Wimberley Valley News & Views, which is published on the 15th of every month, has featured several of our volunteers and staff members within the magazine’s pages. Below, we’re posting several of them.
By Carroll Wilson
The first Kindle reader by Amazon came out in 2007, and the device sold out immediately even at a very high price.
But it wasn’t until about the fall of 2012, five years and many iterations of the Kindle later, that the product and price point began to make sense as a mass-market replacement for real books.
That Christmas of 2012 we staff members at the Wimberley Village Library worried that the Kindle might be the gift of choice for many of our patrons, and since a lot of them are senior citizens we anticipated some would have trouble figuring out how to use their great new gadgets. So, we had a team in place to answer all the questions we expected to come pouring in.
Even today, seven years after that, it’s safe to say that there’s never been a line of people waiting to get help with a Kindle. We know our patrons use them because we keep track of, among other things, the number of digital books that are checked out through the library’s website.
We know, too, that some bookstores have succumbed, although right now there are as many bookstores nationwide as there ever have been. Their precipitous drop in total sales has no doubt driven big shops out but left smaller businesses still running right along.
Meanwhile, the price of hardcover books has never been higher on average. This year the average retail price of a hardback for children is $19. The average for young adults is $25. Adults pay $27 on average for fiction and $30 for nonfiction.
All these changes in the marketplace have meant that libraries of every size have had to adapt. We have to pay more for books; we have to keep ebooks available online; and we have to maintain collections of every sort of hardback for children, young adults and adults, particularly best-sellers. And, the Wimberley Village Library has done those things.
By far the most significant change in the way libraries do business since that first Kindle hit the market 12 years ago has had little to do with books. So, when people ask me why they should invest in expansion of the Wimberley library I am quick to point out it’s not about reading or books. What’s changed is what people want to do when they come to the library BESIDES look at and check out books.
People these days want to get together. They want to sit and chat. They want to get away from the noise at home or at the office. They want to exercise and play. People of all ages want these things, and they want the library to be a place where they can do them.
More than that, though, young people, the patrons of tomorrow, want to learn something new at the library. They want to get some hands-on experience with tools, with building materials, with chemistry and physics projects — things that expand their minds.
Thus, when you look at our plans for the Wimberley library expansion, look at what’s added: space for all those things to happen. There is not more space for real books. There is more space for real experiences for real people.
We will never abandon hardbacks for ereaders.
But if we don’t change, we will abandon tomorrow’s patrons who want something more than just a good read.
By Tonda Frady
Many articles have been written about libraries and their impact on peoples’ lives. Our library is so much more than a building filled with books. This article is to showcase how our library endeavors to meet the needs of all age groups in our community. We believe that we have the best small town library in Texas. The following statistics prove that our library offers so much more than books.
During our Summer Reading Program for children:
- Read 8,294 books
- 352 participated
- 1,403 prizeswere earned by completing book logs
- 59 free eventswere offered with 2,553 people attending the events
The programs for teens produced the following rates of participation:
- 19 teens turned in 89 logs, accounting for 267 books read
- 21 teen volunteers donated 640 service hours
- GoTeen Go-Kart project – 12 teens met every Saturday afternoon for two months to refurbish and rebuild a go-kart from the body frame, to the engine, to a custom designed front fairing. Proceeds from the sale of the go-kart will benefit other teen programs.
Adult participation has increased each year:
- 394 entries
- 1,182 books read
- 20+ adult book clubs in operation; the library purchases books for the clubs
Our regular schedule of events fills the calendar year-round:
Is learning a foreign language on your Bucket List? The library offers beginning and intermediate Spanish and French classes.
Special programs featured at the library include: Documentary Film Night, Lunch and Learn lectures, All Abilities Chair Exercises, Creative Writing classes, Gardening and Environment classes, and the Wimberley Apron Society gatherings. Tween programs include the Curiosity Club and the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) based Learning Club. Children’s programs include Toddler Time and preschool Story Time.
In 2018, the library hosted almost 79,000 visits by patrons, and another 16,000 visits via the library website. 241 people used the notary services, and another 262 used the fax machine. Many folks do not know that the library offers these services as well as a color copier, on-site wi-fi, scanning services, plus magazines, DVD’s, audio CD’s, laptops, hotspots, puppets, drones, and a host of other materials for checkout.
One important reason for the library’s success is community monetary donations. Summer Reading program sponsors included 38 patron sponsors and 40 business sponsors.
As you can see, the library strives diligently to meet the needs of all our community. The library is an essential part of our community. I encourage everyone a monetary donation to our library’s Expansion Project.
By Carolyn Manning
I never used our local library growing up. To this day, I do not know if one even existed in my hometown. My parents took us to bookstores but not the library. I wonder why? This is an age-old problem among librarians and advocates of libraries – many community members do not use or even know they have a library in town. Libraries are like hidden gems yet to be discovered!
As Library Director, I attend various local events. I enter into the usual conversations with other attendees: “Where are you from?” or “What do you do?” It is not unusual for the person I am speaking with to be surprised that there is a library in Wimberley or they act sheepish because they do not have a library card. Instead of chastising them for not knowing about the wonderful library they have in their town, I invite them to go to the library and get a card so they can start enjoying the many gems being offered there. I may even list a few of the services we offer like low-cost copying and printing and free hot spot or laptop use. Since I piqued their interest, I tell them about the variety of programs we offer throughout the month like chair yoga, language classes, documentary film night, book club meetings, creative writing classes, adult coloring and more.
The friend they have with them tells me they have young children at home or even grandkids that visit. This gives me the opportunity to brag about the huge summer programming available for youth such as the 40+ programs we offer for eight weeks during summer. They are surprised to hear that for youth ages 5-8 we have “Hands on Fun” programs about science, reptiles, yoga and cartooning. On “Wacky Wednesdays” magicians, musicians, reptiles, clowns and actors perform for us. They do not know that we offer “Kids Academy” for 9 to 12 year olds. Each of these classes teaches the youth about a variety of careers like engineering, cooking, architecture, medicine and space travel.
Moving along, I meet someone who is new to town. This person needs to have a document notarized and needs to use the internet before it gets set up at their home. I use this as an opportunity to tell them that we have two notaries on staff and that we offer free WIFI and 13 public access computers for internet use. They need to fax or scan a document and ask where they can get that done in town. We have that available as well! I call it the “one-stop shop,” the one place in town where they can get work done, learn something and meet up with friends.
Wimberley Village Library – your library – is a gem waiting to be discovered by you. Come in today and make some new discoveries!
By Emily McDonald
Summer is the most fun time of year at the Wimberley library. We had a wild and successful program last summer. Over 2,560 people attend the fifty-eight free events conducted here at the library. Some events included magicians, animals, or science-related experiments—all designed to entertain and educate members of the Wimberley community and to provide them with the opportunity to discover and develop the joy of reading! Our reading logs showed that over 6,750 books were read in the summer of 2018.
Summer of 2019 is shaping up to be our busiest summer yet. The national summer reading program theme is an outer space theme, in honor of the 50-year anniversary of the moon landing. Epic Entertainment with their mascot, Kazoo the dragon, will be back at the library for our Kick-off on May 29th at 10:30am. After their wild and wacky game show, the parking lot will be full of other activities like a petting zoo, snow cones, horseback rides, face painting, and slime making.
We have 9 Wacky Wednesday programs scheduled for every Wednesday in June and July. Wacky Wednesdays are at 10:30am and are performances for all ages. Some of the programs include reptiles, magic tricks, science demonstrations, a performance of “Jack and the Beanstalk”, and more. Our story times will continue on Mondays and Fridays at 10:30am.
We also have a reading incentive program. To keep from losing ground, a child should read 4 or more books over the summer. We want to reward children for their summer reading accomplishments by giving prizes for books read. Children can fill out reading logs and return it to the library for a prize. Logs are available at the library, and there is no limit to the number of prizes earned. Some of the prizes include free snowcones, free kid’s meals, free zoo passes, and more.
We are so excited for summer 2019! To learn more details about our programs, pick up a schedule at the library or check out our events on our Facebook page.
By Aileen Edgington
The library in my little hometown, Shamrock, TX, wasn’t much, located in an old building that was also home to the fire station. No windows, a little musty, with one caretaker, a grim older lady who checked out books. But it held treasures for me, books. I always wanted to go places, envious of the passengers on the Greyhound bus I could hear at night from several blocks away. Books were my ticket to anywhere. That little library became a friend and I loved it.
Fast forward to 1999 when my husband and I retired and moved to Wimberley. One of my first discoveries was the Wimberley Village Library. Well lit, staffed with friendly volunteers and teeming with books, magazines. The best sellers arrived almost as soon as they were off the press. Our library was the first thing we told friends about when they asked about our new hometown.
The library changed since then, adding amazing activities. The parking lot is often jam packed. Creative programs for children, pre-teens and teens have expanded. A bank of computers is available for use as is the wireless network. Adult education classes such as chair exercise, French and Spanish language classes are weekly occurrences. It is a busy, bustling, happy place. One little boy was recently overheard telling his mother “I want to live here” as he gazed around the library.
Of course, the books, magazines, audiobooks, and DVDs are still there. Online programs that allow books to be sent to your mobile device have been added. The library has the only meeting room in town free for use by community groups and It is frequently fully booked.
Wimberley Village Library is one of the jewels of our Valley. If you haven’t visited in a while, come and see what’s happening. Find something that intrigues you. Volunteer to work at the circulation desk or teach a skill you have. Bring your children and grandchildren as there is even a 3D printer.
Our library is a far cry from the library of my youth. You will love it.