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Librarian Blog

How cool is that?

Why is "cool" still cool?

Frankly, I did not know that "cool" was still cool out there in the world beyond Wimberley. I figured I might actually be the only person extant still using that particular word to describe a person or a thing or a situation.

How cool to know that cool still is cool.

But, how come?

The New York Times op-ed section answers the question in Sunday's editions in an item by Jonah Berger of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Who knew that college professors were concerned about the longterm viabillity of a term like "cool?"

Turns out, they have been. And they have found that "cool" retains its resilience because of its reference to the senses. We people hang onto identifying terms or metaphors that appeal to our senses longer and more tenaciously than we do other terms not so related.

Maybe that explains, then, why stuff just isn't "groovy" anymore.

Bugging me

A shout-out here to The Wall Street Journal for publishing some actual factual material in yesterday's edition about library books and various kinds of bugs.

Nobdy's ever revealed to me a concern about getting bedbugs or the flu from our library books, but apparently that bothers some people. Enough so that the Journal had the piece in its Health and Wellness section entitled: "The Burning Question: Are There Critters and Germs in My Library Books?"

The short answer from the Journal's assembled experts: No. Or, probably not.

The former is especially true for germs, most of which just don't like to live in places that aren't warm and moist, and most books are neither.

One expert said you might find bedbugs in books, but it's unlikely. And if you worried, just put the books and related bags in your clothes dryer for awhile.

You know, really, there are so many other things to worry about. Like a Syrian terrorist sneaking into Texas via the federal refugee relocation program.

Consider giving

As we go into the end of the year, we start thinking here about all the things we'd like to accomplish in 2016.

At the top of my list is to build some kind of "maker space," a place where we could have a 3D printer; soldering stations; sewing machines; and all kinds of things to work on and build, helping our patrons learn how to do everything from saw a board to code an app.

I think we have the space, although it's limited. Now we just need the stuff: work benches, computers, printers, etc.

Last year during December we ran a very low-key campaign to get patrons to think about donating to the library before the end of the year for tax purposes. And we raised some money!

This year, we're going to do the same thing. No arm-twisting. No pressure. Just letting you know the opportunity is there, and your gift will be a tax present for you.

What Johnny can read

When Theodore Geisel began writing his famous children's books in 1957 I was too old to be exposed to them.

Instead, I ran across them about 15 years later when I had a child of my own. I remember reading The Cat in the Hat to my girls, and a whole host of other Dr. Seuss books that had been published since TCITH originallky came out.

And I am certainly not alone. The Dr. Seuss books are among the most popular ever written, both at the time they were first published and even today.

Dan Kopf, writing in a blog for Priceonomics, notes that the most amazing thing about Dr. Seuss books is their persisting popularity. In 2013, he writes, nearly 5 million books by Ted Geisel were sold, a 50 percent increase over the number sold in 2010.


At the recent Friends of the Library book sale, I spent a good bit of time poring through children's books. My wife and I have a new grandson, now about four months old, and I wanted to find some for him. Luckily, I tripped over a couple -- not The Cat in the Hat but some newer ones. And so yet another generation will learn about that delicious repaste -- green eggs and ham.

WHO cares?

For my last cooking class here at the library, I cooked some vegetarian fare, notably because of the report issued by the World Health Organization last month that eating red meat and processed meat could kill you.

Maybe you saw the story in the papers or on TV. It seems that stuff like bacon and sausage will cause cancer over time. Eat enough over a lifetime, and these things might kill you before a heart attack, skin cancer, car wreck, climate change or an accidental war.

Lots of folks have now come to the defense of processed meats. One, writing last Sunday in the New York Times, said the report was the result of junk science. The Wall Street Journal had a story last Thursday out of Frankfurt, Germany, not debunking the science but deriding the idea that something so close to the German heart as sausage should be labeled as bad for you.

In these regards, I am reminded of a couple of familial connections: One, my grandfather always counseled that one should take all things in moderation; and, two, my father ate bacon or ham nearly every day of his adult life and lived to be 83 years of age. He did not die of colorectal cancer; instead, he died of a combination of factors, among them prostate cancer, which is not caused by eating processed meat.

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