Library Juice 3:48 - December 20, 2000


  1. Careers in Librarianship
  2. Information Services for Higher Education : A New Competitive Space
  3. PRISM
  4. The Nation Directory
  5. News sites mistakenly blocked by filters, study says
  6. WTO and Libraries
  7. Social Criticism Review
  8. Carnegie, Andrew
  9. Re: Freed Librarian Calls for ALA Action on Cuba
  10. What's in a Name? Active/Passive Connotations of Information
  11. Presentation by John D. Berry, American Indian Library Assoc. Pres.
  12. Article by Todd Gitlin in the Chronicle of Higher Ed.
  14. MG buried under the Reed College Library
  15. Living Juicy
  16. Delmar, NY Rant

Quote for the week:

"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens."
-Jimi Hendrix

Homepage of the week: Andrew Ashton


1. Careers in Librarianship

Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 11:35:15 -0500
From: "Michael R. Lavin, University at Buffalo" <mrlavin[at]ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU>
Reply-To: UB Libraries Distribution List <UBLIB-L[at]LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU>

The current issue of the Labor Department's "Occupational Outlook
Quarterly" has a lengthy article on careers in librarianship.

Online version can be found at

                                   Mike Lavin
                                   Lockwood Library

2. Information Services for Higher Education : A New Competitive Space

Carol Ann Hughes
Questia Media, Inc.

D-Lib Magazine
December 2000
Volume 6 Number 12

(This article is based on a presentation made by the author at the 2000
LITA National Forum.)

In this paper I want to reflect on the "competitive space" that librarians
now occupy and strategies that may offer the best chance to maintain services
important to our user communities in the turbulent years ahead. The term
"competitive space" is applied rather tentatively since it may be perceived
as a mildly loaded term -- especially from someone who now works for a
commercial firm. But for at least the last ten years of my professional life
in academic libraries we have seen higher education recognize itself as an
important economic sector for our countrys continued prosperity, and we
have heard repeatedly that the new economy is based on knowledge. Life
today in higher education is lived in "competitive space."



Prism, the American Library Association Office for Accreditation newsletter,
is now available at:

This first Web issue of Prism includes items on the following and more:
COA accreditation actions, strategic priorities, the 2000-01 COA roster,
and the schedule of reviews.

For more information or a paper copy, please contact the Office for
Accreditation at 800-545-2433 x2432.


4. Nation Directory

A searchable online collection of links to organizations, agencies,
think-tanks, political parties, NGOs and groups. We're counting on our
readers to help us make this Directory grow so please keep the suggestions
coming to directory[at]

And make sure to check the Directory out at:

5. "News sites mistakenly blocked by filters, study says."

December 15, 2000
Brian Livingston
Article at:

Web sites sponsored by Amnesty International in the United States and
around the world are routinely blocked by the kinds of Internet filters
some politicians want to require in all libraries and schools, according
to a new study.

The nonprofit organization that sponsored the report,, is
itself being blocked by a group of Internet service providers.

The study suggests that news and information sites like that of Amnesty
International are often blocked by Internet filters that search for words
like "death" (as in death penalty), "kill" (soldiers allegedly killed
civilians) and "sex" (officials investigate sex crimes). Peacefire says
this proves Internet filtering companies do not visually examine suspect
Web sites before "blacklisting" them, as is often claimed.



6. WTO and Libraries

The SRRT/IRTF site has a nice page devoted to the WTO and libraries.
It has links to internal and external content, as followed:

Libraries and the World Trade Organization

The page can be found at


7. Social Criticism Review -

        A collection of links to selected readings in social
        criticism by authors who may differ from what is often
        heard in the mainstream media. They cover many issues:
        progress, science, technology, protest, sustainable
        development, economics, globalization, multinationals,
        environment, war, poverty, media, genetic engineering,
        individual countries, and much more. - dl
        Subjects: Social problems

> From Librarians' Index to the Internet -

8. Carnegie, Andrew -- 1835-1919

        Part of The American Experience series from PBS, this
        collection focuses on the life and times of Andrew
        Carnegie, "the richest man in the world." Includes
        biographical information, a look at the railroad and
        steel industries of the time, and what it took to get a
        grant from Carnegie for one of the 2,811 libraries he
        funded over 33 years. The timeline requires Flash for
        the interactive version only and the QuickTime player is
        needed to tour a mansion of the time. - jb

> From Librarians' Index to the Internet -

9. Re: Freed Librarian Calls for ALA Action on Cuba

Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 15:08:17 -0500
From: Ann Sparanese <sparanese[at]>
To: member-forum[at]

Robert Kent evidently thinks that members of the American Library
Association - and the Association itself - should ignore real Cuban
libraries, authentic Cuban librarians, and a sister library association,
ASCUBI, to jump on his anti-Cuban bandwagon, orchestrated by the right-wing
Cuban "virtual" entity, Cubanet, and himself - a person who has traveled to
Cuba bought and paid-for by Freedom House and deported at least once,
presumably for breaking Cuban law.

I hope that ALA treads very carefully into this morass, given the almost
40-year documented campaign of blockade, assassination attempts, and
propaganda against a small island that has chosen a different social
system.  This system does NOT include the persecution of librarians, but it
certainly DOES include extreme wariness of dissident parties receiving
material aid from the United States. They have laws against that.  As we
all are well aware, such activities are illegal in our country as well.

By their own description, the so called "independent libraries" are simply
private book collections supported and developed by a virtual entity
calling itself "Cubanet"(  If you go to, you
will read about how they got started and who funds and solicits for them.
Cubanet is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the United
States Agency for International Development and "private" "anonymous"
donors.  It is part and parcel of what is known as "track 2" of the
Torricelli Law - the requirement that the US government find ways to
support, financially and otherwise, efforts at building "civil society"
(U.S. definition) in Cuba.  These are the precise words that Cubanet uses
to describe its efforts with its libraries "project." Cubanet is a voice of
the right-wing Cuban exile community in South Florida.  The "foreign"
representative of the libraries "project" is the "Revolutionary Democratic
Directorate" an anti-Cuban government exile party, operating out of
Hialeah, Florida.

Not ONE of the private libraries' owners listed on Cubanet is a librarian.
They are NOT persecuted librarians, they have never BEEN librarians, their
vocation is not that of librarianship, they are NOT our colleagues by any
stretch of the imagination - unless all political party functionaries with
books in their living rooms have suddenly become our colleagues.  Most are
leaders and functionaries of various dissident political parties, such as
Partido Cubano de Renovacion Ortodoxa, or the partido Solidaridad
Democratica.  I am  NOT making the argument that those in opposing
political parties in Cuba should be suppressed.   But in reality, we know
NOTHING about the activities of these individuals or these parties (lawful
or unlawful) except what Cubanet and Kent tell us.  What we do know is that
they are using the title of "librarian" to rally people around their
unknown political agenda.

Simple logic would tell us to be more careful in making judgments:  IF
someone has books in their living room; IF someone calls themselves a
librarian; and IF someone gets in trouble with their neighbors and/or with
the government; THEN it's BECAUSE of the books in their living room?? How
do we know that?  There is no doubt that claiming to be persecuted because
of books is a clever avenue to involve librarians in condemning Cuba, but
is it TRUE? Is anyone in jail for having books?  Have these people ever
been imprisoned for lending books?  Even Cubanet does not make that claim.
Anyone who HAS traveled to Cuba, visited and studied libraries knows that
books are everywhere in Cuba and baggage is not checked  -- at least not
for any visitors I have ever known - for books!!  (Of course, if you are
traveling to Cuba on behalf of an agency of the U.S. government, that just
might happen to you - as it might, if the shoe were on the other foot.)

Kent & Co. purport to care about intellectual freedom, but they have
nothing to say about the U.S. travel ban that prevents American people from
freely traveling to Cuba and seeing for themselves.  He expects to get the
ALA to join his case when there are many of us who have met our authentic
Cuban colleagues, who are aware of the reality of Cuban education, literacy
AND freedom of expression. I wonder if any of Kent's excursions to Cuba
have brought him into contact with any genuine Cuban librarians at all.

Personally, I welcome the debate he intends to bring to the IRC.  I think
Mr. Kent's incessant calls to arms should be presented for full disclosure
and discussion.  I submit that the proper response would be for ALA to
endorse more travel to Cuba by American librarians, and to come out
strongly against a travel ban which limits our rights to KNOW that of what
we speak. And no matter what IFLA, or any other group or individual has to
say about this, given the history of US-Cuba relations, the AMERICAN
Library Association has a special responsibility to tread very carefully on
this issue.

Ann Sparanese, MLS
Englewood, New Jersey

10. "What's in a Name? Active/Passive Connotations of Information"

CRISTAL-ED on the concept of Information

CRISTAL-ED is a great academic discussion forum hosted by
the University of Michigan School of Information.  I find
the issues raised in this discussion topic extremely

Here is Ray McInnes's introduction to this topic, of which he was
"guest editor":

What's in a Name? The indefinite connotations of information and the
problems produced by such vagueness.

My proposition is that in our profession we use the term information too
loosely, too generally to have any useful meaning, especially for students
upon whom we foist the term as a concept. The term is used to refer to raw
data and other types of low-level statistics while at the same time being
used for the high-level abstraction of knowledge.

At the outset I must confess that in my new position of coordinator of
instruction for research for the Research Across the Curriculum program at
Western Washington University, I am somewhat hypocritical of my own
argument when I use phrases such as "critical information-seeking skills"
and talk of "information literacy" as a set of academic skills for our
undergraduates. However, I know of no satisfactory substitute for the term

Harold Cassidy, in writing about knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, says
that "knowledge is information of all kinds, (which, as well as) the result
of analytic activity ... embraces the (investigation) and reporting of
experience." He believes that "knowledge about" constitutes a higher level
of abstraction, while wisdom "is more than understanding (for it) implies
not only knowledge and understanding of knowledge, but also understanding
of experience in all its subtle and noncognitive aspects." (The Knowledge
Explosion; Liberation and Limitation. Francis Sweeney, ed., New York:
Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1966, pp. 187-8).

Three decades later, architectural historian Francis Morrone says it even
better: "Could it be 'information' is the most overrated commodity on the
planet today?" ("New York's Library in Cyberspace", The New Criterion, Vol.
15, Jan 1997, p. 79.) Morrone underscores his claim by noting Mortimer
Adler's hierarchy of learning -- after beginning with information one
progresses sequentially "to knowledge ... to understanding ... to wisdom."
Morrone says that when one considers the "... Gettysburg Address and a
string of nonsense characters containing exactly the same number of bits,
the latter can actually be said to contain more 'information,' being higher
in entropy or randomness. When we speak of information, then, digital or
otherwise, we speak of more or less random bits." Thus, according to
information theory, "knowledge involves a reduction, not an increase, in
information; and that, by extension, understanding and wisdom mark further
reductions in information."

He also succinctly states, "Knowledge is the sculpture chiseled from the
stone mass of information, as understanding is chiseled of knowledge, and
wisdom of understanding."

Nancy Freeman Rohde, a professor in the College of Education's Department
of Work, Community & Family at the University of Minnesota, has
investigated many different definitions of "information." ("Information
Needs", Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 14, 1986, pp. 49-73.) She indicates
that within the context of user studies information denotes "factual data
or advice or opinion, a physical object, such as a book or journal, or the
channel through which a message is conveyed, for example, oral or written
communication." Integrated into a variety of areas of study, information,
as a concept, "may not be used in the same way because the theoretical
constructs of the researchers differ." To demonstrate, she discusses many
studies with conflicting definitions of information.

Perhaps more interesting for background reading is the wide-ranging survey
of information by Norman D. Stevens. ("The History of Information,"
Advances In Librarianship, Vol. 14, 1986, pp. 1 -48.) Our "Information
Age," he claims, is mistakenly considered as something new. "...although we
still lack a definitive work on the history of information [it] has long
played, in one fashion or another, a key role in society but, to date, we
have not dealt adequately with the concept of information as a historical
force." He goes on to say "a problem exists in a lack of identifying the
importance of dealing with the history of information as a specific
concept." He thinks that promising work is being done within the scope of
the history of the book, which incorporates authorship, publishing and
reading, and is an emergent discipline in its own right.

Stevens adds to this, "works in information theory, library and information
science, anthropology and archaeology, sociology, philosophy, psychology,
and the like."

Stevens identifies what he considers the five most important themes for a
theory of information:

The organization of knowledge
Institutions and the dissemination of information
Control and freedom
The economics of information

Like Professor Rohde, Stevens begins with definitions, and cites numerous
studies which have considered the term. Stevens asserts that the term
"information" as well as the related term "knowledge," continues to be used
differently by people in different disciplines, and for different reasons.
Not unexpectedly, these practices produce: "confusion, especially as
aspects of the definition from one discipline may be appropriately used
more widely or be adopted in part by those in another discipline. ... (S)o
diverse are the definitions of information today that, for the most part,
it is impossible to reconcile them. ... (I)n most cases, (because
information) has not been specifically defined, ... little consistency
(exists) in the way in which the term ... is used and defined, or not
defined, resulting in an assumption, obviously not correct, that a broad
underlying definition of information exists that encompasses all uses of
the term in all fields that is commonly and correctly understood."

According to Stevens, when scholars discuss similar ideas and issues,
sometimes synonymously, and sometimes to make distinctions in the context
of "information" three terms are employed: communication, information, and

At the close of his survey Stevens argues that, rather than continuing to
have a number of disciplines, each claiming centrality to any study of
information, there is a need to broaden the scope of the field to create a
discipline in which information itself is the central focus.

[Discussion follows this introduction, available on the web site]

11. Presentation by John D. Berry, American Indian Library Assoc. Pres.




OCT. 5TH, 1999







Halito,  Chee Chookmah ( In Choctaw this means Hello, Are you well?)

These words which follow are being sent to you for your gathering
there in California, from myself here in Oklahoma.   As a brief aside
Okla-homa are the words in our Choctaw language which mean:   People -

My hopes are, that to all of you there, that you will be able to say
that you are well.

It is traditional to introduce oneself before speaking.  It is to be
hoped that you will forgive me for not appearing before you myself,
but this is not possible, so I must rely on my professional colleagues
to deliver this poor substitute, and I hope that you will give this
person your attention and courtesy.

My name is John D. Berry, I am a son, a husband, an Uncle, and the
proud father of a 2 year old son, and am 48 years old - which is  the
average age of survival for an American Indian male in this dominant
Anglo culture.

Here is the disclaimer; I am not a tribal leader, or a medicine
keeper, nor a keeper of special or sacred knowledge.  I am only a
human being.

I am currently serving, as the President of the American Indian
Library Association and am a Choctaw, of mixed blood descent, a native
son of Oklahoma, primarily educated in California and Missouri.  I
participate in my tribal culture and ceremonials where possible and am
currently the President of Oklahoma State Universitys, Native
American Faculty and Staff Association.

My educational background is a BA and MA in Anthropology, with a
specialization in Biblical Archaeology.  This led me to travel widely
throughout the Near East and the Western United States as a consulting
archeologist and archaeological field worker for approximately 15
years.  I thought it only fair to study the dominant cultures roots,
since most Anthropologists seem to study us.

My MLS (actually an MLIS), Masters of Library and Informational
Sciences is from the University of Missouri Columbia.

            My professional background with the MLIS, has lead me to
employment experience in Academic Libraries and Special Libraries:
these positions have been as a Reference librarian in a small liberal
arts College; as head of Technical Services in a U.S. Dept. of Defense
Library; as a Medical Librarian for Reference and Special Projects in
the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; and most recently as a Reference
Librarian w/ Collection Development responsibilities for the academic
areas of History, Philosophy, Education, Music, Native American and
African American materials for the Library here at Oklahoma State
University which is an ARL Library as well as a Big 12 academic

This year we celebrated our 2 millionth volume and this year my
University, Oklahoma State Universities Graduate College, recruited
me away from my Assist. Professor position in the Library, to serve as
the Assistant Director of the Graduate College for my campus.

            I am also an enrolled Graduate Student working towards a
Doctorate in Adult Education.

I tell you about these things not to brag, for that is not our way,
but so that you will know, that the words you hear, do not come from a
person without experience in life and profession.

But, enough about me.


            You are in a service profession you will NOT get rich.
If you expect to get rich and dont want to do SERVICE, get up and
leave now, and go become something else.


OK, for everyone that stayed, here are just some thoughts for your

            When you accept your first position in the profession,
much of what you have learned from Library School will become
un-applicable to the position you find yourself in.   The academic
training is not without value BUT it isnt real life work!

            Some of you will instantly find yourself inside of a real
life Dilbert cartoon.  In other words what you encounter from
supervisors and administrators will NOT reflect what you learned in

            Some of the most important aspects of your new life will
require you to do several  very important things.   The following is
said for your education and professionalism.

1.  LISTEN at work, speak little unless asked what you think be
very selective about what you say.   Eventually, you will be listened
to make it worthwhile for others to listen to YOU!   Listen to your
Patrons remember the REFERENCE INTERVIEW, when asking questions, be
brief and re-phrase their question to clarify what is wanted, be
clear, dont be afraid to ask again in another way.  You can use this
on your co-workers and supervisors too DO IT!

2. EDUCATION you dont get to stop learning.   Learn
the procedures and policies written and un-written for where you
work! !  Learn from you co-workers,  other professionals, and your
patrons,  and continue to train and educate yourself wherever
possible.  Study your community where you find yourself working and
living not much can complicate your life more than working, or
acting inappropriately towards the community you are supposed to be
serving.  This may be one of the hardest things for you to do.   By
virtue of who you are professionally you will be an educator, people
will look to you for answers and learning do this well.

3. DO THE RIGHT THINGS by this I do not just mean
the things at work.  You were hopefully taught what is right and wrong
by your parents.  In addition, you will have been taught some core
professional ethics and values.  You may be asked by individuals,
supervisors or groups, within your working environment or elsewhere,
to violate some of these ethical values at some point.   If it is at
work, get it in writing always.   Document what you do, how you do
it, and who asked you to do it and  if necessary, make very clear why
you WILL NOT DO IT!   Protect yourself.  If worst comes to worst
there are other places to work.  If this happens you DID NOT FAIL
you will walk away with your head up, knowing you did the right thing
and you will have learned.

This issue can arise in many venues from the community asking you to
CENSURE or BAN materials; to allowing things in your personal life to
go out of control.

      Take personal responsibility seriously.

4.      EXPLOITATION Do NOT exploit others, do NOT allow yourself to
be exploited.   This is important for both those of you of minority
ethnic heritage, and for those of you in the dominant culture.   If
someone asks you to participate in projects or grants, ensure that you
have a say, ensure that you can participate in the direction of the
project and/or the expenditure of the resources that may come along
with it.  Be polite about it but again get verbal promises or
guarantees in writing.

You may think it strange that I repeat this issue one burned twice
wise!   If it happens once shame on them, if it happens twice shame
on you!

5.      PARTICIPATION It is part of your Profession to participate.
To participate in your own education, your professional organizations,
your community.   You will be busier than you ever thought possible.
Prioritize, but participate when and where you can.   You have a
voice, use it wisely, use it selectively, but USE it.

6.      PLAN Plan for your future and set goals.  Do those things
necessary to achieve your goals, whether educationally or
professionally to enable you to be where you wish to be, doing those
things which YOU choose.   Plan for yourself, your communities, and
the future generations to come.   Work towards these goals.

There are some saying, which I believe to be true wisdom, which is
applicable throughout your lives:

Our elders are our past and hold wisdom and memory.  We are the
present with knowledge of the modern world.  We should join together,
the elders and ourselves, to create the future, our future is our

This does not mean to ignore yesterday, or today, but take the best of
both and work towards the future.

When you consider whether something is of importance, think of 7

If you will think on the meaning of this, you will come to understand

You are all young and strong, with dreams and ideals.   Hold fast to
those dreams and remember who you are and where you come from.   Carry
your ideals with you and let them strengthen you in the times to come.

Let us all work towards the days when there are no more ISMS for
our peoples to deal with.  Let us work towards the days where all of
our children are safe.

The days when our children can become what they wish to become, and
work wherever they wish to work, without glass ceilings, covert or
overt discrimination based on the color of their skin, their religious
beliefs, their personal preferences in ways to live, let us work
towards the days when we really can live in freedom.  The days when we
can have clean air, clean water, clean land.   Treat your mother earth
kindly, for she supports all of us.

You have a unique charge, to acquire, maintain in safety, and make
available, the thoughts, dreams, stories and knowledge contained in
books.   Remember too the spoken word, the oral histories, the music
and film,  and forms of media yet to come.

It is my hope that you will take this meager advice and think upon it,
and combine it with who you are and your experiences,  and those
things that you know to be true.   That it may serve you well,
regardless of your heritage or ethnicity.

I wish for all of you the best, and hope for all of you there, that
you will find work that is meaningful to you and that makes you happy.

Yah-KO-kee (with Thanks) for your attention, you be well.

                                    John D. Berry, President,

                                    American Indian Library
Association, 1999-2000

12. Article by Todd Gitlin in the Chronicle of Higher Ed

DUMB AND DUMBER: The presidential election reflects a new turn
in the history of American aversion to intellect, writes Todd
Gitlin, a professor of culture, journalism, and sociology at New
York University.
   --> SEE


by Mary Ann Meyers

"Although we may never know with complete certainty the winner of this
year's election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear: It is the
Nation's confidence in the judge as the impartial guardian of the rule of
law."  Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, December 12, 2000.

When I was a kid my school sponsored an annual trip to the amusement park
for students and their families.  This was in the pre-Six Flags mega-park
era, when fun was physical or mechanical in nature, but never resided in
high-tech special effects.  Our cheap thrills came from the ferris wheel
and the roller coaster and from the sideshow attractions of target
shooting, ring toss, or visiting the "Amazing Petrified Man."  It was a
simpler time.  Almost every amusement park across the country had a "Fun
House" where physical disorientation was the focus of the designer.  It was
a dark place where floors quaked beneath your feet, strange noises boomed
and whispered, and stairs disappeared.  The Fun House almost always
showcased a "Hall of Mirrors."  The hall of mirrors was a maze formed by
many mirrors of the kind that distorted a kid's image.  It was funny and
exciting, but could become distressing.  The purpose of the mirror maze was
to foment anxiety and confusion among its victims.  A young thrill-seeker's
aim was to find a way out of the noise and confusion into the fresh air
sounds of happiness and the pungent scents of popcorn and cotton candy.
The problem was that every time you saw yourself in a mirror, you were
seeing a distorted view of yourself and not the way out from the maze.

Justice Stevens positions his opinion within the American character's hall
of mirrors.  He speaks in the vernacular understood by Americans - that of
"winner" and "loser."  The rule of law appears distorted, everything
topsy-turvy, with Republicans denigrating Florida State Court's
"legislative" actions and turning for relief to the federal system--while
Democrats revile the "partisanship" of the Supreme Court and seek justice
on a more local level.  It's a game in which we've all lost something, and
it remains to be seen what - if anything--we may gain from the lesson.

Nothing has evidenced our out-of-whack American character, our society's
lack of balance, loss of synergy, failure in integrity, more than this
presidential election.  We have trivialized the election process with our
gamesmanship.  American individualism has always found symbiosis with
marketplace values of competition, exploitation, and winner-take-all and
their concomitant virtues of self-interest, ruthlessness and waste.
Avarice and greed color our creativity and innovation.  We have set aside
or demeaned other values present in the American character - our
interactive tribal sharing, concern for our children and the elderly,
fairness, the spirit of the law, public service selflessness motivated by
love, the protection of our institutions from the barbarism of an
uncontrolled capitalism.

Mr. Fred Rogers, of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood fame, spoke on the Today show
this morning and asked Katie Couric if she had yet learned the lesson he
had--that the really important things in life rarely happen center-stage;
they happen off to the side.  The real things of life are the human
connections between you and another, the simple and the deep - rather than
what happens between one person and the multitude (paraphrase).  We modern
21st-century Americans see "winners" and "losers" where there are no
winners, only losers.  We see the goal and devalue the journey to the goal.
We dismiss our weak fellow strivers, and  think ourselves strong; but we,
too, eventually must admit our weakness.  We are focused on winning, but
real life is happening elsewhere.   Enchanted with our own images and by
our distorted views of our desires, our needs, our pre-eminence over others
in matters economic, political, and social, we find ourselves trapped in a
hall of mirrors.  The way out is somewhere off to the side, away from our
self-absorbed images of ourselves as either winners or losers.

14. MG buried under the Reed College Library

as told by William Abernathy, Reed class of '88


Sometime in 1987, Mark Verna took advantage of all those free credit
cards you get when you leave college. Maxxed out a pile of cards, flew
to Europe, and began a short-lived career as a credit fugitive. Upon
leaving, he left his MG Midget parked in the lot behind the library
and gave a friend (whose name is lost to the sands-o-time) the keys to
the car. Asked him to take care of it, and he could drive it as much
as he wanted. Such a deal, considering the MG Midget's unparallelled
reputation for reliability. Rather than sink good money into Verna's
bad car for the dubious honor of driving a ratty MG, the caretaker
took little care of the car, and the neglect began to show.

Th MG sat. The soft top stove in. Leaves, pine duff, and debris filled
the indentation made there. The chain holding up the muffler
relaxed, and the muffler sagged ever closer to the ground. Rust and
mold colonies set up shop in the paint, scourging the once-proud
British Racing Green with Luftwaffe-like ferocity. By the spring of
1988, somebody official (security, physical plant) threatened to have
the derelict MG towed off, at which point the caretaker, in his final
gesture of duty to Verna, moved the car off-campus to the Red House
(40th & Schiller) where it sat for another month. Finally, one of the
neighbors filed a nuisance complaint about the fetid MG, and the city,
too, demanded that it be moved.

Now in this time, best beloved, there was a great hole in the earth
behind the Old New Wing of the library, whence the New New Wing would
soon spring. I'm not sure whose idea it was to bury the MG there, but
I strongly suspect the evil genius of Dave Conlin (anybody know where
I can track him down?). The night before graduation in 1988 (I know,
because I marched the next day, on zero sleep) the car was towed back
down the hill, and about 20 guys set to digging a big herkin' hole in
the bottom of the hole.

Things we didn't think about in the planning stage of the prank:

  1. Though an MG Midget is, by car standards, very small, it
    nonetheless remains a very large object, particularly when its volume
    is described in negative space from dirt, which
  2. is rather heavy, and
  3. makes a bit of noise to move, particularly when a macadam-grade
    gravel aggregate is tamped into the surface.

The noise (shovels, picks and mattocks piercing the soil and
ricocheting tinnily off the aggregate) attracted the attention of one
of the library janitors, who dutifully called security. Up until Liz
announced above that it was she who was on the desk, I could've sworn
it was Byshenk, but anyway, Allah Most Merciful smiled upon us that
graveyard shift, as Dick the Security Guy responded to the call. Dick
appreciated a good prank, knew how to act dumb when it was necessary,
and in addition to having been a career enlisted man in the navy, had
at one point odd-jobbed as a grave-digger. Whether it was his humor,
his grave-digger's admiration for our cryptic ambitions, or his
contempt for Verna's MG that stayed his hand I'll never know, but he
turned a blind eye to the proceedings, and whoever was in the dispatch
office that night had the good taste to write the log entry in pencil.

It took us a good many hours to excavate the automotive sepulcher, and
there was no beer left by the time our work was done. We popped the
tires (a curiously satisfying act, the pleasure of which I've never
experienced before or since) and rolled it into its final resting
place. Kilian (yeah, Kilian showed up out of nowhere) took a leak on
the car, and I said "Hey, it looks just like you!"

We mashed down the windshield and started piling in the dirt, of which
there was much. Another hour of filling and tamping ensued, and when
all was said and done, the earth was once again smooth over the MG,
and there was nothing left to do or say. I graduated hours later, and
that was it for me. Grandma wondered at the reception how I could
graduate with such dirt under my nails.

They poured the concrete subfloor within the week. It's still down
there, a practical joke waiting for future generations of
archaeologists to uncover.

"Apparently, they buried objects of value beneath places of learning.
We believe it may have been an offering to their god of wisdom..."

15. Living Juicy

This from the Ten Speed Press catalog:

Living Juicy: Daily Morsels for Your Creative Soul


SARK gives us the juice to nourish our creative souls with this
map and miniature guidebook.  Each daily affirmation is designed
to stop those dry and cracked feelings and give us those sweet,
wild moments we crave.

5 X 7 inches, 380 pages, full color
$15.95 paper (Can. $25.95)
ISBN 0-89087-703-3

16. Delmar, NY Rant

LU: Library expansion weirdos
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 04:24:37 -0800
From: Andrew Ashton <hubbinsd[at]>
To: libraryunderground[at]


I generally lurk in the background of this
list...Enjoy reading the discussions though.

I feel compelled to post something about the verbal
assault I received yesterday while walking out of the
Bethlehem Public Library in Delmar, NY (just outside
of Albany).  BPL is planning a huge ($8,000,000)
expansion project.  Needless to say, the town is
pretty sharply divided over spending that kind of
money on a library.  Keep in mind this is in a town
that seems to have approximately 1000 cops for every
taxpayer.  Anyway, it is a great public library; it is
well-staffed, the collection is decent (though the
electronic resources could use a shot in the arm), and
every employee I've talked to seems happy to work
there...A rarity.  A children's librarian recently
told me that their story hours have a permanent
waiting list.  In short, it is a great community

   The money would come out of new taxes..Not taken
away from other programs.  Though I'm somewhat
sympathetic to people who don't want to have to pay
more taxes for stuff they don't want or use (READ:
U.S. defense spending), I'd like to smack the creepy
weirdo who approached me outside the library
yesterday.  Our exchange went like this:

Creepy weirdo (trying to hand me a pamphlet): "Hello,
I hope you'll vote 'No' Tuesday on this stupid library

Me: "No, sorry, I plan to vote for it."

Creepy weirdo: "But they're going to spend $8 million
on a LIBRARY!! Without even exapmding the parking

Me: "I've never once had a problem parking here."

Creepy weirdo: "But it's stupidity!  On a LIBRARY!!"

Me: "What can I say, I like to spend my money that

Creepy Weirdo (now inches from my face, gingivitis
breath and all, screaming,): "Well thanks a lot for
the fucking stupidity brother!! Thanks a whole hell of
a lot". {Flips me off}

I'm 100% for this guy hanging out in front of the
library and trying to win people to support his side.
Hell it's a lot of money, especially if you don't
particularly respect the library (which this guy
evidently doesn't).  But screaming crap like that at
people who disagree with you while there are little
kids around and popping an artery over a library
expansion are just plain stupid.

What really bugs me is that this guy seemed more
concerned that the money was actually going to be
spent on the library facilities instead of on the
parking lot.  The Strip Mall mentality (aka the
American Automobile Slum) has really conditioned
people to think only in those terms and it's
ridiculous, especially in is,
thankfully, one of the most un-strip malled suburbs
I've seen.  I believe if they did expand the parking
they would need to change the zoning laws to allow for
higher volume traffic construction in the town, and
that would spell doom for one of the only areas
outside the city of Albany that doesn't have box
stores on every corner (yet).

Pardon my directionless rant.  Itch scratched.

Andrew Ashton


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