Wayne Wiegand

Steve Thomas: Wayne Wiegand, welcome to Circulating Ideas.

Wayne Wiegand: Thanks for having me.

Steve Thomas: You’re a pretty well-known figure in the library world, but for people who may not know you, can you give a little overview of your career in librarianship, how you got started at it in the first place, and how you see your, I know you’re retired now, but how you see your place in the library world now?

Wayne Wiegand: Let me go back to when I was a junior in college. My wife was working at a private university library, and the director there had a combination PhD in history and MLS in librarianship, and he directed the library. I thought, that’s kind of a neat combination, so I kept that in mind. And while I was doing my own PhD in history, I did a minor in library science that I extended to a degree. And as I was working through my master’s in library science degree, I looked at the history of libraries and saw it was a hugely wide open field for research. And I thought to myself, there’s a lifetime of activity here and that’s kind of when I turned onto it. And that was way back in 1974. So I’ve been pursuing American library history ever since.

 I picked and chose topics I thought needed a historical eye, if you will. For example, the first book I did was on the politics of the American Library Association which was sort of overlooked. When the ALA gets around to celebrating signal events, like it’ll be coming on its 150th anniversary in 2026. There’s a tendency to celebrate the history rather than look at it critically. So that’s what I did with that book. I looked at American Library Association during World War I when there were librarians across the country, tossing German language materials into furnaces. I did a biography of Melvil Dewey who probably is the single best known librarian in American library history and discovered some untoward characteristics about him. Then I moved on to a history of the small public library in the Midwest. Most people are on aware that 80% of American public libraries are in towns of twenty-five thousand or less. So they’re more characteristic than they are the Atlanta Public Library or the New York Public Library.

And then onto the desegregation book I knew that there was a story there, that Southern public libraries were segregated and that a number of individuals, young black teenagers primarily, took it upon themselves to read in and sit in and break down those segregated public libraries. And then finally, the last one I did was on the history of school librarianship in America, and that’s the first one that’s ever been written on school librarianship, which kind of surprised me. I I recognized this back in the first decade of the 21st century and thought somebody’s got to pay attention to this, so I did and it’s out there and I’m glad, and now I’m on just some other projects.

Steve Thomas: Yeah. And the school librarianship book is good to have out now because school librarianship is facing a pretty big challenge.

Wayne Wiegand: Yeah. My hope with that book is that it will get school librarians, the school library community to reflect. In the library profession in general, we don’t tend to reflect on our activities as much as other professions do. And one of the main reasons I try to look at the history of American librarianship is to raise questions that will encourage librarians to reflect about what they’re doing and why.

Steve Thomas: And we’ll probably get into this, especially once we get into Mr. Dewey, but generally as a historian, what’s your take on applying modern values to historical figures?

Wayne Wiegand: Speaking as a historian, every generation has a new set of questions that it asks of its history. So let’s take Dewey for example. I’m a child of the sixties, so I witnessed a civil rights movement, a women’s rights movement, a variety of other social disruptions that was occurring at that time. So a set of questions that I had of Melvil Dewey was, was he racist? Was he sexist? So I take those questions into the primary source material – Dewey’s got about 90 boxes of correspondence that are at Columbia University – and submit those questions to that primary source data, and I come up with different answers. So I would argue, that book came out, I think, in 1996, I would argue it is time for somebody to come and revise that biography because I wrote it before the internet took over our lives and social media. And I think he needs another look based upon what the new generation is experiencing.

Steve Thomas: Yeah. History is us telling our stories about the past through the lens of the present. When you were a library school professor, did you focus primarily on history courses?

Wayne Wiegand: Well, most university research professors had a course load of two courses per semester. So, no, I only usually taught one library history course per academic term, but I always harnessed my historical knowledge in other areas. I used to teach Popular Culture in Libraries where we’d look at a variety of popular culture media, and of course I’d harness history in my efforts to explain that to students.

Steve Thomas: Yeah. I do appreciate in your work that you do go after challenging topics like desegregation and the profession does not have clean hands throughout the years. Can you talk a little bit about how you approach libraries in that way of looking at the darker side of things?

Wayne Wiegand: I wouldn’t phrase it that way, Steve.

Steve Thomas: As I was saying it, I almost said, how are you looking at it in an honest way?

Wayne Wiegand: Okay. What I usually say is I try to paint a portrait, which includes both the halos and the warts, and in American librarianship, we have a tendency to overlook the warts. You can’t have a good understanding of the present unless you have a good understanding of the past, and if you don’t have a good understanding of the present, it’s very difficult to prudently plan for the future. So bringing to the attention of people who read my stuff flaws in American library history, because I do focus on the flaws more than many other library researchers do, it tends to exaggerate what I’m talking about, as if I’m intentionally trying to criticize. And I’m really not. I’m just trying to paint a portrait with the halos and the warts.

Steve Thomas: Can you talk a little bit about the origins of libraries in America? How did we form a uniquely American thing? Like, is the public library a uniquely American thing that has now spread throughout the world?

Wayne Wiegand: I think it’s fair to say that there are many uniquenesses about the American public library, if you want me to direct my attention to that type of library, as opposed to school academic or special. Yes, there are many uniquenesses and the uniquenesses of that ubiquitous civic institution have been emulated in other countries. So the American public library has become a model.

As I see it, the reason they exist is because of the French Enlightenment’s celebration of “useful knowledge,” that was the phrase that was used back in the 18th century. Useful knowledge was the knowledge that a merchant would acquire and harness for producing useful material that was useful knowledge. That useful knowledge was primarily the reason that libraries existed in the 17th and the 18th century, they were called social libraries back in those days.

Then a number of people, particularly some elite Boston citizens thought, well, why don’t we transform this social library, which focuses on useful knowledge into a civic institution that is paid for by tax dollars and allow everybody to use the institution. That really was the Boston Public Library, which opened its doors in 1854, and it became the model for communities across the country in the late 19th, early 20th century, and really accelerated when Andrew Carnegie started pouring millions of dollars into thousands of buildings that went up across the United States.

What the funders, the managers didn’t quite realize in the middle of the 19th century, however, was the American public’s voracious appetite for fiction. And because the librarians of the late 19th century wanted to get as many people in the door as possible, the public demand for fiction forced them to buy more fiction than they thought ought to be in a library, which they thought ought to feature and focus on useful knowledge. So that that tension has been in our professional practice for generations now. These days we call it recreational reading or there are other less desirable adjectives applied to it, but that still focuses most of the material that circulates out of American public libraries, 66 to 75% of books withdrawn, even eBooks withdrawn, from American public libraries is fiction. So that’s sort of the historical profile of the American public library.

There is one other dimension, however, which kind of sneaked up on us, that is the library as public space. Most people do not know that in the six prototype architectural drawings that the Carnegie corporation sent to communities applying for grants, all six of those had designed into them, a community room, and individual communities would use these rooms for different purposes. Women would meet there for book clubs, rural public libraries would use the room as a kitchen for farm women and men who would come in on Saturdays into town, et cetera.

I think the model for library as place are the two black branches of the Louisville Public Library in the early 20th century. And that was because the librarian, his name was Thomas Fountain Blue, readily recognized that what his black segregated community needed was a place to meet and to gather and to construct community. So he kind of laid the model for “library-as-place”. And others followed, then librarians did what they do so well. They augmented their collections and those collections began spilling into those community rooms, which were then adapted for other purposes, storage, for example.

In the late 20th century, a number of librarians thought that he discovered a new role for the public library by using it as a place for communities to gather for immigrants to assimilate, et cetera. But really it was just repeating history from the early 20th century and Thomas Fountain Blue’s example.

Steve Thomas: As you describe that, it’s like the public library followed American culture in general, where at the beginning, you know, we say all this stuff about democracy, but we have the subscription libraries for the elites that have their libraries over there and they share amongst themselves and even like the electoral college as well, the “right people” will vote. And then as it goes on, it becomes more and more actual democratizing for the people and in the public library sense free. And popular materials, that fight continues today. Now they’re still fighting to get like, you know, graphic novels, audio books, DVDs, things like that into the libraries because people are fighting against something that’s popular, video games, sometimes libraries have.

Wayne Wiegand: One must always recognize that the public library in particular is a voluntary institution. No one’s forcing you to use the public library. So the public library has to pay attention to what you want, and so in the American public library historical profile, you see the people who use it exercising a great deal of influence over the contours of professional practice.

Steve Thomas: Yeah. That’s what I tell people. I always say, this is your library, your tax dollars have paid for this. We’re making it for you. So please come in and don’t waste your tax dollars.

Wayne Wiegand: One thing I’d always tell my students at the beginning of the semester, there is no holy book in which God identifies what a library should be. People make libraries, they’re gonna make them any way they want.

Steve Thomas: How did Carnegie get to libraries? I mean, I understand a lot of it is probably to get a good legacy, after he passes that he has this good name with his money, but did he have a special love for libraries or like how did that become the thing that he wanted to give his money to?

Wayne Wiegand: When he was a young Scottish immigrant, an industrialist befriended him by allowing him access to his personal library, and Carnegie realized how much he changed because of his exposure to the contents of that library. And he carried that idea with him into all of the riches that he accumulated for himself.

So towards the end of his life, yes, probably in part, because he wanted to leave a positive legacy after some rather unpleasant activities as an industrialist, he decided to give those millions of dollars for that particular institution, because he would say, it was a self-help institution. If you wanted to use it, you could use it and use it for good, just as he found that one library in his youth that he could use for good.

Steve Thomas: Yeah, and it’s great that the librarians are there to help, but you can come in and use it yourself, it’s the “open stacks” idea that’s different from the subscription kind of library thing to closed sacks, so that’s a great thing too.

Wayne Wiegand: So that’s right. For some people, they can come in and hide in public space, so to speak, they enjoy being sort of invisible in the middle of a crowd. And, that has been one of the uses to which people have put libraries as public space.

Steve Thomas: How would you define a library just in general, if you had to define the word library, how would you define that?

Wayne Wiegand: What I see libraries functioning as, is a place where information is obtained and that word information is a direct descendant of the useful knowledge phrase that the French Enlightenment sent down to us from the late 17th, early 18th century. So, a place where one can obtain useful knowledge. Also a place where people get stories that help them understand their lives on a day-to-day basis. We would label that fiction. And then finally, the library as place. For multiple myriad reasons people use these have used these institutions over the generations. So I define library as a place to get information as a place to get stories and as a place to gather.

Steve Thomas: So, Melvil Dewey. Can you talk a little bit about his childhood first ? How did he become Dewey that we know, and then we can talk about the Dewey that we know, and maybe don’t know.

Wayne Wiegand: Dewey was born in 1851 in upstate New York in the middle of what has been referred to as the “Burned-Over District”. That district gave rise to a variety of religious revivals includes, for example, Joseph Smith and the birth of the Mormon church, but also was a seed bed for abolitionism in the middle of the 19th century. So the area kind of drips with intense emotion, and Dewey was born into that.

His parents went to different Baptist churches and so he was constantly in church, absorbing this kind of intensity. He grew up to be an intense individual. On one occasion. He, in what we would now call a high school, the building which contained the library he accessed caught fire, and he tried to get as much of the contents out of the library in that building as he could. But in the process, he breathed in a lot of smoke and became ill and a doctor predicted he would not survive the year. Well, he did survive, but the experience left him very concerned with making efficient use of time, the time that God gave him here on earth, he would often refer to. So that is one of the major things that guided his life throughout and librarianship was an extension of that concern. He saw it as a way to accelerate one’s possibilities in a very efficient way.

Steve Thomas: And he extended that obviously the well-known thing of shortening his name, wanting to make it super short, but then eventually making it a little bit longer, cause he originally went to Dui, I think?

Wayne Wiegand: He was a proponent of simplified spelling his entire life, and it often made things look a little bit funny. He insisted on using it in his personal correspondence, but when he occupied offices like president of the American Library Association, he couldn’t do that, but he’d sneak things in wherever he possibly could.

Steve Thomas: And then obviously his classification system. Had other people tried making classification systems that just didn’t catch on at that point, and his was just the most successful?

Wayne Wiegand: Well, timing was everything here. Dewey crafted that system on the Amherst College campus, between 1874 and 1876. And then he copyrighted it. It was right at the birth of the American Library Association, and at the beginning of the public library movement. It was 20 years later than the Boston Public open, but by that time, a lot of communities were beginning to open libraries and just prior to the time when Carnegie was starting to give his millions. And all of a sudden you had these buildings that required staffing and organization. And there was Dewey’s system, which was being advocated by the students coming out of his library school. First, at Columbia University later at the state library in New York. And so everything just sort of fell together because of all of that mix of forces that was occurring at the late 19th century.

Steve Thomas: So what are some other good things about Mr. Dewey before we move on to some of the more challenging parts of his personality?

Wayne Wiegand: Yeah. Well, I think that the classification has got to be a signal event in American library history because it reduced the need for one person to classify one library. If you check any book right now, there’s cataloging-in-publication, which has both a Library of Congress classification number and a Dewey number, so when your library receives that book, it doesn’t have to do anything other than look inside the book and the number’s already there, so the organization is there. So that was one thing.

He also was president of something called the Library Bureau, still exists, though it’s not associated with his name anymore, and he helped to craft standardized library appliances and furniture. Again, this follows in his concern for harnessing time efficiently. And so libraries across the country had similar pieces of furniture, which made it familiar. So if you went to Opelika, Alabama, you’d find the similar kinds of appliances there that would give you access to the organizational scheme you had already become accustomed to, so that was another element in his professional practice.

 He was really responsible for the most part for organizing the American Library Association and following that, for organizing state library associations and some local library associations. Not that he was involved with any of them, but the fact that the Association existed gave librarians from across the country opportunities to meet, share their miseries, celebrate their victories, that kind of thing. So, we have to thank him for that also. There are other things, but those three are primary.

Steve Thomas: And he started Library Journal, didn’t he?

Wayne Wiegand: Well, he convinced a gentleman named R R Bowker to start it and allow him to edit it. Bowker was the publisher of Publisher’s Weekly and was looking for an opportunity to establish a library journal for the growing number of librarians managing the growing number of libraries.

Steve Thomas: The classification system itself obviously has a lot of biases. Do you feel like those were influenced a lot by his own personal failings, or do you feel like they really reflect the world as America saw it at the time?

Wayne Wiegand: I’m not going to refer to them as failings. Dewey went to Amherst College in 1870, and he was exposed to a curriculum and a faculty that was white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, male dominated, and literally the textbooks that he used in that curriculum in part dictated the arrangement of the decimal classification scheme. He literally adopted terminology from those textbooks and those textbooks reinforced the WASP male perspective, so when he copyrighted his classification scheme in 1876, for example in the 200s, Christianity just saturated that category, whereas the Muslim religion, you are hard pressed to find it, and of course technology has radically changed from 1876. So since 1876, I don’t know how many editions we’ve gone through Dewey, I think it’s in the late twenties by now, attention has had to be paid to the biases that were built into the classification system and room had to be made for spaceships and computer technology, things like that.

Steve Thomas: Yeah, there was nothing for astronauts at the time that he was writing.

Let’s talk about school libraries. So tell me a little about the history of school libraries, when a school librarian became an actual job in and of itself, not just a collection of books in the teacher’s classroom, but that there was an actual separate room, separate person, all that kind of stuff.

Wayne Wiegand: Yeah. 1900 was when what I would call the first school library managed by a trained school librarian started. It was in Brooklyn, New York. But those school libraries didn’t grow very rapidly and they didn’t have lots and lots of school librarians because you had to be in a relatively affluent neighborhood where the educational tax dollars were sufficient to not only acquire materials but also pay the salary of a professional staff member. And over the first half of the 20th century, there were a lot of schools that entered into contracts with their local public library to function as school librarians. Sometimes even the school’s paying for a staff member in the public library. It was fluid in the first half of the 20th century.

When things radically changed was during Lyndon Johnson’s presidency when in 1965, the Education of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was passed. And for about a 10 year period provided millions of dollars to school libraries across the country. Librarians caught Johnson’s ear because he had come up through Southwest Texas education system and he did not have access to libraries, so he kind of liked this idea. At any rate, all of a sudden there was all this money that was matching funds, and whenever you hold matching funds out in front of an educational administrator’s nose, they work very hard to take advantage of that money. And literally in five years, the size of school library collections quadrupled.

Now what the ESEA did not provide, was money for training staff. And so there was a huge shortage of school librarians, and it was necessary for them because of these growing collections and necessary to hire them. So schools had to go out and find librarians to manage these facilities. So their numbers increased because institutions stepped up to hire professional librarians. That’s when school libraries really became part of the educational profile in schools. They were ubiquitous. And I think these days we have about 80,000 public school libraries run by about 85,000 public school librarians. Are they in trouble? Yes they are.

Steve Thomas: Yeah. And they faced funding challenges for a long time, and now they’re facing their own possible legal challenges from these book challenges.

Wayne Wiegand: Yes. Those challenges are a thread that runs through the history of school librarianship. This is nothing new. I wrote a blog piece for Johns Hopkins University Press that published the book, titled, “Here we go again.” I can point to several events just like this in American public school library history.

I’ll focus on one in general. Back in post-World War II, a fear of communism became solidified in the American consciousness and many people worried about whether communism was influencing America’s children through its printed products. And so you had a number of people identifying what they thought were communist influenced printed products, running through school libraries and pulling books off the shelf. Really was the occasion for the Freedom to Read statement that the American Library Association put together and for another revision of its Library Bill of Rights that it established in 1939.

So you had all those forces working together. And then of course you had the civil rights movement just starting, Brown vs. The Board of Education in 1954, and racists were looking for representations of black people in printed products. That all got mixed in there as the racist would say, “oh, the communists are trying to convince the black race to fight against the white race.” It all gets mixed in there as people harness their pictorial perspectives to voice an objection.

And in the 1950s, the way to combat it was that the people who objected to the censorship practices had to speak up. Librarians could do some of it, but they couldn’t do all of it, particularly at the building level.

Steve Thomas: I don’t want to forget about our academic library friends. Is there anything unique about American academic libraries or do they function in the same way as academic libraries have?

Wayne Wiegand: I think there’s a recognition in the past 20 years that the academic library has a role on campus as physical space. Back in the late 19th century, when the German university model became celebrated in the United States and research was emulated, we’ve got to do more and more research, the academic library profession at that time was focused on providing collections, acquiring as much as they possibly could. So when your local professor needed something, it would be there, but I think as patrons of public libraries show, students would use the library as a way to get away from a noisy dorm, for example, or as a way to meet their friends who were working on group projects. So I think these days, the academic library is much more recognized as a place on campus for students to gather.

And one manifestation is the coffee shop. Oh, and by the way, can I say this, Steve? Coffee has been a thread in American librarianship for centuries. In fact, many social libraries have their origins in coffee shops where local citizens would meet, drink coffee, discuss political situations and acquire materials that would inform them. So social libraries often came out of coffee shops, British had the same experience. And so when people say libraries shouldn’t have coffee shops, usually they’re saying it because they didn’t know libraries were coffee shop places. They didn’t know all their history.

Generally, most people see history as what happened in their lifetime, and that’s the model that they often use to judge new innovations. This didn’t happen in my lifetime. Yes, that’s true, but it did happen in history.

Steve Thomas: Yep. I was going to jokingly ask you about the history of library cats, but my guess is that it’s actually for the same reason people have kept cats around forever as to keep rodents out of the building. And then people just go, “oh look a sweet kitty cat.” And then they kept them around.

Wayne Wiegand: Yep. The library cat, I wouldn’t say it’s as prominent as coffee or as prominent as fiction, but the library cat is a consistent thread throughout American library history.

Steve Thomas: I guess librarians having cats, whether they’re in the building or not, is maybe a thing.

So you wrote the book about desegregation of public libraries in the south with your wife and that’s the period in which you were kind of grew up in libraries. What’s your personal experience of that period in librarianship? I know you didn’t, I don’t think grew up in the south, but how do you remember that happening? Real time?

Wayne Wiegand: Yeah. Okay. I was born in Wisconsin and it was at the time that the Braves were the Milwaukee Braves before you stole them to Atlanta, and my boy hood hero was Henry Aaron, who was all-star for the Milwaukee Braves. And I remember one morning, Sunday morning, reading in the Milwaukee Journal, which was the major state newspaper of the day that he was being discriminated against in a Milwaukee suburb, because of his race. He couldn’t buy a particular home, and that confused me. As a ten-year-old kid, I’m thinking, “Who wouldn’t want Henry Aaron living next to you?” So that peaked my interest in the civil rights movement that was going on.

It was also the year that Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas was experiencing student riots, et cetera. And I kind of followed that through my college years, and my first years as a practicing professional. So I always retained that interest.

When I did the book called Part of Our Lives: a People’s History of the American Public Library, I reacquainted myself with a bunch of literature that focused on segregated public libraries and I decided I’d like to do more in that. My wife is a legal educator, so she could do all of the legal stuff that the NAACP initiated in order to desegregate civic institutions. And so we both got into this together.

I would say it was the most gratifying research project for me, in part because American librarianship had largely buried the record of this set of experiences and was making statements as if it had been supporting libraries for its entire history. Here again, here’s a wart and it sorta got lost in history.

But also Martin Luther King, for example, he was regarded as the icon of the civil rights movement, understandably so, but he didn’t really deal very much with public libraries, and so as the media followed him around, it tended to ignore what was happening with the young kids who were going into the Columbus, Georgia Public Library and saying, “I am a human being. I have a right to be here,” so I wanted to give them some profile, and we got through the book. We did it, I set up a 26 city book tour in the deep south shortly after, and at a number of sites, the kids who are now senior citizens showed up and for the very first time received thanks for what they did to that institution. And that was so gratifying. It brought me to tears.

Steve Thomas: That’s great. That’s great. I heard story about John Lewis had that. And when he, when he came out with the graphic novel series that he did, he did a book tour and he went to the public library in his hometown that he was not allowed to use as a child, and he got to meet the librarian and they got to apologize to him, I think, in person, welcome him back.

So your other book, Part of Our Lives, the main question I wanted to ask about that one is kind of a big general one: Why do people love public libraries?

Wayne Wiegand: For a hundred thousand reasons probably. We could go for two weeks discussing that. Because it’s a voluntary institution, people can craft their own kind of contact with the library, and a library employee doesn’t even have to be involved for a patron to develop a relationship with the public library. They have as many reasons as they are people.

As I mentioned before, the person who is an introvert, but likes to be in a public space, finds this wonderful, an immigrant who wants to improve his or her language skills, simply by talking to the circulation desk attendant can improve language skills, individuals meet there for book clubs.

If you were to stand at the front door of American public library and ask why are you coming here, you will find thousands and thousands of reasons. And it’s because of that voluntary nature. If we had a mandated reason for using public libraries, I think we’d have fewer people coming into our doors, and I think the statistics are pretty impressive. Before COVID, two of every three Americans frequented the threshold of an American public library at least once per year. I don’t know that their American Library Association comes out with statistics generally every year. My recollection is there are more people who come to public libraries every year than attend NFL, NBA, and major league baseball games during the entire year.

Steve Thomas: What do you think modern libraries still need to learn from the past? What have we forgotten or what can we learn?

Wayne Wiegand: Technology has had an huge impact over the centuries. Certainly, if I use the term card catalog, some of the readers are not going to know what I’m talking about, but books were identified on individual 3″ x 5″ cards -actually, it was 2.5 cm x 5 cm because Dewey was a proponent of the metric system – and that would identify a book and give it a classification number. Those cards were in a storage cabinet. At any rate, the card catalog was a technology. Of course OPACs – online public access catalogs – are another technology.

So we continue to modify our professional practice because of changes in technology that make our service more efficient and we should, and it will continue. I have no doubt about that. However, I will bet a month’s social security check that fiction will continue to be a primary entity that we will supply with people. The cultural form in which these stories take place may vary. We didn’t have CDs in the 1950s, we had records, we didn’t have iTunes, et cetera, et cetera. So again, technology affects these things and we simply adopt them and merge them into a set of activities that’s consistent with our cultural behaviors at the time we are adults, let’s say. So I think stories will continue to be a primary thing that we will supply, and again, there is no holy book in which God tells us what a library should be.

So you see the village square movement of the last decade or two. I think the American public library is primed to be a place where village square questions can be debated and discussed in community after community. And I would like to see our libraries do even more of that. What I fear is that you’ll hear those voices coming out of the woodwork saying, “yeah, but libraries never did that before.” And that’s because in their lifetime, the people who say those things didn’t experience them.

Steve Thomas: So last thing, I know you have half jokingly talked about the instructions upon your death, to your wife, of what you would like done with your ashes. Would you like to tell the listeners what that is?

Wayne Wiegand: Oh yes. So well I’ve asked my wife that if I should predecease her upon my demise, I would like to be cremated, have her hide my ashes into a book and donate it to the Library of Congress so I can be with my friends in perpetuity. My favorite place to do research in the world is the Library of Congress because it has so much stuff, and I can get ready access to it. So that’s why I pick on the Library of Congress rather than my little local public library.

Steve Thomas: That reading room is just fantastic.

Well, Wayne, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today and telling us all about the history of libraries, or as much as we can do in 45 minutes or so. If people wanted to ask you questions, is there a way they can get in touch with you?

Wayne Wiegand: Yeah, sure. Why not give them my email? It’s wwiegand@fsu .edu. That’s short for Florida State University.

Steve Thomas: Thank you again so much, and thank you for all your work over the years, doing that work that seems like something that someone should have already done, but they didn’t so you stepped in and did it. I appreciate learning everything from you.

Wayne Wiegand: My pleasure. Thank you, Steve.

Steve Thomas: Have a great day.

Wayne Wiegand: You too. Bye-bye.