misseli's blog

Godfrey Dewey?

I guess I was too skeeved at the rumours that he asked that women who applied to his library school to submit their measurements and eye colour to notice this before, but:

Melvil Dewey had a son. And was married twice. (Well, he didn't have the son out of wedlock. Actually, he didn't have the son ... his first wife did. Name of Anne.)

I guess I was hoping that the "Father of Modern Librarianship" was a metaphorical status.

Have you attended Mid-Winter? C'mere ...

I have reg'ed and I've bought my plane tickets and I'm *this* close to formally requesting the time off work. But I haven't found a hotel room yet. All of the ALA hotels within walking distance are booked. And I've been too overwhelmed with other things to start looking off the beaten track yet. But there's one thing I need to know:

How is the social life at Mid-Winter?

With extended shushing action!

I have to admit: I don't care much for the doll.

However, I'm going to go back on my word and buy one. As a gift. To the following:

Attorney General John Ashcroft
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

It's petty, but so am I ...

Generosity and Selfishness at the New King Library

The new King Library in San Jose had its grand opening today. This is the grand new experiment: a public library and a university library rolled in one, with 2 staffs, 2 collections and 2 user populations.

It was literally a festival. Thousands ... maybe tens of thousands of people showed up. Even though nothing could be checked out today. Lots of stuff for little kids, but a fair amount of activities for adults.

As a public library, it's magnificient: lots of space, lots of light, lots of windows. 33 art installations secreted all over the place. Wide, well-lighted stairwells, nice browsing library on the first floor (although the sci-fi, hardcover & soft, is fairly lousy in that particular section).

As a university library ... we'll see. I was disconcerted to learn that bound periodicals is in the basement, 4 floors down from current periodicals. That will be a bit of a bother. Otherwise ... we'll see.

When I'm a public library user, I'm fairly patient and generous. I don't mind long lines at check-out or to get a library card; I think kids running around and being themselves in a public library is a perfectly good thing. I trust that there are some areas where people who want peace and quiet and to be left undisturbed, but that the rest is public space: loud, chaotic, funky, energetic public space.

When I'm a university library user, I'm really selfish. I want quiet and books neatly on the shelves and quiet conversation; no chatter, no crying, no screaming. I don't want kids or tourists wandering in on my space obliviously. I want comtemplative, meditative space to read and absorb and think. There are public spaces (especially the first floor), but the rest is sacred space: I want my university library, on the whole, to be quieter than my church (and if that sounds weird, remember that I grew up as a Baptist).

Don't know if the library will, can or is even meant to work on that level.

In other news, I was interviewed briefly by a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News. Since I had on my public library user hat on today, I was very good and gave nice, enthusiastic quotes.

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