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Librarian Blog

An odd afternoon

It's been wild, I'm sure, at HEB next door to us, because it was wild when I was in there at 9 o'clock this morning to get some paper towels. Seems like everyone was wanting to buy water, which makes some sense, and toilet paper, which makes no sense to me at all. Why would you need extra toilet paper if you are on the outskirts of a hurricane? Maybe one person saw another person with a load of TP and thought, "Wow! I better stock up, too!" and then did so, and it started a domino-like absorption with stuff for the bathroom.
Over here at the library, it's almost business as usual, although we seem to have fewer kids and moms this afternoon.
We don't know what to expect tomorrow, but I'm guessing it will be hairy around here late tomorrow evening and Sunday.
Yeah, we have paper here. Just not that kind.

Ramping up

Plans are moving ahead quickly on a library expansion project in Wimberley.
Juniper Schneider has taken the lead to help develop a fund-raising plan, and several groups are now going on the same road in the same direction to begin thinking about how to get the funds we will need to do the project. They include the Friends, our library foundation and a special committee established for the purpose of finding money
How much money?
We don't know yet. We have no actual plan for what an expanded library might look like, but our board has had discussions with several architectural firms to pick one to take the lead on the project.
So, watch this space for updates that will be provided as new developments take place.

Dirtier and dirtier

It turns out that you're right: language in books is getting coarser and, well, "dirtier."
Michael Schaub of the LA Times picked up last week on a study done by some San Diego State University professors that shows books have gotten substantially more linguistically graphic since 1950. Or, as he put it: "...there's been a dramatic increase in course words."
I will not repeat the offenders here, but perhaps you recall George Carlin's famous monologue about the "seven dirty words" you could not say on television. Of course, those words and many, many more are almost routine on TV, especially HBO. And they are no longer rare in books, even books aimed at teens.
Sometimes, at the request of the young-adult librarian, I will go through a graphic novel to see how it's playing out, and I'm often surprised at the bad language, especially when it is used gratuitously -- that is, it serves no purpose other than to simply be there.
The psychology profs who did the study quoted by Schaub say that the increased use of bad words in books stems from a growth in individualism since the '50s. I don't know about that. In fact, that doesn't even sound reasonable.
But, darned if I have another explanation.

We saw it all from here

We had about 300 folks in and around the library this afternoon to watch the solar eclipse.
The clouds were not in the way, and the actual time when the eclipse was most in effect over Wimberley was spectacular.
We should have some pictures posted on our FaceBook page, so check that out.
Thanks to Miss Kristina, our YA coordinator, for her role in making this a big success for our patrons.

Why we need to grow

Bruce Handy has a perfectly delightful article in last weekend's Wall Street Journal about the popularity of children's books -- among parents.
He relates how, now that he has children, he has rediscovered the classics like "Goodnight Moon" and the works about Winnie the Pooh.
They speak to something in him that is different from what they spoke to when he was himself a child.
And his observations are so true. We find here at the library that parents want to see the books they loved as children on the shelves so they can read those same books to their own kids. That happens with each succeeding parental generation. So that today we must have all the works of Dr. Seuss on the shelves, along with "Goodnight Moon" and all the others that you can probably name.
That's not a problem until you consider that hundreds of really wonderful children's books are published every year, and we need to try to have some of them in our collection, too.
So, the obvious problem is how to find space for a growing number of new books while keeping the old beloved ones.
The solution is simple: We need to expand.
Already, we are looking at how that might happen. So, stay tuned.
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