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An anthology of library humor by the director of the mythical Molesworth Institute, Norman Stevens, this book is sure to provide librarians with many hours of amusement. This collection is full of Stevens’most memorable papers describing the odd kinds of research conducted by the Institute, such as a sophisticated study of the disappearance of umbrellas in libraries, a computer analysis of library postcards, and a “precostretrieval” scheme to accelerate the disintegration of book pages while saving the letters in them. Archives of Library Research from the Molesworth Institute is also well-stocked with unforgettable one-liners, such as the author’s “plan to solve a major space problem for libraries by microfilming all Braille books.”
The imaginary Molesworth Institute has taken on a life of its own since its story first appeared in the ALA Bulletin in 1963. Stevens writes mostly for fun and entertainment, but also to stress the point that librarians should take a less serious view of their work. After all, as Stevens points out in this anthology, “The library world, like the real world, [is] impossible to understand on a rational basis.” Now librarians can enjoy the convenience of having Stevens’most treasured papers—spanning over two decades—all in one very funny book.
Introduction: Disjunctive Librarianship