Not “a mere bookworm’s dream world,” 1949

One of the best things in those issues of the RI Magazine that I was talking about yesterday is a series of articles about each of the departments on campus. I’m sure you won’t be surprised if I start with the library, my home at Rice since I first arrived 25 years ago. This piece captures a precise moment–the summer they began moving books into the new Fondren–and gives us a nice glimpse into what the librarians thought they were doing:

RI magazine fondren library June 1948 1 055

RI magazine fondren library June 1948 2 056

RI magazine fondren library June 1948 3 057

I protest the idea that there’s something wrong with being a bookworm’s dream world, though. That’s exactly what I like about it.

Also, I believe the word they’re looking for is “carrel.”

Bonus: Here’s what moving all those books looked like.

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6 Responses to Not “a mere bookworm’s dream world,” 1949

  1. Planning for “500,000 books–a number which ought to be reached in sixty years…”

    At a point in the late 1980’s, I was asked to make a prediction for how many IP addresses Hewlett-Packard would need in five years. We had a hundred or so hosts, so I planned for complete saturation, one per employee plus support nodes (printers, routers). I was pretty close.

    We were really happy that Jon Postel had given us a Class A network number.

  2. This is packed with gems.

    “…the library is to be every student’s oyster as long as he watches out for the pearl.”

    “Rice is not being as radical in this respect as the University of Iowa.” [Iowa is full of radicals.]

    “More than one librarian has been amazed at the small amount of deadwood it contains.” [Two?]

  3. Sigsby Rusk says:

    This really brings back memories. I remember registering late in the summer of 1949, and for some reason was given a preview of the library by Sarah Lane, although it was not officially open yet. Coming from a town of 5000 in South Texas the only library I had seen had three short stacks of dusty old books in a back room of the county court house. Fondren Library blew me away and in my 4 undergraduate years I got a fantastic extra education roaming the stacks whenever I could.

  4. Edward Summers says:

    I am in the same category as Mr. Rusk except my tour came from my great-aunt, Alice Dean, the librarian herself, and the one who delayed her retirement so she could bring the new library online. It is gratifying to see her name (and Miss Lane’s) in print so long after they left Rice!

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