I grew up in the Libraries at MIT, an institution founded on the principles of practical education. The motto of MIT, Mens et Manus, captures the spirit of that philosophy–mind and hand. For a young librarian it was a great experience to provide service to a bright and engaged campus community and to serve Nobel Prize winners, former Presidential Science Advisors, and the best of the best in terms of students from all over the country.
One of my favorite faculty members was Harold “Doc” Edgerton, an electrical engineer from Fremont, Nebraska, who, among other accomplishments, invented strobe photography. (View the Edgerton Digital Collection (EDC) Project.) Doc kept a collection of postcards of his photographs with him at all times and when you answered a reference question or held a door for him, you were rewarded with a signed card. I still have quite a collection!
Doc’s life philosophy closely mirrored that of MIT:
- Work Hard
- Tell Everyone Everything You Know
- Close a Deal With a Handshake
- Have Fun