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Van Alstyne Library News & Notes

If you are reading this before 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 22 you still have time to get to the library for free popcorn and a movie. Due to copyright laws, we cannot state the name of the movie in this article, but suffice it to say it was on fire when it hit the big screen in 2013.

Many of you have stopped by this summer to help us put together some jigsaw puzzles. The last one has taken us almost the entire month of August, but it is finally complete (see attached photo.) This and many other puzzles are available for you to borrow and enjoy at home. There is no time limit on how long you have to work on it. Just bring it back when you are through with it.

The fact that I am a fan of life-long learning comes as no surprise to some of you; I read just about everything I can get my hands on. I watch a lot of educational programming on tv and T.E.D. Talks on the internet. Therefore, I was excited to learn about MOOCs. They started in 2008 so I am a little behind the times in finding out about them, but it turns out they are a perfect match for people who like formal learning but do not want, or cannot, go to college. MOOC is an acronym for Massive Open Online Courses. They are free college-level courses offered through a variety of universities across the world. Massive is a key word, as some of the classes will have thousands of students enrolled at one time. Open is the greatest part; they are open to anyone with an internet connection at no charge. This is where the public library can help you. We have computers and an internet connection. All you need is a library card, and that is free, too.

As school begins, remember your public library can help with homework assignments. In addition to books for reading assignments our cardholders have access to more than 30 research databases. Magazine and newspaper articles, literature criticisms, home improvement, small engine repair, hobbies and crafts, traditional and modern medical treatments, and business news are all free databases for your use. We also have practice tests for ASVAB, SAT, ACT, and a few other exams. Come by the library and let us show you how to access these resources.

This past week some of my colleagues in the North Texas public libraries began to compare notes on how many of our patrons actually borrow our e-books. After all, we have been fighting with the publishers and digging for money to offer books to you in this format for at least five years now, as the doomsayers predicted libraries would not be needed anymore once everyone got their e-reader. What we librarians have found is that only 5 to 8 percent of our customers actually take advantage of this service. While the novelty of e-books has worn off, and desire for them has leveled off, we find that circulation of the print book continues steadily or increases. So, if you were worried your library’s shelves would start to empty, you can relax. As long as you want the print book publishers will continue to publish and we will continue to have them.

Hope to see you around the Van Alstyne Public Library.