget the Cash"

8-year-old Jersey City boy to City Council: 'budget the cash' for the library. (The Jersey Journal, 3/9/2011)

Excerpt: An eight-year-old Jersey City boy brought down the house at tonight’s City Council meeting as he urged the council to provide more library funding.

Paul Valleau brought along a favorite book that he said he checked out of the main branch of the Jersey City Public Library, telling the council that the librarians there stock library shelves with “books kids love to read.”

“What would we do without the libraries? Every time a library closes, a big part of the town is left out,” Valleau said

Related articles:
8 year old shows how much he loves and values libraries.   (12/21/2010)
Three Jersey City branches get 6-month reprieve.  (10/14/2010)
Small branch with a big heart must close.  (9/29/2010)
Library cuts hours of operation.  (9/9/2010)
Jersey City residents plead for their library.  (8/26/2010)
More bad news from New Jersey.  (8/9/2010)

Loss of Funding Leads to Reduced Services at Clinton Public Library

Donations and volunteers are needed.

Rock County libraries see ups and downs. (Beloit Daily News, 2/28/2011)

Excerpt: Library Director Michelle Dennis said the Clinton Public Library is also seeking help from the community due to lack of funding.

For 2011, the library received $5,000 less from the state than in the year prior and the Village of Clinton did not choose to replace that money.

“It’s hurting us,” Dennis said. “$5,000 is a lot of money for our budget.”

As a result, the library may have to reduce hours, it is cutting in half the number of periodicals it carries, it has reduced its book and DVD purchasing budget, and it has discontinued its summer reading program.

Dennis said if families want to help reinstate the summer reading program she is looking for their help in providing materials, donations and volunteer services

Baraboo Does the Math, Finds the Governor's 'Tools' Come Up Short

 Not if Scott Walker gets his way.

City braces for cuts.  (Baraboo News-Republic, 3/9/2011)

Excerpt: Baraboo runs a tight ship and will do better than many other communities in a period of state budget cutting, City Council members heard Tuesday night. However, proposals such as ending recycling and dividing the University of Wisconsin System could have big local impacts.

The council discussed how the city could respond to budget cuts put forward by Gov. Scott Walker. Cuts proposed in his budget repair bill and proposed 2011-2013 budget have not become law yet, as Walker and Democrats tussle in the Legislature.

City Administrator Ed Geick said Walker's proposals to compel public employees to pay more for health insurance and retirement could save the city about $355,500. However, that is balanced against cuts in shared revenue, transportation aids and a $256,000* annual grant to pay for rural residents who use the city library - in total about $553,300 of losses. 
[Emphasis added.]

(*Based on the figure in the 2009 Wisconsin Public Library Service Data -- and if I'm reading it correctly -- this is the payment from Sauk County.  It represents 30% of the Baraboo Public Library's budget.  As proposed in Walker's 2011-13 biennial budget, counties are to receive a 24% cut in the amount of state shard aid they receive.)

The net projected cut works out to $178,000, he said.

Among Walker's cuts is ending a $52,000 recycling grant and the requirement cities separate materials that can be recycled, Mayor Pat Liston said.

Public Works Director Tom Pinion said the city currently saves money on recycling, because many recycled materials have value at market. The city gets rid of them at a cost of $18 per ton versus $65 a ton for garbage that is landfilled, he said

Plus you can't put a dollar figure on staff morale.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stephen King's Evil Librarian

Chicopee Public Library figures prominently in new short story by horror writer Stephen King. (Springfield Republican, 3/8/2011)

Excerpt:     Contois’s laughter, however. is for an even more personal reason. (mild spoiler to follow). One of the story’s nastiest villains is none other than the “head librarian” at the Chicopee Public Library.

“Isn’t that a hoot?” Contois said, laughing.

Rest assured, Contois is nothing like her fictional doppelganger, Ramona Norville, described by King as a “jovial woman of about 60 or so,” with a “Marine haircut and a take no prisoners handshake.”

“She is the salt of the earth, one of the sweetest persons you could ever meet,” Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette said of Contois.

In the story, the protagonist, an author named Tess, is invited to speak at the library’s book club. Tess, who lives in Connecticut, accepts and drives to Chicopee for the event.

Although her talk goes without a hitch, Tess’s trip to Western Massachusetts turns into a nightmare after the evil librarian recommends that she take a shortcut home that will allow her to avoid getting on Interstate 84.

That shortcut, which involves the intersection of the very real Route 47 and the seemingly made-up Stagg Road, leads Tess to an abandoned store. What happens next is not for the squeamish.

“We don’t even do that to people who bring their books back late,” joked Bissonnette

According to the ChiTrib, Fountaindale Public Library Targets YoPros

Library of the future: Wi-Fi, flat screens, automated book sorting. (Chicago Tribune, 3/7/2011)

Excerpt: The shiny, LED-lit future of libraries opened Monday in Bolingbrook, promising to be a technology blueprint for others as iPads, Kindles and Nooks replace dusty old paperbacks.

Crowds of curious and eager patrons visited the three-story, $39.5 million building featuring flat-screen TVs, computer terminals, self-checkout stations, an automated book sorter and a cafe.

The Fountaindale Public Library, with its state-of-the-art, Wi-Fi equipped space, is starkly different from the previous antiquated library, a nearby one-story brick structure built in 1975 that awaits the wrecking ball.

Officials are hopeful the new facility attracts a demographic libraries haven't seen in a number of years — young professionals

Buillding Relationships Through Engagement

Networking drives new business. (Digital Screenmedia Association, 3/7/2011)

Excerpt:   I’m a believer that business relationships, companies and products are built by people, and the more you engage with, value, and leverage those people and their individuals skills and talents, the better your solutions and organizational performance will be. [Emphasis added.]

Scott Walker: Not the Poetry Man

Poet's $2,000 Reimbursement a Casualty in Walker's Wisconsin. (Bloomberg News, 3/7/2011.  Thanks to Mark Arend for sharing.)

Excerpt: The $2,000 annual budget for the post, which Dethlefsen assumed Jan. 1, is a casualty of Governor Scott Walker’s drive for austerity. The first-term Republican, whose proposal to curb collective bargaining for public employees has incited protests across the U.S., faces a $3.6 billion deficit over the next biennium. His proposed budget seeks $3.4 billion in savings and spending cuts.

For Wisconsin’s poets and artists, “it’s just a smack in the face,” Dethlefsen, a 62-year-old retired librarian, said in an interview at Leystra’s Venture Restaurant in Sauk City, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Madison, the capital.

“In good times arts are magical, and in tough times they are essential,” he said. “That’s when you need them the most. Art makes you human. If it’s just about the money, then it’s petty and vindictive.”

Tommy Thompson, a Republican governor, created the office in 2000. It was “important that Wisconsin maintain its strong tradition of excellence in the arts,” his executive order said. “Poetry serves as a tool for the enrichment of all people and serves as a herald for the deep emotions and pride felt by the citizens of this great state.

Meet Jeremy Thiesfeldt, a Wisconsin freshman legislator who is no doubt applauding Walker's move.

TV Execs View Aging Viewers as Living, Breathing, Spending Entities

Television's senior moment in black and white.

Television's Senior Moment. (The Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2011)

Excerpt: For decades the TV industry has operated on a currency of youth, creating shows that appeal to 18- to 49-year-olds, the age group advertisers traditionally consider most likely to buy new products, switch brands and spend on everything from cars to soft drinks. But as the nearly 80 million baby boomers continue to age out of the coveted demographic—the oldest boomers are turning 65 this year, the youngest 47—networks want to charge advertisers more to reach them. After all, these viewers still watch a disproportionate amount of TV, and they control half of all U.S. consumer spending.

From Ed O'Neill's patriarch on ABC's "Modern Family" to 51-year-old Hugh Laurie on Fox's "House," boomers' influence can be seen in programming. On "NCIS," TV's No. 1 drama with an average viewer age of 57, strapping young naval investigators turn to wise 59-year-old Mark Harmon for advice.

Network executives' pitch to advertisers is that the current crop of aging viewers isn't like previous generations, who were winding down their spending at 55. This group buys iPads, redecorates, splurges on vacations and postpones retirement. "People still think of their grandparents when they were 60 wearing comfort shoes and baggy chinos," says Alan Wurtzel, NBC Universal's president of research. "These guys are just fundamentally different.

Employment Opportunity: Library Director (Elisha D. Smith Public Library, Menasha, Wisconsin)

Library Director
Elisha D. Smith Public Library
Menasha, Wisconsin

Dynamic, award winning library in northeastern Wisconsin is seeking a Library Director to enhance our successful tradition of high level services and take our library to new heights.

If you are an energetic and motivational leader with a strong commitment to public service and excellent verbal and written communications skills, this might be the opportunity for you.

Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Library Director is responsible for the overall management of library operations and functions, including planning, finance, personnel, public relations, collections, and physical facilities. Named the Wisconsin State Library of the Year in 1988 and 2008, the library has a collection of 160,000 items and an annual circulation of over 557,000 items. There are 19.8 full-time equivalent employees and a budget of $1,466,940.

The public library, a department within the City of Menasha government, serves the city of Menasha (population 17,437) and surrounding areas and is part of the Winnefox Library System. Menasha's riverfront downtown, where the library is located, is seeing a revival filled with art, restaurants, and history.

Our ideal candidate will have a Master’s Degree in Library Science from a library school accredited by the American Library Association, appropriate state certification as provided under the Wisconsin Administrative Code, Sec PL 6.03, with a minimum of five years of increasingly responsible professional library experience including significant administrative and supervisory responsibility. Additional qualifications include the ability to leverage cutting edge technology and experience with foundations and endowment growth.

A complete job description is available here.

This position offers a competitive salary and benefits.

For more information please go to

To apply for this position, please email resume, cover letter, and completed application form by April 8, 2011 to:

Or submit a resume, cover letter, and completed application postmarked by April 8, 2011 to:
Executive Director Search Committee
Elisha D. Smith Public Library
440 First Street
Menasha, WI 54952

Mayor Dave Joins Librarians Rally

Madison's Mayor Joins Librarians' Labor-Rally Rights. (American Libraries, 3/8/2011)

Excerpt: Mayor Dave Cieslewicz joined Wisconsin’s librarians March 6 as they again assembled to march to the State Capitol in opposition to Governor Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill (PDF file), whose passage would dramatically curtail collective bargaining rights for public-sector employees.

“I was proud to join librarians to march to the Capitol and fight Scott Walker’s divisive policies,” Cieslewicz remarked March 8. “Librarians, like our teachers, police officers, and fire fighters make incredibly important contributions to our community. And in Madison, we know how to work together with our workers and solve our problems together.

But in the Long Run, Action Will Speak Louder Than Words in Sheboygan

Mayor Ryan: The library is an essential part of our community...

So why can't he make say so on his webpage?

Walker's budget may affect how Sheboygan funds Mead Library. (Sheboygan Press, 3/7/2011)

Excerpt: "The governor when he came up with his budget, also said that there would be tools in his budget to help communities in meeting their financial obligations, and this is one of those … by dropping the maintenance of effort for libraries," Mayor Bob Ryan said.

The library is not facing any direct budget cuts as a result of Walker's budget. Whether library funding is cut will be up to Ryan and the Common Council when they lay out next year's budget.

"The library is an essential part of our community, we have one of the finest city-county libraries in the state, it's a great facility. And truthfully we have no intention of the library taking substantial hits in the budget," Ryan said. "But not having that maintenance of effort mandate out there … will give us some flexibility.

Related articles:
Latest chapter in maintenance of effort saga.  (12/24/2010)
Mayor miffed at recent outpouring of support for library?  (11/30/2010)
Council approves 2011 budget.  (11/25/2010)
Council votes to make up nearly half of Mayor's cuts to library budget.  (11/23/2010)
Sheboygan residents keep speaking up for their library.  (11/23/2010)
Alderman plans to introduce amendment to address library budget shortfall.  (11/22/2010)
Sheboygan continues to speak up for its library.  (11/21/2010)
Residents speak up for their library.  (11/16/2010)
Library facing 11% cut in 2011 budget.  (10/9/2010)
Mayor offers his 2011 budget.  (10/5/2010)
Officials face $1,500,000 budget deficit in 2011.  (6/10/2010)
Council approves Mayor's new appointments to library board.  (4/28/2010)
Mayor questioned about library board appointments.  (4/26/2010)
Sheboygan Press Editorial Board supports library funding deal.  (11/27/2009)
Library likely to maintain its Maintenance of Effort funding.  (11/24/2009)
Update on library's Maintenance of Effort.  (11/20/2009)
Maintenance of Effort and the Mead Public Library.  (7/6/2009)