Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wilbo Writes a Letter to a Librarian Who Fired Him in 1983.

Hi Jayhawk,
In 1983, I believe, I had the assignment of driving out to remote storage and picking up books early in the morning. I wasn't perfect for the job, and I slept through a few runs. You were very kind about discontinuing my employment, making it a coaching opportunity. I found a job in a lab the next day, and then I took up waiting tables, which worked much better for me.

I made a call to the reference desk to learn what I could access as an alumni of our big Midwestern University. I asked after you, and turns out you are running the show. That is good news.

Life has been good to me, and today my daughter goes to U of M to begin marching with the Wolverines. She has honored her mother and father every day of her life. Since I'll be going to see her on campus, I've decided to begin researching on the topic of Michigan disasters; in particular the Bath Bombing and the Opera House fire in Benton Harbor. The work will be more literary in result, although the question will be asked. How can one prevent disaster?

I was somewhat disappointed that alumni have no greater access to online resources through our libraries than the citizen. I am an active alumni, supporting the Alumni of Muskegon County with fundraising for scholarships. More, through my blogging efforts, I have helped connect our college's people with communities in West Michigan. Last year, I placed the college Roller Hockey team for a seminar with children of Sibley Elementary in Grand Rapids, an elementary that takes our mascot to be a mascot. The Roller Hockeyteam came bearing coats collected from friends and family. I have pitched the College Day of Service several times in the community and then gone out to do something myself. Don't worry. 2015 will be the year it sticks.

I haven't benchmarked yet, and yet I am wondering if MIT and Harvard alumni have better services, should they require them.

This is not a letter of complaint. It is a letter where I admit responsibility. On the edge of Michigan, I see people from many walks of life make decisions in an informational vacuum that cannot exist within the halls of the our university library. That has to change, and I am responsible. How do Alumni make linkages to the great resources of a world class university?

It's a lot of fun, and you might try it. I can start up a conversation with a U of M reference librarian just by texting 734-315-0507!

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