Friday, August 31, 2007

Recent Cightings: Libraries - Blog Day

World Blog Day - Celebrate !

1. Find 5 new Blogs
2. Notify the 5 bloggers that they are part of BlogDay 2007
3. Write a short description
4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st)
5. Add the BlogDay tag using this link

Denver Public Library Podcast
~ Stories from the Denver Public Library

Grand Rapids Public Library
~ Presentations, Storytimes, Book Reviews

LibVibe - library news headlines
~ Listen Now, right on the computer, no iPod needed !

Lindenhurst Memorial Library NY
~ Audio downloads of original public affairs, music, and discussion programs

Sunnyvale Public Library CA
~ Audio and Video Broadcasts of Library Programs and Sunnyvale Voices Stories

Thursday, August 30, 2007

California public libraries, for one, take an unexpected hit.

Broken Process Yields a Bad Budget for California
California Progress Report: Aug 30, 2007 By John Laird
Chair of Assembly Budget Committee and Conference Committee on the Budget

The final state budget has been signed by the governor, and it’s bad news for anyone who looks to the state for health care, lower fees for higher education, human services, public transit, library programs, or protecting parks and the environment. READ ON

Local libraries suffer in state budget crunch
Marin Independent Journal: Aug 27, 2007 by Jennifer Upshaw

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's $131.4 billion state budget has left local librarians cold. Friday's passage of the budget - 52 days late - means the loss of about $15 million in state funds to libraries big and small.

In Marin, about $114,000 in state money will be missing from the county library system's $13 million budget, said Carol Starr, director of county library services. The money will be made up from the department's

$2 million reserve fund. Likely, the move means fewer new books, she said.

"It's an impact," Starr said. "It sort of strikes me as asking the library to do more than their fair share."

During budget negotiations, the Legislature added $1 million to the
Public Library Foundation, the entity created to dole out state dollars locally for necessities such as books and materials. The money was removed by the governor, as was an additional $7 million. The budget is now $14.4 million from the foundation for libraries statewide, said Susan Negreen, director of the California Library Association.

From the Transaction Based Reimbursement program, which helps libraries statewide finance services such as inter-library loan, another $7 million was sliced, leaving that budget at $11.6 million for all 181 public libraries across the state.

"We are deeply disappointed," Negreen said. "I think there's no doubt this will mean service cuts in the state."

The series of vetoes was vital to beefing up the state's reserves, Schwarzenegger spokesman H.D. Palmer said.

"There were any number of difficult but very necessary decisions that need to be made to build up the reserves in light of the uncertainties in the state revenue picture," he said. "These vetoes are part of what went into building that reserve."

Many libraries outside the county system - San Rafael, Belvedere, Tiburon, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Larkspur and San Anselmo - also will feel the pinch.

In San Rafael, officials had been skittish in years past, opting not to rely on state money. A few years' stability prompted San Rafael to make an exception and count this year on the money - money that will now have to come out of the department's $100,000 in reserves.

About $10,000 will be necessary to cover materials. Between $15,000 and $20,000 will be lost for inter-library loan, estimated David Dodd, San Rafael Public Library director.

"We had really counted on the trend going upward," he said of state funds. "It's just a step in the wrong direction. Last year, we were saying it was a step in the right direction.

"We are not happy today."

State budget cuts filter down to Alameda, Contra Costa libraries
San Jose Mercury News: Aug 29, 2007 By Karen Holzmeister and Ryan Huff

Gov. Schwarzenegger's new budget hit the Alameda County Library like a shelf of falling books.

County Librarian Jean Hofacket was hoping for $1.3 million from the state-subsidized Public Library Foundation. That's a hefty raise from the $301,000 that Alameda County received from the foundation in the 2006-07 state budget.

Instead, the budget signed Aug. 24 by Schwarzenegger will result in just $200,000 in foundation funds for the county's 10 libraries and other outreach services.

This $101,000 loss, Hofacket said, could mean across-the-board cuts in materials and programs. Some possible examples: Fewer books purchased. Less adult literacy training. Reductions in children's programs.

Hofacket doesn't have specifics on how the $200,000 state foundation money will be spent during 2007-08, but it will be used for programs, staffing and materials.

As an example, $200,000 could buy 5,700 books or 5,400 hours of adult literacy training, or 400 children's programs.

Union Tribune: Aug 25, 2007 By Ed Mendel

Among the San Diego vetoes: A $7 million statewide library cut is expected to cost the San Diego city library about $250,000 and the county library $200,000.

Schwarzenegger cut $15 million from programs that allow library systems to loan books to each other, and run bookmobiles and other literacy programs.

Action frees money for local groups even as state officials begin preparing for next year's budget debate.
OC Register: Aug 24, 2007 by Brian Joseph

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday signed the third-latest budget in recent California history, 55 days after the state's June 30 deadline.

Among the real reductions, the governor cut $8 million from public library funds, which are used to buy books, pay salaries and cover overhead. Compared to last year's figures, that cut translates into $286,000 less for the Orange County Public Library, $16,000 less for the Newport Beach library and $38,000 less for the Huntington Beach library, according to the California Library Association.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Reading Habits

One in Four Read No Books Last Year
Alan Fram, AP: Aug 21, 2007

There it sits on your night stand, that book you've meant to read for who knows how long but haven't yet cracked open. Tonight, as you feel its stare from beneath that teetering pile of magazines, know one thing — you are not alone.

One in four adults read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and older people were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices. Full Article

This article has created quite a stir along with a spike in reading. Some differing opinions and perspectives:

Reading Time Picked Up in ’06
by Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly: Aug 20, 2007

Despite an explosion of media choices, the time consumers spend reading books each year increased by one hour in 2006, to 108 hours, according to the 21st edition of the Veronis Suhler Stevenson Communications Industry Forecast. The yearly report on media usage, spending and trends found that the increased use of the Internet and other digital alternatives actually freed up consumers’ time to spend with other media if they choose. “While new technology has allowed consumers to use other media more efficiently, a relatively strong adult trade market led to an increase in the time spent with books in 2006, the first increase since 2002,” said Patrick Quinn, CEO of PQ Media, which partners with VSS, an investment banking and private equity firm, on the Forecast.

a response from Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California
Sent to San Diego Union Tribune: August 22, 2007

The AP-Ipsos poll is reported as showing that Americans don’t read much anymore (“Many not going by the book,” August 21). Several things are wrong with this conclusion.

First, the figures may be inaccurate. AP-Ipsos reported that 73% had read at least one book during the year. In 2004, according to the National Endowment
for the Humanities, 57% had read at least one book during the year, a substantial difference.

Second, it is not clear there has been a decline. The current figure is less than that reported for 1985 (86%), but it is an improvement over 1945 (71%).

Third, there is more book reading taking place in the US than elsewhere, more than in Canada (67%), Finland (66%), the UK (63%), and Belgium (23%).

Most important, the poll only counted book reading. Other kinds of reading have increased: Sixty percent of adults in the US use the internet, up from 25% ten
years ago, and 27% of internet users read blogs. About 9% of adults listen to books on tape, a relatively new phenomenon, and magazine reading has
increased in recent years. Only newspaper reading has declined.

Finally, there has been no deterioration of American intellectual life. The percentage of people who attend plays and operas, use public libraries and museums, and do creative writing has stayed the same since 1982.

God Plays Dice
A look at daily life through the eyes of a mathematician.

They say nobody reads anymore: Aug 22, 2007
. . . And what's so great about books, anyway? Why do we assume that reading books is automatically better than reading any other source of the written word? I suppose the argument is that a 100,000-word book requires more intellectual effort to read than, say, one hundred 1,000-word newspaper or magazine articles, because there is more interrelation among the ideas. But books come, for the most part, predigested. A lot of the real intellectual work is done in taking those clippings from various sources and making a book out of them. But this isn't a study of how intellectuals read, it's a study of how the person in the street reads. And even "study" is a bit too strong. They called up a thousand people and asked them some desultory questions. The AP did the poll itself. Let's face it, they're just trying to sell newspapers.

Going to the Mat
Wrestling with Issues and Ideas in politics, the law, education, and other stuff.

America Not Reading Books, But What About Anything Else?: Aug 22, 07
The headline screams: One in Four Read No Books Last Year but the story fails to discuss anything else, like newspaper, magazines, internet reading, etc.
Still the trend is disburbing. If Americans are not reading boooks, and there are questions as to whether they are reading at all, what might be the impact? Well for certain, we may not have enough historical knowledge to prevent public policy mistakes or personal mistakes. We certainly may not have the knowledge to adequately choose our government.

But Eduflack brings up an even more important point--we may be raising a generation of kids who can't read either. . . .

Books @ Your Local Library: CalCat or WorldCat

Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life
by Michael Dirda - Henry Holt: 2007
“how the wit, wisdom, and enchantment of the written word informs and enriches nearly every aspect of life, from education and work to love and death.”

Reading Life: Books for the Ages
by Sven Birkerts - Graywolf: 2007
“revisits some novels he read years ago and finds in them both enduring beauty and a sometimes shifting resonance.”

Book Addict's Treasury
by Julie Rugg - Lincoln, Francis: 2007
“anthology of more than 350 quotations and excerpts from a wide selection of writers and thinkers--all on the subject of books.”

The Uncommon Reader: A Novella
by Alan Bennett - Farrar, Straus and Giroux: September 18, 2007
“When the Queen in pursuit of her wandering corgis stumbles upon a mobile library she feels duty bound to borrow a book.”

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Educational Videos

'Baby Einstein': a bright idea?
Infants shown such educational series end up with poorer vocabularies, study finds. Researcher says 'American Idol' is better.
L A Time: August 7, 2007 by Amber Dance

Parents hoping to raise baby Einsteins by using infant educational videos are actually creating baby Homer Simpsons, according to a new study released today.

For every hour a day that babies 8 to 16 months old were shown such popular series as "Brainy Baby" or "Baby Einstein," they knew six to eight fewer words than other children, according to Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children under 24 months.

Christakis said children whose parents read to them or told them stories had larger vocabularies.

"I would rather babies watch 'American Idol' than these videos," Christakis said, explaining that there is at least a chance their parents would watch with them — which does have developmental benefits. Complete Article

New Study Finds Baby DVDs and Videos May Hinder Infant Language Development: August 7, 2007

Despite marketing claims, parents who want to give their infants a boost in learning language probably should limit the amount of time they expose their children to DVDs and videos such as “Baby Einstein” and “Brainy Baby.”

Rather than helping babies, the over-use of such productions actually may slow down infants eight to 16 months of age when it comes to acquiring vocabulary, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

The scientists found that for every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants understood an average of six to eight fewer words than infants who did not watch them. Baby DVDs and videos had no positive or negative effect on the vocabularies on toddlers 17 to 24 months of age. The study was published today in the Journal of Pediatrics.

“The most important fact to come from this study is there is no clear evidence of a benefit coming from baby DVDs and videos and there is some suggestion of harm,” said Frederick Zimmerman, lead author of the study and a UW associate professor of health services. “The bottom line is the more a child watches baby DVDs and videos the bigger the effect. The amount of viewing does matter.”

Co-authors of the study are Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrics researcher at Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute and a UW professor of pediatrics, and Andrew Meltzoff, co-director of the UW’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.

TV and Kids under Age 3: PBS

By now, most parents have heard about studies that discourage exposing very young children to television. But the reality is that almost three quarters of infants and toddlers are exposed to TV programs before they turn 2.So what exactly are the dangers? Are any programs or videos acceptable for infants and toddlers? Studies on TV and toddlers are fairly rare, but children's media expert Shelley Pasnik has scoured the research to answer parents' most common questions about young children and television. Some of the questions asked:

~ How prevalent is TV in the lives of very young children?
~ Has there been much research done on the effects of TV on infants and toddlers?
~ Does TV viewing take the place of other activities, such as playing outside?

Books @Your Local Library: CalCat or WorldCat

The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television Work for Your Kids
Dimitri A. Christakis and Frederick J. Zimmerman
Rodale, 2006
~ Pediatrician and epidemiologist Christakis and economist and child development expert Zimmerman codirect the University of Washington's Child Health Institute. Here, they analyze television's impact on children in areas such as attention span, educational attainment, social behavior, sleep, and body image.

The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers & Family Life
Marie Winn
Penguin, 2002
~ How does the passive act of watching television and other electronic media-regardless of their content-affect a developing child's relationship to the real world?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Poet Laureate

Librarian of Congress Appoints Charles Simic Poet Laureate

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has announced the appointment of Charles Simic to be the Library’s 15th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. Simic will take up his duties in the fall, opening the Library’s annual literary series on Oct. 17 with a reading of his work. He also will be a featured speaker at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in the Poetry pavilion on Saturday, Sept. 29, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

He has written essays; critical reviews; a biography on surrealist sculptor and artist Joseph Cornell, Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell; and 13 translations from Eastern European works.

. . . from L A Times: Aug 3, 2007
"I am especially touched and honored to be selected because I am an immigrant boy who didn't speak English until I was 15," he said.

Simic's first collection, "What the Grass Says," was published in 1967. It was noted for its surrealist poems.Simic is known for short, clear poems.

His poem "Stone" often appears in anthologies. It begins: "Go inside a stone / That would be my way. / Let somebody else become a dove / Or gnash with a tiger's tooth. / I am happy to be a stone. . . .

. . . an interview in the Courtland Review

@ Your Local Library: CalCat or WorldCat

The Voice at 3:00 a.m.: selected late & new poems
Harcourt, 2003
ISBN: 0151008426

Memory Piano
Univ of Michigan Press, 2006
ISBN: 047209940X