I got this little gem of a link today, and I’ve been thinking about it all day. The description of the digital collection is as follows:
Created for BECHS by the Spring 2011 LIS563 Digital Libraries class at University at Buffalo, this collection features a 1924 list of KKK members in Buffalo. In the early 1920s, after decades of dormancy, the Ku Klux Klan was resurgent, gaining new recruits in the Northeast by using modern sales techniques in which recruiters received commissions for signing new members. Capitalizing on anxieties about “foreigners” and racial purity, the Klan found new members in locales with otherwise strong traditions of interracial progress and tolerance. Buffalo was one such city.
The world, it should not come as a surprise, is filled with people who want desperately to learn. This is what our world should be filled with. This is what scholars work hard to create: a world of reading, learning, thinking and scholarship. The users of library.nu were would-be scholars: those in the outer atmosphere of learning who wanted to know, argue, dispute, experiment and write just as those in the universities do.
“When I was growing up, I was a voracious reader; I loved sitting in my house and jumping into new worlds. But more important, I loved meeting new people. Reading was a way to make friends or enemies, a way to discover how all these different people exist in the world and to rub shoulders with them. The ability to feel as if you’ve met someone, as if that person exists in flesh and blood and that you relate to them somehow, makes you feel a lot less lonely. And it also makes you feel very brave. When you read stories about triumph and about struggle and people coming to terms with how scary life is, you begin to think, “What could I take? What could I do? What would I do in that moment?”
The Isolator is a bizarre helmet invented in 1925 that encourages focus and concentration by rendering the wearer deaf, piping them full of oxygen, and limiting their vision to a tiny horizontal slit. The Isolator was invented by Hugo Gernsback, editor of Science and Invention magazine, member of “The American Physical Society,” and one of the pioneers of science fiction.