This is an excerpt from our 2017 Family Christmas letter. It's been edited for length.
So I was out of work from my job at the Free Library of Philadelphia as of mid-October, and spent the next four weeks seeking a new position. I had phone interviews with the University of Alabama, a public library in Willow Grove PA, and with the institution that eventually hired me, Lincoln University, near Oxford, Chester County, PA. It’s an HBCU (Historically Black College or University), the oldest such institution in existence, and counts Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall among its alumni. Like many other HBCU’s, they struggle with dwindling enrollment and the resulting baggage, but as I told the committee in my on-campus interview, the students at LU are no less in need of the information they need to realize their hopes and dreams than their peers at other institutions, whether it involves formatting a research paper, finding that essential article, or figuring out the answer to a complicated question.
My official title is “part-time reference librarian and special collections assistant” so in addition to helping solve educational issues, I help the university community (as well as outside concerns like CNN) with their research on the history of LU. My current project involves organizing old phonograph recordings that belonged to the LU radio station, WWLU, with the goal of making the collection searchable online, and possibly allowing a portion of it to circulate. There’s an astonishing variety to this collection; in addition to LP’s, we have a few 45’s and even some 78’s of jazz and classical works. There’s a significant number of Gospel recordings—including a couple by Tammy Fae Bakker—and a LOT of promotional recordings. I’m keeping a daily log of my work, and will have student workers do the same when they return. Will I publish? Stay tuned…
*--Dan Fogelberg, The Innocent Age, 1981.