The Sheephead Mountains stood like hooded monks in prayer that early spring midnight; Molly was due to calf and I, half asleep, braved the nippy air to check her progress. Calves seldom came when the powder dung of the stockyards was sunny warm. They slipped into life in the dark hours when Pacific Northers crossed the Sierras flooding the desert, and flooding the corrals. But tonight Orion chased the Pleiades across the sky as Cassiopeia and Andromeda draped the firmament with lantern-treasures. This cloudlessness brought water troughs caked with ice; the ground cracked as I walked. Climbing the fence, from the top rail I searched for my charge. Two hours earlier she had been fat and humped; quietly chewing and snorting frosty air, she had acknowledged me for an instant. I had left her feeling certain she was far from giving birth. But now with a panicked jump, I crossed the pen racing towards a little pile of darkness laid out afresh on the black frozen ground. Spring welcomes pretty things: the bee’s clover with its purple heads like lively ladies dressing up a field, the prickly pear’s splattered palette of colors brushing tapestries on a languid desert floor, the pea fowl’s parade of chicks—clowns and soldiers alike—sanctifying mama’s forty day set, the wiener pigs’ round, rosy and full bodies squeezing one another with playful exuberance against sty walls. So as I lifted the limp, wet, unfull body into my arms to carry it to the barn, I felt no weight
Brief though the reign of the mining-camp alcaldes was, it left a deep impress upon mountain society ; as an occurrence in northern California a few years ago will perhaps illustrate.
To discover one day, one group of people, one hundred and fifty nine years ago, to make it real, I have a basement apartment in the Ohio heartland with 26 library books from around the country, a dropbox folder stuffed with internet ebooks and academic journals, and a weary brain. I have discovered American actors, Johnny Appleseed of American theater, an actress Antipodean, a passionate actor-gunslinger to his death, New York, Philadelphia and Boston stage royalty, renamed Irish immigrants with hope, hustlers of the past who have moved us forward, believing in dreams, congregating in a mother lode town, a little place of angels, over a hundred miles from the San Francisco Bay, ready to put on Hamlet. The curtain rises only by the power of historical preservation, libraries, the wonder of wires and glorious imagination–however it all works!
If I was in Ireland right now, I’d eat salmon for breakfast and mussels for dinner. I’d boat out to the Skelligs and damp with sea spray, I’d climb rocky steps to the top to spend the day watching puffins on the grass and Terns in the sky. I’d walk red soil paths lined with Fuchsia and visit stone circles on the coast at 10 p.m. in the soft light of a summertime solstice afternoon if I was only in Ireland.
The Holy Roman Emperor, Henry III, had a grandson who had a granddaughter who lived in Nicosia, Marie Bourbon. The names flash like starlight over the centuries, like birdsongs, early morning calls to awaken us.These old folks with stain glass windows in their honor, they are our genetic ancestors. We are them. We could not be here but for their prayers and terror. The mongols begat us. Whether through rape or family politics, we now inhabit this green and wet orb because of them. We are the survivors of plagues and war, illicit love affairs and pawns of power gained. We have sunlight in our hands to do great things, across this fine, bevelled plain.
I have learned to recognize the female cardinal song in the last month here in Ohio. I heard it outside, this bird song and then searched on youtube until I located the exact notes. If it were so easy with my tale! I have details of history, a cabin boy who served on the gunboat, Merrimac in the Civil War and I can dive into google searches to mine fleeting details of its sinking on November 15, 1865. The whole story is found in government documents. I had a student ask me yesterday why we have old tatty books and files on shelves upon shelves in the basement of the library. I told him because of folks like me who want the whole story, the truth and nothing but the truth.
Primary Research Group has published Higher Education Interlibrary Loan
Management Benchmarks, 2013 Edition, ISBN 157440-216-1
The 165 page study is based on data from detailed responses from more than 65
colleges and universities, covering interlibrary loan response times, shipping
costs, means and form of fulfilment, Ill staffing and budgeting, workload and
trends in number of transactions, policies on non-traditional items, use of
digital repositories, automation and many other issues in higher education
interlibrary loan management. The report gives highly specific information in
a myriad of areas allowing end users to compare their Interlibrary loan efforts
with those of peer institutions.
Just a few of the report’s many findings are that:
• Over the past three years, traditional interlibrary loan services
transactions in college libraries in the sample have increased by a cumulative
3-year mean of 17.94%.
• The mean turnaround time for article borrowing requests among libraries
in the sample is 2.99 days.
• 53.85% of research universities and deliver documents in electronic
form unless otherwise specified by the borrower.
• 13.24% of survey participants say that interlibrary loan at their
college is under the auspices of the reference department.
• 39.71% of libraries in the sample use Ariel for document delivery.
• Research universities in the sample employ a mean of 5.3 students in
their interlibrary loan efforts.
• Public colleges in the sample have a mean turnaround time of 7.37 days
for video borrowing requests.
• 22.22% of community college libraries and 27.27% of 4-year college
libraries offer interlibrary loan for state-adopted textbooks.
• Shipping and courier fees related to interlibrary loan have cost
colleges in the sample a mean of $11,254 in the past year.
For further information view the website at www.PrimaryResearch.com.
Taken from ACRL Science & Technology Section Discussion List