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Librarian Blog

Free speech?

It's not just adults who seem to be confused about what constitutes speech that is protected by the Constitution.
Students are, too.
The Brookings Institution just released results of a survey on the subject, finding that most students don't know what kind of speech the government cannot control.
Chances are good they aren't even familiar with the idea that just because you don't like what somebody says you don't really have a right to shut them down.
The country was built on the clash of ideas, even bad ones.
Since so few adults seem to understand that, it's not hard to believe their kids don't.
And so we have a death spiral in the making?

It's about time

Maybe there's time for this new initiative by the Knight Foundation to work before our democracy implodes from the weight of misinformation and lies.
The foundation announced this week a partnership with a number of entities, the most prominent being the New York Public Library, to foster trust in media in this country.
Millions of dollars are being poured into the new plan, which will include media institutions at all levels and of all sizes and many others with a stake in The Truth.
It's about time, I must say. This country is descending into the depths of a modern-day Babel, but in our time this Babel has a population that's completely armed and uniformly dangerous because of a rise in illiteracy and willful ignorance, not to mention a willingness to believe any propaganda promulgated by anyone with a nasty temper and no brains.
Something needs to happen to save us from ourselves. This Knight initiative is a great start.
One of the nation's former media giants, E.W. Scripps, said of his newspapers, If we give the people light, they will find the way. It's probably no longer good enough to shine a light in the darkness and hope people will grope their way to a door or window. Somebody's gotta fix the lightbulb.

Bee-ing winners

Congratulations to the team members who won today's Third Annual Adult Spelling Bee sponsored by the Friends of the Library.
The team was sponsored by the board of trustees of the library.
They were Bridget Gates, Amber Seamons and Leah D. Smith.
These folks didn't know each other before meeting over lunch today. So that makes their accomplishment in the ninth round of spelling pretty remarkable. They had no chance to study together.
Many thanks to all the Friends and others who worked to make the event a success, and particular thanks to Debi Christensen, our pronouncer, and to Bob Flocke, one of our judges.
See ya'll next year.

A day for a stamp

Among the hundreds of books my wife and I read to our children when they were very young was "The Snow Day" by Ezra Keats.
It was a cute book, and it was about snow, one of my girls' favorite things where we lived up there in the Texas Panhandle.
A lot of folks must have loved that book as much as the girls did because this week the U.S. Postal Service is issuing four stamps featuring that very book. The stamps will be part of the postal service's Forever series.
This is not, of course, the first time a book has been featured on a postage stamp. James Hutchisson has a website at The Citadel that showcases hundreds of stamps over the years featuring famous authors like Shakespeare and C.S. Lewis, etc., and so on. Stamps about books issued in Great Britain are numerous, but there have also been book-themed stamps from Nicaragua and Antigua, to name just two other places.
For some interesting insight on these kinds of stamps, check out this website.
The announcement about "The Snowy Day" was kind of a surprise to me even though it seems to make historical sense, given the fact it was published in 1962.
It surprised me because until I read about this new stamp I didn't realize the little boy in the book was black.

Bee there!

Our annual Adult Spelling Bee is at noon Friday, and ya'll are invited.
The proceeds from the bee benefit the library.
We welcome all spectators
Lunch is $12, but the spectacle is the bee itself, featuring Wimberley's best spellers in a spelldown patterned after the National Spelling Bee sponsored by the Scripps Foundation.
Many thanks to all who come and participate or those who come and just have fun!
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