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Librarian Blog

Not necessarily the future everywhere

Much is being made in the media over the San Antonio public library that's got no books or paper products in it.

It's called BiblioTech.

I have not seen it, but have read much about it. The latest rave review came from Husna Haq, writing in The Christian Science Monitor last week.

I don't have a single problem with the library. But to call it the library of the future is to think uncritically.

BiblioTech works because it is one of a network of libraries, all the other of which have books and periodicals.

What would the people of Wimberley or Canyon Lake or Dripping Springs or Buda or Kyle or San Marcos think if their public libraries were paperless?

I think there'd be trouble.

I'm happy for the folks in San Antonio. I just don't know that are actually on the cutting edge of what most public libraries will look like in the future.

Check out our e-readers

Starting Monday, patrons of the library can check out e-readers or tablets for use in the library.

We have a couple of Nooks, a couple of iPad minis and a couple of Kindle Fires.

Naturally, we have a policy that a patron who wants to use one of the tablets will need to read and sign.

Each device will be available for a two-hour period.

Drop by, and we'll show you how to use one.

We're growing

The library signed up almost 1,000 new patrons during 2013.

We now have more than 9,700 folks who have library cards.

It's likely that we have had patrons who moved away and didn't tell us, so they are still listed as active. That total, then, is probably not entirely accurate.

Still, that's a lot of patrons for a town that's only 2,400 people.

Coding is not for me

Last year I signed up for some online courses at Kahn Academy.

In mid-December, the folks at the Academy sent me a little gift via e-mail. It was a link to a program that would teach me how to code and thus make a simple Christmas card suitable for sending to family and friends.

The e-mail implied that the project would take about an hour.

I found that hour way after Christmas -- late last week, thanks to the lousy weather.

So, I learned to code. Well ... kinda.

I learned to do what they wanted me to do, which was very interesting but which resulted in a card I wouldn't send to anyone for anything.

The most important lesson I learned, however, was that I would much prefer to buy a card and send it than to code one. And I would certainly rather have someone produce a product that would let me build a card without having to know code.

For example, I know how to use InDesign by Adobe and Quark Xpress. Someone built the code that enabled me to produce newspaper pages with those products. But I didn't have to understand the code to make those software packages work.

Nope. Coding is not for me.

Hidden cost of newsiness

On NPR this morning, a Purdue University professor was interviewed about Syria, and then the interviewer asked him about the reaction to the shooting of a student there yesterday.

He responded that the campus was shut down.

And he added that just as soon as students and faculty heard about the event, they just quit doing what they were doing for the entire remainder of the day so they could focus on what was in the news and on Twitter.

So news of the shooting consumed an entire university for at least a day and a half. Nothing else occurred except watching for the latest developments.

Wow.

Imagine how much got done in this country back when the news arrived just once a week -- on Thursday mornings.