Downsizing and Gifts in Kind to the Libraries

What to do with old Duke yearbooks?  Hate to just toss them in the dumpster but gotta downsize!  My wife and I (T’65 and ‘66) have five between us.  Suggestions?

Goodness gracious (!), please don’t ever throw a book into the dumpster.  Duke Libraries have received Gifts in Kind of all sorts, from old Duke yearbooks to houses.  Information about how to make such a gift to the Libraries can be found at our web site.  On a related note, in the past few years we’ve digitized all past issues of the Chanticleer.  Those can be found by searching in the Digital Collections tab from our catalog.

And while I have your attention, alumni now have remote access to a number of databases and help from our Reference librarians from the Alumni Portal at the Libraries’ home page.  Alumni, give it a whirl and let us know what you think!

Stubby little pencils

Those stubby little pencils that all reference and circulation desks give out.  They used the same kind when I was in college 3-5 years ago.  What are they called?  What is their history?  How many does Duke buy per year? [3597C]

[written in answer space:  “History–I have seen this type of pencil used for score cards at most golf courses”]

[written in original hand:  “Interesting.  But did libraries come first?”]

Duke only buys one very, very long one each year and staff cut it into “stubby little pencils” (both technical name and accepted vernacular).  It’s brought in on a series of flat bed trucks, usually in late July, and dis(as)sembled and sharpened at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Barkeep, give me a juice box, neat!

I’ve done a little research and haven’t found the answer to my question, so please help. Where do all the bar/alcohol terms we use come from (like straight, neat, on the rocks…)? And more importantly, are you a rube if you still use them or a rube if you don’t?

Neat?!  Who are you, Sinatra?  While some descriptive is necessary to let the bartender know what you want, I’d only use terms like “neat” ironically.

A good place to learn about the etymology of such words is the Oxford English Dictionary.  Also, Duke Libraries has several excellent slang dictionaries, including Barron’s American slang dictionary and thesaurus and Chambers slang dictionary.

Embrace the chaos

Who makes all the little aluminum foil people/statues and places them so wonderfully around campus? [3595A]

[written in answer space:  “Most likely the person who wrote the above question.  Cute self-promotion, sweetie.”  In other hand, with arrow to above comment:  “unnecessarily bitchy.  Get some self-confidence yourself.”  In other hand, both instances of “self” above circled:  “Redundant?”]

The answer is, I don’t know and I don’t want to know.  For what it’s worth, for me the fun is in finding the very small versions in unexpected places around campus.  Where’s the mystery in seeing that aluminum homunculus sitting at the Circulation Desk?  It creeps me out!  But the creator has received some press, for instance at Duke Today.

Pen is not provided

Why don’t you provide a writing utensil (that could be tied down) with which to write in this book? [3594C]

[written in answer space:  “You’re at Duke.  Ask your dad to send you some $.”  In other hand, with arrow to above comment:  “No need to be sexist.”  In other hand:  “One is provided, theft on campus is rampant.”

I don’t provide a writing utensil because I’m trying to discourage all the anatomical renderings.

Definition of luck

Dear answer person, Finals coming up, wish me luck ok?  By the way, I want to know your definition of ‘luck’.  Thank you! [3593A]

Finals?!  Yikes!  I guess I’ve been on holiday all summer.

I’ve always liked the definition of luck offered by Seneca, who wrote, just before not very efficiently killing himself, that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Duke University ranked #9 by US News and World Report

Duke is tied for #9 in the U.S. News & World Report survey this year. Where were we on the list last year (2010)? It would have been published mid Aug. 2009.

Last year, Duke was ranked #10 by U. S. News & World Report.  The report last year featured a sweet photograph of the bridge connecting Perkins and Bostock Libraries.  On a related note, The Princeton Review just ranked Duke Libraries as #2 (behind Harvard University).

Elephant Talk

Dear Answer Person,

I’m not sure who else to say this to, so I’m saying it to you. These groups of high school kids who spend a lot of time in the libraries at the computer labs are extremely distracting. I understand some amount of conversation may be necessary to whatever they are doing, but it seems they make no effort to keep the laughing and shouting to a minimum. One group just left and I was able to work in peace for about 5 minutes before the next group arrived.

I’m sure no one cares about this, but I hope if someone does, some requests can be made to the people who handle these matters.

Yours Sincerely,
Some patron and fan of Duke Libraries

Dear Some Patron and Fan of Duke Libraries,

Seems to me that these gosh darn kids simply aren’t aware of library etiquette.  My suggestion is to politely let them know you’re conducting research and that their volume is distracting you.  If you don’t get satisfaction, you should inform the library staff at the nearest service point and ask them to address the problem.  I believe these are, in the vernacular, teachable moments.