Saturday, October 30, 2010

Traveling by bus on week-long system pass

The car has been out of commission this week. Something is wrong with the struts and we've been afraid to drive it. For $15 I got a week-long system pass. I used it to get to and from work and also used it to get down to Calistoga.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

All victims of bullying need support

Cover image: Perfect Targets: Asperger Syndrome and Bullying
PACER Center, a national group, is encouraging everybody to take a stand against bullying this Wednesday. Oct. 20, 10.20.10, is “The Day We Unite Against Bullying.”

Religious and political advocacy groups have drawn attention in recent weeks to students targeted by homophobic bullying. To their efforts, I would like to add recognition for another vulnerable demographic: that of students with “invisible” disabilities.

In her book “Perfect Targets: Asperger Syndrome and Bullying” (Autism Asperger Publishing Co., 2003) author Rebekah Heinrichs cites a survey taken in 2002 of more than 400 parents of children diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS) and nonverbal learning disability:
“Ninety-four percent of the parents responded that a peer had bullied their child at least once in the previous year. Compared to studies of the general population, kids with AS were four times more likely to be bullied, twice as likely to be hit or kicked in their privates, and twice as likely to be hit by their peers and siblings.”
The findings also indicated that children with AS and with nonverbal learning disability “experience high levels of peer shunning that seem to increase with age and peak in high school” (Heinrichs 7).

The text of this book was viewed on Oct. 15 using the “Look Inside!” feature on

I bring this up not to minimize the suffering of any one demographic group, or establish classes of victims as rivals, but hopefully to enlarge the focus of groups who have singled out a particular class of victim as being worthy of their support instead of giving their wholehearted support to all victims of bullying.

Anything less than zero tolerance toward all bullying is unacceptable to me. When members of my community pick and choose among victims of bullying, I view it as a personal betrayal because I was bullied and ostracized in school.

According to Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Center for Bullying Prevention, “There are 160,000 children staying home from school each day for fear of bullying.” She adds, that by people across the country working together, “we can make a difference.”

PACER is encouraging everyone to unite against bullying in their communities:
“With their parents’ permission, elementary school students can write 'The End of Bullying Begins With Me' on their hands, notebooks or T-shirts. Middle and high school students can tweet, text and post about bullying prevention, along with signing 'The End of Bullying Begins With Me' petition online at
“Schools can create an 'I Care about Bullying Prevention Because…' mural in the classroom where each student adds his or her thoughts about bullying. Communities can hold a special event to show they care about this important issue, including music, giveaways, speakers and more.”
Local actions include supporting  “Be the Change” clubs at Lake County high schools and encouraging students who are neither bullies nor victims to intervene when another child is bullied or ostracized.

“Be the Change” meetings take place at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at Round Table Pizza in Lakeport. For information, contact June Wilson at 262-0291.

Lower Lake High School has a “Be the Change” team, which also meets regularly. For more information, call Amy Osborn at 994-6471, ext. 2707.

Zero-tolerance legislation should acknowledge that any child can be the victim of bullying and, instead of attempting to define the victim, it should focus upon the bullying, which, as observed by, is the root of the problem.

The “per­fect law” as envisioned by can be viewed in detail at For more information about 10.20.10 resources to unite against bullying, visit or call (952) 838-9000.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Class in library supervisor skills

I’ve enrolled in another half-semester course, since LIBT 101 ends as of midnight tonight. The new class is LIBT 108 and addresses supervisor skills. I’ve purchased my textbook from a used-book seller online and hope to have it soon. In the meantime, there have been online discussions to post to.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sustainability begins at home

The visiting speaker presented a simple message: vote against Proposition 23 in the November election and receive the gratitude of successive generations for stopping climate change.

A stainless-steel water bottle was nestled at the speaker's feet, but in the back of the meeting hall, snacks were being served on paper plates with paper napkins and plastic silverware. The majority of those present did not have reusable bottles or travel mugs, so beverages were being drunk from disposable cups.

I was disappointed that nowhere in the speaker's presentation was there any mention of practical changes in his listeners' lives and habits. His use of a reusable bottle could have been a starting point for an energizing dialog about sustainable daily habits.

I don't intend to sound as if I am picking on this single presentation. Only a few weeks earlier, I attended an event in a school gymnasium that was serving bottled water to its 100-plus participants.

In a school gymnasium with drinking fountains. Hello!?! What an absolutely unnecessary waste!

My main concern about the more recent presentation was the simplistic and limited nature of the solution that was being proposed to avert climate catastrophe.

Environmental disaster will not be diverted with a single vote in November. We make choices every day that will have direct bearing upon how much waste we generate and upon how much of the resources we squander will have to be replaced.

To start with, the stainless-steel bottle that the speaker was drinking from has counterparts that are widely available.

Ceramic bowls with sealable rubber lids are also readily available and make a great alternative to disposable take-out containers.

Reusable bags are made from sturdy canvas and also from recycled plastic bags. Imagine how fewer plastic bags will end up littering the environment if they remain at the checkout stand.

Public transit is increasingly available but the speaker's presentation took place on a day when the buses do not run.

Personal changes need widespread support. A reusable bottle can be filled from the tap at home, but refill stations need to be publicly available -- since an empty water bottle does no good to its carrier if it cannot be refilled.

Disposable plates and utensils could be eliminated in favor of those that can be washed and reused or by encouraging each person in attendance to bring his or her own.

Event promoters should consider the timing of their event and the venue's proximity to public transportation routes. They should then include that information in their pre-event publicity.

And yes, legislation does have a part in enforcing waste reduction; a proposition that attempts to undermine clean energy and air polution standards deserves to be defeated at the polls. But legislation alone can't be the only factor. Each of us must also make decisions that promote sustainability.

I was impressed by one recent event, SolFest in Ukiah, which was promoted as a bottled water-free event. Reusable bottles were available for sale and there were free water refills for everyone.

For a start, I would like to see more events where bottled water is not on the menu. For nonprofit groups to sell stainless-steel bottles with their logos printed upon them would be an excellent fundraiser.

For more information about hosting a bottled water-free event, visit

Published Oct. 12, 2010 in the Lake County Record-Bee

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bookmobiles bring information to you

Historic bookmobile
Circa 1929: Book truck that served
Davidson County Public Library
(Bookmobile Library Timeline)
The bookmobile has had a long and illustrious history in the development of library services.

The purpose of this paper is to advocate resumption of bookmobile services in Lake County, particularly in those communities not presently served by a branch library. I suggest that in order to do so, the Lake County Library should apply for federal funding available through the California State Library.

The first “Library Wagon” debuted in 1905 in Washington County, Maryland, according to Mary Lemist Titcomb (qtd. in Dickson 53). Furnished “with shelves on the outside and a place for storage of cases in the center [it] resembled somewhat a cross between a grocer’s delivery wagon and the tin peddlers carts of bygone New England days.

“Filled with an attractive collection of books and drawn by two horses, with Mr. Joshua Thomas the janitor both holding the reins and dispensing the books, it started on its travels in April 1905.”

In 1912, Washington County also created the first automotive bookmobile in America, “an International Harvester Autowagon with a specially built body for carrying books” (Dickson 54).

Paul Dickson noted that “In the 1920s many libraries initiated bookmobile service ... The zeal and idealism that accompanied the burgeoning bookmobile movement was considerable” (84).

In the New York Times Book Review, Jan. 10, 1926, Francis A. Collins said, “The perambulating ‘book bus’ has indefinitely expanded the radius of the circulating library” (qtd. in Dickson 83). Collins noted that it was “not uncommon for one of these perambulating libraries to travel upward of 100 miles in a single day.” (qtd. in Dickson 83).

Correspondence from Jan Cook, a library technician at the Lake County Library, dates bookmobile services in Lake County as early as 1906. She cites a notice in the Lake County Bee, March 14, 1906, stating that “Lower Lake is now on the list of State traveling libraries.”

The next incarnation of bookmobile services, dated around 1960, was through the Lake County schools. “The school library collection was housed in the downstairs of the Carnegie Library in Lakeport” (Cook).

The state-operated, federally-funded Lake County Library Project purchased a bookmobile in 1972. Cook noted that “The purchased bookmobile stayed on the road until 1991. By the time it retired, it had begun to need frequent repairs and was often in the shop.” Cook’s husband Lee was the last bookmobile driver.

Cook said, “The early 1990s were much like today with very tight budgets, layoffs and cutbacks in local government. There was money available to replace the bookmobile, but not money to repair the old one, and not enough money to staff a new bookmobile, and so the bookmobile was quietly retired.”

Despite their absence from Lake County communities, bookmobiles have continued to operate and have evolved to incorporate patron access to technology.

Jason Hyatt and Angela Craig draw attention to the difference between traditional bookmobile services and the services that are available through the Mobile Outreach Literacy Vehicle of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in Charlotte, N.C.:
Staffers also unfurl carpets and put out chairs to create a portable Internet cafe. Patrons use laptops equipped with internal broadband cards. Children play online games, adults check their e-mail, and teens update their MySpace pages (Hyatt and Craig 35).
The outreach vehicle serves library patrons who cannot use the library in a traditional manner. “If they cannot come to the library, outreach can take the library experience to them” (Hyatt and Craig 35).

In what way is this situation applicable to the needs of Lake County residents? Lake County is served by a main library in Lakeport and by branch libraries in Clearlake, Upper Lake and Middletown. There is presently no library in the fifth supervisorial district, which encompasses the town of Kelseyville and surrounding communities.

“Population Projections by County and Communities” placed the population in Kelseyville at 2,928 in 2000 (Lake County). Its population was projected to increase to 3,312 by 2010.

In comparison, population projections for Lakeport and Upper Lake in 2010 were for 5,293 and at 1,142 respectively. The population in Middletown was projected to be 1,700 by 2010. Fixed-route bookmobile services could enhance library outreach among the greater Kelseyville communities.

Outlying communities in the Cobb Mountain, Spring Valley area and along the north shore of Clear Lake could also benefit from bookmobile services. As stated in the “Talking Points” for National Bookmobile Day, “Bookmobiles take library services to people who are not geographically close to a library building. Bookmobiles are [a] cost effective method for testing the location for new library branches” (ALA).

The bookmobile’s appearance at community events, such as the Kelseyville Pear Festival that took place on Sept. 25 of this year, would enhance public exposure to Lake County’s branch libraries as well as its bookmobile.

We see the benefit of such publicity to a traditional library in Raya Kuzyk’s report for Library Journal: The national tour of a “digital bookmobile” began in August 2008 with a public event that was hosted by the New York Public Library. Kuzyk’s report notes that “by 1:30 p.m., 50 visitors had signed up for library cards” (16).

If Lake County was to resume bookmobile services, the greatest expense would, of course, be to purchase the bookmobile. The “Talking Points” place the cost at “almost $200,000 on average, with an expected lifespan of 15 years” (ALA).

Funds must also be budgeted each year toward maintenance of the bookmobile as well as toward eventual replacement. The Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services recommends that a vehicle replacement fund, calculated at no less than 10 percent of the cost of a suitably-sized vehicle, be part of the library budget (1).

The ALA’s Handbook for Mobile Services Staff offers price breakdowns in greater detail by the chassis type in its “Ten Types of Bookmobile Chassis” (37-41). In addition to estimated price, it includes a wealth of information about each of the chassis types including accessibility, inside length available for services, average maintenance costs, general cost-effectiveness and suitability for general services. The information is rated on a continuum from “Poor” to “Excellent.”

To address the county’s investment in a vehicle and equipping it with technology such as WiFi services and library catalog accessibility, I suggest applying for a grant through the Library Services and Technology Act as soon as funding is available. “Each year since the inception of the Act, the State Librarian has awarded local assistance grants on a competitive basis for locally initiated proposals which meet the purposes of the Act” (California State Library, “LSTA”).

An examination of awards by grantee for 2009/2010 (California State Library) indicated that a competitive grant could more than cover the $200,000 average cost of a library bookmobile: $264,000, for example, awarded to the NorthNet Library System for its Rural Library Initiative and $277,200 awarded to the Pacific Library Partnership for its Networking California Library Resources. The Calfornia State Library is presently instructing potential applicants to check in early 2011 for available grants (“Apply for an LSTA Grant”).

Bookmobile staffing would require the allocation of library professionals’ time; the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services recommends that a bookmobile program be managed “with criteria equivalent to branch or other library program management criteria” (1). However, these efforts could be supplemented through the use of volunteers, similar to the way in which volunteers enhance operations at Lake County’s branch libraries.

One possible source to assist with funding any increases in personnel is pending federal legislation such as the Jobs for Main Street Act. The American Library Association’s is encouraging its subscribers to advocate for the inclusion of library jobs in any federal jobs legislation.

In conclusion, my aim with this paper has been to demonstrate the benefits that bookmobile services would have on the County of Lake, as well as to provide suggestions for funding that would aid in supporting this investment. Thank you for considering my proposal.

Works Cited
  • American Library Association, Office for Literacy and Outreach Services. Handbook for Mobile Services Staff. 29 June 2008, Anaheim, CA.
  • American Library Association Annual Conference: Mobile Libraries: Driving Library Services into the Future. 37-41. Web. 15 Sept. 2010.
  • ---. “Inaugural National Bookmobile Day, National Library Week 2010 Talking Points.” National Bookmobile Day. American Library Association. Web. 15 Sept. 2010.
  • Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services. “2008 National Bookmobile Guidelines” (2008): 1. Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services. Web. 15 Sept. 2010.
  • California State Library. “Apply for an LSTA Grant.” Library Services and Technology Act. California State Library. Web. 18 Sept. 2010.
  • ---. “The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).” Library Services and Technology Act. California State Library. Web. 18 Sept. 2010.
  • ---. “2009/10 LSTA ― Grant Awards By Grantee.” Library Services and Technology Act. California State Library. Web. 18 Sept. 2010.
  • Cook, J.M. (Jan). “Bookmobiles.” Message to the author. 29 June 2010. E-mail.
  • Dickson, Paul. The Library in America: A Celebration in Words and Pictures. New York: Facts On File Publications (1986). Print.
  • Hyatt, Jason and Angela Craig. “Adapt for Outreach: Taking Technology on the Road.” Computers in Libraries 29.9 (2009): 35-39. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Cuesta College Library, San Luis Obispo, CA. Web. 5 Sept. 2010.
  • Libraries & the Jobs for Main Street Act: Urgent Action. American Library Association. Web. 28 Sept. 2010.
  • Kuzyk, Raya. “Digital Bookmobile Begins Tour. ” Library Journal 133.14 (2008): 16. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Cuesta College Library, San Luis Obispo, CA. Web. 5 Sept. 2010.
  • Lake County. “Population Projections by County and Communities.” Demographics. Lake County. Web. 18 Sept. 2010.
Composed for Cuesta College LIBT 101, Introduction to Library Services

San Francisco Public Library Bookmobile

Cynthia Parkhill waves from in front of San Francisco Public Library Bookmobile

Jonathan and I spent Tuesday walking around San Francisco, first viewing Van Gogh, et. al. at the deYoung Museum, then walking from Alamo Square on the corner of Fillmore and Staynor down to City Hall. The bookmobile was parked in front of the San Francisco Public Library.

Originally shared on Facebook