Thursday, June 14, 2007


During the course of our "Road Trip" to Wyalusing State Park my wife and I stopped in at the headquarters of the South West Library System. We spent a little time with Jo Don Anderson (who is the Secretary of Wisconsin Library Trustees & Advocates - WLTA) as well as with the System Director, Krista Ross. SWLS has a very beautiful building on the West side of Fennimore, right on US Highway 18.
We had a chance to discuss the possibility that SWLS will host a Friends Conference in 2008, similar to the Northwoods Conferences we have been holding for Friends groups and other library supporters. WLTA would like to hold one of these get-togethers in a different quadrant of the State every year, and is very happy that South West is considering being the first area to step up to the plate in this program. Another system in that area of the state may be invited to join in as well. In any event, communication is the key, and Friends getting together to discuss problems and opportunities results in improving everyone. We'll keep you posted as the plans for this conference develop.

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My wife and I just took a short mid-week trip (we can do that now that she has retired) to Wyalusing State Park, near Prairie du Chien. What a beautiful place! It is located on bluffs overlooking the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. She had heard about it from fellow birders, as a great place to see warblers who do not travel as far North as our home in Central Wisconsin.

My wife did see a couple of "lifer warblers" (birds she has not seen before in her life). But we also saw a tremendous number of beautiful brilliantly colored birds: Scarlet Tanagers, Red-Headed Woodpeckers, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, Indigo Buntings. The air was alive with color. There were other birds we had never seen before as well, such as the Blue-Grey Gnat Catcher (No I did not just make that name up!). We saw what we believe were Golden Eagles soaring over the Mississippi.

Wyalusing is a different forest from what we are used to in Central and Northern Wisconsin. It is primarily a Walnut forest. There are some other hardwood species as well, but very few pine species. The understory is quite different as well. Rather than bare areas covered with needles & dead leaves or areas populated by ferns, this forest floor is totally covered with broad leaf plants about 2 to 3 feet high. When exposed to direct sunlight the leaves wilt. We saw the usual variety of mammals, including does with fawns.

The park is extremely well maintained. There are many clean bathrooms for us older folks with bladder problems. The two main campgrounds are terrific with sites well isolated from one another. About 1/4 of the sites have electricity. One campground is on a bluff overlooking the rivers. The other is on a heavily wooded hill in the center of the park. There are also two "group camping" sites which accommodate 20 - 40 people per site. There are 22 miles of hiking trails in the park. A road leads down to a boat launch area. You can launch your power boat, or rent canoes & kayaks to enjoy the Mississippi river.

It was a great experience! I just wish it wasn't so far away from where I live. Despite that, we will be planning a camping trip there soon to fully enjoy this Wisconsin treasure.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I recently read a very glowing review of the movie THE PAINTED VEIL. I purchased a copy and found it to be a great investment. Both my wife and myself liked the movie very much. The scenery is terrific and the acting well done. I particularly like the performance of Diana Rigg as the Mother Superior of a convent. It's the story of a doctor and his wife and a cholera epidemic in China.

This movie has been done before in the '30s and is derived from a 1925 novel written by Sommerset Maugham. After enjoying the movie, I decided to read the novel. As is frequently the case, the novel is even better than the movie. I also found that the movie ends at a convenient point only about 2/3 of the way through the story. So if you view the film, you won't be bored by the book as it carries to completion this amazing story of England and China in the '20s. Per usual, Maugham is superb in character development.

Both the film and novel get 2 thumbs up from me. Give either or both a shot!

The graphic is the DVD cover as displayed on



The Athens Branch of the Marathon County Public Library will have a special treat for their Book Club which meets Thursday, June 14th, at 6:30 PM. They will be discussing the book ESSENTIAL LIES by local author Cindy Conway. Cindy will be in attendance to talk about her book.


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The University of Wisconsin will be conducting sessions in Central Wisconsin this summer for adults needing advice on how to obtain a UW degree. The UW System adult student advisor will discuss programs and service that are available at system campuses as well as those available on-line. Mr. Rob Rhoads will be available at area libraries on the following dates:

  • 6/12 - Antigo Public Library - 1PM to 3PM
  • 6/25 - Medford - Francis L. Simek Memorial Library - 1PM to 3PM
  • 6/28 - Antigo Public Library - 2PM to 4PM
  • 7/11 - Wausau - Marathon County Public Library - 10:30AM to 10:30PM
  • 7/16 - Medford - Francis L. Simek Memorial Library - 1PM to 3PM
  • 8/1 - Antigo Public Library - 10:30 AM to 12:30PM
  • 8/8 - Mosinee - Joseph Dessert Branch Library - 10AM to Noon
  • 8/8 - Wausau - Marathon County Public Library - 1:30PM to 3:30 PM

For more information on this program you can contact Rob Rhoads at 715-261-6293 or by Email at

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Monday, June 11, 2007


The baseball season is in full swing. (Pardon the pun). The Brewers are begin to break our hearts already, after they had such a great start. I think they have been studying the Chicago Cubs approach to baseball. The Yankees have started poorly but are now edging up towards .500 and you know they'll be a factor in fall.

This week we've got Johnny Damon demonstrating that there is more to life than playing ball. Find a quiet spot outside under a tree or along a river and Get Caught Reading.



The era of the digitization of books is upon us. Google has announced that all of the members of the Big-Ten, plus a former member ..... The University of Chicago, have signed on to the Google digitization project. Other major universities are already part of the project. Whether we as individuals like to read books on line (I don't) they will be available whether we like it or not. However, much in their favor, most of these will be in a searchable format, which will be terrific.

But just when you think you know it all about digitization, along comes a company which will employ the technology in another way. The company is On Demand Books LLC. They are planning on becoming the first company to globally deploy a low cost, totally automatic book machine which can produce 15-20 library quality paperback books per hour, in any language, in quantities as low as 1. Their process can produce 1 copy of 10 different books in the same amount of time that it can produce 10 copies of 1 book. They already have two test machines in place, one at the World Bank InfoShop in Washington DC and the other at the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. They call their machine "The Expresso Book Machine"

The latter part of my business career I was much involved in study of the Japanese approach to productivity. Zero inventories was always a goal. Book stores have a tremendous investment in an assortment of books to satisfy all the diversified needs of their customers. Just imagine walking into a store and asking for a copy of Hardy's "Jude The Obscure" and the clerk saying, "If you've got five minutes, I'll print you one!"

A visit to this new company's website is well worth your time. Be sure to take the time to watch the video of the machine in action producing a book with a four-color cover. The site includes links to other sites which discuss the future of books.

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I have returned! My hand has healed fairly well from the Carpal Tunnel operation. The doc had said I should avoid any type of repetitive motions during the recovery period, so I have stayed away from the computer as much as possible. Much can be accomplished one-handed with the mouse when going through Email. You can hit the delete button just fine. Answering Emails one-handed is another story.

I've done a lot of reading the last three weeks, and I'll be passing on some observations on what I read. I attended an IFRT meeting in Madison last week (Intellectual Freedom Round Table). A very dynamic learned group. WLTA will be co-sponsoring with IFRT the Pre-Conference at WLA this year. They've lined up a fantastic speaker and I'll be relaying information about the program to you throughout the summer.

I'm also starting a new phase of my life. My wife retired on Friday after well over a quarter-century of teaching in the Wausau School District. I look forward to having a companion 24/7. Already my life is changing as we have begun our joint fitness program. Among other things she wants me in tip-top shape for our trip to China next Spring.

I will also be working to improve this blog, both from the aspect of content and technological features. Feel free to give me your suggestions for improvement.

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