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Librarian Blog

Fresh ideas

Several of us spent most of last week at the Texas Library Association convention in Austin, along with 8,000 other librarians from throughout the state.

I attended sessions on 3D printing, which was hands-on, and very informative; how to update what's on our website; how to maake things out of old books; how to make musical instruments out of everyday objects; tech tools; and many more.

I know we have some great ideas we'll be talking about to make improvements to our library and its offerings.

So, watch this space for regular updates.

Another sale

When a book by a very popular author comes out, we buy more than one copy. Sometimes we buy as many as five copies (anad we will still have a waiting list).

After a few months the rush to read dies down, and we end up with several books of the same title on our shelves. Since we don't have an unlimited amount of space we remove all but one and put the others on the Friends of the Library book shelves so you can buy them or put them in the annual Friends book sale in October.

This year we're trying something new: We're having a minisale. And it's coming up on Thursday, the 16th, starting at 1 p.m.

This sale will feature those newer books that we have "weeded" recently.

So, come on by, and pick up some bargains.

You're forgiven

That's right: We're having our first-ever book fine amnesty.

During the week of May 18-23, you can bring back any overdue materials, and we won't fine you at all.

Bring back damaged items, and we'll give you 50 percent off the replacement price. Or tell us you lost an item, and you'll get the same deal.

If you've lost your card, we won't charge you for a replacement during that week.

To accept the amnesty offer you have to come into the library in person.

We're doing this because we want to recover books and movies so they can go back into circulation. But, we also know that when people owe fines they stay away from the library and we want them to come back.

So, put that week on your calendar, and come back in.

Online reviews

Until just recently, we had a bulletin board full of short hand-written book reviews produced by patrons and staff members.

But we needed that space for another purpose, and needed a new home for these reviews.

Now we have it.

On our home page we've added a book review section under the "About Us" tab.

I'll be updating these posts as patrons give me reviews, and I have forms just for this purpose at the front desk.

Drop by, fill out a review and get your voice heard!

Too bad to be ...

In newsrooms across the world one of the most perilous temptations is to go with a story that's just too good -- or bad -- to be true.

You've got a good reporter, say, who comes up with a story about an 8-year-old heroine addict in your city. Wow, you think, this will knock people's socks off. You just want to have it be true, so you don't give the story the usual hard-boiled treatment. You let your guard down. And if you're the esteemed editors of the Washington Post circa 1980 you get the piece out big and bold on the front page and congratulate yourself for being oh-so-smart at hiring excellent reporters and editors.

And your people win the Pulitzer Prize!

But, out in the community people have been  asking some tough questions. Like, from the cops: Tell us where to find this kid so we can intervene.

A reasonable request. Except your prize-winning staff can't remember how to find him.

And before long everyone, including you, has figured out that there is not and never was an 8-year-old addict.

Goodbye prizes. Goodbye reporter. Goodbye credibility.

Too bad to be true.

Now another episode: Rolling Stone has a story about behavior so bad it will turn the country's colleges inside out -- gang rape goes unpunished at the University of Virginia.

It's a story that can't stand on its own merit for even a week. Then this weekend RS finally retracts the whole thing and apologizes.

Wow. Wouldn't you think editors would eventually learn from these episodes?

No.

Otherwise normal people deny climate change even in the face of overwhelming evidence. ISIS rebels have crossed the border into Texas from Mexico. Aliens landed in Roswell. The web is full of crazy stuff!

It's just that editors aren't supposed to have agendas, but of course they do.