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Librarian Blog

Late to an argument

I must have been snoozing these last dozen or so years as a battle raged on campuses and in certain publications and in online venues about the value of being honest.

Maureen Dowd, in her Sunday column in The New York Times, traces the fight that pits nasty versus nice.

Seems it goes all the way back to 2000, when someone I never heard of encouraged a group of students not to be critics in the same vein as the hold saying, if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all.

Apparently, this camp has grown and, according to Dowd, threatens to stifle the nastiness that makes life online and even offline so, well, exciting.

Since I am unfamiliar with these folks, and they have yet to make any inroads in any of the places I regularly visit, I kind of liken them in my mind to those people who believe that it's important for all children to make A's or at least make the first team, the people who worry about damaging the precious egos of others.

Maureen and her camp needn't worry.

As long as there are teen-age girls, there will be snark aplenty.

Singular performances

Since I have not seen all the contenders it's probably not fair for me to spout off on who should win what in the Golden Globes and Academy Awards competitions.

But ...

How could anyone be better than Sandra Bullock was in "Gravity?" I saw it at a big screen, 3-D moviehouse in Austin and was completely blown away.

And the movie itself? It was like having a heart attack for an hour and a half.

I've read some screenplays in my life, and I'd love to read "Gravity," and also the Redford boat movie script.

Such talent should be rewarded.



Thinking about an e-Christmas gift?

The new e-reading devices that have come out this year might have you thinking it's time to buy, say, a Kindle Fire or Paperwhite or something similar.

The prices are not too bad.

But you might want to borrow one from a friend before making the purchase as a gift to yourself.

Research shows that some people don't like to access books on e-readers because of eye strain. Others don't like them because you can't pass along a book you've read to someone else. And, of course, you cannot keep the copy on the bookshelf.

My own feeling is that e-books are so overpriced that booksellers, including Amazon, should just give you the e-reader, kind of like razor-makers almost give you the device so you'll have to keep buying blades.

Also consider that many of the most popular books are not going to be available at an e-library, because big publishers won't sell their properties to us. Before investing in an e-reader check to see if your favorite authors can be borrowed by going to our catalog web page and clicking on Overdrive.

If you plan to buy, do your homework first.

Using libraries

Public libraries have a good image.

That's just one of many conclusions that can be drawn from the latest Pew Internet and American Life Project survey of Americans.

Library Journal has a report on the study today.

A whopping 95 percent of those surveyed agreed that materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed.

I wonder if any other public agency/organization would rank that highly. And I doubt it.

This is for sure: Congress wouldn't.

Not much of a bump

A report out today says that winning the Nobel Prize for her writing increased Alice Munro book sales by more than 4,000 percent in her native Canada, and by multiples of thousands elsewhere, too.

Wondered if demand went up for her books in the library here.

But, there's no real way to tell. We have only three of her books, and of those one is "missing."

We don't have the newest one, which came out, I think, right the week of the Nobel announcement.

And until we get it in, no one can reserve it.

Publicity surrounding the prize doesn't hurt, that's for sure. I just can't translate that into anything meaningful here.