Wednesday, January 31, 2007


In 1996 I took a Civil War Battlefield Tour with a friend of mine who teaches Civil War history in Vermont. It was also an opportunity to visit three of his daughters who live in Virginia. I flew into Washington DC where he picked me up in his old dilapidated pickup truck, which was to be our transportation for the week. Good old Bob was very familiar with Washington as he had been a high-ranking official in the Labor Department during the Carter Administration.

One of the first spots we headed to was the Smithsonian museum complex and we were surprised to find the entire Mall covered with quilts. All the quilts were hand-made and commemorated an individual who had died of AIDS. We spent quite of bit of time there, walking around, viewing the craftwork, reading the names. It was a tremendously moving experience.

Today's New York Times (from which this photo was taken) reports that there is now a controversy going on between the founder of the project and current officials of the organization that manages the quilts. They are stored in Atlanta, segments of them travel around and are on display every year. Folks in San Franscisco are claiming some ownership of both the concept and the quilts.

Americans can argue about anything! One of the people involved in the current flap made some good comments in my opinion. He said that in 1996 our focus regarding AIDS was on how many people were dying. With medical advances being made, he said our current focus should be on AIDS victims who are living.

Monday, January 29, 2007


The Friends of the Marathon County Public Library and holding another huge book sale this upcoming weekend. Again, the group has at least 30,000 books, VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs, puzzles, and even 33 1/3 LP Records. There is also a "free" section of perhaps another 5,000 books which features textbooks, lawbooks, Reader's Digests, etc. There's a lot of reading material here, folks!

The schedule of the sale is as follows:
  • THURSDAY - 2/1 - (Members only) 5:00 - 8:00 PM
  • FRIDAY - 2/2 - 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
  • SATURDAY - 2/3 - 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
  • SUNDAY - 2/4 - Special Bag Sale ($5/bag) 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Virtually all items are priced at $.50 (Yes - that's 50 cents!). There are a few items, such as rare books, first editions, etc. that carry special pricing. Although the Library parking lot is small, there is parking across the street in the ramp, and one block away at the mall. We will have people there who will transport your books to your car.

If you are not currently a member of the Friends of Marathon County Public Library or need to renew your membership you may apply at your local branch or at the main library, OR you can sign up at the door, when you come to the sale.

"We would really like to move a lot of books. Not only because we want to generate income so the Friends can perform services for the Library, but also because we have more books in a storeroom that there was not room to put in the sale room. We need to sell books!" - Ken Srozinski Book Sale Chairman


My wife was out birding this weekend despite the temperatures and wind. The clear blue sky and abundant sunshine helped. I'm passing on a picture of a Robin and a Horned Lark. There are four robins within a mile of our house that have stayed for the winter. I would imagine that the unseasonable warm temperatures convinced them to stay. However, the weather geeks are saying that we are about to encounter some very cold weather and the robins may regret their decision. I wonder what they eat? Certainly there are no freeze-dried worms available. My wife says they eat fruit, namely berries, and compete with waxwings and other birds for this stuff. In any event it is wierd seeing these birds in January.


My mother-in-law sent me a multi-media clip that I enjoyed and am passing on to you. It's a "flag-waver" but not political. It reminds us of the pure natural beauty of our land. I think you'll enjoy it.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


About 12 years ago my company sent me to England to research a factory scheduling software package we were considering. My host and his wife took me on a very brief tour of the area I was visiting. While in Chester we visited some antiquarian book stores. My host's wife, who was a teacher of English literature, picked out a few old books she thought would be of interest to me. Topping the list was Thomas Hardy's TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES. It has since become one of my all-time favorites. I now have the book in 7 different editions and have 2 videos of the story. (Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder) Hardy has also become a favorite author of mine. Any time I feel really upbeat I can count on reading a little Hardy to bring me back down to earth.

Today's New York Times has a good article on Hardy. You should take a look at it: and go to the books section.


It's late January, and Wisconsin is in the middle of basketball season. The Wisconsin Badgers are setting records almost every time they hit the court, and are currently ranked 2nd or 3rd in the nation, depending upon which poll you consult. They are 20-1 going into today's game at Iowa. The UW-Stevens Point men's team is currently ranked 1st in the nation in Division 3 (Go Pointers!). Marquette and UW-Green Bay aren't doing bad either. And of course, everyone is excited about high-school basketball in their own area.

This week's celebrity that has been caught reading is Grant Hill. Hill was an impact player the minute he stepped on the court. The Detroit Piston team was almost unbeatable when he was on it. And in contrast to some athletes, Mr. Hill has always been a class act, at North Carolina as well as now in the pros.

So take a lesson from Grant Hill. In the classic Greek tradition, a person must cultivate the physical as well as the intellectual nature of his being. Get caught reading! (And then go shoot some hoops!)


This past summer I attended a high-school class reunion. It was great seeing some of those people who have scattered all over the country. Several mentioned that one (make that two) of the things they miss most after leaving this state is Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio. They indicated that while their states have public television and public radio stations they are not of the high quality level that we enjoy in this state. A good friend who lives just over the border in Minnesota says the same thing. She listens to WPR rather than MPR.

Another feature that WPT has added recently is a BLOG! (Damn, everybody's doing it!). It gives you insight into some of the programing. You should check it out at

Saturday, January 27, 2007


A couple months ago I alerted you to the Astronomy Cast web site. They have added some excellent podcasts since that time and I wanted to remind you of the site. It is a great educational tool.

Doug Lay, WLTA representative on the WLA board reported that he downloaded some of the Astonomy Cast podcasts onto a CD and listened to them in his car as he was driving to the last WLTA board meeting. Great idea! Much more enlightening that listening to that old Britney Spears CD you found in the glove compartment!


My wife has informed me that this weekend is National - Take Down The Christmas Tree Weekend. I don't know where she gets that from, probably just made it up in order to get me to get the fire-hazard out of the house. Telling her that some of the neighbors still have them up (you can see them through their living room windows) doesn't help. Telling her that there was still a Christmas Tree in the conference room at LLD doesn't help either. Telling her that this will be the coldest weekend of the winter season so far doesn't help either. So I guess I'm stuck.

Actually, she wants the thing outside laying on the ground under some of our bird feeders. It makes excellent cover for birds. They are vulnerable to hawks and shrikes this time of year when there is little tree foliage to protect them. Being able to hide in the brush or an old Christmas tree and then make a quick trip to the feeder to grab a sunflower seed or thistle seed is bird heaven this time of year. Thus I will be able to procrastinate on getting rid of the tree until Spring and make my wife (and her birds) happy at the same time. Such a deal!

However, when you do this, make sure there are no domestic pets in the tree when you put it outside!


Kris Adams Wendt, Director of the Rhinelander District Library, and one of the Co-Chairs of Library Legislative Day advises that it is not too late to do your part regarding LLD. She passes on the following information:

Greetings, colleagues and friends!

Those of us who attended LLD on January 23rd need your help! Even if you could not join us, you can still be an important cog in the library advocacy process!

Please write a letter to your state senator and assembly representative in support of libraries and on behalf of the people - THEIR constituents - that you serve. That's TWO letters. They can be identical. You can do this! Having those letters on legislators' desks shortly after Library Legislative Day will be a tremendous help to your colleagues who made face-to-face connections. Actual letters carry more weight than emails and will be noted for future reference. Visualize a thick folder of library letters! Make it happen!

(An overview of current issues was posted to this blog yesterday. You can also go to the WLA website at
For legislative names and addresses go to and enter your home address)

Recipe for a letter:

First Paragraph: Identify yourself as a librarian, trustee or library supporter. Tell where you work or most frequently access library services. Explain that although you could not attend Library Legislative Day on 1/23, you are writing in support of the Wisconsin Library Association 2007 Library Legislative Agenda (or equivalent for WEMA).
Second Paragraph: Encourage the legislator and his/her staff to visit the WLA website for an overview of the issues and budgetary items of particular concern. Give the address:
Third Paragraph: Write a couple of sentences about the way all types of libraries work together and how this cooperation stretches tax dollars as well as saving money for individual citizens personally on a daily basis OR write a couple of sentences about one item on the legislative agenda that is particularly important to you and your library.
Fourth paragraph: Personalize the letter with one (1) very brief actual story about a customer to whom your library made a difference. Of course no names are mentioned (what happens in the library stays in the library); you're looking to put a face on why our work is important and letting the legislator picture this satisfied citizen as one of his/her voters. You can do this! We are word persons; we tell stories every day!
Fifth and final paragraph: Invite the legislator to stop by your library for a tour the next time he/she is in the area. Thank him/her for his/her support of libraries in the past. (no need to go into detail as to HOW - the assumption of friendliness and support will contribute to a self-fulfilling prophesy!) Indicate you look forward to contacting him/her in the future and would be happy to act as a resource for him/her in your community.
Sign your name! You're done!

Remember that big wheels are set in motion by all the little wheels they come in contact with!

Write those letters! Do it today!

Friday, January 26, 2007


The following are the WLA Priorities that were discussed with legislators at Library Legislative Day, on January 23rd.

  • Increase state funding for PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM AIDS to 13% of local library expenditures, as specified in Wisconsin statutes.
  • Support full funding for BADGERLINK.
  • Preserve the use of the UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND for BadgerLink and other library services.
  • Increase funding necessary to support traditional service levels for STATE CONTRACTS: 1) Wisconsin Regional Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped; 2) Cooperative Children's Book Center; 3) Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS); 4) Milwaukee Public Library/Interlibrary Loan.
  • Support increased funding of the UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN SYSTEM LIBRARIES.
  • Oppose the diversion of the COMMON SCHOOL FUND for purposes other than the purchase of school library materials.
  • Support the need for libraries to have access to ADEQUATE BANDWIDTH.
  • Support PUBLIC LIBRARY DISTRICT enabling legislation.
  • Oppose the so-called "65 PERCENT SOLUTION" or other proposals of this type which mandate that a specific percentage of funding for educational institutions be spent on classroom instruction.
  • Support a measure which would allow public library boards to transfer bequests and other gifts to a related charitable foundation.
  • Support exemption of county library expenditures from any county levy limits.
  • Support full funding for the WISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY LIBRARY.
  • Support the employment of at least one full-time CERTIFIED SCHOOL LIBRARY MEDIA SPECIALIST in every school and additional library media specialist and certified instructional technology professionals in school with more than 650 students. WLA supports legislative changes in Standard H to enable this.
  • Continue to promote the importance of PUBLICLY-FUNDED FREE AND OPEN ACCESS to library materials to all.
  • Support continuation of MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT funding levels by local units of government as a requirement for public library system membership.

The WLA, WLTA, & this blog will furnish you with information throughout the year as specific pieces of legislation come up, so you can contact your legislators and advise them as to how you and those who support your library feel on these issues.


Just a reminder that the Minocqua Public Library will be closed starting Monday January 29th. They will remain closed until Wednesday, February 7th, as major interior renovations will be done.


SirsiDynix WEBINAR

On February 5th, 2007 SirsiDynix is holding another "Webinar" on the internet. A Webinar is a seminar which is held on the Web. (Makes sense to me). It is free and requires just a minimum of rigamarole signing up before the event. It is live! An instructor talks to you though your computer and shows "slides" on your screen. Normally the visuals are available to download onto your hard drive, or a CD. There is no excuse for missing this one as the hour-long session begins at 7:30 PM. You're home from work, you've eaten dinner, the dishes are in the washer, and you can always set the VCR to tape "Two And One Half Men".

The reason you're going to want to participate in this is the Webinar is on Library 2.0 !!! It's a success story being broadcast live from Australia (That's the reason for the odd time - It's being held at 12:30 PM on 2/6 in Australia). Appropriately for the kangaroos down under, it is touted as "Hopping into Library 2.0: Experiencing Lifelong Learning"

It is presented by the Yarra Plenty Regional Library Staff: Christine Mackenzie CEO, Denise McLarty Resource Discovery Officer, and Lynette Lewis, Co-ordinator, Online Service. The presenters will talk about why they decided to implement Learning 2.0 at their library, how their staff experienced it, and how this experience has equipped them to get bold in their thinking about social networking. They will discuss the four themes for their LIBRARY WORKER 2.0 STAFF DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM - 1) getting information, 2) enabling learning, 3) creating content and celebrating culture, and 4) encouraging an environment of lifelong learning within the organization.

"SirsiDynix is the global leader in strategic technology solutions for libraries. They support the strategic role of bringing knowledge to the people by offering a comprehensive integrated suite of technolgy solutions for improving the internal productivity of libraries and enhancing their capabilities for serving people and communities."

I've participated in a couple of these Webinars and they're really well done. To register for the event go to

It would be cool to have a good representation of Wisconsin folks participate in this session and then set up dialog about Library 2.0 and exchange experiences.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


This is one of the pictures from the Staff Presentation at the Friends of the Marathon County Public Library - Annual Meeting. The staff members were walking us through all the significant dates in the library's history, particularly in relation to the building and building expansions. In this photo Mike O'Conner, Research Librarian at MCPL shows us what things were like at the library in 1969!


On Monday, January 22nd, some of the staff at the Marathon County Public Library put on a presentation for the Annual Meeting of the MCPL Friends Group. This was the first of a year-long series of events relating to the anniversary of the founding of the library in 1907. The presentation, done in period costumes, was very informative as well as entertaining. The program was augmented by an old-time barbershop quartet who sang before, during, and after the presentation.

We learned that after an inital practice of some community members sharing books among themselves, the City Fathers decided in 1897 that books should be shared by everyone in the community and needed a place to be stored. This location was very transient until an appeal to Andrew Carnegie was made and he agreed to furnish money to build a library if someone in the area would step forward and donate land. This was done by Walter Alexander, a member of one of the pioneering lumbering families in the Wausau area. He agreed to furnish land if the community agreed to always have a park next to the library. So in 1907 the building was completed and opened its doors on April 3rd, with a whopping total of 5,000 books in inventory.

There will be events throughout the year as part of the Centennial Celebration.
  • January - April: Student Art and Essay Competition
  • April 15th: Wausau Re-dedication Ceremony
  • June - August: Library of the Future (Come to Wausau to see what your library might be like in the NEXT 100 years.
  • Year Long: Branch Re-dedications. All the branches will celebrate their history in their own special way.

Athens - September; Edgar - November; Hatley - June; Marathon - February; Mosinee - February; Rothschild - March; Spencer - May; Stratford - October

Come and join us and help us celebrate the Past, the Present, and the Future of the Marathon County Library system.


LLD appeared to be a big success. The organizing team did a good job in putting the program together. We started out with an "Early Bird Briefing"

Paul Nelson, WLA Legislative Chair gave an overview of the WLA Legislative Agenda. Bob Smiley, WEMA Legislative Chair gave an overview of their Legislative Agenda. Tony Driessen, WLA Lobbyist, gave tips on visiting your Legislators, and Michael Blumenfeld, WEMA lobbyist did the same.

Kris Adams Wendt, Co-chair of LLD had welcomed the attendees and introduced the subsequent speakers. Rebecca Berger, the President of WLA spoke to the group as did Annette Smith, the President of the Wisconsin Educational Media Association (WEMA).

Elizabeth Burmaster, the State Superintendent, blew us away with a powerful Keynote Address. She received a standing ovation from the crowd!

She was followed by Ed Van Gernert, the Acting Director of the General Library System of UW-Madison and Tia Nelson, Executive Secretary of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. Tia spoke regarding the critical Common School Fund.

The program fired up the group, enriched our knowledge and made us eager to go see our respective legislators. I ended up seeing one Senator and two Assemblymen. All seemed to be appreciative of the issues facing libraries and were sympathetic to our concerns. Now, we will see how they vote!!

One thing that was apparent as the day went on was that although Library Legislative Day is very important, contact with the legislators has got to be more than a one day a year undertaking. We must stay in contact with them throughout the year as key pieces of legislation come before them. (The legislators I saw invited this type of communication). Information for you to do that comes from many sources. WLTA through our newsletter, e:mails, and this blog will also help to keep you informed. Over the next week or so I will make postings that will summarize all the materials that were distributed by the organizing committee as well as those prepared by the Wisconsin Valley Library Service staff.

You should also be aware that a large percentage of the WLTA board members attended the session and spoke with legislators.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Late in the afternoon today, I will be heading down to Madison so I can participate in Library Legislative Day tomorrow. At latest count there will be approximately 160 people, with interest in libraries, who will be meeting with their legislators to discuss pertinent issues. If you are one of those who couldn't arrange to make it this year, you can still participate in the "virtual" LLD event. Check the WLA website for this.

Kris Adams Wendt of the award-winning Rhinelander Public Library will be doing a "post-game assessment" of the event so we can congratulate ourselves on things that went well, determine what needs improvement in 2008, and specifically what WLTA (Trustees, Advocates, & Friends) can and should do in 2008 to better promote the libraries we serve, and make sure our legislators understand the key issues relating to libraries.

The reason I will be getting a late start on the trip is that today is the meeting day of the Friends of the Marathon Country Public Library that I belong to. In addition to our regular board meeting, we also will be holding our annual meeting for all members. The highlight of this session will be a program put on by library staff members (in period costume) highlighting the 100 year anniversary of our library. This is the first of a year long series of events on this theme. Happy Anniversary - MCPL!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


The Friends of the La Crosse Public Library are having a BIG BOOK SALE on February 3rd. The regular sale runs from 10AM to 3PM. After 3PM they have a 1 hour scramble where you can purchase any books remaining for $5.00 per bag.

Sounds like a good event being put on by a very active Friends group. Good luck La Crosse!


A few years ago my wife and I saw an evening performance by George Carlin in Las Vegas. He was a riot. However, he frequently includes a lot of sage reasoning into his comedy. A friend recently sent me "George Carlin's Views on Aging"

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?" I'm four and a half!" you're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key.

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number or even a few ahead.

"How old are you?" I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony. YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing: you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80"s and every day is a complete cycle: you HIT lunch, you TURN 4:30, you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s you start going backwards; " I was JUST 92".

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!"

May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half !!


This week's celebrity who was caught reading is "Queen Latifah". She has had quite a varied career the last few years. I particularly liked her performance in the movie version of CHICAGO.

And now that winter has really set in with bone-chilling temperatures, it's a good idea to spend time indoors and get caught reading yourself.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I can't believe how long it's been since I've been on-line! Well, as a good friend of mine always says "Life Happens!" I have been busy at a number of things, spent several days up at my cottage, finally shutting the place down. I finally gave in to the thought that winter is actually here. However, my wife took some good outdoor photos that I'd like to share with you. In some respects winter is the best season to photograph birds as you don't have to contend with all the foliage in the trees.

Some of the shots are obvious, but they are 1) Cedar Waxwings. 2) A House Finch 3) A Red Fox, and 4) A Bald Eagle.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


A lot of us would like to get started in Astronomy but aren't sure exactly how to do it. We check out some magazines, we see there are many books we can read, we investigate web-sites that promise to help us in our quest. But it seems like a heck of a lot of work. Well, it is!
However, part of the problem is that we look at the big picture and it seems like it's a huge undertaking. But like everything else, if we break the monster down into small bite-size pieces anyone can "eat an elephant".

There is a web-site that breaks down looking at astronomical phenomena into daily portions. If you follow their plan, by the end of the year you will have investigated 365 things that you have not done before! And next year you'll start on another 365 little "mouthfuls", and at some point you'll have a pretty good idea what the heck you're doing without ever knowing exactly when you morphed from a "wannabe" to a "be".

The URL of this magical site is

I apologize for not informing you of this on January 1st, as you're now starting out the year of observing a few days behind. But hopefully you'll find yourself enthusiastic about the study and catch up quickly.

The Universe is where you live. Check out the neighborhood!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


On Friday, I received an e:mail from Carole Bos of Grand Valley State University concerning a special offer from AWESOME STORIES . This is a subscription-based web site currently used in more that 25,000 schools and libraries, that features 125,000 links to primary sources at national archives, libraries, government and academic websites worldwide.

Normally there is an $9.95 annual subscription fee for this service. However, as a holiday gift to students, their parents and the general public, for a short period of time they are waiving this fee. There will not be "group access" provisions but individuals can receive free access to the site.

Awesome Stories can be found at
Their signup sheet is at

Their generous Holiday Gift is available only through the month of January, so don't delay checking it out!


Mary Taylor, the Director of the Minocqua Public Library, reports that her staff is preparing for a long-planned "Makeover" of the interior of their library. They will be closed from January 29th through February 6th. During that time work crews will be installing carpeting, new lighting, doing painting, putting in some new shelving, and installing a new circulation desk! The library will reopen at 9:30AM on February 7th "even if everything is not quite back to normal".

During the time they are closed they will not be able to do their pull list as they will not have access to their books. But they will still have materials coming and going through the courier service. Mary intends to let her patrons use the employee entrance on a limited basis to pick up their reserved items. There will also be staff there from 9AM to 6PM to answer phones.

Good luck, Mary on the "sprucing up" of your library!

Monday, January 08, 2007


Ever hear of BookCrossing? Me Neither! That is until another blogger brought it to my attention. They claim to be the World's Biggest Book Club. They even have the concept "bookcrossing" in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, as of August of 2004.

bookcrossing ........ n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.

Their site states : "You've come to a friendly place, and we welcome you to our book-lovers' community. Our members love books enough to let them go -- into the wild -- to be found by others. Sharing your used books has never been more exciting, more serendipitous, than with Book Crossing. Our goal, simply is to make the whole world a library. Bookcrossing is a free online book club of infinite proportion, the first and only of its kind. Inside, you'll find millions of book reviews and hundreds of thousands of passionate readers just like you."

There are 3 Rs involved in participating: 1) READ a good book. 2) REGISTER it at their website (along with your comments). They will give you a unique BCID (Bookcrossing ID number) in order to make a label for the book. 3) RELEASE it for someone else to read. Give it to a friend, leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, "forget" it in a coffee shop, etc. You will get notified by email each time someone comes to the site and records a journal entry for that book.

So go grab a book or two from your shelves now (they're not doing anyone any good there, are they?), register them, jot down their URL and the BCID they give you and then give them away or leave them where someone will find them.

Right now there are over 3.5 MILLION books in the program!

For more information on the program simply go to


The person who was "caught reading" this week is George Foreman. George is one of the most recognizable personalities on TV. He is known for being the former Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World, for his "George Foreman Grill" and now other cooking devices, and as the spokesperson for the Meineke network of automobile repair shops. He's a very personable gentlemen and was recently asked on TV, why he named all five of his sons "George". His response was, "I'd like to see you get hit in the head by Muhammed Ali several times and see how many names you can remember!"

Don't just "let George do it". Get caught reading yourself!

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Just in case you didn't find enough books under the Christmas tree with your name on the tag, I thought I'd bring you up to date regarding USED & RARE BOOK SALES going on around the state in the near future. There are really a lot of them! The Friends groups obviously are working hard. Here goes.....

1/6 Madison (Sequoya)
1/13 West Allis
1/20 Kewanee
1/20 Madison (Lakeview)
1/26-27 Reedsburg
1/30 Oshkosh

2/1 Ripon
2/1-4 Wausau (Marathon County Public Library)
2/3 Madison (Sequoya)
2/9-10 Prarie du Sac
2/10-11 Greenlake
2/15-17 Madison (Main Library)
2/17 Kewanee
2/17 Madison (Lakeview)

I will make individual postings if any groups care to give me specific details about their sales.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I've just ordered another course for myself from "The Teaching Company". This is an outfit based in Virginia who offers "The Great Courses". They have over 200 courses taught by reknowned college professors available in several different media formats. I have quite a few of them (more than I'll admit to my wife). They are excellently done.

The one I just ordered is "Between the Rivers: The History of Ancient Mesopotamia." The DVD format I ordered has 36 lectures each 30 minutes long on the history of what is now modern Iraq. One of the tragedies of the current war, in addition to the lives lost on both sides, is the destruction of archeological sites and of ancient artifacts from this area which was the birthplace of civilization. I felt a need to learn as much as I could about them before it was all blown to bits, sold on the black market, whatever.

I would think that purchasing of courses such as these for your library would be an excellent project for your Friends group. The courses are not dirt cheap but are still inexpensive enough so that if you have a fund-raising project that raises a couple hundred bucks you could buy two or three for your library.

Check them out at


As promised, today I post the first of the GET CAUGHT READING graphics. I will begin with first lady Laura Bush. She has distinguished herself with her support of libraries and reading and certainly deserves to be "first" in this effort as well.

As we start out this new year, TODAY would be an excellent day for YOU to "get caught reading". Go for it!

Monday, January 01, 2007


Congratulations to the Wisconsin Badger football team on their first 12 victory season, and to John Stocco for being named the MVP of the Capital One Bowl. Arkansas was as big and tough as we were. Their running backs were fast and slippery. But our quarterback and receivers played better than theirs, overall. And you can't forget the 52 yard field goal!

I was particularly pleased with the play of Mark Zalewski and Andy Crooks, alumni of the Wausau East track team that my wife helps coach.

Hail to thee, Wisconsin.


Another one of my lifelong interests has been Egyptology. I would die to be able to take a trip to Egypt. I definitely would, because my wife says she would kill me if I tried to take a trip to Egypt.

Tomorrow evening there is a NOVA program on PBS called "The Mummy Who Would Be King". This is about the mummy found on a museum shelf in Niagra Falls, NY who many now believe to be that of one of the Pharoahs of Egypt. The program is worth at look at 7PM CT.

Some websites you can look up on related subjects are:





For audio and video podcasts, Links & Books, the program transcript, and the teachers guide go to:

I would think someone could put together a whole study program at your library on this subject.


There is a program out there on the NET which features a collection of photos of people who have been "caught reading". I will be using some of their free to use photos on a weekly basis to remind you of the program. Taking photos of people in your area, catching them while reading, could be something to feature in your newsletter or library website. This program could go hand and hand with the "Read-On-Wisconsin" poster program which is currently available through the SouthWest Library System and is scheduled to be available through the Wisconsin Valley Library System.

We Friends need to promote reading and our libraries through every format we can.


Some of the exhileration of last night's Packer thumping of the Bears was wiped out by Brett Favre's tearful TV interview after the game. I had been convinced that he was returning for another season, but it sure didn't look like it in his post-game body language and conversation. It appears that he still enjoys wearing that Green jersey, but does not like to wear that Red practice jersey and all the effort that goes with it in preparing for an NFL season.

I hope he comes back. But if he doesn't, I don't feel he owes the fans anything. He has given us so much over the years of his incredible career. Physically he may have much left in the tank, but emotionally I think he has left all he had on the field.

Good luck Brett! It's been a great ride!