[Mr. Verdesca's] interests lie in the nature of librarianship, its past, present and future. Of particular interest is the future of the library and the nature of the library of the future. That future, he believes, begins with constructive criticism of present practice.
The more persuasive reason is because his words are the most beautifully written, eloquent and erudite explication of libraries and librarianship I’ve had the pleasure of reading. They delineate the core functions of a library from its ancillaries as community center or employment office. Similarly, they distinguish librarians from teachers, or social workers, or web developers — though librarians may sometimes perform duties that constitute the primary work of these other professionals. For me, Verdesca’s essays speak about more than libraries. They describe the finer qualities of the human species; the root of my passion for libraries and my efforts to help them thrive and grow.
Some selections from this meaningful body of work:
A library is like a piano in its design, in its apparatus of catalog and call numbers, indexes and periodicals, back issues and bibliographies, indeed, in its sturdily bound, first-rate works of reference, out of which learning is wrenched and rendered (instead of copied and pasted) into one’s own. The beauty of a piano, as with a library, is that it has its limitations. That a piano
is limited to only 88 keys is no hindrance to becoming a virtuoso, and the “limitation” of a library is no hindrance to becoming a scholar. The student must begin somewhere. Outside of the home, outside of the classroom, the library becomes the place where students stand alone with their questions, and it is here novices begin their single-minded quest, their adventure in
learning. It takes discipline to learn how to make use of a library, just as it takes discipline to learn how to play the piano. A degree of expertise develops, after which the work (and the pleasure) of interpreting music—or literature—begins. “The roots of education are bitter,” said Aristotle, “but its fruit is sweet.”
Verdesca, Anthony F.. 2009. The Internet Is Not the Library. Journal of Access Services. 6(3):418-422.
Books cataloged and in their place are all that is required to serve the reader who, it must be said, is served not so much by the books in the library’s collection but precisely by those not in the collection. Definition and discrimination—what librarians call collection development—render a library serviceable. This bibliographic control is the behind-the-scenes side of the library the reader never sees nor need he, and is what differentiates a library from an attic.
Verdesca, Anthony F.. 2008. The Great Conversation. Journal of Access Services. 4(3):195-198.
An open book in the empath-librarian’s hand is a powerful image of human interaction. The provision of access, reference style, is more than mere access. It represents nurture. It represents care. It has been, up to now, the library’s good-faith attempt to personify democracy, extending a human hand to all comers, regardless of language, creed, color, or party. The provision of traditional access has represented hope and new beginnings, the American ideal, inspired and initiated in a prosaic little corner of the world called the Reference Desk.
Verdesca, Anthony F.. 2010. Does a Library Provide Access or Meaning? and Other Reference Questions . Journal of Access Services. 7(1):58-63.
** ADDITIONAL READING **
Verdesca, Anthony F.. August 2009. The Accidental Credential. This is a terrific essay on Anthony’s institutional web page regarding what a librarian is and does.