Houston Independent School District has Empty Libraries

One of the largest school districts in the nation is making the wrong kind of headlines. A number of its libraries have empty shelves, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be changing soon.

The district is strapped for money just like most public school districts around the country. But recently the district invested in classroom libraries to give students greater access to the books they need to be reading. But classroom libraries should not be taking items from regular libraries in middle and high schools. A classroom library is typically a bookshelf. That’s not a library of anything.

My problem with this is it sounds like the district aimed to do something without much of a plan. And now thousands of students are forced to enter libraries every single day that don’t even have the one resource most of us have come to associate with them: books.

To add insult to injury, the school district has a tax proposition on the ballot this year that would send more than $1 billion to the state from the district over the next few years.

Have you EVER walked into a library with bare, empty shelves? I haven’t. These Houston kids aren’t getting a fair educational experience at the moment. And now voters could potentially make it worse by not being aware of the impact of HISD Proposition 1. The whole thing is on the verge of spiraling out of control.

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Firsts

We experience a lot of firsts throughout our lives. First day of school. First day living on your own. First child. First time on a plane. First trip to Disney World. First house. The list could go on forever.

Today I get to experience my third first day working for a new company. I imagine it’ll go exactly how I expect. The company has a great atmosphere and the people I’ve met have been great. So, here’s to something new!

*raises metaphorical glass*

What’s your most memorable first? I remember a few of my own if you’re interested!

Paul Beatty Makes History After Winning Man Booker Prize

Paul Beatty has been awarded the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sellout. He becomes the first American to win the award. His book is described as a satire for racial politics in the United Stares, which makes it completely relevant.

The character in the story aims to embrace his African-American identity by bringing back slavery and segregation. Yes. You’re reading that correctly. It sounds like something that would likely make people uncomfortable, but I’m seeing critics compare him to Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain. I mean, that has to count for something.

Congratulations, Mr.Beatty – mostly for writing the book you sought to write.

Have you happened to read this book? Interested in checking it out now?

YES!

Most of you all know I haven’t been working full-time since quitting my job at HPB. I can finally say that’s no longer the case. Yesterday I received two offers and accepted the one I felt was a better fit. It’s something different that I previously had never seen myself doing. But now I’m looking to take advantage of the opportunity given to me. It’ll be a challenge and there will be a bit of a learning curve, but I’m confident in my future success.
It took three months and more applications than I can count, but now I can say I’m starting a new chapter in this game we call life. 

Texas got it Wrong

I’m writing this as I’m lying here getting ready for bed. I’m reading news articles on a number of topics. I just read one on the terrible job the Colts’ GM has done during his time at the helm, and that one was followed up by an article on books recently banned by Texas prisons.

Langston Hughes. Bob Dole. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Sojourner Truth. What do they all have in common? They’re all banned authors in Texas prisons. What does one even say to that?

There’s more. David Duke and Adolf Hitler are NOT banned. I’m not sure I’ve really put too much thought into this particular topic, but I have to say this is why books shouldn’t be banned at all. We have this big thing in September every year celebrating banned books, but when books are banned from state prisons they are actually banned. Not challenged. Not complained about by parents. BANNED. And then we’re faced with books we think should be banned that somehow get skipped over.

After giving the idea of banning particular books from prisons some thought, I can’t say I’m in favor of banning any. I know some would argue against books that could incite violence or some that deal with topics in a manner that is no longer accepted by society, but TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) should be more concerned about getting the prison population down to a reasonable level so that prisons aren’t operating well over capacity instead of banning 15,000 books from the system. The system needs more from its leadership.

What do you think of Langston Hughes, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sojourner Truth, and Bob Dole being banned from state prisons? Does that sound like a good use of time? Does it sound reasonable?

Answer a Question and win big

There’s a new literary prize in town, and it’s offering a nice prize. The concept is simple. You answer a question and submit a proposal on how you’d expand your answer into a short book. The winner receives $100,000 and a publishing deal. Not bad, right?

So, here’s your chance. Answer the following question, “Are digital technologies making politics impossible?”

Send your response to ninedotsprize.org and prepare for the win!

You could also be funny and just say yes or no, though I wouldn’t recommend doing so. 😂

The inaugural prize will be awarded in January. 

Knock Knock, Mr. Dylan

Remember just last week when I told you that Bob Dylan had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature? Turns out there was some monkey business going on.

The Nobel Committee, as one would expect, immediately made attempts to get in contact with the newest laureate. But for nearly a week Bob Dylan would not return calls or acknowledge the award. Why? Why would someone do that? The Nobel Committee shouldn’t have to hire bounty hunters and private investigators to make sure a laureate is alive and well.

I still say he shouldn’t have been under consideration. His actions over the last week do nothing to change that.