Friday, June 20, 2008

DPI reports on public libraries affected by flooding

From DPI's Channel Weekly (Vol. 10, No. 35 - June 19, 2008):
Public libraries throughout southern Wisconsin were affected by the record rainfall and consequential flooding this month. The following is a non-exhaustive summary of some of the libraries damaged or affected by the flooding.

In Columbia County:
-- The Columbus Public Library had flooding in its basement that did not damage the children’s collection. The library has served as an information and resource point for flooding in the community, including distribution of water test kits, FEMA information, sandbag availability, even buckets for cleanup.
-- The Angie W. Cox Public Library in Pardeeville had both flood waters and sewage backup in the basement that closed the building temporarily.

In Crawford County:
-- The Gays Mills Public Library, having avoided last August's floods, sustained damage to its floor from flood waters. It is closed until flood damage can be repaired.

In Grant County:
-- The new Potosi Branch of Lancaster's Schreiner Memorial Library sustained considerable flood damage to the building and collection. The facility is closed indefinitely.

In Richland County:
-- The Viola Public Library was surrounded by floodwaters, but was not damaged. Some library materials at the post office were damaged from flooding there.

In Sauk County:
-- The LaValle Public Library sustained substantial damage to both the collection and building. When it will reopen is unknown.
-- The North Freedom Public Library was closed for lack of access but sustained little damage.
-- The Kraemer Library & Community Center in Plain sustained flood damage and is currently closed for repairs and carpet replacement.
-- Reedsburg Public Library was closed temporarily because of encroaching waters but opened to provide Internet service to the community when the telephone utility was flooded and no other Internet was available with the exception of the TEACH subsidized lines to the library.
-- The Rock Springs Public Library had flooding that damaged some of the collection on lower shelves. Portions of the collection were relocated and the library is still closed.

Wisconsin flood recovery and other emergency information can be obtained from as well as the following American Library Association site: .

Libraries & others launch Fox Cities Passport to Nature

In collaboration with libraries and inspired by Richard Louv's book, "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," Debbie Nowak at 1000 Islands Environmental Center in Kaukauna has created a program to get families and kids excited about outdoor activities. The Fox Cities Passport to Nature program is a collaboration with libraries, park and recreation departments, and area nature centers. More at

RR Donnelley Literary Award Announced

The Literary Awards Committee of the Readers’ Section has chosen "The Ghost Mountain Boys: their Epic March and the Terrifying Battle for New Guinea—the Forgotten War of the South Pacific" by James Campbell as the winner of the RR Donnelley Literary Award, given for the highest literary achievement by a Wisconsin author in 2007. Ghost Mountain Boys tells the harrowing story of the 32nd Division’s WWII battle to prevent New Guinea from falling into Japanese hands. The book tells the tale of National Guardsmen whisked from the temperate Midwest and dropped into the dense jungles of New Guinea with little training and with equipment unequal to the task ahead. Through Campbell’s words the reader sees the dramatic and often deadly consequence of poor planning, indecisiveness and ego on both sides of the campaign. The RR Donnelley Literary Award is made possible by RR Donnelley Company of Chicago, IL through a grant to the WLA Foundation.

Two authors were chosen for their body of work as Notable Wisconsin Authors. Larry Watson is the author of multiple fiction titles, including White Crosses, Montana 1948, and Orchard. Also honored is Edward Heth, whose best known works include My Life on Earth and Wisconsin Country Cookbook and Journal.

2008 Outstanding Achievement awards for 2007 titles include the following ten titles by Wisconsin authors. They are:

John Gurda, "Cream City Chronicles: Stories of Milwaukee’s Past"
Douglas Jacobson, "Night of Flames"
Jesse Lee Kercheval, "The Alice Stories"
Martha Kimes, "Ivy Briefs: True Tales of a Neurotic Law Student"
Thomas Maltman, "Night Birds"
Gregg Mitman, "Breathing Space: how Allergies Shape our Lives and Landscapes"
Benjamin Percy, "Refresh, Refresh: Stories"
Jeremy Scahill, "Blackwater: the Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army"
Susan Vreeland, "Luncheon of the Boating Party"
Larry Watson, "Sundown, Yellow Moon: a Novel"

2008 Outstanding Achievement in Poetry awards for 2007 titles include the following five titles:

Robin Chapman, "The Dreamer who Counted the Dead"
Anne-Marie Cusac, "Silkie: Poetry"
Andrea Potos, "Yaya’s Cloth"
Shoshauna Shy, "What the Postcard Didn’t Say"
William Stobb, "Nervous Systems"

The 2008 Literary Awards Committee members are: Ellen Jepson and Edell Schaefer (co-chairs), Jean Anderson, Susan Belsky, Molly Canary, Caroline Haskin, Brian Kopetsky, Deb Shapiro, and Deb Strelka.

Call for Submissions: Frances de Usabel Outreach Services Award

The Outreach Services Round Table is the proud sponsor of the Frances de Usabel Outreach Services Award. The award is presented annually to a “library or librarian who has provided exemplary library outreach services to underserved populations.” The award may be for a specific project or projects or for outstanding lifetime achievement in outreach services.
Public, academic, school or special libraries and librarians are all eligible and encouraged to apply for this award. Nominees should be members of the Wisconsin Library Association but need not be members of the Outreach Services Round Table. The amount of the award is $500. The award will be presented during the Award Ceremony at the WLA Annual Conference in November. For more about the award or an application (due August 1) go to

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Report recommends reductions in Common School Fund deposits

The state's Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) recommends that most of the approximately $50 million that is deposited into the Common School Fund from the unclaimed property program be placed instead in the State's General Fund. The LAB's review of the Office of the State Treasurer's administration of the $354 million unclaimed property program makes recommendations regarding internal controls, though it found those to be reasonable, and policy issues. Specifically, they recommend narrowing the definition of unclaimed property such that all but about 0.1 percent of proceeds would be deposited to the State's General Fund rather than into the Common School Fund where is it funds low-cost loans to municipalities and school library needs. They note that such a move would boost general purpose revenue in a time of budget constraints, but it is likely to be opposed on constitutional grounds by the State Treasurer and the trustees of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, administrators of the Common School Fund. (WLA and the Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association also would oppose this change.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award announced

The Children's Book Award Committee has selected the 2008 Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla award winner, "Rabbit’s Gift: A Fable from China." Written by George Shannon and illustrated by Laura Dronzek, the book emphasizes the importance of friendship, community, and sharing. The warm, beautiful illustrations are a perfect complement to the story. Both the author and illustrator of this year’s book have significant Wisconsin ties. George Shannon lived in Eau Claire for many years, and Laura Dronzek lives in Madison.

The committee also named seven titles as exemplary of Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Literature:

"The Silenced" by James DeVita
"The Perfect Nest" by Catherine Friend
"The OK Book" illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
"Babies Can’t Eat Kimchee!" Written and illustrated by Susan L. Roth
"Terrible Storm" illustrated by S.D. Schindler
"Circle the Truth" by Pat Schmatz
"Keeping Corner" by Kashmira Sheth

The Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla award is given annually for excellence in children’s literature to a book by a book creator with Wisconsin ties. The award is named for Elizabeth Burr, who made outstanding and important contributions to library services for young people during her 27 years of service in Wisconsin, and Worzalla Publishing Company, which funds the award through a grant to the WLA Foundation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Librarians urged: remind parents about "summer slide"

School Library Journal, 6/2/2008, urges librarians to remind parents that an average student who doesn't read or engage in other learning opportunities can lose as much as 2.5 months of learning over the summer. The article mentions that the Institute for Museum and Library Services is touting this message and encouraging parents to take advantage of free and low-cost programs at museums and libraries. This includes, of course, the free summer library reading program which Wisconsin public libraries conduct so well! My local library already included this message in their materials.

Long live Google, but don't count on it

An interesting take on "The Library in the Digital Age" appeared in June 12 issue of The New York Review of Books. The author, Robert Darnton, argues that rather than characterizing our own era as The Information Age, we should consider that "every age was an age of information, each in its own way, and that information has always been unstable." It is because of information's inherent instability - no matter the format - that the library, and in particular he is talking about the research library, must be sustained. "Long live Google," he says, "but don't count on it living long enough to replace that venerable building with the Corinthian columns."

Gaming and Web 2.0 in libraries get media attention

Features in the Madison Capital Times and another in Governing magazine are the most recent exploration of libraries as places going beyond their "books" brand, where you'll find people playing Nintendo Wii and other video games, searching the Internet, and yes, reading. ALA President Loriene Roy points out that books are still the top reason people go to libraries. But for the teen population, the social aspect of going to the library to game is increasing their visits.

A related article in Governing, "Revolution in the Stacks," discusses how some libraries are becoming places to create content, not just find content, as part of the Web 2.0 revolution. They refer to libraries that have turned their Web sites into blogs (like our very own Menasha Public!) and turned to retailers for best practices on arrangement of materials (bye, bye Dewey) and added services that position the library as the "third place."

What are you doing to create the "third place" in your community - whether that be an academic institution, small town or corporation?

Keeping your own private library

An article published May 31 in the Wall Street Journal discusses the idiosyncracies of early book collectors, including one who died trying to light a fire to keep his books from getting damp and another who arranged his books from smallest to largest, but created false bottoms painted like the spines in order to make them appear to be the same height. It makes my family's stacks of books strewn throughout the house look quite pedestrian. Tell us about your private library.