What happened to the Durham phone books that used to be by the phones in the lobby? I need to look up a number!!

A: Hopefully, the people who took them will read this and tell you. Even better, maybe they will bring them back. We try to keep copies there as best we can.

I kindly request that people other than the Magic Fairy Godmother who replies to the book please not write gobbledegook in the answer space below.

A: Actually, although I hate to share my soapbox with anybody, the contributions of fellow library users can often be as interesting and informative as, dare I say it, anything I have to say.

It doesn’t make any sense why both Lilly and Perkins only have 2 e-reserve computers.

A: Sense, no; (dollars) and cents, well, maybe. The problem has been that the number of electronic resources we offer has been expanding faster than we have been able to keep up with them. The good news is that we recently expanded the number in Perkins to six, each with their own printer. Now, if you can only keep people from checking their e-mail on those machines. . . .

Why is Perkins the Library of Missing Books?

A: Not enough people to reshelve books, people leave books wherever after using them, books are reshelved in the wrong places, etc., etc. This is not a problem unique to Perkins, but we are continually working on improving the state of the stacks. Even with our problems in hiring reshelvers, the process is in the best shape in years. We have instituted the first shelf reading (where people scan the shelves to see that books are in the right order) projects in years. And in spite of complaints about missing books, the fact is that our circulation rate (i.e., the number of books found) goes up in large increments each year. Still, we will continue to try and improve.

My girlfriend has hair on her upper lip. What can I do about it?

A: Dwell instead on all those wonderful qualities that make her your girlfriend.

Is there such a thing as predestination? If, so, where am I going?

A: You were meant to ask this question. You were meant to read this answer. In the very near future you will walk away from this book. More will happen–but let’s let it be a surprise.

How do we overcome this crisis of skepticism?

A: Crisis? What crisis? Be positive–it will go away! Believe me, and the matter is resolved.

Jesus was a Socialist. Respond and discuss.

A: Who was a socialist back then? No one knew what it meant. For other opinions see:

Haslam, C. J. Who Are the Infidels Those Who Call Themselves Socialists, or Followers of Robert Owen, or Those Who Call Themselves Christians, or Followers of Jesus Christ?. [microform]. 3rd ed. Manchester, [Greater Manchester]: A. Heywood, [1840?]. (Perkins News-Micro Microfilm — N4387)

Leatham, James. Was Jesus a Socialist? 4th ed. London, Twentieth Century Press, 1896. ( Perkins Pamphlet Collection 27695)

If God exists, s/he mush be a communist.

A: I hope s/he will let you know.

Are elephants really afraid of mice?

A: According to Seattle‘s Woodland Park Zoo, “No, this is a myth. If an elephant were to encounter a mouse, it would likely ignore it. If the elephant was bored, it might try to crush a mouse with its foot!” As for dinosaurs (i.e., computer phobics), tales of their fears may be true.

What is the official line from the library on sex in the stacks? Isn’t it good just to get people into the library? Maybe they’ll pick up a book when they’re done?

A: There may be an American Library Association advertising slogan in this, but not a very good one. We’ll stick with the “Duke Reads” posters for now.

What is a real friend? Be specific. Don’t say it depends”, “it is cultural” etc.

A: “Honest men esteem and value nothing so much in this world as a real friend. Such a one is as it were another self, to whom we impart our most secret thoughts, who partakes of our joy, and comforts us in our affliction; add to this, that his company is an everlasting pleasure to us.” Bidpai, Choice of Friends. Chap. iv.

See also: Gilbert, Paul. Human Relationships: A Philosophical Introduction. Oxford UK ; Cambridge USA: B. Blackwell, 1991. (Lilly 177.6 G465 H918 1991)

Can a carolina grad marry a duke grad–and–will the marriage last? — needing to know

A: The odds of any marriage lasting these days are pretty low. If they can last through the ACC basketball season, they can probably withstand anything.

How come Duke won’t give up on Dewey?

A: If you figure the millions of dollars it would cost to make the change; the disruption as books were remarked and moved and records changed; the problem of where you start to create your LC collection while reducing your Dewey collection (in an already overcrowded building); the years it would take to complete the switch (and during which you have to deal with two systems and sets of locations); the realization while LC does work better for some academic fields, Dewey works better for others; the fact that primary access is though the online catalog (our circulation figures keep going up year after year);. . . well, it doesn’t make sense.

Why does love hurt?

A: Life is full of tradeoffs.

Why should I go to Duke?

A: So you can have regular access to this book!

Why do bees make honey? Are they harmed if people eat it–i.e., should vegetarians avoid honey?

A: They make it for food. The thriving of agricultural beehives indicates they make enough to go around. Enjoy!

If I buy lots & lots of dry ice & then let it melt can I go on swimming in it –ever?

A: Uh, dry ice doesn’t melt. It evaporates. “. . . a dense, snowlike substance that sublimes (passes directly into the vapour without melting) at -78.5C (-109.3F)”(Encyclopædia Britannica Online, http://search.eb.com/–5/14/99).

Need more Housekeepers like the one that works in this section. He, or she, does a Good job.

A: Thank you for you kind words about one of the people who work so hard cleaning up after all of us. They deserve much more appreciation than they usually get. I will pass on your comment to the housekeeping supervisor.

Have you ever heard of an “E-Z™ Ride”??

A: Perhaps you are referring to COMAIR, “a fleet of 10 state-of-the-art NEOPLAN shuttle-buses at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport” (www.fly-comair.com/comair/maps/ez-ride.html). Or the E-Z Ride Vans conversion company in Royston, Georgia. Or the E-Z Ride Horse Stirrups. It isn’t e-z to see where this is going.

At my high school we had a computer based program called MAS that was a magazine search. Here there is just the indexes.

A: Oh, my, where were you during your UWC library instruction classes? Magazine Article Summaries (MAS) indexes about 400 titles, but has full-text for only around 100. Through our various systems (including JSTOR, Expanded Academic Index, ProQuest Direct and Lexis/Nexis Academic Universe), we have access to full-text of nearly 4,000 journals and magazines! Take a look at “Looking up Journals in the Online Catalog.”

Can you fix the Snapple machine downstairs in the Mac cluster? It’s difficult to buy a $1.00 soda on a 75¢ credit.

A: The Library doesn’t have a Snapple machine. Apparently the Literature program (the 02 offices) does. Talk to them. Speak literally, or literately, or with great literacy, or as to a literati, or. . . .

How are the library hours set? Is there some sort of committee that sets the hours libraries are open? If so, does such committee take student input, and if so, how do we make suggestions to them?

A: You can always make suggestion here, at the Circulation Desk, or the Reference Desk. We did extend library hours a few years ago, as part of an agreement with ASDU to help reduce food & drink in the library (ha, ha!). We are constantly reviewing requests, use statistics, availability of staff for extended hours, etc.

Is Corey Magette the best basketball player ever?

A: Not yet.

Why do men feel the need to sleep w/their ex-girlfriends while their dating someone else?

A: While some men may feel the need, most don’t actually do it. Sounds like you have issues with someone who has issues. Might want to make an issue of it.

I need a job when I graduate in May. Help!

Could you be more specific about the kind of work you want to do? After all, just think how many personnel directors of major corporations check this book every day! We could arrange something in the library (see the answer to 2860A). Check out the Career Center [name changed later to the Duke Career Center] (660-1050); reference librarians can also be very helpful.

I just spent an hour reading this book and wanted to let you know it was a well spent sixty minutes. I’m going home to listen to the Dead and get high. Thanks again for brightening my day.

A: I guess this puts me right up there with Click and Clack. Thanx.

The Person who answered the last chunk of questions is a new one. I can tell!
[Another comment] Well done, Sherlock. I was responsible for A, not B.

A: Yes, and who is this imposter?

This long-distance relationship with my girl is killing me. I miss her so much. Is it worth it? Will everything work out in the end?

A: True love has survived much greater trials than being separated for a semester or two.

I find it interesting that during the reading period, the gym is open 24 hours yet the library keeps its normal hours & ceases operation at 2 am. I think it would be beneficial to the student body if the library were open 24 hours during the reading period and finals week.

A: People get very stressed out during the reading and exam periods. They need to vent that stress. Often they need strenuous physical activity, with much running and screaming. We prefer people not yell and scream in the library, not even after 2 AM, so we are happy that they go to the gym. See also the answer to 2883B. [P.S.–the library has been open 24 hours/day during these periods since 1999.]

What is the best band on campus?

A: Another matter of personal taste, but my vote goes for the Duke University Marching Band. They “are Duke’s largest group of performing artists and are affectionately known as DUMB. Not only do we march and support the football team, but we also play pep band for both men’s and women’s basketball teams. On occasion we play at rallies for things such as the annual Fuqua MBA games and the ground breaking for the new Duke Children’s Hospital. We had a great marching band season with shows such as Grease, James Bond, and Jimmy Buffet.”

If I throw a book over the security alarm and catch it on the other side, will the alarm go off?

A: Years ago, when UNC-CH installed its first security system, someone wrote a letter to the DAILY TARHEEL saying it was easy to shield a book so it wouldn’t set off the alarm. A knowledgeable member of the library staff wrote a response, explaining that one may think he or she had subverted the system, but it actually operates at a more subtle level. It would render the cheaters infertile. [See also 2891C.]

How come I can’t learn anything at the library?

A: Where can you learn anything? Maybe it isn’t the library. If you can learn somewhere else, what is it about that place that breaks down your resistance to accumulating university-level knowledge? Perhaps we can recreate that environment here.

How come my roommate has such an obsessive personality?

A: Your roommate grew up in a home which, unlike the caring family you have always known, never fostered a relaxed attitude toward life and fellow human beings. You have learned to let situations take care of themselves, to accept people for who they are, and not to get wrapped up matters over which you have no control. He or she will benefit and learn from your example.

The following question was received via e-mail: “Can I access this website from my home computer? That way, a Trent resident like me could see if certain books were available here w/o have to go all the way to the library.”

A: Could it be someone else slept through UWC library classes? Or perhaps didn’t notice that access to the website is over the Internet? Just enter the URL http://www.lib.duke.edu and you are there!

Goodbye Perkins, Goodbye Duke. I’ll miss u. A.D.

A: And goodbye, A.D. Best of luck, and don’t be a stranger.

What will we do now that the answer man has been canned?

A: How do these rumors get started?

Answer Man/Woman, Do you believe in God?

A: The Answer Person believes that one’s personal religious views are best kept separate from the dispensing of wisdom in this world.

Regarding your earlier [2886A] hint about the subtle” effects of shielding books from the exit/alarm system . . . you hinted that it would make one infertile. Since many see this as desirable, let me suggest that will also make one impotent.

A: Well, I can’t really cite any controlled, double-blind scientific studies that endorse either claim, and we wouldn’t want to open ourselves to lawsuits by innocent victims, but they are interesting “theories.”

So, I take it that the answer guy is off for the summer?

A: I have been here most of the summer, but there are so many demands on the time of the wise! I will try to add more timely to clever and all-knowing.

Why are there so few people on this planet who can distinguish between a suggestion and a question?

A: Are you saying we should limit this book to questions? Are you asking for a psycho-social theory about the failure of the average person writing in this book? What?

Why are the answers in this book shorter and less sarcastic than they were several years ago?

A: We live in kinder, more gentle–and more to the point–times.

Why are there Oxford College shields in the Great Hall? Are the 2 halves of the Great Hall modeled after a couple of buildings in Oxford/England?

A: According to Marguerite E. Schumann’s Stones, Bricks & Faces: A Walking Guide to Duke University (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Office of Publications, 1976):

“The two largest dining halls . . . are patterned after The Hall (common room) of an English university. . . . In the Great Hall or the shields of Oxford. On the west wall, left to right, are Trinity, Merton, All Souls, Pembroke, Magdalen, University, Oriel and Corpus Christi. On the east wall Christ Church, Lincoln, New College, Queen’s, Brasenose, Balliol, Wadham and St. John‘s[p.21].”

The staff of University Archives (684-5637) were, as usual, quick to give us the information about anything having to do with the history of Duke University.

Why does love so often hurt?

A: “No pain, no gain.”

When a professor assigns readings by a known drug user (Like Freud or Coleridge), the professor should require the students to take the drug so they will be able to understand the author’s perspective.

A: Documentation on when the authors took the drugs, and the correct dosages, and the specific interactions with other medications becomes very, very complicated. Might as well approach them sober.

The club with modern-day people who dress up in armor and run around hitting each other with swords . . . what’s the name of that? I can’t remember, and it’s driving me nuts.

A: Society for Creative Anachronism. Check out their web page. For information about groups in North Carolina, part of the Kingdom of Atlantia, see their web page.

Stapler in computer clusters. Great Suggestion.

A: Trying to keep it there without disappearing–great dream! I’ll pass the suggestion on to OIT; they administer the clusters.

Why not have parties in Perkins?

A: Getting in early each morning I often see the remains of parties in the library. Are they not inviting you?

Can I get my picture on a “Duke Reads poster; in Perkins?

A: Sure you can! What was the title of your latest best selling literary masterpiece?