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Librarian Blog

Dirtier and dirtier

It turns out that you're right: language in books is getting coarser and, well, "dirtier."
Michael Schaub of the LA Times picked up last week on a study done by some San Diego State University professors that shows books have gotten substantially more linguistically graphic since 1950. Or, as he put it: "...there's been a dramatic increase in course words."
I will not repeat the offenders here, but perhaps you recall George Carlin's famous monologue about the "seven dirty words" you could not say on television. Of course, those words and many, many more are almost routine on TV, especially HBO. And they are no longer rare in books, even books aimed at teens.
Sometimes, at the request of the young-adult librarian, I will go through a graphic novel to see how it's playing out, and I'm often surprised at the bad language, especially when it is used gratuitously -- that is, it serves no purpose other than to simply be there.
The psychology profs who did the study quoted by Schaub say that the increased use of bad words in books stems from a growth in individualism since the '50s. I don't know about that. In fact, that doesn't even sound reasonable.
But, darned if I have another explanation.

Why we need to grow

Bruce Handy has a perfectly delightful article in last weekend's Wall Street Journal about the popularity of children's books -- among parents.
He relates how, now that he has children, he has rediscovered the classics like "Goodnight Moon" and the works about Winnie the Pooh.
They speak to something in him that is different from what they spoke to when he was himself a child.
And his observations are so true. We find here at the library that parents want to see the books they loved as children on the shelves so they can read those same books to their own kids. That happens with each succeeding parental generation. So that today we must have all the works of Dr. Seuss on the shelves, along with "Goodnight Moon" and all the others that you can probably name.
That's not a problem until you consider that hundreds of really wonderful children's books are published every year, and we need to try to have some of them in our collection, too.
So, the obvious problem is how to find space for a growing number of new books while keeping the old beloved ones.
The solution is simple: We need to expand.
Already, we are looking at how that might happen. So, stay tuned.

Why volunteer?

What's in it for you?
By Sarah Davis

At the Wimberley Village Library we employ volunteers in a variety of ways. Our volunteers greet our patrons, check out books, shelve books, catalog books, help with fundraisers, maintain the appearance of the library, water the plants, work book sales and much more.

Why do they do it? Some do it for the social contact, some for the benefit of giving back to the community. Many like the exposure to new books and programs the library is constantly offering. 

I suspect the volunteers know something that science is just now releasing in studies. * A growing body of research tells us that those who volunteer have lower mortality rates and less depression, along with a greater sense of control over one’s life and higher rates of self-esteem and happiness.  Using health and volunteering data from the Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one report found that states with a high volunteer rate even have lower rates of heart disease. 

Volunteering is not only good for your social and mental health, but now it’s good for your physical health. Want to live longer? Come volunteer!

*Harvard Health Blog , Stephanie Watson.  

Eclipse glasses are in

We just received our shipment from NASA of our glasses you can use to view the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.
If you would like a pair, come by and pick one up.
Or wait until our big viewing party at 11 a.m. Aug. 21 here at the library.
Please join us at that time for refreshments and a good look at the eclipse.
Of course, we all have to hope for a window of cloudless sky!

Feeding the kids

In hundreds of libraries across the country, librarians are taking on the additional role as cafeteria ladies (or lads).
The New York Times has a story this morning about how libraries are teaming up with other public agencies to provide lunches for kids over the summer months. The money comes from the federal government.
The problem being addressed is the growing number of kids who are hungry because school, the regular place they get meals nine months out of the year, is out in the summer months for so many of them.
The Times article didn't list any programs like this in Texas. I'm not sure Wimberley has a large number of children who need this kind of thing.
If they do, though, I'd sure like to know about it.
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