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Librarian Blog

Getting a makeover

Come by the front of the library at the end of next week, and you may not recognize the place.

Thanks to grants from Lowe's and Keep America Beautiful, volunteers are digging out old and dead foliage and planting all-new, native Texas flowers, trees and other green growing things.

They started the clean-out last week, and now the new plants have been purchased and are ready to go into the ground.

Volunteers from the Garden Club, Master Naturalists and Keep America Beautiful will be.

Thanks to them for all their hard work.

About immigration

We've been conducting informal and utterly useless polls on our website for about a year now.

Most of them don't get a lot of response. But, the most recent survey about immigration did hit a nerve.

We had dozens of responses.

The most were in agreement with these statements: U.S. businesses that employ illegal residents should be fined heavily; and, There should be a real and workable path toi citizenship for immigrants now in this country. Just slightly fewer agreed with this: Elected officials who employ illegal residents should lose their positions. A just a few less agreed with this: All people in this country illegally should be sent back to where they came from.

So, this is a hot-button issue here, just as it seems to be everywhere else in America during this campaign season.

Among others ...

The scuff-up in New Zealand about banning a book intended for young adults is not some isolated event.

I mention this because this is Banned Books Week, and this year's theme has to do with the banning of just such materials.

Over the years, I have heard about dozens of books considered offensive by this group or that group -- like "A Separate Peace," "Catcher in the Rye," "The Giver."

My take on the situation is that people are easily offended by just about anything, and that in the last two decades they have become more strident and more prickly about what bothers them or has the potential to bother them. A lot of us are just picky, picky, persnickety people, looking for things to be irritated about.

So, the list is long of books that in the past year have been listed as offensive. Banned Books Week.com put together a short list:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  2. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon Books/Knopf Doubleday) 
  3. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston)
  4. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury Publishing) 
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (MTV Books/Simon & Schuster)
  6. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix/Scholastic)
  7. Chinese Handcuffs, by Chris Crutcher (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins) 
  8. The Giver, by Lois Lowry (HMH Books for Young Readers)
  9. The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros (Vintage/Knopf Doubleday) 
  10. Looking for Alaska, by John Green (Dutton Books/Penguin Random House)

It's started

The big annual used book sale is under way at the Chapel in the Hills.

The Friends of the Library have sorted through and set out thousands of books for you to peruse, and they're all very, very reasonably priced.

Many of them are like-new books that we pulled from our shelves recently here at the library because they were duplicates.

The sale started at 3 p.m. today for Friends members.

But, it continues from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow.

Don't worry about boxes for your purchases; they have them.


Not Armageddon

Remember e-books?

They were supposed to be the digital giants that ate paper by the trainload and drank ink by the barrel.

Well, they kind of started out that way.

But, now?

"The digital acocalypse never arrived, at least not on schedule," The New York Times reported late last week.

E-book buying has peaked, and now it appears that early adopters are going back to traditional print books.

Seems that, among other things, people like having books aroundl, and you can't have them if they're digital. Oh, and people are moving away from dedicated e-readers to smartphones, which are ubiquitous.
 It's not easy to read a book on an iPhone.

This is all good news for we librarians and for bookstores, many of which have already given up the ghost.

But, we'll never go back to a model of library that doesn't offer e-books for readers to check out for awhile.

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