Saturday, July 16, 2011

My First Wikipedia Edit

Pontiac Public Library Continues to Look for a New Home

Pontiac City Council to assist in library move. (Oakland Press, 7/16/2011)

Excerpt:    The library board voted last October to begin researching the move. A community survey, visioning sessions and a town hall have since taken place to determine what residents want for the library.

The feasibility study to identify possible opportunities is slated to come to an end soon, but Waterman said they are still seeking assistance.

Elected leaders were being approached to assist in finding potential donors and opportunities that may have gone overlooked.

Councilwoman Mary Pietila questioned how the library would be able to afford new facilities and increased programming once the tax levy has ended.

The funding provided to the library has included obtaining grants from multiple sources, said Waterman, adding the staff is experienced with using creative methods to implement the limited operating funds.

A suggestion by Councilman Kermit Williams to consider a city center complex — where City Hall and the library would be in one location — met with interest from Waterman.

“We're not getting any use out of this decrepit building,” Williams said

2012 County Budget Watch: Marathon County

Marathon County faces $500K budget hole for 2012.  (Wausau Daily Herald, 7/15/2011)

Excerpt:      An estimated 2 percent decline in the county's equalized value -- the value of all taxable property and equipment throughout the county -- combined with little or no new construction and a cut of more than $1 million in state aid all are factors in the shortfall.

"Will we stay in the hole forever? No," said Finance Committee member William Gamoke. "We should be out within four years, and if not, we're in deep, dark trouble."

Members of the county's Finance Committee earlier this week discussed cuts to capital improvement project funding -- which pays for vehicle replacement, road construction and other infrastructure -- as one way to balance the county's roughly $160 million budget.

The county uses its fund balance -- the difference between what officials budgeted and what was actually spent -- to pay for capital improvement projects.

Gamoke said taking money from the roughly $3 million available for 2012 capital improvements is not ideal, but might be the best option

Friday, July 15, 2011

Kansas City Public Library Initiative: "Too goody-two-shoes" sez Kansas City Star Editorial Board Member

Excerpt: And here are a few ideas on the chamber’s Top 20 list that are too narrow, too goody-two-shoes or probably too difficult to complete:

“Further develop the historic 18th and Vine Jazz District.”

“Establish Greater Kansas City as the Youth Sports Capital of the U.S.”

“Make Pre-K education universal and free of cost throughout the metro.”

“Support the Kansas City Public Library initiative, ‘Build a community of readers.’”  [Emphasis added]

“Brand Kansas City as ‘America’s Creative Crossroads.’"

You can reach the author of this commentary at

Library Director Candidates to Put Their Best Skype Faces On

Excerpt: The Waukee Public Library doesn’t have a new director — yet.

With three strong candidates, the Library Board of Trustees decided to interview them again using Skype.

“All three have qualities about them that are really strong,” said Shane Blanchard, the Waukee City Council liaison to the board.

Three candidates for the position — Louise Alcorn, Jill Pannkuk and Erik Surber — gave public presentations on June 30.

The Waukee Library Board of Trustees had planned to announce a new director this week. It held a closed meeting Friday night to further discuss the candidates

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 80, Franklin Avenue Branch of the Des Moines Public Library)

Library plans feast as branch reopens. (Des Moines Register, 6/13/2011)

Excerpt: The Des Moines Public Library Foundation is again collecting donations. But this time, it's looking for donated family recipes that will be compiled into a cookbook this summer.

The foundation is planning a grand-opening celebration for the renovated Franklin Avenue Library on Aug. 20, and it's asking surrounding neighborhood residents to submit recipes for the menu.

Following its renovation, the library will reopen with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 21, but the foundation is planning a special event with what organizers are calling a "moveable feast" the day before

For These Harry Potter Fans, It's the Books That Matter Most

Longtime Harry Potter fans say the written word still rule. (Salt Lake Tribune, 7/13/2011)

Excerpt: A group of teens and young adults who recently gathered to discuss the Potter phenomenon at Shelley Timothy’s Tooele home agreed that the written word reigns supreme in the Potterverse. "It was over when the book came out," said Dallin Taggart, 15 - not that he plans to skip the movie, mind you.

Timothy was a junior-high teacher when the first novels in the series were published, while she now teaches at Tooele High. She recalls how the books ignited students’ love of reading - years before the first film adaptation, and even before word-of-mouth turned midnight Potter releases into events that rivaled blockbuster movie premieres. "Kids who never read before were suddenly reading," she said

Pew Research: The Growth of Social Networking Website Users, 2008-2010

Social Networking Sites and Our Lives. (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 6/16/2011)

From the summary. The number of those using social networking sites has nearly doubled since 2008 and the population of SNS users has gotten older.

Wisconsin Legislative Council Information Memorandum: Voter ID Requirements

LINK to 4-page document

Coverage includes

  • Requirements for identification
    • Wisconsin driver's license
    • Wisconsin identification card
    • U.S. uniformed service identification card
    • U.S. passport
    • Certification of U.S. naturalization
    • Driving receipt
    • Identification card receipt
    • Wisconsin tribal identification card
    • University or college identification card
  • Exceptions to the requirement for identification
  • Verifying proof of identification
  • Failure to provide identification
  • Initial application of the identification requirement

Study: We remember fewer facts, more sources

Doesn't bode well for that next round of Trivial Pursuit.

Memory slips caught in the net. (Boston Globe, 7/15/2011)

Excerpt:  In the study published yesterday [link to abstract], researchers used a series of simple experiments to demonstrate how our minds have adapted to having search engines on our computers and smartphones. When research subjects believed that statements they typed on a computer were saved, they were more likely to forget the phrases than those who believed the material was deleted. When the participants typed a series of quirky and engaging facts - that an ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain, for example - they tended to forget the facts and instead remembered the mundane names of the folders they had saved the facts in.

“Our memories are changing,’’ said Daniel Wegner, a psychology professor at Harvard and the senior author of the study. “So we remember fewer facts and we remember more sources, which website you saw it on or whose e-mail to look in to find that. . . . It’s like having information at our fingertips makes us always go to our fingertips

Your Wisconsin State and Federal Tax Dollars, Program Revenue, and Segregated Funds At Work

Website will detail all state expenses over $100. (Wisconsin State Journal, 7/15/2011
The articles notes that Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch says there's no firm deadline for the information to be loaded to the website, but they are working "diligently" to provide spending details.  [Emphasis added.]

Who are "they"?  And where are "they" finding the time to do this?  Personally, I won't be satisfied until "they" scan and post each signed and dated invoice.

Perhaps -- surprise, surprise --  this is nothing more than posturing, as the disclaimer seems to hint.

The expenditure data presented on this page is unaudited financial information from the state's central accounting system. It is not presented in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or adjusted for state budgetary reporting. The state's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is prepared by the State Controller's Office in accordance with GAAP and available [here].

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Safeguarding American Families: Vote Yes to Save Troy Library

Group: Books will burn if library closes. (, 7/13/2011)

Excerpt:   A Michigan group supporting a proposed tax to save a library is putting up signs promising a book burning if the library closes.

The group, called Safeguarding American Families, or SAFE, registered June 20 with Oakland County as a ballot question committee in favor of an Aug. 2 ballot measure, which would levy a tax to provide dedicated funding to the Troy public library for five years, The Detroit News reported Wednesday.

The group's yard signs promise to hold a book burning party if the library closes, which would happen Aug. 5 if the ballot measure fails.

"Our agenda's pretty simple," the group posted on its Facebook page. "We want the library to close so we can have a book burning party. What's not to get?

Here's the text of an email from Safeguarding American Families that I received  minutes ago.  (The question marks subbing for apostrophes is as sent.)

Troy, Michigan

Re: Troy Library Book Burning Party

First of all, we apologize for not returning any calls or email requests for information regarding the book burning party. If you visit as of 6:30 PM today, our intentions should be clear.

Through the past two elections, the conversation about the future of Troy?s library has been a rational one. Dollars and cents, political posturing, stats and numbers. But a library means so much more to our community than that. It?s even more than a place to gather, study, or borrow books. A library is a place where we learn to love books. A place to celebrate books. A place to learn that books are so important, our community has an entire building dedicated to them.

This community has become numb to the rational conversation surrounding the library. It?s time to turn the rational conversation into an emotional one. To remind the people of Troy just how important the library is.

Today, people are talking. They?re talking online, talking on the phone, and talking over the fence. They?re talking about books and what it means to lose a library. And that?s exactly what we should be talking about.

This is not about politics. This is not about left or right. This is about a community on the verge of losing its library. A horrific thought to be sure.

Books burned or shrink wrapped. In the end the result is the same. If the vote fails, the doors will be locked and the books gone from sight. Out of sight, out of mind. We can?t kid ourselves into believing the library will reopen any time soon. If ever.

We encourage the passionate discussions to continue. And we hope it?s this passion that will get people to the polls on August 2 to vote YES and save our precious library.

Safeguarding American Families

From the lates version of the Book Burning Party Facebook page.

Related articles:
Troy mayor is upbeat.  (7/14/2011)
Oakland Press editorial.  (7/14/2011)
Book burning listed on Detroit News events calendar.  (7/12/2011)
Troy Chamber supports millage request for library.  (7/10/2011)
A half-million dollar library collection up in flames?  Not gonna happen.  (7/9/2011)
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)

U.S. Video Game Industry in a Slump

U.S. video game sales continue to slide.  (CNET News, 7/14/2011)

Excerpt:  Total video game industry sales in the country, which includes hardware, software, and accessories, fell 10 percent to $995 million, compared to June 2010. Software sales fell steepest--12 percent--to $469.5 million. Sales of accessories dived 11 percent to $158.9 million, while hardware sales slid 9 percent to $366.6 million.

In May, NPD reported that total U.S. game industry sales fell 14 percent to $743.1 million, the worst month in nearly five year

A Digital Dreamer -- from March 6, 2011 -- seems to be doing just that.

All in all, expect big things in the industry in 2011. While the next generation could be upon us within a few years, it’s still a very exciting time for the gamer and game developers themselves with current hardware and the refinements that have been added.

The Decline and Irrelevancy of Newsweek

Source of 2000 and 2009 circulation figures.  (Though Newsmax get the year Newsweek started wrong.  It's 1933, not 1963.)

Source of 2011 circulation figure.

Guess they're bankin' on a lot of newsstand sales.

Congratulations to Maxine Bleiweis, Connecticut Library Association 2011 Outstanding Librarian

Westport Library director's record: Story of transformation. (Albany Times-Union, 7/14/2011)

Excerpt:   When Maxine Bleiweis was 12 years old, she attended a Lions Club meeting in her hometown of Pascoag, R.I., that would shape the rest of her life. The service organization's gathering featured a guidance counselor, who explained that Bleiweis and other girls her age had three career options: teacher, nurse or librarian.

"I couldn't stand the sight of blood, I didn't have a whole lot of patience, so I figured I'd take the third, which was being a librarian," Bleiweis explains. "That's how it started in my mind. I'm just lucky that I found the right path that fit with my personality and abilities."

Almost 50 years later, that path has taken her to the top of her field. After 13 years as the director of the Westport Public Library, she was honored in May as the 2011 Outstanding Librarian by the Connecticut Library Association.

The accolade also reflects the library's rise to prominence as a community and state institution during Bleiweis' tenure. Since she arrived in 1998, daily circulation of library items has doubled to a current average of 2,700, making Westport the eighth-busiest library in New England. During that time, program attendance has also doubled, with library events now attracting an annual total of more than 50,000 people.

"The goal was to make this the best library any place," she says. "This community is a unique place that has a lot of resources to share with each other and with people outside of here.

Andrew Carnegie on Libraries

"A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert." 
--Andrew Carnegie

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 79, Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library)

Kerrville library closed for major upgrades. (San Antonio Express-News, 7/12/2011)

Excerpt:    Plans call for the first and second floors of the library, at 505 Water St., to be renovated and a playscape to be added, as well as a new parking lot at a nearby site that was recently cleared of a structure that housed a library-related group.

The library upgrades are being funded, in part, by a $1.5 million gift from Charles Butt and H-E-B, $500,000 in public donations, $200,000 from the Friends of the Library, a $150,000 grant from the Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation and $55,000 from the Hill Country Charity

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 77, Duarte Public Library)

Duarte library opens after $175,000 renovation (Pasadena Star-News, 7/13/2011

Excerpt:    The two-month refurbishment includes new self-service check-out machines, three new computers, a new circulation desk and upgraded landscaping outside.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich attended a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday at the library, located at 1301 Buena Vista Street, to mark the occasion

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 76, Hopewell Public Library)

MOMS Club helps library with renovation project. (Hopewell Valley News, 7/14/2011)

Excerpt: Over 40 years ago, several members of the Hopewell Valley Jaycee-ettes — the women’s auxiliary of the Hopewell Valley Jaycees (junior chamber of commence) — spearheaded a “revamping” project at the Hopewell Public Library on East Broad Street.

Susan Fowler, formerly of Hopewell Township, was president of the Jaycee-ettes at the time and remembers well the time and effort she and others put into the project, which included the creation of the Children’s Room on the library’s second floor.

Other work included “weeding out all sorts of trash, replacing old books and rebinding others,” ordering books for the new children’s section and implementing the use of the Dewey Decimal System (a system of library classification), she said.

What became the Children’s Room was, in the 1960s, a “junk room,” used primarily for storage, Ms. Fowler said Monday.

In 1968, for their work, the Jaycee-ettes were given the Herbert S. Rockwell Recognition Award — presented for several years to groups and/or individuals for outstanding community service. The recognition dinners usually were held at the former Hopewell Valley American Legion Post 339 home on Van Dyke Road.

Recently, in 2011, another group — the Hopewell Valley MOMS Club — helped with a major renovation project at the same library, with a focus on the Children’s Room

Cell Phones and Brain Tumors: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Vestibular Schwannomas

Study finds no link between brain tumors, cell phones.  (CNET News, 7/14/2011)

Excerpt:    Reuters reported this week on a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that found that people who used a cell phone for 11 to 15 years were no more likely to develop an acoustic neuroma, a non-cancerous brain tumor, than people who have been using cell phones for either a shorter period of time or who have never used a cell phone.

Related post:
Cell phones and hip phones.  (10/27/2009)

The Netflix Backlash Latte

Backlash grows against Netflix price hike. (San Jose Mercury News, 7/13/2011)

Excerpt: In the space of a day, Netflix (NFLX) seems to have transformed itself from one of the best-loved companies to one of the most hated -- at least among thousands of its customers.

After the Los Gatos-based DVD and streaming video company announced Tuesday that it was raising rates as much as 60 percent, tens of thousands of disgruntled subscribers flooded social networking sites with complaints and threats.

"Sorry Netflix, but you're losing another customer of many years," read one of the more civil posts.

Because of a growing chorus of sentiments like that,the price hike is beginning to look like the company's first major misstep -- and one that could damage its business as consumers consider alternatives.

One analyst said the company might be forced to retreat, but Netflix held its ground, with a spokesman comparing the rate increase to the cost of "a latte."

Troy Michigan Mayor is Upbeat in State of the City Address....and Endorses a "Yes" Vote on Library

Troy Mayor upbeat and optimistic in State of the City address. (Oakland Press, 7/14/2011)

Excerpt:   Marred by the past year’s revenue shortfalls, massive layoffs, reductions in city services and infighting among city council members and residents, Troy Mayor Louise Schilling delivered a remarkably upbeat and positive State of the City address Wednesday evening.

Schilling, who addressed about 80 people at the Troy Community Center, focused on the city's accountability.

“The City of Troy is indeed taking control by taking on a massive restructuring by taking on best practices through consolidation and shared services, transparency and accountability and reducing employee benefits,” Schilling said.

Schilling made particular note of the elimination of 150 full-time city jobs over the past six years, which has reduced the city's workforce by 30 percent. She also remarked that nearly all of the city's unionized employees have agreed to take 10 percent in concessions.


“I'm confident our residents want to continue to use our library,” Schilling said. “I endorse and encourage a 'yes' vote.”

Related articles:
Oakland Press editorial.  (7/14/2011)
Book burning listed on Detroit News events calendar.  (7/12/2011)
Troy Chamber supports millage request for library.  (7/10/2011)
A half-million dollar library collection up in flames?  Not gonna happen.  (7/9/2011)
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)

Oakland Press Editorial: "Those promoting this 'book burning' should be ashamed"

Editorial: There’s no excuse for book burnings. (Oakland Press, 7/13/2011)

Excerpt Among the group’s few tweets was one issued just before the Fourth of July. It read: “When you’re lighting those fireworks, think how much more fun it will be to light all those books!...”

We’re not sure if those behind this really intend to burn books or if this is some sick joke. If they’re being sarcastic or trying for a bit of levity, they’re failing horribly. There’s nothing funny about burning books. If they are serious, then there’s even more to be concerned about in Troy.

The city has been a mecca for upscale families but like all municipalities in Oakland County, it is facing tight budgets and some tough decisions.

Unfortunately, the public library has been taught in the middle of a politically charged debate over how to balance the budget

Related articles:
Book burning listed on Detroit News events calendar.  (7/12/2011)
Troy Chamber supports millage request for library.  (7/10/2011)
A half-million dollar library collection up in flames?  Not gonna happen.  (7/9/2011)
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)

Sussex and Lisbon Continue to Work Toward New Joint Library Agreement

Library agreement pending. Sussex, Lisbon may discuss new funding formula. (Sussex Sun, 7/12/2011)

Excerpt:   Lippert said a new agreement may create a funding formula in which the two communities would contribute to library operations based on their respective property values, population, and library usage.

The proposed formula is similar to one used by several other jointly owned community libraries in the state including Mequon and Thiensville, Lippert added.

The formula, if adopted, would appear to strike a compromise between the two communities and the Library Board

Klager asked the communities last year to begin negotiations on a new agreement since the existing agreement's terms and conditions change in 2014, after bonds for the library building are paid off. After 2014, the agreement will continue from year to year with either community having the ability to terminate the agreement.

Klager said unless that clause is changed, future planning for the library is "problematic" because there would be no assurances the library can survive from one year to the next

Related articles: 
Sussex, Lisbon:  Local politics and library negotiations.  (5/28/2011)
Negotiation to continue after information-gathering process.  (10/8/2010)
And the beat goes on.  (10/4/2010)
Differences of opinion of library funding continue.  (9/18/2010)
Leaders of Village of Sussex, Town of Lisbon clash over funding for library. (8/26/2010)
Will annexation resolution interfere with negotiations over joint library agreement?  (8/4/2010)
Proposal to change library funding formula gets cool reception.  (6/7/2010)
Town of Lisbon Chairman proposes new funding formula for library.  (5/31/2010)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Where's the Surprise?

Let's pair these two Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel headlines from July 13, 2011.

Gov. Walker, lawmakers fare poorly in poll.
59% disapprove of Walker's handling of job as Governor.
56% disapprove of Senate and Assembly Republicans handling of their jobs. 

 Surprisingly high turnout in Democratic Senate primaries.
"Some observers" (see below) expected a low turnout.  As University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist Charles Franklin noted, the turnout in some Senate districts was "gigantic", at least for a time of the year when elections are considered as rare as a snowfall.

I guess the Journal-Sentinel would be surprised, as this is what the editorial and news staffs have been doing the past 6 months.

Rockford Public Library Circulates 0.05 Ebooks per Capita in 1st Half of 2011

It's curious that the RPL Facts & Figures page offers no circulation numbers. And 14,802 cardholders out of a population of 150,115?  Yikes!

Rockford Public Library expanding e-book role as demand rises. (Rockford Register-Star, 7/8/2011)

Excerpt: A stark image of a gravestone flashed on the screen as Frank Novak gave trustees and staff a presentation on the Rockford Public Library’s future last month.

The popularity of Kindle, Nook and other e-readers is growing, the library director said, and the city’s municipal library system will die if it doesn’t move quickly to accommodate patrons’ increasing desire for electronic books.

Electronic material circulation has surged since the library began offering e-books four years ago, going from 759 in 2007 to 7,544 through June this year. Industry giant announced in May that since April 1, it had sold 105 e-books for every 100 hardcover and paperback books.

Novak believes the library must adapt to meet patrons’ growing demand for e-books.

“We have two options,” he said during his presentation. “One is do nothing and perish. ... (The other is) to modify the way we do business. Honestly, if we are not relevant to the community, then the community is not obligated to fund us.”

Other area library leaders are facing the same challenge. The Cherry Valley Public Library District has already surpassed its 2010 e-book circulation this year with 166 checkouts last year compared with 252 this year.

Ida Public Library Expansion Plans on Hold

Economy pauses expansion plans for Ida Public Library. (Rockford Register-Star, 7/12/2011)

Excerpt: The library has been working on plans for a 25,000-square-foot addition and to better use current space since 2009. Its board hired Ollmann Ernest Architects in December, and the library most recently acquired land for the expansion this spring: the former First Church of Christ, Scientist building at 312 N. State St., which was acquired Feb. 28, and the building at 111 W. Hurlbut Ave., which was closed March 31.

Library officials approved the use of endowment and memorial funds to buy two properties neighboring the library and expect to continue researching whether the two buildings could be integrated into an expansion or need to be torn down when funding for the project is available. Before the purchase, the library had been surrounded by buildings and its parking lot, with little open land to expand.

While expansion is still something to be pursued, it will take fundraising, additional donations and more time to see it become a reality, said Ida Library Board President Paul Grover

Related post:
Reduced hours, frozen positions @ Belvidere's Ida Public Library. (4/9/2011)

Wisconsin Legislative Redistricting: Abandoned Principles, Interactive Maps, Bill Text, and More

Not to mention unhappy local officials.

Community officials blast Wisconsin redistricting plan. Fox Valley leaders say switch creates extra work. (Appleton Post-Crescent, 7/13/2011)

Excerpt:    Historically, redistricting was a bottom-up process that started locally and was finished by the Legislature. Counties used census numbers to draw county board district boundaries. Cities, villages and towns developed wards based on the county districts.  [Emphasis added.]

A bottom-up process?  Doesn't that have something to do with "the most effective government is government closest to the people".  Principles schminciples.

Then the state created its district maps using these local boundaries.

Kara Homan, a planner with the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, said counties and municipalities have been working on redistricting for about six months.

"Currently the legislation may require them to redo a lot of what's already been done," she said.

Dan Thompson, executive director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, said the new state boundaries could cause problems, like county board districts straddling municipal ward districts.

Included at the Legislative Redistricting website.

Interactive map (screenshot below) shows this drunken bike ride around the west and south sides of Madison.

Link to text of bill.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach posted this message on his Facebook page within the past hour. So the lawyer billing us 25 grand a month for redistricting and the main author of the map are both no shows in committee today.

Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco Calls Out Gun Lobby Paranoia

Hahn-Huey Election: Numbers Crossed, Deep Pockets, and Lemonade Stands

In California, a Not-So-Special Performance for Democrats, by Nate Silver.  (The New York Times, 7/13/2011)

Excerpt:   Ms. Hahn’s 9-percentage-point margin of victory, however, is underwhelming in a district where Democrats have an 18-point registration advantage.

But then I read this in the same paper on the previous day. addition to the 12 percentage-point Democratic edge in voter registration in the district...

Of course, it also helps when you have deep pockets.  Challenger Craig "Stop the Insaniity" Huey spent $900,000 of his own money, probably because the GOP paid him lip service only.

Netflix Boosts Its Rates to Cover Rising Costs

Netflix raises mail, Internet video rates. (Boston Globe, 7/13/2011)

Excerpt: When Netflix unveiled the streaming-only option, it also raised the rates for its most popular DVD rental plans by $1 to $3 per month. Those plans included unlimited online streaming, as had been the case since Netflix began sending video over high-speed Internet in 2007. That means longtime subscribers who want both entertainment options will get their second price increase in eight months.

Netflix’s willingness to risk alienating subscribers signals that it needs to bring in more money to cover its rising costs.

The company’s earnings would probably be squeezed if it continued to cover the overhead for buying and shipping the discs while also spending heavily to license more video for its streaming library. In the first three months of this year, Netflix spent $192 million on streaming rights after pouring $406 million into the library last year.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

That was 2000, this is 2011

The Library Is Closed, but You Can Still Get Books. (The New York Times, 7/9/2011)

Excerpt: At San Jose’s Seven Trees Library, books are coming and going, even though the building is closed.

One of four new or soon-to-be-finished branches of the San Jose Public Library system, Seven Trees was completed last fall. It has new shelves and a technology center — but no staff to run it until the financially pressed city can find a way to pay salaries.

The four libraries amount to 68,000 square feet of library space, the product of a bond measure that passed in 2000 at the height of the Internet bubble. None of the libraries currently have a budget to hire employees.

Historypin: Go Ahead and Introduce Yourself

Link to the website. (You'll need a Google account to sign in.)

I can see myself spending a lot of time here. Hope lots of other folks plan to add content.

Goshen, New York: Years of Planning and Still No New Library

Goshen library considers move to 1887 building. (The Chronicle, 7/7/2011)

Excerpt: The current building must limit the number of people allowed downstairs, where children’s classes and workshops are held. Children in wheelchairs cannot participate in library programs because the downstairs area is not accessible. Wheelchairs also can’t fit between the narrow aisles of books upstairs. Every year the library has to apply for a variance to stay open because it doesn’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires wheelchair accessibility.

Years of planning and still no library.

The 1887 building lease is only the latest idea in ten years of planning for an expanded library. The library had secured a $600,000 loan to buy property in the Salesian park, where the former board had hoped to put up a new building for $19 million. But a 2008 referendum overwhelmingly rejected the plan, and the library is still paying off the loan

Land o' Goshen.

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 75, St. Louis Public Library)

Do Your Local Officials Subscribe to These Beliefs?

1   Ebooks now outsell print books.  (Round 2 of "Why do we need libraries?")
2.  Public library access computers are used primarily by the homeless and other "undesirables".

Best to find out NOW --  before your municipality and county begin their 2012 budget development in earnest.

Library's hand is out for dying industry. (Indianapolis Star letter to editor, 7/8/2011)

Excerpt: Since Amazon announced last year that eBooks have begun to outsell hardcover books, even large retailers like Borders have begun to shift their focus to the online business. Why should taxpayers subsidize a dying industry?

Thanks to sloppy reporting and even sloppier reading, this Amazon announcement has been widely misinterpreted.

In response to another argument, instead of being the center of education or culture, today the library is often nothing more than a publicly funded hangout and computer lab for the homeless. Again and again we as taxpayers are asked to shell out a few extra dollars, in response to a Chicken Little-style rhetoric to stave off the end of culture and Western civilization as we know it.

LINK to 8-page report (Timely myth-busting.)

Be sure they have the correct information.