Friday, March 15, 2013

Republican Party Theme Song

Among G.O.P. Voters, Little Support for Same-Sex Marriage.  (FiveThirtyEight:  Nick Silver's Political Calculus, 3/15/2013)

The G.O.P.:  The party of .........

If it's so simple, Google, then why won't you disclose the numbers?

Google Reader: Users vent after news that RSS app will close in July. (San Jose Mercury News, 3/14/2013)

Active Shooter In (or in the Vicinity of) the Library

What are your library's policy and procedures?

Quiet of Herkimer library shattered by lockdown, gunshots. (Syracuse Post-Standard, 3/13/2013)

Tenants forced to evacuate their apartments went to the nearby public library for shelter. A few hours later, police told library staff to evacuate the library, or, as I actually translate it after reading the entire article, police allowed those who wished to leave the library to do so.

Next-to-last paragraph of article:   After the library locked down, staff members and about a dozen patrons watched through the windows as the police gathered. Others followed reports of the action on the library computers.

If an active shooter was still in the area, I hope they were looking through the windows at a distance.

Active Shooter in the Library:  How to Plan for, Prevent, and Survive the Worst.  By Amy Kautzman.  Library Leadership & Management.

Related post:
What to do in an 'active shooter' situation.  (2/19/2013)

Two more people who, perhaps, who should be banned from all libraries on the face of the earth

Raven Williams. WHDH-TV 7News Boston

This app helped police catch the perp.

And this person, still at large.

Suspect Assaults Man in Attempted Laptop Theft at Newton Library. (Newton Patch, 3/6/2013)

Campaign to Reduce Wisconsin's Prison Population to 11,000 by 2015

Sources used for column graph:
Wisconsin Blue Book, 2011-2012

Wisconsin Governors
1/4/1971-7/6/1977    Patrick. Lucey (Dem.)
7/6/1977-1/1/1979    Martin Schreiber (Dem.)
1/1/1979-1/3/1983    Lee Dreyfus. (Rep.)
1/3/1983-1/5/1987    Tony Earl (Dem.)
1/5/1987-2/1/2001    Tommy Thompson (Rep.) 
2/1/2001-1/6/2003    Scott McCallum (Rep.)
1/6/2013-1/3/2011    Jim Doyle (Dem.)
1/3/2013-                   Scott Walker (Rep.)

Being Smart on Crime Could Lead to Big Savings.  (Wisconsin Budget Project, 3/14/2013)

11 X 15 Campaign for Justice.

Which begs the question, "How many libraries are there on the face of the earth?"

Man forbidden from “all libraries on the face of the earth”. (Racine Journal Times, 3/14/2013)

And what brought out this worldwide ban?

A 20-year-old man was caught masturbating, “standing in the open, not trying to conceal the act,”on the second floor of the Racine Public Library.

When questioned by a police officer, he said it was the first time he had done such a thing in public.

I'm sure this admission provided little comfort to everyone else involved in this incident.

The all-libraries-on-earth ban was a condition of the man's bond.

Hat tip to Mark Arend.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tacoma Public Library: Start Here Go Anywhere

Start here. But not, unfortunately, on Sundays and Mondays.

Tacoma Public Library

Each of the 9 branches are open 32 hours per week.  No Sunday and Monday hours across the board.

A painful budget situation in Tacoma.

Wisconsin Budget Project Calls It "Another Very Challenging Budget for Local Government"

2013-15 Budget Overview: How Wisconsin Goes From a Solid Surplus to a Sizeable Deficit. (Wisconsin Budget Project, 3/8/2013)

It would appear that the Wisconsin Library Association has a common agenda item with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.  (Highlights added.)

Especially since "intergovernmental aids" ("intergov't", in shorthand below)  -- state shared revenue, primarily -- is a major source of revenue for most municipalities, as is so clearly shown in this instructive "exploded" pie chart from the 2013 City of Fond du Lac adopted budget.  (page 14)

FdL's "intergovernmental aids" line items

Wanna run that by me one more time? "Ever since the creation of the Internet, the use of public libraries has been on the decline."

Here's An Awesome Idea For Turning The New York City Subway Into An E-Book Library. (Business Insider, 3/12/2013)

From this line graph, are we then to conclude that the Internet was created in 2002?

Wisconsin public libraries as early adopters?  According to the Wisconsin Public Library Service Data for 2002, 378 of the state's 387 public libraries provided Internet access to the public in 2002.

And in Wisconsin, a bar graph of "public library membership" looks like this.  (Figures available from 2004 on.)

Here's how circulation looks.

Here's how program attendance looks.

Since at least 1996 -- the earliest year for which Wisconsin Public Library Service Data is available at the DPI website, the state has had "libraries with Internet access".  (Column heading).  261 in 1996.  325 in 1997, the year in which the Middleton Public Library first offered public access Internet computers.  (1997 circulation:  448,737.  2012 circulation: 776,209.)

But a question remained unanswered.

When was the Internet created?

I'll do what most other people do in this situation -- Google it.

Webopedia:  "Brief timeline of the Internet".   When we talk about the Internet, we talk about the World Wide Web from the past four or five years. But, its history goes back a lot further; all the way back to the 1950s and 60s.  ("All the way back to the 1950s and 60s." OK, guys, you don't have to rub it in."

Computer History Museum.    This Internet Timeline begins in 1962, before the word ‘Internet’ is invented. The world’s 10,000 computers are primitive, although they cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. They have only a few thousand words of magnetic core memory, and programming them is far from easy.

Internet Society.   The first recorded description of the social interactions that could be enabled through networking was a series of memos written by J.C.R. Licklider of MIT in August 1962 discussing his "Galactic Network" concept. He envisioned a globally interconnected set of computers through which everyone could quickly access data and programs from any site. In spirit, the concept was very much like the Internet of today,

But most important, it started as the creation of a small band of dedicated researchers, and has grown to be a commercial success with billions of dollars of annual investment. 


Library use has decreased since the creation of the Internet?

Tell that to Rock County.  (From a 2/10/2011 RGD blogpost)

Rock County/Janesville/Beloit:
Population and Circulation, 1960-2009

Rock County/Janesville/Beloit:
Circulation Per Capita, 1960-2009

(Sidebar:  Up until the early 1960s, some public libraries included school library circulation in their tallies.  I'm not sure if that was the case with Rock County libraries.  But I'm fairly sure -- high 90% range - it was the case in Racine.)

All things said, though, once you get past the jarring blanket statement that opens the video that kicks off this post, the idea presented by Miami Ad School is an intriguing and admirable one.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This House Speaks to Me

In 1977, Johnson's Bookstore in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, offered a selection of back issues of Keith's Magazine of Home Building in their secondhand book department, the multitudinous contents of which sprawled over the entire second floor.   A browser's paradise.  Most of these issues were from the early 1900s.  Having developed an unexplained fascination for house floor plans, I purchased as many copies as my meager G. & C. Merriam salary would allow.

Johnson's closed in 1998, twenty years after I moved from Springfield to Oshkosh.  (Not that the two events are in any way related.)

"Hell's Acres" chronicles the decline of downtown Springfield.  Baystate West was still thriving when I lived in Springfield from 1976-1978, but I was also on hand for the closing of Forbes & Wallace's iconic downtown department store.  And my Aunt Millie worked in rival Steiger's bridal department into the 1980s.

Wisconsin Library Association Legislative Update

At this time, members of WLA’s Library Development & Legislation Committee and Department of Public Instruction/Division for Libraries & Technology staff are monitoring the progress of Gov. Walker’s 2013-15 executive budget.

We are especially paying close attention to the following items:\
  • Universal Service Fund (particularly as it applies to the funding of the library items in the DPI budget, which are shown in table below) 
  • Common School Fund (insure its appropriate use; watch for proposals to divert funds) 
  • Broadband (improving access to affordable, sufficient, and sustainable broadband for public libraries and schools)

In the Governor’s Executive Budget for 2013-15, three Department of Public Instruction library items received modest increases in funding.

Funding for public library systems remains flat.

Universal Service Fund (USF) performance audit.   In a January 30, 2013, letter to Governor Walker, Wisconsin CALLS and the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association requested that a provision be included in the 2013-15 executive budget to require the Legislature Audit Bureau to annually conduct a financial and performance audit of at least one non-Public Service Commission. USF-funded program, e.g., public library system funding, BadgerLink, statewide service contracts, Newsline for the Blind.

This provision is not included in Gov. Walker’s 2013-15 executive budget, although it still could be required via other means. Another item receiving close attention. (Note: Financial audits of the USF have been conducted 12 times since October 1998.)

Continue your library advocacy and relationship building

In your continuing contacts with your state legislators and their staff members, please emphasize the following topics:

  • The value of the regional coordination, cooperation, and technology support provided by public library systems, which helps each of Wisconsin’s 388 member libraries provide services and programs to their customers in a more effective and economical manner. 
  • The critical importance of sufficient broadband in such areas as 
    • Regional online library catalogs 
    • Fulltext, online magazine and newspaper databases 
    • Wireless Internet access 
    • E-government, job searching and training support 
    • Libraries as content providers 
    • Web 2.0 (graphics and video) 
(66% of Wisconsin’s public libraries report their current broadband speed is not sufficient.)

Where we are in the budget process. (Red arrow)

As of March 13th, Joint Finance has not scheduled any public hearings on the budget.

Robert Greenstein on Paul Ryan's Budget Plan

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/12/2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dissonance on Page 1 of the Business Day Section of the New York Times.

Page 1, top-left corner headline.  (Note the revised online headline.)

And this little teaser in the bottom left-hand corner......

Online headline:  Nominee for S.E.C. Chief Pledges to Keep Focus on Enforcement 

Print headline:  Nominee to Lead the S.E.C. Vows an 'Unrelenting' Fight on Fraud

Excerpt:  Although Ms. White is expected to receive Senate approval later this month, she will face broader questions at the hearing about her turns through the revolving door between government service and private practice. For three decades, she bounced between the federal government and a lucrative legal practice at Debevoise & Plimpton, where she defended JPMorgan Chase in financial crisis cases, Morgan Stanley’s board in vetting a chief executive and Michael Geoghegan, the former head of HSBC. 

Legislative Audit Bureau's Universal Service Fund Audits

Presented in 5 parts
  • Outline of introduction to the 2011 Legislative Audit Bureau financial audit of Universal Service Fund
  • Excerpts from "Management's Discussion and Analysis",  2011 audit
  • Financial Audits and Performance Audits
  • WSTA request to Gov. Walker for USF performance audit
  • Links to previous USF financial audits

An outline of the introduction to the most recent financial audit of the Universal Service Fund.  (Links to the previous 10 financial audits are found at the end of this post.)

Universal Service Fund (USF) Programs (FY2008-09)
  • Telecommunications providers fund the USF through assessments that they are permitted to recover from consumers.
  • In FY 2009-10, the USF provided $41.8 million in funding for 13 programs operated by 4 state agencies.
  • As shown in the pie graph below, 78.9% of expenditures fund 2 programs
  • The USF has replaced GPR (general purpose revenue) as the funding source for Aid to Public Library Systems.
    • Partial funding beginning in FY2003-04
    • Sole funding source by FY2008-09
  • Other USF funded programs (FY2008-09)

Program Funding and Fund Balance
  • Cell phone service providers began contributing to the USF in 2009.
  • Provider assessment revenues increased 73.0 percent from FY 2008-09 to FY 2009-10
  • The USF’s Fund Balance increased from $0.5 million as of June 30, 2009, to $8.8 million as of June 30, 2010

Fiscal Management Issue
  • We estimate that the USF has paid DOA at least $4.3 million in excess fees that were subsequently lapsed to the General Fund.

Other related issues
  • DOA has chosen not to accept $23.0 million in federal ARRA funding to improve the broadband capacity of the BadgerNet Converged Network.

Excerpts from "Management's Discussion and Analysis" of the Legislative Audit Bureau's most recent financial audit of the Universal Service Fund.

  • 89 percent of total assessed revenues for FY 2009-10
  • 80 percent of total assessed revenues for FY 2008-09
  • 81 percent of total assessed revenues for FY 2007-08 
were intended for five programs the PSC does not manage  (WSTA red flag)
  • Educational Telecommunications Access Program (DOA)
  • Aid to Public Library Systems (DPI)
  • BadgerLink (DPI)
  • Newsline for the Blind (DPI)
  • Library Service Contracts (DPI),

The remaining revenues were used to support seven PSC-operated programs:

USF appropriations increased by
  • 6.2 percent from FY 2007-08 to FY 2008-09 and increased by 
  • 1.0 percent from FY 2008-09 to FY 2009-10. 
This increase was due to the increased appropriations for DPI programs.

Next financial audit already in the hopper.  In compliance with s. 13.94 (1s), the next financial audit, covering the financial statements for fiscal years 2010-11 and 2011-12, is currently taking place.

Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB):  
Financial Audits and Performance Audits

The following slides contain information from the Legislative Audit Bureau's website.

WSTA Request to Gov. Walker for USF Performance Audit

In a January 30, 2013, letter to Governor Walker, Wisconsin CALLS and the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association requests that a provision be included in the 2013-15 budget to require the Legislative Audit Bureau to annually conduct a financial and performance audit of at least one non-PSC, USF-funded program.  [There's that red flag again.]

As far as I can tell, a Universal Service Fund audit has never been performed by the Legislative Audit Bureau.

Governor Walker included this request in his 2011-13 executive budget, but it was deleted by the Joint Committee on Finance as a non-fiscal policy item..  (See page 583.)

Governor Walker did not include this provision in his 2013-15 executive budget,   Perhaps he's planning to take a different approach this time around.

Stay tuned.  And stayed tuned-in.

In the meantime, you might want to familiarize yourself with the members of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

Previous Legislative Audit Bureau reports on the Universal Service Fund
November 2009 (financial)
September 2008 (financial)
August 2007 (financial)
May 2006 (financial)
September 2005 (financial)
September 2004 (financial)
July 2003 (financial)
August 2002 (financial)
December 2000 (financial)
October 1998 (financial)

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance: "Broadband 101" Fact Sheet

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance encourages the sharing of this fact sheet with elected officials and local policymakers.