Friday, April 30, 2010

Unclaimed Property--May 6th

Ever wonder if somebody out there owes you something and you don't even know it? Well, there's a way to find out, and you can do it at the library.

Wisconsin State Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass will be here at the Chippewa Falls Public Library on May 6th, 2010 from 10:00am-11:30am. She's asked us to be a host site for her Unclaimed Property Outreach Tour. The State of Wisconsin has a nifty database that compiles the names and addresses of people to whom money is owed (from estates, settlements, etc.), who owes them and how much they are owed. You can claim your money right on site and help them clear this database, which is pretty sizable, from what I understand.

In Chippewa County alone, there are more than 4,000 accounts worth nearly $2 million.

The kind folks of the Wisconsin Treasury Department will be set up in the LARGE MEETING ROOM right off the entrance hall, and participation is absolutely free, even if you don't have anything in the database. Tell a friend! Maybe you'll BOTH get paid.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Floats the Banner, Lighted Well

Just today, I got the last of three checks donated to the Chippewa Falls Public Library by local veterans' groups helping us to offset the installation of a spotlight on the front of the building. The light shines up on our American flag, enabling us to leave it up 'round the clock.

I have always maintained that libraries, more than any other institution in an open society, symbolize freedom, so it is fitting and just that the flag fly in front of the building all the time.

The three groups that donated to the flag-lighting were AmVets Post 32, American Legion Post 77 and VFW Post 1038. The complete cost of the project was $636.00, and $500.00 of this will be paid for with donated money. Roshell Electric did the work in a very timely and professional manner, and I am personally very pleased with the results, as several people have told me they are, as well.

To see the flag up at night as I walked by the other night on the way home from downtown brought to mind part of a poem I once heard in Boy Scouts:

"Years have passed, but still in glory
With a pride we love to see,
Laureled with a nation's glory
Waves the emblem of the free;
From the rugged pines of Northland
To the deep'ning everglade,
In the sunny heart of Southland
Floats the banner Betsy made."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Scrabbling To Keep Up--2010

Well, the other night your intrepid library director was invited to participate in the Chippewa Valley Literacy Volunteers' Scrabble tournament.

The team was made up of me, Carol Peterson of Friends of the Chippewa Falls Public Library, Library Board members Connie Russel, Linda Nebelsiek and Robert Hoekstra as well as Mary Ann King of the Chippewa County Board. The table was sponsored by the Friends of the Library, and we were given $50.00 by an anonymous donor to buy more tiles as we needed them. A formidable team, I'd say.

Well, cutting right to the chase, we didn't win. Unless you don't look up what I'm writing to confirm this, in which case we dominated the room like Sonny Liston in a bad mood.

All in all, it was a good time for a good cause and Ms. Nebelsiek even went home with a south-of-the-border themed prize bucket full of tortillas and maragarita mix after she won a drawing. So, we felt consolated.

Our "word waitress," Libby, kept the ball rolling even at those times in which we became sidetracked, which wasn't hard as we were fed free pizza until we were full. Or, at least, I was.

And I couldn't help but feel that someone coming over to our table to thank us for letting the literacy volunteers use the library as a place to tutor--as if we'd ever refuse such an endeavor--was a real touch of class.

This is the kind of thing I like, and I'm glad we did it. The picture above, by the way, is an actual image from the tournament.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New (To Us) Computers

Above you see strong, silent IT types Andy Bauer (left) and Ron Strasburg (right) in the process of installing refurbished computers in the Chippewa Falls Public Library early this morning. The pair represent Chippewa County who, in cooperation with the City of Chippewa Falls and this library, have agreed to sell us 10 of these used computers at a great price.

One of the first things I noticed when I got to town was that it was taking me far too long to get the public machine to the point where I could check my email. It even crashed in the process! So, as I sat there fuming, computers became priority one.

Hopefully, these new(ly installed) machines will serve the public a little better.

Come check them out!

Technology at the Library: It's All Yours!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tighter Ship A-Sailing

In about a month, there are going to be some changes coming to the Chippewa Falls Public Library's policies. Actually, the changes are already technically in place, but we wanted to make sure the public is well-informed before we begin to put them into practice. We'll start enforcing the following on May 17th, so spread the word! Feel free to copy and paste this blog entry into emails to your best library-using friends.

Checking Out & Using Computers

First, we're going to get a little tougher on people coming in and expecting to check out without having their library cards. Patrons are going to need to have their cards with them. It saves staff time and speeds things along at the desk. We WILL allow one check out without a library card every three months, but a note will be made in the patron record and the patron will have to have it the next time. In other words, don't go to the library without your library card!

Next, we're going to raise the cost of replacing a card to $5.00. A lot of people have gotten three or four cards in as many years, and think nothing of the data entry time, wasted paper for the MORE application, etc. So, keep your card in your wallet and keep track of it!

Also, patrons will need their library cards to log onto our public access Internet computers. If a patron has a card and simply forgets it they can log on, but this(like checking out without a card) will only be allowed once every three months. So, once again, don't leave home without your library card!


The maximum fine that will allow patrons to check out--AND USE THE INTERNET--at the Chippewa Falls Public Library will be lowered to $5.00. In my estimation as your director, this is still very--crazily--generous. In many library systems, a ten cent fine means no checking out, so five bucks is a great deal.

Also, anyone who has fines they can't handle can work them off at a rate "concomitant with current minimum wage." In other words, you give us 90 minutes and you work off about ten bucks. Just ask to speak with the library director and we'll set something up. This does not apply to replacements or fines owed to other MORE libraries.

If you have fines on materials lost in a theft or fire, just bring us a police/fire department/insurance company report, and we'll let it go. We WILL call and confirm.

And, you know, we're not doing this because we have so many people absuing their library privileges that we need to clamp down. That isn't the case at all. We're doing this because so many people here DON'T abuse their privileges that it makes those who do all the more apparent and troublesome.

And don't worry. We're going to pick one week a year as "Fine Free Week." I think we just might make it random to keep people guessing.