Library Juice 3:23 - June 14, 2000


1. Editorial on the Core Values Statement
2. International Center for Information Ethics (ICIE)
3. IPPY Awards
4. Librarians in a coalition on scholarly publishing
5. A Zine-ography
6. Luddite Reader
7. 2000 Eubanks Award winner announced
8. Kaczynski papers in the Labadie Collection
9. Real hardware store, real library? a wrenching experience
10. Letter to Library Juice on
11. CFP on ILL software
12. NewJour
13. Pakistani LIS book on the web
14. SOL and PLUS - sites for Spanish in (US) libraries
15. BURN server shut down
16. A.Word.A.Day
17. Literature Abuse: America's Hidden Problem

Quote for the week:

"The Way of the Library is like the bending of the bow.
The high is lowered and the low is raised.
If the string is too long, it is shortened;
If there is not enough, it is made longer.
The Way of the Library is to take from those who have enough
for the benefit of the entire community."

>From "The Librarian's Lau Tzu: The Book of the Library and Its Ways,"
by Andy Barnett

Homepage of the week: The BiblioBitch


1. Editorial on the Core Values Statement

The Core Values Statement is currently being debated  on the ALA Council
listserv.  it apparently has enough supporters to pass if a vote were
taken today, despite the lack of a clear need or reason for the statement.
As a referesher, here is the basic statement being considered:

- Connection of people to ideas
- Assurance of free and open access to recorded knowledge, information,
   and creative works.
- Commitment to literacy and learning
- Respect for the individuality and the diversity of all people
- Freedom for all people to form, to hold, and to express their own
- Preservation of the human record
- Excellence in professional service to our communities
- Formation of partnerships to advance these values

Official interpretations of these values have been proposed and are
available at the website:

This statement expresses "values" that it would be hard to imagine
someone disagreeing with, and in that sense they are hardly
meaningful as values.  The resulting document is accordingly
uninspiring and unchallenging.  While the Core Values Statement would
not repeal the Library Bill of Rights, it would take its place as the,
well, the primary statement of the core values of the profession.

The Library Bill of Rights, by contrast, is an inspiring statement of
what a librarian is and the nature of her value to society.  Five
years ago, I took a job as an extra-hire library assistant in the
Marin County Free Library System.  I had reached the point in my life
where I really needed to chose a career, and I was considering law,
but feeling very uneasy about the prospect.  In my job as a library
assistant I happened to run across a copy of the Library Bill of
Rights, and was truly inspired by it.  I saw the meaning that
librarianship could have, and it was part of the reason I decided to
pursue librarianship as a career.  I did not want just any job.

If it had been the Core Values Statement that I found in that filing
cabinet (or anywhere else), it would not even have inspired my
attention.  I would have read it, or just scanned it, and not found
anything memorable in it.  I wouldn't have gotten the impression that
it "meant it," because it sounds like the kind of language generated
by marketing departments, which we all recognize and appropriately
ignore as so much background noise.  As a result, I would have been
left with the impression that librarianship is just another job.

If the Core Values Statement is adopted, I am afraid that its
complacency and unassertiveness will have the effect of diminishing
the identity of the profession in the eyes of those whom it aims to
educate about what we do.  It would be far better to freshly promote
the Library Bill of Rights in a major, popular campaign, and to turn
to it to resolve ALA's questions about our Core Values.

As a refresher, here is the Library Bill of Rights, a clear and
sufficient statement of our Core Values:

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are
forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic
policies should guide their services.

    I.Books and other library resources should be provided for the
       interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the
       community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded
       because of the origin, background, or views of those
       contributing to their creation.

   II.Libraries should provide materials and information presenting
       all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials
       should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or
       doctrinal disapproval.

  III.Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their
       responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

  IV.Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups
       concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free
       access to ideas.

   V.A person's right to use a library should not be denied or
       abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

  VI.Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms
       available to the public they serve should make such facilities
       available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or
       affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

The Library Bill of Rights doesn't state that we "connect people and ideas"
because this really doesn't need to be stated, if indeed it states anything

Here is a link to the web version of the Library Bill of Rights and
its interpretations:

Rory Litwin

2. International Center for Information Ethics (ICIE)
mirrored in the US at:

>From the website:
"This is an academic website on information ethics. It is a platform for
exchanging information about worldwide teaching and research in our field.
It gives the opportunity to meet each other. It provides news on ongoing
activities by different kinds of organizations. And it is free. The success
of this website depends on the will of the people interested in this subject
to share their knowledge with others."

3. IPPY Awards

Winners and Finalists in the Independent Publisher
Book Awards 2000 have been chosen, the Ten
Outstanding Books of the Year have been named, and
$5000 in prize money has been awarded. For a complete
listing of the Winner and two Finalists in each of the
48 categories and a listing of the Ten Outstanding
Books of the Year go to the web site at .

The 2000 Independent Publisher Book Awards again
proved that independent publishing is alive and well,
and heading in a very positive direction. From cover
design and illustration to concept and writing style, this
year's entrants exhibited the highest publishing
standards imaginable.

During this, the fourth year of the "Ippy Awards," the
judging choices were difficult as always. We wish we
could recognize even more of the participating
titles--all 550 publishers that entered deserve
accolades for their excellent work.

Congratulations to all participants in this year's Ippy

4. Librarians in a coalition on scholarly publishing

This article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. is free on the website:

THE CRISIS IN SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING: A coalition of librarians,
university administrators, scholars, and publishers has
recommended nine steps to fix what they call a "broken system."

   --> SEE


5. A Zine-ography:

An annotated list of books and articles about zines compiled by Chris Dodge.


6. Luddite Reader

Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2000 06:31:20 -0600
Reply-To: jtmcc[at]
To: Rory[at]
Subject: Take a look at the Luddite Reader...

Take a look at the Luddite Reader...

and Wrong Minus Nine

7. 2000 Eubanks Award winner announced

The Alternatives in Print Task Force of the American Library
Association's Social Responsibilities Round Table has awarded the
Jackie Eubanks Memorial Award to Daniel C. Tsang, Social Sciences
Librarian Bibliographer and Manager of the Social Science Data
Archives at the University of California, Irvine Library.

The Jackie Eubanks Memorial Award honors the late Jackie Eubanks,
former Alternatives in Print Task Force member and vigorous champion
of alternative views in Library collections. The award recognizes
outstanding achievement in promoting the acquisition and use of
alternative materials in libraries. 

The $500 award was donated by past ALA and SRRT member Sandy Berman,
and will be presented by ALA Councilor and SRRT Action Council member
Mark Rosenzweig during the ALA annual conference in July 2000 in

Byron Anderson, chair of the event, explained that "Daniel Tsang was
selected for this award because of his long-term leadership in the
Alternatives in Print Task Force, and his indefatigable advocacy of
the alternative press. The years of activity and advocacy in
alternative media have had a cumulative effect as a result of Tsang's
involvement. He is currently a contributing writer at OC Weekly (part
of the Village Voice chain) and hosts two of his own weekly
alternative radio programs, "Subversity" and "Alternative News", on
KUCI at the University of California, at Irvine. He maintains an
extensive Alternative Research Web site at, and
is a past coordinator of the Alternatives in Print Task Force.

Tsang has been a bibliographer at the University of California,
Irvine since 1986. He selects materials in Asian American Studies,
Economics and Political Science, and is the Social Sciences Data
Librarian. He was formerly Research Librarian on the Alternative
Acquisitions Project at Temple University.

His articles have appeared in such alternative publications as Asian
Week, SRRT Newsletter, Public Eye, CovertAction Quarterly, Rice
Paper, and Gay News. He has contributed to Voices from the
Underground, Ken Wachsberger, editor (Tempe, AZ: Mica Press, 1986).
He also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Homosexuality
and the advisory board of the Alternative Press Center.

Satia Marshall Orange, Director
Office for Literacy and Outreach Services
American Library Association
50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
E-mail: sorange[at]


8. Kaczynski papers in the Labadie Collection

Julie Herrada of the Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan has
scored a coup with the papers of Ted Kaczynski, written while in prison.
The collection is obviously growing as long as Ted is in prison.  It
includes drafts of papers as well as personal letters to and from members of
the public.

Julie Herrada is the co-winner of the 1999 Eubanks Award for the
Labadie Collection.


9. Real hardware store, real library? a wrenching experience

Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 20:51:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Thomas J. Hennen Jr." <thennen[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: Real hardware store, real library? a wrenching experience

I was busy Saturday, so my wife went to the hardware store for me.  She was
going to get this special wrench I needed but couldn't name, so I described
it for her.  She went to one of those mega stores, you know, a Barnes and
Noble for tools.  She came back and said, they didn't have the wrench I
wanted- or at least the kid who tried to help didn't think so.  She guessed
that I would have to go to a REAL HARDWARE STORE. Unfortunately the REAL
Hardware Store in our neighborhood closed down and the only other one in
town is all the way across town.

A real hardware store has more than just tools and hardware, of course.  It
is a source of expertise and advice on all those household projects that we
weekend warriors attempt.  They don't have unknowledgeble clerks with
Metallica t-shirts that know more about MP-3s than socket sets.  They have
people who can help you with getting that plumbing project right or finding
the right size carriage bolt.  That type of hardware store seems to be
quickly fading as the mega stores take over and few will mind when they get
amazonned, I would guess.

When I lived in Minnesota, I used to go to the local hardware store just to
shoot the breeze.  I was happy to pay more because the owner was so friendly
and knowledgeable.  If you are ever in St. James, MN, go to the Coast to
Coast store and see for yourself.  The store is at: 423 1st Ave S St James,
MN (507) 375-4151 Sorry, no URL, I guess they are too busy serving people!

As with hardware, so with libraries?  Perhaps.  Will I be able to keep going
to a real library, where real people with real experience can help?  Please
God, make it so.

Its not just the books and information, its the people helping people that
make a library.  The net is important and work it we must, but if its all
virtual, well, it will be a very wrenching experience.

Posted at as well.

Thomas J. Hennen Jr.
6014 Spring Street
Racine,WI  53406
Voice: 414-886-1625  Fax: 414-886-5424

10. Letter to Library Juice on

From: "Mary Ann Meyers" <ljmmam[at]>
To: <Rory[at]>
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2000 16:22:14 -0500

Dear Rory,

Today I posted several questions on PubLib in re the quality of
weblinks/resource selection on a site called  My
questions related to the qualifications of the selectors, to their
somewhat difficult-to-find statement that the links were "safe" for
families and children and the meaning of this statement in terms of
filtering, and to the extent of their commercial interests in
producing this website.

I just finished looking at, which you excerpted from the
Internet Scout Report.  There was some better authority shown in the
xrefer site's alliance with publishers and sources well-known to the
library community.  LibraryCard is what I would best describe as coy
in describing its methods for resource inclusion.
certainly is more up-front about its commercial intents than is offers itself as the web's first
reference search engine and claims to offer complex cross-referencing
across a number of well-known resources in order to provide
"authoritative factual information."

What disturbs me about xrefer is the fact that it, like LibraryCard,
is being promoted to the library community through listservs like
PubLib or through journals such as yours or chosen by the
well-described members of the Internet Scout selection team--but where
is the participation of professionally-trained librarians noted?  Are
librarians trained to do resource and site selection hired by Xrefer
or LibraryCard?  Who did the multiple resource cross-referencing for
Xrefer and what are their qualifications?

I tried one search on Xrefer which claims cross-referencing across
dictionaries and encyclopedias, etc.  I searched under the keyword
"xeriscape," and the response was that they couldn't find any entries
that matched my search and I should try more general search terms.  If
I don't know what xeriscape is, how can I provide them with more
general search terms?  According to, "Xeriscape is a systematic
concept for saving water in landscaped areas."

Mary Ann Meyers

11. CFP on ILL software

From: "Leslie R. Morris" <morrislr[at]>
To: "Document Delivery" <DocDel[at]>;
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2000 11:47 AM
Subject: ill management software

The Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Information
Supply is always looking for articles concerning the ILL software
systems below. Even if we have published articles previously, the
software evolves over time, so that new data is needed. Although
technical articles are good, experiences with selection, installation
and operation are also useful.

Unlike the recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education
demonstrating the sheer nastiness of some article reviewers, The
Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Information Supply
does not allow nasty or unfair behavior on the part of referees. Our
reviewers are fair and supportive.

We all want to publish, but we have a million reasons to delay. The
largest impediment to publishing is just not starting. As Nike says,

Leslie R. Morris
The Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Information Supply
54 Northwood Dr.
Lancaster, NY  14043

12. NewJour

I occassionally post e-journal announcements I collect from the NewJour
list.  Here is a description from the web site:

NewJour aims to accomplish two objectives; it is both a list and a project.


NewJour is the place to announce your own (or to forward information
about others') newly planned, newly issued, or revised ELECTRONIC
NETWORKED journal or newsletter. It is specially dedicated for those
who wish to share information in the planning, gleam-in-the-eye stage
or at a more mature stage of publication development and availability.
It is also the place to announce availability of paper journals and
newsletters as they become available on -- move into -- electronic
networks. Scholarly discussion lists which regularly and continuously
maintain supporting files of substantive articles or preprints may
also be reported, for those journal-like sections.

We hope that those who see announcements on Bitnet, Internet, Usenet
or other media will forward them to NewJour, but this does run a
significant risk of boring subscribers with a number of duplicate
messages. Therefore, NewJour IS filtered through a moderator to
eliminate this type of duplication.

It does not attempt to cover areas that are already covered by other
lists. For example, sources like NEW-LIST describe new discussion
lists; VPIEJ-L handles many matters related to electronic publishing
of journals. SERIALST discusses the technical aspects of all kinds of
serials. You should continue to subscribe to these as you have done
before, and contribute to them.

NewJour represents an identification and road-mapping project for
electronic journals and newsletters, begun by Michael Strangelove,
University of Ottawa and carried on by the Association of Research
Libraries as of 1993. NewJour has expanded and continued that work
and is now formally separate from the ongoing ARL Directory project,
whose evolving web verion may be found at:


The backfiles of NewJour are archived and searchable through the
kindness of the James Jacobs of the University of California (San
Diego) library, and may be found at


13. Pakistani LIS book on the web


Samdani, Rais Ahmed and Khalid Mahmood. Periodical Literature in
Library and Information Science: An Index of 50 Years' Work in
Pakistan (1947-1997). Karachi : Pakistan Bibliographical Working
Group, 1999. xv, 182p. PBWG Publication No.12. ISBN 969-8170-04-9.

Web Version Available at:

Please send your comments to:

Khalid Mahmood
Department of Library & Information Science
University of the Punjab, Lahore, PAKISTAN.
Email: mahmoodkhalid[at]


Rais Ahmed Samdani
Government College for Men
Nazimabad, Karachi, PAKISTAN.
Email: samdani020[at]

14. SOL and PLUS - sites for Spanish in (US) libraries

Both of these sites seem to be from Bruce Jensen

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. 

SOL - Spanish In Our Libraries

Spanish in Our Libraries (SOL) is a project supported by the Oregon
State Library, the Silver Falls Library (in beautiful Silverton,
Oregon, the heart of the rich agricultural Willamette Valley), and
the University of California, Los Angeles.

SOL recognizes that many public, prison, and school libraries with a
growing Spanish-speaking patron base need ready access to resources
that can help them better serve their communities.

The first phase of the SOL project includes a moderated online
discussion list, with mailings issued sparingly. All are welcome to
participate by asking questions, suggesting solutions, and describing
events and service strategies; there are no linguistic, ethnic, nor
professional barriers on the SOL discussion list. To sign up, simply
send a message to flaco[at]; you'll get a quick reply and an
invitation to introduce yourself to the list.

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. 

PLUS - Public Libraries Using Spanish

Archiving and linking Spanish-language materials
of use to public libraries

Many public libraries are constrained in their efforts to attract and
serve Spanish-speaking patrons because they lack staff members capable
of performing translation and outreach work.

PLUS seeks to lend a hand by gathering useful, downloadable documents
that can help you make your library a more welcoming place for
Spanish-speakers. Card applications, brochures, policy statements,
signage text, press releases and news articles--all in Spanish with a
side-by-side English translation--will be collected here and are yours
to use as you see fit.

Bruce Jensen
7056 Lanewood Ave. #9
Los Angeles, CA 90028 USA

15. BURN server shut down

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 04:49:22 -0700
From: Arm The Spirit <ats[at]>
Subject: BURN Web Site Shut Down

Statement From The BURN! Collective

June 2, 2000

The BURN! project has had a home in the UCSD communication department
since April 1993. During this time, we have become a source of unique
materials created by a wide variety of social movements from all over the
world.  A few weeks ago, right-wing groups in Colombia began a
letter-writing campaign aimed at getting our server shut down. On May 31,
with no explanation whatsoever and less than 24 hours advance notice to
us, our server was disconnected and our hostname removed from campus DNS
servers. We have no way to contact many of our users to even explain to
them what is happening.

But we have a lot of support, and we're still optimistic about getting our
server's connection restored within the communication department. We are
very interested in offers of legal assistance. Letters to Carol Padden,
the communication department chair are also very helpful. Please send
copies to us, and to Richard Atkinson, the UC president, who, we
understand, phoned the department chair and pressured her into pulling our

We are presently working on setting up mirrors in various places. Stay

You can reach the BURN! Collective here:


Send public messages to our mailing-list:


List archives contain information about BURN!, background information on
our situation, and breaking news.  You can read them here:

[ATS Note: We've been scrambling to adapt to this new situation and have
only just been able to sort out getting ATS-L going again (we were/are
experiencing other problems unrelated to to the BURN! closure). We will
continue to stand alongside our friends and comrades in the BURN!
collective and will struggle alongside them to get the BURN! site back. We
also wish to express our ongoing solidarity with the FARC-EP and the
Colombian people in struggle. Venceremos! - Arm The Spirit, June 8, 2000]

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..



Groundwork Books
La Jolla, California
June 9, 2000

After seven years online, the UCSD Communication department chair Carol
Padden has censored the project hosted at She has made
her decision against the wishes of the majority of department faculty
and graduate students and without consulting or even informing any of
the department faculty or students involved with the project, reportedly
under pressures from the UC president Richard Atkinson. No explanation
or justification for the shutdown was given, nor was any opportunity
for a hearing or reconsideration of the decision. Host records were
simultaneously removed from campus DNS servers, rendering
nonexistent. Only a few hours advance warning was given to BURN! project
representatives, leaving them no way to even contact most system users
to inform them of what had happened or to arrange for moving to another
address.  When students retrieved the server hardware from the department
chair's office, the CPU board no longer functioned and the Master Boot
Record on the primary hard drive had been damaged. After ordering the
machine offline, the department chair left on a trip to Finland for two
weeks. The other faculty and graduate students have spent the last week
debating what to do.

>From informal communication with people in the department, and from
statements by UCSD's campus spin doctors, we know that the University had
received some complaints about BURN.UCSD.EDU from right-wing elements in
Colombia, who objected to BURN's publication of information on the FARC-EP
(Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo), and
found in this an excuse for censorship. The university also claims that
they didn't know who was responsible for the server, and therefore had no
place to direct these complaints. This is patently false. More than ten
BURN! members attended a department course-group meeting late last year,
where they formally designated one student to be their official liason
with the department. Last fall, a memo was also sent to the current
department chair reminding her of who this designated representative
was, and providing contact information. Both paper and email copies
of this memo were also given to each department faculty member. Also,
the BURN! main homepage had a large disclaimer explaining that BURN is
a student project and that the university and communication department
are not responsible for its contents. E-mail addresses to contact the
BURN! project appeared prominently in several places, as well as hyperlinks
to a web-based "corkboard" for public comments. In addition, the standard
e-mail addresses postmaster[at] and webmaster[at]
have always functioned and were monitored. By making these claims,
university administrators are trying to obscure their eager complicity
with right-wing Colombian elites in censoring the views of the FARC-EP
and denying everyone access to the many other unique and hard-to-find
resources published on BURN!

Because The Groundwork Collective opposes censorship, we have decided to
publish the materials formerly hosted on when it had its
home in the UCSD communication department. The Groundwork Collective does
this for two reasons:  first and foremost, we are opposed to censorship
of any kind and it is dangerous to allow anyone get away with it for
any reason; second, the Groundwork Collective has been a registered
student organization at UCSD for over 25 years and has a binding legal
contract with the university.  As such, the university cannot possibly
claim that it does not have a place of contact to direct complaints
against the site.  There should now be no reason for censorship of any
kind as the Groundwork Collective has formally responded to all official
concerns supposedly created by the previous publication of the site. If
they now try to censor the Grounwork Collective, it will be interesting
to see how the university's excuses change.

In the event we are censored, there are webpages at

Listing current information on where BURN! can be found.

Yours in struggle,

Groundwork Collective

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..

Letter from Mark Rosenzweig:

Dear friends in the BURN! colllective,

Would you please convey the following message to Carol Padden and
Richard Atkinson on my behalf:

As a Councilor of the American Library Association, a group dedicated
to the protection of open access to information, intellectual freedom
and free speech, I deplore the action, taken in response to political
presssure, to shut down the BURN! website.

I have had many occasions to visit the site and have, as a librarian
and social activist, referred many people to it. In my considered
opinion there can be no legitimate reason for shutting down this
outlet for information not found elsewhere.

It is a patent violation of your institution's own commitments to
academic and intellecual freedom and, I believe, it will be seen by
many in the academic community as a rash and unprincipled move which
reflects badly on both the Department of Communications and UCSD. The
decision should be reversed immediately.

Mark Charles Rosenzweig
Councilor at large, American Library Association

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..

Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 00:59:35 -0700
From: BURN! Collective <burn[at]>
To: colmenar[at]
Subject: (en) BURN! and YOU!

June 11, 2000

Dear Friend of BURN!,

The UCSD Communication Department, which hosted the BURN! project at since it came online in April 1993 until we were censored
for political reasons last May 31, is having a meeting on Wednesday
June 14 at noon local time (20:00 GMT). The outcome of this meeting
will probably determine whether or not BURN! can continue to exist,
and may also have fairly far-reaching effects on a variety of other
radical projects in other places.

So we are asking for you (and all of your friends!) to send letters
supporting BURN! to certain UCSD administrators on Monday and
Tuesday. There are lots of other people here who support us, and we
need to strengthen their position as much as possible in advance of the
meeting on Wednesday.

Please send letters to:

Carol Padden, Chair, UCSD Dept. of Communication

and also send copies (important!) to the following addresses:

BURN! Collective

Communication Dept. Faculty and Grads. Mailing List

Dave Miller, Assoc. Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs

Martha Chandler, Senior Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs

Robert L. Parker, Chair, Academic Senate

Robert C. Dynes, Chancellor, UCSD

Richard Atkinson, U.C. President

If all goes well, we could be back online in our old home by the end
of the week.  If not, the University may succeed in censoring us.
Bureaucrats will rejoyce and seek new targets with increased vigor.

In case we are censored again, there are web pages where we will maintain
current information on where to find BURN!:

On these pages you'll also find links to a mailing list archive which
contains background information and copies of some of the other letters
we've received.

Thanks for your solidarity!

the BURN! Collective

16. A.Word.A.Day

Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 01:29:47 -0400
From: Wordsmith <wsmith[at]>
To: linguaphile[at]
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--bibliophage

bibliophage (BIB-lee-uh-fayj), noun

   An ardent reader; a bookworm.

[Biblio- book + -phage one that eats.]

   "A thousand facts crowd the mind of the bibliophage narrator who
   recites fragments--proper names, book titles, writefly quirks--at a
   dizzying clip."
   Sybil Steinberg, et al., PW's best books, Publishers Weekly, Nov 1996.

So many books, so little time! Do you find yourself muttering these words
as you browse the shelves in a library or a bookstore? Rest assured, you
are not alone in your love of books. It was the Dutch writer Desiderius
Erasmus who once said, "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any
is left I buy food and clothes." This fondness for books subsumes a wide
range. At the extreme, books have been ascribed as the motive behind murders
(Don Vicente, a Spaniard killed as many as eight people to acquire a book in
1836), and there have been thieves who steal only books (Stephen Blumberg
of the US, stole precious books worth millions of dollars from hundreds of
university libraries during the 1970s and 80s, all for his own pleasure, not
for resale).

While we can't arrange them in a scientific table reflecting severity, this
week's progression presents words in increasing order of affinity for books.
Finally, to round things out, at the end we'll feature a couple of words for
people who don't share that love. So leaf through this week's words and drop
me a line (anu[at] about where your bibliomania falls within this
spectrum.                                                              -Anu

God gives every bird his worm, but he does not throw it into the nest.
-Swedish proverb

Change address:
Gift subscription:



17. Literature Abuse: America's Hidden Problem

Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 21:05:53 -0700
From: Blair <blairb[at]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom List <alaoif[at]>
Subject: [ALAOIF:11485] Fwd: Literature Alert


Once a relatively rare disorder, Literature Abuse, or LA, has risen to
new levels due to the accessibility of higher education and increased
college enrollment since the end of the Second World War.  The number of
literature abusers is currently at record levels.


Abusers become withdrawn, uninterested in society or normal

They fantasize, creating alternative worlds to occupy, to the neglect of
friends and family.  In severe cases they develop bad posture from
reading in awkward positions or carrying heavy book bags.  In the worst
instances, they become cranky reference librarians in small towns.

Excessive reading during pregnancy is perhaps the number one cause of
moral deformity among the children of English professors, teachers of
English and creative writing.  Known as Fetal Fiction Syndrome, this
disease also leaves its victims prone to a lifetime of nearsightedness,
daydreaming and emotional instability.


It has been established that heredity plays a considerable role in
determining whether a person will become an abuser of literature.  Most
abusers have at least one parent who abused literature, often beginning
at an early age and progressing into adulthood.  Many spouses of an
abuser become abusers themselves.


Fathers or mothers who are English teachers, professors, or heavy
fiction readers; parents who do not encourage children to play games,
participate in healthy sports, or watch television in the evening.


Pre-marital screening and counseling, referral to adoption agencies in
order to break the chain of abuse.  English teachers in particular
should seek partners active in other fields.  Children should be
encouraged to seek physical activity, and to avoid isolation and morbid

SELF-TEST for literature abuse

How many of these apply to you?

1.  I have read fiction when I was depressed, or to cheer myself up.

2.  I have gone on reading binges of an entire book or more in a day.

3.  I read rapidly, often 'gulping' chapters.

4.  I have sometimes read early in the morning, or before work.

5.  I have hidden books in different places to sneak a chapter without
being seen.

6.  Sometimes I avoid friends or family obligations in order to read novels.

7.  Sometimes I re-write film or television dialog as the characters speak.

8.  I am unable to enjoy myself with others unless there is a book nearby.

9.  At a party, I will often slip off unnoticed to read.

10.  Reading has made me seek haunts and companions which I would otherwise

11. I have neglected personal hygiene or household chores until I had
finished a novel.

12. I have spent money meant for necessities on books instead.

13. I have attempted to check out more library books than permitted.

14. Most of my friends are heavy fiction readers.

15. I have sometimes passed out from a night of heavy reading.

16. I have suffered 'blackouts' or memory loss from a bout of reading.

17. I have wept, become angry or irrational because of something I read.

18. I have sometimes wished I did not read so much.

19. Sometimes I think my fiction reading is out of control.

If you answered 'yes' to three or more of these questions, you may be a
literature abuser.  Affirmative responses to five or more indicates a
serious problem.


Within the sordid world of literature abuse, the lowest circle belongs
to those sufferers who have thrown their lives and hopes away to study
literature in our colleges.  Parents should look for signs that their
children are taking the wrong path - don't expect your teenager to
approach you and say, 'I can't stop reading Spencer.' By the time you
visit her dorm > room and find the secret stash of the Paris Review, it
may already be too late.

What to do if you suspect your child is becoming an English major:

1.  Talk to your child in a loving way.  Show your concern.  Let her
know you won't abandon her - but that you aren't spending a hundred grand
to put her through Stanford so she can clerk at Waldenbooks, either. But
remember that she may not be able to make a decision without help;
perhaps she has just finished Madame Bovary and is dying of arsenic poisoning.

2.  Face the issue: Tell her what you know, and how: 'I found this book
in your purse.  How long has this been going on?'  Ask the hard
question - 'Who is this Count Vronsky?'

3.  Show her another way.  Move the television set into her room.
Praise her brother, the engineer.  Introduce her to frat boys.

4.  Do what you have to do.  Tear up her library card.  Make her stop
signing her letters as 'Emma.' Force her to take a math class, or minor
in Spanish. Transfer her to a Florida college.

You may be dealing with a life-threatening problem if one or more of the
following applies:

*   She can tell you how and when Thomas Chatterton died.

*   She names one or more of her cats after a Romantic poet.

*   Next to her bed is a picture of:  Lord Byron, Virginia Woolf,
Faulkner, or any scene from the Lake District.

Michael McGrorty


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