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Librarian Blog

Teach the children well

It's a darn good series of questions: Where do students get news? What do they know about where they get their news? How do they know it's news they're getting?
Michelle Croft and Raeal Moore set out to answer some of those questions when they posed some of them to students who took the ACT test this year across the country. Students were asked where they got news, how accurate they thought their sources were and what they did to make sure that the accuracy ws actually attained.
The results were mixed. Students knew about traditional sources such as The New York Times and Washington Post, but they were also accustomed to using nontraditional sources with more questionable sets of values, such as honesty and fairness.
Sources clearly on the fringes were also cited.
There is evidence here, then, that there is work to be done by educators in pointing students toward sources that are dependable and reputable and trustworthy. Is that in the Texas public school curriculum somewhere?

Being wary

People are just not particularly dumb when it comes to what passes for news these days.
In fact, they're pretty darned sophisticated.
That's one conclusion you might draw from data collected in focus groups and surveys conducted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University.
InfoDocket issued a summary of the Reuters study today.
The surveys were among adults in the United States, the UK, Spain and Finland (I don't know why) and were designed to see what the respondents might know about the origins of fake news and their opinions about fake news.
One thing is clear from the findings: People tend to be skeptical, period.
And, that's a very good thing these days. If your mother says she loves you, check it out!
Here is InfoDocket's conclusion:
"Our findings suggest that, from an audience perspective, fake news is only in part about fabricated news reports narrowly defined, and much more about a wider discontent with the information landscape— including news media and politicians as well as platform companies. Tackling false news narrowly speaking is important, but it will not address the broader issue that people feel much of the information they come across, especially online, consists of poor journalism, political propaganda, and misleading forms of advertising and sponsored content."

Whata sale!

Join the Friends of the Library for a nominal annual dues fee, and head over to the humongous book sale that's going on at Chapel in the Hills until 6 p.m. today.
Or, head over there all day tomorrow without a Friends membership.
There must be 10,000 books for sale over there, and not a single item is more than $1. (Wait until close to closing time tomorrow afternoon, which is 3 p.m., and you can probably make any deal you want.)
The proceeds come back to the library to help us with programs and activities, and new materials.

Field of dreams in Austin

In Austin, they have built one monumental and beautiful new library, and this weekend they shall see if people come.
I'm betting they do.
The new downtown library is almost 200,000 square feet. It's steel and wood and stone and light and air.
I love it almost as much as I love the new library in Seguin, a few miles east of New Braunfels.
There's just one hitch:
It cost about $630 per square foot to build and furnish.
When you look at library construction costs across the nation in the last two years, that amount puts the Austin library right up there with libraries on the West Coast in terms of price.
Wonder what Jeff Bezos thinks about that?

Premature demise

The conventional wisdom is that traditional printed books are on the way out, and ebooks are on the way in.
Maybe that was the case 10 years ago. But no more.
The Wall Street Journal's Zeke Turner reports this week from Frankfurt, Germany, that ebook sales last year were off 17 percent from the year before, and that is a trend, not just a one-year blip.
Publishers, meeting in Frankfurt, were thus enthusiastic about the prospects, and are upping their press runs and also concentrating on quality of the physical books they publish (not necessarily the quality of the ideas between the covers). 
We shall get a somewhat limited gauge of the interest in real books this weekend at our annual Friends of the Library sale over at the Chapel in the Hills. Thousands of books will be on sale ove there at bare-bones prices. Will people buy them?
Two observations: In the past, books have sold very well at the annual event. But, we seem to have more books available this year than ever before, and that means people with the books gave more away so they could be sold.
So, we shall have to wait and see.
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