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Librarian Blog

Periodically interested

We have a rack just outside the backdoor of the library where we leave old magazines that have either been dropped off for us to recycle or have aged out from our periodical shelves inside.
Within days after putting magazines out there, they are gone. Today, we put out a year's worth of Motor Trend magazines, and I daresay they will have been picked up by the end of tomorrow if not sooner.
I noticed a little while ago that someone has dropped off some Air Force magazines from the year 2000. They may stay out there longer.
We just never have to throw magazines away; they all disappear.
Inside the library it is very hard to keep track of which magazines are most popular and which ones don't get looked at at all.
Do you have a favorite or two you'd hate to see us cancel? Let me know because several are up for subscription renewals and we want to keep only what people will read and use.

They were prescient

Turns out that a lot of people in the scientific and technological fields were way ahead of the rest of us last year when they started archiving databases and websites that contained key information about cutting edge knowledge in various fields.
Out of Canada, for one place, they began the task of saving what we know from the people who don't want us to know it.
To quote from their own website:
"The Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) is an international network of academics and non-profits addressing potential threats to federal environmental and energy policy, and to the scientific research infrastructure built to investigate, inform, and enforce. Dismantling this infrastructure — which ranges from databases to satellites to models for climate, air, and water — could imperil the public’s right to know, the United States’ standing as a scientific leader, corporate accountability, and environmental protection."
New partners are signing on especially after the EPA began deleting information about climate change from its website under the new EPA secretary, a former lawmaker from Oklahoma with ties to the oil industry.
If the Luddites are going to be in charge of things, those of us who value knowledge must do something besides stand by.
Thank goodness there were people moving ahead of the game on this problem.

Winners all

We have just been notified that the community project made manifest by the publication of the book called "Wimberley: Epic Flood Tests a Small Town's Strength" has won the Mary Faye Barnes Award for Excellence in Community Projects from the Texas Oral History Association.
Everyone should be most proud of this recognition because it truly was a community project.
The City Council of Wimberley provided grant funding to get the idea off the drawing board and into reality. The library district's board of trustees tossed in some cash as well. Then several folks in town, including Nancy Williams and Stephen Klepfer, got to work with me and other staffers to get the interviews done, transcribed and out as a book.
We still have about 400 books available at the library and at the Old Mill Store. They are just $20 apiece, which means there's no profit in the sale of them. But, if we have any money left over after all is said and done, that will be given to a local charity to give to those in need.

Rewriting reality

The revision of science so that it fits certain political ideologies is under way, and it sets a bad precedent for, among many others, libraries.
The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the EPA's websites are being revised to do away with mention of man's effects on climate change, a perfect alignment with the belief system espoused by the EPA's new director, Scott Pruitt.
Other changes are also being made to bring the data posted around to his viewpoints.
This could very well be Step 1 in the process of rewriting reality to fit preconceived ends for political purposes.
The revision of textooks in Texas so they contain or eliminate "facts" that don't make some folks uncomfortable is a longstanding tradition in this state, so maybe having the same thing happen to websites is no big deal.
But if we allow this impulse to play out, a subsequent step could well be this: keeping books out of libraries that address similar threatening subjects.

News that is

The founder of Wikipedia announced this week he will launch a news service that will depend on crowdsourcing to make sure the news that gets posted is not fake news.
It will be called Wikitribune. Money will come from contributors. Volunteers will also be finding news and posting it and editing it.
Some may complain that Wikipedia is not the best partner with which to launch a trusted news site, but it may be much better than news sites that are definitely and specifically and unashamedly slanted.
We invite visitors to our site who have a concern about what they have seen or read elsewhere to click on the link that is on this page to find resources to check out "facts" and verify them. It will take a little work and time, but the truth never seems to come easy.
I wish Wikitribune the best. They will have an uphill battle.
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