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Librarian Blog

Online reviews

Until just recently, we had a bulletin board full of short hand-written book reviews produced by patrons and staff members.

But we needed that space for another purpose, and needed a new home for these reviews.

Now we have it.

On our home page we've added a book review section under the "About Us" tab.

I'll be updating these posts as patrons give me reviews, and I have forms just for this purpose at the front desk.

Drop by, fill out a review and get your voice heard!

You're forgiven

That's right: We're having our first-ever book fine amnesty.

During the week of May 18-23, you can bring back any overdue materials, and we won't fine you at all.

Bring back damaged items, and we'll give you 50 percent off the replacement price. Or tell us you lost an item, and you'll get the same deal.

If you've lost your card, we won't charge you for a replacement during that week.

To accept the amnesty offer you have to come into the library in person.

We're doing this because we want to recover books and movies so they can go back into circulation. But, we also know that when people owe fines they stay away from the library and we want them to come back.

So, put that week on your calendar, and come back in.

Raining on Parade

Poor Parade magazine is a mere shadow of its once proud self.

I don't even look for it in my Sunday American-Statesman anymore. For a long time, it's had nothing in it I want to read.

Parade has been a victim of the society-wide shift away from print to other media. Years ago, when it was at its peak in popularity, Parade salesmen liked to think they alone drove Sunday newspaper sales. Publishers had to pay Parade's going rate to insert their products into the Sunday editions.

Nowadays, I understand that Parade pays publishers to insert the little magazine. And that's probably the way it always should have been.

At one time, Parade had a competitor: USA Weekend, published by Gannett. But, Gannett closed out product last year.

Parade's days are numbered. It's become irrelevant, kind of a joke.

That's too bad. With some enlightened editing and promotion, it might have made the leap into this digital age.


Too bad to be ...

In newsrooms across the world one of the most perilous temptations is to go with a story that's just too good -- or bad -- to be true.

You've got a good reporter, say, who comes up with a story about an 8-year-old heroine addict in your city. Wow, you think, this will knock people's socks off. You just want to have it be true, so you don't give the story the usual hard-boiled treatment. You let your guard down. And if you're the esteemed editors of the Washington Post circa 1980 you get the piece out big and bold on the front page and congratulate yourself for being oh-so-smart at hiring excellent reporters and editors.

And your people win the Pulitzer Prize!

But, out in the community people have been  asking some tough questions. Like, from the cops: Tell us where to find this kid so we can intervene.

A reasonable request. Except your prize-winning staff can't remember how to find him.

And before long everyone, including you, has figured out that there is not and never was an 8-year-old addict.

Goodbye prizes. Goodbye reporter. Goodbye credibility.

Too bad to be true.

Now another episode: Rolling Stone has a story about behavior so bad it will turn the country's colleges inside out -- gang rape goes unpunished at the University of Virginia.

It's a story that can't stand on its own merit for even a week. Then this weekend RS finally retracts the whole thing and apologizes.

Wow. Wouldn't you think editors would eventually learn from these episodes?


Otherwise normal people deny climate change even in the face of overwhelming evidence. ISIS rebels have crossed the border into Texas from Mexico. Aliens landed in Roswell. The web is full of crazy stuff!

It's just that editors aren't supposed to have agendas, but of course they do.

Wouldn't be happening

If we didn't have volunteers, we'd be in deep trouble here at the library.

Unlike some libraries across the state -- even small ones like ours -- where volunteers are restricted to doing the most mundane and simple tasks, we have folks doing a wide variety of jobs.

Some catalolg materials, some decomission materials, some prepare items for shelving. And others, of course, staff the front circulation desk, providing great customer service.

Last year, our volunteers donated a total of 6,270 hours of their time.

If we had paid them just minimum wage, that value would have been $4,545.

But their time was universally worth much more than the minimum.

Thanks to all of those who love the library, especially those who give of their time and talents.

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