It's that time of the year when I get the privilege of thanking Dean Bede Mitchell and the extraordinary staff of the GSU Henderson Library for their courtesy and professionalism toward me and my students. As a long ago graduate of the almost defunct Dewey Decimal System and the card catalogue that I would drop on the floor very regularly, I am amazed at the online systems allowing anyone trained in the art of research to scan the known world for information.
When I was given my very first library card, which was like getting an X-Box 360, the librarian looked at me with eyes of stone and said, "Johnny Bressler, you can check out most any book on the second floor. You are to walk quietly. If you must talk, it will be to the person in charge at the desk. There is a severe penalty (Rack? Thumbscrew? Flogging?) and a late charge on overdue books. Enjoy!"
Obviously, the folks at Henderson never met our librarian because their place is a hoot! Students not only enjoy visiting but also have their own librarian! Every librarian has one — some even have two — Master's degree and if a student needs expert directions in a particular academic discipline, he or she can walk up to the desk, lovingly called the Library Commons, and get personal attention and direction to find the most elusive material available.
Some of the behind the scenes and indispensable departments — and forgive me if I have forgotten anyone — are: Access Services, Collection & Resource Services, Information Services, Library Administration, Special Collections (sounds ominous) and Systems Department.
Some personal friends who took all my classes individually: Dr. Bob Fernekes, Dr. Sonya Shepherd, Dr. Rebecca Ziegler, LiLi Li, Lori Lester, JoEllen Broome and Jonathan Harwell, who gave me some great background information. Thanks to all of you for your time and the way you truly care about students.
The future of civilization rests in the knowledge we make available to those who care and are willing to do the hard work for the years ahead. I believe — I hope — it was Winston Churchill who said, "The more we know about our past, the better prepared we are for our future." Both the success and failure can be found in the literature of the ancients as well as what is being written presently and most every piece of writing is available if one knows and has the skills to do the research.
The libraries are open and available to each and everyone.
Grab a book, pamphlet, journal, periodical, newspaper or even a legitimate blog and begin the journey. We just can't wait!
"It was a dark and stormy night...!"