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From the Steps of Adams Library

Fall 2014

Director's Welcome

It is my pleasure to present the Fall 2014 issue of From the Steps of Adams Library.

In it you will find articles about staff members and exhibits, the groundbreaking AS220 Digitization Project, and the innovative NEXUS 7 lending service.   You will also learn more about our reference and research support, a good read, and the Library’s involvement with the Open Book Open Mind program.  From the Archives comes the tale of RIC students in competition on the College Bowl.

We hope that the RIC community will enjoy the content and also the new format.  Going online not only saves the cost of paper and printing, but also allows us not to place words or page restrictions on authors and even to add items at the last minute.

So, I offer the first e-issue of the Library newsletter. 

Tovah Reis,
Interim Library Directory

"The Head Librarian" from "The Song of the Library Staff" by Sam Walter Foss

“The Head Librarian”

Sam Walter Foss, (1858 - 1911) attended the American Library Association’s 1906 annual conference in Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island, where he read his new set of poems, collectively called The Song of the Library Staff, to the 890 attendees.

Now my Muse prepare for business.  Plume your wings for loftier flight
Through the circumambient ether to a super-lunar height,
Then adorn the empyrean from the heights where thou has risen
Sing, O Muse! the Head Librarian and the joy that’s her’n or his’n.
See him, see her, his or her head weighted with the lore of time,
Trying to expend a dollar when he only has a dime;
Tailoring appropriations – and how deftly he succeeds,
Fitting his poor thousand dollars to his million dollar needs.
How the glad book agents cheer him – and he cannot wish them fewer
With “their greatest work yet published since the dawn of literature.”
And he knows another agent, champing restive to begin
With another work still greater will immediately come in.
So perfection on perfection follows more and more sublime
And the line keeps on forever down the avenues of time –
So they travel on forever, stretching far beyond our ken,
Lifting demijohns of wisdom to the thirsty lips of men.

See him ’mid his myriad volumes listening to the gladsome din
Of the loud vociferant public that no book is ever “in”;
And he hears the fierce taxpayer evermore lift up the shout
That the book he needs forever is the book forever “out.”
How they rage, the numerous sinners, when he tries to please the saints,
When he tries to please the sinners hear the numerous saints’ complaints;
And some want a Bowdlered Hermans and an expurgated Watts;
Some are shocked beyond expression at the sight of naked thoughts,
And he smooths their fur the right way, and he placates him or her,
And those who come to snarl and scratch remain behind to purr.
Oh, the gamesome glad Librarian gushing with his gurgling glee! –
Here I hand my resignation, – ’tis a theme too big for me.

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