Library Juice 8:5, March 11, 2005


1. Links...
2. Library Service in a Digital Age: Boom or Bust
3. Some Old-Time Old-World Librarians (1914)

Quote for the week:

"Some say that, after all, his learning is not so great;
The learned allow him but librarian's state;
And yet in sober truth it must be said
All go to him for flour to make their bread."

- Antonio Magliabecchi, librarian to Cosmo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany,
in response to an insult from his enemies, the local Jesuits. (Quoted
in Theodore Koch, "Some Old-Time Old-World Librarians," The North American
Review (1821-1940) Boston: Aug 1914.
(Item 3 in this issue of Library Juice.)

Homepage of the week: Lauren Pressley


1. Links...


New on

The 2005 Amelia Bloomer list of feminist books for girls


Draft Resolution/Petition on the
Connection between the Iraq War and Libraries


Update to the Progressive Librarian site, with articles from the
Winter 2004 issue...

The table of contents for this issue is at:

The links to all of the full-text articles are at:

The new articles are:

The View from the Intersection of School Library Women and Work, by Linda

The Myth of the Neutral Professional, by Robert Jensen

Jailed for Dissent "In These Times", by Chris Gaunt

Issue No. 25 is due out shortly.


100 petits papiers électroniques à  propos du Sommet Mondial sur
la Société de l'Information

[ found surfing ]


Declaration of the Movement of Documentarists
Drawn up by Fernando Buen Abad Domínguez

[ sent by Felipe Meneses to the PLG list ]


Economics of scientific and biomedical journals: Where do scholars stand in
the debate of online journal pricing and site license ownership between
libraries and publishers?
by Haekyung Jeon-Slaughter, Andrew C. Herkovic, and Michael A. Keller

[ sent by Joseph Esponsito to the liblicense-l list ]


A spate of recent news items worth noting (thanks to Martha Furman, Danielle
Maestretti, and Sandy Berman):

Smelly Readers Banned From Calif. Library

Bad B.O. now a no-no at county libraries

Serving Elgin's homeless a delicate matter for library staff

Sign limits loitering at the library


[ sent by Chris Dodge to the anarchist librarians list ]


The Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly
Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals

[ Charles Bailey to the JESSE list ]


Threatened University of Wales, Bangor Library support site:

[ sent to me by Neil Smyth ]


Social Inclusion and Social Exclusion Library Report
SEMLAC, 2005

[ found in Danielle Dennie's blog, ]


Cadre grows to rein in message
Ranks of federal public affairs officials have swelled under Bush to
help tighten control on communiques to media, access to information

Newsday, Feb. 24, 2005,0,5203878.story

[ found in the info-commons blog ]


Fister, Barbara. Google's Digitization Project: What Difference Will it
Make? Library Issues, 25(4). March 2005.

[ from Bernie Sloan to the JESSE list ]


Library-related RSS feeds...

[ found surfing ]


Concepts and a Design for Fair Use and Privacy in DRM
D-Lib Magazine
February 2005
Volume 11 Number 2
Pasi Tyrväinen
University of Jyväskylä, Finland

[ found on ]


Government Information in the Digital Age:
The Once and Future Federal Depository Library Program
James A. Jacobs, jajacobs[at]
James R. Jacobs jrjacobs[at]
Shinjoung Yeo, shyeo[at]
Social Sciences and Humanities Library. University of California San Diego
[preprint of article to appear in Journal of Academic Librarianship, May 2005]

[ found on ]


A warning about the broader implications of the Ward Churchill case from
Emma Pérez, Chair of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado:

[ from Mark Hudson to the SRRT list ]


2. Library Service in a Digital Age: Boom or Bust

By Paul Page

The current manifestation of librarians-in-turmoil has taken the form of a
debate on the future of library service in a digital age. The millenarian
pronouncements of the end of practically everything has predictably
entered into library discourse. As media, think tanks, academe, business
culture, etc., proclaim the ubiquitous apotheosis of technology,
librarians, and many of their patrons, are seduced by the presages passing
themselves off as reasoned analyses. An example of such pseudo-analyses
can be read in the rather histrionic debate which unfolded in the pages
American Libraries. In an article titled "The Great Reference Debate," Abe
Anhang and Steve Coffman deliberated on the nature of contemporary
librarianship and the apparent demise of the traditional library services
(50-55). Interestingly enough, what was designed to be a
point/counterpoint article morphed into a deferential communication in
which both sides agreed that, yes, indeed, libraries in their current
capacity are outdated and will quickly be replaced (if they haven't been
already) by the more adept and commodious internet if they don't overhaul
their antiquated approach to service.

While such an article published in a magazine devoted to the stewardship of
libraries is an alarming event, read alongside the media's Delphian
embrace of the cult of technology, it is not as startling a proclamation
as it seems. In this paper I will briefly examine the media's infatuation
with technology and show how this manifested into frenzied announcements
of a digital coup d'état. Moreover, I will explicate how current, more
"balanced approaches" to incorporate digital advances in libraries while
at the same time maintaining the integrity of our institutions is the
reasonable path for libraries to take (Gorman x).

In 1938, public relations guru Carl Byoir announced that the world of
business and commerce, indeed the entire capitalist system, "lives in the
shadow of a volcano... (and) that volcano is public opinion" (qtd. in Frank
1). While such a decree seemed revolutionary at the time, in today's world
of eruptive economic systems and the subsequent fluidity of vast amounts
of capital, Byoir's words would nary raise an eyebrow. The fact is,
however, that what passed for the volcano of public opinion in Byoir's day
has remarkably very little in common with contemporaneous points-of-view.
The power behind today's public opinion, while certainly real, is highly
overvalued. Media manipulation of desires and values, much less its
repackaging of opinion poll results, is such that when it prowls for
insight into the 'public mood' what is subsequently broadcast is an highly
unreliable gauge of public sentiment. For instance, the boom and
the public's embrace of all things digital in the mid-to-late 90s was not
a spontaneous occurrence; rather, a vast collection of big business,
right- and left-leaning think tanks, media conglomerates, and the digerati
in general became a loose consortia dedicated to massaging public opinion
in such a way that encouraged the belief that the oncoming digital
revolution was not only inevitable, but a wholly natural event. Such
techno-cheerleaders became, in Thomas Frank's estimation, the architects
of a "new American consensus" (xv). They beat the drums so resoundingly
that the digital age was born from sheer compulsion. The public's response
to such an engineered program was predictably to agree that, yes,
technology is natural, it is beyond debate, it is the inevitable outgrowth
of progress, and it is totally indispensable to our way of life.

Such an integrated, deterministic view of technology can be seen in
current debates between 'traditional' librarians and librarians and/or
vendors who blindly embrace this digital ideal. In such a debate, the
latter typically evoke either/or and traditional/progressive dyads that
function to announce the arrival of a new, irresistible force in the
reference culture of libraries. The homilies from such devotees often
portray libraries as entities that are compromised by the dawning
information age. Such depictions could be lifted directly from the pages
of the digerati bible, Wired magazine. Just as Wired writers prophesied
the coming of a New Economy that would completely replace its outdated and
tired predecessor (Frank 2000), digital library disciples enthuse on the
public's ability to access the vast array of electronic research materials
while at the same time establishing the irrelevant environs of libraries
as research focal points.

On the surface, the idea of being a relevant conduit for patrons seeking
information seems a reasonable if not crucial stratagem. But if one takes
a step back from these "Net Set" prescriptions and looks at longstanding
calls for radical change, one notices that such shrill voices would have
us, in Wordsworth's words, "murder to dissect." These folks preach the
renunciation of traditional reference strategies in favor of a completely
digitized research environment, one that is not necessarily predicated on
a physical space at all (Chowdhury 258-260).

While many of these digital declarations castigate librarians for their
supposed reluctance to embrace technology, the fact of the matter is that
technology has been absorbed into libraries so seamlessly that it often
goes unnoticed. The symbolic traditions that library's suggest threaten
the cant of techno-peddlers that see the benefits of world digitization as
self-evident. What the more aggressive digital ideologues are really
promoting is a culture that views technology as a liberator, as an
authentic means for transcendence. In such a culture, all tradition
becomes anathema, and sweeping transformation is elevated to the status of
the divine. As a result, the library as an integral community participant
and information-seeking focal point is replaced with an amorphous
association that, not limited by the laws of time and space, can entirely
exchange innovation for convention.

Our library tradition—to serve the public as a democratic conduit—remains
as germane today as it has ever been. While there is always the danger
that stale and ineffectual practices become commonplace in any
environment, libraries strive to be well-versed in the most advanced
research methods. We have not been immune to change, remaining a flexible
profession ready to meet the needs of a society that seems to be in
perpetual transition. This does not mean, however, that with every
cultural shift, technological or otherwise, we recast ourselves into
something entirely new. Such an impulse would do little more than
compromise our strong standing within the community. We are not a
cybercafe, we are a cultural repository that provides access to all who
seek it. Technology, as it now stands, is part of our informational
equation. It can certainly enable libraries to advance their democratic
cause. But we should be very leery of those cyber-prophets who seek the
divination of technology above all else. We've seen such apocalyptic
rantings before. Their vocabulary is fraught with oppositional ramblings
that do little to promote an exercise in how to better serve our society.
While their exuberant promotion of the digital age is infectious, when
looked at more closely it has all the hallmarks of one of many irrational
enthusiasms that are eventually reconciled within a more traditional
framework. "We are not in an epochal, transformational time," states
Gorman, "(but)... we are at an important point in the evolution of
libraries" (110). Similarly, Michael G. Jackson, in his riposte to Anhang
and Coffman, is correct in that before we radically alter the manner in
which we provide service to our patrons in light of new technologies, we
should judiciously explore the benefits these new mediums have to offer
while acknowledging the perils that may have as yet gone unnoticed. We
should be amenable to change without becoming beholden to it. The digital
age is laden with potential, but we must "demand equilibrium" if we are to
continue bridging the divide between community and information (Gorman

About the Author
Paul D. Page currently works as a Senior Reference Technician for the
Reference and Information Services Department at the University of
Kentucky's WT Young Library. He has a master's degree in English from West
Chester University and is finishing coursework for his MLS from the
University of Kentucky's School of Library and Information Science.

Works Cited

Anhang, Abe, and Steve Coffman. "The Great Reference Debate: Abe Anhang
and Steve Coffman Offer Predictions On The Future Of Traditional Reference
Librarians." American Libraries 33.3 (2002): 50-56.

Chowdhury, Gobinda. "Digital Librariesand Reference Services: Present and
Future." Journal of Documentation 58.3 (2002): 258-283. Online. Information
Access. Emerald. 10.1108/00220410210425809. 3 Aug. 2002.

Frank, Thomas. One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism,
and the End of Economic Democracy. New York: Doubleday, 2000.

Gorman, Michael. The Enduring Library: Technology, Tradition, and the Quest
for Balance. Chicago: ALA, 2003.

Hubbard, Bette Anne, et al. "Newest Members of the Net Set." Library
Journal, 121.2 (1996): 44-46.

Jackson, Michael Gordon. "The Great Reference Debate Continued--With A
Manifesto: Real Reference Librarians Aren't Ready To Roll Over Meekly and
Disappear." American Libraries 34.5 (2002): 50-54.

3. Some Old-Time Old-World Librarians

By Theodore W. Koch
The North American Review (1821-1940) Boston: Aug 1914. Vol. CC.,
Iss. NO. 705, p. 244 (16 pp.)

Mr. Herbert Putnam, in an address before the Ottawa meeting of the American
Library Association, expressed a hope for a recognition, a re-cognition,
in our library organization of that type which gave personality to the
old-time libraries. However indifferent the old-time librarians may have
been, or might be to-day, to the mere mechanism in our modern library
organization, Mr. Putnam said,

"they succeeded in producing an atmosphere which had a potency of its own.
It was that which at once took the visitor out of himself, away from
affairs, and gave him touch with a different world, a sense of different
values,. Does he not miss it now? I think he does; and that, however he
may respect the efficiency of the modern librarian as administrator, his
really affectionate admiration turns back to the librarian of the old
school, whose soul was lifted above mere administration or the method of
the moment, or the manner of insistent service, and whose passionate
regard was rather for the inside of a book than the outside of a reader -
even the librarian to whom a reader seemed indeed but an interruption to
an abstraction that was privileged."

The prevailing ideas concerning librarianship have changed so radically
within the last generation or two that it may be worth while to study a
few types of the old-fashioned librarian. Themodern librarian has been so
concerned with schemes of classification, card catalogues, and new methods
of housing the present-day avalanche of books that he has not had time to
familiarize himself with his forebears.

I must resist the temptation to go back to antiquity as a starting-point
for our study, and simply allow myself one illustration to show that the
ancients knew a good librarian when they saw him. For the library of
Pergamos, Eumenes the Second tried to secure the services of Aristophanes
of Byzantium, librarian to Ptolemy the Fifth. To assure his remaining in
Alexandria the librarian was cast in prison, a simple device for keeping
an efficient worker when he had a call elsewhere. But in this paper we
can concern outselves only with librarians who have come on to the scene
since the invention of printing. In 1475 Pope Sixtus the Fourth made
Platina librarian of the newly organized Vatican Library. Platina's
account-book has been preserved and published, and from this can be seen
the varied nature of his duties. The librarian had to attend to the
purchase of books, send out copyists, procure skins for binding, and
supervise in the making of books as well as their use. He had charge of
the reading-room in which the books were chained to the desks, and was
allowed discretionary power in the lending of books to high officials of
the Church, to scholars, and even to strangers sojourning in Rome. His
account-book shows that he looked very carefully after the comfort of the
readers, and that he knew the men whom he could trust. Platina and his
three pages slept in a room adjoining the library, and they were diligent
in the use of juniper in fumigating the rooms, in sweeping the library
with brooms, and dusting the books with foxtails. Montaigne, in the
Journal of his travels in Italy in 1581, says that he inspected the
Vatican Library without any difficulty. "Indeed," he adds, "any one may
visit it and make what extracts he likes; it is open almost every morning.
I was taken to every part thereof by a gentleman who invited me to make
use of it as often as I might desire." Des Brosses, in his letters on
Italy, published at the end of the eighteenth century, in writing of the
Vatican Library says that "as Cardinal Quirini, the librarian, is also
Bishop of Brescia, he is always away in his diocese. His portrait in the
antechamber has to do duty instead." The copyists, he added, are ignorant
and dear.

The most picturesque figure in the annals of Italian librarianship is
undoubtedly Antonio Magliabecchi. While his official position as
librarian to Cosmo III., Grand Duke of Tuscany, gave him considerable
prominence, he is remembered more especially for his personal
characteristics and his vast store of self-acquired learning. He has been
described as a literary glutton, and the most rational of bibliomaniacs,
inasmuch as he read everything he bought. His own library consisted of
40,000 books and 10,000 MSS. His house literally overflowed with books;
the stairways were lined with them, and they even filled the front porch.
Many stories are told of his marvelous memory that was "like wax to
receive and marble to retain." One of the best known of these stories is
that when Cosmo asked him for an extremely rare book he replied, "Signore,
there is but one copy of that book in the world; it is in the Grand
Signore's library at Constantinople, and is the eleventh book in the
second shelf on the right hand as you go in."

In worldly matters Magliabecchi was extremely negligent. He even forgot to
draw his salary for over a year. He wore his clothes until they fell from
him, and thought it a great waste of time to undress at night, "life being
so short and books so plentiful." He welcomed all inquiring scholars,
provided they did not disturb him while at work. He had a hearty dislike
for Jesuits. One day in pointing out the Palazzo Riccardi to a stranger
he said, "Here the new birth of learning took place," and then turning to
the college of the Jesuits, "There they have come back to bury it." The
Jesuits, on hearing of this, characterized him rather cruelly as "Est
doctor inter bibliothecarios, sed bibliothecarius inter doctores."
Magliabecchi rejoined with this sally:

"Some say that, after all, his learning is not so great;
The learned allow him but librarian's state;
And yet in sober truth it must be said
All go to him for flour to make their bread."

Unlike some scholarly librarians of the past, ever watchful and jealous of
manuscript material, which they themselves planned to edit, Isaac
Casaubon, the humanist, was only anxious to read the manuscripts under his
charge. For the most part, he was ready to leave the printing to others.
Casaubon, too poor to buy books of his own, said of his father-in-law,
Henri Estienne, who jealously kept him from gaining access to his books
and manuscripts, that he guarded them "as griffins in India do their

When Casaubon visited the library of the learned historian De Thon, of
which he had heard so much, he found it far surpassed his expectations,
and his heart sank at the thought of the little that he knew. In 1604
Casaubon was appointed sub-librarian in the Royal Library under De Thou,
with the title garde de la librarie du Roi. His years there were the
happiest of his life; his ideal was to read from early morning till late
at night. In his Ephemerides, a diary in which he recited the progress
of his studies day by day, there are such entries as: "To-day I got six
hours for study. When shall I get my whole day?" And again, "This
morning not to my books till seven o'clock or after; alas me! and after
that the whole morning lost -- nay, the whole day." When he was able to
have a whole day for his studies he gratefully recorded the fact in his
diary in the words Hodie Vixi. Frequently the only entry is: "My daily
tasks, thanks be to God!" Not knowing how long he should remain in Paris,
he early resolved to read all the books in the Royal Library which he
might not be able to find elsewhere. Consequently he did nothing in the
way of classifying or cataloguing the material under his charge. When any
one asked for a particular book he tried to find it. In 1608, four years
after Casaubon entered the library, Hoeschel wrote him, asking whether the
library contained any manuscripts of Arrianus. Casaubon replied that he
did now know, but would look, and upon searching found two. In reply to
Scaliger's request for manuscript fragments of a chronological nature, he
says that he will have a thorough search made through all the cases. No
wonder that Mark Pattison in his life of Casaubon said that "the librarian
who reads is lost."

Casaubon was forcibly reminded that he was the King's librarian, and as
such shared the obligations which the court imposed on all its entourage.
He was not permitted while librarian to write a critical review of the
Annals of Baronius, for fear of offending the Church, and Roman influence
was paramount at the French court. When Casaubon visited Oxford he was
hospitably entertained, but he succeeded in reserving many hours of each
day for his studies in the Bodleian, and over-indulgence for which he paid
the penalty during the second week in a sudden sense of dizziness which
seized him one day while on his way to the library. "None of the colleges
have attracted me so much as the Bodleian, the work rather for a king than
for a private man," said Casaubon. He describes his own feelings when he
writes Saumaise, who was reveling in the treasures of the Palatine, that
he "must be suffering the torment of Tantalus, not being able to read all
the books at once."

A younger contemporary of Casaubon, Gabriel Naudé by name, was destined to
build up for Cardinal Mazarin a library which outstripped the one
belonging to the King. In 1642 Naudé was invited to return to his native
city of Paris and begin the task of laying the foundations of a new public
library. Naudé had previously catalogued the library of Descordes, a
Canon of Limoges, who had died, leaving his collection of 6,000 volumes to
be sold, and Naudé prevailed upon Mazarin to purchase the entire lot.
Then all the bookshops of Paris and all the waste-paper dealers were
canvassed for possible treasures. Naudé had been at his task but little
more than a year when there was opened in the Mazarin Palace a public
library larger than anything that had been seen before in the French
capital. The reading-room was open once a week on Thursdays, from eight
until eleven and from two until five. Naudé himself counted as many as
from eighty to a hundred readers, among whom were such scholars as Hugo
Grotius, Aubrey, the historian, and René Moreau, Professor of Medicine at
the University of Paris. Before long the number of volumes reached the
respectable total of twelve thousand, thus exceeding the royal collection
at that time by approximately two thousand volumes. Naudé was still far
from satisfied, and undertook a book-hunting journey in Flanders, which
brought such good results that in April, 1645, he went to Italy in search
of additional volumes. This last trip brought into the library fourteen
thousand books. An Italian friend, Vittorio di Rossi, who met him in Rome
on this trip, has left an account of Naudé's method of book-buying.
According to this writer, Naudé would enter a bookshop with a foot-rule in
hand, and without going too much into details about the titles, would ask
the bookseller to name a price at random, which Naudé would beat down by
degrees, and eventually buy in the books at such a low figure that the
bookseller, seeing too late how he had been duped, would regret that he
had not sold the lot to a grocer or a butter-man, who would surely have
given him a larger sum for so much paper. After a visit from Naudé, the
bookshops, says di Rossi, appeared to have been swept by a hurricane
rather than visited by a bibliophile, and when one met him with a smile of
satisfaction beaming through the dust and cobwebs that covered him, his
lean figure swelled by the volumes which filled his pockets, one might
readily conjecture that he had just come from a particularly satisfactory
victory. Naudé claims that in book-collecting, as in love and war, all
means are fair. He was famous for his ability in driving a hard bargain.
There is on record, however, one instance of his being outwitted in the
buying of a book, but it will not be laid to his discredit when it is
known that the other party to the transaction was a Scotchman.

Perhaps the most extraordinary librarianship was that enjoyed by Diderot,
who about 1765 decided to sell his library in order to provide a dowry for
his daughter. The Empress Catherine of Russia heard through Grimm of the
straits to which Diderot had been reduced, and instructed her agent to buy
in the library at the owner's valuation. In this way Diderot received not
only sixteen thousand livres, but he was graciously requested to consider
himself the librarian of the new purchase at the salary of one thousand
livres a year. Moreover -- and this begins to sound like a fairy tale --
Diderot was paid the salary for fifty years in advance! Needless to say,
this was only a pension in disguise. Catherine wrote to Madame du

"I should never have expected that the purchase of a library would bring me
so many fine compliments; all the world is bepraising me about M.
Diderot's library. But now confess, you to whom humanity is indebted for
the strong support that you have given to innocence and virtue in the
person of Cales, that it would have been cruel and unjust to separate a
student from his books!"

Lessing may be taken to typify one class of old-fashioned librarians, the
men of letters who regarded an appointment to a library position as a
sinecure. Installed as librarian of the ducal library at Wolfenbüttel,
Lessing took advantage of the privilege of the librarian of his day by
substituting the writing of books for the less attractive duty of
classifying and cataloguing them. His successor in office, Langer, was
very bitter in his criticism of Lessing's administration, claiming that he
had left much of his work undone. He even offered a reward to any one who
could show him a trace of Lessing's handwriting in the library. To this
day the only scrap of it is a note attached to a collection of engravings.
Geissler wrote Langer in 1781, saying "that Lessing left you far too much
to do was natural, because he was a genius, and this class seldom do their
duty, but always follow their inclinations." While Lessing was
confessedly weak in matters of routine, he was strong where the general
welfare of the library was concerned. He proposed a good plan for
disposing of duplicates and filling the gaps in the library. It was also
specified that "to the mere mechanical duties, the librarian was to attend
to just as much or just as little as he pleased. For these he was to have
two assistants and a man-servant. His main function would be to
investigate thoroughly the library and to bring to light its chief
treasures." This last was Lessing's principal concern. "A catalogue of
treasures," said he, "is good enough, but it is no new treasure," which is
a point hardly conceded by the librarian of to-day who is in the midst of
making over an old card catalogue.

So much for the old-fashioned librarian on the Continent. Let us now look
at a few of this class in Great Britain and gather some illustrations of
early ideas of library management in that country. The Bishop of
Worcester in 1464 stipulated that his librarian be a graduate in theology
and a good preacher, and in addition he was expected to explain hard
passages in the Bible, to make lists of books in his keeping, and take an
inventory of the library each year on the Friday after the Feast of

Sir Thomas Bodley, in the first draft of the Statutes which he drew up for
the administration of the library founded by him, explicitly states that
the keeper shall open and close the library doors at certain hours,
varying with the season, and that

"at these prescribed hours he shall cause to be rung the warning bell of
his ingress and egress, that men may shun the discommodities of repairing
thither oversoon, or abiding there too long, which the difference of
clocks may occasion very often, to the prejudice and hindrance of himself
as well as others."

The keeper is to see that a register of gifts shall be kept,

"written with a special, fair, and pleasing hand; and withal to be exposed
where it may be still in sight, for evry man to view, as an eminent and
endless token of our thankful acceptation of whatsoever hath been given,
and as an excellent inducment for posterity to imitate these former good

The founder ruled that before any graduate or any person of note would be
given the privilege of the Bodleian Library he should appear before the
Vice-Chancellor or his substitute, and there in the presence of the
Library Keeper he should take the oath of fidelity to the library, which
was to be administered with these words:

"You shall Promise and Swear in the Presence of Almighty God, That
whensoever you shall repair to the Publik Library of this University, you
will conform yourself to study with Modesty and Silence; and use, both the
Books, and everything appertaining to their Furniture, with careful
Respect to their longest Conservation; And that neither your self in
Person, nor any other whatsoever, by your Procurement or Privity, shall
either openly or underhand, by way of embezzling, changing, razing,
defacing, tearing, cutting, noting, underlining, or by voluntary
corrupting, blotting, blurring, or any other manner of mangling or
misusing, any one or more of the said Books, either wholly or in part,
make any Alteration; But shall hinder and impeach, as much as lieth in
you, all and every such Offender or Offenders, by detecting their
Demeanour unto the Vice-Chancellor, or to his Deputy then in place, within
the next Three Days after it shall come to your Knowledge; so help you God
by Christ's Merits, according to the Doctrine of His Holy Evangelists."

King James I was so appreciative of the work of Bodley that he granted
letters patent the year after the library was opened, naming the library
after the founder, whom he later knighted, and whose name, said he, should
have been not Bodley, but Godley.

Richard Bentley was an intellectual prodigy who in early life fell heir to
the cloak of librarianship. He coupled with his genius for scholarship a
large enthusiasm for the advancement of learning, and with a daring almost
insolent he shook off the "clamors of the half-learned who are always
noisy against their betters." This ever-pugnacious determination to carry
all projects through a maze of falsities is seen even in his career as
royal librarian. At thirty-one, already well on the highway to scholarly
recognition, he was induced to take the vacant office of the King's
Librarian. His first step was characteristic. To such good use did he
put the few months left before the evaded Licensing Act expired, that the
significant record remains that he "exacted near a thousand volumes."
Bentley's next step was to endeavor to secure some vacant rooms to relieve
the cramped condition of his library at St. James's Palace. The duke of
Marlborough, his neighbor across the hall, with obliging diplomacy,
undertook to plead his cause, with the result that the future hero of
Blenheim "got the closets for himself." Not disheartened by this perfidy,
the young librarian, after declaring that the royal library was "not fit
to be seen," started on what Lord Evelyn warmly called his "glorious
enterprise" of building a new library. The Treasury consented to the
proposal, but the bill to Parliament was shelved, owing to the press of
public business. In the mean time Bentley took the library's chief
treasure, the Alexandrine MS. of the Greek Bible, to his own rooms in St.
James's Palace in order that "persons might see it without seeing the
library," thereby establishing a new and original precedent in library
economy. Out of one incident in his early tenure of office grew a quarrel
resulting in several curiosities of literature and one masterpiece of
scientific criticism. Dr. Aldrich, the dean of Christ Church, had induced
a young Oxford man, the Honorable Charles Boyle, to edit the Epistles of
, and, in preparing his work for the printer, Boyle desired to
consult a manuscript in the King's Library. Accordingly he wrote to a
bookseller in London, asking him to have some one collate it for him.

When Bentley took charge of the library, in May, 1694, he granted the loan
of the manuscript for the purpose, and allowed ample time for the work to
be done, but the collator failed to complete his task before the
expiration of the time of the loan. The bookseller then very unfairly
represented to Boyle that Bentley had acted churlishly in the matter, and
Boyle, without verifying the story, said in his preface: "I have also
procured a collation as far as epistle No. 40 of a manuscript in the Royal
Library; the librarian, with that courtesy which distinguishes him,
refused me the further use of it." Bentley happened to see an early
presentation copy before the bulk of the edition was issued, and he at
once wrote to Boyle, saying that the statement was incorrect, and gave him
the true facts. Boyle sent an evasive reply, but let the statement stand
as written. While Bentley was urged to refute the slander, he remained
silent. "Out of a natural aversion to all quarrels and broils," he wrote,
with what later seemed refined irony, "and out of regard to the editor
himself, I resolved to take no notice of it, but to let the matter drop."
A few years later Bentley reviewed Boyle's work in a way that incited
Boyle, with the aid of half a dozen Oxford wits, to publish the book
popularly known as Boyle against Bentley, in which insults were heaped
upon the royal librarian.

In 1699 Bentley was appointed Head Master of Trinity College, Cambridge,
and, though still continuing to hold the office of King's Librarian, he
removed to Cambridge. Here he continued the policy displayed in
connection with the Alexandrine manuscript. when Dr. Conyers Middleton
became librarian of Trinity College he published a plan for the
classification of the books, and took occasion to attack Bentley for
retaining some manuscripts, including the precious Codex Bezae, in his own
house. But Bentley was always able to fight his own battles, and he
inaugurated, by what his enemies were pleased to call his "insolent
erudition," that famous series of bitter college feuds which ended only
with the death of their vigorous and valiant instigator. Even the
admiring, kindly Pepys was brought to admit that "our friend's learning
wants a little filing," while Bishop Stillingfleet was heard to agree that
did his friend Richard but possess the "gift of humility he would indeed
be the most extraordinary man in Europe."

The name of Bentley brings to mind that of a later classical scholar who
was an interesting misfit in the library world of a century ago, Richard
Porson. his professorship of Greek at Cambridge paid only forty pounds a
year, and so he welcomed the additional appointment of librarian to the
newly founded London Institution in 1806, at a salary of two hundred
pounds per year, with a suite of apartments thrown in. "I am sincerely
rejoiced," wrote Richard Sharp, one of the electors, in notifying Porson
of the appointment, "in the prospect of those benefits which the
institution is likely to derive from your reputation and talents, and of
the comforts which I hope that you will find in your connection with us."
To-day the only existing indications of his tenure of office are the
acquisition during his time of some Greek and Latin classics, and some
manuscript notes in a few volumes in the library. He made no attempt to
catalogue the books. The managers of the Institution wrote him to the
effect that "they only knew him to be their librarian by seeing his name
attached to the receipts for his salary." He reciprocated by
characterizing the managers as "mercantile and mean beyond merchandize and
meanness." While Porson had three essentials of librarianship -- a good
memory, a knowledge of books, and imagination, and was always willing to
dispense information to such as called upon him for it -- yet he was
lacking in methodical attention to work. Dr. Parr once remarked that "if
the Duke of Brunswick at the head of his Huns and Vandals were to burn
every book of every library in Cambridge, Porson, being as Longinus was
said to be, a living library, would make the University hear without books
more than they are likely to read with books."

In 1752 David Hume was appointed librarian of the Faculty of Advocates in
Edinburgh. Hume described it as "a petty office of forty or fifty guineas
a year," and again as a "genteel office." He accepted it because it gave
him "the command of a large library." A member of the Faculty was a
candidate at the same time, but Hume got the majority of votes. "Then,"
says Hume, "came the violent cry of Deism, atheism, and skepticism. 'Twas
represented that my election would be giving the sanction of the greatest
and most learned body in this country to my profane and irreligious
principles." The ladies sided with Hume, and one of them broke with her
lover because he voted against he philosopher-historian. After he had
been in office two years, Hume was censured by three of the curators of
the library for buying the Contes of La Fontaine, Bussy-Rabutin's
Histoire amoureuse des Gaules, and Crébillon's L'écumoire, deemed
indecent and "unworthy of a place in a learned library." The absurdity of
the resolution of censure is shown by the fact that these works are now in
almost every library which makes any pretension of being classed among the
learned. Hume wrote to Lord Advocate Dundas, claiming that in his opinion
the impropriety did not matter if it were executed with decency and
ingenuity! "Being equally unwilling to lose the use of the books, and to
bear an indignity, I retain the office, but have given Blacklock, our
blind poet, a bond of annuity for the salary. I have now put it out of
these malicious fellows' power to offer me any indignity, while my motive
for remaining in this office is so apparent." The assistant librarian,
Goodall, who was seldom sober, was busied with his Vindication of Mary,
Queen of Scots, while Hume was writing his history of England, and the
library was left to run itself.

The director of the British Museum formerly had only the title of Principal
Librarian, which was, to a certain extent, a misnomer, as he had always
had as much to do with the antiquities as with the books. To him is
intrusted the custody of the entire museum, his duty being to look after
the welfare of the whole institution and to see that the respective duties
of the various officers and subordinates are properly performed. The
Principal Librarian, as housekeeper, had also the nomination of the
housemaids, until the doubtful privilege passed, in Sir Henry Ellis's day,
to the principal trustees.

The head of each department is called its "Keeper," and in most departments
there is also an Assistant Keeper. These titles are reminiscent of the
prime duty of the old-time librarian. One of them once consulted the
trustees on the question of the acceptance by the Museum of a certain
anti-Christian manuscript by a learned Jew -- which he argued would not be
pernicious, as the ignorant would not read it, and the souls of the
learned were of little importance.

Dr. Templeman, the first superintendent of the Reading Room, seems to have
found his duties rather onerous. After occupying the position eight
months he asks to be relieved from what he considers the excessive
attendance of six hours each day, as this "is more than he is able to
bear." Under date of March 18, 1760, it is recorded that "last Tuesday,
no company coming to the reading-room, Dr. Templeman ventured to go away
about two o'clock." Twenty readers per month during the first few months
was a high average, and after the novelty had worn off the average dropped
to ten or twelve.

The early librarians at the British Museum were little more than guides
appointed to show visitors around the institution. In 1802, three
attendants were appointed to relieve the "Under and Assistant Librarians
from the daily duty of showing the Museum," and they were given an
increase in pay. As late as 1837 no less a person than the Rev. Henry
Francis Cary, Keeper of Printed Books, gave poor health as an argument for
his promotion to Principal Librarianship, which, as he said, would give
him less to do.

Sir Henry Ellis, when he was Principal Librarian, defended his closing of
the Museum for three weeks each autumn, and argued that if that were not
done the place would become "unwholesome," and that to open it during
Easter holidays would be dangerous, as "the most mischievous portion of
the population is abroad and about at such a time." He further argued for
the closing of the institution for public holidays, on the ground that
"people of a higher grade would hardly wish to come to the Museum at the
same time with sailors from the dockyards and the girls whom they might
bring with them." From this it can be clearly seen that he was not in
touch with the growing liberality in the administration of public
institutions and the influx of democratic ideas.

In the opinion of many, modern librarianship begins with Sir Anthony
Panizzi's administration of the British Museum. An Italian carbonaro,
under indictment for the publication of a pamphlet attacking the judicial
system of Modena, he escaped to London, where, in 1831, he had an
opportunity to enter the service of the Museum. The administration was
then at its lowest ebb. The Elgin marbles and the King's Library had just
been acquired, but the regime was antiquated and the policy very narrow.
Panizzi was put to work at cataloguing the pamphlets in the King's
Library. Owing to dissatisfaction with the progress of the subject
catalogue, the trustees, in 1834, outlined a plan for an alphabetical
catalogue. The plan was an unsatisfactory one, but Panizzi was put in
charge of the work. As he did more work than any two of his colleagues,
the trustees raised his salary, and when there was an investigation of the
administration of the British Museum it was Panizzi who contributed the
most important evidence. Valuable reforms were introduced, and Panizzi
became Keeper of Printed Books in 1837. This appointment brought out a
certain British anti-foreign prejudice against Panizzi which pursued him
throughout his official career. There were meetings held to arouse
sentiment against the promotion of this "foreigner," and a speaker on one
of these occasions made an open statement that Panizzi had been seen on
the streets of London selling white mice! At the time of his appointment,
the collections were just being removed from Montague House to new
quarters, serious attempts were being made to fill the gaps in the
collections, and the catalogue was being attacked in real earnest. The
transfer of the collection was accomplished with remarkable expedition,
but the progress of the catalogue was less satisfactory. The
responsibility for accepting or rejecting the supervision of this work was
left by the trustees to Panizzi, and with his usual courage he decided to
undertake the task. With the assistance of Jones, Watts, and others, he
framed a set of catalogue rules which in many respects have never been
superseded. An insufficient staff and an unfortunate decision of the
trustees (overruling Panizzi's advice) to proceed in strict alphabetical
order, occasioned a good deal of trouble and criticism. The attempt to
print out one portion of the catalogue while another part was in
preparation, before it had been definitely decided as to what the main
entry for many items would be, was responsible for the breakdown of the
scheme. After the publication of one volume in 1841, the decision to
print the catalogue was abandoned, and Panizzi persuaded the trustees to
engage an efficient staff of transcribers to copy the titles on slips, and
he was thus enabled to put before the public a plan for a comprehensive
catalogue. He failed to see the advantage of a printed catalogue over a
slip catalogue, and was more concerned with supplying the deficiencies of
the library, a task in which he had no rivals. By submitting a list of
the needs in nearly every branch of literature, he procured, in 1845, an
annual grant of ten thousand pounds, and through the judicious
administration of this fund the Museum rose in rank from the sixth or
seventh to the second, if not the first, place among the libraries of the
world. In 1848 dissatisfaction with conditions in the Museum, due to lack
of space, was so great that a royal commission of inquiry was instituted,
and as a result of Panizzi's success, the administration of the Museum was
put into his hands.

In temperament Panizzi was strong and masterful, but his nature was warm
and generous. "He governed his library as his friend Cavour governed his
country," said Dr. Garnett, "perfecting its internal organization with one
hand while he extended the frontiers with the other." When traveling
abroad he always rushed to visit the chief libraries first. At Bologna he
found a manuscript catalogue so carefully made that he at once asked whose
work it was, and when told that it had all been done by one man who had
written every title with his own hand, Panizzi insisted upon seeing him.
A tall, thin-faced, threadbare individual appeared whom Panizzi plied with
questions, and then, to the astonishment of the attendants, Panizzi in an
outburst of Italian enthusiasm hugged and kissed the timid cataloguer on
both cheeks.

Panizzi was one of the most conscientious of officials and was rarely
absent from his post. Sydney Smith wrote him several times inviting him
to dinner on a certain date. "Receiving no answer," the wit wrote later,
"I concluded you were dead, and I invited your executors. News, however,
came that you were out of town. I should have thought of St. Paul's or
the Monument being out of town, but as it was positively asserted, I have
filled up your place."

Next to Panizzi, the most attractive personality in the annals of the
British Museum, to us at least, is Richard Garnett. Like another native
of Lichfield, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Garnett will be remembered more for what
he was than for what he wrote. To carry the comparison still further,
both were interpreters and left volumes of critical biography, both were
poets of no mean order, both were story-tellers and entertainers of
repute, famed alike for their friendships, their love of learning, and
their erudition. While Dr. Johnson's most enduring monument is his famous
dictionary, Dr. Garnett left behind a printed catalogue of the British
Museum containing four and a half million entries, thereby earning the
gratitude of scholars throughout the world. The British public never
quite forgave Panizzi for claiming that a printed catalogue of their
national library was too big a task to undertake.

Richard Garnett may be said to have spent his whole life in the British
Museum. His father was an assistant keeper, and at the age of sixteen the
young man was made an assistant in the Printed Books Department.
Promotions came rapidly until in 1875 he was made Assistant Keeper and
superintendent of the reading-room. Garnett's work as "placer" or
classifier, combined with his rare memory, gave him a remarkable command
of the resources of the library. There seemed to be nothing that he had
not read and few subjects that he had not studied intimately. Few men of
his time knew both the inside and outside of books as he did. Whatever
the subject, he gave the impression that his knowledge of it was fresh and
waiting for use. Only one fall from grace is recorded. Mrs. Garnett had
brought home, after a country holiday, what she believed to be a
squirrel's nest which she placed on the drawing-room table to show her
friends. A dispute arose as to whether squirrels made nests. Mrs.
Garnett appealed to her husband. "Richard, do squirrels guild nests?" He
hesitated, then replied: "I really do not know; I do not think so. I must
look it up."

Dr. Garnett was so endowed with a sense of good humor that he was never
perturbed by the chronic fussers who frequented the place. A blank-book
in which the public can jot down suggestions for the improvement of the
service or of titles recommended for purchase has for years been found to
ease the public mind. The authorities make a practice of entering in the
margin a reply to each suggestion made. When a reader entered a request
that somebody's life of Satan be obtained, the official comment read:
"Purchase not thought necessary." Another suggestion was: "Best sixpenny
cookery by Josiah Oldfield does not appear in the catalogue, but should, I
think, be procured, as it is a useful vegetarian work." This was applied
for on December 26th -- note the date -- and was promptly ordered. There
is a class of beings to whom it is a great joy to discover a book that is
not in the British Museum, or, if there, cannot be found for the time
being, or is wrongly described, as they think, in the catalogue. "so you
see, sir," said Dr. Johnson on an occasion of this kind, "when it was lost
it was of immense consequence, and when found it was no matter at all."

Garnett's administration of the reading-room was characterized by a large
increase in the number of readers, the placing of special bibliographies
in the room to supply as far as possible the want of a subject catalogue,
the formation of a second library of reference in the gallery in the
reading-room, and the introduction of electric light. The mere mention of
electric light shows that we have come down to our own day, and we must
take leave of the old-time librarian. Naturally the atmosphere of the
modern public library, with its rush and hustle, proved uncongenial to the
old-fashioned librarian. The less rapidly changing college and university
libraries harbored him much longer, but with modern efficiency tests I
suppose that he, too, is to be driven even from that last resort. The
following has been suggested as an appropriate epitaph for him:

"He loved his library and his books more than the service of his

Upon the librarian of to-day devolves many problems not dreamed of by his
forerunners. But the success of the library and its utility always have
been and always must be measured, to quite Lord Goschen, largely by the
"affability and competence of the librarian." What is wanted, according
to this wise statesman, is a librarian who will suffer fools gladly and
who, when asked foolish questions, will guide the questioners aright.


L I B R A R Y   J U I C E

ISSN 1544-9378

Library Juice is supported by a voluntary subscription
fee of $10 per year, variable based on ability and
desire to pay. You may send a check payable in US funds
to Rory Litwin, at 614 N. 18th St. E., Duluth, MN 55812,
or, alternatively, you may use PayPal, by going to:

You can also support Library Juice and by buying our
wonderful swag at It's all
priced at ten cents above the base price.

To subscribe or unsubscribe, email Juice-subscriptions[at]
with a request worded in plain english and "Subscribe" or
"Unsubscribe" in the subject line. Tell me what's up!

Library Juice is a free weekly publication edited and
published by Rory Litwin. Original senders are credited
wherever possible; opinions are theirs. If you are the
author of some email in Library Juice which you want removed
from the web, please write to me and I will remove it.

Copyright to material in Library Juice should be considered
to belong to the original authors unless otherwise stated.
Works by Rory Litwin may be used freely for non-commercial
purposes with appropriate attribution.

Where not otherwise stated, Library Juice is the original
publisher of items contained in it.

Your comments and suggestions are welcome.