Lore of the Library Blazer

Ye old library blazer

For as long as any of the LTS “old timers” can remember, the EWFM Library circulation office has housed several old wool men’s blazers in the shared closet. The blazer fashion and fabric suggests a circa 1960s timeframe, and the jackets are embroidered with the Lehigh seal and the word “Library” (photo adjacent). As plans to move the circulation service and office space are underway, and the blazers are relocated, the significance of the blazers is a subject of discussion — what are these jackets, and what were they for?

The Lore of the blazer

In the oral tradition, the story of the blazer has been conveyed by long-time library staffers. The story passed along is that students that worked in the library in the 1960s were required to wear these suit jackets when they sat at the service desk.  The idea was to present a respectable image of presentable, studious young men. The director at the time, James Mack, likely instituted the policy, and blazers in several different sizes were available. In the early 1970s, amid concerns over theft of books and improper “library decorum,” the library hired security guards, and photos in the Epitome seem to show that security staff wore them. Maybe student workers stopped wearing them in 1971 when the university went co-ed. 

Lovely old jackets, stop by the circ desk before May 20 if you want to see one (they’ll probably go to Special Collections after that date).

Squirrels dining al fresco!

The squirrels at Lehigh eat well.

I took this photo on the way to a meeting, who wouldn’t want a photo of a squirrel with a french fry?  A colleague informed me that this same squirrel basically lives in the trash can (or near it), which is right outside the EWFM Library. I now see him dining out of this trash can all the time. Super cute.

Keeping Hope alive: a philodendron story

  When I came to Lehigh in 1998 there was a sad, sprawling, frankly ugly plant under the stairwell by the printers. With almost no natural light and soil that always looked bone-dry,  it produced dinner plate-sized leaves on leggy, light-seeking stems.  I suppose it was watered sometime — maybe I did once or twice.  As you might have guessed it’s a philodendron — specifically a   Philodendron bipinnatifidum ‘Hope.’ And the cultivar ‘Hope’ could not be more apt as it’s pretty much what this plant lived on for twenty years.

Finally, this spring, it looked like ‘Hope’ was finally throwing in the towel. Its leaves started to yellow at the edges, and now it was not just unsightly — it was sickly. I overheard someone talking about removing it.

I felt suddenly, weirdly protective. In advance of its death-by-dumpster, I took a cutting of three leaves and part of a woody bulb and planted it in a spare pot. Its prospects seemed dim. Two of the big leaves yellowed and I removed them, waiting for the third and last leaf to follow suit. I watered and fertilized and moved it closer to the window.

A week or so ago, it sprouted two new leaves!  Now I’m looking for a larger pot to anchor it and hopefully do it justice. Jes doin’ my part to keep Hope alive ;-).