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Librarian Blog

Why book sales are up

In Great Britain, sales of real books are rebounding and outpacing sales of e-books, according to UK researchers.
Why?
Because you can show off a real book. You cannot show off an e-book.
So, it is all about image?
Apparently that is the case. Sales of print books are forecast to rise by 25 percent in the next five years, a story by Katie Morley pubished last week says.
E-books are declining this year for the first time.
The simple truth is that people aren't necessarily reading more print books. They are shelving them so people think they've read them.
When you think about it, this is really kind of pathetic.

Where to find things now

We've been in a bit of a transition here for the last several months as we try to expand the area we have in the library for young-adult materials and programs.
At one time, we had just a couple of big book shelves devoted to what we call YA materials.
Now, we have about a third of the big room that once comprised the entire library devoted to that age group. It's the area where we once had biographies and large-print books -- right around the fireplace on the north wall.
So, if you come looking for a biography, you'll be confused. Likewise for large-print book searches.
Instead, we have relocated the biographies so they are  part of the nonfiction collection. The large-print books are nearby on their own sets of shelves.
Now, we have our 3D printer and our Maker Space materials handy to the YA part of the library so everything is, as they say in some parts of Texas, right handy.

A cautionary tale

Before we become overly friendly with China, we ought to be very aware of far more than who they jail and torture and who they build stuff for.
Totalitarian governments pose even more treacherous dangers to their citizens and others than just those.
China is 1984 and better. Or worse, depending on your point of view.
Consider the story on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on June 27 with this headline: "China Tracks Faces to Shape Behavior."
The story starts with a truly frightening tale about a young woman who was jay-walking and a camera caught her in the act and then displayed it for all of the rest of her small world to see.
"I won't ever run a red light again," she told a reporter.
I guess not.
And she won't do anything else outside that she doesn't want the state to see her doing.
We do have cameras around street corners in Austin and elsewhere, and they probably do deter crime and help solve it.
But, using face recognition technology to solve the problem of jay-walking? Really?
 

Serendipity poems

How is this for a nice little poem:
There you'll find me
Push, crash, tumble & fall
When morning comes
Carry on
Breathe
Love, Star Girl
It may not be Robert Frost, but it does sound nice. And it is just kind of a random sequencing of words that make sense in context even if they don't when taken apart.
Actually, each line is a title of a YA book. And the books are stacked on top of one another to form a title-poem, with each title contributing something to the whole.
Kristina Minor, our librarian for young adults, found out about doing this through a course she is taking at LSU, and she and young patrons are putting works together, one on top of another, to delineate a piece of poetry that is purely serendipitous.
Come by and check these out. And then build your own.

Originality counts

Years and years ago when I was editor of a small newspaper in the Panhandle someone who was not a resident of my town ormy county contacted me and told me he had proof that the new superintendent of schools in his town had a bogus doctorate from a diploma mill. This fellow also had a copy of the superintendent's plagiarlized doctoral dissertation.
The newspaper in his county, which neighbored my own, wouldn't publish the story. Would I?
Of course.
Regardless of the squishy and moveable standars for such things today, I still believe plagiarism is a sin against scholarship and should be punished severely.
Cut-and-paste technologies and access to an infinite supply of materials has apparently made plagiarism easier than ever. That doesn't make it right.
The most recent spate of plagiarism reminded me of that long-ago school superintendent. In the present case, it appears that quite a number of public school principles are plagiarising letters of acceptance or something of the sort. And they are losing their jobs. Rightfully so.
ABC FOX News in Montana did a little sniffing around and discovered the evidence of widespread cheating on these letters.
Still, this is truly only the small tip of a huge iceberg. I subscribe to a daily blog called "Retraction Watch," and every single day it includes notes about the misuse of images, the appropriation of facts, just out-and-out bad behavior by people who know better but don't care.
This is far beyond mere fake news. This is fakery everywhere.
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