Original articles by academic faculty, librarians and other researchers.

Talking News with Carolyn Cassady: A Conversation with the Matriarch of the Beat Generation

Closing in on her 88th year, Carolyn Cassady is still gracefully full-speed ahead. The wife of Neal Cassady, one-time lover and confidant of Jack Kerouac, and a somewhat reluctant Beat Generation icon herself, she’s recently returned to her home in England after a whirlwind trip to the U.S. for the production wrap-up of Walter Salles’ new film version of Kerouac’s masterpiece “On the Road,” in which she is portrayed by actress Kirsten Dunst. Her daily duties include sheaves of mail in need of reply, books to sign (her own “Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg,” a treasure in itself), the occasional visiting rock star, and interviews to grant and subsequently deliver. It isn’t odd for the BBC to call or knock requesting a quote or access to the private mementos of her storied past.

A decade after I did my undergraduate work at Marlboro College on Beat Generation writers, with focus on the women, Carolyn and I became friends through correspondence. And as one might assume a fan would, I’ve peppered her with whatever questions cross my mind. Many times, she’ll implore me back to her book. “Didn’t I cover that in ‘Off the Road’?” And of course many times I find she has, to my chagrin. But she is always welcoming, reminding me that a simple sign in her kitchen reads “Ask Carolyn.” So I do.

Talking News with Carolyn Cassady: A Conversation with the Matriarch of the Beat Generation

"Hold on Tight"

Earl Griffith is collection development librarian at Denison University, an independent liberal arts college founded in 1831. Located in the charming Ohio town of Granville, Denison was chosen as one of the select "Colleges that Change Lives." In this interview with Readex account executive Amanda Mottorn, Earl reflects on such topics as his own career choice, the changing field of librarianship and faculty-library collaboration. He concludes with advice for new librarians.

Earl, what led you to attend library school?
As an undergraduate student I worked in the university library after trying some other jobs on campus, none of which suited me very well. After changing majors numerous times, I finally realized that the option to go into library work was right there under my nose all along. I had a good mentor in Jean Wiggins at Morehead State University and greatly admired the rest of the library staff there.

What was your first job after receiving your M.L.S. at the University of Kentucky?
I worked at the Raleigh County Public Library, located deep in the southern West Virginia mountains in the town of Beckley. Primarily, I did public services. You don't have an office in places like that. The service desk is your office. I worked there for about 2 ½ years and enjoyed many things about it.

Playing Harp and Accepting Change: A Conversation with Tim Dodge, Auburn University

Tim Dodge is reference librarian and history specialist in the Ralph Brown Draughon Library at Auburn University. Past president of the Alabama Association of College and Research Libraries, Tim has also served in numerous capacities for the Alabama Library Association, including President. He is also a member of the Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Southeastern Library Association. In this conversation with Readex account executive Amanda Mottorn, Tim discusses current library challenges, a digital diary and Boogie-woogie music—in addition to offering some advice for new librarians.

Tim, what led you to library school?
It was actually a surprisingly casual decision. After graduating from college with a B.A. in History, I floundered around for a couple of months. My father encouraged me to start making career plans. Despite having enjoyed previous jobs as a cemetery maintenance man, shuttle bus driver and farm worker, I knew that a white-collar profession would be a smarter choice for long-term financial security. Rather casually, it came to mind that I had always enjoyed being in libraries. Learning that a Master's degree was required for a professional-level library career, I applied to the now-defunct School of Library Service at Columbia University and—to my surprise and pleasure—was accepted.

Playing Harp and Accepting Change: A Conversation with Tim Dodge, Auburn University

"More Than I Ever Expected" - A Conversation with Jutta Seibert, Villanova University

Jutta Seibert is the Falvey Memorial Library team leader for academic integration as well as the coordinator of the liaison team to the departments of history, sociology and criminal justice at Villanova University. She coordinates the activities of the Library's eight liaison teams; provides research support to students, faculty and staff; teaches research workshops; and monitors the collection in her liaison areas. She received her M.S. from Drexel University and M.A. in cultural anthropology from the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Prior to coming to Villanova, Jutta worked at Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania. Jutta is also a member of the Library's Web Services and Interface team, the Instructional Development team and the Research Support team.

Jutta, what led you to library school?
I was working on a Ph.D. thesis in sociology at the University of Bayreuth when my husband and I relocated to the United States. We started a family and I was looking for new job opportunities that would allow me to stay in suburban Philadelphia. I always enjoyed library research and decided to go for a library degree. I really had no idea what I was getting into, but I'm happy with the outcome.

What was your first job after receiving your M.S. at Drexel University?
I worked as a reference intern at the University of Pennsylvania's Van Pelt Library and in a temporary position as reference librarian at Haverford College while completing my degree. I found reference work to be very stimulating and enjoyed the close contact with students and faculty. After graduating I found a position as catalog and reference librarian at Villanova University.

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