Downward Dogs and Lifters and Leaners

A Periodic Column by Steve Duffy ’77, Library Circulation Specialist

Steve Duffy Well, Antiochians, October 2012 has been the Olive Kettering Library’s busiest month since the College’s reopening. During October, 1,603 pairs of feet have come through the library. And over 1,000 pairs of these feet have been student feet! When you think about it, that is quite the feat for such a fledgling community.

Late fall and early November 2012 have followed with a week of heavy midterms and other forms of testing on the Antioch College Campus. Among other things students have been busy catching up on readings for the Global Seminar on health, African-American history, environmental studies, checking out loads of ethnographic studies for anthropology, and writing papers for a course on existentialism. In various corners of the library one might also hear some French, Japanese, or Spanish as students also practice their language skills via computer and what is now called a “super site.” It comes along with one’s textbooks! Your language drills get sent to your professor and get listened to at some point. I guess it may be a slightly new twist on what we older folks once may have known as a “language lab.” Only now with a personal computer, a microphone, and headset, a language lab can be anywhere.

Students were also hard at work on writing and math skills classes, and working on much more. The library printers, scanner (which, by the way, can e-mail you your readings as PDFs), and coffee pot all seemed to be going full tilt from opening to closing. There have been students in every corner and floor of the library. Recently, we received our first beanbag chair and it travels all over the building. With a laptop and an outlet, any space can become a special nook. Some new comfortable furniture has arrived and folks are really camping in. Last Thursday evening, during the height of midterms, the library was pretty packed and folks were studying both alone and in groups. At one point, a circle of friends was studying at the front desk. It was so quiet I could almost hear the neurons firing. Finally, after a long stretch, a student said that they needed to have a moment of release and thought that a yoga stretch would be the best thing. Before I knew it, five students were on the floor all in the downward dog yoga pose, quickly followed by some headstands and heels-over-head action and laughter. With body’s stretched, fresh blood to the brain, and some chatter and giggling, it made it easy to dive back into one’s various academic pursuits.

For Thanksgiving, many students went over the river and through the woods to Kansas City or Berkeley or Beavercreek. One of the library student workers was using a carbon footprint calculator from one of their classes to analyze their lifestyle. I asked them if they included their plane ride home for the holiday. They said yes, and as they pressed a button their approximate footprint, including that plane ride, came up. Hmmm, technology!

At a pre-Thanksgiving Community Meeting there were a series of announcements and introductions. The newly elected Community Council representatives were introduced, with ComCil president Elijah Blanton ’15 running the first ComCil-run Community Meeting.

It is good to feel some great young energies all over campus.

Many things seem to be taking on some familiar rhythms. However, every now and then they are also some moments that seem mystifying. A few nights ago I had asked a couple of student workers to straighten out and organize eleven years or so of unbound issues of Newsweek. To my amazement they did not seem to be familiar with or even know what Newsweek was at all (and soon it will stop publishing its paper edition anyway). I guess the next generation has a million other sources for news, so I should not be too perturbed if they aren’t familiar with that. I asked them what years they were born. The answer in both cases was 1994. So I went to the basement and gathered up the four bound volumes for 1994. I said, “Well, after you get these eleven years of Newsweek in order why don’t you check out the weeks around the time you were born to see what the world was like?” So at some point they checked out March and April issues, which were their birth months.

At the OK Library there are still plenty of new things happening.

A basement lounge study area is in the works and the beginning of renovation for the “Joe Cali Music Room.” The Cali room will be coming up in stages—keep your eyes and ears open!

Every night as I leave the library and head to the car, I have noticed that the Science Building lights have been blazing into the night. Work on Science Building labs is moving at a good clip and by winter, several labs should be up and running again.

As the holidays approach, I have to say that many thanks are in order to the thousands of Antiochians and friends, including so many of YOU who have done a myriad of things to get to us where we are now. We have a ways to go but have already made amazing progress.

Finally, also at last week’s Community Meeting, a local hospice organization made a presentation looking for volunteers. One of their organizers included the reading of a poem, which they felt covered the essence of the volunteerism. And perhaps it was part of their “pitch” to us. To me it also reminded me of the spirit of many Antiochians!

“Which are you?”

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

THERE are two kinds of people on earth to-day;
Just two kinds of people, no more I say.

Not the sinner and saint, for it’s well understood,
The good are half bad, and the bad are half good.

Not the rich and the poor, for to rate a man’s wealth
You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

Not the humble and proud, for in life’s little span,
Who puts on vain airs, is not counted a man.

Not the happy and sad, for the swift flying years
Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.

No; the two kinds of people on earth I mean,
Are the people who lift, and the people who lean.

Wherever you go, you will find the earth’s masses,
Are always divided in just these two classes.

And oddly enough, you will find too, I ween,
There’s only one lifter to twenty who lean.

In which class are you? Are you easing the load?
Of overtaxed lifters, who toll down the road?

Or you a leaner, who lets others share
Your portion of labor, and worry and care?

Thanks to so many of you lifters! And a final thought. By next year it would be optimal to have more than 75 co-op job opportunities for Antiochians as they go off to their co-ops. Do you know of a good lead to a great co-op experience? Be sure to contact Susan Eklund-Leen at or Richard Kraince at .