Speaking of History:The Words of South Carolina Librarians

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Listen to Madeline and Margaret Mosimann

Listen to Margaret talk about how she got started in adult services.

RVW: How did you choose the public services, adult services particularly? Was this a conscious choice or something you got into gradually?

MDM: I kind of fell into all of this. I'll tell you, one experience I had with my cataloging. During the war, we couldn't get a cataloger and I was doing reference. I had to do the cataloging in the morning and do the reference desk in the afternoon, but be constantly on call, interrupted from cataloging, for a reference question. You can imagine what I encountered. "You haven't looked that up yet, or, from the cataloger, why isn't this book out?" You know what I mean? Oh! Brother! That was a year. Then we got a cataloger, fortunately, Elizabeth Foley (sp?) to do the cataloging. Then, I could do reference again. I enjoyed it on the bookmobile and the circulation head left and Emily said, "I think we'll combine the two, why don't you do adult services?" I said, "O.K." And so just fell into it. I loved book selection, I just loved it. It was the best thing, I liked reference, too. You had so many interesting questions. Charleston was an interesting place to do reference because, first, we didn't do genealogy, and of course wouldn't, but we did have a lot of questions relating to history which were interesting, as well as general questions. I can remember one time - I was telling about Anne Russell, after I became deputy director under Emily---this young girl came in - there was a ballet school across the way - and this young girl came in her ballet costume. She said, "I would like a job in the library." I asked if she had had any library experience. She said---she was in this ballet costume---"I have a master's degree in library science." I could have dropped on the floor. (Laughter)


Listen to Madeline talk about some frustrations during her time as a librarian.

RVW: What about from your perspective, Madeline? In terms of joys, frustrations, during those years of children's work?

MM: My biggest frustration in the children's room was trying to handle study hall situations, because it bothered me because I thought they weren't getting a lot out of the children's room, they were just extending the school day it was quite ...

MDM: That was true though.

MM: You can have -I think the room seated around sixteen to twenty children, and you would have thirty, forty, fifty, sixty and same old thing. You felt, you tried to do what you could. You had to turn yourself back into a disciplinarian, when you'd have little children lined up waiting to get their turn, waiting for an encyclopedia or to sit at the table. I think that was the greatest frustration, because you wanted to do something else, you wanted to do the sort of thing, the function of children's room rather than a school library. You didn't the authority in a way, and the children's room was open just such short hours in the afternoon when you consider that the schools close at two and two-thirty and then, the children's room closed at six, the reading room stayed open till seven, but that I think was the biggest frustration. Of course, books but that year of the title pages helped so much. Literally, there was one year we started the summer reading program, you walked into the children's room and the shelves were empty. I mean, literally, empty. We went to the Charleston News and bought hoards of Little Golden Books, that sort of thing, to have books on the shelves.

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