Library Juice 6:19 - September 11, 2003


1. Links...
2. Letter to Adelphia Communications in response to anti-library ad campaign
3. World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) - IFLA Comments
4. Eyes on Cancun - Implications of GATS for Libraries
5. Kigali Public Library News (Building the future of Rwanda)
6. Progressive Archivists Meeting at SAA 2003
7. Al Jazeerah on the US Media of late
8. Personal Discovery
9. Common Knowledge
10. Amusing Searches

Quote for the week:

"The strength of the constitution lies entirely in the determination of each
citizen to defend it."
-Dr. Albert Einstein, March 3, 1954

Homepage of the week: Drew Hendricks


1. Links...


Middle East Librarians Association Committee on Iraqi Libraries

[ from ALA's Don Wood to IFACTION ]


WSIS Focus: document and discussion centre

[ found surfing ]


Appeals Court Blocks FCC Media Rules
by John Nichols
The Nation

[ sent by Don Wood to IFACTION ]


Archive Awareness Month [National Council on Archives]

[ from Library Link of the Day - ]


Libraries nationwide mark September 11 anniversary

[ from Don Wood to IFACTION ]


Cheeky little video about public libraries, from the UK

[ sent by many people to many lists ]


SPARC Open Access Newsletter
September issue

[ from Peter Suber to ACRL Scholarly Communication TF list ]


Save Radio For Peace International (RFPI)

RFPI is the Western Hemisphere's only listener-supported short-wave
radio station, broadcasting from Costa Rica and now facing eviction
by the University where it is located.

Home site:

[ found surfing ]


Your librarian hates you (an NYC Craigslist posting)

[ from E. B. Parker to Library Underground ]


Helping to overcome the digital divide in Nigeria
A report from Monika Antonelli on her trip there this summer

[ sent by Monika Antonelli to undisclosed recipients ]


Worldwide Press Freedom Index (Canada 5th, Oz 12th, US 17th,
UK 21st, Italy 40th, India 79th, Russia 121st, China-NKorea last)

[ from Sue Maret to PLGnet-L ]



[ from Library Link of the Day - ]


Get Your War On - Page 26

[ standard reading list ]


2. Letter to Adelphia Communications in response to anti-library ad campaign

Originally inspired by Christine Borne...

Adelphia Communications
Wiliam T. Schleyer, President
1 North Main Street
Coudersport, PA 16915

Dear Mr. Schleyer:

I am writing to protest your recent advertising campaign that includes the
following statement: "The Internet is the must-have research tool for
students of all ages. No Library Card Required." "Remember when researching
school projects always began and ended in the library? These days, the
sounds of turning pages have been eclipsed by the clicking of computer
keyboards and the Internet is the new best source for information."

Your claim suggests two things:
1. Subscribing to Adelphia's Internet service at a substantial cost is
better than going to the public library. The library has Internet access
and more and it is (usually) free!
2. All information is available for free on the Internet. Everything is not
on the Internet. In fact, much of what is on the Internet is bad or
misleading or incomplete. Besides, the information on the Internet doesn't
go back very far, and is often not free especially for the best
information. The public library has access to information on and off the
Internet and their professional and degreed librarians can help you decide
what is and isn't reputable and reliable.

I am a heavy user of the Internet both professionally and personally.
Partly because of your distasteful advertising, I have no intention of
purchasing Adelphia Internet service and I will encourage my friends and
colleagues to do the same.

I encourage you to visit the Coudersport Public Library (502 Park Avenue)
and speak to Darlene Peasley, the librarian. Or you could call her 274-9382
or contact her by email (librarian1950[at] to find out what
information lies beyond the Internet. Perhaps then you will be able to
prepare an Adelphia ad that is less misleading and regain the support of
the librarian community.


Judith A. Siess

cc: Adelphia Cleveland office

3. World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) - IFLA Comments

Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2003 14:18:23 +0200 (METDST)
From: sophie.felfoldi[at]
To: ifla-l[at]

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

Dear Member,

As you know, IFLA is heavily engaged in contributing to the process that
leads up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to take
place in Geneva in December 2003, eventually followed by a second phase in
Tunis in November 2005. I have written to you on previous occasions and
information has been distributed via IFLANET.

We are now entering the last preparation stage for the December Summit and
I urge you to do everything you can to promote the role of libraries by
lobbying your national delegations to this United Nations conference. The
3rd preparatory committee meeting - PrepCom 3 - will be held 15-26
September 2003 in Geneva and IFLA will again be represented.

There are currently two documents available which are of prime importance
for PrepCom3, and for the agenda of the WSIS. They are the Declaration of
Principles and the Action Plan, both are available on the PrepCom3 pages of
the WSIS website

Declaration of Principles
Following the comments on we submitted on an earlier draft, it is pleasing
to note that there are some stronger references to libraries in the latest
version of the Draft Declaration of Principles . But these
could be even stronger if we succeed in convincing government delegations
that the following points should be included:

19. The last sentence of section 19 reads: "In disadvantaged areas, public
community access points, such as post offices, libraries, schools, etc.,
can provided effective means for ensuring Universal Access."

It is proposed to add:
Libraries in particular provide an effective environment for making use of
ICT to access information and for learning the skills required for
effective searching.

23. The last sentence of section 23 reads: "Public institutions such as
libraries and archives can function as trustworthy information brokers to
guarantee free access".

It is proposed to change this into:
Libraries and archives play a key role in the information society. They
guarantee free access and can function as trustworthy information brokers.

Action Plan
We can also be quite pleased about the many references to libraries in the
latest version of the Draft Plan of Action but, again
here, in contact with your national delegations you could try and have some
more emphasis on the role that libraries can play. The current references
are listed in the annex to this letter, and I would like to make the
following suggestions for more focused texts:

12.d) "Revise the concept of universal access to reflect advances and
opportunities offered by new technology, market development and changes in
user demand."

        It is proposed to add:
        Libraries should be involved in this process.

13.g) "Promote joint use of traditional media and new technologies."

It is proposed to add:
Libraries are currently enabling this combined usage on a large scale and
are prepared to share their experience in this matter.

15.e) "Establish a programme, funded by the UN (or its agencies), to
create a worldwide portal to open access journals and books, and an open
archive for scientific information."

It is proposed to add:
Libraries are the institutions to provide that access.

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to remind you of our pre-Summit
conference "Libraries [at] the Heart of the Information Society", to be held
in Geneva, 3 and 4 November 2003. Your association has been invited to take
part. Representatives of the library field will be enabled to meet with
delegates to the WSIS of their national governments. Please consider
sending one or more representatives to that event. All information,
including registration forms, is available under the WSIS logo on the
IFLANET homepage

Yours sincerely,

Ross Shimmon
Secretary General




References to (the role of) libraries in the WSIS Draft Plan of Action,
version 22 August 2003

9.e) All public libraries to be connected by 2006 and all cultural
centres, museums and archives by 2010.

11.c) Improve connectivity for institutions accessible to the public,
such as schools, universities, libraries, post offices, community centres,
museums, etc.

16. All stakeholders should support the diverse network of existing
libraries and archives and should support those countries that plan to
develop their own. Information and records management is a necessary
condition for good governance. A modest level of investment in new
technology, training and above all, content provision could kick-start the
information revolution in many regions by broadening access and developing

16.a) Governments should establish multi-purpose community public access
points, providing affordable or free-of-charge access for their citizens to
the Internet, and possessing sufficient capacity to provide assistance to
users, in libraries, educational institutions, public administrations or
other public places.

16.c) Creation and development of a public library service, adapted to
the digital era should be supported.

20.b) Design specific training programmes in the use of ICTs and revise
curricula for content workers such as archivists, librarians, scientists,
teachers, journalists and other media workers.

41.d) Develop national policies and laws to ensure that libraries,
archives, museums and other cultural institutions can play their full role
of content-including traditional knowledge-providers in the information
society, more particularly by providing continued access to recorded

41.e) Develop an international framework for the preservation of digital
heritage, including developing systems for ensuring continued access to
archived digital information and multimedia content, and support archives
and libraries as the memory of humankind.


4. Eyes on Cancun - Implications of GATS for Libraries

Frederick W Stoss wrote:
> Should librarians think their work is not related to the activitie of the
> WTO, here is a good example. Perhaps others on the SRRTAC list might want
> to include their perspectives on WTO, et al. and the flow of data and
> inforamtion.
> Fred Stoss
> Science and Engineering Library
> University at Buffalo--SUNY
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2003 13:30:27 -0400
> From: Robert McChesney <rmcchesney[at]>
> To: freepress_e_activist[at]
> Subject: [FP E-Act] Global media call to action from Robert McChesney
> This September at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Cancun,
> Mexico, the US Trade Representative will attempt to expand the WTO's
> power over Communications and Audiovisual Services. This includes film,
> radio, television, video, and music production, as well as media
> distribution services such as satellite, cable and broadcast. The
> result could spell disaster for vibrant media systems worldwide.
> If this occurs, US regulations that favor media diversity, localism and
> the public interest could be attacked as "barriers to trade." Media
> ownership limits, as well as Federal and state programs that encourage
> diverse media, could be considered outright trade violations.
> Please go to
> Sign the petition. Pass it along to others concerned with media or
> global issues. The petition will be delivered to Congress shortly
> before the WTO meeting in mid-September.
> This attempt, created and backed by Big Media lobbyists, is being
> carried out in the name of the American people. A massive wave of
> public pressure is essential to move Congress to act.
> For more information, please go to
> Thank you,
> Robert McChesney
> Free Press
> info[at]

[SRRTAC-L:11634] Re: WTO: Global media call to action from Robert McChesney (fwd)
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2003 15:11:30 -0400
From: Samuel Trosow <strosow[at]>
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]>
Reply to: srrtac-l[at]

Thanks so much for posting this Fred. The posting reminds us once again
that many of the services offered by libraries, and other public
information services in which we are interested, may come within GATS
CULTURAL SERVICES) is not included in the listing of sectors to which a
country makes a committment. (recall that the US has already listed
section 10.C., but that the USTR has indicated they will seek to exclude
public library services from its reach)

This is a good time to review the ALA statement at:

which reads, in pertinent part:

"The Washington Office also has continued discussions with the USTR
negotiators on the General Agreement on Trade in Services, in order to
monitor USTR's efforts and to help USTR understand the needs of
America's publicly supported libraries and also what actions may further
or limit the ability of these libraries to serve America's schools and
communities. There has been one positive development recently.
World Trade Organization members were to submit by March 31 initial
offers to broaden the range of service sectors they would each make
subject to specific commitments under the GATS. The one specific
commitment of any potential, practical concern to libraries
is the National Treatment (NT) commitment. If library services provided
by public and publicly-funded libraries were subject to NT, the federal,
state and local governments could potentially have to choose between
having to provide subsidies and other support to like foreign entities
as well as US libraries, or not providing such support at all.
The USTR, in accordance with our discussions, agreed to use this initial
offer process to clarify the scope of library services covered by
existing US specific commitments.
Accordingly, in its initial offer, the US has added qualifying language
to the current listing for Libraries, Archives, Museums and Other
Cultural Services on the US schedule of specific commitments, to exclude
'non-profit, public and publicly-funded entities.' With this
qualification in place, the US would not be obliged to provide National
Treatment (NT) to like service providers from other WTO Member
countries, thereby effectively eliminating the only potential, practical
risk to these libraries under the GATS at this time."

While this certainly is a positive development, the assessment in the
last sentence, (that the addition of qualifying language to the 10C
committment effectively eliminates "the only potential, practical risk
to these libraries under the GATS at this time") seems especially
questionable in light of the announced intention of the USTR to seek an
expansion of coverage in the areas identified in the posting. In
addition, the same limiting language is not being added for the benefit
of libraries with respect to classifications other than 10.C. under
which some library services may nonetheless fall.

Looking at the USTR website for the latest indication of the US'
negotiating position, see the March 31, 2003 set of documents under the
heading "U.S. Offers to Expand Access to the Already Open American
Services Sector in WTO Trade Talks" at

These documents enumerate the "requests" and "offers" to be made by the
US which were to be made by March 31, 2003. To look at the specific
offers and requests being put forward by the US, you have to look at the
(lengthy and seemingly incomprehensible) document at

The Sector-specific committments begin on page 16, and you can scroll
down the left hand margin to see the changes being proposed from the
current list of committments -- (if you go down to 10.C. on page 89, you
will see the amendment to which the WO was referring)

Sector 2 (Communication Services) begins on page 45 and the items in
green underlining in the left hand column show the changes being proposed.

We should be looking very carefully at items:
2.D.-Basic Telecommunications Services (starting on p. 46);
2.E.-Information Services (Value added services -- starting at p. 50)
2.F.-Other Communications Services (starting at p. 51)
2.G.-Audiovisual Services (starting at p. 52)
5 - Educational Serices (starting at p. 57)

In addition, we should review the implications of existing committments
in the following sectors where no current changes are indicated:

1.B.- Computer and Related Services (p. 34)
1.F.r.Other Business Services-Publishing

We need to be creative in terms of thinking about what service
classification sectors and subsectors the particular services in which
we are interested might be characterized under. Simply relying on the
carve-out from 10.C. might not help us if a particular library service
comes within one of these other classification categories. So for
example, if a library offers internet services to the public, what
potential classifications might this activity fall under? And what if
internet training is offered on top of that? If a publicly supported
university library expends resources to support the activities of an
open access initiative for the dissemination of scholarly works, what
potential classifications might this activity fall under? What about
virtual reference services? What about homework centers? What about
document delivery services? The list goes on.

So I do think we have quite a bit of work to do on this issue.

Samuel Trosow
University of Western Ontario


5. Kigali Public Library News (Building the future of Rwanda)

Date: Tue, 09 Sep 2003 18:48:51 -0400
From: Skip Auld <auldh[at]> (Chesterfield County Public Library)
To: ALA International Relations Round Table <alaworld[at]>
Reply to: alaworld[at]

To ALA-World, RPCV, ALA Member-Forum, ALA Council, SRRT, Publib and VLA

The following is an excerpt from a newsletter distributed by
Zachary Kaufman, President of the American Friends of the Kigali Public
Library. For more information, contact Mr. Kauffman (at
zachary.kaufman[at] or zachary.kaufman[at]
or visit the website (which is a temporary
site until it is relocated to its original site of: ). The motto for this Rotary Club project,
which has broad support including that of the Rwandan government, is
"Turning Tools of Destruction into Tools of Knowledge."

I hope this project will become a model for sustainable
development. In my opinion, it could become a demonstration of the value
of libraries and a worldwide beacon of hope. For ALA information on
"Libraries Build(ing) Sustainable Communities," click

Skip Auld

9 September 2003
Volume 2003, Number 3

The July 2003 release of the first $100,000 tranche of the Government of
Rwanda's $500,000 pledge to the Kigali Public Library is bringing the
dream of a public library closer to reality.

Gerald Mpyisi, chairman of the Kigali Public Library Committee, said
that the Rwandan Government's pledge has created a sense of momentum
about the project. The newly released funds will permit completion of
70 percent of the building, including the exterior structure and the
finishing work for the library's main floor, according to Raponir
Hruska, managing director of Balkan SARL, the contractor for the
project. Finishing the library's main floor will enable operations to
commence in 2004.

During August, Balkan SARL attacked the structural work, including the
interior columns. Visitors to the site can see that the columns for the
front of the library are underway. Passersby will soon be able to see
the building rise above the fence surrounding the building site.

Construction began in 2002 with the site preparation and foundations.

The Kigali Public Library is the major project of the Rotary Club of
Kigali-Virunga in Rwanda's capital city. The Rotary Club began the
project in 1999 because Rwanda has no public library. Club members hope
that the library, with books for all, will be a major tool of change in
one of Africa's least developed countries. Only about 50 percent of
Rwandans are literate. Rwanda suffered an ethnically based genocide
that took approximately 1 million lives in 1994.

More money is needed, Mpyisi reported. The building fund now totals
$800,000. That leaves a gap of approximately $400,000 that will permit
the completion of the first phase of construction, including finishing
the basement floor. An additional $400,000 will permit the completion
of the second floor.

In Rwanda, the Rotary Club of Kigali-Virunga and the Library Committee
are planning a major fundraiser for January 2004. The Rotary Club is
also preparing to place collection boxes in international hotels and the
Kigali International Airport to draw both the attention and donations of
foreign tourists.

Mpyisi praised supporters of the Kigali Public Library project living
abroad. Thanks to them, he said, we have received many donations,
including funds to build, books to sell at fundraisers, and books to
stock the shelves when the library is complete.

Individual donors receive recognition at three levels: Premier
($45,000), VIP ($10,000), and Founding Members ($1000).

To add your email address to the Kigali Public Library Newsletter
mailing list, email kigalilibrary[at]


Hampton "Skip" Auld, Assistant Director
Chesterfield County Public Library
9501 Lori Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832-0297
(804) 748-1767

6. Progressive Archivists Meeting at SAA 2003

Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2003 13:43:52 -0700 (PDT)
From: Peter Gunther <raggmopp_2000[at]>
To: subscibers <Progarchs[at]>
Reply to: Progarchs[at]

Dear List

The Progressive Archivists Caucus meeting at the annual meeting of the
Society of American Archivists in Los Angeles, August 21 was sparsely
attended. We had about seven attendees.

The meeting started with a call by Kathy Marquis, co-chair of the SAA
Conference program committee to submit session proposals for the next
annual meeting (Boston 2004). We went around the room and introduced
ourselves and told about some of our activist activities. Next we heard
from Tom O', who first updated us on the story and status of the SAA
diversity committee and the results of the motion from the floor of last
years business meeting calling to enforce the recommendations of the 1997
Task Force on Diversity
( )

Then he gave us a synopsis of his participation in the annual Liverpool
gave: The Bush Administration and Information Lockdown. We also discussed
the need for future freedom and democracy studies. This all fit well with a
reoccurring theme at this year's SAA, the USA PATRIOT act and its
implication for archives. (For those overseas, this new act suspends many
constitutional rights and liberties in the government's pursuit of

I ended the meeting with my annual appeal for members to hold meetings at
their individual archival association conferences (such as moving image or
sound archivists) and their regional conferences.

At SAA this year the official business of at least two different
roundtables (Manuscripts Repositories and Privacy and Confidentiality) and
one section (Reference, Access and Outreach) was concerned with discussion
of this subject--the implications of the PATRIOT act for archives. (The R.
A. & O. section plans a resolution to the SAA council to consider the
implications of the act and formulate an official position). Regarding the
PATRIOT act, it was mentioned that the American Library Association is
quite advanced in its discussion, instructions and advice for what to do
when visited with a subpoena or warrant via the PATRIOT act (I advise
everyone to look at this. Go to and search for
PATRIOT--the link is overly long). For archives, the issue is not only the
government's new powers to examine patron use records, but also to examine
restricted records and perhaps most important, the recent records of local,
community or activist groups and unions in its search for dissenters and
political enemies. Numerous times in the past, the
U. S. government has misused such records for unconstitutional political
harassment, and it should be trusted to do this again. I do not believe any
archivist collects records for the purpose of targeting and betraying the
individuals within those records.

If anyone who attended the Progressive Archivists meeting (or the SAA 2003
conference) has anything to add, augment, or correct, please jump in and
post it to the list.

Peter Gunther

7. Al Jazeerah on the US Media of late

Cross-check news sources?
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 18:37:09 -0400
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]>
To: alacoun[at]
Cc: srrtac-l[at]
Reply to: iskra[at]

The following story illustrates a new imperative for librarians:
cross-checking our news sources for breaking international news.
Mark R.

>'The implosion of US media'
>Date: Tuesday, September 09 [at] 09:38:38 EDT
>Topic: Media
>By Mike Whitney, Al Jazeerah
>Public Broadcasting ran a documentary recently on the inner workings
>of Aljazeera TV. It should be forced viewing for all Americans. The
>chaotic office scenes of the "chain smoking news hounds"  rooting
>about for every bit of breaking news would undoubtedly remind many
>viewers of what was best about the American "free press" in days
>long gone by. The sad reality, as most of us know, is that the US
>media has degenerated into an air tight chamber manned by toothy
>manikins with lacquered hair and Brooks Brothers suits, whose job it
>is to provide a corporate friendly view of the world.
>The amount of self censorship and disinformation has gotten so
>extreme, that I find myself cross checking virtually every important
>story that comes over the wire from either the New York Times or the
>Associated Press with sources outside the US. The results are
>predictably dismal.
>The lead up to the War in Iraq gives a good illustration of this
>problem. Prior to the war 65% of the American public did not support
>the conflict without UN approval, and nearly 70% wanted to give the
>weapons inspectors more time. Hardly, a ringing endorsement of
>Bush's planned aggression. Regardless of this conspicuous
>opposition, the televised media presented the views of people
>opposed to the war a mere 3% of the time. Dissenting voices were
>simply drowned out by the myriad military analysts and pro war
>pundits that the stations hired to promote the war. (Data provided
>by Fairness and Accuracy in Media)
>Similarly, and even more outrageously, The New York Times and The
>Associated Press propagated nearly every false story ( ie including
>the aluminum tubes fiasco; Saddam's palaces being used for chem-bio
>weapons; trucks being used as mobile labs; false allegations from
>Iraqi defectors )  that contributed to convincing the people that
>Saddam posed a imminent threat to US national security. A claim that
>we know now was so wildly exaggerated that it is laughable, if not
>During the war the same commitment to misinformation, public
>relation gambits and filtered news persisted. ( ie the Jessica Lynch
>story; photo ops of toppling statues of Saddam) Both print and
>televised media managed to go the duration of the war without
>showing even ONE photo of the 10,000 innocent Iraqis who died
>needlessly in the conflict. This was a masterstroke of such
>calculated cynicism that it hardly deserves comment. It shouldn't
>surprise anyone then, that there was no mention of the estimated
>5,000 cluster bombs that were dumped on the Iraqi population by US
>and British aircraft. I'm sure that the media czars realized that
>footage of disfigured, dead Iraqis might not shore up support for
>the Bush Crusade.
>Following the war, it has been basically more of the same. Unlike
>the UK where  reporters from the BBC have fulfilled their "watchdog"
>role by relentlessly holding the Blair Government accountable for
>misleading the British public, here, in the "land of the free", the
>Bush Administration's prevarications, obfuscations and boldfaced
>lies have been treated with a "business as usual" attitude by his
>obsequious friends in the press. Neither Congress nor the media have
>made any serious attempt to investigate the obvious deceptions and
>fabrications that steered the country to war.
>This can only  considered a catastrophic failure in the system and a
>blow to the idea of transparency in government.
>You have to give the Bush Administration credit, they knew from the
>onset that their extreme right wing agenda had no chance of being
>executed without a subservient and well oiled propaganda machine.
>The "information management" by the state-media alliance  functioned
>at a level of efficiency that would have made the Soviets envious.
>The people of the US are only beginning to grasp the tyranny that
>naturally flows from a monopolistic, corporate media. We were
>hoodwinked into a war that was intrinsically immoral, and now, we
>are painted with the same brush in he eyes of the world as the
>criminals in the White House.
>  The betrayal of the media is, perhaps, more excruciating than
>Bush's adventurism. There's simply no way a democracy can survive
>without an informed public, and yet,  as the media giants continue
>to consolidate, the hard facts get more scarce and the likelihood of
>the truth leeching out gets even more remote.
>No one in the United States ever believed we would be looking to
>[the Arab TV stations of Aljazeera, Abu Dhabi, and Al-Arabiya]  for
>lessons in free speech.
>But, that's what it has come to.
>Editorial Note: is not related to the Qatari Aljazeera TV.
>Reprinted from Al Jazeerah:


8. Personal Discovery (Popular Fiction)

by Michael McGrorty

I had another good run at the reference desk today. It was Monday,
and about half the town came in looking for something. People seem to
finish novels over the weekend; come Monday they want something new to
divert them, and by golly they never ask for Madame Bovary.

Have you ever wondered why library schools offer classes in children's
literature and young adult fiction, but not too much especially about
grown-up tastes? That's because you can find out everything you need to
know about books for the big folks by spending an hour at any reference
desk in the nation. Your taxpayer will let you know.

This afternoon a lady came on by to demand something that had just been
published by one of these creatures who cranks out books like a hen lays
eggs. The book wasn't out yet. Actually it was somewhere, but we didn't
have it. Upon hearing this the lady acted as though a relative had died.
Right in front of the reference desk she passed through the stages of
grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. She tried
pulling the 'Anger' phase on me but I merely yanked up Amazon and showed
her how, for a small expenditure of American money she could have the
desired item in hand within hours. This of course sparked the 'Well,
you're the library' response, which marks the transition to Bargaining, and
informs the savvy librarian that he has gained control of the situation.

At this juncture, a bit of informed chat about the author can turn the
patron directly into the Acceptance mode, wherein she realizes that, having
read 600 practically identical courtroom thrillers by this particular
writer, she can just as easily go back and read an old one and wait for the
next to hit the shelves.

Thus far library school has not been able to disabuse me of the notion that
there is such a thing as good fiction, nor that its opposite exists, as it
does, in spades. The reason for this is that I made my acquaintance with
fiction long before anybody told me that it is arranged by last name of
author. On the other hand, reading good fiction ruins a man like drinking
fine liquor: you can never go back to the cheap stuff. I was ruined long
before I left home for the first time, which might explain some of the
problems I had back in the navy.

Traditionally there are two pastimes pursued by sailors; the other one is
drinking. I was not immune to the pull of tradition; my favorite thing was
to finish a pitcher of dark beer, then spend the evening reading something
good. This was completely at variance with the practice of my shipmates
and often led to confusion and upset. It wasn't long before I got a
Reputation, which was the first step to becoming an Object of Scorn.
Seeing that I was headed for a bad end, some of my pals decided to save me.
I was taken out to various sleazy dives, filled with liquor and introduced
to female entertainment, at which point I invariably left via a side door,
caught a cab to the pier and spent the rest of the night reading in my
bunk. At the nadir of my situation I simply cut out the middleman,
bringing a book along to read at the bar. With that development my
erstwhile rescuers threw up their hands and left me to fate.

Fate, as she will do, yanked my thread soon thereafter. Seeing that I was
perfectly content with my job as a shipboard postal clerk, the local
authorities saw to it that I got an additional assignment, one whose ironic
aspect they couldn't have failed to appreciate. It was suggested that I
should 'volunteer' to organize the ship's library, and like a dummy I
agreed to have a look at the job.

Now, I should begin by saying that this particular ship was commissioned in
the mid-fifties. By the time I got to her, she was well past the stage of
full utility, and soon to be scrapped. Somebody got me a key and I went to
the space just off the mess decks that rumor had it was once used as a
library. The door creaked open to reveal a bleak ruin of dusty shelves,
condemned furniture and assorted junk; the compartment was about the size
of a master bedroom and filled to the overhead with cardboard boxes whose
contents were, among other things, ratty old books. There wasn't room to
walk much less sit. The lighting was shot. It looked like a library all
right-after a cyclone. I shut the door and left.

It was clear that the entire thing had been intended as a joke, and the
laugh was on me. I went below to return the key and discovered my
shipmates in fine humor over my predicament. I flipped the key on a desk
and said, memorably,

"It would take more than the Captain to make me clean up that place. To
hell with you."

To begin with, one does not refuse orders in the navy. For another thing,
one does not fling challenges into the faces of higher-ranking shipmates
unless one wishes to be led on a Journey of Personal Discovery.

I left my colleagues behind and stormed out into the passageway, intending
to find myself a quiet place to brood. One of my shipmates, a fellow whose
history included incidents of violence, followed me into the corridor and
beat about six chapters of Dickens out of my head. Then, like a good
shipmate, he carried me to sick bay, where they specialized in stitching up
the torn upholstery of young fools like me.

About a week later, still looking like I'd fallen down a well head-first, I
began work on the library-strictly on a volunteer basis.

The first job was separating the quick from the dead. Fortunately, when
the time came for this assessment we were out at sea on local operations,
which gave me the chance to donate quite a bit of junk to Davy Jones'
Locker. Out went the ancient softball gear, away too the old bowling
trophies; adios as well to the busted chairs. And then there were the
books. I cleared the deck and made a triage area: there were books that
would survive without help, books that would live only with help and those
that no amount of help would restore. Most of the last had been left on
the deck with the aforementioned porthole open; the rain came in and
reduced them to mildewy pulp.

As the days passed I put the place more and more into order; the hardest
part was simply cleaning out the old grime, but that didn't take any
thinking and one thing sailors are good at is wielding a swab. Beneath the
dust was a decent little compartment with a nice linoleum deck that I
scrubbed and waxed and buffed until it shone.

Having weeded the collection to manageable proportion it was time to put my
books in order. This particular library had no organizational principle
beyond gravity. And of course, I knew nothing about cataloging. I was
just a nineteen year-old who could alphabetize. And so, I alphabetized:
Fiction went on the shelves in the traditional manner and non-fiction
according to a scheme of rough subject headings which owed nothing at all
to Dewey.

All of this work was performed in glorious silence and secrecy. Eventually
I opened the place; at the time we were ferrying the usual load of Marines
to some spot for training; they and our sailors came through the library
door, looked around, and just as quickly departed. Apart from an
occasional letter-writer seeking a desk, very few used the place. Most
evenings you could have fired a clip of ammunition in there and not hit a
living soul. My circulation statistics were dismal. I worried that
management, meaning the Captain, might close the place down and take away
the most comfortable napping spot I'd found on the ship.

So, I put a long sheet of paper out on the bulkhead upon which was written,
'What's Wrong With the Library?' In a matter of days it was filled with
responses, some of them in actual English, few repeatable in mixed company.
The gist of these was that the library wasn't carrying the type of books
the crew and Marines desired; that, and the selections weren't recent.

Perhaps I should mention that the tastes of sailors and Marines in
literature were very closely akin to the themes chosen for their tattoos,
with a bit more elaboration. There was the Naked-Girl-In-Peril genre,
followed closely in popularity by the Death-Before-Dishonor epic, with a
bit of the Dagger-Pierced-Heart for the sentimentalist. You might be
surprised to find that the stimulation young men seek is not often for the
deeper folds of the cerebellum.

At any rate, I went to the ship's Welfare Committee with my sheet of
complaints and was asked in turn what I had done with the 'new books.' I
said, "What new books?" and was informed that the ship got regular
shipments of best-sellers from some government source-none of which I'd
ever seen. I did some sniffing about and discovered that these books,
which arrived at least monthly, were being Shanghaied by the officers of
the ship, who had put in a standing order to have them delivered to the

I took a cruise up to the wardroom and discovered quite a few nice, new
books, all of them stamped 'Ship's Library.' I asked around and found that
most of the books were eventually absorbed into the personal collections of
officers and Chiefs. Being the postal clerk, I thereafter accepted the
shipments myself, put them in the library and solved part of my problem.
We now had newer books.

What we didn't have were the type of books the crew wanted. Among other
things they wanted trash westerns-not Riders of the Purple Sage but lesser
stuff with at least one gunfight per page, comic books without the
pictures. They wanted the male equivalent of romance novels, with at least
one bodice-ripping to a chapter. The government wasn't in the way of
providing such fare. On the other hand, such books were always in
circulation among the men. So I got to borrowing them for the collection,
placing them on a small shelf near the door where they could be easily
accessed by the less patient segment of our patron base. I also acquired
copies of the most popular periodicals and put these up for use. Needless
to say they did not include Ladies Home Journal; the only mentionable one
was The Sporting News.

The experience taught me that a public library either reflects the tastes
of its community, or it perishes. It also taught me something about
myself: That I loved the arrangement of books, the maintaining of books,
the recommendation of books to others. Before I was shaving every day I
had taken the first steps down the librarian's path, though the completion
of the journey lay decades in the future. Some of us manage to resist
what's best for us for a long time; eventually it caught up with me.

And so here am I, holding down a reference desk about as well as you might
expect from any intern, and holding my tongue as well as I can when some
patron asks for the latest in popular fiction. Aside from anything else,
one thing the navy taught this sailor was when to shut up.

Michael McGrorty


9. Common Knowledge

The mission of Common Knowledge is both incredibly ambitious and
shockingly simple: open up lines of communication between the academy
and the community of thoughtful people outside its walls. Common
Knowledge was created to form a new intellectual model, one based on
conversation and cooperation rather than on metaphors adopted from
sports and war, of "sides" that one must "take." The pages of Common
Knowledge are sure to challenge the ways we think about theory and its
relevance to humanity.

E-ISSN: 1538-4578
Print ISSN: 0961-754X
Publisher: Duke University Press

Editor: Jeffrey M. Perl, Bar-Ilan University
Email: comknow[at]

10. Amusing Searches

The following are search expressions that led web users from search engines
(mostly Google) to pages on during the month of August:

Melvil Dewey anarchist
"free bongs"
threats toysrus
quotes about being insane
which states have the last name MARTAIN in it's census
bisexual tetris game
rory litwin president
juice -wheatgrass -barley
"5 foot bongs"
books that were banned for sexual content now available as free downloads
Tips for Belly Stomach Inflation
transexual jazz musician
thidwick the big-hearted moose
images of 16th century evil porn
batman hat
"loveless frump"
grate sex with granny
can gay hold front-line job positions
"conan the rastafarian"
"words that end in v"
sunshine the mime on singapore
i want email addresses of people living in puerto-Rica
cure psychological foot fetish
idi amin sexual exploits
"further, it may be the case"
librarian from porky's 2
models having bunion fetish
unsolved problems
relieve herself on the sidewalk
rate of gays per state
vegas showgirl requirements
elvis impersonator, irish
young men who isolate themselves in their rooms
picture of psychiatric quiet room
preschool selfishness management
bored librarianship
why librarianship sucks
why do we need to format a disk
"Thank you Mitch for that lovely introduction"
practice commanding power
"The Rebellious Alphabet"
free cartoon asparagus pics
wav library "ta da"
"piss them off" librarians



ISSN 1544-9378

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