Sunday, March 18, 2007

Librarian solidarity

Today's history nugget: I'm reading about Berkeley in the 1960s, which illuminates sides of academic life I hadn't even dreamed of. In 1969 a group of students held a strike that included storming the main library. The librarians, using a tactic they probably learned from protesters in the first place, linked arms around the card catalogue to protect it. Much as I sympathize with student protest in general, there's something very touching about this. If my card catalogue were threatened I probably would have done the same.


Cass said...

*giggles* That reminds me of the story about Thomas Jefferson leading a group of students who took the Wren Building hostage back when he was here at W&M. I confess I've always wanted to capture an academic building.

Anonymous said...

Though the cause was probably just, when your political strategy involves laying siege to a library, your tactics may need adjustment.

Julia Wise said...

Well, the idea of a student strike was kind of difficult already, since they'd already paid tuition and the university didn't really care if they went to classes or not - it's not like refusing to work at a factory. So making the library impossible to use was quite a good tactic for bringing the rest of the university to a halt, which was presumably what they wanted to do.