Monday, February 28, 2011

Action Alert! Email Harper Collins!

Take note. Rarely will you have such a chance to so DIRECTLY impact your public library's daily operations as you will with the information I am about to give you. And kudos to Children's Librarian Colleen Crowley for the heads-up.

Here's what going on: Harper Collins has just changed its policy regarding the EBooks that libraries have access to through download services like OverDrive. We in Wisconsin get access to OverDrive as part of the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium. Up to now, libraries bought de facto "eternal rights" to EBooks and patrons could download them an unlimited number of times. Harper Collins has now arranged things so that libraries & consortia will have to re-purchase the rights after the books are downloaded 26 times.

When the books are owned as part of a consortium, as ours are, even more difficulties arise from such tallying. If the books are held in common by the libraries of an entire state and the patrons of only one library download a book the aforementioned 26 times, do all the rest of them then miss out? Harper Collins says not to worry about it, because they'll figure out how to handle it. They'll just plant a cookie or tracker of some kind in individual libraries' circulation modules, maybe. After 26 checkouts, POOF! Shell out another $25.00 per library. Or per user. Or something. Nobody is quite sure yet.

This thinking shows that the publisher has no conception of how complicated a library consortium's circulation procedures are. Maybe I'm just not tech-savvy enough to see a cost-effective, customer-friendly solution, but this might just put libraries out of the EBook business altogether.

Joe Atzberger, library geek out of Columbus, Ohio explains it better than I do here:

New OverDrive DRM terms: "This message will self-destruct"

Now, I don't own an EBook reader or iPad or any of that stuff. I was actually thinking of buying a few for the library when this came down. Those who do own these things--and Christmas 2010 was the first really big year for these technologies--will find their local libraries less relevant than they were just two weeks ago because of these changes. As a consumer, the timing strikes me as cynical: squeeze libraries out of the equation after so many people have bought these devices to make sure they have to purchase content on top of the initial platform investment. Not to mention the fact that many libraries are already having serious budget issues.

As a librarian, it further frustrates me because libraries will end up taking the public relations fall. Downloading EBooks is already a complicated affair; now librarians will have to explain that a patron can't get Band of Brothers because 26 people have already read it. I can imagine the puzzled looks now.

If you own a device with which you might download and read Ebooks, Email Harper Collins and let them know that you, as a Wisconsin library user, disapprove of their tactics and timing. Tell a friend, too.

Budget Cuts, Networking & the Titanic

Check out this article from the Utne Reader from last summer:

A Library Renaissance: Despite Higher Demand and Less Money, Libraries are Stepping Up

It seems that budget cuts are happening everywhere. Places you might normally think of as being in pretty good shape:


>Southern California


And many other places are taking drastic measures, as well: cutting hours, reducing operating budgets, furlough days, etc. Some are even cutting staff.

Libraries run on money, just like all other enterprises. In an economy such as ours continues to be, libraries are not immune to the difficulties that low tax revenue and budget cuts entail. Libraries, however, have an advantage over many other types of government and, indeed, most private enterprises. That advantage is networking.

When police or fire or sewerage and drainage departments suffer budget cuts--and I use the word "suffer" on purpose--they have a hard time simply calling a city 50 miles away and asking to borrow a salt truck or taser gun. It does happen, yes, but the limits of geography apply. The Chippewa Falls Fire Department contracts with the state to handle hazardous material accident cleanup in nearby communities, for instance.

But libraries everywhere, by the very nature of their operational structure, have ALWAYS shared resources and have done so eagerly and usually pretty quietly. The State of Wisconsin, unlike many states, even has a formal system whereby municipalities are reimbursed for the library service they offer to other counties and municipalities, including those municipalities within their own county (provided those towns/cities don't have libraries). The law says that only 70% of the actual cost of the service needs to be covered, but the rest has theoretically been absorbed by state revenue sharing. 2011-2012 is going to be a tough year though, so that theory is probably out the window. But I digress.

Budget cuts make life difficult for all government services, libraries included, but it is a point of pride among library professionals that, in this field, the big naturally reach out to help the small and the small don't hesitate to ask for help.

In an economy/budget cycle like this, I think of the natural networking tendency of libraries like shipwreck survivors sharing body heat in frigid water: they know they have to huddle together to survive and know that a few may not make it, but the closer they hug each other, the better the chance they have to survive.

Here's hoping the water warms up, though. Because even a cluster of fifty will all freeze to death unless help comes. And just now, the horizon is unbroken by any approaching ship.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cancer Awareness & Daffodils

I got something from the American Cancer Society today telling me that it's "Daffodil Days," a time which allows those of us lucky enough to be cancer-free can send some anonymous encouragement to a cancer patient somewhere in Wisconsin or Minnesota.

If you or someone you know is interested in sending some flowers or a card or a stuffed animal to someone fighting cancer, contact Roberta Christensen of Chippewa County Daffodils at 1-877-423-9122 ext. 14 for more information. She can make sure you get the product and price list. Tell her the library referred you. No, we don't get a kickback; I just think it would be nice if she knew who her community partners were, maybe. Oh, and hurry. Orders have to be in by February 24th at noon.

And, to make this blog entry even more informational, here are some sample MORE searches:

Cancer Prevention

Subject Search: Cancer

Cancer--Diet Therapy

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Database Place: Teen Health and Wellness

It's not easy being a teenager. At least, I know I hated it.

Teens face issues like peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, sex, hormonal upheavals, violence, depression, bullying, cliques, grades, sports, etc.

The Chippewa Falls Public Library, however, keeps teens in mind. We have a pretty good young adult section and we're making the effort to give it a "This Is Yours" feeling for teens.

We also subscribe to The Teen Health and Wellness database. The search box is at the top of this blog entry. Tell a teen or teen-go-between about the database, if you'd be so kind. It has frank, accurate information that neither drags teens where they don't want to go nor insults their intelligence by skirting or padding the difficult.

It's worth a look. And it's all yours.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pure Water Days 2011

It's early, I know, but I'm excited. This morning, I was part of a very interesting meeting at the Visitor's Center during which several locals, including Dick Hebert of Parks and Recreation, Allyson Gommer of the Chippewa Chamber and Teri Ouimette of Main Street Chippewa all discussed the 34th Annual Pure Water Days celebration.

It's still in the planning stages, but several things were discussed, including the YMCA-sponsored foot race, the Leinenkugel's merchandise tent, and the team trivia contest we're having here at the library. It seems there is a lot of energy in the planning phase and the library is getting in on the ground floor this year, as opposed to last year, when we got involved a bit late. There was even discussion of the creation of a Facebook page for the event.

Well, just in case anyone out there is Googling the phrase "Pure Water Days 2011" or "Pure Water Days Chippewa Falls," it will be August 12th, 13th and 14th, 2011. There will be a parade and, if donations all happen as we hope, a fireworks extravaganza. The library's team trivia contest should be on August 14th--a Sunday--and teams will pre-register starting about a month in advance. If you have four friends who know things like, say, what the capital of Bimini Island is, let them know about the event. There will be prizes. It's really early, I know, but I want to make sure word is out this year.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

February: National Time Management Month

Ironically, I meant to post this a few days ago but, alas, NEVER FOUND THE TIME. Even those of us who try hard to be organized and with-it can just lose track of time, especially while juggling multiple projects.

February, however, is National Time Management Month, a month in which we compound our New Year's Resolution Guilt by taking an objective look at how well we use our time resources and seeing how much we might be wasting...and how productive we might be if we could just remember that every other TUESDAY is when the recycling guy comes.

Time Management Resource Links

How Good a Time Manager Are You?
--Take the quiz and find out!'s 11 Time Management Tips's tips for overcoming procrastination.

Alamo College's Time Management Tip Sheet

Chippewa Falls Public Library catalog search: "Time Management"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Library Memorials & Donations

Above you see the memorial plate for the late Ms. Arlyne D. Tilbury, a Chippewa Falls resident who passed on last year. Her daughter, Mrs. Sandra E. Barsamian of Eau Claire, made a donation to the Chippewa Falls Public Library and, along with some books purchased in memory of her mother (with memorial plates on the inside covers), a permanent memorial is hung here in the reading lounge.

Any person, organization, business or charity giving a donation of $100.00 or more to the Chippewa Falls Public Library can get such a plate, cut from lovely rock maple and laser-inscribed. It's a noble way to leave a legacy in a will...and a great way to commemorate a wedding, birth, graduation or just about any life event.

Call or email library director Darryl Eschete at 715-723-1146 ext. 111 for more information.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Busy Month @ The Library!

The Chippewa Falls Public Library will be hosting several free programs, events and workshops in the first few months of 2011, and we want to make sure that the community knows it!

From February 1st until the end of tax season, trained representatives of the American Association of Retired Persons will be in the library to assist the elderly and those with lower incomes with their taxes. A schedule of when AARP workers are available can be found on the library's website.

On Wednesday, February 16th, counselors from the World Financial Group will be holding seminars at the library throughout the day designed to help those attending figure out what types of investments, if any, are appropriate for them.

Saturday, February 19th is “Science Day” at the Chippewa Falls Public Library from 10:30 am-12:30pm, as honor students from Chippewa Falls High School come to show children ages 7-11 how cool science can be.

On Tuesday, February 22nd, financial aid counselors from the Educational Opportunity Centers at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire will be in the library from 6pm-8pm to help students and prospective students figure out how they can pay for higher education, even if they’ve been out of school for years. Tell a student!

On Friday, March 4th, the library will be hosting a Wii Gaming day for kids ages 7 and up from 10am—3:30 pm. This coincides with midwinter break school closings in the Chippewa Falls School District, so be sure to let a parent know.

Call the library at 715-723-1146 ext. 106 for more information on any of these programs.