2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats team prepared a 2012 annual report for our blog. Thanks to everyone who let us know that it was helpful in your planning for WLA 2012. Glad to be of service!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


Packing tips for #WLA12

Wa-hoo! Tomorrow, Tuesday October 23, kicks off the WLA pre-conference activities! After a year of planning, we’re excited for all of you wonderful attendees to descend upon the Radisson Hotel and La Crosse Center and share with us the awesome speakers, wonderful programs, and fun events we have in store.

Here are a few last-minute tips to think about when packing for the conference:

1. It’s gonna rain– and not just librarians! According to this week’s weather forecast, it’s going to be a soggy one. Luckily, there is an inside sky walk that connects the Radisson to the La Crosse Center; so nobody should actually melt, whether they are Wicked Witches or simply so sweet they are made of sugar. There are, however, a few activities outside of this main area, such as the sure-to-please WLA Foundation fundraiser at the Pump House and Amelia Klem Oestrud’s talk taking place at the fabulous Pearl Street Books. Make sure to pack that stylish umbrella in case the sky doesn’t want to cooperate.

(Also, the Tweet Crawl MIGHT experience a slight change of location based on the weather. Be sure to follow @WLA12Local on Twitter for updates!)

2. $$$ Talk: Our locally grown economy is what makes La Crosse so unique. But at the same time, many of the great places to eat and drink downtown don’t take cards. We have lots of ATMs in the area, but pack some cash to save on the transaction fees.

3. Keep Calm and Stay Cozy: It’s going to be unseasonably warm during the day outside, but the inside temperature is a different story. Be sure to bring a comfy sweater in case you need it. Also, the La Crosse Center is a large place, so a pair of supportive shoes will definitely come in handy when you’re navigating among programs.

4. Batteries Included: This is something that I ALWAYS forget, so I  wanted to include it for anyone like me: PACK YOUR CHARGER, SARA M. BRYCE OF LA CROSSE PUBLIC LIBRARY. (you’re obviously allowed to insert your own name and place of employment when you’re talking to yourself).

Additionally, all general questions will be answered as quickly as possible if you tweet them to @WLA12Local, the Twitter account of the Local Arrangements committee. This can only happen successfully, however, if your mobile device of choice isn’t tragically devoid of juice! Speaking of, the WiFi password for the La Crosse Center is wamowamo

5. Bookmarks–not just for books anymore!: Make sure to bookmark this blog as well as the WLA conference page on your mobile browser, so you have the low down on the programs as well as events and parking.

Put dollars behind your pick for Krieg-Sigman’s tattoo

Kelly Krieg-Sigman, director of the La Crosse Public Library and WLA 2012 Conference Committee chair, recently announced that she would get a tattoo — and that WLA 2012 attendees and the local public could help her pick the design.

She has narrowed it down to four design options. Now the voting begins!

Donation canisters, one for each design, will be on display at the WLA 2012 conference and also at the Main branch of La Crosse Public Library.  Krieg-Sigman said she’ll get a tattoo of the design that’s supported by the most dollars (click here for related blog post).  Money donated will go to the La Crosse Public Library and the WLA Foundation.

Here are the four designs in contention:

Brooch-style design

Lightning bolt design

WLA logo

Latin sript design

May the best design win!

Parking ramp best bet for WLA 2012 drivers; check map for La Crosse’s downtown one-way streets

Bringing a car to WLA 2012 in La Crosse next week?  Here’s a brief guide to parking around the La Crosse Center.

If you’re staying at a downtown hotel, you’ll likely have free parking provided by your hotel.  They do not offer free parking for non-customers, though.

Most of the downtown streets around the La Crosse Center offer free two-hour parking.  That’s fine if you’re willing to move your car several times, of course.  No street-side parking spaces in the area are designed for overnight parking.

There are a few downtown streets that allow parking all day — in particular portions of Jay Street and Front Street, which are very near the La Crosse Center. These spots quickly fill up in the mornings because they are sought out by employees of area businesses.

Your best bet for free, all-day parking near the La Crosse Center is probably a nearby public parking ramp.

A free, multi-level, public parking ramp is located across the street from the La Crosse Center.  It’s just across 2nd Street to the southeast of the La Crosse Center.  It features a skywalk direct to the La Crosse Center.  Entry to the ramp for autos is on the south side of the ramp (Jay Street).

Click the link below to view downtown La Crosse parking ramps and streets.  On the resulting map, the location of the La Crosse Center should appear as a yellow box.  Parking ramps and lots are shown in blue boxes.  Some of these blue boxes are private parking — if you mouse over a highlighted space, text appears that provides information about that location.

** Click here to view the parking map of downtown La Crosse **

That should help a bit with parking.

Now, also watch out for our one-way streets!  Third Street is one-way south; Fourth Street is one-way north, and Pearl Street is one-way west.  Second Street, which passes in front of the La Crosse Center and the Radisson Hotel, is two-way (phew!).  These are indicated on the map at the link above; a quick look should make your downtown driving easy!

Tattoo history book by Wisconsin librarian inspires library director to pursue tattoo, fundraiser

Reading The Tattooed Lady: A History, by Amelia Klem Osterud, changed Kelly Krieg-Sigman’s take on tattoos.  Soon she will literally take on a tattoo — and during the 2012 WLA conference you can help pick the design.

Kelly Krieg-Sigman

Kelly Krieg-Sigman

La Crosse Public Library Director Krieg-Sigman, also chair of the 2012 WLA Conference Planning Committee, is allowing this tattoo excitement to serve as a fundraiser for the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation and LPL.

Krieg-Sigman has chosen four different tattoo designs. They will be on display at her public library and at the WLA conference. Each design will be mounted on a donation can. People will “vote” with monetary donations. The design that raises the most money is the one that she will have tattooed above her ankle.

All the money raised will be shared between the WLA Foundation and LPL.

Local news station WKBT contacted Krieg-Sigman about the tattoo fundraiser. ** Click here to watch the WKBT news video and see the tattoo designs ** (you may have to adjust the volume on the video, which runs one minute and nine seconds plus a short advertisement at the beginning).

The design options are the new WLA logo, “I have the perfect book for you” in Latin script, a lightning bolt, and a jewelry-like brooch design.

The Tattooed Lady: A HistoryOsterud, a tattooed librarian/archivist at Carroll University in Waukesha, is scheduled to speak about her book during the WLA conference. Her program and The Tattooed Lady: A History book signing are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 26, at Pearl Street Books, 323 Pearl St., about two blocks east of the WLA conference location. She also blogs about her tattoo activities at tattooedladyhistory.typepad.com.


Got an open evening – give Team Trivia a try

Conference-related activities do extend into the evenings during WLA, and you really should attend those functions. That said, it is conceivable that one may find oneself unbooked (har har!) on one night or another while in La Crosse. If this … Continue reading

Experience the Mississippi River by boat on WLA Mississippi Explorer Backwaters cruise

Mississippi Explorer Cruises

Enhance your WLA 2012 visit to La Crosse with a guided Mississippi River backwaters tour from Mississippi Explorer Cruises. They’ll offer opportunities to view birds and other animals as well as memorable views of the river and bluffs.

La Crosse lies within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (click here to visit the UMRNWFR website), which spans 261 miles of river from near the mouth of the Chippewa River between Pepin and Alma southward to below Clinton, Iowa.

The refuge is part of the Mississippi Flyway, a major route used by migrating birds of different sorts all season long.

The WLA Mississippi Explorers Backwaters cruise is a program option on your WLA registration form. Cost of the tour is $15.

Here’s how Mississippi Explorer Cruises describes their tours:

“Jump onboard the Mississippi Explorer riverboat and explore scenic backwater wetland areas away from the busy main-channel of the river. Unreachable by other passenger vessels, we venture into seldom seen side-channels such as: Broken Arrow, Swift Creek, Mormon, and Running Sloughs. We’ll explore the outskirts of Goose Island and Target Lake, stop at beaver lodges, lotus fields, and even active bald eagle nests. Now’s the time to get outside and see the wide variety of plants and animals that live in the ‘Upper Miss’ wildlife refuge! Our cruises are professionally guided and narrated by qualified and experienced wildlife naturalists and licensed captains. Last, but certainly not least, the boat has an onboard restroom, comfortable seating, a weather-protected cabin, and a very friendly and professional crew!” Click here for a recent photo in their Facebook photo album.

Mississippi Explorers arrow signThe Friday morning WLA Mississippi Explorer Backwaters cruise will depart from Riverside Park, across the street from the Radisson Hotel La Crosse, at 8:15 a.m., Oct. 26. It’s scheduled to be back by 10 a.m.

Beverages and snacks may be carried on the boat. Indicate your desire to participate when you register for WLA 2012, or contact the WLA office (telephone 608-245-3640) to add this excursion if you’ve already registered. The boat can accommodate up to 65 people.