Library Juice 2:45 - November 24, 1999


1. Article asks, Do facts belong to everyone?
3. SRRT's web pages have a new location.
4. Queer librarians: lists and directories
5. Karnak
6. Holt Labor Library
7. _Print Culture in a Diverse America_ Wins 1999 Carey McWilliams Award
8. Ann Symons wins Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award
9. Social and Economic Implications of Information Technologies
10. PLG members to rally in Seattle
11. AlterNet up-to-the-minute WTO coverage
12. Daily satellite down-link from Seattle
13. Corning Area Public Library, NY, to close
14. Independent Press Allies in Libraries
15. Hungersite
16. RAL - Discussion list for Russian speaking librarians
17. Five for Thanksgiving
18. Vegetarian Kitchen
19. American Indians and the Natural World
20. "Human Interest" in the Public Library

Quote for the week:

"To morrow being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for public
Thanksgiving and Praise; and duty calling us devoutely to express our
grateful acknowledgements to God for the manifold blessings he has granted
us.  The General directs that the army remain in it's present quarters,
and that the Chaplains perform divine service with their several Corps and
brigades.  And earnestly exhorts, all officers and soldiers, whose absence
is not indispensibly necessary, to attend with reverence the solemnities
of the day."

-General George Washington, letter to his regimental commanders,
December 17, 1777 (Quoted in _Respectfully Quoted_)

Home page of the week: Gary Klein


1. Article asks, Do facts belong to everyone?

Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 07:39:52 +1300
From: "Alistair Kwun" <a.kwun[at]>
To: "New Librarians" <newlib-l[at]>
Subject: [online article] do 'facts' belong to everyone?

Perhaps we might like to start a discussion about this??
-- Alistair


Notice from Cody's Books, a favorite independent bookseller:

Please note that a new web site,, is working toward an
on-line store for people who want to purchase books from independents
rather than chains. The latter (and such enterprises as Amazon) pose a
serious threat to our independent booksellers. I hope all of you who buy
on line will check in at from time to time, and use their
new service when it's up and running.

3. SRRT's web pages have a new location.

Jessamyn West is passing the torch of SRRT's web publication to
Rory Litwin, who will host the pages on

The new location of SRRT's web pages is

Note that it's SRRT in capital letters, which is a change from
the old URL, in order to be consistent with the other
(some SRRT-related) pages on

Please update your links and bookmarks.

Rory Litwin

4. Queer librarians: lists and directories
Lists of Notable Queer People, Queer Library Workers on the Web
Directory of GLB Librarians and Library Workers on the Internet
Who's Who on LEZBRIAN?:  A List of Out Lesbian and Bisexual Library Workers

5. Karnak

This site constitutes a new and rather unique online research
service, allowing users to construct their own personal library,
stored on the Karnak server, which will be constantly added to while
they are offline. According to the site, Karnak compiles information
from multiple sources, sifting through dead and questionable links
and irrelevant information, and then provides a concise, summarized
report, as well as weekly email updates notifying users of new
additions. After free registration, users can conduct multiple
searches, but only one will be saved and automatically updated. Users
may also select from three subscription levels, each offering more
saved research topics and additional features. Users begin searches
by entering a keyword and selecting from six topics (General, Current
Events, Legal, Medical, News groups, and Reference). Karnak can also
suggest improvements to help narrow the search. The search results
indicate how many resources are new or changed, and offer brief
synopses as well as links. Sample searches on "Northern Ireland" in
the current events category produced thirteen hits from major news
organizations, while the same search under Reference produced ten
hits, all from the same site. These results are rather meagre, but
the real strength of the service is supposed to be the automatic
updates, so ultimate judgment will have to wait for a few weeks. In
the meantime, users are encouraged to experiment with the free
service. [MD]

> From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-1999.

6. Holt Labor Library

Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 09:48:49 +0800
Subject: Library resource
From: "Shannon Sheppard" <holtlabor[at]>
To: plgnet-l[at]

Dear PLGers,

I want to make you aware of the Holt Labor Library, a (non profit) labor and
radical history library located in San Francisco.  The library was
established in 1992 to serve as a resource for community and labor
activists, union members, students, scholars, and anyone else interested in
our collection.  It is open to the public, although the materials are non

To learn more about the library and connect to our webpac, please visit our
web site at

In solidarity,

Shannon Sheppard, MLIS
Holt Labor Library
50 Fell St.
San Francisco, CA  94102
phone:  (415) 241-1370
email:  holtlabor[at]

7. _Print Culture in a Diverse America_ Wins 1999 Carey McWilliams Award

_Print Culture in a Diverse America_ (University of Illinois Press, 1998),
edited by James P. Danky (Newspapers and Periodicals Librarian, State
Historical Society of Wisconsin) and Wayne A. Wiegand (Professor, School
of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison) won
the 1999 Carey McWilliams Award "for an outstanding scholarly or literary
work ... on an aspect of the U.S. experience of cultural diversity."
The Award is given annually by Greenwood Press's _Multicultural Review_.
Danky and Wiegand are also Co-Directors of the Center for the History of
Print Culture in Modern America, a joint program of the State Historical
Society and the University.

8. Ann Symons wins Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award

Notice from Don Wood:

The faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign voted to award the
Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award to Ann K. Symons, immediate
past president of the American Library Association.

Given annually, the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award
acknowledges individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of
intellectual freedom, particularly as it impacts libraries and
information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Granted to those
who have resisted censorship or efforts to abridge the freedom of
individuals to read or view materials of their choice, the award may
be in recognition of a particular action or long-term interest in, and
dedication to, the cause of intellectual freedom.

Past recipients include Mainstream Loudoun, Bruce Ennis, Eleanor and
Elliot Goldstein, Nat Hentoff, C. James Schmidt, Gene Lanier, Dorothy
Broderick,  Judith F. Krug, Eli Oboler, Alex Allain, and LeRoy Charles

The award was established in 1969 by the GSLIS faculty to honor
Robert Downs, a champion of intellectual freedom, on his 25th
anniversary as director of the School.

The Downs Award Reception will be held on Saturday, January 15, 2000,
in San Antonio, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 :00 p.m.  The award ceremony is
between 6:00 and 6:15 p.m.


Social and Economic Implications of Information Technologies:
A Bibliographic Database Pilot Project

This pilot site from SRI International's Science and Technology
Policy Program with support from the National Science Foundation
Division of Science Resources Studies contains over 4,000 citations
of "data sets, research papers, books, and web sites about the social
and economic implications of information, communications, and
computational technologies (IT)." These citations are organized in
searchable listings called Road Maps, with categories such as
Education, Government, Science, Globalization, and Employment and
work, among others. Approximately one-third of the citations in the
database have abstracts, and the majority appear to offer a link to
the site or document. Also, citations on IT in the home have been
specially annotated and collected on the IT in the Home project page.
Directions for using the Road Maps Database is available from the
main page as well as at the start page of each of the individual Road
Maps. [MD]

> From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-1999.

10. PLG members to rally in Seattle

From: Jeffery Purdue <Jeffery.Purdue[at]>
To: "'PLG'" <PLGNet-L[at]>
Subject: March against the WTO
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 11:59:18 -0800

Several weeks ago, I posted an invitation to all librarians and friends of
libraries on this list to meet in Seattle on November 30th to protest the
WTO.  We are going to have a lively library contingent there, so here are
the details of where and when to meet if you would like to join us.

We are going to participate in the AFL-CIO march, which starts at 12:30
from Memorial Stadium.  Memorial Stadium is part of Seattle Center, the
old World's Fair site.  The most visible landmark in Seattle Center is the
Space Needle.  Memorial Stadium is northwest of the Space Needle.  We will
congregate on the west side of International Fountain, which is itself
directly west of Memorial Stadium.  Here is a URL for a good map of Seattle

We will be there from 10:00 to 12:00 and after that, we will join up with
the marchers.  We will have a six-foot banner, white with blue letters, which
reads: "Progressive Librarians Guild."  Come join your Canadian and American
(and world) comrades in Seattle.  If you have any questions, please let me
know.  Also, I will post my account of the march on this list.  I would love
to see other accounts of other actions.

Jeff Purdue

11. AlterNet up-to-the-minute WTO coverage

Date: Sat, 20 Nov 1999 14:13:19 -0500
To: nyfreemedia[at], media-l[at], nyccc[at]
From: Greg Ruggiero <gregruggiero[at]>
Subject: WTO Info/ Shutting Down Seattle

WTO Info/ Shutting Down Seattle

AlterNet is showcasing "up to the minute" independent journalism about
the WTO, free trade, economic activism, and the coming shut-down of Seattle.


See you in Seattle,


Greg Ruggiero  | Open Media Pamphlet Series
212. 942. 8899

12. Daily satellite down-link from Seattle

Will Corporate Media Cover
Anti-Corporate-Globalization Protests
In Seattle?


Beginning November 29th, daily reports from the streets, from an
activists' point of view, and how you can down-link daily satellite TV
feeds in your home town.

* * *

Deep Dish Satellite Television Network 339 Lafayette Street   New
York, NY, 10012   ph: 212 473-8933 fax: 212 420-8223

Please print, post or distribute
CONTACT: Carlos Pareja (212) 420-9045, carlos[at]
Jessie Epstein (212) 473-8933
Programming Alert!

Showdown in Seattle:
Five Days That Shook the WTO

In a Challenge to Multinational Corporate Power, Independent Media
Producers Rally To Make People s Voices Heard. As the World Trade
Organization (WTO) Ministerial approaches, independent video
mak-ers,radio producers, journalists and activists are rallying under
the common goal of social and economic justice to challenge the WTO
pro-corporate policies. In an effort to reclaim media democracy, this
unprecedented media collaboration will make public the voices and
concerns of tens of thousands from all over the world who will gather
in Seattle from November 29 to December 3. Simultaneously, it will
offer independent, non-commercial analytical and investigative
coverage of the issues and implications surrounding multilat-eral
organizations such as the WTO.

Deep Dish Satellite TV in association with The Independent Media
Center in Seattle and Free Speech TV will broadcast directly from
Seattle as activists representing labor, the environment, civil
society, international law, and Indigenous Nations will converge on
this city to hold counter events and stage demonstrations. Big Noise
Films, Changing America, Citizen Vagrom, Paper Tiger TV, Speakeasy,
Whispered Media and others (over a dozen video crews in all) will
participate in this alternative pool coverage along with contributors
from around the world. The televised coverage will be provided on a
next day basis via satellitecast (transponder and times TBA) as a 60
minute feed during five consecutive days. The series will consist of
five 30-minute programs covering each day's events. A diversity of
cogent voices will articulate their concerns with the WTO and
contribute to an educated and meaningful understanding of the issues.
A second 30 minute satellite feed will consist of pre-produced
programming focusing on specific global issues as they relate to the
WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank (program titles TBA).

Because these important voices, opinions and points of view are likely
to never be seen or heard in commercial mainstream media, Public
Access Cable TV Centers are invited to encourage local producers to
sponsor and schedule this five day, five hour series on their local
access channels. Local PBS affiliates are also requested to run the
series in its entire-ty.

The series is provided free of charge to non-commercial programmers
and channel provider and may be rebroadcast multiple times.

The series will also provide information on how viewers can receive
additional information via the Seattle Independent Media Center's
internet sites which will provide print, audio and video content on a
daily basis (

If you are interested in receiving additional information concerning
how you can receive and program this television series, contact:
Carlos Pareja, phone: (212) 420-9045 or email: carlos[at]
Satellitecasts will run from November 30th through December 4th,
transponder location, specific times and other pre-event updates will
be posted to and

13. Corning Area Public Library, NY, to close

   "The Tail has Wagged the Dog to Pieces."
         (a more or less personal view from the Library Director,
               Toni R. Rorapaugh)

         By a vote of 395 to 233 in the Town of Caton, and by a vote of
217 to 159 in eastern Campbell Town (both in Steuben County,
NY), residents defeated the referendum to form a Special Library
Tax District, which would have kept the Corning Area Public Library
operational this year and supported it for at least three years more.
The revote in these two areas took place because the measure had
been defeated in September; the City of Corning and the Towns of
Erwin and Corning (the largest municipalities served by the
Library's charter) had returned a 62% positive result at the
same time, but, due to the design of the vote, the measure was
Two towns which are part of the Library's current charter area,
Hornby and Lindley, opted not to participate at all.

         The Corning Area Public Library is now closed permanently.
Staff are preparing collections for an orderly transition to a fate as
yet unknown, while Board members nail down plans for dissolution
of the charter and distribution of assets. The CAPL's current
charter served 7 municipalities, a population of some 34,000

         It had been hoped by some that a "white knight," perhaps in
the form of a "bailout" from Corning, Inc., the area's largest
employer, would save the public's investment in its over-100-year-
old library. But Corning, Inc. had already convened the "L-21
(Library for the Twenty-First Century)" committee, along with NYS
Sen. John "Randy" Kuhl, and even the aid of high-priced
consultants from Libraries for the Future and other
experts made no dent in the Campbell and Caton voters' opinions.
The fact that enabling legislation permitted a second vote Tuesday
where it had failed in September seemed only to aggravate those

         The Library referendum would have cost taxpayers (who were
already supporting the Library to a smaller degree indirectly,
through their municipal budgets) between 43 and 58 cents per
$1,000 of assessed valuation, to build a budget of $585,000. One-
third of this amount was to have come from business tax revenues.

         Anyone wishing to contact the Library after November 2 may
do so  by FAX to: (607) 936-3715, or you may e-mail me at:

         Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement over
the past very difficult year. And, considering how our public library
waters are floating with 90.3, filtering, and the business model, let
me quote a character from an old TV show: "Be careful out there!"

Toni R. Rorapaugh
Corning Area Public Library
300 Civic Center Plaza
Corning, NY 14830

  --"I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness
about the underpinnings of our culture, and our concern for the
future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries."
[Carl Sagan]

14. Independent Press Allies in Libraries

This is an article I wrote for the Independent Press Association's
_Ink Reader_, which is sent to publishers and editors of independent,
social-change oriented periodicals.

-Rory Litwin
"Your allies in libraries"

Librarians are an interesting breed.  While mostly socially liberal
and non-commercial minded, many are attracted to the profession's
ethic of (supposed) neutrality, which provides an excuse to remain
disengaged from important social issues.  Librarians on the left see
this neutrality as a myth that renders invisible institutional
support for the status quo.

In the 60's (when the phrase "alternative literature" was just coming
into use) opposition to the "neutral" stance of the American Library
Association (ALA) first became strong.  In 1968 a group of librarians
formed a group within the ALA to lobby for change, igniting a debate
over neutrality and social resonsibility.  Out of that group was born
what is now the ALA's Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT).
SRRT is today one of the larger and more active of ALA's membership
groups.  (It has about 1,500 members out of ALA's 57,000 member
total, though this is a relatively active group.)  Despite the
continued influence and activity of this group and other like minded
people, the ethic of professional neutrality has maintained a stable
dominance over the profession, providing an excuse to shy away from

There is one aspect of this idea of neutrality, however, which
actively supports our activism.  ALA's "Library Bill of Rights"
clearly states the importance of including the full range of opinion
on any given issue.  To librarians who aren't aware of the
alternative press it seems like they are doing a fine job of
satisfying this need.  To those who _are_ familiar with the
alternative press and know how poorly it is represented in libraries,
reality is screaming for us to do something about it.  Thus librarian
activists have a ready-made task and a ready-made tool within the
profession's very ethic of neutrality.  We need to advocate for the
acquisition and bibliographic control (findability) of alternative
press titles in order to build balanced collections.

So if the heart of library philosophy calls for including the
alternative press, why is it so absent from libraries?  Because to
conservative librarians it can look more "political" than "neutral,"
because standard library practices make it less convenient to learn
about and acquire, because librarians who care about the alternative
press are in the minority, and because librarians who do care have
limited power in their organizations, which operate to a degree as
instruments of hegemony in the first place.  But this doesn't mean
the situation is entirely hopeless.  Librarians often do have
oportunities to acquire of promote given publications and causes
within their organizations and within the library world at large.
Finding your allies in the library world can be significantly

The logical place to start is the ALA's Social Responsibilities Round
Table, and its seven component Task Forces, which are how it pursues
its goals.  SRRT's Task Forces are the Alternatives In Print Task
Force, the Task Force on the Environment, the Feminist Task Force,
the Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty Task Force, the Coretta Scott
King Task Force (which gives a major book award for African American
Literature), and the International Responsibilities Task Force.
Recently the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Task Force became the Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table, which raises their
profile within the ALA and gives them some much needed organizational
independence.  Another group to go from SRRT Task Force to ALA Round
Table status is the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange
Round Table (EMIERT).  These groups are the core of a national and
international network of left librarians identifying with particular
causes which may line up with your own. 

The Alternatives In Print Task Force (AIP) deserves some special
discussion, since it exists in order to promote the alternative press
in libraries.  AIP is a small but effective group.  With about 20
active members it is engaged in a number of ongoing projects.  Its
review journal, Counterpoise, which is preparing to become an
independent task force or SRRT publication, is sent to subscribers at
library acquisitions departments four times a year, providing
recommendations of alternative press. AIP also has many activities
related to book publishing, and is working on a core list of
alternative publications for medium sized libraries, as well as
putting on programs at conferences related on related subjects.  AIP
members, as well as the editorial board of Counterpoise, are possibly
your most natural allies within the library world, and worth seeking

In addition to SRRT, two other groups are worth mentioning.  The
Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG) was founded in New York in 1990 as
an international, independent group concerned with the corporate
direction in which librarianship was and is still drifting.  PLG is a
more intellectual body, since it is not directly tied to librarians
immediate professional activities, the way ALA tries to be.  With its
own journal of librarianship, _Progressive Librarian_, PLG is an
important group to be acquainted with for those concerned with the
state of the library world.  There is another international group
that needs to be mentioned, this one based in England, called
Information for Social Change (ISC).  ISC also publishes a journal,
called _Information for Social Change_, and is concerned with
information provision in a corporatized environment.  Those wanting
international librarian contacts may find them helpful, in addition
to SRRT's International Responsibilities Task Force.

Contact list:

ALA- Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT)
Contact: Fred Stoss
State University of New York (SUNY)
Science & Engineering Library, 223 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY  14260
email: fstoss[at]

SRRT- Alternatives In Print Task Force
Contact: Rory Litwin
PO Box 720511
San Jose, CA  95172
email: rlitwin[at]

SRRT- Coretta Scott King Task Force
Contact: Barbara Jones Clark
26251 Cornwall Ct.
Southfield, MI  48076
email: BC01bps[at]

SRRT- Task Force on the Environment
Contact: Maria Anna Jankowska
University of Idaho Library
Rayburn St.
Moscow, ID  83844-2350
email: mjanko[at]

SRRT- Feminist Task Force
Contact: Rosemary McAndrew
Paul Robeson Library
Rutger's University
PO Box 93990
Camden, NJ  08101-3990
email: mcandrew[at]

SRRT- Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty Task Force
Contact: Karen Venturella
409 Adams St. #2
Hoboken, NJ 07030-2686
email: venturellak[at]

SRRT- International Responsibilities Task Force
(no website)
Contact: Al Kagan
310 W. Hill St. #1E
Champaign, IL  61820-3545
email: akagan[at]

ALA- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgendered Task Force (GLBTTF)
Contact: Kenneth Bicknell
171 Liberty St. #303
San Francisco, CA  94110
email: bicknell[at]

ALA- Ethnnic Materials Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT)
Contact: Clara Chu
210 GSE&IS Bldg.
Box 951520
Los Angeles, CA  90095-1520
email: cchu[at]

Progressive Librarians Guild
Contact: Elaine Harger
W. Haywood Burns School, PS/IS 176
49 Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ  07108
email: eharger[at]

Information for Social Change
Contact: John Pateman
32 Petten Grove
Kent, BR5 4PU

15. Hungersite

From a friend:

I received this as a Forward & have pasted it here for you.  *I resist
forwarding, but this is an exception*.  I went to the UN site & it is
easy & inspiring.  Maybe many of you know about this.  I did not.  I hope
I remember to visit the site every day. . . .

>    > Quite clever of the United Nations to do this.
>    >
>    > Go to the Hunger Site at the UN. All you do is click a button
>    > and somewhere in the world some hungry person gets a meal to eat
>at no
>    > cost to you. The food is paid for by corporate sponsors.
>    >
>    > All you do is go to the site and click. But you're only allowed
>    > one click per day, so spread the word to others.
>    >
>    > Visit the site and pass the word.
>    >
>    > <>
>    >

16. RAL - Discussion list for Russian speaking librarians

A first discussion LIST for Russian speaking librarians - RAL!
Whether you work in US, Russia, or any other country, join for sharing,
information, questions and answers, ideas. The language of the list is

To subscribe, please send a message to:

Which states:
subscribe ral (no names)

Questions, problems?
Contact Nora Kondratiev at:
Cooperative cataloger
Indiana Cooperative Library Services Authority  (INCOLSA)
Indianapolis, IN
E-mail: nora[at]

17. Five for Thanksgiving

Food Network: Thanksgiving Therapy
A Vegetarian Thanksgiving
The Pie Page
Thanksgiving Day Parade

We hope these five sites will help users plan and enjoy a stress-free
Thanksgiving holiday. The first site, from the Food Network, offers a
number of recipes and tips, a shopping and cooking game plan,
solutions to "Turkeytastrophies," and advice on what to do with all
those leftovers. For vegetarians, who sometimes feel left out on
"Turkey Day," In a Vegetarian Kitchen provides recipes for a complete
meatless feast that makes full use of fall's bounty. What's
Thanksgiving dinner without dessert? A good place to look for pie
recipes and tips is the Pie Page, which contains recipes for over 100
pies, photos and instructions for a perfect crust, and some
observations on making a fresh pumpkin pie. Users taking a trip to
watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or maybe just planning to
watch it from home may enjoy the parade site from NYCTourist. It
features news on this year's parade, photos of balloons and the crowd
from last year's parade, and a brief review of the parade's history
with several historic photos. Finally, users who want more
Thanksgiving resources can turn to the 4anything Web guide, which
contains links to turkey recipe pages, the history of Thanksgiving,
pie recipes, crafts and activities, virtual cards, clip art, and
more. [MD]

> From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-1999.

18. Vegetarian Kitchen -

        Vegetarian recipes (from everyday fare to seasonal, holiday,
        and special occasions), cookery tips ("Fighting Fear of
        Tofu"), and links to cooking sites. Check out A Vegetarian
        Thanksgiving, a complete menu with recipes for a
        traditional Thanksgiving dinner (the 'First Thanksgiving', in
        1621, did not include turkey). From vegetarian cookbook
        author, Nava Atlas - de
        Subjects: vegetarian | recipes

Librarians' Index to the Internet

19. American Indians and the Natural World

        An exploration of four tribes of Native Americans: the
        Tlingit of the Northwest Coast, the Hopi of the Southwest,
        the Iroquois of the Northeast, and the Lakota of the Plains,
        and how they viewed the natural world. It includes the
        "belief systems, philosophies, and practical knowledge that
        guide [these] peoples' interactions with the natural world."
        From the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. - dl
        Subjects: native americans

Librarians' Index to the Internet

20. "Human Interest" in the Public Library

By Marilla Waite Freeman, Librarian, Goodwyn Institute, Memphis,
Tennessee.  Library Journal, January, 1917

"Can you give me a good human interest story for the Commercial
Appeal?" The new young reporter leaned hopefully over the information
desk of Goodwyn Institute Library in Memphis, Tennessee.

As he spoke, a handsome Hindu, with melancholy dark eyes and polished
address, came up beside him, and asked the privilege of seeing the
library's resources on river control. This interesting visitor
identified himself as a student of engineering at the University of
Illinois, an institution which attracts so many aspiring Orientals.
In a year more he would return to Calcutta to teach American
engineering methods to his countrymen. On his summer vacation
travels, he had come to Memphis to learn something of river and
drainage engineering in the lower Mississippi Valley, a region which
has many natural problems in common with his own.

"Have you also the works of my countyman, Rabindranath Tagore?" he
inquired. As they were laid beside the engineering books on his
table, he settled to a day of blissful research, mingled of drainage,
poetry and philosophy.

Two American lads, one short and stocky, the other slim and tall,
were waiting a bit sheepishly for next chance at the information
desk. "Can you tell me," - this from the stocky one - "how tall a man
has to be to join the National Guards?" "And how much he has to
weigh?" - from the slim one - "and for the regular Army too?" It took
an Army Regulations hand-book, a recruiting circular, and finally a
telephone call to the captain of the Chickasaw Guards, to solve this
problem. Ultimately, the sons of two mothers who quite obviously had
not raised their boys "to be a soldier," went off exultant in the
conviction that neither height nor width nor lack thereof could debar
them from their country's service.

The desk telephone buzzed, and an anxious voice at the other end
besought the name of the German consul-general at Chicago; and might
so august a personage be addressed in plain Americanese as "My dear
Sir?" Another buzz, and a lumber office spoke: "What is the
comparative of sappy?" The librarian was dazed for a moment, but
gathering herself, ventured on sappier, to rhyme with happier, and
turned to meet the perturbed gaze of a young deaf-mute.

On a tiny slip of paper his question was written and was now thrust
forward with embarrassed eagerness. "Have you a book of love
letters?" The librarian read, and down the long procession of
epistolary lovers ran her mind, from Abelard and Heloise to Balzac
and his Madame Hanska. She read again, and this time the authentic
inspiration came. Forth from its sacred space she fetched "The new
standard business and social letter-writer," and with sympathetic
finger pointed to Section III, on "Love and marriage." Breathing a
sigh of relief, the amorous youth withdrew to a corner, where he
feverishly read, wrote and destroyed by turns, till a finaldraft
permitted to survive, was folded safely into his breast pocket. Then
he departed leaving in the library waste-basket and all about the
chair where he had sat, mutilated fragments and scraps, beginnings
and ends of "love letters" not lacking in the divine fire, but
couched in the somewhat stilted terms of "The new business and social

Again the telephone spoke. The Farm Develpment Bureau would like a
list of the six best books on country life - including one on
diversified farming - for the little library at Kerrville. An
interested friend had promised to give them. Also, had the library
copies of the new Rural Credits and Cotton Futures Bills? The
librarian said "This afternoon" to the list, and "Yes" to the bills,
inwardly thankful that she had written for the latter promptly.
Thankful, also, when another buzz followed, that she had heeded the
slogan of "Cotton mills for the cotton states," and was ready for the
Memphis capitalist who wished to investigate mill costs and machinery.

A committee of three determined looking ladies appeared at the desk.
The city was in the throes of a summer struggle between the Board of
Health, seeking to enforce pasteurization of the milk supply, and the
Dairymen's Association, asserting that its product was already beyond
fear and above reproach. The largest woman's club of the city was
preparing to take a hand and its representatives had come for
ammunition. Armed with latest reports of the American Medical Milk
Commission, and the milk bulletins of Uncle Sam's never resting
Department of Agriculture, they retired to a table. Meantime the
librarian telephoned to a wise children's specialist who knows the
milk supply as life or death to his charges. He summed the situation
in a sentence: "Tell the ladies to tell the dairy-men if they will
keep their milk down to 100,000 non-pathogenic bacteria bacteria per
cubic centimeter in winter and 200,000 in summer, they will not need
to pasteurize: certified milk is always under 10,000: I give all my
babies certified milk."

A fair-haired foreign youth was waiting, as the librarian hing up the
receiver. He had just come down the river from St. Louis; said the big
policeman on the corner of Main and Madison had told him to come to
Goodwyn Institute and "the library lady" would tell him how to find a
job. Said he was from Odessa, had been in this country two years, had
good experience as a house-boy, but was willing to do anything. His
frank and wistful countenance was most appealing. The library lady
felt she must not fail. She looked about the room. At one of the
tables a resourceful and sympathetic young rabbi was looking over the
latest sociological books. It needed but a word to bring his
resourcefulness into play. In a trice he had the head of the Jewish
Charities on the 'phone and in possession of the story. "From Odessa,
did you say? Why, that's the town where I was born. Send the boy
along. Sure I'll get him a job." And once more the receiver clicked
with the joy of achievement, as it hung up for a brief rest.

The young reporter was still waiting, but watchful. His pencil
scratched intermittently. "Strikes me you get lots of human interest
up here," he volunteered. "Quite a good deal in the last twenty
minutes. If you don't mind, guess I'll call my story 'Thirty minutes
at the Library Human Interest Desk.'"

The Library Journal January, 1917

  L I B R A R Y   J U I C E

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