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May 1999


No. 25

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Michael Stuart Freeman, 1946 - 1999

by Emma Lapsansky

An old friend of Michael Stuart Freeman described him as "a man who liked to talk to people who liked to talk." This man who liked to talk left the Haverford campus much the richer for his sojourn here. A social scientist by personality as well as by profession--an astute commentator--Michael saw his role of Librarian of the College as more than one of providing leadership to an academic library. Michael loved words, loved the ideas they could convey, the laughter they could evoke, the enthusiasm they could elicit, and he used his command of words to open library staff meetings with broad and inspiring treatises on the role of libraries past and present, to persuade colleagues that they really wanted to do things they hadn't yet thought they wanted to do, and to publish more than a dozen articles about the social context and implications of library conception and management.

When Michael had a good idea, he moved in close, really close, to share it with you. He had ideas often--good ideas, ideas that inspired the staff to move forward, without making waves--and when his library colleagues were asked to share their memories of Michael, this was one of the themes that kept repeating: "commonsensical, practical view of our work; he wasn't susceptible to grand schemes and "visions," or at least he wasn't susceptible to their negative aspects." The library's operations fascinated him: "he had a "family-run business" proprietary sense about the place; he cared about every detail from carpeting to collections," said one colleague. Endlessly creative about use of space and time, Michael added the summer music lunchtime series to the reading series, and took a personal interest in watching this flourish as well. He conceived and secured grants to upgrade operations and provide collections care. He re-organized the library staff to provide for bibliographic specialists in subject areas. He, in turn, appreciated that staff, and the staff admired him. Themes that emerged from library staff thoughts about Michael included "generosity," "an ability to get really excited about others' achievements," "infectious energy," "gusto about his work," "never pretentious."

Never pretentious, indeed. Michael was proud of his New York city roots, his Brooklyn College (City University of New York) undergraduate education, and his two Masters' degrees (one in Library Science, one in History) from the University of Wisconsin--Madison. He always said--and he was right--that he was a fine advertisement for public universities. From Madison, Michael took the position of Social Sciences Librarian and University Archivist at Illinois Wesleyan University, and from there served in increasingly responsible library roles at Dartmouth College, and the College of Wooster in Ohio, before coming to Haverford in 1986.In each place, his well-honed talent for putting systems in place, balancing budgets and inspiring staff to give their best left a fine legacy behind him.

Michael kept his friendships and his professional ties with the wider college library world. He was always current with library organizational information, technology and theory. Beginning in the 1970s he served continuously on boards and advisory groups representing local and national consortia, and he traveled, lectured and consulted widely on library effectiveness and long-range planning. And he was always current with the library world's gossip, yet, as a Haverford library colleague described him: "it was pretty hard to get him to say something sharp or negative about someone even in the privacy of his office."

As often as not, Michael could be found in his office "doing history." He was excited about his paper-clip presentations for the history juniors' seminar, and he was just as excited about understanding--and helping others to understand--some of the dynamics of tri-college library policies over the long haul. He published three articles on these issues between 1994 and 1997, and, at the time of his death, was working on an analysis of an early twentieth-century Haverford alum's college diary.

Michael's interests were broad, his humanity paramount. Whether helping a student locate resources about Chinese map-making, or introducing his daughters to the mysteries of New York city, his enthusiasm for life and learning was infectious. A very committed family man, Michael enjoyed talking about his wife and daughters, about his mother and sisters. He was proud of them, and unabashed about saying so. Michael also valued his friendships in the Haverford College community--was always available to talk books, library operations--or novels or children or poker--with faculty and other colleagues outside the library. He believed that the library's role was to support teaching and faculty research, and he instituted systems to be responsive to those needs. But he was just as quick to offer advice about how many years apart to space children, or how to download recipes for "mock-apple" pie as he was to insist that the library departments get budget information to him on his birthday, so that he could be first into the provost's office with the budget request. He was just as willing to talk sports as he was to talk about library resources on the World Wide Web. He liked students, and students enjoyed him. And everyone knew to watch out for this left-handed fellow when there were cups of liquids sitting on the table.

Michael was easy to like, hard to rile. He knew about libraries, was always willing to learn more, and anxious to share what he'd learned. So it is not surprising that library colleagues from across the country sent notes of regret at the loss of Michael, his energy, his knowledge, kindness and generosity. Michael loved books, he loved softball, he loved to laugh, he loved to talk, and Michael really loved movies. He had seen a lot of them, and he enjoyed these hallmarks of America as much as he enjoyed his own baby-boomer status. Recalling both Michael and movies, another colleague thought of the closing line from a TV movie as being fitting for Michael: "How he did live!"

Indeed, Michael was a man who loved to talk to people who love to talk. And the Haverford community is the richer for what he taught us with his words, and with his sense of integrity, his keen intelligence, human decency, kindness, generosity, and wisdom.


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Two Library Associates Programs Presented


On Sunday, November 1, 1998, Peter Conn, Professor of English from the University of Pennsylvania and author of the recent Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography (Cambridge University Press, 1996), gave a lecture on "Pearl S. Buck and Women's History." Prof. Conn talked about Buck's personal history, the literary and political influence she exercised from the 1930s to the 1950's, and the decline of her reputation in recent decades.

Remembered today largely as the author of the best-selling "The Good Earth," Buck did not write her first book until she was 40 and produced two per year until she was 80, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature early on in her career in 1938. Through her work, Buck largely "invented" China for as mid-century US audience, according to Conn, and worked hard to promote East-West understanding. Her political connections included Eleanor Roosevelt, and she was active in social and political causes, founding an adoption agency for Asian children and writing about and lending her name, time, and financial resources to struggles for women's rights and racial equality. Prof. Conn drew a fascinating portrait of a women with many interests and strong commitments. Glimpses of this portrait can be found on the website he maintains to promote interest in Pearl Buck's work (

by Alice Pakhtigian


On Sunday, March 21, Library Associates presented Curt Cacioppo, composer and pianist, in a recital of his own music inspired by native American legacies. Cacioppo, long-time Professor of Music at Haverford, began his program with a brief tribute to Michael Freeman and his contribution to music at the College.

Lyric visions from the Pawnee , the first of three sets of pieces drawn from Cacioppo's new CD Monsterslayer, is a group of preludes, evocative and melodious in spirit, inspired by the Pawnee Indian melodies recorded by the Smithsonian Institution onto wax cylinders at the beginning of this century.

The second set comprised two pieces celebrating the sacredness of the creation: Bluebird Sings Goodnight, after a Zuni lullaby dedicated to the colors of twilight; and Spring is Opening, a polymodal etude formed around a pentatonic Indian melody evoking the lushness of spring and the yearning for the season of renewal.

In sharp contrast, the final set of three pieces were larger in scope and intensity, a passionate cry for justice and healing. America, a Prayer, !Angelus!, and Old Petitions remember the many injustices done to the indigenous people of the New World in the name of manifest destiny and issue a plea that this country use its power and resources wisely and for the greater good of all.

Old Petitions ends with a seven-fold iteration alluding to the Iroquois belief that decisions and actions may be taken only after thorough deliberation of what their effects will be seven generations into the future; and to the Lakota belief in the seven laws of the pipe, or natural law.

After the program, tea was served in the Philips Wing of Magill Library where the College's Chutaha-Fauka Lakota peace pipe from the days of Red Cloud and the Fort Laramie treaty was on display.

by Martha Payne


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New Science Library Planned

by Wendy Wasman

When the Integrated Natural Science Facility (INSF) is constructed over the next few years, the collections of two of the three science libraries will finally be brought together in one location.Books, journals, and other materials from Stokes Library (chemistry, physics, math, and computer science) will join those from Sharpless Biology Library in a new building to be erected at the southern end of Hilles Hall.The new science library will be easily accessible within the new 140,000 square-foot science complex, which will involve two new structures linked to remodeled Sharpless and Hilles Halls.In addition to a new combined science library, the INSF will also include new laboratories, seminar rooms, faculty offices, and a shared computational space for all of the sciences.The current Sharpless Biology Library will be converted into a central lounge area for receptions, presentations, and other activities.

As a member of the Steering Committee, I spent the last 18 months discussing, negotiating, and designing the library within the INSF. Planning a science library that will be effective in the 21st Century was an exciting and challenging task.By looking at how the science libraries are used today, and by thinking about the future of library materials, we tried to design a library that will be both functional and inviting and one that will continue to support the curriculum of all of the science departments.Although smaller in square footage than the current two science libraries combined, the new library will still be able to provide the kinds of services that both students and faculty members need.In addition to study carrels and tables, which will be wired for access to the campus network, there will be two study rooms where students may work together in small groups.There will also be areas of comfortable seating near the current periodicals and the science fiction browsing collection. Service areas, such as circulation and photocopying, will be located near the front entrance and away from the quieter study areas.There will also be computers for searching the library catalog as well as other library databases, the Internet, and electronic journals.

Many futurists like to predict a paperless society in which libraries will become completely digital.While we are seeing a trend toward more electronic materials, particularly scientific and technical journals, there does not seem to be any evidence that books will completely disappear (just take a look at your local Border's or browse online at!).In addition, the publishers of scientific and technical journals require libraries to subscribe to their print publications in order to access the electronic versions. The new science library will have space to house both books and journals for the foreseeable future.

Construction of the new Integrated Natural Science Facility is tentatively scheduled to begin in the fall of 1999.During the building of the INSF, Stokes Hall will be renovated to house the computing centers, the Language Learning Center, the Economics Department, and the Business Office, which will vacate Hilles Hall. The entire project is expected to take five or six years.


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