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Librarian Blog

Libraries? In Honduras?

I just returned from a six-day trip to Honduras as part of a medical mission sponsored by Central Texas Medical Center of San Marcos.
Twenty of us went to Pene Blanca, a town in the northern part of the country.
Before I went, I thought I might have time to see if there was a public library in Pene Blanca.
I didn't. We were busy day in and day out providing medical care to residents of tiny villages in the highlands far away from Pene Blanca or any other bigger city.
I didn't see any books at all, much less a library.
What I did notice: Even in the villages, a lot of mud houses had satellite dishes.


Don Stephenson and I took his pickup to North Austin today and returned with 500 books about the Wimberley-Blanco River flood of May 23, 2015
This second edition has some corrections. But it also has three new stories, including one from Rio Bonito. And, the story by Barnabas Connection has been updated.
The books are still $20, which is a bargain. Books that are 350 pages in length and 8 1/2 x 11 in size sell for $35 and more all day long.
So, come by and get your book.

Going, going ...

Back in January, we toted 1,000 books about the May 23, 2015, Blanco River flood back to the library from our Austin printer.
At our launch party, we sold about 360 of them.
And now we are down to about 20 here at the library. The Visitors Center is out, and I don't know about the Old Mill Store, but I'm sure they are getting low on numbers, too.
That's one kind of news.
The other kind is that we just ordered a second edition run of 500 books. It will include a few more stories and will fix some mistakes.
The new edition will be here this Friday or Saturday.
The price will remain at $20.
So, if you haven't bought your copy yet, don't worry: We'll have plenty.

Don't bet on it

Digital books were going to change the world, rendering paper-style books as dated and useless.
It turns out that even though digital platforms have proliferated, the number of publications printed as ebooks only hasn't to a large degee.
There have been plenty of works made available in both formats, digital and print.
What about in the future, though?
One indicator of what lies ahead comes in the form of a study published this week called "Tracking Trends in Faculty Research, Publishing and Teaching from The Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey, written by Roger C. Schonfeld.
The survey form asked faculty members across the country if they strongly agreed with this statement: "Within the next five years, the use of ebooks will be so prevalent among faculty and students that it will not be necessary to maintain library collections of hard-copy books."
Across the board, less than 20 percent strongly agreed. Only 10 percent of faculty in the humanities strongly agreed, and about 19 percent in the social sciences and sciences. Oddly, more than 30 percent of medical faculty strongly agreed.

Not making the grade

Two data sets released this week tell us that all is certainly not well in our public education systems.
Early this week, the American-Statesman reported that an ever-increasing number of Texas students who graduate from high school are not ready for college work.
More recently, the Census Bureau released educational attainment statistics. Their data broken down by race is most interesting and shows us where the challenge lies for Texans. Asian students reported the highest percentage of those with a bachelor's degree or higher at 54 percent. Whites were at the 50 percent mark more or less. But Hispanics had a miserable rate of college degree attainment, something between 10 percent and 20 percent depending on where they were born.
Much can probably be discussed about these numbers and others from the dataset, but to me the future is going to be disastrous for Texas unless we do more as a state to lift up the Hispanics, who will be a majority of the population soon.
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