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Librarian Blog

Czech it out

Several months ago, I think, my wife called me into her office to look at a new Facebook post about libraries around the world. The item was a series of photos of the world's most beautiful libraries, and one of them was in Prague.
I was a little startled. I have been to Prague and I have walked all over the city, and I just never saw anything I thought was a library. I certainly never went into one.
Of course, I don't read or speak Czech so I hadn't a clue what 90 percent of the buildings were. (The guy on the corner selling sausages -- I didn't need to read his sign.)
I confess now to having been pretty dumb about the Czech Republic and its books.
Just how dumb came home again today as I was reading The New York Times. In the A section is a story about the library in the Strahov monastery in Prague. I'd seen that picture before -- in that Facebook post my wife showed me.
Wow. I wish I had known about that building back when I was in Prague.
It turns out that you have to be almost willfully stupid not to see libraries in the Czech Republic. There is one library for every 1,971 citizens, according to the Times article. In the U.S., there is one for every 19,583 people. Libraries are everywhere there!
Why? one wonders. Because, the Times reports, every community is required by law to have one. This law was passed early in the last century because the ruling class thought books would help create an educated public.
In this country, we would do well to create more libraries and fewer dumb adults.

About plagiarism

Before plagiarism at the national level gets dismissed and ignored, let's be clear about how important it is not to dismiss or ignore it.
In most college classrooms, plagiarism is grounds for an automatic F. In some colleges, plagiarism will get you kicked out.
In scientific and academic journals, it could get you fired.
Plagiarism is theft, pure and simple.

Data fraud

Fraud among scientists seems to be running rampant. Or maybe I think so must because I've been watching papers retracted, studies failing, conclusions withdrawn -- by the hundreds, literally.
It's just too tempting these days for researchers just to fudge their data. They need publications. Publications are overwhelmed. The system is falling apart.
So far, the scientists and researchers get off almost penalty free. Their colleagues seem to say, Well, there but for the grace of God go I.
It's time for we who digest their data and make important decisions to take control.
In a study by University of Albany scientists (one hpoes they did not fix their own conclusion), Americans said they want to get tough on data fraud:
"[T]he public overwhelming judges both data fraud and selective reporting as morally wrong, and supports a range of serious sanctions for these behaviors. Most notably, the vast majority of Americans support criminalizing data fraud, and many also believe the offense deserves a sentence of incarceration."
Criminalizing. Now, that's a concept!

Color us happy

We sold more than 100 adult coloring books at Bent Tree Gallery in Wimberley yesterday afternoon during the launch of our latest publishing venture.
About a dozen artists with works in the book showed up to sign autographs, eat and drink.
We had a great time and met a lot of new friends.
Now, the adult coloring books are on sale here at the library, at Bent Tree Gallery, at Art on 12 and at the visitors center.
The books are only $12 and feature art by 15 Wimberley artists. After expenses, all profits go to the Wimberley Valley Art League.
So, drop by and pick up a book or two. They make perfect birthday or Christmas gifts. So you can get your shopping done early, too.

A stat to wonder about

Here's a statistic that has an easy explanation:
The New York Times reported last Friday that since 2008, states have reduced spending on public higher education by 17 percent.
At the same time, tuition has risen 33 percent.
The number of students has not gone down by 17 percent. And parental incomes have not gone up by 33 percent.
So, there are a lot of losers and potential losers out there when the bill comes due, including citizens who have a vested interest in having other citizens who are well educated not dummies.
We may be stuck with dummies.
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