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Librarian Blog

Library users skew older?

The conventional wisdom seems to be that library patrons tend to be older people, like folks 65 and over.

That's what I've been thinking, but probably because that seems to be the case here in Wimberley, a community that looks like it's populated by a lot of seniors.

Turns out the conventional wisdom is, as so often is the case with conventional wisdom, wrong.

The Pew Research Center released data today along with a press release with this headline: "7 surprises about libraries in our surveys."

No. 1 surprise: "Each time we ask about library use, we find that those agese 65 and older are less likely to have visited a library in the past 12 months thant hose under that age. Equally as interesting is the fact that younger Americans (those ages 16-29) are just as likely to be library users as those who are older."

Other surprises have to do with e-reader use and library collections.

More on that in this space on Wednesday.

The e-book author experience

A couple of weeks ago, an author who had ventured into the world of e-publishing lamented in a New York Times piece the very small amount of money he made for all his trouble and talent.

He was lucky enough to get an advance, albeit small. And he figured he had not yet made enough sales to cover that meager sum.

If this is the future of publishing, he suggested, it was not going to be a bright one for anyone involved.

And I'm thinking that for now, he's probably right. The folks who are making money are the big names, the Pattersons, the Baldaccis, the Nora Robertses, etc. Only if you can somehow get your work to go vira will you be a winner in the low-dollar game now being played out in the e-verse.

Other than clucking one's tongue, what's to be done?

Actually, I dunno.

Our new motto

Earlier this year, the staff did some brainstorming to come up with a motto.

I guess we haven't had one up to now.

We had a dozen or so that we all kind of liked, and the one that came out on top was this: "Read. Connect. Discover."

That seems to be what our library is centered on here in 2014. We will never stop encouraging people to read. Reading is fundamental to learning and fundamental to democracy. In today's world, connecting is also fundamental as we as individuals expand our definitions of community and neighborhood, thanks to digital technologies. And through reading and establishing connections, we discover new things more now than ever.

 

New 'staffer'

My grandson, Ian, has moved to Colorado and doesn't have space in his apartment for his pet, so he left it at home with his parents in Canyon Lake.

They are remodeling, so they wondered if the library would like to be home to the little guy.

Please come by and welcome our newest staffer: Well, we don't have a name for him yet.

He's a Leopard Gecko, about 10 inches in length, and he has very few demands. I feed him a few crickets every Monday, and keep water in his little bowl. We have a heat lamp that he likes. And a little sheltered area. He seems happy as a clam.

Pretty soon we will have a contest to name him, although I don't think he really cares.

More on this later.

Two-week checkout

It's sad but true: For works by certain authors, we can have a waiting list to check out as long as 20 and more patrons.

If each patron keeps that popular book for the maximum allowed checkout time of three weeks, you can see that those who are late to the list could wait more than a year to get the item to read.

Of course, we try to buy several copies of the most popular authors' works, but that can help only so much.

So, beginning pretty soon we will go to two-week, rather than three-week, checkout for our most popular writers.

That would be people like Baldacci, Burke, Clark, Coben, Cussler, Evanovich, Grisham, Patterson, Sandford, etc.

As new works are published by these writers, the checkout time will be shortened.

In reality, though, we have a lot of very considerate patrons who hustle through wildly popular works because they know a long line of people are waiting, too.