ASSOCIATES (vol. 5, no. 1, July 1998) - associates.ucr.edu[From the Editors: William C. (Rusty) Divens, a longtime supporter of support staff, humorist, and former contributor to many library lists, was killed in a plane crash on Easter Sunday. We are reprinting an article he first published in the March 1995 issue of ASSOCIATES. He will be sorely missed by many.]
W.C. (Rusty) Divens,
the Tai Pan of Access Services
at an academic medical library
somewhere near the confluence of the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers
The Rustbelt Institute of Meaningless Library Research is a non-profit, non-discriminatory and non-existent research institute dedicated to advancing library research in the same way the Journal of Irreproduceable Results furthers the cause of Scientific Research. Publications of the Institute are available to all free of charge, in digital format only. They are worth the paper they are printed on. The Institute is chartered under the laws of the Republic of Texas and is headquartered at the Possom Trot Truck Stop, Firin' Range and Academic Library in Possom Trot, Kentucky.
The genesis of the institute was the original publication of LIBRARY HOURS FOR EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD. This document was the compilation of countless postings to CIRCPLUS in answer to the query "What are your library hours?".
LIBRARY HOURS FOR EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD continues to be the seminal publication for Circulation Staff. Hardly a week goes by without a person inquiring of the listserver as to the hours of operation of libraries. Hardly a day goes by that someone does not offer their hours for public viewing. After nearly a year of in-depth analysis, interviews and creative journalism, it was determined that libraries generally are open the hours that they are listed as being open and are closed the hours they are listed as being closed. Libraries tend to open on the hour and half hour..excepting those that don't.
Library administrators wishing to use this work in determining policy and hours of operation should be gratified to know that whatever they decide to do, someone somewhere is doing it also. Herein lies the value of the work. Administrators are spared the expense of doing hours of useless research, and are now free to engage in other useless endeavors.
Sales of this publication peaked in late 1993 with the sale of the second copy. The rousing success of the publication prompted yet another research endeavor resulting in the second volume of the trilogy: LIBRARY FINES FOR EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD. No longer would people have to worry about whether their vacation would take them to places with exorbitant fines...now they were able to plan the vacation to take advantage of low fines. Again, highly valued as an administrative tool, those who make policy have the option of (a) finding another institution with the policies they wish to emulate for no good reason, (b) closing their eyes and pointing to a fine policy that they would implement, or (c) ignoring the publication entirely and finding a policy which works best for your institution by actually conducting original research. The latter is the path least often chosen, requiring decision-making abilities and a certain amount of 'hutzpah'.
The final publication in the trilogy is the volume (soon to be released) RESERVE STUFF AND OTHER ODDITIES. The most daring of the publications, it addresses the issues of management of the Reserve Collection with such controversial issues as the number of copies kept on reserve for a particular professor, whether or not these items may be circulated overnight and how badly students should be castigated if returning the items 2 or three minutes late. Clearly these are issues of international significance. One can hardly plan their educational career without full knowledge of reserve procedures at their selected institution of higher learning.
One might be forced to ask why these publications exist, when one can simply post an inquiry on the CIRCPLUS(@idbsu.idbsu.edu) listserver. The answer is simple: not all people have access to this listserver; and many who do occasionally sign off for periods of 3-4 years. To be sure, there are occasionally substantive discussions held on this list, but they quickly are lost in the flurry of postings about whether student employees are permitted to read, wear t-shirts or eat without utensils.
In reality, it became apparent that the list is much like a 10 month video cassette and can simply be rewound and replayed when it reaches the end. Some might ask why then does not the RIMLR make these publications available on cassette? The answer is as simple as it is succinct: Environmental concerns. The cuddly PolyVinyl is soon to be on the endangered species list, and there are manly lumberjacks in the Northwest who are sitting on their axes while the spotted owl drops acorns on them from their protected nesting trees. This situation cannot continue. Therefore, the RIMLR supports the kindred spirit "good ol' boys" in the northwoods as brothers-in-arms of the gear-jammin', baccy-spittin' patrons of the Possom Trot facility.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
W.C. (Rusty) Divens is a victim of his own follies. He first started working in libraries as a student and was instrumental in implementing the 'hide and seek' patron assistance technique among other student workers. Moving to full-time supervisory work in 1975, he decided to continue working in libraries until a 'real job' came along. Twenty years later, that real job hasn't yet arrived, but bowing to pressure Rusty completed his MLS degree. He successfully resisted the medical procedure done upon graduates to remove the 'common sense' glands.
A fellow of Norman Stevens' MOLESWORTH INSTITUTE, Rusty believes in humor as the key to survival. When sent to China for three months as a consultant, he successfully engineered the introduction of Country and Western music in the lounge of the Faculty Club at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He also threw one of the wildest 'departure parties' ever known to have taken place at that august institution. By the end of the evening, all in attendance were ready to embrace American capitalism and toss their copies of Mao's Little Red Book into the dumpster. Rusty is reported to have his photo in a place of prominence at the bar in the Faculty Club of the Shanghai Jiao Tong DaXue. Eternal regards to Huang Xiao Ming and the gang.
Resembling a cross between Clint Eastwood and Wilfred Brimley, he has gained recognition far in excess of his talents, which are minimal at best. He lists among his accomplishments piloting an airplane under one of Pittsburgh's most imposing bridges, driving from San Diego to Pittsburgh in 39 hours and surviving 20 years in a library environment without attempting to purchase a large caliber handgun. Conservative to the core, he believes that the last good music died with Glenn Miller. The product of a union between an Army corporal and a Marine gunnery sergeant, he is believed to be carrying the genetic code for a cloning of General George S. Patton. He resides at http://www.pitt.edu/~ercoupe [This link no longer works, 11/19/2004] ...you improvise, you adapt, you overcome....
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