Syracuse University Magazine


Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President

Sandi Tams Mulconry 75, Associate Vice President for University Communications; Publisher

Jeffrey Charboneau G99, Executive Director of Creative Services;
Executive Editor

Jay Cox

Laurie Cronin 81

Margaret Costello, Amy Speach Shires

Kate Gaetano, David Marc

Amy McVey

W. Michael McGrath

Jennifer Merante

Velita Chapple

Rachel Boll G’04, Tanya Fletcher G’04,
Husna Haq ’05, Sarah Khan G’04,
Andrea Taylor G’04, Samantha Whitehorne G’04

Richard Benedetto ’65, G’71, H’92, Cori Bolger ’03, Edward Byrnes, Patrick Farrell G’87, Wendy Loughlin G’95, Amy Mehringer, Cynthia Moritz ’81, Sara Mortimer, Kelly Homan Rodoski ’92, Matthew R. Snyder, Christine Yackel G’75

Syracuse University Magazine (USPS 009-049, ISSN 1065-884X) Volume 21, Number 3, is an official bulletin of Syracuse University and is published four times yearly: spring, summer, fall, and winter by Syracuse University, Syracuse NY 13244. It is distributed free of charge to alumni, friends, faculty, and staff. Periodical postage paid at Syracuse, NY, and additional mailing offices.

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Contents 2004 Syracuse University, except where noted. Opinions expressed in Syracuse University Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of its editors or policies of Syracuse University.

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Awash in Books

Books have always had a seductive quality for me. I rarely wander into a bookstore without walking out with a new read. Naturally, like any bibliophile, I have enough books to last me a lifetime, but the stacks around the house keep growing. When my wife and I moved into our home several years ago, we were fortunate that none of our volunteer movers threw out their backs lugging hefty boxes of books. “What’s in all these boxes?” my uncle asked, perhaps thinking he was hauling a collection of concrete blocks. “Books,” I replied. “Books?” he said, astonished. To this day, my uncle will wonder aloud whether the house has finally been overrun by books. “Only the backroom,” I tell him. “So far….”

I’ve spent most of my life within reaching distance of books, even though I was almost banished from the elementary school library for a rather ill-timed—yet genuine—remark I once made to the librarian. She was lecturing the class about the importance of washing your hands before handling a book. As the son of a registered nurse who indoctrinated me with healthy hygiene habits, I piped up and, sharing my mother’s advice, told the librarian that you should wash your hands after reading a book because it has other people’s germs on it. The librarian was momentarily taken aback, but she scanned the grimy group of runny-nosed third-graders, understood that my statement wasn’t totally without value, and calmly opined that clean hands would prevent germs from getting on books.

Fortunately no one sneezed and the librarian didn’t ostracize me from the world of books. I’m grateful for that. I’m also thankful that libraries haven’t gone the way of the cuneiform tablet. As you’ll see in “Information Central” by David Marc, when the Information Age first zipped into high gear, there was fear that libraries would become dusty relics, replaced by the instantaneous razzle-dazzle info retrieval of the Internet. But not so fast, World-Wide-Webheads. For as any information professional points out, many a knowledge seeker is swamped in the Internet’s deluge of data.

To keep your head above water, you may need guidance on information sorting; otherwise, you can drown in an abyss of impertinent—and even erroneous—information. Local librarians can be lifesavers in such situations. They also serve as the link between today and back-in-the-day, skillfully navigating among all available resources that can lead to a promising nugget of knowledge. Aside from that, there’s still great charm in combing through the stacks of a library and finding where serendipity takes you, as well as in settling into a comfortable chair with a book of choice. Your hands might get dirty from uncovering an intriguing old hardcover, but at least you won’t have to worry about catching one of those Internet viruses.

—Jay Cox



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