Sunday, September 12, 2010

Research Trip to Marquette

After getting a late start due to car rental issues, I made it to the Raynor Library at Marquette University, which houses the Catholic Library Association archives. I arrived there to research the life and work of Fr. Simeon Daly, a Benedictine monk who has been one of the most influential Catholic librarians in the U.S. The nice archivists had pulled about fifteen boxes of correspondence, conference programs, and other material that might contain references to the work of Fr. Simeon in CLA. My research will (I hope) be published sometime in the next year or so. So about that I will just put in a plug for archives. If you belong to an organization that generates documentation--consider finding an appropriate archival home for it. I believe archival material will just keep becoming more and more important for research in the coming years. If you are unsure if your possible archive is important, consult a librarian or archivist. 

I managed to get in a couple of hours of work before the archive closed and headed off to my dorm room. A tip--Dorm rooms are often available in the summer for much less than hotels. Just be prepared for spartan surroundings, though likely to get free wifi. 

I like to write about finding books when one is not necessarily expecting them. But this one is about the sad fate of not finding them. My poor dorm room I'm sure looks different when inhabited by students. I sure hope so. But six empty bookcases made me long for time for bookstore trip. Loved this arrangement though of bookshelves on dressers. I was never lucky enough to have those in my dorm rooms back in the old days.
The other sad-making thing from my room--the view. I did have nice direct view of the Pabst Mansion which I would like to visit when I return.
But the rest of the view displayed the sad demise of the ProBuColls. Don't you feel if this place had some other name it might have survived. It was right next to PCUSA offices for Milwaukee so I'm guessing had something to do with the Presbyterians?
I headed back to archives in the spitting rain the next morning, barely making it before storms hit. I found lots of interesting things in the folders and got a few new ideas for possible research. I talked a bit about this phenomena at the recent panel I participated in with my colleagues on the Editorial Board of Theological Librarianship for writing wannabes. When I wanted to start writing (mostly for tenure track reasons) I felt I had no ideas. But once I started writing, ideas just started to come naturally. So I encourage all wannabe writers to just start and see what happens.
Earlier, I had emailed my American Theological Library Association colleague who works at Marquette--one of my first friends in ATLA. She and I had in common being at Jesuit libraries and had both been influenced by Jesuit spirituality. It was really great to catch up with her at lunch. But work remained to be done, so I took a quick look at the tech services area of the library (as big as my entire library!) and returned to my research. If I had had time, I could have seen all the books I wanted—I WAS in a library!

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