Have school libraries changed along with other aspects of education?
I would certainly imagine that's the case. I have been in several public school libraries in the four years since I moved to Wimberley, and in the newer schools I see that an attempt has been made to provide plenty of materials, computers, etc. I've certainly not made a study of the situation.
But, as I think about the start of school, I also think about whether schools are going to continue to stress the importance of reading to gain knowledge, to widen one's perspective and to be entertained.
You might wonder that also. If so, here are some questions that you might want to ask your school principal as you get the kids back into the swing of things:
Theh come from the American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association:
My wish list for this library is not modest.
Just how immodest I learned last week when I read about the success the Windsor, Canada, library is having with printing up books.
That's right: The library has a way to print books.
It's called an Espresso machine.
So far, the library has produced 10,700 books in three years using the Espresso. So far this year, demand is way up -- 4,000 books printed so far.
Ninety-eight percent of those works are self-published.
What a dream: Have a way for patrons who have written books to have them published without hassle.
Oh ... but a pipe dream.
The Espresso costs $85,00!
Our first Wimberley Library Adult Spelling Bee is approaching, and we have several teams that are sponsored but are not, well, teams in the truest sense.
That is, they exist in name only and need spellers as participants. Each team is made up of three spellers.
If you sign up with us to be a team member, we will assign you to a team. On spelling bee day, you will get a free lunch and a guaranteed good time.
Contact me at the library if this sounds like something you would enjoy.
Better: Find a couple of friends and put together your own group to be sponsored by someone who will pay the entry fee.
Harper Lee's novel "Go Set a Watchman" didn't sit well with Peter Makin.
Peter is owner of an independent bookstore in Traverse City, Mich., and he recently broke with the galloping herd of critics and commentators over the value of this book that is supposed to be related in some semi-independent way to Lee's landmark book "To Kill a Mockingbird."
Peter told people who bought "Watchman" that he would refund their money.
According to Infodocket, he posted this comment at his website: "It is disappointing and frankly shameful to see our noble industry parade and celebrate this as 'Harper Lee's New Novel.' This is pure exploitation of both literary fans and a beloved American classic ... We therefore encourage you to view 'Go Set a Watchman' with intellectual curiosity and careful consideration; a rough beginning for a classic, but only that."
I applaud Peter Makin for his courage.
But, I wonder if he might also take a look at a whole passel of books that are being churned out by publishers that are nothing more than hooey and hockum. For example, I just put aside two books that were highly touted, both works of nonfiction. One was about a guy who trained elephants during WWII in Burma. The other was about the development of character. The former was a strange foray into spiritual kinsmanship between animals and humans, something I consider ridiculous. The latter was just a republication and regurgitation of something the author had already written in his newspaper columns. Nothing new there.
Would Peter refund my money on those two items?
Peter doesn't have to; I checked him out of the library.
An increasing number of basic and simple programs are coming on the market to enable even very young children to build codes to run things like robots and to build animations, among other things.
The conventional wisdom seems to be that the kids will be all the better for learning to code and getting an early start on computing. Thus, it follows, society will be better off, as well, since some of these youngsters may grow up to be real nerds of the techie variety.
The latest issue of The Economist has a lengthy article about these kiddie programming guides, such as Scratch and KIBO and Blockly, and the author adopts a somewhat (and suitably) skeptical tone. He or she makes a very good point: Computers, which are in everything these days, are so plebian that it would be an absolute wonder if anyone cared how they work other than the select few in Silicon Valley and Austin who need to know.
An example, not taken from The Economist: Flight is so common and so taken for granted that very few people actually need to know how a 777 stays in the air. Everyone else doesn't care. And that's perfectly OK.
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