Thursday, October 29, 2009

Go Big Read.... the conversation continues

If you attended any of the events that were part of GO BIG READ this fall, you know a little about Michael Pollan's thesis that states, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Here is a recent blog post to the Go Big Read blog by a Wisconsin farmer and UW CALS graduate. His post illustrates clearly that the ongoing, difficult debate about food and its production in our country is not over and certainly not decided. Have a read:

from a Wisconsin Farmer.

And the Water Library thinks this shows that GO BIG READ was a success, whether you are in the Pollan camp or not or somewhere in between. It's gotten people talking about a book... and food. And what's greater than that....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


A recent piece heard National Public Radio highlighted a new book coming out titled ALL CAKES CONSIDERED. That piece and the coming cold weather got the Water Library thinking about food and what the library has to offer for the culinary wizards in our state. There are five cookbooks in the Water Library available for checkout. All five are devoted to seafood.

The library is always looking to develop its collection so if you know of a book we should add to our collection, please let us know. Send a message to askwater @ If there is a definite winner recipe you try, please let us know and we'll put it on our blog.

Bon appetit!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Water and Children

Wisconsin's Water Library has just returned from the annual conference of the Wisconsin Library Association and would like to highlight some resources the library featured in a presentation to a group of youth librarians from around the state.

Next summer (2010) public libraries will host the summer reading program MAKE A SPLASH - READ! The Water Library has resources to help libraries. Check out our story time page, with two story times sketched out (FROGS and FISHES):

Water Story times

Monday, October 19, 2009

Very old climate data

Sometimes scientist need to look to the past for data... In Wisconsin, we are benefiting from some forward looking work being done by the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change. For example, the WICCI group recently published maps showing climate trends and projections based on 14 different models.

Some recent work by Dennis Wheeler of the University of Sunderland in Britain is reaching way back in history - 200 to 300 years for the weather data, inside 1800's era sea logbooks. The logbooks "fill the gaps in our meteorological history by providing information about the oceans."

Fascinating stuff!

Read more.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A picture paints a thousand words......

This is a must see - aerial bowfishers are working on the Illinois River to combat invading asian carp:

Where These Fish Are Jumpin’, Arrows Are Aimed

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A new neighborhood on the National Mall

The National Mall in Washington, DC, is now home to a solar village of energy efficient homes -- at least for the next few days.

The Department of Energy is hosting its fourth Solar Decathlon, a competition in which teams of college and university students compete to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar powered house.

Teams are competing in categories that include best architecture, engineering, market viability, and net energy use. And water is a theme among most. From California's "xeriscape" landscaping that uses no supplemental water to UW-Milwaukee's water harvesting roof design, efficient water use is a key design component.

While California currently holds the lead, and UW-Milwaukee is far behind, judging continues. The overall winner will be announced this Friday, October 16th.

Brief videos of each team's entry can be found on the Solar Decathlon's You Tube channel:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Water-use Data for Wisconsin 2005

From the Wisconsin Water Science Center:

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Wisconsin Water Science Center is responsible for presenting data collected or estimated for water withdrawals and diversions every 5 years to the National Water-Use Information Program (NWUIP). This program serves many purposes such as quantifying how much, where, and for what purpose water is used; tracking and documenting water-use trends and changes; and providing these data to other agencies to support hydrologic projects. In 2005, data at both the county and subbasin levels were compiled into the USGS national water-use database system; these data are published in a statewide summary report and a national circular. This publication, Water Use in Wisconsin, 2005, presents the water-use estimates for 2005; this publication also describes how these water-use data were determined (including assumptions used), limitations of using these data, and trends in water-use data presented to the NWUIP.

Read full report here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New report from USGS: Nonnative Fishes in the Upper Mississippi River System

From report abstract: The introduction, spread, and establishment of nonnative species is widely regarded as a leading threat to aquatic biodiversity and consequently is ranked among the most serious environmental problems facing the United States today. This report presents information on nonnative fish species observed by the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program on the Upper Mississippi River System a nexus of North American freshwater fish diversity for the Nation.

Read rest of abstract and full report.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weird video of the day

National Geographic has posted a video of a bizarre fish found deep in the waters beneath Brazil. Scientists say there are about 30,000 known species of fish identified around the world, with many more yet to be discovered. Let's hope they don't all look like this one:

Bizarre fish video

If you'd rather see the beautiful fish of the Great Lakes, check out this nice Sea Grant Web site.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Friends Book Sale at UW Madison

AquaLog has heard that the Friends Sale offered by UW Madison is THE place to get books!

Organized by the Friends of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, the sale starts today, Wednesday, October 7 and runs through Saturday, October 10 in conjunction with the Wisconsin Book Festival.

The sale is open to the public and is held in 116 Memorial Library, 728 State St.

• The Preview Sale ($5 entry) is Wednesday, Oct. 7, 5 pm - 9 pm. The prices for the books are $5.00 for hard covers and $3.00 for paperbacks.

• The Regular Sale (No entry fee) runs Thursday, Oct. 8 - 9, 10:30 am - 7 pm. The regular sale prices are $3.00 for hard covers and $1.00 for paperbacks.

• A $3-a-Bag Sale (bring your own brown grocery bag) takes place Saturday, Oct. 10, 10:30 am - 1 pm. From 1:05 - 2 pm all remaining books are free.

The semiannual sales are the largest used book sales in Wisconsin and include more than 15,000 books covering almost any subject including American studies, fiction, foreign languages, cooking, physical and biological sciences, computer science, government, political science, law, education, fine arts, self-help, reference, business, social sciences, religion, philosophy, women's studies, and history. There are also maps, DVDs, CDs, videos, and many LPs for sale.

Categories of special interest in this particular sale include: ancient history, American studies, English travel and history, evolution, African poetry and literature, and medieval Britain.

Nearly 60 volunteers coordinate the event, which draws students, faculty, and visitors from around the Midwest. Books for the sale are donated primarily by University of Wisconsin faculty, staff, students and Madison-area residents. Money from the sales help fund an annual lecture series, special purchases for the library collections, and a visiting scholar support program.

Friends Board Member Beth Kubly states “Given the current economic conditions, no bibliophile would want to miss this sale. There’s a fascinating array of books that would meet any reader’s interests.”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wondering what's in your water?

Have you ever wondered what's in your drinking water? With a recent high-profile series called Toxic Waters in the New York Times on the state of the nation's water supply, it's no surprise that at least one user of Ask Water, our online reference service, did.

Thankfully, when it comes to drinking water, there's a mandate of transparency. Water systems that serve the same population year-round, known as Community Water Systems, are required to file Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR) annually. Including basic data on contaminants, violations and their potential health effects, and other water-related educational information, CCRs are good places to start learning about what's in your water.

And they're convenient. Since Community Water Systems are required to make a good-faith effort to notify their users, they often arrive without even asking. Maybe you've found one in your mailbox.

But if you haven't, don't worry. A few online databases can also do the trick.

In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources maintains the Drinking Water System, a database on water quality testing that includes links to CCRs. It can be searched by Public Water System, or other things, like specific contaminants.

Nationally, the EPA also has a number of databases, including the Safe Drinking Water Information System. It can be found at

Friday, October 2, 2009

Banned books resource

If you live in Madison, Wisconsin and work with children of any age, you might already be aware of the incredible resource librarians and educators have at their fingertips: The Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC). The CCBC is a unique examination, study and research library of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The CCBC’s noncirculating collections include current, retrospective and historical books published for children and young adults.

They have extensive knowledge and expertise on intellectual freedom issues as they relate to children's and teens' access to materials in libraries and classrooms: check out their Web site.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Visualizing banned books

Check out this map created for Banned Books week - it shows via Google Earth the places where books have been challenged.