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Early August 2010
Water conservation reminder; Always on Spotlight - Unclaimed property search; General Plan approved; Preservation Minute - Historical Downtown Buildings; Development Services Office now open; 5k for Clay and Recreation registration.
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  • Pre-owned and priceless

    Some museum curators travel the globe to acquire items of significance.  A more budget-friendly strategy:  pick up the phone and graciously accept when, out of the blue, a caller offers to donate and deliver something exceptional.  Actually, that’s the only approach if your institution operates on almost no budget with a part-time staff of one. 

    That’s my mom.  The artifact just acquired by the Fannin County Museum of History: a custom hand-tooled saddle that belonged to famed cowboy photographer Erwin E. Smith, she reported last week.  (FCM, incidentally, honors another local boy-- electric guitar pioneer Charlie Christian.)  

    The donation sounded beautiful and impressive, but I did wonder if a photograph or something documented its belonging to Smith.  Should I ask about provenance? I worried---just as Mom’s excited description continued with “…and along the edge, Mr. Smith’s name embossed in big letters.”  Provenance—check!

    For our Antiques Roadshow-viewing household, ownership history creates the most rewarding moments: handwritten notes evidencing humor or kindness, furniture fakes attesting to trusting natures, photographs demonstrating how far back in time a necklace was worn—or how proudly a uniform was displayed in the subject’s last portrait in this life. 

    With some discoveries come jaw-dropping insurance valuations that prove how documentation translates into dollars.  No wonder readers seeking books about art and museum treasures so often find them cataloged with the terms “forgeries” or “theft”.  

    And what were the odds that I’d discover two books with “heist” in the title side by side on the Large Print shelf?  Molly Caldwell Crosby’s The Great Pearl Heist (one reviewer called it “a gem”) is a true-crime delight, recounting the 1913 theft in London of a strand of perfectly matched pink pearls valued at “twice the price of the Hope Diamond.”  (Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, stolen in 1911, was returned to the Louvre that same year.)   Ulrich Boser’s The Gardner Heist addresses the $500 million dollar theft from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (“one of history’s greatest unsolved mysteries”) that included Rembrandt’s only seascape.

    In contrast to these nonfiction accounts of thieves fully cognizant of their targets’ provenance, the library’s New Fiction shelf offers Sonya Cobb’s The Objects of Her Affection, imagining a museum curator’s wife in need of some quick cash to fend off mortgage foreclosure.  Spying a cart of miscellaneous museum donations unguarded (thus, she thinks, of no particular value) she guesses that a couple of them wouldn’t be missed…

    Susan Vreeland’s new Lisette’s List portrays a small art collection lovingly displayed in a humble French home, affording their owner comfort and inspiration but attracting covetous attention from occupying German forces.    Viewed alternately as trophies for Hitler and family heirlooms, the paintings act as great characters do--inspiring schemes, radiating hope, embodying unique viewpoints.  

    Historical fiction fans and readers who savored the artistic insights in Vreeland’s Girl in Hyacinth Blue and Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring will love this novel.  The story attests to the life-affirming power of art, and, with Vreeland’s name on it, carries a solid provenance.

    Posted to Reader's Exchange (Library) by Linda Sappenfield on 10-24-2014 | with no comments
  • Fall is Here--You Can Water Less!

    Now that we're officially into Fall and we've been enjoying the cooler temperatures; it's time to reduce the watering times on your irrigation controllers. With less evaporation occurring, the landscape doesn't need to be watered as often as during the summer months. My general rule of... MORE»
  • That ship has sailed. Hope there were books aboard...

    Did you celebrate New Year’s last week? Beginning October 1, City of Round Rock is operating in fiscal year 2014-15. Friends of the Round Rock Public Library hosted a clever “End of Fiscal Year” event on September 30 for staffers with homemade goodies, non-alcoholic fruit "champagne" in glamorous... MORE»
    Posted to Reader's Exchange (Library) by Linda Sappenfield on 10-08-2014 | with no comments
  • Catch the rain before it's gone!

    Once again, the huge amount of rains in the last weeks have made me think a lot about how to take more advantage of rainwater, or really, just collect more. Which leads me to a question I was asked once that was along the lines of "I feel like I should be collecting rainwater, but don't have... MORE»
  • Feeling listless?

    Which of these is the wrong answer to a reference question? A. You're kidding, right? B. Sorry, no can do. C. Ummmmm.... D. All of the above I did use "C" recently--following up, thankfully, with useful information. A customer I'd assisted weeks ago with "readalike" suggestions... MORE»
    Posted to Reader's Exchange (Library) by Linda Sappenfield on 09-23-2014 | with no comments
  • That's the spirit

    This happened before Youtube and smartphones; otherwise the moment would have inevitably been shared: we're among a summertime gaggle of tourists entering the Alamo--pausing inside the threshold to consider worn, hand-fashioned walls scarred by history. A visitor farther back in line surveys the... MORE»
    Posted to Reader's Exchange (Library) by Linda Sappenfield on 09-05-2014 | with no comments
  • Rain Barrel Sale Going on Now

    The City's Water Conservation Program is having a rain barrel sale! The barrels being sold are being supplied from a different company than the last sales. These barrels are made in Austin, so a little more local. Available for this event are three different sizes (capacity) of barrels and a rainspout... MORE»
  • Do I Have a Water Leak?

    During the hottest parts of the year the phone calls increase with concerns from people asking if they have a water leak, or maybe their neighbor is using their water to fill up their pool. There's just no way they had used that much water this past month. Or the meter reader must have read the meter... MORE»
  • Travel essentials: cheese, diamonds, someone to watch your back

    At the Reference Desk, fear of disappointing our customers should we not possess (or can't for some reason retrieve) the information they seek is ever present. But last Friday a library patron was let down when I did know something. Appreciating the wonderfully illustrated article received via email... MORE»
    Posted to Reader's Exchange (Library) by Linda Sappenfield on 08-15-2014 | with no comments
  • Smart Irrigation Month, part 4

    While it's technically NOT Smart Irrigation Month any more, I wanted to make sure I got this last part of the series out to you, it's probably the most important of the bunch. I'm referring to efficient scheduling of the irrigation system, based on the amount of sunlight in your yard, the... MORE»
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