Its Friday again…Where did the week go? Last week’s inspiration has gone stale before I could make the time to write. Maybe it had something to do being swamped by administrative tasks…Or the three committees I’m serving that numbed my creativity…
Or it may have be the puny feedback I get to this blog…
[Face it, Yaffa – you are kvetching!
No, I’m having an “inner dialogue”!
I can tell a kvetch when I see one…
Fine, so I’m in my Eeyore mode, how’s that for inspiration?
I feel better now…]
So what was it that I wanted to tell you about?
I wanted to tell you about two recent gifts to the Frances-Henry library that came from friends and colleagues. One gift is of [about] one hundred volumes from the American Jewish poetry library of Rabbi Stanley F. Chyet, Z”L (May he rest in peace).
A teacher, a poet, a translator par-excellence of modern Israeli poetry, Stanley was the recipient of many volumes of poetry written by Jewish authors who knew him. Some were limited editions, some published by the authors themselves – almost all of them personally inscribed to him. We received the books from the Skirball Cultural Center, close to the fourth anniversary of his passing, and as I was driving back to the library with this treasure in the trunk of my car, I kept thinking of Stanley’s generosity to the library when he was teaching at the Los Angeles campus, and how appropriate it is that his books, too, enrich our collection now.
The second gift came from another friend, Professor Shoshana Gershenzon, TBDL”A (May she live a long life), who retired from teaching at Cal State Northridge a few years ago. Shoshanah and I worked together at the Los Angeles Jewish Feminist Center in the mid-eighties. We struck a friendship that became stronger when she started teaching here as an adjunct professor and using the library for her research. Recently, when she and her husband decided to move to Davis, they called and offered most of her scholarly library as a gift – a solid collection of medieval and feminist Jewish publications.
What these two gifts have in common is one of the “duties” that brighten up my days as a librarian: filling the gaps in collections that - up to the moment of discovering that we don’t own a particular work – look complete and comprehensive. Especially in areas that I am so sure that we have it all. It is like a scholarly jigsaw puzzle. The part where you have to put together the blue sky pieces, and unless you have them all, you end up with a cardboard hole that makes you feel silly. But I don’t feel silly – I always feel humbled by the wealth of these fields of study, by the wisdom and the intellect of the readers/collectors and by their acute sense of what enriches the mind.
So next time you are in the neighborhood, come and take a browse in these areas. You may be surprised by what you’ll find. I was.