Science, fashion, and make-up: Memories, laughs, and fun with Science & Technology Manager Maureen Mullin
8/15/2012 11:55:46 AM
We have all been there. We walk into the library, looking for one specific book, movie, or CD, and then find ourselves walking out with a heavy bag full of books. Discovering treasures in the stacks at CPL is part of the fun, and the science and technology department is no different. Manager Maureen Mullin shares some of those gems, as well as her first memory of lugging a stack of books out of the library.
How long have you been a librarian, and how long have you been with CPL?
I've been a librarian for 23 years. I received my MLS from Kent State University in 1989, but I became aware of Main Library when I first explored it in 7th or 8th grade. I must have wandered into a closed stack area because it looked like today's 5th floor stack area. My memory is of an intriguingly messy mother-load of books piled everywhere with kids not much older than me working there.
What made you want to become a librarian?
I have one of those quintessential memories of bringing home my first stack of library books when I was four or five and being amazed at how new they were and that I didn't have to choose - I could take them all! I've felt quite at home in libraries ever since. And I still don't choose, so I’m always up against the maximum allowed to be checked out.
Favorite branch, and why?
The one where I got that first pile of books - I think it must have been the Arlington Branch, which closed when Glenville opened.
What would you want a new downtown Cleveland resident to know about the Science and Technology department?
Science & Technology includes fashion, hair styling, and makeup.
I think of the old Sears advertisement: Come see the softer side of Sears (science.) It's not just tools and math, chemistry, and cars. It's also photography, cooking, and yoga.
What's your favorite book of all time?
Yikes! I don't have an answer to that. Maybe Detectives in Togas. (Laughing)
What's your favorite part of the Main Library?
Another impossible question!
The Photograph Collection is amazing because each photograph is a primary resource and many are unusual or unique. When I was in charge there I came upon some absolutely shocking photographs of a fire in a circus. I later read that Henry Luce, the founder of both Time and Fortune magazines, was so moved by photos of a circus fire that he decided to publish a magazine just of photographs, which was, of course, Life Magazine.
An iconic story in my family is of a mining disaster in 1922 in Pennsylvania that my father witnessed as a ten-year old boy. I was blown away when I found original photos of that in the Photo Collection.
Once, I came upon envelope after envelope (each with 50 or more photos) with "Mrs. George Putnam" written in pencil on the outside. I wondered why I had never heard of her so I pulled a few out to discover that Mrs. George Putnam was Amelia Earhart! It's so interesting to plow into so many aspects of the historical record like that.