Saturday, July 9, 2011

U.S. Album Sales Gain for 1st Time in 7 Years

Nielsen SoundScan: Album sales inching up. (CNET News, 7/6/2011)

Excerpt:   U.S. album sales for the first six months of the year grew 1 percent, which may not sound like much but it's the first time the recording industry has seen any gains for the period since 2004.

Research firm Nielsen SoundScan reported today that the total number of albums sold in the U.S. was 155.5 million, an increase of 1 percent from the 153.9 million albums sold during the same period last year

Library Commissioners Reorder 10% Pay Cuts for Top 3 Detroit Public Library Administrators

Detroit library execs never took pay cut. Commissioners again order 3 managers to trim salaries by 10%. (Detroit News, 7/9/2011) 

Excerpt:      The Detroit Public Library's top three administrators are under fire for not taking a 10 percent pay cut ordered by library commissioners this spring when the system laid off 40 staffers.

That has upset some library commissioners, who this week reordered the pay cut, making it retroactive to April 1.

Chairman Edward Thomas said he was "disturbed" after finding out the pay cut for the top three, along with furlough days for other nonunion staffers, never happened. Thomas said library executives told him that after they realized in May that their budget mistakes meant finances weren't as dire as had been thought, they felt there was no need for further cuts.

"It just shows they have no respect," Commissioner Jonathan Kinloch said. "It makes you wonder what other actions we've requested that they've ignored."

"They should take the cut like everyone else."

Library administrators deny they were trying to avoid the cuts

Related articles:
Ernie Hallwall memorabilia.  (6/9/2011)
Library commission aism high.  (5/25/2011)
Library u-turn:  no branch closures, no layoffs.  (5/21/2011)
The next thing you know..... (5/20/2011)
My boss has a 2010 Buick LaCrosse....   (5/19/2011)
Detroit Public Library revised its math.  (5/17/2011)
Detroit Public Library does the math....incorrectly.  (5/14/2011)
Residents speak up against branch closings.  (5/8/2011)
The library takes a page from the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.  (5/7/2011)
The news just keeps getting worse. (5/6/2011)
The Detroit Public Library needs some good news (and this isn't it).  (5/5/2011)
Rainy day fund keeps fewer branches from closing.  (4/29/2011)
Proposal to close 18 of 23 Detroit branches sparks anger. (4/22/2011)
Few expenses spared in South Wing remodeling of library.  (4/22/2011)
Downward spiral.  (4/16/2011)
Library reduces staff by 20%. (3/4/2011)
Budget woes. (2/5/2011)

A Multi-Million Dollar Troy Public Library Collection Up in Flames? Not Gonna Happen

Group promises book burning party if millage to save Troy Public Library fails. (Oakland Press, 7/7/2011)

Excerpt: Phillip Kwik, head of the public services department at the library, said at first he thought the tweets were satire, but after seeing signs pop up in the city and learning that a ballot access committee named Safeguarding American Families is behind the movement, he’s not so sure.

“(When I first learned of the movement), I thought ‘This is some bad attempted satire,’ but to spend money on signs for a committee, that’s not somebody forming it as a joke,” Kwik said.

“We’re, of course, concerned. It’s a threat against the library and city property, public property.”

Though the wording is ambiguous, the signs and social media accounts seem to indicate that the library’s books would be burned just days after the measure fails. Kwik said that will not be the case.

“We are preparing to inventory (the books), reconcile our book records and patron records, do all that, then to mothball them in the building in the event that at some future time the library might reopen.

“We have 300,000 items, a multi-million dollar collection

This latest turn of events in Troy, Michigan, led me to contact Cathy Russ, Director of the Troy Public Library. Yesterday I sent her the following email message.

My name is Paul Nelson. I'm a retired library director -- 22 years at the Middleton Public Library, a suburb of Madison -- and now wear a variety of hats: Interim Director (just finished 4 months at the Menasha Public Library, Adjunct Assistant Professor at the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies, blogger (Retiring Guy's Digest, among others).

I've been following the situation in Troy since April 2010. Yesterday I was sent an anonymous comment on a 6/26/2011 post that included a link to a very odd Facebook page.

Just curious to know if you have any idea who's behind what strikes me as a misguided effort at satire. Are there actually August 5th book burning signs placed at various locations in Troy or is were they just placed in certain locations for the photo ops? I'm aware that Troy Citizens United is working against the library tax, but they don't have anything so "incendiary" on their website.

Would appreciate any enlightenment you can offer.

And best wishes on the outcome of the August 2nd vote. I'm certainly rooting for the library!

She quickly and very graciously provided a detailed and very informative response, which she has given me permission to share.

I wish I could tell you if this were someone's idea of a joke (sick!), or, as some have speculated, an attempt at reverse psychology to get people to vote yes. But those signs cost real money, and it takes time to put them out, as well as to file paperwork with Oakland County to register as an organization. More money than brains and too much time on their hands? Who knows? And this Tom Ball, who filed the paperwork, said he had to talk to his “board” before he could comment, which is also pretty weird. I will keep you posted!

At this point, after 2 years of this craziness of "will the library close?" and all the twists and turns in that road, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to throw me a curve ball. My staff and I just do our best to provide the very best possible service to our community, and do our jobs. Having said that, I am finding that vodka helps as well. ;-) There are many people pulling for us (like you!), and that helps enormously.

And, FYI, I am an adjunct professor @ the Wayne State U Library and Info Science program. If you ever need a guest lecturer on “How to Survive a War” (or really, how to handle crisis situations in libraries), I would be happy to do it. I feel very strongly that, while I hope no one ever has to go through this kind of situation, if there is anything I can ever do to help someone prepare for it, avoid it, or deal with it, I want to do it.

I just hope I'll be teaching the Public Library course in the Spring 2012 semester so I can take Cathy up on her offer.

In the meantime, if you know anyone in Troy, Michigan, please send them this message.

 August 2, 2011

Related articles:
I)s it just me or are things heating up in Troy Michigan?  (7/6/2011
The battle lines are drawn.  (6/28/2011)
August 2nd a "This Is It" moment for the Troy Public Library..  (5/17/2011)
Working to keep the library open.  (5/10/2011)
Will there be a library after June 30th?  (4/20/2011)
Keep the Troy Public Library open:  Council members told to 'figure it out'.  (4/19/2011)
May Day!  May Day!  Two Michigan libraries set to close on May 1.  (4/17/2011)
Library to close on May 1.  (2/23/2011)
Troy Michigan (population: 80,000) still on track to close its library.  (2/8/2011)
Voters wave bye-bye to their library.  (11/3/2010)
Giving voters more choices than they need.  (8/13/2010)
Library threatened with closure, part 2.  (5/19/2010)
Library threatened with closure, part 1.  (4/25/2010)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Manchester, Connecticut: "Save the Park" Group Opposes Library Expansion Plan

Library Plan Is 'Cheap' Solution, Opponents Say. (Hartford Courant, 7/7/2011)

Excerpt: A spokesman for a group that opposes any encroachment into Center Memorial Park says the latest plan for an addition to Mary Cheney Library is a cheap compromise.

"This plan is based on faulty premises, ugly architecture and doing projects as cheaply as possible," Save the Park spokesman Joe Hachey wrote Thursday. "It is sad when town leaders from the 1800s showed more vision than today's."

The plan, which is only a concept at this point, was presented to the board of directors Tuesday. It calls for a 20,000-square-foot addition and renovations to the Main Street library. The plan would reclaim parking areas as green spaces and would not significantly affect the total planted area in the park adjacent to the current library.

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 73, Gill Memorial Library)

Paulsboro council approves architect for library expansion. (Gloucester County Times, 7/8/2011)

Excerpt:    An idea since last year, the expansion project includes two parts. A renovated and expanded Paul House— Paulsboro’s oldest home— will serve as the new library. Just across Broad Street, the current Gill Memorial Library, will house the plethora of Paulsboro artifacts that are currently in the Paul House.

Listed as a historic building by the Historic American Buildings Survey sanctioned by the Library of Congress, the Paul House dates back to the 1770s. The borough acquired it in 2010, and Burzichelli asked Quint to head the expansion.

“The Gill Memorial Library Board of Trustees are very happy the project is moving forward,” said board President Rita Kelly. “It’s just going to be an exceptional thing for the community.”

Top News from Des Moines Register

Florida adds a "y" to its name.

As in "a day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine"?

Public Library Administration: The Things They Don't Teach You in Library School

Library, Libertyville agree on lot changes. (Daily Herald, 7/7/2011)

Excerpt“As I tell people, the good news is we have a vibrant downtown,” library Director Stephen Kershner said. “But the bad news is we have a vibrant downtown.”

The two agencies have been at odds over the lot’s design since before the renovated and expanded library building reopened in January.

Village leaders approved the parking lot’s design before construction began, but later requested changes to accommodate the weekly farmers market, the popular Libertyville Days festival and other events.

The library board had been reluctant to make changes, primarily citing motorist and pedestrian safety concerns.

As part of the agreement, cars leaving the library parking lot via the Brainerd Avenue exit will have to make a right turn to go north on Brainerd

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Appleton Public Library Director Colleen Rortvedt Provides Context to Post-Crescent Article on Library Expansion

Thanks to Colleen for permission to reprint what she originally posted on the Appleton Public Library's Facebook page.

A follow-up comment by Colleen Rortvedt, Appleton Public Library Director.

I just wanted to add some information to this article. It’s always nice when the media wants to give you some attention; however, it’s never possible to share the whole story.

The facts shared in the article are correct. The Library will not be pursuing funding in the 2012 budget year. I fear the headline “Appleton library expansion on hold indefinitely” makes this sound like a defeat or a setback. There was never a concrete timeline as this is a complex project that has only been formally in the works for three years. While those of us that have been directly involved in it may feel like three years is a long time, in the context of something this magnitude three years isn’t a lot.

Moving forward with the decision to not request funding for 2012 was a deliberate choice on the part of the Library. It frees us up to spend more time planning rather than pursuing funding. Planning a new or remodeled facility is obviously a huge project. There is lots of work to be done and I don’t want the impression to be that this is time wasted or that we are shrinking back into our shells.

The Library is in the midst of many transitions right now including implementing a new organizational structure and instituting RFID, a new method of check-in, checkout, inventory and security. These are changes that could have huge effects on Library operations. It would be irresponsible to force through a decision at a time of such great transition without giving the Library a few months to let these changes play out and see what our “new normal” will be.

Is the economy a factor? Of course. It factors into every decision we make every day! However, the Library didn’t choose to hold off on funding requests solely because of tough budget times or because other high-profile projects are in the works. These are distinctly different projects that will likely appeal to distinctly different donors. The success of raising private funds for the Library will rely on a forward-looking visionary plan that gives Appleton the Library it deserves, not whether or not these other projects succeed. I refuse t o look at these other projects as competition as much as it seems people want us to. I wish all these projects success because they contribute to a vibrant community and an amazing downtown that APL is proud to be a part of.

In planning we know that we are trying to predict the future, which is an impossible task. We can use the best information we have for today and extrapolate to accommodate for the future. There will never be a time when we can anticipate all our future needs with complete accuracy. However, this period of time is so transformational that it is especially unique. The changes mentioned above are equal or greater in weight some of the greatest in APL’s history. The choice to not request funding in 2012 and continue planning was the only responsible choice to make.

Again, I am grateful to the Post –Crescent for their interest and to Jenny Espino for her time and accuracy. I just wanted to take this opportunity to add some more context to the information published.

Related articles:
New library placed on indefinite hold.  (7/6/2011)
On the need for a new library.  (2/4/2011)
Director responds to 'frequently observed misconceptions'. (12/4/2009)
Readers weigh in on new library. (11/9/2009)
Mayor provides his perspective on library planning process.  (10/7/2009)
Post-Crescent supports next step in library facilities planning process.  (10/6/2009)
Financing options for Appleton's library project.  (10/6/2009)
Potential sites for new library under discussion.  (10/4/2009)
Membership of capital facilities committee for library project approved.  (8/7/2009)
Terry Dawson's discusses Appleton library building project.  (7/16/2009)
Library building project update.  (6/18/2009)
Appleton's library planning escapes budget cuts.  (11/13/2008)
Post-Crescent endorses library design study.  (11/11/2008)
Study:  New library should be built downtown.  (7/10/2008)

Volume 1 of Slowtime Field Recordings Features Old-Time Musicians from Alabama

Q&A with field recorder and musician Matt Downer. (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/1/2011)

Chattanooga Times Free Press lifestyles reporter Casey Phillips spoke to field recorder and musician Matt Downer about the 13 years of work he put into an upcoming CD documenting the music of regional old-time musicians.

Blog that provides updates on volume 1.

Slowtime Field Recordings Facebook page.

Alabama Folklife Association.

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Expansion (Part 72, El Paso, Illinois, Public Library)

El Paso Plans for Library Expansion.  (WEEK-TV, Peoria, IL, 7/6/2011)

  Members of the El Paso Library Board say an expansion project was proposed after the building struggled to hold the overflow of books and patrons.

Library board President Stephen Schaefer says the community has shown strong support for the project.

"After years of planning, the whole board is very excited to see the project moving forward," said Schaefer. "The board is confident that El Paso residents and library patrons will pitch in to make this project happen."

Construction is slated to begin in early 2012 and includes plans for a larger children's area, community meeting areas, and additional shelving for books and other media. In whole, the board plans to spend $1.5 million to make the plans a reality.

The board says they plan to use funds and community contributions for the project in order to avoid a tax hike.

With greater accessibility and adaquate room for patrons and materials, the library expansion may be El Paso book-lovers' most favorite chapter yet.

Pew Research Survey Says.....Public Wants Changes in Entitlements, Not Changes in Benefits

LINK to 7/7/2011 report.

Excerpt:  The public's desire for fundamental change does not mean it supports reductions in the benefits provided by Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Relatively few are willing to see benefit cuts as part of the solution, regardless of whether the problem being addressed is the federal budget deficit, state budget shortfalls or the financial viability of the entitlement programs.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 15-19 among 1,502 adults, finds that Republicans face far more serious internal divisions over entitlement reforms than do Democrats. Lower income Republicans are consistently more likely to oppose reductions in benefits -- from Medicare, Social Security or Medicaid -- than are more affluent Republicans

Grafton and Cedarburg might want to get an DPI opinion on this library board consolidation idea

Village, city to explore shared services. (Ozaukee Press, 6/29/2011)

Excerpt:   Consolidate the Grafton and Cedarburg library boards to promote joint planning and operations.

Although each community would continue to own and operate its own library, oversight by one board could “maximize their limited resources for the betterment of the two communities,” the report states.

The consolidation is not expected to save either municipality money next year but could result in more cost-effective library operations, officials said.

As summarized below, the Wisconsin State Statutes provide for 4 types of public library governance:  See 43.52. 43.53, 43.54, 43.57.
Perhaps a better approach would be to form an exploratory committee representing, at a minimum, members from the Cedarburg and Grafton library boards to study the feasibility of a joint library.  Paging Mequon-Thiensville.
The two communities are adjacent..

New Appleton Library Placed on Indefinite Hold

Appleton library expansion on hold indefinitely. (Appleton Post-Crescent, 7/6/2011)

Excerpt: The move comes at an interesting time for groups counting on city funds to make their building proposals in the downtown come to pass. The city is under pressure next year to do more with less, so there was bound to be a battle for the limited dollars.

Members of the Fox Cities Exhibition Center are on a fast track to build a facility for visitors behind the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel. They met with the Common Council on Wednesday and want a decision in August. The city's contribution is estimated at $3 million.

Also on the table is the renovation of Houdini Plaza. The million-dollar makeover won't happen next year, and it is likely to require private groups to cover 30 percent of costs. But city officials have talked about setting money aside in the budget for the first phase of the facelift, which is the underground work


The Appleton library opened at its present location in 1981. Its circulation that year was 593,000. That number nearly tripled in 2010 to more than 1.5 million, more than any other single-site library in the state.

The transformation to a more digital world is driving the focus of library services, and the library staff would say that means additional space is in order.

To put the crowding into perspective, consider the tight quarters at the library's loading dock, where material sent to other libraries shares space with several large garbage containers.

Related articles:
On the need for a new library.  (2/4/2011)
Director responds to 'frequently observed misconceptions'. (12/4/2009)
Readers weigh in on new library. (11/9/2009)
Mayor provides his perspective on library planning process.  (10/7/2009)
Post-Crescent supports next step in library facilities planning process.  (10/6/2009)
Financing options for Appleton's library project.  (10/6/2009)
Potential sites for new library under discussion.  (10/4/2009)
Membership of capital facilities committee for library project approved.  (8/7/2009)
Terry Dawson's discusses Appleton library building project.  (7/16/2009)
Library building project update.  (6/18/2009)
Appleton's library planning escapes budget cuts.  (11/13/2008)
Post-Crescent endorses library design study.  (11/11/2008)
Study:  New library should be built downtown.  (7/10/2008)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Is It Just Me or Are Things Heating Up in Troy Michigan?

From the description:     The library in Troy, MI has failed two elections to secure additional tax revenue to stay open. One more vote is slated for Aug 2. If this one fails, the library will finally close for good. But what about all those books you ask? We're going to have a book burning party on Aug 5! Help get the word out. Vote to close the Troy library on Aug 2.

This Facebook page is such a misguided attempt at satire I have to wonder if it was created with a strategy of reverse psychology in mind.  Give the pro-library forces an added incentive to get out the vote. 


At least outwardly, Troy Citizens United have remained aboveboard in their fight against the vote to increase the library tax.

If it's any consolation, more people like the Save Troy Library Facebook page .

Related articles:
The battle lines are drawn.  (6/28/2011)
August 2nd a "This Is It" moment for the Troy Public Library..  (5/17/2011)
Working to keep the library open.  (5/10/2011)
Will there be a library after June 30th?  (4/20/2011)
Keep the Troy Public Library open:  Council members told to 'figure it out'.  (4/19/2011)
May Day!  May Day!  Two Michigan libraries set to close on May 1.  (4/17/2011)
Library to close on May 1.  (2/23/2011)
Troy Michigan (population: 80,000) still on track to close its library.  (2/8/2011)
Voters wave bye-bye to their library.  (11/3/2010)
Giving voters more choices than they need.  (8/13/2010)
Library threatened with closure, part 2.  (5/19/2010)
Library threatened with closure, part 1.  (4/25/2010)

Frank Yerby: Perhaps New to You but Not to Your Grandparents

Frank Yerby (1916-1991) wrote 33 novels during his literary career, ranging from The Foxes of Harrow in 1946, perhaps the title for which he is best known (if he's remembered at all), to the all-but-forgotten McKenzie's Hundred in 1985.

More biographical information is found in the The New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Yerby's books made regular appearances on the New York Times fiction best seller lists from the mid-1940s through the 1950s.

You won't find many of his books on library shelves anymore. For Frank Yerby, it's slim pickin's in the South Central Library System LINKcat database, which contains the holdings of 49 member public libraries.  (If I were still a Middleton Public Library employee, I could tell you how often they've circulated.)

Top 3 Mobile Apps: Games, Weather, Social Networking

Play Before Work: Games Most Popular Mobile App Category in US. (NielsenWire, 7/6/2-11_

The Web as a Primary Mode of Communication: The Casey Anthony Trial

Social media, in particular.

Watching a Trial on TV, Discussing It on Twitter. (The New York Times, 7/6/2011)

Excerpt: Ray Valdes, an analyst with Gartner Research, said the real-time reactions to the trial and the verdict reflected the gradual adoption of the Web as a primary mode of communication throughout the day.

Services like Facebook and Twitter “are the modern-day equivalent of the office cafeteria, a local bar or the coffee shop,” Mr. Valdes said. “Those venues have diminished some in modern times and to some extent been replaced by social media.

Flint Michigan: From Vehicle City to Dodge City

Rampant crime gives Flint aura of wild West. (Detroit News, 7/6/2011)

Excerpt: Before GM began leaving in 1978, Flint was a bastion of plentiful jobs that paid well. The bounty provided abundant city services and cultural institutions.

Population of Flint Michigan 1910-2010
                                  1910  1920  1930  1940   1950  1960   1970   1980  1990   2000   2010 

Within a decade, Flint became one of the poorest cities in the state with one of the highest jobless rates. Today, 1 in 5 residents is unemployed while one of three lives in poverty, according to state and census figures

Related posts:
Take another look at library consolidation. (6/6/2011)
Reactions to closing of West Flint branch.  (5/17/2011)
Library not likely to send a thank-you note to GM.  (12/3/2010)
Citizens launch "Keep our Library" campaign.  (6/13/2010)

ProJo Columnist Doesn't Like the Vision of a Future Providence, Complete with Boarded-Up Library

It’s 2021 in Providence, and it’s a scary sight. (Providence Journal "Lifebeat" column by Mark Patinkin, 7/3/2011)

Excerpt: I walk hurriedly past the former Providence Public Library, shut down seven years ago in 2014 when the city went bankrupt due to the pension crisis. The windows are boarded with plywood. It’s a classic Renaissance structure that’s now a shell.

There’s an ironic word, renaissance.

That’s how everyone used to describe Providence — a dying mill city that improbably came back to vibrancy.

No more

Central Falls Rhode Island May Reopen Its Library in the Fall

After all, it is "A City with a Bright Future".

Central Falls library may reopen in the fall. (Providence Journal, 6/29/2011)

Excerpt: “The library will only be temporarily closed, and it will reopen,” Adams said in a message to the library staff. “I am sorry that I don’t have anything more concrete to share with you or a firmer timeline.”

While the city paid for the library staff and some operating expenses, the building and grounds are owned by the trust, which was created in 1905, Adams said, and it is free to try to put in its own staff.

“We’re going to have to mothball it for a month or two until we figure out how to do this thing,” he said.

In the meantime, Central Falls residents can use their library cards at the Pawtucket Public Library.

Related post:
Central Falls Rhode Island closes its public library.  (7/6/2011)

Central Falls Rhode Island Closes Its Public Library

Link to 6/28/2011 Providence Journal video story.  (Fingers crossed that it'll still get you there.)

Central Falls receiver closes public library, community center. (Providence Journal, 6/28/2011)

Excerpt: The library closing was a surprise to many. Betty Lemieux of the library’s Board of Trustees found out about it when a reporter called.

“When the receiver decides to do something, he pretty much decides to do it,” she said.

She said she hoped arrangements would be made to maintain the building and preserve the books inside.

“It’s a sad, sad day for the city,” she said

The Connected States of America

All of the maps and visuals you'll fine here are based on research done by the MIT Sensible Lab, AT&T and IBM, aggregated from July 2010.

Phone Call Cartography.  (The New York Times, 7/2/2011)

Excerpt:   There are sister states like Georgia and Alabama, and Mississippi and Louisiana. New Jersey and California, on the other hand, split in half because of the influences of large cities. Chattanooga, Tenn., communicates more with the Georgia-Alabama community than with the rest of Tennessee, and Pittsburgh splits from Pennsylvania to align with West Virginia. Texas remains whole, because the communication among Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin is strong enough to hold it together.

These patterns show that proximity is only one of many factors — both cultural and economic — that bring people together.

eMarketer Predicts Steady Growth of Online Video

Cord-Cutting: Trend vs. Myth. (eMarketer, 7/6/2011)

Excerpt: “Despite surveys showing consumers’ expressed interest in cutting all pay-TV services, few households actually have done so,” said Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “TV Video Viewing: Beyond Cord-Cutters.” “Cord shaving—downgrading an existing level of service—seems to be gathering some steam, however, and some young adults may never sign up for cable or satellite service when they leave their parents’ household.”

Related posts:
The web as America's playground.  (1/6/2010)
Nielsen to measure online audience.  (12/3/2009)
Going up, way up: watching movies and TV shows online.  (1113/2009)

ProPublica Analyzes the Educational Opportunity Gap

Some States Still Leave Low-Income Students Behind; Others Make Surprising Gains. (ProPublica, 6/30/2011).

Excerpt: Our analysis offers the first nationwide picture of exactly which advanced courses are being taken at which schools and districts across the country. Previous studies and surveys have tracked some of these courses, but never with so many variables and covering so many schools. (More than three-quarters of all public-school children are represented in our analysis. Check out our methodology.)

We have also created an interactive feature so you can search for your school and see how it compares, for example, with poorer and wealthier schools nearby. It also shows the percentage of inexperienced teachers in schools. Here’s Beverly Hills High compared to a much poorer school in Southern California. And here’s a stark example from New Jersey

Find a school.

Santa Maria Times Editorial: The Sound of Libraries Suffocating

The sound of libraries suffocating. (Santa Maria Times editorial, 7/5/2011)

Excerpt: Throttling public libraries may very well be another problem with lasting repercussions. Consider these facts:

Public libraries are places Americans go to help them find and get jobs. It’s where anyone who signs up for a library card can check out any book they please.

Nearly as many Americans have library cards as they do credit cards. Even if they don’t have the requisite card, there are usually plenty of places to sit and read the periodicals.

Libraries are places where we can go to get answers. Don’t have a computer at home? Your public library has them. And tech training classes take place daily at more than a third of the nation’s libraries.

Every day that America’s 16,000 public libraries are open, more than 300,000 people search for jobs. Most of those libraries are Wi-Fi hotspots, so you can bring your laptop and browse to your heart’s content.

Nearly 3 million times each month, local businesses nationwide rely on the local library’s resources to help those business owners turn a profit.

Libraries are frequent hosts for family movie nights. Libraries have more meeting rooms than the nation’s conference centers, convention facilities and auditoriums combined. It’s an ideal place for community issues to be discussed, and because libraries are “quiet places,” the discourse tends to be more civil.

Each year, about 220 million Americans attend a sporting event of some kind — compared to 1.4 billion visits to public libraries. Another comparison — FedEx ships an average of 8 million packages daily; the nation’s public libraries circulate about the same number of materials.

The recession and its effects on local government are pulling support away from libraries. You may be able to help by discussing the issue with your elected representatives. Another avenue of assistance is through a Friends-of-the-Library group. Just about every community has one.

The Great Recession has changed life as we know it in so many ways. We can’t allow it to kill our libraries.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Comparing Community Fiber Networks to DSL and Cable Networks

Link to 7/6/2011 Community Broadband Networks post.

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 71, Atlantic City Free Public Library)

Atlantic City Public Library prepares for renovation to archives department. (Press of Atlantic City, 7/4/2011)

Excerpt: When you step into the archives department at the Atlantic City Free Public Library, you come face to face with the past — souvenirs from the 1900s, Beatles tickets, lifeguard uniforms and nightclub posters. That is, once you squeeze your way through the door, past the tables and around the archivists’ desks.

“There’s a wealth of information in ... well, I’m not quite sure what the square footage is,” said reference librarian Shannon O’Neill, standing in the tiny aisle between the shelves. “Less than 300 square feet, for sure. There are hundreds of years of history in this little room.”

The hope, however, is that the expansive-yet-cramped nature of the archives will itself become a thing of the past. The library is about to undergo an extensive renovation, which could finally result in a larger storage and exhibition space for what is officially known as the Alfred M. Heston Collection. Heston was one of the founders of the library. The renovation would give enough room, finally, to showcase a good portion of its 20,000 postcards, or the “beer bell” rung at Schaufler’s Hotel every time a new keg was tapped (it is now stored in an upstairs closet).

But the archivists’ true dream is the proposed “Atlantic City Experience,” a new museum that would include digital displays and provide a fully immersive atmosphere

Wonder if this one (circa 1973) is in the collection.

The Family Tree as Tangled Forest

Though not this straightforward Nelson family genealogy as prepared by my Aunt Ruth Benander more than 25 years ago. Updating it was to be one of my retirement projects, starting in the fall of 2008. It's still on the hold shelf. (My grandfather's name is highlighted.)

Who's on the Family Tree?  Now It's Complicated.  (The New York Times, 7/5/2011)

Excerpt:  Many families are grappling with similar questions as a family tree today is beginning to look more like a tangled forest. Genealogists have long defined familial relations along bloodlines or marriage. But as the composition of families changes, so too has the notion of who gets a branch on the family tree.

Some families now organize their family tree into two separate histories: genetic and emotional. Some schools, where charting family history has traditionally been a classroom project, are now skipping the exercise altogether

And here's "Pa" and "Ma" with their 7 children at Sinnissippi Park, Rockford, Illinois.  (Photo taken in 1956 or 1957.)  From left to right they stand in chronological order, a seemingly mandatory arrangement in the Nelson family, from youngest to oldest:  Carl (my dad), Ruth, Lila, Signe, Stella, Svea, and Ford.