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Saved you cash in '13

Every time a patron checks out something from the library, we give him or her a receipt.

On the very bottom of the receipt is a statement that updates the patron on how much has been saved in cash dollars by checking out free materials as opposed to buying the same materials at retail.

In 2013, we saved our patrons $1,912,262. That's pretty darn close to $2 million.

I'd say that's not an insignificant amount of money.

And that doesn't even come close to calculating the entertainment value of the books and DVDs and music our patrons enjoyed last year.

 

Looking for a laptop?

If I were looking to buy a laptop I know what I would choose.

In fact, I have already chosen it. And I have bought it.

After looking around at what's out there, I decided to spend about $250 and buy a Chromebook made by Samsung.

I like Samsung products. I have a big old Samsung TV, among other things. I like the feel of the Samsung Chromebook and the play of the keyboard.

And I like Google, which is behind, in front of and all over the Chromebook.

With this little gadget, I am completely plugged into Google's products. I use Google for word processing, email, search, etc. So, the Chromebook made sense in that context.

And I am not plugged into Windows, which is generally a pain in the you-know-what, glitchy and prone to be hacked.

The price was right, as well. You can't buy a Windows laptop for $250.

So, if you're in the market, check out one of these products.

 

Trending in lending

More and more libraries are going way beyond books and movies to help out their patrons.

One library, for example, made news by offering to loan out cake pans. Not that many folks have a recurring need for a bundt pan, but when you need one you do need one.

Now I see where libraries in Maine (most of which might be closed at the moment because of the weather) are lending out all kinds of things: art prints, American girl dolls, volleyball and croquet sets, fishing poles, telescopes, sheet music, binoculars, backpacks, GPS equipment, and the list goes on.

That's pretty inventive, I must say.

So, I'm spending time thinking about what our patrons might like that we could provide but don't. Any ideas?

New tablet or laptop?

Flurry, a data analysis company, reports that the wifi tablet market is reaching the saturation point.

From other articles I read, it appears that smartphones are replacing laptops, tablets, desktops and books, along with traditional cameras.

Whoa.

Nevertheless, if you received a tablet (like a Kindle or Nook) or an iPad with a Kindle app, we can help you borrow books from the library.

Keep in mind, though, that not all the major publishers allow us to buy e-books, so you may be disappointed in what's available.

Drop by.

Cross-eyed over Crossword

I don't know it for a fact, but I believe the crossword puzzle that appears every day in the Austin American-Statesman has a new author.

Others around Wimberley, among them some of the ladies at Hair Magic beauty salon where my wife gets her weekly do-update, have come to the same conclusion.

We know someone new is producing the puzzle, not because there has been any change in appearance, but because this new creator thinks very differently than the one she/he has replaced.

People who do the puzzle every day come to understand the way the puzzler thinks. The previous author, for example, often used the term "oater" for a cowboy movie, something I've never heard in real life.

I bring this up, not to berate the Statesman, but because the timing is kind of weird.

Turns out that on Dec. 21, the crossword puzzle turned 100 years of age. That's according to Publishers Weekly. Arthur Wynne worked for the New York World when he put together the first puzzler, and it was not square as it is today. It was a diamon-shaped grid.

Wynne was unsure of what the reaction would be, and was pleasantly surprised to receive what PW calls bags of fan mail.

I'm a fan, so I'll adapt to the Statesman's new creation.