Wednesday, May 23, 2007


My posts over the next week or so will be briefer than my normal wordy epistles. Yesterday I had a Carpal Tunnel operation. I am attempting to type with one hand, which I am finding is not fun. I'll continue to try to pass on pertinent information but in a "Reader's Digest" fashion.


Monday, May 21, 2007


The SirsiDynix Institute will be putting on a "Webinar" on Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 from Noon to 1PM Central Daylight time, on the subject of "What's New In Podcasting?"
This form of information exchange has exploded in recent years, with tens of thousands of podcasts of all types now available. According to the SirsiDynix promo on the 6/5 program "This presentatiion builds on the previous SirsiDynix Institute podcasting series by examining developments in the library podcasting landscape over the past year, including a look at (and listen to) new podcasts created by and for the library community. Tips for considering, planning, creating, evaluating, and sustaining a podcasting program at your library are also included. Learn now to create quality podcasts that will engage your audience from one of the first library podcasters."
The program sounds great and an opportunity for staff from libraries of all sizes to learn how to use this technology. You can register for this FREE webinar at ........
Go For It !!

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The Board of Directors of the WISCONSIN LIBRARY TRUSTEES AND ADVOCATES group met on Saturday, May 19th, at the Portage Library for it's second quarterly meeting of 2007. Twelve people were in attendance, including two new representatives from Appleton and Madison.

The financial status of the group was discussed. As of this point, proceeds from the WAPL conference held in early May have not been determined. A report will be issued when this information becomes available.

The WLTA representative on the WLA board gave an extensive report. The WLA Board has issued a draft proposal for a Unit Advisory Council that, potentially, would give the divisions, sections, and roundtables of WLA a structure for greater collaboration and communication. The WLTA secretary will Email copies of this proposal to board members. Under changes to the WLA Bylaws, unit By-Laws would be replaced by Policies and Procedures. Only WLA would operate under By-Laws. A draft of the new Policies and Procedures for WLTA will be available for discussion and potential adoption at our August meeting.
The WLTA website will be reviewed and streamlined. It will include a link to the Friends of Libraries - USA website (FOLUSA), so Friends can get direct access when visiting our site. These revisions will be in place and available for discussion at the August meeting.

The WLTA representatives on the COLAND board (Council on Library and Network Development) reported on discussions at their recent meeting. The top issue was the competition between WISCAT and OCLC. It was felt that a state-wide conference must be held to address and resolve the issue.
Also discussed was the fact that several Wisconsin school districts are on the brink of bankruptcy with the resulting effect on libraries.
FBI surveillance under Patriot Act provisions was also mentioned.

Our representative on the LD & L board (Library Development and Legislation Committee) reported on several issues. Included was discussion on My Space access in libraries as well as other social-networking sites.
Also discussed was Police access to surveillance videos. The problem is the videos record not only people who are committing crimes but also other patrons of the library as well. A bill to allow public libraries to release the videos without a court order under very specific circumstances may be introduced this session. WLA is working to make sure that the bill is narrowly constructed such that the privacy rights of patrons are maintained.

The ADVOCACY Mission Report included comments regarding the favorable results of the Joint Finance Committee voting on library issues in the Governor's Budget Proposal.
The Gates Foundation software package on communicating your libraries value in your community that we had discussed in our February meeting was distributed to all attendees of the "Greener Pastures" Rural Library Sustainability series of workshops. Information of this software as well as books available at the FOLUSA website were listed in the lastest WLTA newsletter.
It appears that no one from our group will be attending the ALA & ALTA convention in Washington DC in June.
Status of planning for Wisconsin Library Legislative Day (2/22/08) was discussed.

The TRUSTEE EDUCATION Mission Report included distribution of a one-page summary of Essential Number Two from the Trustee Essential manual. These summaries are being prepared by the Director of the Wisconsin Valley Library Service, who has just announced her intent to retire in fall.

The FRIENDS OF LIBRARIES Mission Report included information that Tomahawk Public Library will receive WLTA assistance at an orgnizational meeting to be held to launch their new Friends Group.
It was reported that the MCPL Friends group will be deciding this month on a variation of the Eau Claire model of "sponsoring" new members, in order to increase the membership ranks.
People in the SouthWestern portion of the state are interested in conducting a Friends Conference similar to the Northwoods Conferences of recent years. WLTA will play a major role in putting on this conference, and hopes to conduct conferences in other quadrants of the state in future years.

The CONVENTIONS Mission Report included a recap of the WLTA presentation on THE TOP TEN THINGS LEARNED AT THE NORTHWOODS CONFERENCE that was given at the WAPL conference. It was decided that a review of this presentation should be included in the next WLTA newsletter.
WLTA will be very busy at the WLA conference in October. We will be co-sponsoring the Pre-Conference with IFRT (Intellectual Freedom Round Table), co-sponsoring a RSRT program (Resource Sharing Round Table), co-sponsoring an IFRT program, putting on a WLTA luncheon and business meeting, as well as putting on three programs of our own. The programs will center around Libraries Involvement in Their Communities, Open Meeting Laws, and "What's My Role?" The group also discussed potentially having a Newsletter display at the conference. We will have a lot on our plate.

Under Association reports, the Executive Director of WLA discussed the association's strategic plan with three major goals: Advocacy, Community, Education (ACE).
They are working on putting together a directory of library supporters for help in the legislative activities.
They will also work on producing a directory of Friends groups in the state.

The DPI report included an excellent report on Trustee Education Resources by System. We will attempt to create a link on our website so it is available to all. Also submitted was a list of 2007 library related meetings in this state.

Under OLD BUSINESS we discussed the absorption of FOWL into WLTA. The discount program on WLA membership was related.
Creation of a new WLTA brochure was discussed. Two "volunteers" were annoited. This work will begin after the Policies/Procedures and the Website revisions are completed. Artwork and layout will be coordinated through the WLA office.

A motion was passed requiring board members to attend a minimum of two meetings per year to maintain an "active" status. Provisions were made for excused absences. This ruling is important for establishing what constitutes a quorum for us to legally conduct business.

Adding WLTA board members to a WLA list-serv has been accomplished.

Further work on the WLTA Wiki has not been done. Coordination with the WLA Wiki was discussed. Action will be reported on by the August meeting.

Under NEW BUSINESS library digitization was discussed. Some libarians have expressed the opinion that they do not feel libraries are being measured properly in the age of computers and internet access. The WLA Executive Director reported that there is a national organization working on a system to do this. People at the Department of Public Instruction are involved in these efforts.

A pitch was made for all board members to sign up for WISPUBLIB. This communication distributes a ton of library related information which should be very useful. It was determined that many people in positions of responsibility are not on the system.

Extensive discussion was held on WLTA funding a scholarship program for 2008 LLD. Several alternate plans were proposed. It was felt we should discuss this among our constituents and library directors and make a decision on a program at the August meeting.

CONCERNS AND COMMENTS among board members generated many interesting ideas. Library and Friends brochures were shared. A great idea was presented by the Janesville representative. They issue Library Discount Cards similar to those sold by high school sports teams. This is a fund raiser for their Friends group and Library.

The moderator of the meeting suggested the possibility of joining AAAA. This is the American Association Against Acronyms.

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Monday, May 14, 2007


This week's celebrity that has been Caught Reading was a surprise to me when I first saw the graphic. It is Don King, the boxing promoter . Over the past 20 or 30 years he has been involved in most of the major bouts held in this country. He promoted most of the Ali fights. However, just like you can't tell a book by it's cover, you obviously can't tell a reader by his physical appearance either. The book Don King has been Caught Reading is one called "THE MIND OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS" Just as King is expanding his knowledge of his heritage, we should do the same and get Caught Reading about our own.



Saturday, May 12th, Heather Eldred submitted her Letter of Resignation to the Wisconsin Valley Library Service - Board of Trustees, who were conducting their bi-monthly board meeting. At this point, she intends to leave sometime after Labor Day. The Board accepted her Letter with great reluctance and sadness.

Heather has been with WVLS for 35 years, serving as Director the last 24 years. During that time she has also held many state-wide offices such as President of WLA and VP of the WLA-Foundation. She is well loved and respected by the people who have worked for her and with her, both past and present. Heather has guided her ship through many storms and hazards during the last quarter-century of library growth and development in this state. She has built a strong organization that will be of great assistance to whomever follows in her footsteps as Director.

Heather Eldred has been a delight to be associated with. She has a great sense of humor, loves word play, and sports a new hat every month. Heather is a quiet lady, but of strong will and great tenacity. She manages with a velvet glove that covers the iron hand. Heather was the driving and guiding force behind the Northwoods Friends Conferences held in recent years. Her input transformed the concept of "Let's get Friends together to talk" into a viable conference that people from all around the state were eager to attend. We've all seen those people that spend a number of years "coasting" before they retire. This is definitely NOT the case with Heather. She is proceeding full-speed-ahead and I'm sure will continue to do so right up to the last day.

The WVLS Board President, Alice Sturzl will be organizing a committee to begin the search for a replacement. Alice has also been with WVLS for many years and also has a broad base of experience, having been WLA President herself. Whomever the successful candidate turns out to be, they will be very fortunate to be able to take over the strong, vibrant organization that Heather Eldred has built.

Hats off to you ..... Heather !!!


Sunday, May 06, 2007


How would you like to be forced to live on chocolate? I can see the line forming already. Researchers "down-under" are working on making a new form of chocolate that will be a staple for the Australian army. They intend to enrich the tasty treat with vitamins and minerals, make it more stable at warm temperatures, and to stay fresh for years. Obviously, they shouldn't have any problems making their troops eat it.

Check out the article on the Australian Broadcasting Network site .....



The picture on this post is one of a young man who will undoubtedly draw a lot of attention at the Packer training camp as well as during the entire season. He is James Jones of San Jose State. Jones was drafted with the Packer's pick in the third round of the NFL draft. The Packers lost the Randy Moss derby when they refused to give up a fourth round pick to the Oakland Raiders. Thus, Ted Thompson, the Packer's general manager rates Jones as being of higher value than Moss. Brilliant move or Blunder? We should find out fairly soon.

In other notes ..... John Stocco, former University of Wisconsin quarterback, and MVP of the Capitol One bowl, is currently trying out with the Packers. Mark Zalewski, former University of Wisconsin middle linebacker and Wausau East graduate, has signed a free-agent contract with the New York Jets.


Saturday, May 05, 2007


One of the mealtime conversations I had at the WAPL Spring Conference was with a couple of librarians from very small libraries in very small towns. They related a long laundry-list of problems encountered in village libraries that were indeed very daunting. They included things such as the Village administrator commandeering library fines to put in the village coffers to be dispensed at his discretion on his projects; nepotism and favoritism conducted by the Village administrator; constant change of library board members (in violation of state statutes), so they don't get too enamoured of the goals and objectives of the library; distrust of librarians because of having association with organizations outside the village; librarians getting denied approval to put a sign on their building stating that the site was a library; the library getting closed on election days because the library is the polling place; the librarian rarely getting approval to attend functions because she is the only library employee and in her absence the library has to shut down; failure to invite the librarian to meetings affecting the operation of her library; the fastest form of communication in the village being word of mouth; many in the village sharing much of the same DNA; etc. etc. The librarians can not get too militant on these issues because their jobs would be on the line.
Discussing potential solutions, certainly legal ones, things that would work in villages might well prove to be offensive or unworkable in large communities. There is definitely need for advocacy and selling the community on the library's worth and value to the village.
Despite the Gates Foundation and Web-Junction program, Rural Library Sustainability in some small communities depends upon much more than computers.



I have a nephew who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona who was born on the 5th of May, so today is his birthday. I am living up to our family tradition of always being late with his Birthday card again this year. But he should receive it in the mail sometime next week.
I'm therefore taking the opportunity of using this blog to actually extend birthday greetings to him on the day of his birth! Amazing what technology can do.
Happy Birthday, Tyler ....... the check's in the mail!



Congratulations to Maggie Waggoner and her Conference Committee for doing an excellent job in organizing this year's WAPL Spring Conference! The site selection was very good. If I have any complaint at all regarding the Plaza Hotel & Suites is that they serve too much food. At each meal they presented a mountain of delicious fare on my plate, more than I could and should eat. Once I got the lay of the land I was able to find the meeting rooms. The selection of programs was good. Once again, I had to make difficult choices when intriguing presentations were scheduled at the same time.
Keynote speaker, Keith Curry Lance, presented a ton of information regarding obtaining statistics and research regarding libraries. This can be of use both in planning efficient operation of your library as well as documentation for demonstrating the value of your library to your community.
One of the sessions I attended was quite exciting. This was the WHAT'S NEW UNDER THE DOME session of Library Legislative Issues. The State Joint Finance Committee was meeting at the same time and Richard Grobschmidt kept receiving phone calls relaying the lastest voting information coming out of the Committee. Unanimous votes accepting two of the governor's proposals generated excitement, applause and cheers from our group. The timing could not have been better.
I was pleased to have Michael Golrick, the Director of the host L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library attend the session I was speaking at. Eau Claire has a huge, very dynamic Friends group that Golrick was very proud of. Attendence was a bit slim at my session, but I was competing with Victoria Houston in my time slot. I would have liked to hear her talk too!
Per usual, I learned as much over meals and in casual conversation as I did at the programs. Much of the time the subjects were far over my head and I tried to keep quiet so I didn't display how stupid I was. But I met a large number of very interesting folks and renewed acquaintenances with many more.
The WAPL president, Mr. Ken Hall summed it up well at the luncheon closing the conference when he said "As your president I say ... Mission Accomplished!"