Was There Really Any Doubt?

The big news in the Times’ Sunday Review  was that Google does not replace your brain. As my college roommate Cindi Ware Hayes would say, “Really? I mean, really?”

Yes: knowing facts is better than having to looking them up. Not that I expect people to know everything, or even everything they were taught in school. However, thinking is not zero-sum but cumulative; the more one knows, the more one can understand, discover, and even create.

Last week I attended a memorial service which reminded me of  life as a witness for knowledge and love.  Requiem eternam et lux perpetua, Helen Sapp.


The Once and Future Web-logger

I have, as you might have noticed, been away.

Not so far as Canada, though.

I live in Natchitoches now, the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase, and am on the library faculty of the university here. Now that I’m established in a new daily professional routine, I want to get back to the larger world.

Just not via Twitter.

So here is another NYTimes recommendation, on Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and why it’s all right to put money into an election campaign you will lose.


A Reading List for the Next Presidential Term

Anderson, Kent. “How’s That Abundance Thing Working Out for You?” Scholarly Kitchen [blog]. Society for Scholarly Publishing, Nov. 17, 2016. Link.

Gessen, Masha. “Autocracy: Rules for Survival.” NYR Daily (New York Review of Books). Nov. 10, 2016. Link.

Morrison, Toni. “Mourning for Whiteness.” New Yorker (Nov. 21, 2016): 54. Part of “Aftermath: 14 Writers Respond to the Election.” Morrison’s piece is especially good–no surprise there, but read the rest as well.

Orwell, George. 1984. Harcourt, Brace: 1949. [First American edition.]

Radford, Gary P., and Marie L. Radford. “Libraries, Librarians, And The Discourse of Fear.” Library Quarterly 71.3 (2001): 299-329.  Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text. Web. 22 Nov. 2016.

Rosenberg, Tina. “The Art of the Protest.” New York Times, Nov. 21, 2016. Link.

Shear, Michael D. Julie Hirshfeld Davis, and Maggie Haberman. “Trump Retreats From Some of His Extreme Positions.” The New York Times [interview]. Nov. 22, 2016. Link.


I’ll add to this list as I come across more useful material.

Please add your own suggestions via comments.


Noah and the Floods

Thomas Friedman has written a timely op-ed in the New York Times, but the headline is even more pertinent to south Louisiana: “We Are All Noah Now.” Pet owners, be sure you have enough carriers for your animals, because you may need to evacuate with them.


A younger Thunder.

Last month my house almost flooded. I say “almost” because water rose fourteen inches up to the sill; another half-inch and it would have been inside. But the yard was underwater, the carport submerged, and the bird feeder soaked. Not having faced this particular emergency before, my panic was rising almost as quickly as the water at 11 am that Saturday morning. I grabbed my standby bag and put Bianca in a carrier. When I looked around for Thunder, he had vanished. Forty minutes of manic-depressive searching later, he still hadn’t appeared. I put a big plate of dry food on the kitchen counter, set a small dish of canned food on the floor, and prayed that the water would go down soon.

And it did, probably within four hours of my departure. My parents welcomed me, but I went back to check on Thunder the next day when the water had receded and the roads were open.


Flood water.

Well, you may be thinking, that’s nothing compared to the people who couldn’t get out in time (like my brother and two nephews, who were rescued by a state police boat) or to those whose houses were totally ruined and who may still be living in shelters. And you would be right.  Eleven years ago the experience of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was more traumatic, when evacuees were forcibly separated from their pets and sometimes from other family members. And the people who worked tirelessly to help, from the National Guard to neighbors who had a boat or sheet-rock skills or extra supplies to donate.

Friedman’s well-supported essay argues that humans must take more care of the earth and all its residents, or we will lose it soon. I add that each of us must be prepared with an ark for the next disaster. Meanwhile, read Friedman, support Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Federation and your favorite save-the-earth organization, and get some more pet carriers.



The sweet library
refuge of books
haven for scholars
haunt of students
searching for connectivity
not overcome by the air conditioner’s roar.

The library’s goal
is to teach
information literacy
to encourage self-sufficiency in
locating, critically evaluating, and utilizing
the library
’s resources
to promote life-long learners.


[Stanza 2 taken from the LeDoux Library vision statement, LSU Eunice.]