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Librarian Blog

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.  

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.

The JFK files

At long last, the federal government is ready to start releasing withheld documents relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the investigation that followed.
At long last is actually 25 years since the passage of an act by Congress hiding the records from public view. Those same records had been kept under wraps since the actual assassination in 1963.
For all of these years, the matter of who killed Kennedy and why has not been resolved. Numerous movies, special projects, etc., have dealt with circumsantial evidence pointing this way or that. Nothing definitive has been turned up. The result is that we have the official Washington word that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
Few seriously believe that to have been the case.
Wouldn't it be interesting to learn right now in the summer of 2017 that the Russians were involved?
Regardless, watch our TV sets and the internet for what comes out of D.C. starting this week. We may all be surprised.

Shedding light on the eclipse

The solar eclipse is due in the U.S. environs on Aug. 21, and we're doing our part to help you get ready to view it safely.
We're partnering up with NASA@MyLibrary to provide glasses for viewing the actual eclipse, and we will have those available on Aug. 21 for our solar party that starts at 11 a.m. (We will celebrate with Solar Tea, Moon Pies, Milky Ways, Starbursts, etc.)
But, we have scheduled several other events with an "eclipse" theme. For adults, we have a Moth-like story session that will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 16 at the library. We're asking story-tellers to limit their talks to between 3 and 10 minutes. (Call me to register in advance.)
Other events are also scheduled for children and adults, so come by the library and check it all out.

Forget it

Google is back in a French courthouse to fight recent rulings that it scrub its websites of individuals' names after a certain length of time to protect these people's rights to be forgotten.
The French impulse to let people go about their business without having others mind it for them is admirable. Google's desire to have a complete file on everything and everyone in the world is also admirable.
The conflict has been at least partially resolved in favor of some privacy in certain European countries. The rub is that, because Google is global in reach, what it might scrub from sites availalble to Parisians might still be available to people using Google in Paris, Texas, for example.
The complexity of sorting all of this out makes my head hurt.
In the United States, courts have long recognized that when it comes to privacy, people do have a right to be left alone after a certian period of time. That's a good rule.
In the long run, I'd like to see some precedent set in Europe over this matter that could have applications across borders.
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