Friday, June 27, 2008

Library Foundation - historic video

This video, circa 1989 from the Appleton Library Foundation, gives us a glimpse of the library prior to its last renovation. The video was made by the good media folks at the Aid Association for Lutherans (now Thrivent) to help promote a campaign for our Foundation's endowment. Our Reference staff created this online digital version.
It's interesting to see how things (and people) have changed. Thanks to those who made things happen for our Library Foundation, including those seen in this video: board members John Bubolz & Chuck DeVries, and Library Director Jerry Pennnington.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

World Cinema Film Series

Comparing pictures

Thanks to Tasha Saecker for suggesting the use of Wordle to look at the library's mission and vision. There's an interesting comparison among various pictures: first - our library's mission and vision,

second - postings from this blog,
third - my goals for this year.
Should I be trying to change my picture?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Nonprofit groups blogging

Below is my presentation to the leadership of Toward Community: Unity in Diversity, a wonderful local organization promoting diversity. Actually, this is a revised version of the presentation, incorporating answers to some of the questions that arose in discussion. Several members of the group have since signed up as blog authors.

As librarians, we do technology training, both formally and informally. Sharing some Web 2.0 techniques in our communities seems appropriate. It's great that more local groups are reaching out to share information.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Over 100 people attended a June 18 library presentation on "Moving Toward Sustainable Communities", presented by Sara James and Torbjorn Lahti, authors of The Natural Step for Communities. Among other things, the book discusses how some municipalities operate their government without fossil fuels. The publisher has a good web page that provides background on the book and authors.

The program was co-sponsored by:
Since Torbjorn was here from Sweden, and the the two authors would lead a "Conference on Sustainability: Balancing People, Planet and Profit" for 130 public officials and business leaders the next day, it was a real joy to be able to provide a free public program of this this caliber and relevance. If people weren't thinking about sustainability issues before, $4 a gallon for gas may have gotten some thinking started.

It was great to partner with a local issue-oriented coalition and a business to make this happen. Public libraries should foster more such partnerships and more such discussions.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Facility study nears homestretch

Our building study, underway since February by Durrant with Himmel & Wilson, is nearly complete. Where we’re at:
  • Just to review: Appleton Public Library currently has about 87,000 square feet. The consultant study says we should have 118,000 right now and will need 138,000 for 20 year growth.
  • The last consultant's report recommended -- and reaction from both the public and the Library Board Building Committee provided confirmation -- that neither a branch nor a minimal 12,000 sq. ft. addition to the existing building are viable options. This leaves either a new building or a significant expansion of the current structure as the only choices. Either way, it will involve some additional real estate.
  • We've asked our consultants to delineate the pros and cons of expansion vs. new building in their final recommendations, due June 30
  • Staff recommended, and the Library Board has approved, a request of $818,000 for Radio Frequency Identification and an automated materials handling system in our 2009 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget request to the City. This was part of the consultant recommendations, but frankly, we've requested it in previous years. Building concerns and the continued growth in use without growth in staff give this a new urgency. It's a lot of money, but the improvements in service. security and cost-saving potential are also considerable. More on this later!
  • Staff is planning an additional, as yet unspecified, building CIP request for 2009 and subsequent years to address building needs. We know that the consultant recommendation will suggest some action, but until we have specifics, it's too soon to prepare a specific budget request. We'll have it for next month's Library Board meeting, though.
  • We think the 2009 request should include architectural program design -- conceptual design for space planning and cost estimates, not the creation of detailed construction plans.
  • Possibly -- depending on consultant recommendation and Library Board decision -- we'd also request 2009 funds for a site selection process.
  • We've planned an additional informal meeting with consultants next week, as a preliminary assessment & reality check before they make their final report.
  • We expect the final consultant report by June 30. Any recommendations from the consultants go first to the Library Board. Any recommendations from the Library Board go next to the Mayor. Any recommendations from the Mayor go finally to the Council for the budget decision process.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Library ties for Father's Day

Lots of articles in today's papers about the demise of the necktie. It seems the prevalence of casual day is making the tie obsolete. I did not get a necktie for Father's Day this year -- got a spiffy digital picture frame instead, but I have a pretty nice collection of neckties. Many of them, as shown above, are literary or art or music oriented -- good ties for a librarian. Happy Father's Day to all the library dads out there!

Some have said that librarians and clowns are the only ones who still wear bow ties. Alas, I have no bow ties. Nor inflatable shoes.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Summer is for kids

Today, we 'll have hundreds and hundreds of little ones crowding our meeting room to enjoy the music of Tom Pease (who is surely one of Wisconsin's treasures), doing three shows to kick off the summer.
We'll also have lots of older ones using our young adult collections. YA Librarian Paula Wright is kicking up the dust a little, posting some new review videos on our website. Can we get some teens debating Stephenie Meyer vs. J. K. Rowling?
Thanks to the hard-working library staff, keeping the magic and possibilities alive for our children.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Great books, great technology: CCBC@APL

We're lucky at our library in many ways. First, here in Wisconsin, we have a great resource in the University of Wisconsin's CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center) -- an authoritative and helpful information source for children's & YA literature.

Second, we have a great library system, OWLS (Outagamie Waupaca Library System), which brought us the CCBC road show as a continuing education program for area libraries. OWLS is also using an LSTA grant to help member libraries develop new technology applications, including vodcasting. Beth Carpenter posted this video of the CCBC presentation on their 'Casting @ OWLS blog. See the episode archive for all the parts. Now even children's and young adult librarians as far away as Virginia can benefit from the CCBC presentation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Governing: "Revolution in the Stacks"

Retiring Guy (aka Middleton Public Library Director Paul Nelson) points out a great article in this month's issue of Governing magazine. "Revolution in the Stacks" emphasizes the need for public libraries to serve a teen clientèle, but along the way, it touches on a lot of issues. Certainly many of them are relevant for our community:
  • increasing library use
  • changes brought about by technology
  • the continuing digital divide
  • opportunities for shared media production facilities
  • changes in library design, including models from retail
  • public libraries as "the third place"
  • library 2.0 as a means of developing interactive, client-centered services.
This is familiar stuff to readers of this blog and to those who have followed the reports from our library facility consultants. Sounds like our consulting team is right on the money, with respect to national trends and best practices.

The Governing article is worth reading for librarians & trustees -- the municipal officials in the magazines may already be reading it, so it's an opportunity.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Paper, electronic publishing and libraries

Library Juice cites William Powell's interesting study "Hamlet's Blackberry: Why Paper is Eternal", published last year at Harvard. It's a thoughtful examination of trends in the publishing world, and how electronic versions of newspapers and magazines have impacted the face of journalism.

I occasionally appear on a cable interview show hosted by our former Mayor, Dorothy Johnson. When we talk, we frequently touch on question of the future of books. I continue to believe that books will be with us for the foreseeable future -- bound, printed paper is just too good a technology to disappear. Our library got a Kindle e-book reader from Amazon to try; it's interesting, cool and OK as far as it goes, but no world beater. Were Amazon more committed to making the Kindle useful for libraries, I'd like it better, but it still wouldn't replace books.

The future of printed paper is hardly an academic question for those of us who live where the paper industry historically has dominated the economy, nor for librarians anywhere. But for those planning library buildings, it's even more pressing. Consultants tell us that while media and reference sources will become increasingly electronic, books will be important to society and libraries for the foreseeable future. The economics of books, magazines and newspapers may be quite different, but libraries will continue to need a lot of shelf space for many decades to come.

Take a look at Powell's study -- you can even print a hard copy.