One of my favorite political jokes of all time is this one:  What is the opposite of progress?  Answer: Congress. 

I first heard the joke in the late 1980s and shared it with several people, one of whom was a professor I had who taught a course called “School & American Life,” or words to that effect.  Although quite political himself, he didn’t care for the joke so let me be the first to apologize to anyone who might be offended by it.  Perhaps in the late 1980s it was a bit ahead of its time.  But surely by now, in 2012, everyone, other than those now serving in Congress, finds this joke at least slightly risible.  Whether one leans left, right or center, the joke has to resonate on some level.

But politics isn’t the subject matter of this post.  Rather, progress is.  I begin with a political joke because this is, after all, the sultry part of our silly season (otherwise known as the presidential election cycle).  With the DNC poised to invade the metropolis to our north but 20 miles, it struck me as an appropriate way to commence this week’s post. 

And speaking of this week, we’ve made a great deal of progress!  I say “we” in the editorial sense, but the fact of the matter is that Holden is moving rapidly forward with the rest of the project.  As you can see from the photographs on this page and those here, much has been done over the course of ten business days.  The Information Commons (at the left) is really taking shape.  As mentioned in the last post,  it will ‘house’ both circulation and reference.  I use house in scarce quotes because what used to be an office will no longer serve as one.  Rather the IC (you can’t really be in library services and not immediately reduce everything  to an abbreviation) will become a service center.  Not only will students be able to check out and return books  at the IC, but they will also get help with all the other services on this floor: study rooms, techno-booths, and the presentation/smartboard and larger group study room (more about all these in a coming post).

You can also see in the photograph to the right that the new carpet is also being laid.  What is not yet down is also the laminate flooring, a terrific touch that will give the whole area a new and different look and feel.  The laying of that floor will begin Monday of next week.  And what about the other floors?  Our main floor has always been our main service area (the other two floors are predominantly for book storage) so it only made sense to begin here.  Additionally, as mentioned above, it’s the highest trafficked area of the building.   We sincerely hope (hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge) that the other two floors will be upgraded soon, … very, very soon.

The point of our commons area is so students will know immediately upon entering the building where to get help with anything related to research and library services.   Also as pointed out last time, this will be the floor on which students will congregate for the 24-hour service that begins Labor Day.  From midnight Sundays through 7:30 a.m. Fridays, students wishing to remain in the library after midnight will have to move to this main floor.  We hope there will be hundreds of you!  Well, okay, scores anyway.

That sums up our progress for this week.  The coming posts will have something to say about the rooms on this floor as well as some mysterious but exciting additions we are desperately seeking to add.  Keeping watching this space.

And although I may sound something of a bibliopolist hawking a nostrum so be it: I ask that if you want to help us –and now we really do hope there will be hundreds and hundreds of you– on these renovations, please contact either me (via this post or at or our development office, specifically Nate Brinkley (  We have numerous naming opportunities, as well as many other chances to make a name for yourself while you make our day.  All contributions to our renovations also go toward are overall Distinction: The Campaign for Winthrop goals.

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