Friday, November 16, 2007


The Fourth Quarter meeting of Wisconsin Library Trustees and Advocates (WLTA) was held at the Portage Public Library on Saturday, November 10th. Thirteen board members and two guests were in attendance. The following are highlights from that meeting:

  • A letter from the out-going Chairperson was read. She outlined what we have accomplished during the past year, as well as the role she intends to fill in the future.
  • Activities at the past week's COLAND meeting were reported
  • Discussion was held regarding the 2008 VISION Summit being planned by COLAND and the DPI. This meeting will discuss the "Library of the Future" and attempt to provide direction for Wisconsin libraries during the next 10 to 20 years. The last time a meeting of this type was held was in 1996. That session focused extensively on new technology for libraries. BADGERLINK was one of the outcomes of that session.
  • A report from our Advocacy Advisor was discussed. She indicates that since the budget has now been passed with many favorable features for libraries, we need to focus our activities on local issues. Many local budgets are still in limbo as a result of the procrastination of the State Legislature. Advocacy issue reports are provided to us by the Director of the Rhinelander District Library.
  • A one page summary of the "By-Laws" section of the DPI Trustee Manual was distributed. The importance of having up-to-date policies & procedures was stressed. Making sure that this was the case is a role of library trustees. These summaries are provided by the recently retired Director of Wisconsin Valley Library Service.
  • The trial "marriage" between ALTA (American Library Trustees Association) and FOLUSA (Friends of Libraries USA) was discussed. Also, information on a Friends of Libraries manual was shared.
  • The Conventions Chairperson reported on our participation in the recent WLA convention in Green Bay. Most of our sessions had standing-room-only attendance. Programs for the Spring WAPL convention in Stevens Point were discussed. Included was a program on Process-Flow analysis as part of a library quality improvement program. Similarity to automotive industry programs was noted.
  • The WLA Executive Director touched on several subjects including the use of OPAL as a means of conducting meetings. Electronic meetings will be becoming an ever increasingly attractive option as transportation costs continue to soar.
  • The DPI liason gave an extensive verbal report on activities in his area. These included follow-up action on the Greener Pastures - Rural Library Sustainability Project. No-cost education courses through Web-Junction were highlighted.
  • Our web-master has done extensive work on the process of changing our By-Laws to the Policies and Procedures format. The changes were discussed and further revisions suggested. The current format may be seen on our division web-site. Approval of the final format will be voted on at the February meeting.
  • The game-plan for our promotion program for Library Legislative Day was approved. We will work through the seventeen Library System Directors, encouraging formation of teams of non-professionals to attend. The coordinators of the Day and the WLA Executive Director will help in promotion of our program.
  • The date for the 2008 Friends Conference to be held at SWLS (Southwest Library System) will be set shortly. It appears that the theme of this conference will be "How To Start A Friends Group".
  • Board members were encouraged to visit our "Wiki" as this will be a growing method of communication in the future. Use of our "list-serv" will also be used for communication with the members of our Division.
  • The board had been considering how to display the new assimilation of Friends of Wisconsin Libraries into our group for over a year. We decided to make a formal name change. Our new name will be WISCONSIN LIBRARY TRUSTEES & FRIENDS -- WLTF. Actions will be taken at several levels to change our identify within the Wisconsin library community.
  • Two volunteers were obtained to satisfy the remaining committee appointments needed by the WLA Chair-Elect.
  • Discussion was held regarding establishing more extensive committee assignments within our board in 2008. These assignments will help define the ideal size of our board. We will also work toward establishing a Trustee and a Friend liason within each of the 17 Library Systems in 2008. This will also help communication avenues.
  • Portage and Saturday were approved as location and day of 2008 meetings. Meeting dates of 2/16, 5/17, 8/16, & 11/15 were agreed to.

This was a very good session, with a large number of issues being addressed. The Executive Committee of WLTF will be meeting electronically every month to ensure continued action on all our activities. We will work toward distribution of more informative materials before the meeting dates so board members come prepared to discuss the issues.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007


This AP photo shows some of the team excitement in Wisconsin's great victory over the Michigan Wolverines at Camp Randall yesterday. 37-21 ..... who would have thunk it?
If you are one of those who just can't get enough of the coverage on the game, go to
There you will find videos of game coverage, interviews after the game, etc. etc. There is an extensive archive of game information regarding other contests and other sports as well. Enjoy!

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Saturday, November 10, 2007


The WLTA Board of Directors met for their quarterly meeting today at the Portage Public Library. Considerable discussion was held regarding the new role of the Division as the home for Friends of Libraries activities in this state. Eventually, it was decided that our name should reflect who we are and what we represent. The new acronym will be WLTF, which will stand for Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends. The name assumes that "advocacy" is a role that all of us have to play, whether we are a library professional, a trustee, a member of a friends of the library organization, or simply a friend of libraries in general.
A full report of the meeting will be issued shortly. Reporting of the name change will also becoming via many communication methods, and work will be done very shortly to change the existing website.
Welcome WLTF to the Wisconsin family of library organizations!

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007


The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinal reports today that the "misguided hummingbird from Mexico that alighted near Beloit in September has been spared the doom of a Wisconsin winter".
On Monday, Mike Ramsden, who is the birder who first identified the bird in the backyard of Joan and Karl Salzberg, lured the mango into a cage and rescued it. The hummingbird has been turned over to the Wisconsin Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Milwaukee. They feel they have wonderful capability to care for a bird like this. So far the bird appears to be doing well in his new surroundings.

Whether or not the bird should be "rescued" was hotly debated among professional and amateur ornithologists. The point is now moot as the bird is in captivity.

My wife was among the first birders to travel to Beloit to view and photograph the mango. Over 700 people eventually showed up in the Salzberg's back yard!

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One of the TV shows that my wife and I have watched faithfully the last couple years is BONES. It centers on a forensic anthropolgist working at the "Jeffersonian" Institute in Washington DC, who is partnered with an FBI agent. They solve crimes using far out techniques and equipment. We always crank up the sound for the introductory music.
I've found out that the music is performed by a group called The Crystal Method. Amazingly there are only two people in the group (can two people make a group?). It is electronic music with very strong pounding bass.
The "group's" website is I particularly like their song "Keep Hope Alive". Give it a listen!

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Events regarding the Middle East dominate the nightly news broadcasts in both direct and indirect manners. The USA is now approaching 4,000 deaths in the current military exercise. Instability in the entire region affects us economically as well as politically.
I've found a site that illustrates the history of the region in a vary enlightening way. They say you can't tell the players without a score card. Well, here it is .....

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Thursday, November 01, 2007


Not very long ago most scientists felt that there had been no "fraternization" between Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens. Now that they have been able to isolate Neanderthall DNA those opinions are rapidly changing. It seems that every article I read suggests a higher percentage of Neanderthal genes in our modern human makeup than the last article.
Most scientific articles I come across are now of the opinion that when homo sapiens left Africa they had black skins. They encountered Neanderthals in what we now refer to as the mid-East and Europe, and these hominids had white skin. The white skin characteristic became dominant in at least some of the descendents of mixed parentage. Now studies are indicating that the Neanderthals also had a high percentage of their species that had red hair. This is a recessive gene that I'm reading may disappear from our makeup entirely in the next few thousand years.
However, the accompaning picture shows good old modern humans with both the white skin and red hair passed on by our distant relatives. I'm beginning to believe that the Neanderthals did not disappear from the face of the earth. They are still here as a part of those of us of European descent.
You can read an article on the subject from the Australian Broadcasting Company newsletter at

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There is an obituary in today's New York Times that is quite different from "normal". The obituary marks the passing of a chimpanzee, named Washoe.
The Times obit is entitled "Washoe, a Chimp of Many Words, Dies at 42"
It begins " She spent her early years playing in the backyard of a small house in Reno, Nev., learning American Sign Language from the scientists who adopted her, and by age 5 she had mastered enough signs to capture the world's attention and set off a debate over nonhuman primates' ability to learn human language that continues to this day."
I remember Washoe well. It was around 1970 that I read my first article about her. She had been taught to take in water by using a coffee cup. She also had a small doll that she played with and "mothered". One morning she had placed the little doll in the cup and signed to her "parents" the immortal words ......."Baby in my drink!" Every few years I would run across another article about Washoe as she continued to amaze scientists around the world with her sign-language vocabulary.
Later in life I met a gentleman, now a good friend, that was well familiar with sign language. While with the Labor Department in the Carter administration he employed an attorney who was "deaf and dumb" as we called it in those days. My friend had to learn American Sign Language to be able to communicate with the attorney. The young man eventually got to represent the Labor Department in an action in a court in Atlanta, and became the first lawyer to argue and win a case using only American Sign Language as his method of communication.
One year I took a Civil War Battlefield trip with my friend and got to meet one of his daughters who lived in Winchester, Virginia. Her children were being taught three languages from toddler period on ...... English, Spanish, and American Sign Language. By the time I met them, they were in the general Kindergarten age group, and were fluent in all three languages.
ASL is apparently easy to learn, especially if you are working with an eager, developing mind. What a brilliant experiment for these scientists to do with Washoe. What a totally exciting event that must have been when those first moments of communication occured with another member of our "family tree" !! And how fulfilling it must have been to continue to communicate with her as she passed from "kindergartner" into adult life, and to know at least part of what she was thinking.
Goodbye Washoe......We humans, who most evolutionary scientists now label as "The Third Chimpanzee", mourn your passing.
Read the full NY Times article at

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