Monday, December 19, 2011

The Indianhead Federated Library System

In the last few months, the Chippewa Falls Public Library has made some changes--mostly cosmetic--that have turned out to be more popular than I would have thought they'd be. We moved the computers to a slightly different location, moved in some new furniture, changed the location of the new books, etc.

But I'd like to take a moment to make clear that the libraries in the MORE system get a lot of help (and indispensable help it is, too) from the staff of the Indianhead Federated Library System. The IFLS staff makes our popular computer services possible (and got us the grant that made moving the computers possible), does most of the legwork involved in keeping the catalog and circulation and material-sharing software working correctly. And, when we have individual computer issues, they are willing to drop everything and work on them. It happened not long ago, actually. Saved us from a virus.

They coordinate workshops, host meetings, patiently explain complicated legal and technical issues to directors (like me) who need information, spread the word about informative articles. They do it all in a friendly, efficient and professional manner, too. Usually, if you deal with an organization of more than 10 people or so, you find the one that makes you think: "Lord, how'd THAT guy get hired?" But I've never met that person at IFLS.

The Indianhead Federated Library System, despite doing all of this for 40+ demanding libraries (at least, I hope they are all as demanding as we are or I'll feel guilty) and having to absorb budget cuts in the coming year, keeps the a good chunk of the northwest corner of Wisconsin neck-deep in decent library service.

I thank them for it and hope you'll keep their contribution in mind when our library serves you well. If anyone ever tells you the state wastes its money, you can look that person in the eye and tell them to visit the Indianhead Federated Library System Offices in Eau Claire, Wisconsin before they say too much more.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Interesting Snippet

I'm finally, after years of putting it off, reading Lewis Mumford's Pentagon of Power: The Myth of the Machine Volume II. It was suggested to me when I was in library school years ago because of its common-sense arguments against allowing information storage and retrieval from ever becoming completely computerized.

Mumford can be thought of as a sort of sociological Luddite: he worried about the societal effects of mechanization on humans and society.

Every now and then, someone asks me if I think libraries are ever going to be shoved aside into irrelevance in favor of Google. My answer is no.

Mumford writes on page 190:

"The National Library of Medicine at Bethesda, Maryland has an information retrieval service (MEDLARS), designed to index the medical periodical literature of 2,800 journals...To compare the results of a computerized search with those made in a conventional manner, two members of the Radcliffe Science Library staff in England compiled a list of references on the same subject, covering the same period as the MEDLARS taped record. Though nine relevant references in MEDLARS were not discovered by the library staff, they dug out thirteen relevant references not included. Alike on grounds of promptness and low cost and qualitative value human agents proved preferable to the automation."

Now, this was years ago and technology has come a very, very long way. But the point that Mumford makes over and over--and a reality that hasn't changed--is that information takes creative thought and contextual ability to understand and that no machine ever, in his opinion (and mine) will ever be able to replace a human being in terms of helping other humans find information.

The Internet in the hands of the average user is, in my opinion, no match for a library lit by wax candles in the hands of a seasoned information seeker.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Closings

The Chippewa Falls Public Library will be closed Friday, December 23rd; Saturday, December 24th; Sunday, December 25th and Monday, December 26th.

The Chippewa Falls Public Library wishes all those in our service area a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season.

And, parents. Would you do us a favor? Would you consider adding a book or two to the pile of toys and games under the tree? They don't need batteries and they don't shoot projectiles.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Great Holiday Song

I've said it before: Youtube is one of the gems of the Internet. Here is a good recording of a Christmas song written and published in the 1880s. These musicians found the sheet music in the Library of Congress, arranged it and recorded it.

I just wanted to share.

Superyule Reminder!

Tonight, starting at about 6:30, the library will be presenting a holiday program for the whole family...THE FIRST ANNUAL SUPERYULE! We want to see you and yours there!


--Puppet show (with sign language interpretation)

--SANTA CLAUS in person!

Tell a kid or parent in your life TODAY! Now!

Call 715-723-1146 ext. 109 for more details.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mango Reminder...

Did you know we have a fun, fast and easy language-learning program called Mango Languages?

The best part is that it is free for Chippewa Falls Public Library patrons and it can be accessed with your library card anywhere there is Internet access.

Mango is the easiest and most effective way to learn to speak a foreign language. Mango is available in two versions:

Mango Basic:

Perfect for a foreign language beginner, Mango Basic teaches everyday greetings, thank-yous, goodbyes and helpful phrases in a short period of time. The courses, which each require only two to five hours of time to complete, are currently available in 34 foreign languages and 15 English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.

You can view all the supported Mango Basic languages and ESL courses here:

Mango Complete:

Mango Complete offers a 100-lesson course that digs much deeper and is designed to provide a more complete understanding of the entire language and culture. It is available in 31 foreign language and 14 ESL courses. Foreign language courses include Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. ESL courses include Polish, Spanish and Portuguese.

To learn more about Mango and get a short preview of what the program has to offer, you can visit the company's website at Even better, you can visit Chippewa Falls Public Library's Mango page and get started on the courses themselves!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Think About Switching to E-mail Notices...

If you are a Chippewa Patron who gets your notices via "snail mail" (or know someone who does), please consider switching over to email notices at some point. Why?

Because next-day mail, which is what mail notices of holds and overdues is predicated on, is going away, it seems.

U.S. Postal Service seeks to end next-day mail

So, the next time you're in the library, make sure to ask about your "Notice Preference" and, if it's set to "mail," have it updated to "email."

We never, ever, ever sell your email address or use it for anything but our purposes. You have our word of honor.

Heck, do it for no other reason than to save a tree...

GIve-A-Kid-A-Book Delivery

Today was the goal date for getting our "Give a Kid a Book" donations over to the Spirit of Christmas Office.

I went and dropped them off and, let me tell you, it impressed me as much this year as it did last year. Piles and piles of clothes, games, puzzles, bikes, sleds, sleeping bags, snowshoes, and BOOKS. It's moving to see, really. One frazzled worker said to me as I left:

"In an economy this bad, the generosity is still OVERWHELMING.

It looked it. I was recruited to carry a bike inside before I could leave.

The Friends of the Chippewa falls Public Library donated 250 brand new books to the effort, with special thanks going to the new BAM! in Eau Claire and the book sale that took place in November at Memorial High School in Eau Claire.

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Space...YOUR Space

Watch this:

It's video showing what we've done to the first floor of the library right in front of the big north window. There a new computer set-up, some new chairs, and a new SPACE for people who want to spend some leisure time in the library.

Excuse the shaky camera. I was excited.

The furniture was made by the helpful and attentive Spectrum Industries, based right here in Chippewa Falls; they understood the library's needs and did their best to deliver. The Chippewa Falls Library Board of Trustees, also, seemed excited by the idea of "upgrading," with an emphasis on up. And, of course, as in all our projects, thanks is due to the taxpayers whose money is spent to make improvements a reality.

Thanks. Now come check it out.