library access--and unemployment and retirement

mike salovesh (T20MXS1@NIU.BITNET)
Sun, 5 Jun 1994 13:11:00 CDT

Bonnie Blackwell indicates her surprise that other universities don't
do what hers (McMasters) does for alums: allow them what amounts to
permanent access to library services. For once, my university (and,
I think, all 11 publicly-supported universities in Illinois) is ahead
of that. On the theory that the library of a state university is a
pubic facility, we allow ANYBODY to have access to library services
at NIU. That even includes on-line access to the catalog system via
modem from your home computer, with no account or logon id needed.
(And the catalog system is not limited to NIU collections alone!)
That's a wonderful advantage: I check my bibliographies against the
catalog without leaving the computer. (I wish the subject catalog
were better than the bare, two or three keyword Library of Congress
minimum, but at least that minimum is available.)

In the Association of Senior Anthropologists, a unit of the Amer
Anthro Assn otherwise known as the Old Farts' Home, library access
for retired anthros is just one of a package of concerns about what
happens when you retire. Usually, you forego any campus office,
campus mailing services and a campus address, computer services,
a place to receive faxes, and similar things just when you take a
huge whack in the personal budget. Oh, yes, and the chance for
travel support to meetings, and on and on. These turn out to be
major factors in the decision NOT to retire.

Some of us look beyond that to realize that the situation of the
retired former academic that we find so threatening is exactly the
situation of those who don't have academic employment. Which leads
us to work on getting equivalent services for both the retired and
the unemployed. Hey, despite our recent interchanges there is a
broad community of interest, not conflict, here.

(Example: Back when I was President of CSAS, the AAA started some
programs of group insurance coverage for AAA members. Some of our
joint CSAS/AAA members--this was before CSAS became a unit of AAA--
wanted to object, on the grounds that insurance programs looked to
them like imperialistic aggrandizement of the AAA national office.
I pointed out that what looked like junk mail to those of us with
jobs might be the only offer of group insurance rates that would
be open to our unemployed colleagues and pre-employed grad students.
I'm glad to say that argument pinched off the move to complain.)

mike salovesh anthro dept northern illinois univ
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