1996 Spring – Personal & Institutional News

WESS Newsletter

Vol. 19, No. 2 (Spring, 1996)

Column Editor: Richard Hacken

On the occasion of her marriage last October, Gretchen Holten (University of Nebraska at Lincoln) added a new surname, “Poppler.” Her husband Paul is a Business professor who teaches Management at Bellevue College in Omaha. Gretchen and Paul spent their honeymoon in Jamaica drinking 151 rum and watching bad Elvis movies. While there, she didn’t do any Western-European-related research, except for an occasional glance at the scantily-clad-to-naked Western Europeans on the beach there. Meanwhile, back in Lincoln, she is an administrative intern in the Dean’s Office (spending most of her time perfecting the art of sitting for long stretches of time in interminable meetings), but still works half-time as the History Bibliographer. Paul used to teach at St. Johns in the Big Apple, so the couple had a commuter relationship (NE – NYC / NYC – NE) for three years. Since Gretchen has gotten to know Manhattan, its bagels and its byways, she is looking forward to visiting there again for the ALA conference this coming July. (Yes, she’s back by Poppler demand).

Beau David Case, who until recently was reference assistant and selector of classical studies materials at Indiana University-Bloomington, has accepted a position with the Ohio State University Libraries. The position came aboard when Reinhart Sonnenburg set sail for the port of San Diego. Beau is now Assistant Professor and Librarian for Classics, French & Italian, Germanic Languages & Literatures, Linguistics, and modern Greek. When the monographic title Merlina Mercouri’s Deconstruction of Umberto Eco’s Semiotic Analysis of Kafka’s Influence on Sartre’s Use of the Latin Ablative is published, he will be the ideal person to order it. Beau, whose electric mailbox resides at “case.42 @ osu.edu,” has research interests in the areas of classical studies, comparative literature, and collection development. He earned his B.A. in English Literature at UCLA, specializing in Victorian literature (possibly even learning why “Victor” wrote so much). His M.A. in Comparative Literature was from Indiana University-Bloomington, where he wrote (rather than spoke!) a thesis on oral tradition and theory. He also earned an M.L.S. and did Ph.D. course work in Comparative Literature and Information Science at I.U. (He is completing the Ph.D. degree at O.S.U. in a similar blend of fields). Beau spent an Odyssean decade of library service at U.C.Davis, UCLA, and I.U. in a number of areas from conservation to electronic texts, i.e., from minimizing acidic attrition to digitizing analytic editions. He has published articles whose subjects range through the millennia from Roman lyric and elegiac poetry to current library approval plans. He assures us he is no Luddite, but even if he were he would be welcome among us. When the column editor asked him if he had anything more to report (e.g., when asked if he had any “Beau jests”), he replied: “I rest my Case.”

John Kaiser of Penn State and WESS fame, and recently WESS Chair, retired at the end of December, 1995. Yes, he actually retired from the job. After 32 years he thought it was time for a change. To put things in chronological perspective: John was working at Penn State way before man landed on the moon, way before the Beatles split up, and roughly around the time President Kennedy announced “Ich bin ein Berliner!” He (John Kaiser, not John Kennedy) tells us he has other things he wants to do and now seems to be a good time to do them. (But what could be more worth doing than political intrigue and infighting within ACRL?) John wants us all to know that being in WESS was one of the best professional experiences he ever had, and that he remembers with great pleasure those he worked with in the Division. His parting words: “Keep well, happy, and keep WESS the great experience for others that it has been for me.” He would also like to ward off one pesky rumor that keeps surfacing: it is NOT true that his retirement was reported in a headline of the Penn State student newspaper as “Kaiserschnitt!”

Mike Olson of Harvard, who was feted at the Winter ALA conference for his publication of a book looking into the concept of a German national library, is now looking into the concept of personal exhaustion. He is attempting to short-circuit the mind-body continuum. He is moving from the sublime to what would be — for many of us — the ridiculous. In short, he will be running in the “100th Boston Marathon” on April 15th. “100th” means it’s “been around for a century.” “Boston” means “baked beans,” “Red Sox,” “Old North Church,” “One if by LAN, Two if by CD.” “Marathon” means “running and running and running for over 26 miles.” Since this is happening on April 15th, special arrangements have been made with the IRS for agents to pick up the competitors’ income tax forms in exchange for water before they hit “Heartbreak Hill.” Mike is tying in this madness to Harvard’s fund-raising efforts by asking people to contribute $100 when (not if!) he finishes the race, plus an additional $1 for each minute he runs under 4 hours and 30 minutes. As a realistic goal is 4:00, the donation would total ca. $130. If he sets a world record, the donation will approximate $250. We will ask Mike to report the experience to us at the Summer ALA conference, if he’s back on his feet by then.

Because sometimes — in an unjust world — justice is actually served, and because sometimes — in a cynical society — goodness is actually rewarded, we have all the more reason to congratulate two WESS members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library whose positions have been upgraded from “acting” to “actual,” i.e., transmogrified from “interim” to “permanent:” Tom Kilton as Head of the Modern Languages and Linguistics Library, and Bruce Swann as Classics Librarian. P.S. Thanks to Gail Hueting for leaking this journalistic coup. Machinations and maneuverings at libraries of other institutions are of terrifical interest to us librarians — especially those of us who grew up watching soap operas like “General Library” — ergo, please narc on your neighbor (or tell us of your own personal and/or institutional news) and we’ll try to contain the collateral damage.