dean.smith's blog

Guides to Information

In the library biz we used to call them pathfinders: collections of information on a common research subject. In the old days we printed them for handing out and when a patron said, “I’m trying to find my great great grandma’s maiden name,” we would say, “Why, we often get that question and we’ve put a guide together that will lead you to the answer.” And then we would hand that person a piece of paper with directions to the resources to use to find her grandma’s maiden name; a paper with a path, if you will: a pathfinder.

Recycle Your Batteries at the Library

We get a lot of calls asking us if we recycle toner cartridges and batteries. Many Austin Public Library locations collect batteries right now—only household batteries, though, not batteries generated by a business (and certainly not car batteries). The City of Austin has a full list of battery drop-off locations. We used to take toner cartridges, too, but no more. Office supplies stores will take them, though.

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The Traveling Librarian

Your traveling librarian stopped in at the Marathon Public Library in mid-December and met one of the most helpful people you could hope to know, library director Elizabeth Holt. Though she was in the middle of upgrading the public computers, she took the time to give a couple of strangers a tour of her library (lit through a wall of windows on the east side by a sparkling West Texas day).


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