Kenny Williams joins the Art Carvajal Trio to perform a mixture of jazz, pop and light R&B in the library’s Live Music at the Library series on July 15 at 2 p.m.

Fifteen years of living and performing in New York City included Kenny’s Broadway debut in Disney’s hit musical The Lion King as well as a role in the world premiere production of The Color Purple: the Musical, which was produced by Oprah Winfrey. In addition, Kenny starred in the national tours of the musicals Grease! and Smokey Joe’s Café. Kenny has since returned to Austin where he was raised. Growing up in Austin, Kenny studied voice at the University of Texas, and then cut his teeth as a stage performer at Austin’s Zach Theatre. Most recently, he has appeared in several Zach Theatre productions including critically acclaimed Sophisticated Ladies, where he starred as the “Raconteur” opposite Tony award winner Jennifer Holiday, and played “the Friend” in the revival of Gospel at Colonus. Lastly, Mr. Williams sparkled and delighted as the lovable and effervescent “Ghost of Christmas Past” in Zach’s A Christmas Carol.

Art Carvajal performs on nylon and electric guitars in solo guitar performances, with the Art Carvajal Trio, with Candy Declue as Art and Candy, and many other configurations. Jazz is his first love, followed by Brazilian music and then everything else.

The Live Music at the Library series is free and open to the public, a gift of the Friends of the Georgetown Public Library.

You'll Soon Be Able to Listen to the Oral History Interviews Online

Individual interviews of persons who volunteered to share their memories of Georgetown’s decision to desegregate its schools and about their experiences in Marshall and Carver Schools are nearly complete. The collection of fourteen interviews soon will be available as MP3 files on the library’s website. Contributors include Harvey Miller, Birdie Shanklin, Nora Rose, Paulette Taylor, Lee L. City, Douglas and Nell Benold, Norman and Betty Spellmann, Milton Jordan, J.D. Thomas, Carl Doering, and Laurie Locke. These people represent the points of view of school board members, activists who favored desegregation, parents of students, GISD students, Southwestern faculty and students. If you believe you have information or memories that would be appropriate to add to this collection, please contact Judy Fabry at 930-3552.

Georgetown's Historic Buildings Files

If you are interested in knowing something about a building in Old Town that is more than fifty years old, the library may have information about it. In 1984 the Georgetown Heritage Society and a private contractor completed a survey of buildings in Old Town Georgetown that were at least fifty years old. As a result of the survey, several neighborhoods were added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2008 the survey was updated and properties were added that had attained the 50-year status since 1984.

Several years ago the Georgetown Heritage Society gave the files from these surveys to the library on permanent loan. We are pleased to have this resource available and want the public to know that the files may be used, in the library, by anyone. They are kept in file cabinets in the Texas History Room. The files are arranged in street number order and the streets are in the same order as they are in the neighborhoods, e.g., east from downtown — Main, Church, Myrtle, Elm, Ash, College, Walnut, Pine. If you know the address of the property in which you are interested, a quick check of the files should show whether information is available.

You are welcome to photocopy the materials in the files and, if you’ve done additional research, you may request that your findings be added to the file. Library staff at the reference desk can assist you with these files.

Thank You, Georgetown! Book Sale Was a Great Success

After a thirteen-hour sale last Friday and Saturday, the Friends of the Library added $10,100 to their bank account. Thanks to everyone who shopped, and especially to those of you who waited in line so patiently on Friday evening. We’d expected a crowd but nothing like the number of people who showed up to snag some bargains.

Thanks also to the many, many volunteers who helped with the sale. In spite of heavy lifting and chaotic conditions, the volunteers kept tables stocked and checked people out as quickly as possible. They made 925 sales in 13 hours!

This sale cleared the library of thousands of books, videos, and books on cassette that had been culled from its collections. Now there is much more room on the shelves for new materials. Proceeds from the sale will be used to fund equipment and projects that are not covered by the library’s regular City budget.

You Asked for It!

In response to user requests, we are changing our Sunday hours. Beginning February 1, we will open at 12:00 noon and close at 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. We hope everyone finds these hours to be more convenient.

The Library Will Be Closed Monday, Jan. 19

The library will be closed Monday, January 19, in observance of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. The bookdrop will be open if you wish to return materials and you may renew items you have checked out by logging on to your account in the library catalog.

What Can I Do When the Library Doesn't Have the Book I Want to Read?

Your friend has recommended a book and you’ve checked the catalog and found that the library doesn’t own it. Since you really don’t want to purchase it yourself, what can you do to get it through the library? The process is easy and, if you wish, one that you can do from home on your computer.

On the library’s home page, open the catalog. Then, click on the box in the upper right corner and log into your account. You’ll need the numbers under your barcode and your telephone number (dashes and area code not necessary) to do this. If you have trouble logging in, call the library (930-3551) to find out what phone number we have on your record.

The page that opens when you log in-your account-contains lots of information. You’ll see the basic information we have about you, which you may edit, what materials you have checked out, books that may be waiting for you to pick up, and the way you prefer to be contacted about overdue items and holds, which also may be edited. Scroll down a bit further and you’ll see a line that says “Is the library missing something?” Click on “request” on that line and then fill out the box that appears. Give us as much information about the book as you have. Author and title are very important, but other helpful information includes the ISBN number, publication date, or location of a review of the book.

The staff is notified automatically when anyone makes a request. Our librarians will look at your request and decide whether the book should be added to our collection. That decision is based on the age of the book (it might not even be in print, or only available used), the appropriateness or the material for our library (something academic might not be checked out often enough to make it worth purchasing), and whether the book may be one that we’ll receive with our standing orders (in which case you’ll just have to be patient- soon it will be on the shelf). Incidentally, to see which authors’ books we will automatically receive, while you’re in your account, scroll down to “Have some favorite authors?” and click on “receive new books.” A list pops up of all the authors whose new books we automatically receive. Select as many authors as you like and you’ll automatically be placed on the wait lists for their new books.

If the librarian decides to order the book, you will be notified when it is available. If the librarian chooses not to purchase the book, you’ll be given the option of ordering it through interlibrary loan (ILL). This is a service whereby we borrow books from other libraries all over the country. You will have to pay the postage one way, and it may take two to three weeks for the book to arrive, but it’s still cheaper than buying a copy yourself. The normal lending period for ILLs is three to four weeks, although there will always be exceptions.

Let us know what you’re looking for. We’ll try to help!

Alex Poole Wins Library Card Design Contest

Earlier this fall we invited children from kindergarten through fifth grade to submit drawings that they thought would be appropriate for the front of a library card. The winning design came from Alex Poole, a fifth grader at Mitchell Elementary. In his drawing, an imaginary animal leaps from the pages of an open book, which is surrounded by text that says, “Read at the Public Library/Where Books Come to Life.” You may see his design in the slideshow that plays in the upper right corner of the front page of the library’s website.

Alex’s design was among several hundred that were on display at the library during the past month. Criteria that the judges considered included the design’s originality, its connection to the library and reading, the appeal of the design to other children, and whether the lines and colors were bright and clear enough to undergo the major reduction in size required to print it on a library card. Alex’s design met all of the criteria and he will receive a $100 gift card for his artwork. The new library cards with Alex’s design should be available early this spring. Congratulations, Alex!

Holiday Hours You'll Want to Remember

December 22, 23, 29, 30, 31 – the library will close at 6:00 p.m. instead of 8:00 p.m.

December 24 & 25 – the library will be closed. No materials will be due on these days but the drive-up bookdrop will be open.

January 1 – the library will be closed. No materials will be due this day but the drive-up bookdrop will be open.

Self-Checkout Success

We know how frustrating it is to wait in line at the main circulation desk to check out one or two items when the person ahead of you needs to transact Major Library Business. That’s why we set up so many new self-checkout stations when we initiated the Apollo automation system and we hope you’ve tried using them.

Here are just two tips that might help assure self-check success:

(1) DON’T PICK UP THE SCANNER. Lay your book flat on the table, with the barcode under the scanner in the area where the colored light pattern appears.

(2) Make sure you have the GEORGETOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY BARCODE. It’s in the UPPER RIGHT corner of the back cover.

January 23 and 24 — BIG Book and Media Sale at the Library

To make room for more DVDs and books on CD, the Georgetown Public Library began in November to remove from circulation all of its VHS videos and books on cassette. Although some people still were checking out these formats, public preference by far is for the disk formats of video and audio and these are the formats the library has been purchasing for the past year. Also, heavy weeding of the book collections has taken place to make room for new materials.

The Friends of the Georgetown Library will hold a giant 13-hour clearance sale of these items, as well as some of the donated items that they have received, in the Community Rooms on the second floor of the library, from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, January 23 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 24.

The Friends of the Georgetown Public Library is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the public use and community support of the library. Proceeds of the event will be used to fund unbudgeted projects at the library. They invite you to support the library and take advantage of a great opportunity to stock up on books, video tapes, and books on tape.

 

 

 

 

 

Vote for Your Favorite Gingerbread Creation

Twenty-five sweetly fragrant, amazingly creative, and bound to make you smile entries came in this year! Each one is a work of art and are the most innovative we’ve ever received. Don’t miss seeing–and smelling–this display. Voting for the entries began on Tuesday, December 9, and continues through Monday, December 15. You will be able to vote for your favorite in each category and the winners will be announced Wednesday, December 17. A $25 gift card will be awarded in each category. The creations will remain on display until December 20.

Library Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday

Thanksgiving is the library staff’s best holiday! You may think it’s excessive, but the library will be closed Thursday through Sunday, November 27-30. This is the only time during the year, every year, that the entire staff gets to have a weekend off and we anticipate it with great relish (cranberries, anyone?). We’ll leave the bookdrop open during these four days, even though no materials will come due during this time. And the website will be up and available so that you can access your account and the catalog. We’ll close early (6:00 p.m.) on Wednesday, November 26 and will remain closed until 9:00 a.m. on December 1.

Have You Found Apollo's Reserve Express List?

Have you taken time to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page that has your account information on it? Or have you clicked on those tabs at the top of your account info page? Under “Reserves” you’ll find a feature that you might find useful: “Have Some Favorite Authors?” With this feature you may browse the “Reserve Express” list of authors’ names, select one by clicking on it, and from that day on, unless you change your mind, you will automatically be placed on hold for any new books by that author that the library purchases. You may choose as many favorite authors as you like.

The authors on this list are those for which we have standing orders-we always get their new books, so you don’t need to do a special request to assure that they’ll be here.

With this feature you’ll never again have to ask the helpful person at the circulation desk whether we have Danielle Steel’s new book yet and then ask to be placed on hold for it. Also, choosing your favorites from this list will help us determine how many copies of books by certain authors we need to purchase. In the past we’ve waited for the reserve queue to build up to a certain point, then we order additional copies. We hope this system will reduce your wait times by a few weeks.

Ms. Rosa's Cake Pan and Cookie Cutter Lending Library

As we enter the baking season, you need to know that Ms. Rosa has a small supply of fancy-shaped cake pans-the kind like you use to bake kids’ birthday cakes-that you may borrow. She also has cookie cutters appropriate for the fall and winter holidays that she would like to lend. This collection is an outgrowth of the tool library idea, which has been greeted with much enthusiasm, but needs more infrastructure and help to make it a reality.

The cake pans are hanging in the children’s room, on the rack with the audio kits (on the west wall, near the children’s magazines). The cookie cutters haven’t found a permanent home/shelf. Ask for them at the children’s circulation desk. They come in packages of three. The cake pans and cookie cutters check out for three weeks. All of this is a work in progress, so if you have suggestions, please tell Ms. Rosa.

The Library’s Website

During the summer, the City’s webmaster, Erin McDonald, brought a trophy to us that she received at the annual conference of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers. The library’s website, for which she is primarily responsible, won first place in a competition that the Association had sponsored. We were competing against bigger city websites that have more professionals working on their websites, but the layout and content of the library’s site outshone them all.

While Ms. McDonald takes care of the infrastructure of our website, the library staff provides the content, and we’re working hard to keep it new and informative. Across the top of the front page are four clickable tabs: Local Artists, Renew A Book, Photos & Media, and Contact Us. The Local Artists page is a work in progress that we share with the Convention and Visitors Bureau. If you’re an artist, send us your information so that you may be listed. If you’re interested in seeing the work of local artists, they’re organized by media in the menu on the left.

Renew A Book takes you directly to the catalog, but you’ll need your barcode to access your account.

Photos & Media is another work in progress, to which we add photos whenever we find something we think the public might like to see. Right now we have the Georgetown Heritage Society’s historic photo collection, photos of downtown Georgetown during the early 1980s, photos from children’s events, photos from teen events, shots of the library interior, and plants in the library’s landscaping. There are also links to two videos about Georgetown’s historic architecture.

The fourth tab, Contact Us, gives you the information that should allow you to contact any library staff member. Unlike many websites we’ve visited, we don’t want this information to be buried so deeply that you give up before you find it. Our hours also are listed here as well as driving instructions for getting to the building. We welcome your visits and communications!

Moving down the front page, the three blogs to the right of the large photo are the territory of Bethni King, the young adult librarian; Rosa Garcia, our children’s services coordinator; and Richard Groves, our adult services librarian. Their articles are intended to inform, enlighten, or entertain you, or perhaps all three at once when they’re feeling particularly inspired.

A constantly changing slide show runs in the upper right corner of the front page. It’s our effort to bring to your attention events we want you to know about or services and materials that you might not find without probing deeper into our site. These slides are “clickable” and will take you to more information about each topic. Event-related slides run for short periods of time, others are there for a while.

Below the slide show is the library newsletter, called Library Happenings. The two most recent postings will show on the front page, but you may see others by clicking on Library Happenings. Most of these articles will appear in the hardcopy newsletter that we distribute in the lobby each month.

A bold grey line divides the front page into two sections. What we call “below the line” — Library News, Ask the Librarian, Contact Us, and Landscaping Around GPL – includes some sections that change less frequently. Library News contains announcements that also appear on the City webpage. Usually they’re about adult events that we think the entire community, not just library users, might enjoy. Ask the Librarian is Reference Librarian Suzette Davidson’s column that appears in the Williamson County Sun. The photo gallery, Landscaping Around GPL, identifies the plants in our landscaping and gives a little information about each one. Clicking on the photo will take you to the complete gallery.

With the advent of Apollo, our new automation system, the online library catalog may be attractive enough that you’ll bookmark it and bypass the front page of the library’s website. We hope you won’t, though. We have become increasingly dependent on our website as the best way to communicate with our users. If you want the first word about anything that’s happening at the library, our website is the place to look!

Hill Country Book Festival Debuts at Library October 11

The first Hill Country Book Festival will be held at the library on Saturday, October 11, from 9:00 – 4:00. To celebrate, Ms. Rosa has planned entertainment by the Biscuit Brothers from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., along with snacks, crafts, and face painting all day long. Children’s authors who will be speaking and reading from their works during the day will be:

  • Ken Anderson, author of Dan Moody: Crusader for Justice, 9:00 a.m.
  • Elizabeth Scanlon, author of A Sock Is a Pocket for Your Toes, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Santa Knows, and Tantalize, and her illustrator husband, Greg Leitich Smith, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Elizabeth Moon, author of The Speed of Dark and Victory Conditions, 10:45 a.m.
  • Don Tate, author of Black All Around, 11:30 – 12:30 p.m.
  • Diane Fanning, author of Bite the Moon: A Molly Mullet Mystery, 1:30 p.m.
  • P. J. Hoover, author of The Emerald Tablet, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Deborah Frontiera, author of Eric and the Enchanted Leaf, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Joseph O’Connell, 3:00 p.m

Problems With Your Online Account? Where's my Elf?

As we hope everyone knows, last week the library changed over to a new automation system. No electronic change of this size could happen without some glitches. We are experiencing a few. The new system brings with it some changes that you need to know about, too. (What? No Library Elf service?)

One problem is that family records have become “unlinked.” What is happening is that all materials your family has checked out are appearing under the default barcode for your account. That barcode is most often the one we assigned to the person who filled out the registration card.

We expect to have this corrected in the next few days, but until then items you have checked out may not appear under the barcode you’re using to access your account online. Likewise, the books you’ve requested (have on hold) may appear be on that other record. So, if your record doesn’t look right, ask your spouse or parent for their barcode, try entering it, and you’ll most likely find your materials. If this doesn’t work, please call us at 930-3551 and explain your situation. We’ll try to figure out what has happened.

The second major problem is with books that were on hold when we checked them in last Wednesday, October 1. The new system failed to recognize that the library did not open until October 4, and so the hold period on those books expired this morning, October 6. Unfortunately, the new system does not allow us to rearrange the wait lists, so some people will have missed their turn for a specific book. We have placed all of these persons back on the wait list, but they will be at the bottom. Fair? No it’s not, but there was no work-around for this particular issue. But aren’t you happy to know that from now on there’s no way that anyone may be manually moved ahead of you on any wait list?

You may have received an email notification that Library Elf is no longer available to you. That’s true, but our new system provides the same service without any third party intervention. As long as we have your email address on your record, you will receive an email notice three days before an item is due. If you don’t return it, you’ll receive another email notice when the item is three days overdue. At fourteen days overdue we’ll send a postcard notification about the item, and at 30 days overdue you’ll receive a letter telling you the item has been declared lost and that your are responsible for its cost.

If you wish to change the way you’re being notified about overdues or holds, you may log into your account online and make the change.

We do want to hear from you if you believe your account is not correct, so don’t hesitate to call, email, or come in to talk with us in person. Call 512-930-3551 or send email to library@georgetown.org.

Apollo Is Coming! Library Closed Sep 29 – Oct 3

Beginning October 1 the library will be running on a new automation system. The automation system, called Apollo, affects every aspect of our operation, from cataloging the books to checking them out and in. It also will change the way you’re notified about books you have on hold and the way you pick them up. With the new system, you’ll pull your own books from the hold shelf and there will be many more stations where you can check out your own materials. You may see differences in the way we handle family accounts and the way in which you’re notified about overdue books.

The staff thinks the new system will be better in many ways and we hope you’ll agree. As you already may have guessed from this description, computers will be taking over some jobs that people have been doing. Your hold notification will either reach you by email or a computer-generated phone call. More (and easier to use) self-check stations should end waiting in lines to check out materials—that is, unless you prefer having a staff member do it for you. For those of you who have time, hate barcode scanners, and enjoy chatting with the staff at the circulation desk, the friendly faces will still be available. And, staff will continue to handle any transactions involving money.

To complete the migration to the new system and to train staff for the changes Apollo will bring, our annual fall closure will take place September 29 through October 3. As always when the library is closed, no library materials will be scheduled to come due, but for your convenience our book drop will be open. We won’t be answering the phones and you probably won’t be able to access your library account via the Internet. So mark your calendar now and plan to stock up on reading, listening, and viewing materials before September 29.

The Oral History Project: Georgetown's Black Schools

On Saturday, August 16, some one hundred people assembled in the Hewlett Room to hear long-time local residents Doug Benold, Harvey Miller, Birdie Shanklin, Norman Spellmann, and Paulette Taylor recall their memories of Marshall/Carver and Westside Schools and, more specifically, the period during the 1960s when desegregation was debated and decided. The audience heard testimony about difficult times and decisions, but the serious moments were leavened with humor that all could appreciate. Lucas Adams made a video recording of the event, which will be shown on Channel 10 after it is edited.

As a result of this event, eighteen people have agreed to be interviewed individually, to share their memories of the black schools and how the desegregation debate affected them personally. While we’re very pleased with this response, we are hoping that others will come forward to participate, too. We plan to finish interviewing by late December 2008 and have the collection of recordings ready to present to the community by February 2009.

A number of people also have volunteered to be interviewers for this project. Conducting an oral history interview is not an easy task. It requires doing background research into the topic being discussed, development of appropriately open-ended questions, and an understanding about how to keep the interviewee focused on the topic. Chris Dyer, director of the Williamson Museum, and who has considerable professional experience with collecting oral histories, will be training the interviewers.

The interviews will be recorded in digital format so that they may be downloaded from the library’s website and played on an MP3 player. The recordings also will be transcribed—the biggest job of all—and paper copies will be available at the library. Ultimately, we hope to publish a collection of the transcripts.

This is only the first oral history project that the library expects to undertake. It is our test case, a project with well-defined limits, which will show us the ins and outs of the process and prepare us for a well-planned and -executed second project, the topic of which is yet to be determined. If you would like to discuss this project or others that you believe are worthy of consideration, please contact Eric Lashley (512-930-2513, epl@georgetown.org) or Judy Fabry (512-930-3552, jkf@georgetown.org).

Design Competition for New Kids Library Card Ends October 10

We can hardly believe four years have passed since the library had a contest to select a new design for its children’s library card. In 2004 the design contest brought in hundreds of entries and yielded two delightful winning designs. Now the library cards imprinted with those designs are nearly gone (hang on to yours, it may become a collector’s item) and a new contest is in order.

Children who are in kindergarten through fifth grade are eligible to enter.Submit your entry on a sheet of 8-1/2 x 11 white copy paper, along with a completed and signed entry form, which you may pick up in the children’s room. Entries must be received at the library by October 10. All entries will become the property of the Georgetown Public Library and will be displayed for two weeks after the deadline.

Entries will be judged by a panel of jurors from the City of Georgetown. Originality is what they’ll be looking for! The winning design will be reproduced on our children’s library cards.

The winning design will be announced November 1 and the artist will receive a $100 gift card. For more information contact Rosa Garcia at 512-930-3623 or rxg@georgetown.org.

Personal Reflections on Desegregation in Georgetown

On Saturday, August 16, at 2:00 p.m. in the Hewlett Room, five generous long-time residents of Georgetown—Douglas Benold, Harvey Miller, Birdie Shanklin, Norman Spellman, and Paulette Taylor–will share their memories about life in this little town during the 1950s and ‘60s. The main topic will be the school system, which until 1967 was segregated.

Marsha Farney, who in 2007 completed her doctoral dissertation, “Promoting the Progress of Education: The History of Georgetown Public Schools, 1850-1966,” will be the moderator for the panel discussion. After the panelists respond to some specific questions, the audience will be invited to participate with questions and comments.

The library is sponsoring this event to kick off a larger oral history project focusing on Marshall-Carver and Westside Schools and the political, economic and social issues that affected desegregation. The library director hopes that the panel discussion will encourage others to volunteer to participate in recorded interviews, sharing their experiences and memories related to these subjects. Other volunteers will be needed, including persons willing to conduct interviews (training will be provided), help with the recording equipment and processes, and transcribe the recorded interviews (training will be provided). If you are interested in sharing your memories or helping preserve them, contact Eric Lashley at 512-930-3551 or epl@georgetown.org, or Judy Fabry at 512-930-3552 or jkf@georgetown.org.

The Dell Foundation’s Gift

The library has always had to depend heavily on gifts, primarily from the Friends of the Library and the Dell Foundation, to provide the hardware for our public access computers. Recently, completely unsolicited and to our great surprise, the Dell Foundation made us an offer we couldn’t refuse—as many flat-screen, LED monitors as we wanted, in whatever size we wanted. We didn’t have to write a grant proposal or give evidence of any particular need. All we had to do was pick up the monitors at the Dell warehouse. The offer seemed so amazing that we checked back with the contact person to make sure we’d understood correctly.

This great stroke of luck provided the new monitors that we were expecting to have to purchase later this year, when our contract with the vendor who supplies our public access hardware and software, will be renewed. Under that contract, the vendor supplies the CPUs and the keyboards for our thirty-eight workstations, but we have to furnish the monitors. By November, many of our monitors will have been in use 10-12 hours per day for three years. Already they are beginning to fail, so Dell’s gift couldn’t have come at a better time. We are grateful beyond words.

Book Club Mixer

Library users frequently ask whether the library sponsors any book clubs. Up till now, the answer has been no, but Adult Services Librarian Richard Groves is having a get together on August 5 to explore the idea with like-minded people. If you think you’d like to be part of a book club, or if you just want to meet other readers, come to the mixer. It will start at 7 p.m., in the Hewlett Room.

Surely You’d Like to Make a Suggestion!

Have you noticed the “You Asked…We Responded” section on the large bulletin board in the lobby near the checkout desk? You’ll find posted here the responses of the director or other staff persons to comments that are left in the Suggestion Box. And, in case you’ve missed the Suggestion Box, it’s a low-budget acrylic cube with a slot, located on the table next to the book return, right below the bulletin board.

Reading through the responses to others’ comments is a good way to learn more about how the library operates. These comments and suggestions help the staff to realize that what seems obvious to us is often a mystery to our users. In most cases we’re delighted to be able to share information with you that we probably don’t realize you need or desire. Other suggestions make us think about how we do things—and why—and we realize there might be a better way.

The best comment or suggestion is very specific, or explains in some detail the event that occurred that prompted the comment. Just saying “too noisy” isn’t very helpful if we don’t know when the comment was written or in what area the writer encountered the noise. The fact is that some areas of the library will always be noisy, but we’ve tried to create quiet areas, too, so we need to know exactly where you were when you decided the library was too noisy.

The one comment we receive over and over is about the shortage of parking for the library. We are very well aware of this problem and have done what we can to alleviate it. We now have permission for library patrons to park in the grass lot at 8th and MLK when our parking lot is full. We realize this may not be the solution you had in mind—and we certainly hope it’s not the final solution—but it’s the best we can do right now.

You Don’t Have to Be a Newcomer to Use the Welcome Desk

In May we inaugurated the Welcome Desk—that movable desk that presently is located next to the checkout queue area. Its primary purpose was to make a friendly staff member easily accessible to anyone who comes through the entrance and is uncertain about where to go to find a specific resource, whether it is a new library card, a book, the restroom, or directions to the County tax office. Lines at the checkout and information desks are often long and there is no reason for someone to have to wait in those lines for what is, perhaps, a one word answer to a simple question.

Two months later, reality has set in. We quickly learned that most people who come through the library’s doors don’t need immediate help and, in fact, some seemed downright annoyed when the staff person at the Welcome Desk greeted them. Staff who worked the Welcome Desk had great difficulty balancing trying to look “available” while doing anything besides just sitting and smiling at everyone. So, we added a computer, to make it possible for the Welcome Desk person to answer reference questions or questions about materials in our collection. Once the computer was available it didn’t take long until staff at the Welcome Desk also were checking out materials for people when both of the regular checkout stations were busy.

Today, the smiling person at the Welcome Desk will help you with nearly all library services—except pulling the book you have on hold. That task still must be done by the staff members behind the circulation desk. (However, our entire system for handling holds will be changing this fall, in a way that we believe will be an improvement you’ll applaud. Watch the newsletter, our website, and the local newspaper for more details about that in the very near future.)

Library to Begin Collecting Local Oral Histories

Inspired by National Public Radio’s StoryCorps program, Eric Lashley, director of the Georgetown Public Library, began thinking more than six months ago about how the library might take the lead in creating and storing oral histories from Georgetown’s residents. The difficult question, though, was where to begin such a major undertaking—should there be a unifying thread to the first people to be interviewed, or should capturing the memories of our community’s oldest members come first, regardless of what their area of expertise might be?

Then, in February, Mr. Lashley attended Marsha Farney’s presentation, based on her newly completed doctoral dissertation, about the history of Georgetown’s schools. Her presentation focused on the school that existed until the 1960s for African-American children. Judging from the discussion that took place after the presentation, it seemed clear to Mr. Lashley that there were many people who wanted to share their memories of the old Marshall/Carver School.

A short time later, Mr. Lashley presented his idea of an oral history project focused on the black school and desegregation to Ms. Farney, Chris Dyer, director of the Williamson County Museum, and Paulette Taylor, who attended the school. As a result of their enthusiastic help, knowledge of the school’s history, and suggestions of people to contact, the library will host a kickoff program—Personal Reflections on Desegregation in Georgetown–on Saturday, August 16, at 2:00 p.m. in the Hewlett Community Room of the library.

The program will consist of a panel discussion, moderated by Ms. Farney, among five members of our community who have graciously agreed to share their memories: Birdie Shanklin, Harvey Miller, Paulette Taylor, Doug Benold, and Norman Spellmann, all of whom were personally touched by Georgetown’s struggle to desegregate its schools. After the panel discussion, the forum will be opened to the audience for questions and comments. The primary purpose of the kickoff program, though, is to identify persons who are willing, at a later date, to participate in recorded individual interviews that will focus on the history of the black school, the issues that affected desegregation in Georgetown, and the experiences of the students, both black and white, as the schools were integrated.

After the kickoff program, the library will rely on more volunteers to make the oral history project a success. Mr. Dyer, who has professional experience doing oral histories, will train people to conduct the interviews. The interviews will be recorded in digital format, to give them the longest possible technological life, and they also will be transcribed to create a hard copy. Volunteers will be needed to do the interviewing, handle the recording process, and to do the transcriptions.

For more information about the August 16 program, to volunteer to be interviewed, or to volunteer to help with any aspect of the interviews, contact Judy Fabry, the library’s administrative assistant, at 512-930-3552, or by email at jkf@georgetown.org.

Calling All Chess Players

Chess players of all ages and skill levels are invited to attend the initial meeting of what is expected to become a chess club that will meet regularly at the library. Herb Baumann is leading this effort. He envisions regular meetings to learn, play, and improve your skills along with occasional day-long tournaments. The library is cooperating to help get this group going by providing space for the meetings.

The first meeting will be on Tuesday, July 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., in the library classroom on the second floor. For more information, contact Herb Baumann at 512-743-8908 or herbbwon@yahoo.com.

Books for Texans Book Club

The Books for Texans Book Club has been meeting for several months now and they always welcome new participants. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, July 15, from 7-8 p.m., in the Hewlett Room. The book this month is J. Frank Dobie’s Tales of Old Time Texas. Feel free to attend the meeting even if you haven’t read the month’s selection. But, start reading now to get ready for September. The selection is Isaac’s Storm, by Erik Larson. The “storm” is the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and Larson’s book is based on the diaries of Isaac Monroe Cline.