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Librarian Blog

Not in the top 10

Texas is not in the Top 10 listing of America's Most Literate Cities.

Library Journal quoted from a report issued last week by the Center for Public Policy & Social Research at Central Connecticut State University and Dr. John W. Miller, university president and author.

The list was based on six key indicators of literacy. They are number of bookstores, educational attainment, Internet resources, library resources, periodical publishing resources and newspaper circulation.

Texas ranks with Arizona and New Mexico in the bottom 25 percent.

Most literate city is Washington, D.C. Seattle is No. 2. Minneapolis is No. 3.

Dr. Miller speculates that it takes a long time to develop a literate population base, and the New England states, which rank highest, have had that kind of time to mature while the states at the bottom of the list are newer.

Might it also have to do with the Hispanic population?

Or might it have something to do with how much the governments in those states value education?

Too many missing

Twice already today I've looked in the catalog and found that an item a patron wanted to check out was listed as on the shelf.

When I looked for these DVDs, though, they were not where they were supposed to be or anywhere else in the library.

This happens far too often. I don't know how often because I haven't kept a record.

I just know that a lot of our materials "walk off" and never return.

Needless to say, this can get expensive fast, with the price of books hitting $25 and more on a regular basis. DVDs aren't cheap, either.

I'm not sure what we can do about this, but it surprises me that in a small community we would have this kind of problem.

Oops ... never mind

We just discovered some new information about a way for libraries and schools to let people check out and use tablets.

So, we're investigating that before we actually make our Kindle Fires, Nooks and iPad mini tablets available to the public.

For now, disregard earlier blog post, please.

100 books to read

Amazon has released a list of 100 books you should read over the course of your lifetime.

I have scanned it, not studied it, and I'm surprised by how many of the books I have actually read, but also by the number I have not read and the ones I've not even heard of.

For the most part, I wouldn't quibble with what the Amazon editors suggest.

But I do take exception with seeing "Unbroken" on the list.

I will reiterate my problem with "Unbroken." There is an adage that goes like this: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The corollary is this: If it sounds too bad to be true it probably is.

"Unbroken" just sounds too bad to be true. I have talked to dozens of prisoners of war and read quite a few books about their experiences as World War II prisoners of the Japanese. I've also covered as a reporter and editor my share of beatings and killings.

I just don't think there has ever been a human being who could take what the leading character in "Unbroken" takes and make it out alive.

"Unbroken" is a popular title, though. And I'm guessing that it's the religious nature of the outcome that has put it on so many must-read lists.

I say, read it. Just don't do so with an uncritical set of mind.

Not necessarily the future everywhere

Much is being made in the media over the San Antonio public library that's got no books or paper products in it.

It's called BiblioTech.

I have not seen it, but have read much about it. The latest rave review came from Husna Haq, writing in The Christian Science Monitor last week.

I don't have a single problem with the library. But to call it the library of the future is to think uncritically.

BiblioTech works because it is one of a network of libraries, all the other of which have books and periodicals.

What would the people of Wimberley or Canyon Lake or Dripping Springs or Buda or Kyle or San Marcos think if their public libraries were paperless?

I think there'd be trouble.

I'm happy for the folks in San Antonio. I just don't know that are actually on the cutting edge of what most public libraries will look like in the future.