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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
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 (http://www.english.upenn.edu/Projects/Buck/).
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 Amazon.com!).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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