'Ice Tea' Lady

So this lady comes in the store with her big cup of 'ice tea' for the 3rd or 4th time now. She bangs her way through the door with her rolling shopping cart, comes over to the counter plops her cup down and parks her cart right in front of the counter. She brings some books for trades and gets 3 credits. She goes into the romance section moves stuff all over and out of order, gets a half dozen, brings them to the counter. She only has credit for 3, so she's only going to get 3 of them, but she can't remember where she got the rest from, so she leaves them on the counter. Then she finds a hardcover book, and asks how much it is, $6.95 it's priced on the 1st page, I tell her. How much? she asks, $6.95 I tell her. How much? she asks, $6.95 I tell her beginning to really wonder at her. She walks over to another bookcase, and calls back how much is that book again? It's still $6.95 I assure her. She comes back to the counter and points at the book. How much is this book? she asks a fifth time. I open it up and point to the price written inside, it's $6.95 I say yet again. Eventually she leaves, not purchasing it. I wonder what was really in that cup of 'ice tea' ?!?


With god as my witness

a court in India has asked two gods to appear in court


Terry Pratchett - Not Dead Yet


Public Libraries for Profit

Public Libraries for Profit



     By Akito Yoshikane
     In These Times
     Tuesday 27 November 2007

     In late October, Jackson County, Ore., re-opened the doors to 15
of its public libraries after a lack of funds had forced them shut on
April 6 - the largest library closure in U.S. history. However, as
patrons returned to the bookshelves in the southern Oregon county,
they learned that their libraries are now under private, for-profit management.

     Oregon suffered a $150 million budget shortfall - and Jackson
County a $23 million loss - in fiscal year 2007, after the federal
government failed to renew a $400 million annual subsidy designed to
help rural communities suffering from the decline in timber-logging
revenue. Though Congress eventually extended the funding by one year,
Jackson County commissioners, strapped for cash, voted to outsource
library services to the Maryland-based Library Systems & Services
(LSSI), which specializes in library management. Founded in 1981, the
company initially operated federal libraries during President
Reagan's era of privatizing government services and contracts. LSSI
now privately manages more than 50 public libraries nationwide.

     Companies like LSSI focus on counties that are desperate to keep
their public agencies afloat but lack sufficient funds to do so. In
the case of Jackson County, officials offered LSSI a five-year
contract worth $3 million annually, with an additional $1.3 million
reserved for building maintenance. The deal cuts in almost half what
the county previously spent.

     Public libraries in Dallas, Riverside, Calif., and Finney
County, Kan. have also hired LSSI staff.

     But the trend of farming out public libraries to a private,
profit-oriented business has raised concerns. For one, private
companies are not subject to the same oversight as are public
institutions. More importantly, libraries have long been considered
democratic bodies built on the cornerstone of information diversity,
transparency and intellectual freedom.

     "Libraries tend to reflect the communities they serve," says
Loriene Roy, president of the American Library Association (ALA).
"[They] respond to community needs and they do so within their
budget, but they are not set up to make profit. A company coming in
that doesn't exist within the community that is profit-making, you
can see that there is a different attitude and there is concern about that."

     Under public management, transparency tends to be clear. As much
as 80 percent of public library funding can come from local tax
support, making libraries accountable to a board of trustees with
representatives from the community.

     While municipalities have for years contracted "non-library
services," such as janitorial duties or photocopying, the outsourcing
of "core" library services - cataloging and use of automated systems
and material acquisition - has increased.

     This prompted the ALA to create an Outsourcing Task Force and
conduct a study on privatization in 1999. Two years later, the ALA
council adopted a stance opposing outsourcing, stating that libraries
are "not a simple commodity" but "are an essential public good" that
should be "directly accountable to the public they serve."

     LSSI makes its money from the difference between the budget and
what it spends - or does not spend. It typically downsizes staff,
centralizes accounting and human resource services, and buys books in
bulk, all while passing down administrative costs - sometimes as high
as 15 percent - to patrons as general handling fees. (The company
does not disclose its earnings.)

     "They operate entirely with our tax dollars but they have no
transparency," says Buck Eichler, president of the Service Employees
International Union (SEIU) Local 503 in Jackson County, whose
organization represented the public library employees. "They're
completely secretive about their books. We no longer know where our
tax dollars are going."

     Although the total cost of running the libraries was cut, so,
too, were library hours. Now, most libraries in Jackson County are
open at half the normal operating times and are closed on Sundays,
totaling only 24 hours a week, down from the 40-plus hours before the
April shutdown. The exceptions are the libraries in Ashland and
Talent, which will stay open for 40 hours and 36 hours a week,
respectively, after local residents recently voted in favor of a levy
on monthly utility surcharges in order to pay for the extra hours.

     While counties still own the buildings and retain control of
library policies, LSSI is in charge of hiring employees, which has
caused mixed reactions.

     "I don't have any problems with it at all," says Kim Wolfe,
manager of the Medford branch. "I think it's a personal decision for
each individual. The community is thrilled to have the libraries
opening again. They're thanking us and they're glad they can come in
and use our services."

     SEIU's Eichler, however, has said some workers have refused to
go back to work under a private employer.

     "We don't want to sacrifice living wages at the expense of
workers," says Eichler.

     LSSI brought back about 60 of the 88 people who were laid off,
according to one library staffer. But now that they are no longer
union employees, they've been subject to contractual changes in
rights, benefits and disclosure information.

     Although salaries are comparable to what they were before,
employees in the Jackson County Libraries are now no longer part of
Oregon's pension system, which has been replaced with a 401(k)
program. Medical benefits have also been cut, and salary levels have
been "adjusted depending on market conditions," says Anne Billeter, a
former Jackson County library manager.

     "I'm not saying that LSSI has a goal of union-busting, but it is
certainly the net effect," says Eichler.

     Some areas have seen a backlash. In Bedford, Texas, after a
community-wide petition campaign to oppose library outsourcing
gathered 1,700 signatures in four days, city council members voted
4-3 to reject privatization in August. "If our library dies, this
community dies," said Mark Gimenez, a local resident who attended the
board meeting.

     But not every public library is celebrating victories. In
Jackson-Madison County, Tenn., even after a community group lobbied
against privatization, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled in April
that the county board has a legal right to outsource.

     Thomas Hennen Jr., director of the Waukesha County Federated
Library System in Wisconsin, says, "It is the urgent duty of public
librarians to put the 'good' back into the 'public good' of the
public library movement."


Sanderson to Complete Final Novel in Jordan Fantasy Series

Sanderson to Complete Final Novel in Jordan Fantasy Series

By Lynn Andriani -- Publishers Weekly, 12/10/2007 7:13:00 AM

Tor Books announced today that novelist Brandon Sanderson has been chosen to finish writing the final novel in Robert Jordan's bestselling Wheel of Time fantasy series. Jordan­described by some as Tolkien's heir­died Sept. 16 from a rare blood disease. The new novel, A Memory of Light, will be the 12th and final book in the fantasy series which has sold more than 14 million copies in North America and more than 30 million copies worldwide. The last four books in the series were all #1 New York Times bestsellers.

Harriet Popham Rigney, Jordan's widow and editor, chose Sanderson to complete A Memory of Light­which Jordan worked on almost daily for the last few months of his life­and will edit it. Rigney said some scenes from the book were completed by Jordan before his death, and some exist in draft form. "He left copious notes and hours of audio recordings," she said. He also revealed details about the end of the series to close members of his family.

Sanderson, who acknowledged Jordan as an inspiration to him as a writer, has established a loyal fan base as the author of three fantasy novels: Elantris, Mistborn and The Well of Ascension (Tor), as well as a YA novel, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Scholastic Press). Sanderson said, "I'm both extremely excited and daunted by this opportunity. There is only one man who could have done this book the way it deserved to be written, and we lost him in September. However, I promise to do my very best to remain true to Mr. Jordan's vision and produce the book we have all been waiting to read."

A Memory of Light is scheduled for publication in fall 2009.


NEWS Paddington Bear arrested by police and interrogated over his immigration status


Police set to quiz Paddington bear

Press Association
Saturday December 8, 2007 11:08 AM

Paddington Bear will be arrested by police and interrogated over his
immigration status in a book marking his 50th birthday, it has emerged.

The novel, to be published next June on the anniversary of his debut in
A Bear Called Paddington, will see the stowaway from Peru interviewed
about his right to remain in England.

The appeal of Michael Bond's Paddington books, which have sold more than
30 million copies and been translated into 30 languages, remains
undiminished after half a century.

But Mr Bond, 83, was said to be reluctant at the prospect of writing his
first novel about him for 29 years - unless he had a strong contemporary

The new book is again set around their home at 32 Windsor Gardens,
Notting Hill, and revisits the stalls in Portobello Road where
Paddington shared cocoa and buns with another immigrant, Mr Gruber, the
Hungarian antiques dealer.

After being arrested, Paddington has no papers proving his identity
because his Aunt Lucy had arranged for him to hide on a ship's lifeboat
from Peru after she went to live in the Home for Retired Bears in Lima.

Mr Bond was working as a BBC cameraman when a bear he bought in
Selfridges for his wife on Christmas Eve inspired him to write the
original novel, in which the Brown family adopt the homeless bear when
they spot him amid a pile of mailbags at Paddington station.

Mr Bond has continued to write occasional short stories about his
best-loved creation since the publication of Paddington Takes the Test,
the last novel, in 1979.

He told theBookseller.com: "One of the very nice things about
chronicling Paddington's adventures is that although the world has
changed considerably over the past 30 years, he remains exactly the
same; eternally optimistic and ever open to what life has to offer. It
makes writing the stories a pleasure."

Paddington Here and Now will have a cover illustration by Peggy Fortnum,
85, who did the first drawings of Paddington. The 50th anniversary will
also be marked by reissues of the novels and picture books and a new
title, My Book of Marmalade.



  Police raid book store near U-M

*Hundreds of books may have been stolen from other stores*

Friday, November 30, 2007


*The Ann Arbor News *

Ann Arbor police seized hundreds of books Thursday from a used book
store near the University of Michigan campus as part of an investigation
into $40,000 worth of medical volumes reported stolen from another store
nearby, officials said.

Detectives searched David's Books, 516 E. William St., for about six
hours and seized between 800 and 1,000 books that they believe belonged
to Ulrich's Bookstore and possibly other stores, said Detective Sgt. Jim

The raid came after a monthlong investigation into what police are
calling a large-scale retail fraud. The inquiry began after Ulrich's
employees discovered the unique medical books were missing during a
routine audit. Detectives learned some of the books were being resold on
the Internet.

With assistance from the department's special investigation unit,
detectives have identified two people believed to be involved in the
book thefts, but they have not yet been charged with any crimes,
Stephenson said.

They are not employees of David's Books, which sells a variety of used
books, and magazines.

"We've got a lot of work ahead of us that needs to be done before we can
determine who is responsible for any criminal activity,'' Stephenson said.

The owners of David's Books, who could not be reached for comment, are
cooperating with police, he said. The store remains open for business.

Stephenson said detectives seized other merchandise that may have been
taken from other bookstores and that they are just beginning the
painstaking process of identifying the contents of dozens of boxes that
practically cover the floor of a large conference room.

"We're encouraging local bookstores to contact us about any recently
stolen property in order to attempt to identify where some of these
books came from,'' he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call detectives Bill Stanford at
734-997-1366 or Greg Jones at 734-994-3288.

Art Aisner can be reached at aaisner@annarbornews.com or 734-994-6823.