November 2009 Archives

Minnesota Discovery Center Closing

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For those of you who have not seen this announcement yet I'm posting it here. Minitex staff visited the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm, MN fall 2007. They had such a rich and unique collection in their library and archives. You can view the pictures by visiting our Flickr site. We hope that this is only a temporary closing. You can stay up-to-date by visiting the Mn Discovery Center website.

CHISHOLM - The Ironworld Development Corporation Board of Directors today announced that Minnesota Discovery Center (formerly Ironworld), a 660-acre museum, entertainment venue, research library and park in Chisholm, MN, will temporarily be closed to the public, effective Friday, November 20, 2009, at 5 p.m.

"We would like to thank our employees for their patience and understanding as we determine what the future holds for this institution," said Minnesota Discovery Center CEO, Mike Andrews.

Iron Range Resources created the nonprofit organization and negotiated a Management Agreement in 2007 for its operations. They supported the nonprofit through an endowment of $10 million and a transitional subsidy that is to be phased out over a five-year period. With the world recession, the endowment declined to $5.9 million this spring, resulting in substantially lowered funding levels.
The new name, Minnesota Discovery Center, provided a broader platform in the effort to re-invigorate the facility and give it national importance. This strategy worked. Revitalized programming within budget yielded a 15% increase in attendance figures despite cold weather, five months of highway construction, and an economy where tourism spending in northeastern Minnesota saw double digit declines.

"The financing model developed two years ago, combined with the world economic situation, just doesn't work", states CEO Mike Andrews. "Our overhead costs, not fundable by grants or sponsorships, are considerably higher than our declining subsidy and endowment interest. Although we experienced an increase in visitor attendance, it is not enough to make that up difference in a limited market."

The temporary layoffs affect 47 dedicated employees who have been passionate about the success of the facility.

"The board is currently reviewing all options for continuing operations," said Rich Puhek, IDC Board Chair. "We owe it to our dedicated staff and to the public that has been so supportive of the Minnesota Discovery Center to continue to make every effort to succeed."

The IDC Board remains optimistic about the future of the facility.

Minnesota Discovery Center opened in 1977 as the Iron Range Interpretive Center with 34 exhibits and a nominal admission charge. In 1979, the Hall of Geology was added, followed by the 1980 opening of the Research Center library and archives. In 1986, after an 18-month shutdown, the facility re-opened as with a railroad, amphitheater, new admissions building and "Festival Park."

Posted: Nov 18th, 2009 9:00 AM


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The July/August SAMMIE newsletter had a great review (p.2) of a very helpful resource:
CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries

Weeding can be a daunting task, but this book provides a LOT of very practical guidance that will help you through the process, such as specific strategies for weeding children's or AV collections, how to dispose of weeded materials, and an epilogue encouraging the hesitant weeder. It is aimed at public libraries, but would be useful to others as well.

As noted in the SAMMIE review, the Texas Library and Archives Commission has generously made the book available online through a Creative Commons license. Go here to access it:

And if you're an OCLC member, whenever you withdraw an item, please remember to delete your holdings from OCLC. ILL staff everywhere will thank you!

Photos from NDLA

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Several Minitex staff traveled to NDLA's Annual Conference in Dickinson, ND this year. Though it's been over a month since the conference, I would like to share some of the photos our staff took. We also wrote an article about the conferences we presented at and attended in the Oct/Nov Minitex/OCLC Mailiing. More photos from SDLA and MLA to follow soon!

roadside attraction
Roadside attraction off 94 between Bismarck and Dickinson, North Dakota

Front of Dickinson Public Library
Front of Dickinson Public Library

Inside Dickinson Public Library
Inside Dickinson Public Library

fireplace at Dickinson Public Library
Minitex staff Anne Hatinen in front of fireplace at Dickinson Public Library

table display at Dickinson PL reception
Table display at Dickinson Public Library dessert reception

RDA and OCLC Webinars

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If you missed the free webinars "RDA and OCLC" that were presented during the last couple of weeks, you can view the recording here.

OCLC has also scheduled one more live session, which will take place on Nov. 19, 12pm (central). You can register for that here.

There is a brief write up about the webinar and the post includes screenshots of some of the poll results from those attending the two webinars. It can be found on Karen Calhoun's blog, Metalogue.

The Library of Congress recently released the results of its analysis of the creation and distribution of bibliographic data in U.S. and Canadian libraries.

The Library commissioned R2 Consulting LLC to search and describe the current marketplace for cataloging records in the MARC format, with primary focus on the economics of current practices, including existing incentives and barriers to both contribution and availability.

Paired with the study online is a report of an internal working group indicating how recommendations from "On the Record: Report of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control" may be implemented at the Library. Both reports are available on the LC website here.

R2 summarizes its 10 findings concerning Library of Congress cataloging and how it supports bibliographic-description needs across the U.S. and Canada. Below are the first five findings from the R2 Study. This should make for an interesting read! Read the other findings and the full report here.

Library of Congress cataloging continues to be widely valued: Libraries, vendors, and cooperatives speak with their actions. There is heavy reliance on LC's output throughout all segments of the profession and industry. This is demonstrated by 500,000 searches per day against LC's Z39.50 servers and WebOPAC; by extensive re‐sale and re‐use of records distributed by the MARC Distribution Service (MDS); and by the variety and scale of use across all library sizes and types, and all vendor sizes and types. LC records are the cornerstone of the entire market. School and public libraries are especially reliant on them, but all market segments have built services on the foundation of inexpensive and easily obtainable LC records.

The Library of Congress subsidizes portions of the market: LC catalogs many titles that ultimately are not retained in its collections. As a result, LC bears significant costs from which it receives no direct benefit, for activity that is not explicitly in support of its core users. The 1902 law that governs distribution of its records deliberately excludes the cost of production from the pricing for those records. There is no revenue to offset those costs, other than the value of the free copies of the CIP books provided by publishers. The market relies to a surprising degree on LC's willingness to bear these costs and forgo this revenue. If LC were to redirect its catalogers' efforts solely to materials deemed necessary by its users, CIP production would diminish significantly. Other organizations would need to assume those costs. At present, libraries and vendors enjoy the largely unrecognized benefits of an LC subsidy.

LC records are significantly underpriced: Not only does LC bear a disproportionate share of the costs associated with producing records for titles it may not retain, the law governing its sale of those records allows only the cost of distribution (plus 10%) to be recouped. The cost of production is assumed to be part of LC's ongoing operations. Such low prices contribute to the impression that cataloging should cost less than it actually does.

Cataloging backlogs continue to grow in many areas and market segments: As outlined in the library survey responses, non‐Roman languages, maps, and DVDs pose particular problems. But to our surprise, many libraries are also losing ground on mainstream materials such as English‐language monographs.

There is adequate cataloging capacity in North America to meet the collective need: This finding surprised us, especially given the aging of the profession and imminent retirements. However, a conservative interpretation of survey data shown on pages 9‐10 strongly suggests that there are more than enough catalogers to handle everything. In the academic market alone, for instance, the survey indicates that more than 8,000 original catalogers are employed. If each original cataloger produced on average one record per work day (or 200 per year), that would indicate capacity for 1.6 million original records annually. Unfortunately, that capacity is not well distributed, disciplined, or coordinated, despite decades of experience with cooperative cataloging.

ALCTS Continuing Education

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Registration is open for the last two webinars on institutional repositories to be held this fall.

Forthcoming in 2010

  • February 10 - Bob Gerrity on Selecting the Platform
  • March 24 - Marisa Ramirez and Nancy Fallgren on Metadata
  • April 28 - Sharon Farb, Bonnie Tijerino, and Catherine Mitchell on Consortial Implementation
  • May 19 - Leah Vanderjagt on What we Thought Then and What we Know Now

Check out the ALCTS Conferences & Events page for more information and other webinars that we are offering in the spring.

"You want me to select for WHAT?" A Webinar on Selection
Join presenter Virginia Kay Williams, Acquisitions Librarian at Wichita State University on December 2 from 1 to 2pm Central for "You want me to select for WHAT? Getting started in a new area." Registration opens December 5.

Upcoming e-Forums

"The Art of Conversation: Improving Communication between Technical Services and Public Services" to be held November 18-20, 2009.
Moderated by Sarah Simpson, Technical Services Manager at the Tulsa City-County Library, and Keri Cascio, Branch Manager at the St. Louis City-County Library District.

To access the e-Forums, register for the list at ALCTS Discussion List Web site; click on Association for Library Collections and Technical Services under the ALA Division heading; click on the list name,; enter the email address where you'd like to receive the messages; username and password are required to register. Instructions for obtaining a login and password may be found on the list homepage. Participation is free and open to anyone.
Web Course

Fundamentals of Collection Development begins again on November 30 and runs through January 1, 2010. Learn more or sign up now.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2009 is the previous archive.

December 2009 is the next archive.

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