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John Bressler - The wonders of the Henderson Library never cease

John Bressler - The wonders of the Henderson Library never cease

John Bressler - The wonders of the Henderson Library never cease

John Bressler


       It's early in the semester and I am standing on the wrong side of a very large glass partition separating the Henderson Library foyer, lobby, entrance - or "the way in," as we locals like to say - from the first floor. On the other side is a plethora - or pot-full - of students trying to get to my assigned class room. I am now writing on the glass with a large erasable marker, "Come to the second floor, take the far elevator or the stairs, come back down to the first floor and follow me to room 1300." This is a test for incoming students to see if they can read the instructions I cleverly explained last week entitled, "How to get from here to there."
       This is my week to share with every class the training needed to be able to trek through the wilderness of gathering legitimate, academic and trustworthy information to be used in the process of education. The problem is that there is so much commentary available and so much of it is just opinion, emotion and pseudo science that it is very hard - if not impossible in some instances - to get the facts. We all know that everyone loves a good conspiracy theory, we really didn't get to the moon, one can fall off the flat earth, UFOs are flying all over the place and Elvis only left the building and is working at a remote diner somewhere in Las Vegas. Heck, you folks know there really is an Elvis Presley here in Statesboro who gives a knock-down drag-out concert every few years. I sang back-up, so I know for sure.
       Henderson Library is one of 35 institutional campus libraries here in Georgia and if a student can't find a required book, periodical or required resource here, then by using some electronic navigational techniques, the material can be found with the touch of a button. If you're new to the process, there is a desk called, "Library Commons," manned by a librarian who is waiting just for you and ready to show you the ropes.
       Just for fun, try to find a book in the Automated Retrieval Collection, or ARC, and then run over to the viewing window to watch the action. There is a massive climate-controlled room run by robotics that stand at the ready for your command. Inside that room are 7,000 stainless steel bins containing some 250,000 books. Hit the correct key and your book will be delivered within minutes! After trying the ARC for several hours, I was escorted out the door by a couple of robots who said in electronic monosyllabic unemotional tones, "Next time we will vaporize you." Librarians never do that.
       I personally would rather go to the stacks and get the book for myself because I am a hands-on guy.
       Academic research is not for the faint of heart. One must set aside blogs and much of the headlines or popular talk shows if the facts are to be found, and every individual must be ready to sacrifice a considerable amount of time to be as informed as humanly possible. A caveat, a warning, to the seeker: truth can be painful and life-changing. It is not easy to give up mental or emotional comfort and embrace the disturbing realities of life. The choice is ours.
       A very affectionate thank you goes to Dr. W.B. Mitchell, academic director; Dr. Bob Fernekes, who made the logistics possible and librarians Jonathan Harwell, LiLi Li, Lisa Smith, Lori Lester and JoEllen Broome, who gave their time and expertise to every class. Every question was answered and every new student left with the knowledge that library science is not easy but in time can be understood and used with professional integrity.
       While waiting for your book to hit the circulation desk, you can stop by Zach's Brews and Spa for a quick cup of coffee and a sweet roll. Take your reading material and snack stuff over to a comfortable chair by the large glass partitions overlooking the lake and dig in. Oh, invite a librarian over to sit with you and order an extra coffee and roll to share. That'd be a nice way to say, "Thanks!"

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