Archive for April, 2012

We’re Open! (but call to verify)

April 30th, 2012

In spite of some automated messages to the contrary, Gleeson Library—as of approximately 3 pm—has power, and is open for business. The power situation may be unpredictable, so if you’re coming from a distance, please contact us to verify we’re still open. (If the power goes down again, it may take some time to change this message).

We are currently working on getting our catalog and databases back online and available for off-campus access.

Annick Wibben Reading

April 27th, 2012

The Gleeson Library is pleased to welcome University of San Francisco Associate Professor Annick T.R. Wibben who will read from her book Feminist Security Studies: a Narrative Approach (Routledge, 2011) on Wednesday, May 2nd in the Donohue Rare Book Room. The book rethinks security theory from a feminist perspective and challenges the way we think about security, violence and war. Professor Wibben teaches international politics and specializes in critical security studies, international theory, and feminist international relations. Prior to teaching at the University of San Francisco, she worked with the Information Technology, War and Peace Project at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University from 2001-2005. Her article “Feminist Politics in Feminist Security Studies” (2011) was published in Politics & Gender and “The Gendering of Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan” (co-authored with Keally McBride) is forthcoming in Humanity. She is the Chair of the Bachelor in International Studies program and serves as an Advisory Board Member to Gender and Sexualities Studies; Peace and Justice Studies; and the Master program in International Studies.

The program begins at 5:15 on Wednesday, May 2nd in the Donohue Rare Book Room, located on the third floor of the Gleeson Library. Light refreshments will be served and books will be available for purchase. The program is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend. For further information, please call (415) 422-2036.

John Hawk
Head Librarian, Special Collections & University Archives

A New Book about the Woman’s Building Library

April 25th, 2012
Woman's Building Library

Earlier this week I had the good fortune to attend the Annual Lecture of the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture at the School of Library and Information Studies at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. This year it featured Sarah Wadsworth, Associate Professor of English at Marquette University, and  Wayne Wiegand, Professor Emeritus at Florida State University, talking about their new book Right Here I See My Own Books: A Woman's Building Library at the World's Columbian Exposition (Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 2012). The Woman's Building Library came on my radar screen in 2006 with a special issue (Winter issue) of Libraries & Culture which was devoted to the library and was edited by Sarah Wadsworth. The library consisted of over 8,000 volumes from around the world written, illustrated, edited, or translated in the 400 years leading up to the exposition.  In the "Acknowledgments" section of the new Wadsworth and Wiegand book, the development of the book is chronicled. It began with Wiegand's discovery of a cache of letters between Melvil Dewey and Bertha Honore Palmer, chair of the Board of Lady Managers of the World's Columbian Exposition and the driving force behind a Woman's Building at the Exposition, while doing research on his biography of Dewey at Columbia University in the early 1980s. Wadsworth joined with Wiegand in 2000 to pursue the project because of her interest in nineteenth-century American women's literature. Together they obtained a grant to create a relational database of the contents of the Woman's Building Library. That relational database is now available online at Marquette University. I found the book that Wadsworth and Wiegand produced after years of effort and research to be extremely interesting and I recommend it highly. I found the portion of the book related to Melvil Dewey's involvement with the Woman's Building Library and its staffing  with "Dewey's girls" to be especially interesting. Wadsworth and Wiegand are donating the royalties from their book to the National Women's History Museum. They have been lecturing about the book around the country. An interesting blog post about the kick-off of their lecture tour at the Library of Congress is located HERE. I wrote a previous blog post about the library that featured a postal card in my postal librariana collection in 2009.

Herbert Putnam and ALA’s Library War Service

April 24th, 2012
The United States declared war on Germany and entered World War I ninety-five years ago this month. In the same month Herbert Putnam, Librarian of Congress, initiated events that led to the creation of the American Library Association's Library War Service, perhaps ALA's most ambitious and successful undertaking in its history. According to Arthur P. Young in Books for Sammies: The American Library Association and World War I (Beta Phi Mu, 1981), Putnam presented his idea of furnishing books to the American army in a meeting with Secretary of War Newton D. Baker who responded positively to the idea. Following that meeting, the ALA Executive Board established a Committee on Mobilization and War Service Plans and Putnam was appointed chair of the committee on April 30, 1917. Putnam presented the committee's recommendations at ALA's annual conference on June 22 in Louisville, KY. The committee felt that an ALA operation on a "vast scale" was desirable. ALA members responded favorably to the recommendations of the committee, and at the end of the conference ALA President Brown appointed a permanent War Service Committee headed by James I. Wyer. Putnam assumed the leadership for the administration of the ALA Library War Service while continuing as Librarian of Congress. The Library War Service was administered from a conference room in the Library of Congress. Putnam managed the Library War Service until December 13, 1919. Young writes about Putnam's role: "Few individuals are indispensable, but it is difficult to imagine another librarian who could have galvanized the Association's war program as Putnam did. Self-assured, meticulous, and urbane, Putnam was a formidable administrator and an equally good judge of character. He was able to identify and to attract to his staff many of the nation's most promising librarians who were at the threshold of distinguished careers." Jain Aikin Rosenberg in The Nation's Great Library: Herbert Putnam and the Library of Congress, 1899-1938 (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1993) also discusses Putnam's role with the Library War Service. She notes one negative aspect of that role. When selecting camp librarians, Putnam refused to consider applications from African Americans, German Americans, or women. A female librarian was finally hired in May, 1918 shortly before eight "angry female librarians protested the War Service employment policy at the ALA conference that summer."

Dean Rader Poetry Reading

April 23rd, 2012

The Gleeson Library is pleased to sponsor a faculty reading on Thursday, April 26 as it welcomes University of San Francisco Associate Professor Dean Rader, who will read from his book Works & Days (Truman State University Press) which received the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry in 2010. Professor Rader has published widely in the fields of poetry, literary studies, American Indian studies, and visual/popular culture. He co-edited Speak To Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry (2003), and his pop culture reader, The World Is A Text, is in its fourth edition. His book Engaged Resistance: American Indian Art, Literature, and Film From Alcatraz to the NMAI was published by the University of Texas Press in 2011. He teaches in the English Department and in the Honors Program in the Humanities. He also is a contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle City Brights Blog.

The program begins at 5:00 on Thursday, April 26 in the Donohue Rare Book Room, located on the third floor of the Gleeson Library. Light refreshments will be served and books will be available for purchase. The program is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend. For further information, please call (415) 422-2036.

John Hawk
Head Librarian, Special Collections & University Archives