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The numbers game

Greetings, readers. This morning Rebecca and I were going over the blog numbers for the last week. They were quite good, so we dug a little deeper, by going to search engines and typing in certain search terms. My entry on modern conveniences published in 2013 is sixth from the top on a search for modern conveniences on Bing, and the blog entry Remembering my father Professor Joseph J. Kockelmans, was number 1 on the Yahoo! search engine when I put in his name. Yoozers. I’ve never been number 1 on anything before. 😉

Entries that come up almost every day are Top ten list of Air Crash Investigations stories parts 1 and 2, a few of the technology grrrs, and the aforementioned ones about my father and modern conveniences. Rebecca believes, and I agree, that the blog entry about modern conveniences might be used in classes to teach computer skills or in poorer countries that are learning about modern technology.

As I’ve said before when I started this blog in 2011, I figured I’d go a few months, get bored, and be done with it. But I’ve kept going and it is amazing how many topics I’ve come up with to talk about. I have really learned how to express myself in writing. I can dictate to Rebecca about almost anything … just not politics.

What I’m worried about when looking at the numbers every day is how many, if any, bots we have, which would inflate our numbers. If I have 30 total reads, but 16 of them are bots, oops – that’s not good. I want mostly readers. I wish there was a way to figure out which are readers and which are not. It would be nice to have a feature here on WordPress to see who was reading my blog, unless they are in privacy mode. I know I am read all over the world; it would be kind of cool to see if Cousin Wino [pronounced wee-no] read my blog that day in the Netherlands.

Finally, this morning I took a brisk walk at 6:30. It was still dark, and was cold and breezy. When I got back to the apartment I actually felt energized. I’m going to start walking more in an attempt to keep my upper legs and hips from stiffening up. I don’t know if arthritis is setting in or what is going on. In any event, a little exercise never hurt anybody. And for those of you who know I hate winter, no I will not be taking said walk in the ice and snow. Yay exercise! 🙂

There is today’s blog entry. Rebecca and I will be back tomorrow with a brand new one, so until then, take care, have a wonderful day, and happy reading.

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The bowstring is wearing thin

Greetings, readers. Alexander Pope once said, “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” Oh, how true that statement is. And I ought to know, for I have erred quite a bit in my lifetime. From my failure to develop strong study habits, to my poor choices of girlfriends, from bad business decisions, and bad personal decisions, it seems as though my life so far has been a comedy of errors. There’s only one problem, life is not a comedy.

I have been trying very hard to forgive all my errors and, so far, with little success. I know, I know, we can be our own worst critic. However, on the 13th of this month, I will turn 53 years old and I have very little to show for it. There I go again, sounding like a stuck record. My bellyaching began with the blog entry, ‘Life doesn’t have a reset button’ and went downhill from there. Let’s review some of my minor failures.

I never learned to cook. So, I either have to microwave the simplest of concoctions, or go out to eat my meals. I never learned the art of being a good boyfriend … whatever that art is. I am zero for seven. What a stellar batting average. I wrecked my vehicle trying to play Mr. Nice Guy, when everybody told me not to. Now I have no car. Gee, the bowstring on my violin is fraying.

Okay, fair is fair. Let’s review some of my accomplishments. This should prove interesting. I have authored three small books and one play. I can care for myself reasonably well and stay within a reasonable resemblance of the budget. I have held down two part-time jobs in my adult life, the second not quite over. I have kept in touch with many friends and family, and have had two pets while being on my own. Let’s sum up. Well I’ll be damned. Although I did not list every good and bad point, the score actually came out to be five to four in favor of the accomplishments. Did I do that subconsciously, to bolster my own ego? Just like the owl in the Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop commercial … One may never know.

Looking back upon my blog entries, I just saw that the blog topic I was going to write about next Wednesday has already been done, and done well at that. So, I shall devise a brand-new topic for next Wednesday. I hope all of you had a splendid Fourth of July. I trust it was safe and, besides the fireworks, event free.

Until next week, I bid you all a great weekend, do take care and as always, happy reading.

Belated RIP to one of my favorite New York Yankee voices

Greetings, readers. When I watched New York Yankee baseball in the 1970s and early 80s there were many great voices. There was the trio of Bill White, Phil Rizzuto, and Frank Messer. I loved all three and they worked well together, but they weren’t my favorite. My favorite voice of the New York Yankees was the pubic address announcer with that wonderfully distinct voice, Bob Sheppard. From 1951 through 2007, he announced generations of New York Yankees players to the fans in the stands, on the radio and on WPIX television.

With his rich deep voice, he would so eloquently announce each player. It was as though he was making each batter feel like he was the most important player on the team. It would go something like this, “Now batting … the shortstop number 2, Derek Jeter … number 2.”  Players from Jeter to Jorge Posada to Reggie Jackson all had their names called in that wonderfully unique way.

I watched many baseball games from other teams and no pubic address announcer has caught my attention nearly as much as Bob Sheppard. I rank him right up there with legendary sportscasters Vin Scully, Curt Gowdy, and Dick Enberg.

I was surprised to learn through his 2010 obit on the MLB website that he had called Yankees baseball games since the 50s. Players like Joe DiMaggio, Thurman Munson, and Bunky Dent had their names called by Mr. Sheppard. My two favorite moments were these: When the old Yankee stadium closed – Sheppard might have already been retired by then – he came on the P.A. system to a roaring crowd to say he hoped to see everyone at the new Yankee stadium. My other favorite moment was when he announced the great shortstop Jeter’s final all-star game at bat.

Mr. Sheppard, you will always be a bright spot in my childhood growing up watching Yankees baseball and I thank you for all those years of legendary P.A. work. I’m sure I’m not the only Yankees fan who echoes my sentiments. So to you sir, may you continue to rest in peace.

Until tomorrow, I bid you a great day, take care, and as always, happy reading.

My summer writing schedule so far

Greetings, readers. Although I have had a number of good ideas for writing projects, getting words on the page are like pulling teeth. I yank and yank and yank, and then say oh, look, there is one sentence. Back in my 30s, before all my petit mal seizures, my creativity was much better. Ideas just flowed. I’m not certain if I really do have brain damage because of the seizures, but I feel as though I do. My medications work fine for what they are meant for but they may dampen my creative process as well.

The other day I started the sequel to Four’s a Crowd and got about a page down on the computer. I don’t know if it was because I was using the speech recognition program, or the outside noise at the time, or if something else was in the way, but words would not come easily, even with these characters that I know so well. I must admit that depressed me for the rest of the day. Kimberly, Lyle, and the rest of the Four’s a Crowd clan should have inspired me, not dragged me into the mud. Thank goodness for therapy every three weeks.

Rebecca usually tells me to just keep plugging away at it, flex those writing muscles and eventually it will come. I hope she is correct. I have my entire day planned out already. We have work hours this morning, a brief stop for lunch and a couple of groceries, and then I am going to try to work with the speech recognition program again. One of the problems might be that it hasn’t quite learned my voice enough for me to dictate a novel effectively.

My friend Dave suggested I try writing a children’s book. He was most impressed with how I, a few years ago, told his young nephews and nieces stories around the camp fire at Bear Spring Camps. Not a bad idea. And I know someone who just might be willing to illustrate it if she has time. I have already started a story, The Secret House, and have posted the first two parts of it here. I hope to write more of it and share it with you in the near future.

I’m being a little mysterious here, because I don’t want to divulge my ideas. It seems like every time I do it is the kiss of death. One time I remember telling my Godmother a story idea and she stomped the flowers out of it until it was dead. I admit that it was after one of her strokes and some of her social filters might have been gone.

I have next to me what I call my inspiration pad. If I have a dream or a day-dream and it really hits me and I have a great idea I am prepared to jot it down long hand. For as I may have mentioned before, my short-term memory is crap.

There is today’s update. Next Wednesday Rebecca and I will be back with another blog entry and I have already chosen the topic. Unless something comes up, I’m going to blog about the legendary former New York Yankee public address announcer, the late Bob Sheppard.

Until then, I hope everyone has a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

As they used to say on Futurama: Good news everyone

Greetings, readers. The novel based on my play, Four’s a Crowd by Darren Taylor, went live for sale on Amazon.com this past Saturday. It took a few days for them to finalize something, I don’t know what it was, but now copies can be purchased by anybody. I ordered two copies for myself, and they were shipped late yesterday afternoon. I’m going to talk to a friend of mine who owns a local bookstore and see if she will take three or four copies on consignment. I think she will. She took copies of my three books, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, so it stands to reason she will take this book too.

I can’t believe it is late June already and my trip to Bear Spring Camps is a little over a month away. Time is flying. From what I am seeing on people’s Facebook posts, the weather and the fishing have been good. Two big thumbs up for that. I’ve made all my preparations, I’ve booked the hotel rooms and rental car for the trip up and back. The only thing left to do it wash clothes, pack, and find all the electronic gadgets and equipment that I wish to take with me. I am ahead of schedule from last year. I’ll need to get out the old checklist and update it. I’ll also need to find a few things, like my fishing rod which I did not put it back in its usual spot. Not to worry, for as my mom used to say, there is always Wal-Mart, and a half-decent Zebco rod can be purchased for around $20.

I’ll be bunking overnight in Portland Maine this year, in a Motel 6. I’m very excited to be staying by Casco Bay. I tell you, if I ever move away from State College, it would be to Portland, Maine. I would get season tickets to the Portland Sea Dogs and would be that much closer to Bear Spring Camps for summer vacation.

On to a different topic, her royal highness, Princess Josie, the kitten, has been terrorizing my furniture and my legs with her sharp claws. Thank goodness I am taking her for her first check up on July 6th. A good nail clipping is first on the list. I don’t think she will need any shots, but since I took over ownership from someone else, I think I will check with that person to make certain. Josie has been acting like a young kitten recently, being rambunctious and spending quite a while in the penalty box, stretched out and sleeping on her towel. I also give her treats if she goes in by herself. I would love that to happen more often. Ha, ha, ha.

Lastly, I survived the hottest day of the year a few days go, with temperatures near 90 degrees F and high humidity. Although I will take it over freezing to death any day, it was quite a large temperature hike in a 24 hour period. My body did not like it. I dragged that day and went to bed early that evening.

Tomorrow’s blog entry is going to be an update on my writing projects this summer. It is not going as well as I hoped, but I still have some time to get those creative juices flowing. More details tomorrow. So until then, take care, have a great day, and as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: It is Thursday again

Joe is taking care of personal business today, so here is another Thursday blog entry from me. It is a gorgeous day outside with a lot of sunshine and a hint of coolness. Perfect.

We are so close to publication day for Four’s a Crowd and I am so excited. Darren has finished his final edits and put them into the manuscript file, and Joe is doing his final editing in the next few days. Next Thursday we will all get together, put in Joe’s changes, I will update the chapter of contents, and then we will submit the file to our self-publishing site, CreateSpace. Once they approve it, we will push the publish button. Four’s a Crowd could be on sale within two weeks! We will keep you updated.

I wrote last month about the construction noise next door driving Darren and me crazy. Well, it is still going on but a few weeks back the majority of the work moved down the road a ways, and we got a bit of a break from some of the beeps, scraps, bangs, and rumbles. We can still hear it, but it is easier to live with at the moment.

I’m just beginning to read the second book in a series I like. I read Binti, by the author Nnedi Okorafor, earlier this year, and was touched by it. It is the science fiction/fantasy story of a young woman from Africa who goes to another planet to study, and on her journey a tragic event leads her to be an instrument of peace between two species. Heartbreaking, but also full of hope. I look forward to diving into Binti: Home later today.

Joe will be back on Wednesday, and one of us will have an entry on Thursday. As Joe would say, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

The Secret House, part 2, a continuation of a short story

Greetings, readers. A number of you suggested that I continue the short story I wrote and posted a couple of weeks ago and I thought that would be a good idea. It’s not exactly my four paragraph blog entry, so be prepared. Here it is and enjoy.

The Secret House – part 2

It was 9:30 in the evening again, and Toby, and his sister, Angela were sent upstairs to bed by their parents. The children pretended to look disappointed, but had secretly been planning to explore the secret house above the attic once more. Toby had shared with his sister his marvelous discovery. It was no surprise that she did not believe him.

After changing into their night clothes in their respective bedrooms, the children quietly convened near Angela’s bedroom door.

“Just wait till you see it,” Toby remarked. “You won’t believe your eyes.”

Nine-year-old Angela loved to play devil’s advocate. If her older brother said one thing, she would believe the exact opposite. When first told of the secret house above the attic, Angela thought Toby was crazy. They were about to find out who was correct.

“Switch on the lamp over there,” Toby commanded.

“Don’t boss me around,” Angela snarled. “You’re not the boss of me.”

Toby shushed his sister, deathly afraid that voices from upstairs would get an inquiry from mom or dad; the last thing Toby wanted. After Angela had switched on the light, Toby quietly slid open the closet door and moved the stepstool underneath the attic hatch door. He clicked on the closet light and told his sister that he would go up first so that he could offer her a lift if she needed it.

Toby hoisted himself up into the attic and to his joy and relief, his secret house was still there. He beamed a great smile down at his sister.

“Okay, now you got me curious,” Angela replied, as she smiled back.

The young girl heaved her way up and found herself on the lush carpeting in that lavish bedroom. “Oh my gosh.”

“See, I told you. It’s all here,” said Toby, pleased with himself that he was right and his sister was wrong. By the look on Angela’s face, her brother concluded that she wasn’t all that upset with being wrong.

“Is it okay if I have a look around?” Angela asked.

“Yeah,” Toby replied. “Just try to be quiet. We don’t want to get caught, do we?”

Angela quietly explored the bedroom for a solid five minutes. She laid on the bed, brushed her brunette hair with a hairbrush while looking into the full-length mirror, quietly opened the empty drawers, and then set back down on the bed. “What is this place?”

The two children explored every room in the house, thoroughly but quietly. Angela was amazed and delighted with everything that greeted her brown eyes. Her favorite room was the living room, where the big screen TV and air hockey table were located. “Toby, I’m dreaming, right?”

“Not unless I am too,” Toby answered. “You should’ve seen my face the first time I saw this place. My chin about hit the floor!”

With a smile, Angela quietly shushed her brother, for now he was getting excited and a bit loud. Who knows, perhaps their parents can’t hear them up here in their secret room. After the children explored every room, Angela was drawn to the front door. It still looked foggy and ominous outside. “You want to go out?” Toby asked, extending his hand.

“I don’t know,” Angela replied, with some trepidation in her voice.

Angela took Toby’s right hand and he opened the front door with his left. The two explorers walked out of the house and instantly a beautiful front yard with a white picket fence replaced the fog and mist. Angela squeezed Toby’s hand, both in fear and delight.

“Toby?” Angela began. “Tell me what you see.”

“I see a front yard with the fence, some other people in their yards, and a few cars passing by,” said Toby. “What do you see?”

“The same thing,” said Angela.

What appeared strange to the children was that the other people in their yards didn’t seem to notice the youngsters in their night clothes. One neighbor was gardening, another was mowing the lawn. There wasn’t much traffic; just the occasional vehicle pulling into a driveway.

“Toby, where in the heck are we?” Angela asked.

“I’m not sure,” Toby began. “But I’m getting freaked out. These people don’t even seem to see or hear us. It’s like we’re not even here.”

Toby clutched his sister’s hand and pulled her toward the front door of the house. Toby, one usually not to be afraid, was having difficulty wrapping his head around why the onlookers didn’t seem to see them. He decided it was time for them to go back inside. Once back inside the secret house, he closed the door. Once again, the fog outside instantly returned. Angela gasped, and took a step backwards

“Oh, that’s so creepy,” she whispered.

Making quite certain that the door was locked, Toby and his sister walked back towards the attic hatch. After sliding down back into the guest room, Toby noticed on the wall clock that again only a few minutes and gone by. “Awesome!”

The children quietly walked back to their bedrooms, gently closed their doors, hopped into bed and went to sleep. Before getting into bed though, Toby wandered should he tell his parents. He knew they would never believe him. That … is for another day.

 

I certainly hope you enjoyed part 2. As you can deduce, there will be at least one more part. Rebecca will do the blog entry tomorrow for I am taking a personal day to get ready for a weekend trip. So until I am back next Wednesday, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Arg!! Oh what a terrible morning

Greetings, readers. What a morning Rebecca and I are having. If it was not dealing with a serious matter to me, I could have seen Tim Conway doing this in a comedy sketch. It would have been hilarious. Here’s what happened.

I had one simple phone call to make. All I had to do is tell a human being on the other end of the line that I wanted to verify a piece of medical information for my insurance. In 45 minutes, readers, and after calls to three different phone numbers, do you think we actually got a human being? No. I don’t count the person who told me that I did not call the right number. I can see Tim Conway on a speaker phone – push 1 for English, 2 for Portuguese, 3 for Spanish, etc. Fifteen different languages all the way to Scandinavian. Meanwhile, Harvey Korman would be laughing at the faces Tim Conway would make in exasperation. Yes, folks, on TV it is funny. In real life, not so much. Rebecca suggested that we take a break and write the blog entry while my phone charges a bit. I think it was an excellent idea. I feel better already.

I already have in mind the idea for the next short story blog entry. As one of my readers requested, it is going to be a continuation of Toby’s adventures in the attic. I’m going to let my creative juices flow and push the envelope, as people say.

As I may or may not have mentioned in a previous post, my speech recognition program, for lack of another term, got set back to factory specs and I am in the process of re-teaching it my speech patterns. It should not take too long. The more I use it the more it will work. I have two appointments this afternoon, but I am going to write this evening and much of tomorrow. By then I should have the speech recognition program back to the way it was. It had actually learned my voice quite well, I was most pleased, but then it re-set. Sometimes, though, I still want to be that Tom Hanks character on Cast Away, who was all by himself; on an island or in a cabin in the mountains, and just write, write, write. However, this is something called the real world and I do have a plethora of appointments to go to.

Okay, I have sufficiently ranted and raved, and I feel better. When Rebecca and I wrap up this blog entry we will try again to contact the agency I need to talk to.

I bid you all a great weekend and that short story will be ready for Rebecca to cut and paste into the blog on Wednesday. Until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

A small apology and top ten list of my summer plans

Greetings, readers. Before we begin the top ten list for today, I must apologize for not having the short story ready that I mentioned in yesterday’s entry. I wanted to use my voice recognition program while I sat at the computer with my coffee and breakfast. Wouldn’t you know, my back decided to choose this morning to go out. Back to bed I had to go with all lights off. What a pain in the grass. I’ll definitely try to post the short story either over the weekend or next Wednesday.

Now for the top ten list of things I’m going to do this summer. As I mentioned before, I have been granted the three months off from my fast food job beginning right after the Penn State graduation weekend. These are the things I am going to try very hard to accomplish before the end of August. Here we go.

#10. Take walks and get in better shape. [Even though I am not overweight, I have been having heart problems, and more exercise in the fresh air is always good for everybody. I think I can handle two loops around the block.]

#9. Not watch as much TV or YouTube videos. [When I’m in Maine, I do not have a TV. I’m very limited to my entertainment and I actually like it that way. I think for the summer, I’m going to imagine that I am in a woodland cabin by the lake. I think that will reduce stress and allow me to do a lot of writing.]

#8. Clean out my walk-in hall closet. [I’m going to need some help for this one, but I know where I can get it. This poor walk-in closet is my third, fourth, and fifth room. I’ll leave how much stuff is in it to your imagination. Lots of stuff I have in there I wish to keep, unfortunately not all of it is going to make the cut. I must trim it down by half.]

#7. Take back my bedroom. [Oh, dear readers, I’ve been trying to do this one for years. I take three steps forward, and slide five steps back. Keeping it nice is a never-ending process. With time off from my fast food job though, and with family coming in June, I should have plenty of time and motivation to get it at least company acceptable.]

#6. Eat better. [I found a couple of places within walking distance that serves healthy food. There is a Chinese restaurant close to where I live, and I think that all those vegetables can give me all the vitamins and minerals I am lacking. Also, The Corner Room at the bottom of the hill serves complete dinners. Man cannot live by ice cream and blueberry muffins alone. Lol.]

#5. Write short stories. [As mentioned yesterday, I have several story ideas on all four burners. I just need to turn up the heat and get them cooking. Again, the proper amount of uninterrupted time and relaxed atmosphere should do the trick in providing a writing frame of mind. The voice recognition program will help a lot too.]

#4. Train the new kitty. [This one goes without saying, but I will say it anyway. Tomorrow a new chapter of my life begins as kitty cat Princess Josie comes home. Of course KeeKee will always be remembered and loved, but I need a new support animal, and I think P.J. will fit the bill just fine. Of course, I’ll have to show her where the litter box is and teach her what she can and cannot scratch. Everything I don’t want chewed my first day out of the apartment will have to be put in the bedroom with the door closed.]

#3. Rest my feet and knees. [As I’ve told my co-workers, I’m not trying to be a wimp here, but I think these three months off will do wonders for my feet and knees. I’ll gladly trade-off a sore behind if it means plenty of pages written.]

#2. Get Four’s a Crowd published and selling. [This is a project that has been going on for several years and we are one proof away, I think, from having it ready to click for sale on CreateSpace.com. We have to find a way to publicize it though, I don’t want this new book to falter and drown like my books have.]

#1. Go to Maine. [I am reserved my cabin and am obviously planning to go to Bear Spring Camps again this summer. My week away from central Pennsylvania will recharge my batteries and get me ready for another year. It always seems to do that.]

Well there you have it, the top ten list of things I will do this summer. I’d like to thank everybody for the 21 views of yesterday’s post. Very encouraging. I hope you all continue to enjoy the blog. Until next week, I bid you a wonderful weekend, take care, and happy reading.

UPDATE: September 5, 2018: To my surprise I actually accomplished eight out of ten. That is a happy surprise to me. It also gives an idea for a blog entry for today. 🙂

From Rebecca: Schlow Centre Region Library revisited

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Back in October of 2013 I wrote a post on libraries and Schlow Centre Region Library. I said a lot of good things in that one, so here is the link you can follow if you want to read it too. Since I wrote it I got faster internet at home and stopped using the library for their computers and internet, but I still go there once or twice a week to check out books and CDs. It is still one of my favorite places in the world.

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that my mother-in-law might enjoy audio books and I wondered over to that section. Sure enough, Schlow has a large collection to choose from, including a lot of the J.D. Robb series that we both read. I knew about this section before, but until I was looking into them I didn’t appreciate it. It impressed on me one of best features of libraries, that they offer so many different resources and we might not need them for years, but when we do want something, there it is.

The upper level of Schlow contains the audio books, CDs, large print books, young adult novels, graphic novels, books for sale, public computers, helpful staff, non-fiction books, fiction books, a wide range of newspapers and magazines available to read, tables and chairs, two rooms with doors that close to use – one includes materials for crafts, and desks with plugs for people with laptops or who want space to study. The lower level contains the children’s section with computers, fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, helpful staff, graphic novels, and games. Thinking about it, I am amazed by the variety.

Last year, I was looking at books on a return cart and picked up the first novel in an unusual series, Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham. The main character, Fiona Griffiths, has a rare mental condition that she struggles with to do her job on the police force in the U.K. I would never have found this series without seeing it at Schlow. I wanted to read more of these books, so I looked him up in the catalogue, and the library only had the first one. So I did an interlibrary loan request for the second book in the series once I looked up the title (my first time doing an ILL) and waited about a month for it to come in. When I picked up the book, I noticed it had Schlow Centre Region Library identification on it, and looking through it I realized it had the signs of being a print-on-demand book. They might not have been able to find a copy in other libraries. I realized that Schlow bought the book to fill my request and to put in their collection. Wow. I know at least one other person read the first one because it was on the return cart, so I hope that my request helps someone else read the second book, and now the third book. I want to read the rest of the series, but knowing that Schlow would buy the book instead of borrow it, I waited a few months before requesting the third one, and will wait a few months before asking for the fourth one. There are six books in the series and I would feel guilty asking for so much of their resources in a short period of time. I don’t have the space on my shelves or the money to buy the series on my own.

I had already noticed some books on the shelves that looked like print-on-demand (Joe’s books from CreateSpace are print-on-demand so I know the specific look of the back page) and was impressed by the many ways that the library supports all these industries in publishing and entertainment. Yes, we the public use it for free, but the library bought it all. That is a lot of money going into the world, and libraries are constantly having to raise that money – from government sources, from selling books and items donated to them or off their shelves, from local fund drives, from business donations, and from patron donations. They also need to keep the lights on and pay the staff. It makes me proud that I donate two dollars a week; I couldn’t afford to give Schlow a hundred dollars in one go, but by the end of the year my two dollars adds up to that. They do some much for me and the community.

I want to close with one paragraph from my October 2013 post, which sums up what I want to share about libraries in general.

Libraries do so much for people. They are sources of information on government agencies, how technologies work, and they have manuals, non-fiction works, plus entertainment materials too. Often the local history archives for the area are in a reference section. They can provide a meeting place for organizations, and often put on events of interest, in a community room. The staff is usually able to assist people in finding information, on databases and websites, as well as navigate through the library system. They have newspapers and magazines available to read on-site, which may be especially helpful to someone looking for a job who cannot afford to buy a newspaper every day. I don’t know about other libraries, but I know that Schlow has made free downloads of ebooks available to patrons, something that costs the library a bite out of their budget for each e-book copy. On top of all that, they provide the latest books by popular authors, sometimes with multiple copies for books with long waiting lists, so that more people can read them sooner. They provide older books too, including the classics. Many people discover authors new to them in the stacks. The libraries have photocopier machines at either the same prices or cheaper than other places. They might also have printing available from the public computers, perhaps with a small fee to off-set the paper and ink costs. A community without a library within an easy visiting distance is poor in ways beyond money.

Joe will be back next Wednesday with a new blog entry. Until then, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.