Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 94, East Lake Community Library)

Palm Harbor, Florida

Mystery of the Time Capsule @ the Washington County Free Library

Washington County Free Library's capsule mystery: It's about time. (Hagerstown Herald-Mail, 7/28/2011)

Excerpt:     The latest mystery at the Washington County Free Library in downtown Hagerstown isn't in the pages of a book.

It's a time capsule, with unknown contents.

Even a computerized axial tomography or CAT scan at the hospital hasn't solved the mystery.

Mary Baykan, the library's director, said a crew working on the expansion and renovation of the downtown branch on South Potomac Street found a container in the spring.

Library officials didn't know what it was, so they checked their records to see if a time capsule was mentioned.

Baykan said she enlisted  the help of Carol J. Appenzellar, who works on special historical projects for the library.

Appenzellar said library records showed a time capsule — but not in the spot on the property where it was found, at the corner of the building, close to Antietam and Potomac streets.

Appenzellar wrote a report on what library officials knew:

  • The time capsule was found on April 13.
  • The container is a copper or alloy box, 14 3/4 inches by 11 3/4 inches by 4 1/2 inches.
  • It was placed in the library building on Aug. 17, 1966.
  • The corners are sealed with metal stripping. There are signs of rust and corrosion. Air and water appear to have gotten inside because the corner seals have deteriorated.

Related post:
Ebooks, Netflix, and library building projects, part 40.  (5/24/2011)

Sounds like another digital divide in the making

Young readers devouring ebooks. (Boston Globe, 7/30/2011)

A cumbersome but more accurate headline might read, "Young Readers of Parents Whose Socioeconomic Profile Fits Boston Globe Readers......"

ExcerptFor now, the rise of e-readers among children will depend on how tech-savvy their parents are and whether they can afford the latest gadgets.

Follow Raymond Taffora's Money to the Attorney General's Office

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker approves up to $500,000 for private legal fees on collective bargaining bill. (Appleton Post-Crescent, 7/29/2011)

Excerpt:    Walker signed a special counsel contract with the Madison office of Michael Best & Friedrich on Feb. 7, four days before unveiling the bill, public records show.

The contract authorized payment at the rate of up to $300 an hour, to a total of $100,000.

Additional tasks, including two recent federal lawsuits challenging the bill, have since been assigned under the contract.

Cullen Werwie, spokesman for the Republican governor, said the contract was amended a few days ago and "the maximum was adjusted to $500,000."

Signing the contract for Michael Best & Friedrich was attorney Raymond Taffora, a month after he left his job with the state attorney general's office, which usually represents the state on legal challenges.

Werwie said the firm was hired "at the request of the attorney general's office"
to review the budget-repair bill and provide other legal services the office could not. 
[Emphasis added.]

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 93, Dyer-Schererville Branch, Lake County Public Library)

Library improvements celebrated. (Northwest Indiana Times, 7/23/2011)

ExcerptImprovements to the building include new floor tile and entrance foyer, wireless Internet, new circulation and reference desk, remodeled children's programming room, new carpet, and a new heating and air conditioning system.

Indiana Telcos Do a Little Whining of Their Own

AT&T dialing up legislative mission.  (Northwest Indiana Times, 7/28/2011)

Excerpt:   The Indiana Telecommunications Association will be involved in formulating legislation on the carrier-of-last-resort issue, association President John Koppin said.

He acknowledged there may have to be some provision made if there are isolated pockets left in Indiana where residents truly don't have a choice. Allowing state regulators to pick one carrier for that area or putting all such areas up for bid as a block may be possible solutions, Koppin said.

The second item on AT&T's legislative to-do list involves the I-Light network run by Indiana University, with more than three dozen Indiana colleges and universities as members. The super-high-speed fiber optic network can transmit huge bundles of data at speeds of up to 10 gigabit.

It started as a network to connect colleges and universities involved in data-intensive research but is expanding its outreach to schools, hospitals, government and even businesses, Fleetwood said.

He argued that outreach represents unfair competition for AT& T and other telecom providers because as a university-based system it receives state subsidies and tax exemptions

Friday, July 29, 2011

Libraries Keep Your Brain Engaged All Year Round

This is Your Brain on Summer.  (The New York Times, 7/28/2011)

Some good advice from Jeff Smink, vice president for policy for the National Summer Learning Association:   Schools could also do a better job of partnering with complementary summer programs run by libraries, parks and youth employment agencies.

(IMLS Report) Opportunity for All: How Library Policies and Practices Impact Public Internet Access

From the Executive Summary: Opportunity for All: How Library Policies and Practices Impact Public Internet Access is the second report from the U.S. IMPACT Study research into the users and uses of public access technology in public libraries. It highlights the ways in which public libraries can maximize this critical contribution to their communities at the same time as it addresses related policy priorities at the national level.

The U.S. IMPACT Study team visited four public libraries representing a range of community characteristics and operational environments. These sites were selected to account for the types of library environments most patrons encounter in U.S. public libraries as well as the range of issues and concerns faced by library administrators, librarians, and other staff in providing public technology.

Interviews with users, library staff, and community stakeholders, including people from community-based organizations (CBOs), government agencies, schools, and library funders, provide the foundation to discuss the wide range of internal and external factors that affect the efficiency and effectiveness of public access technology services. The following recommendations for good practice were drawn from the interviews with a wide range of local stakeholders

  • Integrate technology services with other library services.
  • Activity-based budgeting can help account for the cost of public access services.
  • Provide ongoing technical training for library staff.
  • Formalize relationships with community-based organizations.
  • Establish a set of common indicators for public library technology services.
  • Use data and stories to communicate the value of public access technology.
  • Leverage library technology resources to enhance broadband adoption and support.

Government's Role in Broadband : Serving the Public Good

Serving the public good?
Not a consideration of the majority party right now.

The Proper Role of Government in Broadband. (Community Broadband Networks, 7/29/2011)

Excerpt from a presentation given by Andrea Casselton on October 17, 2007:    Government’s role is to take into account the public good. Just as government decides where highways, roads and streets go to serve the public good through careful planning, design, implementation and maintenance, the same approach should apply to broadband. To elaborate, government plans and designs the nation’s road infrastructure, frequently overseeing the construction of it by private companies and then manages the finished product. This infrastructure serves the public good, including the delivery and transport of private commerce as well as ensuring that we were able to travel on a series of federal, state, county and local roads to this meeting today in Eagan.

This same approach can be used to ensure that broadband serves the public good. Just as we would not leave the design of our road systems to the trucking industry, because each company has a limited need, and understandably so, therefore government has taken a leading role in the nation’s road infrastructure to ensure that it serves everyone’s needs

Close the library for a 16-month renovation and lay off 200 employees? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Library rethinks closing for renovations. (New York Newsday, 7/26/2011)

Excerpt:    After a raucous meeting Monday night packed with irate residents, the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library's board of trustees said it might back off plans to close the library this fall for a 16-month renovation and lay off most of the library's 200 employees.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Griffiths/King: Public libraries are essential to all sectors of society


José-Marie Griffiths/Donald W. King: Public libraries are particularly essential in recessions.  (Providence Journal, 7/27/2011)

Excerpt:   Contrary to the popular myth that public libraries serve primarily the recreational needs of their communities, the overwhelming majority (over 70 percent) of visits to public libraries are for non-recreational purposes. For example:
• Nearly a quarter of adult visits are to address personal or family-related needs, such as help with health and wellness issues, personal finance, how to make or fix something, or to keep current with news or find jobs.
• The proportion of visits that are job-related increased from 3 percent in 2009 to 11 percent in 2010. Most public libraries now provide access to jobs databases, civil-service-exam materials, software to help create résumés, and other employment-related information. They help users complete online job applications and offer helpful classes.
• About one in eight visits is by a small business — and even some large ones — to conduct research and to seek information and support regarding legal, financial and operational concerns. Public libraries have often helped small businesses get started.
• Some one-third of visits are for educational needs — and not just for children doing homework or adults continuing their education. Teachers often use public libraries for their continued education or to keep up with professional literature; they also rely on public libraries to prepare for class or lectures.

Be sure to share your local library success stories with your officials -- local, county, state, and federal -- on an ongoing basis, not just at budget time.

Toronto Councillor Doug Ford Goes Hyperbolic

He appears, in more ways than one, to be Canada's Chris Christie.

Library locations source.
Tim Horton's source.

The Toronto Public Library has 99 locations.  I wasn't able to pinpoint how many Tim Horton's are located within the city, but I'm guessing that it would win the local contest, too.

If you've never eaten a Tim Horton's doughnut, it's a hole in your life you need to fill.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette Averts Its Eyes from the Increase in Same-Sex Couples

Green Bay Press-Gazette, 7/28/2011.

Excerpt: The data shows the number of traditional families made up of married couples with children in Northeastern Wisconsin in many cases surpassed the state average, which was 30.19 percent of total family households and 19.4 percent of total households.

In Brown County, for example, 21.41 percent of all households were traditional families, consisting of a husband and wife with children of their own, according to the census. When examining family households in Brown County, 33 percent were traditional families compared with 24.05 percent in Door County, a popular retirement community

Wisconsin State Journal, 7/29/2011.

Excerpt: The number of same-sex couples in Wisconsin jumped nearly 66 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to federal census figures released Thursday. Not all of those couples publicly celebrated their union, as Feyen and Edgar did, and the state doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry after voters approved a 2006 referendum limiting marriage to a man and a woman.

But census figures show the urge to share a life and a house seems to be growing stronger for gay couples here and nationally; the trend is coupled with evolving views in society.

“I think social acceptance has moved beyond the coasts and urban areas and into more suburban and rural areas,” said Gary Gates, demographer for the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law at UCLA

Thursday, July 28, 2011

City of Madison 2012 Budget Process: Online and In Living Color

What's the Matter with Wisconsin? (Part 2)

She certainly deserves consideration.

Waco, Texas: Home of Dr. Pepper

Soda and stories at the Dr Pepper Museum. (Los Angeles Times, 7/31/2011)

Excerpt: The drugstore is long gone, but a life-size animatronic re-creation of its pharmacist greets visitors after they enter the Dr Pepper Museum, housed in an old red-brick bottling plant in downtown Waco. The drink was made and bottled here from 1906 until 1965, when the popularity of cans made the plant obsolete.

On the building's three floors, guests can view tens of thousands of soft-drink artifacts not only from Dr Pepper but also from other brands, including more obscure ones such as Kickapoo Joy Juice. Besides old bottling machines and delivery trucks, the museum features exhibits that pay tribute to good ol' capitalism

For the armchair traveler, there's a book on the topic of Dr. Pepper.  (Owned by the Wisconsin State Historical Society Library.)

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 92, Diamond Bar Library)

Diamond Bar begins renovation of $18.9 million City Hall, library complex. (San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 7/27/2011)

ExcerptThe project was paid out of the city's cash reserves.

"Diamond Bar has been very prudent fiscally over the 22 years we've been a city," Herrera said. "We were in an extremely fortunate position."

The new county library, which is currently at 1061 S. Grand Ave., will also more than double in size.

"The county of Los Angeles is proud to be a partner with the city of Diamond Bar on this project," county Supervisor Don Knabe said at a press conference Wednesday morning.

The county contributed $5 million to its portion of the project.

The city will lease the library space to the the county for $1 per year, Knabe said.

The city will likely get to move in to its facilities by December, officials said. The library is expected to be complete in the fall of 2012

The Public Library: Fee vs. Free

The Public Library:  An old-fashioned concept 
with deep roots in thousands of U.S. communities

Why We Need Free Public Libraries More Than Ever. (The Atlantic, 7/27/2011)

Excerpt: In short, the small amount of additional revenue results in a much less effective use of the public support. With a fixed investment in a service that benefits those who use it and their community the more they use it, you want them to use it as much as possible. Seems perfectly clear, right?

Now, as to the notion that we need to stop thinking like it's 1900. Libraries stopped thinking like it was 1900 many years ago, and are now providing users with access to online digital resources (and the really valuable ones are not free) e-books and 24/7 online access to library services. And national surveys show that the public considers public libraries the most effectively run of all municipal services.

Libraries provide all residents with unlimited access to the reading and information resources that will mean the difference between success and failure for Swampscott residents as individuals, Swampscott as a town, and the United States as a nation. They are supported by a very modest contribution of public tax funds, and provide a fabulous return on this investment by any measure.

Sure, the library is an old fashioned concept. So is democracy. So is equal opportunity. So is getting your facts right

Related post:
Nickeling and diming library users:  Not a path to sustainable funding.  (7/23/2011)

Troy Michigan Residents to Vote on Library Millage on Tuesday, August 2

Troy residents rally for, against library millage. (Oakland Press, 7/28/2011)

Excerpt: While opinions differed on the millage, all agreed that the library is a vital service to the community. Funding it, however, continues to stir debate.

The city is asking voters to approve a five-year, 0.7-mill tax. This is the city’s third attempt to levy an additional tax rate to keep the library open.

“At some point, it’s insulting,” said audience member Barbara Harrell before the town hall. Harrell does not support the millage and said it’s disrespectful for the city to continue pushing millages. “We all want the library; it’s a great value to the city, but I believe this is a manufactured crisis.”

Harrell, along with others who do not support the millage, say there is money in the general fund to keep the library running.

Panelists supporting the millage, including Troy Mayor Pro-Tem Mary Kerwin, said the city anticipates decreased funding in revenue sharing and taxable income, stating that the city cannot use monies from the rainy day fund for the library with the projected economic outlook.

She noted that other city services, including the aquatic center and parks, are able to generate additional funds, whereas the library’s only source is from fees and rentals, which doesn’t generate enough

This is a door that some people want to open wider.

Related posts:
Patrons speak up for their library.  (7/24/2011)
Safeguarding American Families:  Vote yes to save Troy Library.  (7/14/2011)
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. &

Detroit Works Project

Detroit services to depend on neighborhood condition. More stable areas to be treated differently than distressed ones. (Detroit News, 7/28/2011)

Excerpt:   It calls for dividing Detroit into three categories based on a neighborhood's health — steady, transitional and distressed — and concentrating certain services in those areas. For example, building demolitions would be more common in "distressed" and "transitional" areas, while healthier "steady" neighborhoods would get more code enforcement and illegal dumping cleanups. The new deployment of city services will take effect in two weeks.

Mayor Bob Ryan, Sheboygan's Ambassador

Old version of mayor's webpage.
In Ryan's world, there's no need to promote the library 
as a feature of beautiful downtown Sheboygan.

Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan asked to resign by council. (Sheboygan Press, 7/27/2011)

Excerpt:   Ryan, an admitted alcoholic whose drinking has come under scrutiny multiple times since he took office in 2009, has confessed to having a "couple drinks" during the weekend while staying in Elkhart Lake.

But witnesses say Ryan was an obnoxious regular for several days at Elkhart Lake nightspots, drinking from mid-afternoon until close, while being rude and vulgar, especially toward women. Witnesses say he passed out at least once, that bartenders had to stop serving him, he was seen getting into his car after drinking and he was involved in a fistfight at one tavern

New, "Walkerized" version -- "open for business" -- of mayor's webpage.

Related posts:
But in the long run, action will speak louder than words.  (3/9/2011)
Mayor miffed at outpouring of support for library?  (11/30/2010)
Mayor in hot water again.  (5/1/2010)

High Praise from Post-Crescent Columnist Bill Coan for the Appleton Public LIbrary

Library pushes ahead to enrich community. (Appleton Post-Crescent, 7/27/2011)

Excerpt: In the chaos that has engulfed the library since then, almost 90,000 items have disappeared from the library's shelves and mysteriously reappeared on the shelves of private homes all across Appleton.

Rortvedt and other library officials seem resigned to the disappearances, and with good reason. Last year, a total of 1.5 million items temporarily disappeared from the library's shelves.

The problem is caused by the library's failure to regulate access to its collection. Members of the public are routinely allowed into the library without regard to their age, income or education.

The problem is exacerbated by the library's practice of hosting each year hundreds of programs that contribute to Appleton's economic, social and cultural vitality. Last year, such programs attracted 40,000 attendees, and not a single attendee was screened or turned away.

Book referenced by Coan.
New York Times book review, 2/11/2011.

Excerpt: Rortvedt is a dedicated, articulate and visionary leader with her feet planted firmly on the ground. Citizens who doubt this should go to the Appleton Public Library website,, and choose "About the Library," choose "Fine Print Newsletter," click the March-April newsletter and then read Rortvedt's article, "Think Beyond the Books."

Citizens also should feel lucky that Rortvedt is supported by a capable Board of Trustees, by a group of interested citizens known as the Friends of the Appleton Public Library and by the generous philanthropy of Tom and Renee Boldt and others

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

News Release: Madison Public Library's Central Library to Relocate in November

In late November 2011, Madison's Central Library will temporarily relocate to 126 S. Hamilton St. to accommodate the construction of the new Central Library.

The Central Library, currently at 201 W. Mifflin St., will relocate for approximately two years until the new Central Library is complete. Construction is expected to begin on the new Central Library in January 2012 and the new library will open in 2013. The library will be closed for a brief period while moving from the Mifflin Street location to the Hamilton Street location.

The temporary Central Library at 126 S. Hamilton St. will house a smaller collection consisting mostly of new and popular materials. The smaller space will accommodate 22 public computers and the library will continue to offer reference and checkout services during all open hours. The temporary library will be open Monday-Thursday 9 a.m - 9 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. but will not have Sunday hours October-April. The temporary library will have limited seating and no meeting room availability to the public.

The majority of the Central Library's collection will be housed off-site but available through the library's online catalog and reserves system during the temporary relocation. Reserved items from the Central Library's collection will be transferred for pickup any Madison Public Library location or any library in the South Central Library System.

Building designs and project updates are available on the library's web site at Exact closing dates will be announced in the fall of 2011.

Designing a new central library:  "Everyone has to feel comfortable and safe here".  (11/17/2010)
Interview with principal architect of Central Library project.  (11/5/2010)
Design development juggling acts for a renovated Madison Central Library. (10/15/2010)
Conceptual designs for new Central Library.  (10/25/2010)
One possible message:  Don't settle for less.  (8/5/2010)
Downsizing the Madison Central Library renovation project. (7/17/2010)
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)
Keeping the dream of a new Madison Central Library alive. (3/31/2010)
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)
Three former mayors support new Madison Central Library. (10/5/2010)
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)

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 8 Updated, Loveland Public Library)

Loveland Public Library readying for changes. (Reporter-Herald, 7/27/2011

Excerpt: The construction of the new addition of the library, at Fourth Street and Adams Avenue, will allow workers there to move materials and equipment into it. As that occurs, several older parts of the library will be closed for renovation.

Starting Aug. 8, the teen fiction collection will be unavailable. On Aug. 9, the children's section will close, meaning toddler and preschool storytimes will be canceled for that week. Humpty Dumpty storytimes will be canceled Aug. 12.

Other closures include the computer lab on Aug. 10, but the wireless Internet service will continue.

Library officials hope to have the collections and services open to the public Aug. 15 in the new addition.

In October, work will begin to renovate the existing library space, with completion expected in December or January

Related post:
Part 1. (4/14/2011)

What's the Matter with Wisconsin?

I suppose we could start here.

The Rise of Spatial Humanities

Digital Maps Are Giving Scholars the Historical Lay of the Land.  (The New York Times, 7/27/2011)

  Advanced technology similar to Google Earth, MapQuest and the GPS systems used in millions of cars has made it possible to recreate a vanished landscape. This new generation of digital maps has given rise to an academic field known as spatial humanities. Historians, literary theorists, archaeologists and others are using Geographic Information Systems — software that displays and analyzes information related to a physical location — to re-examine real and fictional places like the villages around Salem, Mass., at the time of the witch trials; the Dust Bowl region devastated during the Great Depression; and the Eastcheap taverns where Shakespeare’s Falstaff and Prince Hal caroused.

Speeding Up the Publishing Life Cycle

Paperback Publishers Quicken Their Pace. (The New York Times, 7/27/2011)

Excerpt:   The entire publishing life cycle has sped up in recent years. Hardcovers have less time to prove themselves in bookstores, since retailers tend to move them off the shelves more quickly than they used to. E-book sales are usually strong in the initial period after the publication date but do not spike again after the paperback comes out, said Terry Adams, the digital and paperback publisher for Little, Brown & Company.

And for our home audience.

Did you have a nice nap?

Proposed Wisconsin Post Office Closings

Forget one possible option in a transition to a "Village Post Office".  Most of these communities are "un-libraried".

Related post:

For-profit, privately run public libraries: anecdotal vs. actual evidence

Prospect of privatizing Toronto’s library sparks outcry. (Toronto Globe and Mail, 7/21/2011)

Excerpt: The concept of for-profit, privately run libraries is fairly new. But in the United States it is has become an increasingly popular option for cash-strapped cities, and according to the Library Workers Union Local 4948, Toronto could be next.

Here's the actual evidence:
Public libraries in the United States

Still a teeny-tiny market share for LSSI.

Toronto Councillor Uses His Position to Bully Margaret Atwood

Library cuts will happen ‘in a heartbeat,’ Doug Ford says. (Toronto Globe and Mail, 7/26/2011)

Excerpt:     Doug Ford [doing his best Brian Dennehy impression], the blunt-talking Toronto councillor and brother to the mayor, is ratcheting up the cost-cutting rhetoric at city hall, vowing to support library closings and dismissing the efforts of a CanLit legend to spare branches from the chopping block.

Mr. Ford, a rookie councillor who has quickly gained a reputation for headline-grabbing statements, said Tuesday he would close a library in his ward “in a heartbeat,” characterizing a growing movement to save branches backed by Margaret Atwood as an “over-reaction,” led by “library groups.”

“She’s not down here. She’s not dealing with the problem,” he went on to say. “Tell her to go run in the next election and get democratically elected.”

The councillor’s remarks came on the same day that people packed a meeting of the Toronto Library Board to discuss the proposed cuts to the city’s 98 branches, with the overflow crowd following the debate on closed-circuit television in a room next door.

FBI Nabs "America's Thievin' Historian"

Bail set for historian charged with theft in Md. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/26/2011)

Excerpt: The FBI is unraveling a yearlong plot by two New York City men to sell valuable historical documents they stole from archives around the country, a Baltimore prosecutor said Tuesday at bail hearings related to the alleged theft of $6 million in documents.

Bail was set at $500,000 for presidential historian Barry Landau, 63, and $750,000 for his 24-year-old assistant Jason Savedoff. Both had been held without bail since their arrest on charges of theft over $100,000 earlier this month. Their attorneys dispute the charges.

The men were arrested July 9 after a Maryland Historical Society employee saw Savedoff take a document out of the library, prosecutor Tracy Varda said. When officers arrived at the historical society, Savedoff was in the men's restroom and shreds of paper were seen in the toilet after he left, leading investigators to believe he may have flushed documents, she said.

Investigators found 60 historical documents, many of them signed out by Landau, inside a locker Savedoff was using at the library, Varda said. They include papers signed by President Abraham Lincoln worth $300,000 and presidential inaugural ball invitations and programs worth $500,000

Related post:
Self-titled "America's Presidential Historian" accused of document theft.  (7/17/2011)

Main Line Independent Bookseller Barely Holds On

Photo credit:  Christopher Smith at Radnor Patch

An independent bookseller in Wayne wonders what the future holds.   (Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/27/2011)

Excerpt: For Readers' Forum [no website], an independent bookstore in Wayne, 1992 had as many ups and downs as a good mystery novel.

That's when Borders and Barnes & Noble opened three outlets on the Main Line, slicing the small bookstore's business in half. Before that, the store had been enjoying its best years ever.

"It didn't fall off gradually. It was overnight," said Ed Luoma, co-owner of the store that is as much of an old-time fixture in Wayne as the barbershop with the spinning red-and-white pole a few doors up.

(An author himself, Luoma recalls that time as if it were the first paragraph of a novel. "It was a cold, damp summer; the sun didn't come out. There was not a lot of hot weather, but because it was cloudy it was depressing," he said.)

With the Barnes & Noble in Bryn Mawr now gone and Borders in Rosemont and Wynnewood in their last days after the chain filed for bankruptcy in February, Luoma worries his next chapter may come directly from an Agatha Christie novel, in particular And Then There Were None.

On the Main Line, arguably the wealthiest and most educated enclave in the region, you can find croissants, day spas, luxury cars, designer clothing, nail salons, and sushi almost anywhere along Lancaster Avenue.

Books, not so much.

Readers' Forum is the last place to buy new books, other than a children's bookstore in Haverford.

"For heaven's sake, if Wayne, an area where people, generally speaking, are very educated and able to buy a book now and then, can't support a bookstore, it's sad," said Ann Miller, a former English teacher who stops in Readers' Forum nearly every week.

Two years ago, with the recession in full swing, the store appealed to customers who donated $25,000 to keep it afloat. But now, Luoma, whose co-owner is Al Lewis, says he is draining his personal savings

Massachusetts Uses Its Federal Broadband Stimulus Funds to Good Effect

Delivering broadband across the great divide. Project kicks off in Western Mass. (Boston Globe, 7/27/2011)

Excerpt:   Massachusetts is launching an ambitious project designed to bring online relief to broadband-starved communities in the central and western parts of the state, a push that officials hope will deliver on the promise of jobs and economic expansion.

The public-private project, known as MassBroadband 123, will deliver high-speed Internet to 120 cities and towns, many of them rural, and help end the state’s geographic digital divide, Governor Deval Patrick said.

He said the planned installation of 1,300 miles of fiber-optic cable is also one of the largest projects of its kind under construction in the country.

“For too long, families and businesses in Western Massachusetts have lived without reliable and affordable high-speed Internet access,’’ Patrick said in a statement. “Today . . . we start the critical final step in delivering broadband access to everyone.’’

Patrick kicked off the project’s construction yesterday in Berkshire County at the Sandisfield Fire Department, one of nearly 1,400 schools, libraries, hospitals, and public safety facilities lacking reliable Internet service.

The project, expected to take about two years to complete, is being paid for with state and federal funds, including $45.4 million in stimulus funding and $26.2 million in matching state dollars. Network operator Axia NGNetworks USA plans to invest roughly $40 million in the project

Touting a Standalone System in a Resource-Sharing World

Commentary: Here's why Fond du Lac cut tie to Winnefox system, Ken Hall, Director, Fond du Lac Public Library, 7/26/2011)

Excerpt: So, with budget cuts looming, we made the pivotal decision to become a standalone library.

What does this mean? Several things, including greater flexibility to offer services our patrons want (such as "family cards"), but were restricted by Winnefox. And a new catalog with features that appeal to the digital generation.

August to November will be an "under construction time" when patrons won't have direct access to the Winnefox collection and before the new features are installed. The Winnefox material will be available, but patrons will have to contact a library staff member — in person, over phone or by email — to reserve those items.

After we become a standalone library in November, our patrons will have two catalogs to browse: our materials, with an automated hold system, and a catalog that shows Winnefox and other system libraries' collections. At first, patrons will need to work with library staff to place holds on the second catalog, but we intend to restore automation as soon as possible

Related posts:
Now comes the hard part.  (7/19/2011)
FDLPL waves bye-bye to WALS.  (7/18/2011)
Looking at a possible $13,000 ILS?  (4/25/2011)
FDLPL shops around for a new system.  (4/14/2011)
The Fond du Lac Public Library and a slightly misleading headline.  (12/16/2010)
Fond du Lac County packing its library bags?  (12/14/2010)

Sen. Sheila Harsdorf Gets Her Shovel Out

State Sen. Harsdorf released this column days after the alleged facts have been thoroughly eviscerated in the media.

Texas (32,0000
California (28,800)
Michigan (18,000)
Minnesota (13,200)
Massachusetts (10,400)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is a Village Post Office in Your Library's Future?

Post office ponders closing 1 in 10 retail outlets. (AP story in the Spokane Spokesman-Review, 7/26/2011)

Excerpt: The Postal Service is considering closing more than 1 in 10 of its retail outlets.

The financially-troubled agency announced today that it will study 3,653 local offices, branches and stations for possible closing. But many of those may be replaced by Vill
age Post Offices in which postal services are offered in local stores, libraries or government offices. [Emphasis added.]

According to a Reuters article, Village Post Offices would sell stamps and provide flat-rate packaging services.   [Actually, Costco already sells stamps, as long as you want to buy 100 at a time.] this a part of a sustainable funding program for public libraries?  Or is it more like a tax-forms dump?

Gary, Indiana: Not Louisiana, Paris, France, New York, or Rome

Rustbelt ghost-towns: Ruins of Gary, Indiana. (Boing Boing, 7/26/2011)

           1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

But in Wisconsin We Put on a Happy Face

Uncertainty has Mass. firms wary of hiring, expanding. (Boston Globe, 7/26/2011)

Excerpt:   Bill Weissman said sales at his Fitchburg furniture-making company have been so strong this year that he considered buying new equipment and hiring new workers. But Weissman said he is “worried sick’’ that events in Washington will harm the stock market and an already fragile economy, so he is putting off expansion plans.

“It’s just got me to the point where I’m not looking to take any further risk,’’ Weissman said of the debt-ceiling debate. “At least not until I can see some stability on the horizon.’’

The political crisis in Washington has begun to affect business decisions across a wide array of Massachusetts employers, from manufacturers to real estate firms to high-tech companies. Still cautious from the last recession, many business owners worry that government leaders will be unable to reach an agreement, while others are concerned about exactly the opposite: that any agreement will invariably include spending cuts and weaken an already lackluster recovery.

The result could be even more caution among businesses, and even slower growth for the state and national economies.

From today's Wisconsin State Journal: Top official says Wisconsin could withstand no increase in debt ceiling.   (Leave it to the State Journal to downplay Huebsch's beyond-3-months observation.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Parts 90 and 91, Cuyahoga County Public Library )

Cuyahoga County Public Library chooses firms to work on Parma branches. (Sun News, 7/24/2011)

Excerpt:   The Cuyahoga County Public Library has selected five firms to design and oversee construction of a new library and a library expansion in Parma.

GDP Group, an Akron firm, will design a new library that will be constructed off West Ridgewood Drive next to City Hall. CCPL will pay GDP $1.04 million.

CCPL will pay Project and Construction Services, a Cleveland firm, $528,000 to act as construction manager for the West Ridgewood project.

Groundbreaking is planned for June 2012.

Meanwhile, CCPL will pay two architectural firms — Holzheimer, Bolek + Meehan and Westlake Reed Leskosky, both in Cleveland — $978,000 to design the expansion-renovation of the Parma-Snow branch on Snow Road.

CCPL will pay Donley’s Construction Management in Cleveland $528,000 to act as construction manager for the Snow branch project.

Groundbreaking for the expansion-renovation is planned for May 2012

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 14 Update, Solon Branch Library)

Solon library set for $1 million expansion. (Solon Sun News, 7/25/2011)

Excerpt:   Plans also call for:

Enlarging the existing vestibule to ease traffic flow in and out of the library

Reconfiguring the customer service area by creating easy access to the book return, self-checkout stations and circulation area

Providing an area for a “New Materials” display

Relocating the Teen/Young Adult area

Consolidating the computer work area

Increasing the public seating area

“In a time when other libraries are closing, cutting back and limiting their days of operation, Solon continues to be such a draw that we have remained open,”
[Mayor Susan] Drucker said.

Related post:
Part 1.  (4/19/2011)