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Librarian Blog

I'm stumped

My wife and I used to go quite often to New York City, and one of our first stops was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
We would sprint up to the floor with the Impressionists and start where we left off on the previous visit.
We never tired of the exhibits, both permanent and temporary, at the Met.
I can remember only one time that we also made it to the Museum of Modern Art. I guess I'm just not a big fan. And I guess that's because I don't own a modern art vocabulary. I don't understand the context.
So, I'm a little stumped by the front-page article in today's New York Times that says that MoMA is far outpacing the Met in funding, audience reach, etc.
The NYT doesn't say why that is the case.
And I wonder. Is mainstream art just passe? What makes modern art more digestible, interesting and fund-worthy?
I honestly don't have a clue.
Do you?

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'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.


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.
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