Some people say that life is the thing, but I much prefer reading. — Logan Pearsall Smith
Dear friends and readers,
The first good news we’ve had in a long while — if you except in December when Yvette was first hired as a librarian at the Pentagon. Yesterday she learned that as of April 6th, she has been in a permanent slot as librarian. She has longed for such a real job from the time she got her MLIS from Buffalo. She got an evaluation of superlative, that is why she became permanent so quickly. It has been a long journey to make this start — six years.
She begins as Junior Librarian, a position hard to find nowadays.
What is the Pentagon library like? A new small building of two rooms. The old space was badly damaged on 9/11. It’s a community library serving the neighborhood, the neighborhood being the Pentagon whose size no one underestimates. Everyone in this neighborhood is entitled (see entitlements) to a library card and can take books out. What kind of books does the library collect and maintain? not this week’s New York Times bestsellers, nor self-help books. Books and journals and publications concerning military history; as war is politics by another means, political books, histories of diplomacy and war, and everything having to do with war. The library hosts lectures, people come to do research. There is a quiet place where there are tables for reading. People don’t dress up much — generally the librarians are civilians.
Yvette loves it. She says she likes doing useful work — she has been involved with a couple of large and some small projects, from digitalizing collections, and re-organizing new and old periodical, to trying to ascertain if the books said to be missing on shelf are indeed missing. Most of the time the books are there.
As is Yvette.
She answers people’s questions, finds the sections of the library where they need to be, helps them with software. Does what librarians do.
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
she chortled in her joy —
The Admiral would have been proud. When she began at the Pentagon library this December, she said she wished he could have been there, for he spent many years working at the Pentagon and his working life full-time culminated in his becoming Chief Engineer of the Defense Information Systems Agency where he was a program manager, inventor of software and for a few summers traveled to England as part of a NATO team linking the US, UK and five commonwealth countries. It is very sad he did not live to know this.
I should say she began as a Schedule A employee under the American with Disabilities Act, without which she could not be where she is now. And that our house is a kind of private library, over 9000 books, a sizable proportion in her room too — she has collections of Latin books, classical history (from high school and college), music (ditto), Harry Potter, Patrick O’Brien (many many), Jane Austen (a long goodly shelf), science fiction and fantasy of all sorts, Terry Pratchet, some realistic women’s novels (Young Adult mostly), her books from childhood. She even has a couple of Trollope books: at age 19 her favorite book was Ayala’s Angel; she took a copy of the Folio society edition with picturesque illustrations with her to Sweet Briar (also a copy of Persuasion, Signet ed by Margaret Drabble).