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What Johnny can read

When Theodore Geisel began writing his famous children's books in 1957 I was too old to be exposed to them.

Instead, I ran across them about 15 years later when I had a child of my own. I remember reading The Cat in the Hat to my girls, and a whole host of other Dr. Seuss books that had been published since TCITH originallky came out.

And I am certainly not alone. The Dr. Seuss books are among the most popular ever written, both at the time they were first published and even today.

Dan Kopf, writing in a blog for Priceonomics, notes that the most amazing thing about Dr. Seuss books is their persisting popularity. In 2013, he writes, nearly 5 million books by Ted Geisel were sold, a 50 percent increase over the number sold in 2010.


At the recent Friends of the Library book sale, I spent a good bit of time poring through children's books. My wife and I have a new grandson, now about four months old, and I wanted to find some for him. Luckily, I tripped over a couple -- not The Cat in the Hat but some newer ones. And so yet another generation will learn about that delicious repaste -- green eggs and ham.

Consider giving

As we go into the end of the year, we start thinking here about all the things we'd like to accomplish in 2016.

At the top of my list is to build some kind of "maker space," a place where we could have a 3D printer; soldering stations; sewing machines; and all kinds of things to work on and build, helping our patrons learn how to do everything from saw a board to code an app.

I think we have the space, although it's limited. Now we just need the stuff: work benches, computers, printers, etc.

Last year during December we ran a very low-key campaign to get patrons to think about donating to the library before the end of the year for tax purposes. And we raised some money!

This year, we're going to do the same thing. No arm-twisting. No pressure. Just letting you know the opportunity is there, and your gift will be a tax present for you.

Run and read

Several library branches in the Phoenix area are helping their patrons do something besides just sit there and read.

They have installed treadmills.

Yep. You can now read and walk at these libraries.

A $20,000 grant from a city fitness/wellness group provided the funding.

Why not?

I once knew a history professor who would walk across campus while reading a book. He ran into lots of people and almost got hit by motorists who expected him to obey pedestrian traffic laws.

So, it's not like there aren't people out there who'd like to do juggle more than one task at a time.

WHO cares?

For my last cooking class here at the library, I cooked some vegetarian fare, notably because of the report issued by the World Health Organization last month that eating red meat and processed meat could kill you.

Maybe you saw the story in the papers or on TV. It seems that stuff like bacon and sausage will cause cancer over time. Eat enough over a lifetime, and these things might kill you before a heart attack, skin cancer, car wreck, climate change or an accidental war.

Lots of folks have now come to the defense of processed meats. One, writing last Sunday in the New York Times, said the report was the result of junk science. The Wall Street Journal had a story last Thursday out of Frankfurt, Germany, not debunking the science but deriding the idea that something so close to the German heart as sausage should be labeled as bad for you.

In these regards, I am reminded of a couple of familial connections: One, my grandfather always counseled that one should take all things in moderation; and, two, my father ate bacon or ham nearly every day of his adult life and lived to be 83 years of age. He did not die of colorectal cancer; instead, he died of a combination of factors, among them prostate cancer, which is not caused by eating processed meat.

About face

Amazon opened its firsts bricks-and-mortar store today in Washington State, and it appers that it is much like every other bookstore on the planet.

There is an exception, and it is of singular importance, I think.

All the books in the inventory at the store are shelved with the cover facing outward. The browsing visitor can see entire cover, not the spine.

Bookstores traditionall do best-sellers with a cover-out shelving scheme and then float a few others here and there in their collections.

The issue is space. If you face books outward, there is limited room for other books. That's why most libraries don't have face-out shelving schemes. We'd have far fewer books if we did.

Obviously, Amazon sees this as a must way to do things. And that means that what they have to offer for sale in that physical space will be very limited. Maybe they don't care because they don't intend to sell a deep and broad collection, just what's current and hot on the market.

At least, that sounds like their strategy.

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