Library Juice 8:14, August 21, 2005


1. Links...
2. Some Tendencies of American Thought (Arthur Bostwick, 1915)

Quote for the month:

"...[A]ccountability as a trend for public institutions (public schools
are the earliest example) was a self-imposed response to conservative
questions concerning the value (in both the economic and qualitative
meanings of that term) received for the tax dollars spent. The idea
has since become much more crudely economic in the intervening years,
wiht direct threats to cut or withhold funding or privatize all or part
of public institutions that are not "performing." In turn,
accountability has given rise to research on qualitative measures as a
means to justify budgets or encourage private donations. This
reorientation of the profession represents a philosophical change in
outlook, as John Budd argues. When talked about and written about this
way, the presupposition is that libraries provide collections and
services (and "account" for and evaluate them) not as an end but in
or as a means, and the 'desired end is really the material
success of the library.' Such practices are not harmless, trendy
adaptations to altered circumstances, but a reorientation of
librarianship along the lines of the new public philosophy, with
significant contradictions to the public sphere role of libraries..."

- John Buschman, in Dismantling the Public Sphere: Situating and
Sustaining Librarianship in the Age of the New Public Philosophy
(Libraries Unlimited, 2003)

Homepage of the month: Isabel Espinal


1. Links...


New on

Issue 21 of Information for Social Change, with the following articles
in PDF form at

Editorial by John Pateman and Ruth Rikowski.

Report of the Book Launch for Ruth Rikowski 's book Globalisation,

Information and Libraries - Ruth Rikowski.

Failed Globalisation Policies Effects on African Faiths  - David Nderitu.

Pain of Globalistion  - David Nderitu.

How anyone can write, compile and sell (or give away) e-books on the
Internet  - Kingsley Oghojafor.

Key Worker Status for Library Workers  - Martyn Lowe.

Information needed to cope with crisis in the lives of individuals and
communities: an assessment of the roles public libraries and voluntary
sector agencies play in the provision of such information  - Zapopan
Martin Muela Meza.

Rethinking the  "Balance in Copyright ": 3 parts to the balance, not
just one!  - Ruth Rikowski.

Breaking Barriers: Libraries and Socially Excluded Communities.
By Annette DeFaveri.

Culture, Identity and Libraries. By John Pateman.

Going to the Movies. By Martyn Lowe.

Imperialism, Censorship and Fascism. By Fernando Buen Abad Domínguez.

Using libraries in Nigeria as tools for education and national development
in the 21st century. By Rose B. Okiy.

A World to Win: a rough guide to a future without global capitalism by
Paul Feldman and Corinna Lotz. Reviewed by John Pateman.

Globalisation, Information and Libraries. Reviewed by John Pateman.

Globalisation, information and libraries: the implications of the World
Trade Organisation's GATS and TRIPS Agreements. Reviewed by John Vincent.

Book review of E-book publishing services: how anyone can write, compile
and sell e-books on the Internet by Kingsley Oghojafor  - Reviewed by
Ruth Rikowski.

Book review of Helen Macfarlane: a feminist, revolutionary journalist
and philosopher in mid-nineteenth century England by David Black
 - Reviewed by Ruth Rikowski.


Now on the web:
LIBRI: International Journal of Libraries and Information Services

[ from Hütter Petra to the IFLA list ]


By Bernie Sloan

[ found surfing ]


The unlikely (trademark) battle over freedom of expression

[ from Carrie McLaren to Stay Free! subscribers ]


Libraries face their biggest shake-up

John Ezard
Saturday July 30, 2005
The Guardian

Librarians could be stripped of their 144-year-old right to choose
books under plans to reorganise the public library service disclosed

[ sent by Mark Rosenzweig to multiple lists ]

CILIP response to above news:

[ sent by Michael Gorman the the ALA Council list ]


Public Relations Campaign for Research Office at E.P.A. May Include
Ghostwritten Articles
NY Times, July 18, 2005

No academic ghostwriting at EPA
Agency says that in ghostwriting proposal, 'scholarly journals' represent
trade publications, not peer-reviewed ones.

[ Martin Wallace to the PLG list ]


The Little Prince: confiscated by U.S. Customs
(Un US confiscation of books bound for Cuban libraries.)
Granma, Aug. 9, 2005

[ sent by Dana Lubow to multiple lists ]


When "Old News" Has Never Been Told
U.S. media produce excuses, not stories, on Downing Street Memo
Extra! July/August 2005
Julie Hollar and Peter Hart

[ from FAIR to email subscribers ]


The EPIC Top 10 Booklist on Iraq for 2005
Essential Reading for Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Concerned Citizens
from the Education for Peace in Iraq Center...

[ from Mark Rosenzweig to multiple lists ]


Une liberté sous surveillance électronique

Una libertad bajo vigilancia electrónica

[ Zapopan Martin Muela-Meza to multiple lists ]


Library Philosophy and Practice (free online journal)

[ found surfing ]


KAIROS - a journal of rhetoric, technology and pedagody

[ found surfing ]


Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

[ found surfing ]

2. Some Tendencies of American Thought (Arthur Bostwick, 1915)

By Dr. Arthur E. Bostwick, Librarian, St. Louis Public Library

Read before the New York Library Association at Squirrel Inn, Haines
Falls, Sept. 28, 1915, and before the Missouri Library Association at
Joplin, Mo., Oct. 21, 1915.
The modern American mind, like modern America, itself, is a melting pot.   
We are taking men and women of all races and fusing them into
Americans.   In the same way we are taking points of view, ideas,
standards, and modes of action from whatever source we find them,
combining them and fusing them into what will one day become American
thoughts and standards.   We are thus combining the most varied and
opposing things -- things that it would seem impossible to put
together.   Take our modern American tendency in government, for
instance.   Could there be two things more radically different that
despotism and democracy? -- the rule of one and the rule of the many?   
And yet I believe that we are taking steps toward a very successful
combination of the two.   Such a combination is essentially ancient.   No
despotism can hold its own without the consent of the governed.   That
consent may be unwilling and sooner or later it is then withheld, with
the result that a revolution takes place and the despot loses his
throne -- the oldest form of the recall.   Every despotism is thus
tempered by revolution, and Anglo-Saxon communities have been ready to
exercise such a privilege on the slightest sign that a despotic
tendency was creeping into their government.

It is not remarkable, then, that our own Federal government, which is
essentially a copy of the British government of its day, should have
incorporated this feature of the recall, which in England had just
passed from its revolutionary to its legal stage.   It was beginning to
be recognized then that a vote of the people's representatives could
recall a monarch, and the English monarchy is now essentially elective.   
But to make assurance doubly sure, the British government, in its later
evolution, has been practically separated from the monarch's person,
and any government may be simply overthrown or "recalled" by a vote of
lack of confidence in the House of Commons, followed, if need be, by a
defeat in a general election.   We have not yet adopted this feature.   
Our President is still the head of our government, and he and all other
elected Federal officers serve their terms out, no matter whether the
people have confidence in them or not.   But the makers of our
Constitution improved on the British government as they found it.   They
made the term of the executive four years instead of life and
systematized the "recall" by providing for impeachment proceedings -- a
plan already recognized in Britain in the case of certain
administrative and judicial officers.

As it stands at present we have a temporary elective monarch with more
power, even nominally, than most European constitutional monarchs and
more actually than many so-called absolute monarchs such as the Czar or
the Sultan.   In case he should abuse that power that we have given him,
he may be removed from office after due trial, by our elected

In following out these ideas in later years, we are gradually evolving a
form of government that is both more despotic and more democratic.   We
are combining the legislative and executive power in the hands of a few
persons, hampering them very little in their exercise of it, and making
it possible to recall them by direct vote of the body of citizens that
elected them.   I think we may describe the tendency of the public
thought in governmental matters as a tendency toward a despotism under
legalized democratic control.   It may be claimed, I think, that the
best features of despotism and democracy may thus be utilized, with a
minimum of the evils of each.

It was believed by the ancients, and we frequently see it stated today,
that the ideal government would be government by a perfectly good
despot.   This takes the citizens into account only as persons who are
governed, and not as persons who govern or help to govern.   It is
pleasant, perhaps, to have plenty of servants to wait upon one, but
surely health, physical, mental, and moral, waits on him who does most
things for himself.   I once heard Lincoln Steffens say:   "What we want
is not 'Good Government'; it is Self-Government."   But is it not
possible to get the advantage of government by a few, with its
possibilities of continuous policy and its freedom from
"crowd-psychology," with its skillful utilization of expert knowledge,
while admitting the public to full knowledge of that is going on, and
full ultimate control of it?   We evidently think so, and our present
tendencies are evidence that we are attempting something of the kind.   
Our belief seems to be that if we elect our despot and are able to
recall him we shall have to keep tab on him pretty closely, and that
the knowledge of statecraft that will thus be necessary to us will be
no less than if we personally took part in legislation and
administration -- probably far more than if we simply went through the
form of delegating our responsibilities and then took no further
thought, as most of us have been accustomed to do.

Whether this is the right view or not -- whether it is workable -- the
future will show; I am here discussing the tendencies, not their
ultimate outcome.   But it would be too much to expect that this or any
other eclectic policy should be pleasing to all.

"The real problem of collectivism," says Walter Lippmann, "is the
difficulty of combining popular control with administrative
power. . . . The conflict between democracy and centralized
authority . . . is the line upon which the problems of collectivism
will be fought out."

In selecting elements from both despotism and democracy we are
displeasing the adherents of both.   There is too much despotism in the
plan for one side and too much democracy for the other.   We constantly
hear the complaint that concentrated responsibility with popular
control is too despotic, and at the same time the criticism that it is
too democratic.   To put your city in the hands of a small commission,
perhaps of a city manager, seems to some to be a return to monarchy;
and so perhaps it is.   To give Tom, Dick and Harry the power to unseat
these monarchs at will is said to be dangerously socialistic; and
possibly it is.   Only it is possible that by combining this two poisons
-- this acid and this alkali -- in the same pill, we are neutralizing
their harmful qualities.   At any rate this would seem to be the idea on
which we are now proceeding.

We may now examine the effects of this tendency toward eclecticism in
quite a different filed -- that of morals.   Among the settlers of our
country were both Puritans and Cavaliers -- representatives in England
of two moral standards that have contended there for centuries and
still exist there side by side.   We in America are attempting to mix
them with some measure of success.   This was detected by the German
lady of whom Mr. Bryce tells in his "American Commonwealth," who said
that American women were "furchtbar frei und furchbar fromm" --
frightfully free and frightfully pious!   In other words they are trying
to mix the Cavalier and Puritan standards.   Of course those who do not
understand what is going on think that we are either too free or too
pious.   We are neither; we are trying to give and accept freedom in
cases where freedom works for moral efficiency and restraint where
restraint is indicated.   We have not arrived at a final standard.   We
may not do so.   This effort at mixture, like all our others, may fail;
but there appears to be no doubt that we are making it.   To take an
obvious instance, I believe that we are trying with some success, to
combine ease of divorce with a greater real regard for the sanctity of
marriage.   We have found that if marriage is made absolutely
indissoluble, there will be greater excuse for disregarding the
marriage vow than if there are legal ways of dissolving it.

Americans are shocked at Europeans when they allude in ordinary
conversation to infractions of the moral code that they treat as
trivial.   They on the other hand are shocked when we talk of divorce
for what they consider insufficient causes.   In the former case we seem
to them "frightfully pious"; in the latter, "frightfully free."   They
are right; we are both; it is only another instance of our tendency
towards eclecticism, this time in moral standards.

In some directions we find that this tendency to eclecticism is working
toward a combination not of two opposite things, but of a hundred
different ones.   Take our art for instance, especially as manifested in
our architecture.   A purely native town in Italy, Arabia, or Africa, or
Mexico, has its own atmosphere; no one could mistake one for the other
any more than he could mistake a beaver dam for an ant hill or a bird's
nest for a woodchuck hole.

But in an American city, especially where we have enough money to let
our architects do their utmost, we find streets where France, England,
Italy, Spain, Holland, Arabia and India all stand elbow to elbow, and
the European visitor knows not whether to laugh or to make a hasty
visit to his nerve-specialist.   It seems all right to us, and it is all
right from the standpoint of a nation that is yet in the throes of
eclecticism.   And our other art -- painting, sculpture, music -- it is
all similarly mixed.   Good of its kind ,often; but we have not yet
settled down to the kind that we like best -- the kind in which we are
best fitted to do something that will live through the ages.

We used to think for instance that in music the ordinary diatonic major
scale, with its variant minor, was a fact of nature.   We knew vaguely
that the ancient Greeks had other scales, and we knew also that the
Chinese and the Arabs had scales so different that their music was
generally displeasing to us.   But we explained this by saying that our
scale was natural and right and that the others were antiquated,
barbaric and wrong.   Now we are opening our arms to the exotic scales
and devising a few of our own.   We have the tonal and the semi-tonal
scales and we are trying to make use of the Chinese, Arabic and Hindu
modes.   We are producing results that sound very odd to ears that are
attuned to the old-fashioned music, but our eclecticism here as
elsewhere is cracking the shell of prejudice and will doubtless lead to
some good end, though perhaps we can not see it yet.

How about education?   In the first place there are, as I read the
history of education, two main methods of training youth -- the
individual method and the class method.   No two boys or girls are
alike; no two have like reactions to the same stimulus.   Each ought to
have a separate teacher, for the methods to be employed must be adapted
especially to the material on which we have to work.   This means a
separate tutor for every child.

On the other hand, the training that we give must be social -- must
prepare for life with and among one's fellow beings, otherwise it is
worthless.   This means training in class, with and among other
students, where each mind responds not to the teacher's alone but to
those of its fellow-pupils.

Here are tow irreconcilable requirements.   In our modern systems of
education we are trying to respond to them as best we may, teaching in
class and at the same time giving each pupil as much personal attention
as we can.   The tutorial system, now employed in Princeton University,
is an interesting example of our efforts as applied to the higher

At the same time, eclecticism in our choice of subjects is very
manifest, and at times our success here seems as doubtful as our
mixture of architectural styles.   In the old college days, not so very
long ago, Latin, Greek, and mathematics made up the curriculum.   Now
our boys choose from a thousand subjects grouped in a hundred courses.   
In our common schools we have introduced so many new subjects as to
crowd the curriculum.   Signs of a reaction are evident.   I am alluding
to the matter here only as another example of our modern passion for
wide selection and for the combination of things that apparently defy

What of religion?   Prof. George E. Woodberry, in his interesting book on
North Africa, says in substance that there are only two kinds of
religion, the simple and the complex.   Mohammedanism he considers a
simple religion, like New England Puritans, with which he thinks it has
points in common.   Both are very different form Buddhism, for instance.   
Accepting for the moment his classification I believe that the facts
show an effort to combine the two types in the United States.   Many of
the Christian denominations that Woodberry would class as "simple" --
those that began with a total absence of ritual, are becoming
ritualized.   Creeds once simple are becoming complicated with
interpretation and comment.   On the other hand we may see in the Roman
Catholic Church and among the so-called "High Church" Episcopalians a
disposition to adopt some of the methods that have hitherto
distinguished other religious bodies.   Consider, for example, some of
the religious meetings held by the Paulist Fathers in New York,
characterized by popular addresses and the singing of simply hymns.   As
another example of the eclectic spirit of churches in America we may
point to the various efforts at combination or unity, with such results
as the Federation of the Churches of Christ in America -- an ambitious
name, not yet justified by the facts -- the proposed amalgamation of
several of the most powerful Protestant bodies in Canada, and the
accomplished fact of the University of Toronto -- an institution whose
constituent colleges are controlled by different religious
denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church.   I may also mention
the present organization of the New York Public Library, many of whose
branch libraries were contributions from religious denominations,
including the Jews, the Catholics and the Episcopalians.   All these now
work together harmoniously.   I know of nothing of this kind on any
other continent, and I think we shall be justified in crediting it to
the present American tendency to eclecticism.

Turn for a moment to philosophy.   What is the philosophical system most
widely known at present as American?   Doubtless the pragmatism of
William James.   No one ever agreed with anyone else in a statement
regarding philosophy, and I do not expect you to agree with me in this;
but pragmatism seems to me essentially an eclectic system.   It is based
on the character of results.   Is something true or false?   I will tell
you when I find out whether it works practically or not.   Is something
right or wrong?   I rely on the same test.   Now it seems to me that this
is the scheme of the peasant in later Rome, who was perfectly willing
to appeal to Roman Juno or Egyptian Isis or Phoenician Moloch so long
as he got what he wanted.   If a little bit of Schopenhauer works, and
some of Fichte; a piece of Christianity and a part of Vedantism, it is
all grist to the mill of pragmatism.   Any of it that works must of
necessity be right and true.   I am not criticizing this, or trying to
convert it; I am merely asserting that it leads to eclecticism; and
this, I believe, explains its vogue in the United States.

It would be impossible to give, in the compass of a brief address, a
list of all the domains in which this eclecticism -- this tendency to
select, combine and blend -- has cropped out among us Americans of
to-day.   I have reserved for the last that in which we are particularly
interested -- the Public Library, in which we may see it exemplified in
an eminent degree.   The public library in America has blossomed out
into a different thing, a wider thing, a combination of more different
kinds of things, than in any other part of the world.   Foreign
librarians and foreign library users look at us askance.   They wonder
at the things we are trying to combine under the activities of one
public institution; they shudder at our extravagance.   They wonder that
our tax-payers do not rebel when they are compelled to foot the bills
for what we do.   But the taxpayers do not seem to mind.   They
frequently complain, but not about what we are doing.   What bothers
them is that we do not try to do more.   When we began timidly to add
branch libraries to our systems they asked us why we didn't not build
and equip them faster; when we placed a few books on open shelves they
demanded that we treat our whole stock in the same way; when we set
aside a corner for the children they forced us to fit up a whole room
and to place such a room in every building, large or small.   We have
responded to every such demand.   Each response has cost money and the
public has paid the bill.   Apparently librarians and public are equally
satisfied.   We should not be astonished, for this merely shows that the
library is subject to the same laws and tendencies as all other things

Hence it comes about that whereas in a large library a century ago there
were simply stored books with no appliances to do anything but keep
them safe, we now find in library buildings all sorts of devices to
facilitate the quick and efficient use of the books both in the
building and in the readers' homes, together with other devices to
stimulate a desire to use books among those who have not yet felt it;
to train children to use and love books; to interest the public in
things that will lead to the use of books.   This means that many of the
things in a modern library seem to an old-fashioned librarian and an
old-fashioned reader like unwarranted extensions or even usurpations.   
In our own Central building you will find collections of postal cards
and specimens of textile fabrics, an index to current lectures,
exhibitions and concerts, a public writing-room, with free note-paper
and envelopes, a class of young women studying to be librarians,
meeting places for all sorts of clubs and groups, civic, educational,
social, political and religious; a bindery in full operation, a
photographic copying-machine; lunch-rooms and rest-rooms for the staff;
a garage, with an automobile in it, a telephone switchboard, a
paint-shop, a carpenter-shop, and a power-plant of considerable
capacity.   Not one of these things I believe, would you have found in a
large library 50 years ago.   And yet the citizens of St. Louis seem to
be cheerful and are not worrying over the future.   We are eclectic, but
we are choosing the elements of our blend with some discretion and we
have been able, so far, to relate them all to books, to the mental
activities that are stimulated by books and that produce more books, to
the training that instills into the rising generation a love for books.   
The book is still at the foundation of the library, even if its walls
have received some architectural embellishment of a different type.

When anyone objects to the introduction into the library of what the
colleges call "extra-curriculum activities," I prefer to explain and
justify it in this larger way, rather than to take up each activity by
itself and discuss its reasonableness -- though this also may be
undertaken with the hope of success.   In developing as it has done, the
Library in the United States of America has not been simply obeying
some law of its own being; it has been following the whole stream of
American development.   You can call it a drift if you like; but the
Library has not been simply drifting.   The swimmer in a rapid stream
may give up all effort and submit to be borne along by the current, or
he may try to get somewhere.   In so doing, he may battle with the
current and achieve nothing but fatigue, or he may use the force of the
stream as far as he may, to reach his own goal.   I like to think that
this is what many American institutions are doing, our libraries among
them.   They are using the present tendency to eclecticism in an effort
toward wider public service.   When in a community, there seems to be a
need for doing some particular thing, the library, if it has the
equipment and the means, is doing that thing without inquiring too
closely whether there is logical justification for linking it with the
library's activities rather than with some others.   Note, now, how this
desirable result is aided by our prevailing American tendency toward
eclecticism.   Suppose precisely the same conditions to obtain in
England, or France, or Italy, the admitted need for some activity, the
ability of the library and the inability of any other institution, to
undertake it.   I submit that the library would be extremely unlikely to
move in the matter, simply from the lack of the tendency that we are
discussing.   That tendency gives a flexibility, almost a fluidity,
which under a pressure of this kind, yields and ensures an outlet for
desirable energy along a line of least resistance.

The Englishman and the American, when they are arguing a case of this
kind, assume each the condition of affairs that obtains in his own land
-- the rigidity on the one hand, the fluidity on the other.   They
assume it without stating it, or even thoroughly understanding it, and
the result is that neither can understand the conclusion of the other.   
The fact is that they are both right.   I seriously question whether it
would be right or proper for a library in a British community to do
many of the things that libraries are doing in American communities.   I
may go further and say that the rigidity of British social life would
make it impossible for the library to achieve these things.   But it is
also true that the fluidity of American social life makes it equally
impossible for the library to withstand the pressure that is brought to
bear on it here.   To yield is in its case right and proper and a
failure of response would be wrong and improper.

It is usually assumed by the British critic of American libraries that
their peculiarities are due to the temperament of the American
librarian.   We make a similar assumption when we discuss British
libraries.   I do not deny that the librarians on both sides have had
something to do with it, but the determining factor has been the social
and temperamental differences between the two peoples.   Americans are
fluid, experimental, eclectic, and this finds expression in the
character of their institutions and in the way these are administered
and used.

Take if you please the reaction of the library on the two sides of the
water to the inevitable result of opening it to home-circulation -- the
necessity of knowing whether a given book is or is not on the shelves.   
The American response was to open the shelves, the British, to create
an additional piece of machinery -- the indicator.   These two results
might have been predicted in advance by one familiar with the temper of
the two peoples.   It has shown itself in scores of instances, in the
front yards of residences, for instance -- walled off in England and
open to the street in the United States.

I shall be reminded, I suppose, that there are plenty of open shelves in
English libraries and that the open shelf is gaining in favor.   True;
England is booming "Americanized" in more respects than this one.   But
I am speaking of the immediate reaction to the stimulus of popular
demand, and this was as I have stated it.   In each   case, the reaction,
temporarily at least, satisfied the demand; showing that the difference
was not of administrative habit alone, but of community feeling.

This rapid review of modern American tendencies, however confusing the
impression that it may be give, will at any rate convince us, I think,
of one thing -- the absurdity of objecting to anything whatever on the
ground that it is un-American.   We are the most receptive people in the
world.   We "take our good things where we find them," and what we take
becomes "American" as soon as it gets into our hands.   And yet, if
anything does not happen to suit any of us, the favorite method of
attack is to denounce it as "un-American."   Pretty nearly every element
of our present social fabric has been thus denounced, at one time or
another, and as it goes on changing, every change is similarly

The makers of our Constitution were good conservative Americans -- much
too conservative, some of our modern radicals say -- yet they provided
for altering that Constitution, and set absolutely no limits on the
alterations that might be made, provided that they were made in the
manner specified in the instrument. We can make over our government
into a monarchy tomorrow, if we want, or decree that no one in Chicago
shall wear a silk hat on New Year's Day.   It was recently the fashion
to complain that the amendment of the Constitution has become so
difficult as to be now practically a dead letter.   And yet we have done
so radical a thing as to change absolutely the method of electing
senators of the United States; and we did it as easily and quietly as
buying a hat -- vastly more easily than changing a cook.   The only
obstacle to changing our constitution, no matter how radically and
fundamentally, is the opposition of the people themselves.   As soon as
they want the change, it comes quickly and simply.   Changes like these
are not un-American if the American people like them well enough to
make them.   They, and they alone, are the judges of what peculiarities
they shall adopt as their own customs and characteristics.   So that
when we hear that this or that is un-American, we may agree only in so
far as it is not yet an American characteristic.   That we do not care
for it today is no sign that we may not take up with it tomorrow, and
it is no legitimate argument against our doing so, if we think proper.

And now, what does this all mean?   The pessimist will tell us,
doubtless, that it is a sign of decadence.   It does remind us a little
of the later days of the Roman empire when the peoples of the remotest
parts of the known world, with their arts, customs and manners, were
all to be found in the imperial city -- when the gods of Greece, Syria
and Egypt were worshipped side by side with those of old Rome, where
all sorts of exotic art, philosophy, literature and politics took root
and flourished.   That is usually regarded as a period of decadence, and
it was certainly a precursor of the empire's fall.   When we consider
that it was contemporaneous with great material prosperity and with the
spread of luxury and a certain loosening of the moral fiber, such as we
are experiencing in America today, we can not help feeling a little
perturbed.   Yet there is another way of looking at it.   A period of
this sort is often only a period of readjustment.   The Roman empire as
political entity went out of existence long ago, but Rome's influence
on our art, law, literature and government is still powerful.   Her
so-called "fall" was really not a fall but a changing into something
else.   In fact, if we take Bergson's viewpoint -- which it seems to me
is undoubtedly the true one, the thing we call Rome was never anything
else but a process of change.   At the time of which we speak the
visible part of the change was accelerated -- that is all.   In like
manner each one of you as an individual is not a fixed entity.   You are
changing every instant and the reality about you is the change, not
what you see with the eye or photograph with the camera -- that is
merely a stage through which you pass and in which you do not stay --
not for the thousand millionth part of the smallest recognizable
instant.   So our current American life and thought is not something
that stands still long enough for us to describe it.   Even as we write
the description it has changed to another phase.   And the phenomena of
transition just now are particularly noticeable -- that is all.   We may
call them decadent or we may look upon them as the beginnings of a new
and more glorious national life.

"The size and intricacy which we have to deal with," says Walter
Lippmann, "have done more than anything else, I imagine, to wreck the
simple generalizations of our ancestors."

This is quite true, and so, in place of simplicity we are introducing
complexity, very largely by selection and combination of simple
elements evolved in former times to fit earlier conditions.   Whether
organic relations can be established among these elements, so that
there shall one day issue from the welter something well-rounded,
something American, fitting American conditions and leading American
aspirations forward and upward, is yet on the knees of the gods.   We,
the men and women of America, and may I not say, we, the Librarians of
America, can do much to direct the issue.

L I B R A R Y   J U I C E

ISSN 1544-9378

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