Nov. 22, 2020

Episode 28 - Public Libraries with Kelly Holt

The Wolf AND The Shepherd sit down with Kelly Holt from the Keller Public Library and discuss whether or not libraries are still an essential item in communities not only in the United States but around the world. Spoiler alert - They are!


welcome to this episode of the wolf of

the shepherd today we have with

us kelly holt from the keller public

library kelly

how are you doing today i'm great thanks

so much for having me yeah thanks for

coming along so uh public libraries

i'm those are still a thing somebody

told me they're

actually oh wait hang on public


they're still do we have to whisper do

we do we have to whisper

because we're talking about libraries or

can we talk in a normal tone of voice

well i'm not sure uh actually the first

question kelly

which is a bit unusual i'm sure you've

never been asked this before but

a lot of our guests who come into the

studio who we interview normally bring


free stuff so i wanted to know did you

steal us any free books

i did not because you didn't because

i've noticed you didn't bring in any

food so um

but everything at the library is always


so you can drop by any time that's how

i'm going to get you in the door well

for a short period of time i can't keep

the book forever can i otherwise i'll

get fined

well not at my library we are a fine


library fine free library so i remember

that old seinfeld episode

when jerry and george they were trying

to return a book or whatever

and i guess jerry had to write this

check for like several thousand dollars

because he forgot to return a book

and you know there's always those jokes

about that so now

libraries are fine free so you basically

you put blockbuster out of business is

what you tell them

well a lot of libraries have gone fine


it sort of started um with just

children's cards and children's


and libraries didn't want to set up a

lot of barriers

uh between kids and reading so a lot of

libraries started to try out a fine free

policy where as long as you bring the

book back

and we get the book back then we don't

charge you a fee

so so do you have a library police


you know the book doesn't return and

you've got somebody that goes out there

and tries to find that book that never

got returned

we just send a stern email oh stern

email so what percentage of books do you

not get back with this new kind of fine

free policy

we actually don't see any change in the

number of books that

aren't uh because if you bring back then

you get to

borrow more yeah if you don't bring back

the first thing then you're stuck with

it and you never get anything else

you get you get on the library blacklist

well some people only like two or three

books so i'd imagine they'd get those

ones out and you'd never see them again

i think i've only read two or three

books yeah and you wrote all three of


yeah well i didn't read those books

those books were terrible

now the one question i did want to ask

about that so

if somebody comes in and they want a

copy of the book which your library does


but somebody else has it out because

you've now got this no

fine policy and they say oh when's it

going to come back in you just kind of

be like

i don't know maybe maybe sometime i

don't know maybe not at all well

um our library and a lot of public


um are part of a consortium so we never

really just have one copy of a book

so there are always a few copies

floating around

and even if our share libraries don't

have them we can

pretty much order a book from any

library in the country

through the interlibrary loan program

and then they send it over through the

mail and then we get them the book

that way okay okay that's interesting


so libraries borrowing from other


and so if you don't return a book to

another library does that other library

find you

they find this library oh so there's

where the money's being made we're

willing to take the risk so so we need

to get in the library business

and loan books to libraries and then say

that they never returned the book and

just charging money

is this before or after we go to india

and start filming bollywood

movies they're both

they both seem hard they both seem very

hard neither seems very lucrative



i'm not sure about your plans okay now

obviously you're from

texas i can tell that from the accent

but also also because the shepherd told

me you two used to go to high school

together we did it

and even junior high junior high i think

even before that

i actually think yeah i think maybe even

middle school bear creek intermediate

i think that's what your elementary


well i've bounced around yeah everywhere

when i finally went to public school

after i got out of the reform institutes

and everything that my parents put me in

i spent a year at florence and then a


at uh what was that so fifth grade would

be the first time yeah

fifth grade i can't remember where i

went to fourth grade but i remember as a

brand new elementary was it heritage

yeah heritage stuff yeah so that's oh

maybe maybe that is where we met then


was heritage did you have mr shaw i did


okay that was so difficult together yeah

all right well done that's where it was

then so

wow we were reading together yeah we've

known each other that long

apparently you did much better in

reading than i did because you're

you're in the book industry and i'm not

even quite sure i know how to read

so there you go that is true but that's

why i have all the notes

that's right and well and it has nothing

to do with your horrible penmanship then

i can't read because you write with the

incorrect hand well this

this is the hand most frequently used by


in your own little world right okay

what's your source on that

uh the internet because everything on

the internet is true

right well so we don't need libraries


so what so what did you do we're getting

there kelly don't jump ahead don't

try to get there i'm not going to let

you get there though

oh we're looking forward to that part so

what did you do before where have you

always been like

straight out of college i actually

started working at a library while i was

in college when i was 18 um i i started

working at a library just as a

clerk and a shell i shelved books i

checked people out

um i did i did spend some time teaching

as well and those have been my two sort

of career paths

all right because i i did actually have

a question written down

are you going to do this for the rest of

your life and at that point when i wrote

that question i didn't know

how old you were so if you'd been like

90 that would have been one of the worst

questions i've ever had that would have

been true

yeah not a great question or if she had

been like 18

you know and then she said well yes

what's wrong with that

then it would have been very

uncomfortable it reminds me actually um

a ricky gervais sketch on his stand-up


he actually went into a um

store and was gonna buy a newspaper and

the front

um page article was about this 90 year

old woman who had been slashed across

the face by a

um robber and the woman behind the


um said ah 90 years old scarred for life

and ricky j said his friend who was with

him was like

well not really scarred for life she's


and ricky bass goes i don't know why he

said that and what

what reaction was he gonna expect from

the stalker

oh yeah staffer

ah terrible now do you read many books


i read as many as i can squeeze in yes

i also uh listen to books okay so you're

like a

an audible fan or no a library

i get my audio books from the library oh

uh uh

oh they're free cassettes on cassette

reel-to-rail my preferred format

is the portable mp3 so it's a

self-contained audiobook

the device is the item and you just plug

your own

earphones in them and power them with a


and um they're about as big as like an


yeah okay yeah so so you actually go in


and one book is on one of these little


and you check that out and then when

you're done listening you return that

and you can grab another one right and i

also use our

um digital platform to download

audiobooks that i could listen to

uh on my phone and these are or books by

the way that you know are current books

it's not like the

i know uh librivox is a popular website

for anything that's

in the public domain and a lot of people

you know volunteer to read these books

and everything like i've listened to

some of the ancient philosophers and

things like that like plato and stuff

like that you can get those for free

but you're talking about modern stuff

that's on there high demand titles

absolutely so the library pays for those

wow and um you

borrow them digitally on um

there are there are different platforms

we use two platforms one's called hoopla

which has downloadable e-books


comic books music and movies and tv

and then overdrive has ebooks and

audio books so and you have to be a

member of the library i'm guessing


at least for that portion to be able to

download these

yes that is tied to your library card

and you type in your library card number

and you borrow the books for 21 days and

then they return themselves

so they're never late they just sort of

disappear from your device

after the due dates but if it's digital

and you're lazy

like uh the wolf and i were lazy so we

get a book that's say

i don't know 20 pages we have 21 days to

read it

and then 21 days later we read one page

we can still go and recheck that book

out in

if read and read another page in the

next 20 minutes

no one is waiting for it someone is

waiting for it but if it's a digital


you can't just check out unfortunately

no the way that they're purchased the

lending model

only allows for a certain number of

listeners at one time

and it it also caps the the number of

listens before you have to pay

again oh yeah so we look at things like

how much we're paying per listen gotcha

um which is

it it varies on you know how in demand

the title is

can be anywhere from like 60 cents a

listen that we pay

to you know maybe at the most a dollar

fifty or two dollars

got to yeah makes sense yeah i was

afraid to ask about ebooks because i

thought you might think it was like a

dirty word or

something oh no we love ebooks

now um do so the ones do you have in the

library do they have um if somebody

i don't know borrows uh ebook as such do

they have the drm

kind of copyright on that so you can you

can only read it for like 20 days and

then it

yes so the the borrowing it depends on

the publisher

um whatever contract the

platform which is overdrive has with the


dictates how many listens yeah

are attached to the book and the lending

period yeah i actually wrote a program

about three months ago which rips the

drm off of those

rooks yeah wow friend eric all right i'm

not listening

i wanted to ask if i could get hold of a

few this is unethical a few books which

have just been released and i said

yeah but they've got a countdown so i

just wrote a couple yeah we weren't

going to talk about things like that

is it should we not tell her about uh

that we've been illegally downloading

mp3 since 1997 either

on napster yeah we did start off on


um but yeah no i mean i i will read

ebooks i have a whole collection of um

apps on my phone and i will actually

read ebooks it's been a while since i've

read a physical

book other than with my son right um and


you know i do like books i mean if

somebody was to give me a book for


i'd definitely prefer you know a

physical book and somebody just sent me

an email saying hey i've bought this

but ebay because that's pointless

because like i said i can download those

myself anyway right

but so but i can't download a physical

in in theory

in theory not yet yeah this is all


yeah we have a 3d printer too

yes can anyone come in and use it not

anyone but you can sign up for one of

our classes

that will tell you how to use it oh i

know how to use it i want to know if i

could come in and use it

i've got some stuff i need to print not

right now anonymously

right right after you pretend to

download all this stuff you're not

supposed to do it

going back to what you were saying about

um ebooks and

we found that a lot of our users tell us

the same thing

like um physical books are much more

popular for children

and and that is actually the majority of

our collection is

for children um at our public library


um a lot of our users tell us that they

like the ebooks for when they're

traveling because

they're light and they don't have to you

know they're highly portable they're

nothing they what they weigh nothing

it's correct

well the device that they read them on

is light

sure it it it kind of reminds me and one

thing i wanted to ask you

i was trying to figure out in my mind

you know and i know we're going to get

into this but

you know why do we still have public

libraries and

and it's it's difficult for somebody my

age to think about it

and one thing that i keep leaning

towards as well

for the say under 13

and over 75 crowd

a public library makes sense so it

it as you sit there in in as ignorant as

i am on this yeah

you know you've got events for kids and

then you've got

cheap old people like my father and my

father-in-law that want to go

to the library and check out a book

rather than you know

trying to listen to it through audible

or something like that which now we

learned we can actually do that at the

public library which i didn't know

so so we're learning something like

every 45 seconds here which is

you know more than i've learned in the

last 10 years just ask a librarian yeah


but other than you know the

the audibles that that you can get or


if you if you ran into somebody like me


you know i i don't really read books i

it's hard for me to even listen to a


what else can i get out of the public

like oh look at this look at you already

look at you already pointing at me for

you yeah

yeah okay so um i think that's something


is a misconception in a lot of um

communities is that the library is a

place for books

right and the library has so much

more than books okay so for example i


something that's pretty interesting

that's happening right now in libraries

is that as

we have um information

readily available and easy to access for

a lot of people over the internet

the library is not really a place that

people need to go to research anymore

sure and because it's easy to get books

online it may not be a place where

people go to borrow books

but there are still a lot of other

things that the library

is offering because number one we have

more shelf space right we don't need as

many reference books

so one really i think fascinating thing

that libraries are doing

is they're offering um libraries

of things so you can check out

a guitar and learn how to play the

guitar before you invest in this

for your child like you don't know if

they're really going to like it so you

go check one out

and if they're into it great then you

can invest in the guitar if they're not

oh we have keyboards as well you can

check out

coding kits where kids can learn how to

program with things like arduino

and johnny five and raspberry pi

um and you don't have to invest in those

yourself we offer

jigsaw puzzles we have board games

which you can kind of try out and see if

they're really fun for your family

before you

pay 40 to have that board game we have

learning kits for kids that include

educational toys

we can you could check out typewriters

you could check out

date night kits that have a set of

supplies and a bag

yeah and now hang on before we get to

that notice how she snuck in typewriters

yes you can you can get it

not at all you know you're you're

hearing all these great things about the

library and how it's

modern and it's like but you can check

out a typewriter

i haven't seen a typewriter in 30 years

i have a pink typewriter in my office

and i will tell you kids find

typewriters absolutely fascinating and

they can learn a lot

about mechanics from a typewriter

my daughter was amazed that i could type

a letter even if the electricity went


oh oh so able to tell so you're talking

about the old-school

typewriter yeah oh wow they don't even

make those anymore yeah so what do kids

think when they first see a typewriter

because all i can think of is like that

remember that sign in zoolander when

they say the files are in the computer

and they end up just like banging on it

right chimpanzees

because they can't figure out well my

daughter said where's the cord

where does it plug in i said oh it

doesn't plug in

it's just a machine and and she was

fascinated yeah

well my boy found a vhs tape and brought

it to me

and he said where do i plug the

headphones in to listen to this

so it i totally get that yeah

they they all have that that that's the

way they all look at

all that old ancient technology that we

had that we all thought was modern

well the library really is a place that

or that collects

and organizes information right and

information is coming to us in so many

different forms besides books

so we're collecting and organizing

information in all formats

now do you have any like uh hilariously

funny stories

uh you must have from having worked in

the library for that long there must be

something kind of

um there we found

lots of strange things in the book drop


i i do i'll sort of leave that to your


um i'm gonna guess books yeah

they found books there somebody was

actually checking out books from the

library and left

actually yeah well we have let's see at

our library we have

about 75 000 books

and about 10 000

video recordings dvd format and blu-ray


and about 6 500

audio book formats and those are several

different formats we have books on cd

that we no longer actively collect that

because that form is becoming obsolete

right and then we have the portable mp3s

that i mentioned earlier as well

and and then we have about a thousand

other things

and those would be like the kits i was

talking about the games the puzzles

we have microscopes i mean well we have

a seed library so if you're wanting to

start a garden

you can come get some free seeds from

the library and then you

how do you return the seeds you grow the


and then you collect the seeds and then

you donate those

oh wow yeah and it's good for like local


and it's economical right so so we have

those things for you at the library but

we also have i noticed that you like

beer i've never drank a beer in my

entire life

well this is fake news this is fake news

i have never drank a beer in my entire

life well i'm just waiting excuse me

while i

drink to hear how you can borrow beer

well knowing if she explains to us right

now where we can somehow

borrow beer from the library we're gonna

go ahead and shut the podcast

down and we're going to break in the

library right now and then follow that

with i want to know what's in the date

night kit

okay not beer but

um oh i think they're missing out yeah

see borrow beer but we have had

several um programs that kind of


local uh breweries

so we've had like a pub trivia night

that we host

at a local brewery we've also had an

adult sip and spell like an adult

spelling bee

with beer um where we compete you know

you mean like a drinking game

well it's a spelling bee that sounds

like the politically correct way of

describing because

i know the shepherd and i were playing a

drinking game the first question would

be shepard

how'd you spell dog and you'd be like

bmk give me

give me my beer and we also had

shakespeare in the park where we had

shakespeare trivia

out like out in the park area and um

with beer cool no i i like that now

i i know you're curious about this date

night kid yeah but i want to have a


you know what i i'll let you have this

one but i get the next question

because i'm afraid i'm going to forget

about it because of all this not beer

that i'm drinking well

it's a mistake i think not putting beer

in the date night kit because

i do too because some of the best states

i've been on weren't dates until beer

entered the equation

yeah yeah but yeah we might be able to

we might be able to

teach the librarian something here she's

taught us all this stuff

and if if she can walk away with one

thing put some beer

in the date night kit yeah we do have um

some legal limitations

um but we do have a uh so the date night


are little vinyl bags and then they have


set of sort of themed supplies

that facilitate a date night so one is

called the perfect picnic

and it's a picnic bath first date night

or is this kind of like uh been married

for 20 years

disclaimer that is not available uh but

it has like a picnic

basket it comes in a picnic basket and

then it has

like a wine opener and a little

bluetooth speaker so you can

like put your phone together and like

play romantic music

and then it has like a picnic recipe

book so you can

pick up you know the supplies to make

the perfect picnic

and then it has like some little

conversation cards

and things like puzzles and games so

they're all different

themed we have like a uh

we have the picnic one and we have the

perfect pairing that's like a wine and

cheese one

and we have like a french one and then

classic movie night one all kinds of

you know different things it's just like

for the lazy guy who wants to

which is pretty much every guy we it's

like we plan the date for you

and then you just have to so actually if

i was single this would work out perfect

for me because i'm

cheap and i'm lazy you could take your

wife on a date with this kit

right but but i get it free from the

library right

so this this is right in my wheelhouse

you know i i'm loving this

what i think cheese and wine comes in

the bag i think no you have to buy that

it's got card in there which says go and

buy some cheese and wine oh

no it's the information we give you the


yeah we can't do the date for you right


so so here's my next question

yes do public libraries still

use the dewey decimal system some do

mine does not oh i hate the dewey

decimal system

i don't know who do he is i don't know

who he is but

his name is melville dewey yeah i want

to punch him in the face yeah

i i don't like that i have to dig him up

and i hated having to learn that and i


you and i went to school together we had

to learn the three decimal system we had

the card catalogs and you pull the

little drawers out and you have to

find this goofy way to find a book

because it's actually like a librarian

drinking game

oh oh oh i didn't know about this

tell us about the librarian drinking

game so you tell me a subject

and then i have to give you the dewey

number for that subject

and if i can't do it then i have to know

them off by heart

i know many of them but we haven't used

the dewey system at my library

and i'm not really in cataloging anymore

but i mean i may be a little rusty but i

could probably

give you a general idea if you wanted to

automotive mechanics

629.1 psychosocial kinesiology

i don't know that one oh you got a drink

it would be in the one

like the 150s that's

that's as precise as i can get on that

one simulation theory

i don't know i'll drink my coffee

yeah yeah so so pretty much you want to

play this game with me and not him

yeah as we would wow

well so but we don't use dewey we use

words now okay so how's the label on the

label it says

science technology computers

well yeah but so okay so if you think

about it

you know traditionally i'm going into

the library i said okay

i'm old school i want to go in the

library i want to go find a book

i'm guessing i don't go to a card

catalog anymore i'm probably going to a


friendly librarian or the friendly

librarian but but let's pre

let's pretend for a minute that you know

i'm an introvert and

i don't want to talk to anybody i go up

to this computer terminal

i search the book that i want and

of course in the old dewey decimal

system it's like oh it's

this and then you start finding the

shelves how do you find a book now

well it'll say call number and then it

will say

science technology computers

so you look for the wall sign that says


and then the shelf edge sign that says

computers and then the

individual shelf that our technology and

then the individual shelf that says


gotcha yeah so it's just it's just a

words instead of numbers

but but there is still libraries that

uses the dewey decimal system and i

would like to say that

some library collections are so large


at the level of precision that something

like dewey or

library of congress would provide is

much more appropriate for a collection

that large

um but we're a smaller library so it's

more like a book

store so do most school libraries

do they adopt the same way you're doing

it or are they still going the whole

dewey route

sorry i can't say um i don't i'm not

yeah yeah that's one of those


kind of meetings they have that they say

hey we don't we don't want to let the

general public know how we organize


yeah this is why they won't let us into

the book collection at the vatican

i never thought about it that way yeah

because we've applied like three times

yeah and i

wouldn't let you anymore under different

names as well yeah yeah

well the names we used were were

probably dead giveaways oh yeah

a little bit archbishop o'reilly yeah

you know

well you mentioned quizzes earlier and i

did put together a quiz for you

okay normally i ask the shepherd the

questions that is true

thank goodness you are not asking me any

of these questions well no

i i just like to say i was not told

that there would be a test oh i i'm

never told

either but he always asked me questions

and and i think i'm

one for uh 145 now

so none oh i'm zero for 145 yeah all


you are going to outdo me on this kelly

i i can guarantee you well actually i'm

going to ask the shepherd the question

first because there's no chance it's

going to get them right then i'm going

to ask you because otherwise it's going

to ruin the fun if you know all the

answers and then

someone needs to learn and and and so

this is typically how this goes right so

here we go okay

question number one to the shepherd


what is the oldest known library in the


the library of alexandria no

i disagree i don't believe you when do

you think the library of alexandria i

don't know

well uh ask her now i'm asking you first

because you've seen correct answer

anyway so you might as well have a

rough guess that is also wrong i don't

know maybe some

the old jewish library but i thought it

was the library of

alexandria but that's what i thought

oh oh now all of a sudden we had the

same answer but

but you make me look stupid okay well

let's ask kelly well

um i think that it kind of depends on

what your

definition of a library is or or what

source you're consulting

i probably would have said alexandria as


well apparently according to the first

result i got

back from the internet and i didn't look

any further so this might be absolute

bull is the library of asha

banipal located in nineveh in modern-day


and it's been there since 7 bc wow

but it might be the one which still

maybe this still exists whereas the one

one in alexandria does well once again

we'll just chalk that up to our

wonderful research team

which is you when you're half tired i

had eight minutes

you should hire a librarian yeah

actually we should

yeah but we can't afford that because we

spend all our money on beer

yeah and plus we're saving up for an

xbox series x so

yeah but only use well you know most

most public libraries do have email and

phone reference and you could just

email them these questions and they'd

email you back the answer

yeah but we're not okay we don't really

care just gonna throw it out there

right shepard what is the country with

the most libraries

and how many exactly are there in that

guy oh

god you know i hate you uh

i'm gonna go with italy no

see how much he loves me i've got four

four countries down here all with

figures and if you came up with

any of these countries i'd give you half

a point

oh okay so italy's not even in

none of those


okay so since there's four countries i

get four guesses so

so italy i missed i'm gonna go with


no well that figures because you're


uh i'm gonna go with the united states

yeah that's what i would have guessed

yeah that makes sense

and so my fourth guess would be india

good guess ah okay

okay so so now i helped you because

because i gave you india in the united

states so you gotta guess the other two

in my choices as well i think italy is

too small of a country to have

many ah but there's a lot of population

in india

no italy oh italy yeah yeah but

i was going to guess china yes

and russia

yes exactly right so in india there are


000 libraries in russia 46

000 china 51 000 but in the united

states there are 117

000 institutions

and texas has more libraries of course

than any other state as well

well that's because texas is the

greatest state in the union

but i did i did read something earlier


carnegie actually started a lot of the

first public library andrew carnegie yes

he had a program of um

sort of like grant matching he pledged

large sums of monies to public libraries

but he made municipalities match

the contribution so that the communities

themselves were invested in the public

library so

yes we do owe a great debt to andrew

carnegie for his public library support


all right question number three uh

shepard how many books are there in the

library of congress

more than nine

more than nine million or more just more

than nine more than nine all right

no uh i'm i'm gonna say

gosh the library of congress ah


15 million books no no

okay i really don't have any ideas

oh you've got a guess so i'm going to

guess like the price is right

but with nothing to win i'm going to

guess 2 million

170 million wow that's a lot of stuff

sucked to that one yeah and and

kelly earlier said there's this

different deal

other than the dewey decimal system and

it's probably because they have like

170 million books because you know yes

and that that

classification system is very complex i

don't really even understand it okay

shepard what is the best-selling book of

all time this should be an easy one the

holy bible

yes and do you know how many copies have

been sold since it first hit the

printing press

more than nine yep uh

wow are we talking about like gutenberg


when you know that was the first

book that was first printed yeah so so


that was 1440 right when gutenberg

invented the printing press so we're

talking about 1440

on from that how many copies of the


yeah you're stolen well that's a huge


it must be but you know what i wonder i

wonder if it's

more than the number of big macs that

have been sold

oh oh look at the curve ball in the

library oh look at you reaching over for

your phone now i still need your guess

first yeah i know it's going to take me

a while

no which is bigger no that that's that's

a great

correlation i i'm gonna say number of

copies of the holy bible that have been

sold since

1440 or printed

you didn't say sold you said printed uh

one billion one billion there must be

more than no

kelly i would say at 100 billion

do you know how many people there are in

the world six billion

what you think they all have like 18

copies each

but well let's be honest i mean i i

probably got

six or seven bibles at my house but

there are only about 600 people in 14.

fair enough no five billion have been

sold five billion five billion

how many big macs 550 million

oh okay so no way but good correlation

good correlations each year oh

now i'm going to put you on the spot


how many more questions but but let's

one more question okay

this one right but but let's be honest

that was a softball question

yeah what's the second most

book because because the the number one

it it's obvious it's the bible what's

the second most book

kelly i mean even kelly kelly you knew

that the bible was going to be number

one that was pretty easy i mean the

number though i would have not

really had because i always heard a long

time ago it was don quixote

well but i don't know if that's true

because you've got a lot of language

yeah but you've got a lot of muslims i

mean why wouldn't the koran be up there

or anything but i always heard don

quixote was number two

maybe the da vinci code nah

not number two of all time you gotta

remember of all time

oh well we're talking about religious


yeah look at him go

look at him go on his phone so do we

have the number two book

we do quotations from the

works of motzi tongue came in second

with 820 million

yes and then and then oh you're never

gonna guess number three

i don't know uh the cat in the hat by dr


uh harry potter oh you're kidding no

hundred million copies yeah the first

harry potter should have guessed that

yeah yeah oh oh oh can i ask a trivia

question not to the last ones though no


no no my turn so in england

the first harry potter book

philosopher's stone come on challenge me


please i was trying to be smart there


i answered it before you asked it most

popular genre of book gay

asian disco that's number four oh number

four okay

no no no hang on most most popular genre

of book i would have well okay

well women read more than men so i'm

gonna say romance

yeah it is romance yeah

i was gonna say i think i did okay on

that quiz but she interrupted me

she interrupted me i was gonna say

romance i i promise you you already gave

your first answer

joke or no you answered you both did

great both of you got the question about

the oldest library in the world

wrong uh neither of you knew i got

all four of those i got all four of them

nobody knew how many books in the

library of congress yeah i didn't

know how many copies of the bible had

been sold but you didn't know the most

popular genre so yeah but i was

i got all four countries for the most


yeah i i was too focused on the little

book of secrets

in the library of congress that nicholas

i should have gotten that harry potter

question though for sure well that

wasn't really a question though i can't

believe that's number three yeah

that's crazy yeah now um

i'm gonna let you take this topic

because we've gone like i don't know how

long now into this podcast and you still


used the phrase in the age of covid so


true so i know you've got some questions

to ask about closing that that that is

my deal yes yes

so if it has changed libraries yes

that's that's true

is this my softball approach so yeah so


in the age of coven yes how has that

changed the

public library it has um turned us

on end i would say um we

closed our doors to public visitors

on in the middle of march however we


open with our drive through windows so

we never

shut down we were always available and

able to serve people

how does the drive through window work

at a library um the drive through window

is just like a pickup location so when

you place a hold

at the library you can choose to pick it

up at the library or you can choose to

pick it up at the pickup window so you

gotta kind of pre-register for that then

right you can't show up to the

drive-through window and say you know


i i'm thinking about a book on this can

you help me find it and spend 30 minutes

in the drive-through

so what we do when someone does that is

we ask them if they would please

just pull over and park and phone a

librarian and then the librarian can go

pull what they need and so this is

typically like a 75 to 80 year old man

and a prius it can be confused

it can be or it can be a mom with you

know three

900 kids in your minivan yeah

now do you think it's going to change

the way libraries operate in the future

is there anything which come out of this

yes actually so when we uh

my library uh last year offered 880

public programs in one year so um we do

a lot of programming

and when we were not able to do any of

that programming in person we had to


ways to do it either online

through a virtual platform outside

or in a takeaway format so

um i can see a lot of our

formats changing maybe like schools have


we may have more online options we may

also have more hybrid programs

um we've been doing our book clubs

virtually and i can see

maybe us meeting in a room in person but


having people come in through zoom to

join if they're not able to come to the


yeah so and it also i think has really

challenged um librarians to be more


and deliver things in new ways

i started a youtube channel during covid

for the library

and we were able to deliver our story

times and our yoga story times online

and then we do a lot of takeaway

programming where we put together kits

that you pick up

and then they have links to the

instructional videos um

for to help you sort of complete the

craft or the project or the learning

activity or whatever that might be

so one of the questions that one of our


put in was why doesn't the public

library turn into

almost like a warehouse like an amazon

or the old school netflix where you have

a queue

and you say here's the books i want to

check out send me this book through the


when i'm done i'm going to put it back

in my return envelope

ship it back to the library and send me

the next book we do

have some services that sort of resemble

that the one i can think of right now

is the texas talking books program for

people with

um visual impairment they are

mailed the types of books that they like

on a pre-recorded device that's sort of

easy to use if you don't

have site or if you have limited site

and then they mail them back

and then they get new ones we do things

that are kind of similar we do we do

curated like

book bundles or book boxes where you

fill out a google form about your

interests and then we recommend

you know oh like the stitch fix where i

don't know how to dress myself

so send me clothes i don't know what i

want to read but these are books that

i've liked

and we can we can package something

similar together

now the reason i asked that question in

like how do i

sorry how do you think it will change

libraries in the future is because in a

lot of industries

after they've been shut down or limited

uh opportunities to use them for so long

that people have got used to the new way

of doing things just like um

you know more people have said during

questionnaires that they're going to be


delivery far more in the future than

they used to actually go out

to restaurants and the same thing with

the home meal delivery services

a ton more of those have popped up um

and have become very very popular and i

wondered if some people

kind of realized or made that the ones

who were on the cusp

made that switch from you know what i

can do without books i can just purely

move to

ebooks or you know well they can still

use the library for ebooks

and i will say that our digital


the the number of um digital visits

we've had

has tripled since covid so

we're still going to be good for that

but we've also got

some new users right who were stuck

at home and didn't have some access to

so many things to entertain them and

they've started using the library as a

result of that these are people without

the internet

no but they're not using us for the

internet but you also you can check out

the internet from the library i forgot

to mention that we have

hotspot devices that you can just check

out the internet and connect five

different devices

i meant that question kind of

tongue-in-cheek because if i was looking

for a book online and i didn't really

have an exact idea of what i wanted i

probably wouldn't

look for very long but if i go in like

barnes and noble or somewhere i mean i

can spend like an hour or

longer you know looking around because

they see books they wouldn't normally

see that wouldn't

come in front of my face and you know i

can spend a long time in there

and so when i said you know people

without internet it's because

you know even though we have the

internet it's never like i make a search

for books unless it's a

specific book yeah there's no browser

and i wish i had like two thousand

dollars to spend on books

some of our platforms are kind of set up

for browsing

um they're pretty attractive and you see

the photo of the cover

yeah and there's a little blurb about it

so there's like

i think some attention being paid to

making the virtual platform more


yeah um so maybe that's happening but

but yeah and that's part of the reason

we stopped doing dewey because this

bookstore organization

and um the physical layout of our

shelves resembles the bookstore

which encourages browsing and lots of

like front face books for display

so yeah i think that we're

we'll be like businesses in the sense

that we're modifying our service model

to kind of meet people where they are

and um i i think that i don't think

we're going to lose

users now does the whole library smell

of disinfectant at the moment do you

have to like do it like three four times

a day just go around she's gonna kill me

and we have someone who works at our

at our uh office or one of our office

administrators we call her lysol liz


she just has the lysol and she just

yeah it does smell like lysol a lot and

you have to wear a mask like

all the time yeah we do have to wear a

mask um

in the public sector of the building and

that's by

executive order of the governor right

sure okay yeah

now um you did a trade on this a little

bit in terms of

why libraries don't use that model of

mailing out books like you know netflix

and blockbuster used to do with dvds and


right and given you know the library has

moved to this

fine free environment is there any

reason that you can think of why that


maybe be a good idea i mean well

um sure there's probably disadvantages

to any

service model that you adopt but it

could potentially

um increase the wait time for popular


right um but we've kind of found that it

really hasn't

um i think that

borrowers are more courteous than

people may assume that they would be

right um

we have you know really expensive items

that we check out we check out american

girl dolls you know those are like

hundred and fifty dollar dolls

and and the the people treat them with a

great deal of respect i mean it's not to

say that we don't occasionally have

you know damage and loss or just wear

from use

but most people are really respectful

and most people offer to pay for things

that they damage or lose

and then we then we replace it um but if

you if you still look at it as you know

cost per use

it's a really good return on investment

on your tax dollar

i think if my son borrowed one of those

dolls that would come back looking like

chucky or something yeah

yeah exactly i i they're not going to

love me anything

you know i i i think i've already broke

like three things during this podcast

and they're things we own uh so

kelly if if you were going to tell

somebody that

let's say didn't have kids you know we

have stuff for you too

you know you don't have kids but you

know you're paying your taxes in the

city for this

public library and then you have these

elections that come up for the library

bonds or whatever

and most people think oh it's just this

place full of books or whatever

if if you could have your platform which

you have

right now and explain to somebody why

the public library in a municipality is


what would you say i would say that


have the power to um increase the

quality of life in a community

we provide

language and literacy training we have

job skills classes we support

the independent school district which

even if you don't have

kids um your property values can be

affected by how good the school district

in your area

is um and

the library is really our brand at the

keller library our tagline is that we

have something for everyone

and we really do and if we don't have

something for you then we are

truly interested in acquiring it we want

to know what it is

that you would like to see in your

library and we want to get that for you


so so you're open to input all the time

we love

input do you find that there's unless

it's to

put beer and stuff

sorry see i i i was so close i was so

close there but not anything

but but but do you usually can't meet

every need right but

but do you find that there's a lack of


i think that marketing is our biggest

challenge because so many people just

really don't

know all of the amazing things that we

have to offer

and um you know in some sense our


are google and amazon and netflix

and all of these other high-tech

companies um

but you know what i think it's important

to remember is that those companies

they're invested in making a profit

sure um and and maybe using your


in the way that a public library isn't

so they have you know invested millions

of marketing dollars in

into so many different media outlets and

it's hard to compete with those

especially in a community that's really

connected to the internet like like our

community is i think we have

97 connectivity in keller that's good

yeah that is good and um having a good


just makes it even better makes makes

your community even better

now i just actually thought of this

question um

in this kind of major thing time of a

cancel culture

yes do you have have you had any books

which you've instructed that either you

have to remove

or that you have all that you have to

put a sticker on there to say warning

this was written when people were really

racist and like mean and stuff

like the cat mat yeah yeah the cat so

um the american library association

which is the professional organization

that most librarians belong to and sort


kind of sets the standard for our

profession yeah

um we have a lot of uh

information in our code of ethics about

um what censorship means

and labeling something or discarding

something because of an author's

religion political beliefs or anything

you know race a sexual orientation

is considered an ethical violation of

that or or the fact

they were born in england yes

and so while we have collection

development policies

and deselection policies that guide our


um we try our very best not to let our


uh beliefs or opinions about

subject matter or people involved with a


affect those decisions yeah we're

supposed to make the decision based


on our selection criteria which include

things like

is it valuable to our culture is it

recent is it current is it accurate

things like that now you're concerned

that will get

worse as time goes on that more and more

stuff will be

either taken out of circulation or

you'll have to keep putting these

stickers that

you know the the science in this book is

unproven you know

please take it face value this is just a

research well

with things like science so we have


criteria in our policy that says science

books that are older than five years we

should not keep

as our institution now if we were like a

university library

it might be useful for people to be able

to to research the historical

development of certain scientific


but like as a public library where

people are going to get general science

information we make a point that our

information is

current information but i mean obviously

that doesn't pertain to something like

social sciences something like

philosophy or

something like that yeah and we don't

label anything but what about something

like geology or archaeology like that i


obviously those things don't necessarily

go out a day because a lot of them right

yeah we have different criteria for

different subjects right

okay okay now um i did read

i think a couple of weeks ago that they

were looking to come up with an

algorithm that would search

all of the online books for things which

i guess need to be cancelled or struck

out of books and actually for

a lot of the electronic versions of

those books they were actually going to


that content because they uh whoever is

doing this research into what i mean

like you know you have on like social

media or the fact checkers supposedly

independent but never independent

that there is um

just this i guess assumption that

if people uh ill-informed from an early

age they tend to carry that on and look

for the confirmation bias through their


or develop cognitive dissonance if

somebody corrects them on that

thing that they've known and so it's a

lot harder to re-educate somebody to the


because they stick with that kind of

idea so they're looking to get

especially with children using more

ebooks and stuff

that they actually you know rather than

completely getting rid of the actual


rewrite parts of that book or put in

those notes that

this was a different time i could say

that um

to my as far as my experience goes

i cannot see any information


advocating that practice at all

yeah yeah um our commitment first and


is um access to information yeah and

we try not to limit anyone's access

yeah in any way because the freedom to

read statement

that was written by the american library

association and the library bill of


states that everyone has the right

to access the information they want to

act and i think that

most librarians work really hard

to make sure that people get the

information they would like to have

but you'd figure that would also spread

to i guess the definition of media

whether it be movie

or you know songs and i mean you know

you take

baby it's cold outside being banned from

radio play but then immediately followed


cardi b's you know w.a.p right it's like

you know which one's more harmful i mean

nobody's gonna listen to baby it's cold

outside and go out on a raping spree

but somebody somewhere decided almost

unilaterally i'm sure

because i doubt they had too many people

writing in saying oh this song which is

however many decades old you know

well maybe they hated will ferrell well

i'm like but

yeah i'm sure from the movie i mean they

said they did

yeah they didn't sing that so so i have

a question yeah uh

not the current librarian of congress

but who was the librarian of congress


the current one i don't know do you know

no oh was it a woman i i went now it

wasn't a woman then

james billington oh

are you related oh here come the

billingtons again

you know we we killed the first person

in america

and then we ran the biggest library well

no he was the first murderer he didn't

kill the first person in america

well yeah fair enough

but he was the first guy that got caught

in and

yeah that sounds pretty much like my

family true crime 364.15

23. oh look look at her go yeah look at

her go but

that's my favorite no my father was in

uh dc and met james billington

library of congress years ago when uh he

was up there on a

faa trip my father worked for the


and got to sit down with james

billington library congress and

of course you know james billington's

like i don't get to see that many

billingtons that much

and told me a story about james


sitting down with the queen of england

and the queen of england had dinner with

james billington

and some billingtons from over in


and the queen said i never thought i

would have two billingtons at the same


i'm a little bit scared and it

pretty much explains my family

so you know that that's my library story

but i think james died i don't know a

couple years ago or whatever but he was

a librarian of congress for years

when i was james well that was my career

goal i wanted to be the first

female librarian of congress so so i

didn't make it

yeah but but how how big of a deal is

that i mean i don't even know

why is it such a big deal to be the

librarian of congress

it's like the top librarian in the


ah so it's it it's a little bit better

than the

woman in ghostbusters that get scared

i don't oh yeah okay

170 million books yeah that's a lot of

that's a lot of books to be in charge of

yeah yeah now i have one final question


um do you think that many small

libraries with local government cuts


close over the next do you think that or

do you think they'll always be funded

and soon as a priority to educate

the community or are they going to be

like you know what we don't even

need to be spending money on this you

know people can go online they can

download a book we don't need to have a

physical building and maybe

some libraries might literally switch to

purely online

funding is always a concern for public

libraries and

unfortunately um libraries

and recreation departments are often the

first to

see the cuts when the cuts happen

but it is and um

honestly i think in in keller i think


um if you do the math about the library

budget and

and the number of households it comes

out to about forty dollars per year per


and um i think that we really give

people a great

return on that investment sure that's


two books no no that's extremely

cheap yeah i mean we make waste more


at forty dollars a household a year that


much better than what the library can


are not very expensive to run um

they're you know they often have the

smaller budgets

um in city government departments um and

i think that they are a great value

um for very little investment so i sure

hope that's not the case

it is part of the problem though that

the library's not a revenue

gathering stream so it's it's easy to

put at the bottom of the spreadsheet and

say you know what they're not bringing

in a bunch of money

so they're exactly so

so they're always at the bottom of the

spreadsheet of saying

you know here's our expenses here's our


libraries down here zero income lots of


and we gotta cut something unfortunately


they aren't very expensive to run so

a lot of times people will recognize

that and say it's you know if you

compare it to

for instance how much it costs to run a

fire department or a police department

i mean with the vehicles and the um

salaries involved with that i mean

that's just

like 100 times more expensive to run


sure so i think a lot of a lot of

city councils and a lot of government

officials realize

that for very little

investment they can get a really big

return so

i haven't seen many libraries close i

have seen some limited services and

some like furlough of employees but

i i do hope that um

that doesn't become common practice no

we don't either i mean we walked into

this saying why do we need public

libraries we

we have iphones uh we have access to all

this information

and now i learned all this stuff i can

get from the library that

i didn't know about but if you can

what's important to add to that is you

also have an information professional

who can help you find information

that meets like really specific criteria

right because

the library does purchase a lot of stuff

that you can't get on the internet so

like scholarly

publications you know access to online

periodicals that aren't free on the

internet well it's the same argument


webmd there's a reason you go to the

doctor because you don't just put your

symptoms into webmd and say

i'm coughing and my toe hurts oh i have

pancreatic cancer i'm going to die

tomorrow because that's

what most people do i always use women

well i know

and and that's why you're dying of

pancreatic cancer

so it kelly if you were the librarian of


and congress brings you up right now and


you know what kelly we need you to tell


what we have to do to get libraries more

in the public eye

everybody understanding all these new


that libraries do and you have

one minute what would you say

the first thing that i think i would

probably do is i would start

uh issuing library cards at birth just

give them a library card as soon as

they're born

and get them into the library asap

um because that's kind of where we we

develop and like get

lifelong users is the kids that sort of

grow up at the library

because it becomes part of the habit and

then they they see

as they mature and they get a little

older like all of the different things

the library can have to offer them so

that would be the

first order of business library card at


i'm pretty sure they could do that

without chip which is going to be in the


19 but yeah that's probably true i i


going to the old keller public library

on taylor street

yep on taylor street and i'm pretty sure

knowing my mom she has my original

library card

metal plate and everything oh yeah yeah

yeah i had that uh it was important and

i remember that

that was an important trip it was uh

about every three weeks yeah you know

yeah you twenty one day loan that's what

it is yeah

it in walk around and did you know that


building is a is a bookstore now for the

friends of the keller library

so all of our old books that we don't

have room for anymore that we've gotten

rid of or donations

that we can't use in our collection they

go there and they sell them for you know

a pretty good deal and then all of that

money comes back to the library to fund

special projects okay

so that's something that just kind of

entered my mind so let's say you've got

somebody that's an

avid reader right and they've got all

these books in their house

and they watch too many of those shows


you know they say hey you got to clean

out your house and now they've got all

these books

yeah yeah there it is marie condo yeah i

couldn't think of her name thank you for


see this is why you need a librarian

because you can't remember all this


right exactly so

i i remember taking a big box of books

to half price books and they're like

it's worse than gamestop it's like oh

there's 200 books here will give you 17

bucks i'm like

you know what no i'd rather donate those

so as a librarian if you got a bunch of

books laying around

that you you've already read you're not

going to read again

maybe you know it's a bunch of

children's books and your kids are older

what do you do with books that you got

laying around the house

well unfortunately

we are at a stage and a lot of libraries


where they we don't have a lot of shelf


available so um a lot of times

we can't use books that people donate

of course if the books that they're

donating are in really good condition

and they're fairly current

we could use those but if they're older

or if they're worn or kind of slightly


they may look for organizations like

friend like local friends of the library


um there are also recycling

organizations um

and we you know half price books is an

option too

but if you have something that's that's

newer and in good shape you could check

with your library about that

okay yeah got you well

you have anything else uh over there

speaking the queen's english and

you know no i didn't know are you going

to come to the library now well actually

now you've got so much stuff in there

i think i might actually take a visit

and look around

you know what i haven't been to the

keller library in

so long well i personally invite you to

visit another library

i would love to come so so uh

as we wrap up tell us about

the hours of the keller library how to

find you on social media how to find the

keller library on social media all that

good stuff

so the keller library is open seven days

per week we're open monday through


ten to six and on the weekends we're

open from twelve to five

we have a drive-through window if you

call ahead and you want your books

held for you at the drive-in window you

don't even have to get out of your car

just drive up but all of this great

resource information is available on the

keller library's website which is

library we're also on facebook

and twitter and insta and all those

things if you just

and youtube if you just type in keller

public library

you'll be able to find us we're not the

one in dexter missouri there's one in

dexter missouri that's not us

wow we're the one in keller texas yeah

so occasionally we do get phone calls

about some programs that are happening

in missouri

that we can't help people with but see

not on tick tock then

we are not on tick tock good for you

i thought you'd be dancing in the

dinosaur uniform on tick-tock i thought

that's why you might have it like a

youtube channel for

sure sorry about the top channel me

neither i can't

get with it i can't either just like

instagram reels i can't get with that

yeah well let's let's be honest

i i've seen your secret channel where

you're doing the dances on

instagram reels but i'm not supposed to

say that i'm sorry about that

so uh thank you for joining us for this

episode of the wolf and the shepherd

and we'll see you next time


Kelly Holt