Amazon announced last week the 20 most well-read cities based on sales of books, magazines and newspapers in print and Kindle formats from April 2014 through April '15.
Seattle finished at the top of the list, which is no suprise.
Portland, Ore., was second. Again, no surprise there.
I was interested to see that Austin finished in sixth place. I guess I expected a place that's a state capital and home to a large university to be better read than No. 4 Tucson, Ariz., and No. 5 Washington, D.C.
But, wow. The No. 3 city on the list is LAS VEGAS, Nev.
How do people who live or visit Vegas have time to read anything?
Turns out they read a lot of romance novels there, but still ...
Enough to rank No. 3?
I'd never have bet on that.
The website blog American Libraries has interviewed James Patterson about why he is giving out hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to school libraries.
He's concerned, he tells the magazine, that so many school libraries are neglected and under-funded, and many don't have librarians anymore.
He thinks they will continue to serve a valuable purpose. Here is one major observation:
What role do school libraries have in a child’s education?
I think that for every school in the country, the first school trip should be to the school library. Not a trip where they hear all the rules and “don’t do this, and don’t do that.” It should be to get a sense of what’s there. You can visit every country. You can visit space. You can learn about every animal. You can learn about the universe. There’s so much information. We can find out so much about other people. What are different ways to look at the world? That’s the huge thing. Kids—and a lot of us—tend to think everybody looks at the world the same way we do, and it’s not true. There are as many ways to look at the world as there are people, and in libraries, you’re going to meet the most fascinating minds that have ever been on the planet.
I've been critical of Patterson in the past. I regret that I was short-sighted.
In reference to the Memorial Day flood, we got a couple of e-mails I want to share. They are about the UT School of Communication volunteers who came here to help preserve photos:
Thanks to the UT School of Information for offering assistance and expertise to us in Wimberley who have damaged papers, books and photographs!!!! I am a photographer and so appreciate what you are doing for our community. I have a house on the Blanco in Wimberely. I was one of the lucky ones. The floodwater came to one foot of the top of the 75ft. clilff my house sits on. All the homes across the river and a number around me were destroyed. The house that was swept into the river with the family still in it was six doors down from me. When I viewed the devastation of my neighbors’ homes, I literally cried when I saw so many damaged family photographs and keepsakes. You are giving something back to us that is precious - - our memories. God bless you all and as a graduate of The University, I’ve never been prouder to be a Longhorn.
300 Deer Crossing
Wow! What a great contribution to the community! I think this is an absolutely wonderful idea. At this time, it will be very difficult for people to get away from their chores with their homes. May I suggest someone filming this and making it available through YouTube, the Wimberley library site the University of Texas School of Information or all three? This would make their efforts go so much further than just a one, two or even three time presentation, especially for just ten people at a time- I understand the space limitations at the library. Please thank them sincerely for us. I've been so impressed with all the people I've met at the clean up sites, the companies that have contributed and all folks at the volunteer center headquarters at the church. It restores your faith in people, especially at this time.
Every six months or so someone either related to public libraries or very familiar with them -- and with technological change -- launches into a screed about how libraries are threatened by de-funding and may be overcome by tech developments.
They are all up on tech threats. They are all up on money issues.
But they are not at all up on what libraries are supposed to do and be.
Now comes yet another. The A-S reported on a book called "Bibliotech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google," written by John Palfrey.
Why, John, do they matter more than ever?
Well, the A-S review doesn't say.
OK, John, what are supposed to become?
The A-S review says John is a little vague on that point.
He joins some good company in that regard.
No one who ventures into this discussion has much of a clue.
John does say that whatever it is that libraries are to be should be paid for by philanthropists.
Like the Fat Cats who have an interest in keeping the people as stupid as possible so as to keep and gain more power?
Like every other summer, this year we are handing out reading logs to all age groups to encourage everyone to check out more than one book before school starts.
We have logs for the youngest readers and also for adults.
Just come by, pick up a log, check out some books, then return the log and earn prizes.
Studies have shown that children "lose" information they learned in the spring term before the fall term starts. The stuff just leaks away because the brain isn't massaged for those long, hot weeks.
We are making it easier than ever for parents to help their kids keep pace with their peers between semesters.
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