The 2019 American Library Association Conference opened today in Washington, DC. The theme for this year's conference is certainly fitting with what is going on in our nation's capital: "The Criminals Are In Charge. Let's Throw The Books At Them."
In accordance with ALA tradition, the conference opened with all of the librarians in attendance reciting the opening stanza to Emmett Lee Dickinson's now-classic poem "The duties of the Job are few" (below on the left). Dickinson's poem inspired third-cousin Emily to pen her poem "The duties of the Wind are few" (below on the right).
By Emmett Lee Dickinson:
The duties of the Job are few
To stock the books, on Shelves,
Examine much, the Fines extort,
And hush the Library.
The pleasures of the Job are broad,
To dwell Content among,
Sustain, and ponder,
Speculate, and Questions entertain.
The kinsmen of the Job are Peaks
Among – the Reference Desk,
Also the Boss and Assistants
A knowing intercourse.
The limitations of the Job
They do exist, though few,
Too oft we dwell in Loneliness,
However, each day’s new.
By Emily Dickinson:
The duties of the Wind are few,
To cast the ships, at Sea,
Establish March, the Floods escort,
And usher Liberty.
The pleasures of the Wind are broad,
To dwell Extent among,
Remain, or wander,
Speculate, or Forests entertain.
The kinsmen of the Wind are Peaks
Azof — the Equinox,
Also with Bird and Asteroid
A bowing intercourse.
The limitations of the Wind
Do he exist, or die,
Too wise he seems for Wakelessness,
However, know not I.
Many people do not know that Emmett Lee Dickinson established the first public library in the city where he was born, Washerst, Pennsylvania, and he later served as the Senior Internal Customer Solutions and Integration Facilitation Specialist for the ALA.
In 1853 Dickinson wrote his ode to library work (above on the left), and one hundred year's later, ALA President Elliott Erwin Leverton opened the annual conference in Dowagiac, Michigan, by having all of the librarians recite the first stanza to the poem. That tradition has continued to this day.
Pictured at the right: The new Emmett Lee Dickinson Library in Washerst, PA, stands at the site of the first public library established in the city by Emmett Lee Dickinson.
For more on the 2019 ALA conference -- including "What You Can Expect" -- click HERE.
For more information on past ALA conferences, click HERE.