A Bi-Annual Publication of the Hodges University Library Winter 2010
Editor‟s Note Welcome to the Winter 2010 issue of Odyssey. The theme in this issue is our connection with
history. In the first article I focus on the ancient library at Alexandria, which was built about 2,300 years ago. I think you might be surprised at the remarkable parallels with the ideal academic library today. The work of our library at Hodges University indeed has ancient roots.
In the second article, Senior Librarian Jan Edwards helps us understand, not only her world as the Public Access Librarian in Fort Myers, but the history of our library as it relates to the tremendous technological advances we‟ve enjoyed in our society. Library professionals have been quick to adapt and harness technology for the good of their users, and the Hodges University Library is no exception.
Please also check out our Spotlight section, where we feature one of our on-call librarians, Pam Simones. Finally, “In the News” provides an overview of what has recently happened with us at Hodges University.
Thanks for reading!
Gerald Franz, PhD Assistant Library Director
Table of Contents
The Ancient Library at Alexandria: Thinking Outside the Scroll (pp. 4-8)
An Interview With Senior Librarian, Jan Edwards (pp. 9-11)
Spotlight: Pam Simones (p. 12)
In the News (p. 13)
The Ancient Library at Alexandria: Thinking Outside the Scroll By Gerald Franz, PhD
In the year 331 BC, Alexander the Great stood with some of his advisors in a small Egyptian fishing village on the Nile delta called Rhakotis. Here Alexander decided to found a new city and name it after his favorite person, himself. Those with him had no chalk to sketch the borders and roads, so they trailed a thin line of barley flour from sacks. When birds descended from everywhere to consume the meal, Alexander thought this was a bad omen. Not so, his advisors said. Like the flour to the birds, Alexandria will one day attract many and be a feeder and nurse to the world. And they were correct. The Library at Alexandria When Alexander died eight years later, Ptolemy, one of his celebrated generals, was able to secure the part of Alexander‟s empire that included Egypt. He reigned as Ptolemy I (Soter) and he invited his friend Demetrius of Phaleron to create the best library in the world in this new city of Alexandria. Or did Demetrius suggest that idea to Ptolemy? Either way, both of them deserve the credit for the Library at Alexandria in the early 300‟s BC. Demetrius had fled from a Greece that did not want him, and as the new library director, it was his goal to build a library that would rival even Athens. Demetrius had been a student of Aristotle, and later his successor and director of Aristotle‟s school (called the Lyceum). Hence, the new library in Alexandria was destined to be more than a collection, but a teaching and learning institution. There were two parts of this new institution, a Museum (dedicated to the 9 muses, who were divine female patrons and promoters of the arts), and the Library. The Museum served as the educational wing of the Library, with classrooms and study centers, even a communal dining hall. The walls and hallways were well decorated with paintings and statues. The Museum had plenty of covered walking areas for scholars to stroll and converse. This should not be surprising, as Aristotle‟s followers were nicknamed „peripatetics‟ (walkers), because of their love of strolling around while thinking and conversing. The Library held the collection, which was dispersed through several wings and porticos according to different disciplines. Odyssey
Figure 1 Greek Muse (Louvre)
The Growth and Development of the Library There was plenty of drama concerning the Library, according to the ancient sources. By the time of Ptolemy III, Alexandria required every trading ship in their docks to turn over their scrolls and books for copying. More often than not, the owners received the copies back, not the originals. Athens made the mistake of doing inter-library loan with Alexandria (pressured by a threat to cut off grain shipments), and received only copies back of some of their best texts. Through an aggressive campaign of confiscation, purchase, and copying, the Library grew to approximately 500,000 to 700,000 scrolls. When Alexandria learned that Pergamum was seeking to rival their Library, they stopped exporting papyri to cut off their supply. This caused translators and scholars to find something else to write on. They came up with cured animal skins made into thin parchment. Only this stacked instead of rolled, and so the book became popular. The library directors were scholars themselves, appointed by the king. They also served as the official royal tutors. The librarians eventually established special subject collections in different places around the city (branch libraries of a sort), such as the Serapeion in the temple of Serapis, which held over 40,000 titles. The Library acquired copies of the written literature of the past and present from all over the Mediterranean, the Near East, and Mesopotamia, and upon all available subjects. This probably was the first library to be so eclectic in scope. Written in dozens of languages, including Sanskrit, these documents were translated into Alexandrian Greek. A Place of Scholarship This feat was admirable enough, but the Library accomplished so much more than creating a multi-disciplinary collection in Greek. They wanted the collection to attract scholars from all over the world, and for those scholars to not only access this knowledge, but to create new knowledge -there, in Alexandria. The Museum/Library became a think-tank, observatory and laboratory. Odyssey
However, this was not a public library for the masses. This was for scholars and teachers only, but up to 100 of them at a time would assemble there. Sometimes these scholars studied alone, but often they formed research teams in various disciplines, like mathematics, medicine, literature, physics, philosophy, zoology, geography, astronomy, and poetry. By the time of Ptolemy II, there were resident scholars (perhaps around 30 in number) who enjoyed tax-exempt status, and free room and board in the city. They often taught classes, and under Ptolemy V (205-180 BC) implemented impressive outreach strategies, like games, festivals and literary competitions. Here in Alexandria, Euclid wrote many of his books on geometry. Eratosthenes of Cyrene (one of the library directors) believed the oceans were connected, that Africa could be circumnavigated, and that the earth was round. His calendar was adopted by Julius Caesar (my wife suspects that retrieving overdue scroll fines was the real motive behind Eratosthenes‟ calendar). Eratosthenes‟ estimation of the earth‟s circumference erred by only 50 miles. Here the Jewish scriptures were translated from Hebrew to Greek (the Septuagint). Archimedes invented his famous screw-shaped water pump, created the discipline of hydrostatics, and worked with calculating area and volume. Ptolemy wrote the Almagest on the nature of the universe. Alexandria had become the intellectual capital of the world, and central to this was the Library. The Discovery of the Alexandrian Library Until very recently, there were two unsolved mysteries concerning the Library, namely, what happened to it, and where in Alexandria it was located. Egyptian and Polish archaeologists announced to the world in May 2004 that they had finally found the ancient site of the Library and Museum. They were also surprised by the 13 large classrooms there, enough to hold up to 5,000 students. This reinforces our understanding that this was indeed a learning center. The Demise of the Alexandrian Library As to the second mystery -- the destruction of the library -- we are still guessing. Was it Julius Caesar, who in 47 BC captured the city, and set fire to the Egyptian ships and docks? We know that the winds fanned the flames so that part of the city was destroyed, and some ancient witnesses date the demise of the Library then. Or did the Library end with the many attacks and riots Alexandria suffered in the 2nd through the 7th centuries? It is surprising that with such a notable institution, we cannot confidently date its demise. However, Alexandria was a city in decline by then, and perhaps the Library was not as relevant. Certainly in this case, the old aphorism that „the pen is mightier than the sword‟ proved untrue. Whatever the cause(s) of the end of the Library and Museum, we cannot help but wonder at and mourn for all the ancient knowledge we could have known.
The Alexandrian Library and Todayâ€&#x;s Library Libraries today are pursuing much the same goals as the Alexandrian Library, though we took a few hundred years to mature our libraries (from Roman to Greek?) to the progressive place where the Alexandrian Library began. We strive to be learning centers, industries of knowledge and ideas, and dedicated spaces not only for the preservation of knowledge, but its creation. We want attractive facilities, walking and learning space, and interaction among groups. We want to host an eclectic collection and serve a diverse population. We want to be the haunt of authors and researchers and to sponsor lecturers. We stretch our brains for innovative outreach strategies. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina Finally, there is the rebirth of the Library in Alexandria. The Egyptian government, with some help from UNESCO, has created the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria. Inaugurated in 2002, and costing $220 million dollars, it is dedicated to recapturing the spirit of the ancient Library. Hence, the Library contains many specialized libraries with resources in a variety of electronic and print formats. There are museums, a planetarium, cultural theaters, research centers, exhibitions, galleries, conference centers, and a Dialogue Forum, which provides the place for the ideas of the world to come together. Over 800,000 people visit every year. Wouldnâ€&#x;t it be thrilling to bring Demetrius of Phaleron back, that first director of the Alexandrian Library, and give him a tour?
Figure 2 Bibliotheca Alexandrina
References Baker, R. F. (2008, July/August). The nine muses. Calliope, 18(10), 26. Retrieved December 2, 2009, from ProQuest Research Library database. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina. (n.d.). The BA Overview. Retrieved November 16, 2009, from http://www.bibalex.org/English/Overview/overview.htm Brush, P. (2000, April). The Alexandrian Library As It Once Was. American Libraries, 31(4), 74. Odyssey
Delia, D. (1992, December). From romance to rhetoric: The Alexandrian Library in classical and Islamic traditions. American Historical Review, 97(5), 1449-1467. doi:10.2307/2165947 Houston, G. (2008. Tiberius and the libraries. Libraries & the Cultural Record, 43(3), 247-269. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database. MacLeod, R. M. (2004). The library at Alexandria: Centre of learning in the ancient world. New York, NY: I. B. Tauris. Peripatetic School. (1997). In Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.Credoreference.com/entry/cwclassical/peripatetic_school Peripatetic School also called Peripatos. (1999). In The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/cupdphil/peripatetic_school_also_called_peripatos Pollard, J., & Reid, H. (2006). The rise and fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the modern world. New York, NY: Penguin Group. Whitehouse, D. (2004, May 12). Library of Alexandria discovered. In BBC News. Retrieved November 16, 2009, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3707641.stm
An Interview with Senior Librarian, Jan Edwards
Gerald: Please tell us a little about yourself and how you came to Hodges University? Jan: I am a native Floridian, born in Ft. Pierce, but I also spent many years living in many Southern states. My fatherâ€&#x;s job kept us in a location for approximately one year and then we would move again. We finally stopped moving when I was a junior in high school and I attended 2 years of high school in Memphis, TN and college at Memphis State University (now University of Memphis). I immediately attended graduate school receiving my masters from Louisiana State University. After graduate school my first position was in Jackson, Mississippi at the Jackson Municipal Library and then at the University of Mississippi Medical School. I met my husband and we moved to Indiana for his masterâ€&#x;s degree at Indiana University. In my career I have worked for public, university, community college and corporate libraries in Mississippi, Indiana, Virginia, and Georgia. After moving back to Florida in 1991, I started working for Hodges University in 1993. My husband of 37 years and I have recently moved to Punta Gorda. Gerald: Probably a lot of people donâ€&#x;t fully understand all that a librarian does, much less a Public Services Librarian. What are your responsibilities here? Jan: I am responsible for the management of the Library at the Fort Myers campus with particular emphasis on services to users seeking help with research or any other questions, whether the user is online, in the library, or on the telephone. I also teach how to do research for the lower division general liberal arts classes and for the more advanced classes in Applied Psychology, Criminal Justice, and Professional Studies. I confer with the faculty in these program areas, and select materials for the library for the students and faculty in these various subject areas. Faculty in these programs can also have their students contact me directly for help with their projects and papers. Gerald: You mentioned that you also select materials for these subject majors. What kinds of materials are faculty and students looking for now? Jan: Students are looking for electronic books as well as print books. Students at the distant sites or online are especially interested in the electronic books, as it is difficult for them to get the printed versions. Whenever a book appears in both print and electronic formats we purchase the electronic. We also try to purchase electronic reference books, such as specialized dictionaries and encyclopedias. One example would be the Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice. Odyssey
Faculty, as well as students, want books but they also want DVDs in their subject areas to explain in a more visual way. Many of the DVDs that are used are not just documentaries, but popular films, such as Calendar Girls and As Good as it Gets for psychology classes. Gerald: I know that you also are responsible for aspects of our library database. What kind of work do you have with this? Jan: Yes, I provide information for the University library collection of books, electronic books, DVDs, and periodicals in a standardized format and electronically transfer this information for input into a national collaborative catalog. Other libraries learn what we own and we learn what they have. Then we can borrow and loan books and articles with each other. Gerald: Having been at Hodges University for so long, you must have witnessed a lot of the transformation that computers brought to our discipline. Can you give us a sense of the historical flow of computer capability in our library? When I started at Hodges, the Internet was not available as we know it today. We did have computers but there was no World Wide Web. We had access to databases that were on CDROMs in the library only. Most of the articles were not full text so I had to get the articles from other libraries. These articles were generally mailed to us and could take as long as a month to receive. The books in the library were only accessed by a catalog available at the Naples library. In order to get the catalog to our library I had to physically take the processor to the Naples Library and copy it. After it was copied to my computer, I took it back to the Fort Myers library and copied it onto every computer in the library. We had some databases, such as Medline, Westlaw, and Dialog available in the library through a dial up system. Except for Westlaw, most of the databases had very limited full text and could only be used in the library. You could not do any research in the computer lab because they didnâ€&#x;t have the dial up access or the CD-ROMS on their computers. Also we did not have word processing on our computers so no papers could be typed in the library. It was also before Windows so there was no Excel, Access or Powerpoint. After the World Wide Web became available in 1995, we were able to have a dial up connection using the Naples Free Net. Students were able to get free accounts, but it was a long distance telephone call for many of the students in Fort Myers. Gradually service providers, such as AOL, became available and more affordable. As the web grew, more of the database venders were making their information available on the web and the library joined other libraries to offer students more and more databases. But each vender had their own system of login and students had to use many passwords. Eventually the library was able to access a one login system to the majority of databases.
By 2000, most of the databases vendors were offering more full text articles, and the libraries began to subscribe to fewer print journals. Also, books became available in electronic versions, which meant we bought less hard copies of books. In our library today students can do all of their research from the Universityâ€&#x;s web pages and do not have to come to the physical library on campus. We answer questions from email, chat, telephone and in person. Gerald: Thanks for giving us an overview, not only of your position, but of the history of how Hodgeâ€&#x;s Library has grown and developed as technology became available. What are your thoughts about the future of the library? Jan: I think that research will keep getting easier with the proliferation of the Internet and the digitization of books and journal articles. With this proliferation librarians will be even more useful to students, pointing them to the various sources and searching strategies to access and sort through all this information. Gerald: Thanks very much!
SPOTLIGHT: Pam Simones
Pam worked as a public librarian in Ohio and on Sanibel for 27 years before coming to Hodges in 2006. She graduated from Vassar College in 1973 and received her Masters in Library Science from Kent State University. She moved to Florida in 1998 to be near her parents who also live in Fort Myers. She currently lives with her sister, Debbie, and a Boston Terrier named Payton. She is an active member of Cypress Lake Presbyterian Church where she sings in the choir and helps direct the children's choir. She is also involved in the bell choir and drama presentations at her church. Her interests include birdwatching, genealogy, folk music, classic films, and murder mysteries. Pam is looking forward to the opening of the World of Harry Potter in Orlando next Spring.
*Carolynn Volz attended the Florida Association of College & Research Librarians at Rollins College, Winter Park, FL in October. *Jan Edwards and Susan Smith worked together to prepare a presentation in November to the librarians concerning the new 6th edition of APA. *Gerald Franz taught a two-hour CLL session in Naples in November concerning the invention of the telegraph. *Susan Smith went to the LITA Forum conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in October. *Debbie Lewis attended the Medical Library Association, Southern Chapter Meeting, in October in Memphis, TN. *Gerald Franz made a research presentation to the Kenneth O. Johnson School of Business faculty in October at their Annual Scholar‟s Banquet. *Susan Smith worked with local firemen in Naples who came in for research assistance concerning fire science. *Jeanine Brady put together a “Guess What it Is” contest in the Naples Library. Students were encouraged to figure out five different objects from the past. On display were a 100 year old chamber pot, a computer punch card, two telephone line insulators, a Juice-O-Matic, and a replica of a small ancient oil lamp. There were 13 winners in all. Prizes included gold rimmed Hodges mugs, Hodges drink containers, and Hodges picture frames. *The students in Naples and Fort Myers are enjoying the extra space in the library training rooms recently opened to students for research and study.
Odyssey is published twice a year by the Hodges University Library. Editor: Dr. Gerald Franz, Assistant Library Director Assistant Editor: Jeanine Brady, Library Associate Issues are posted on the Library website and emailed to all faculty and staff. 12/2009