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Published: Tuesday, 4/24/2001

Library professionals not just technicians

Knowing the literature in any academic pursuit is an essential element of scholarship and is as important in science and engineering as in the classics and history. That outstanding colleges and universities have outstanding libraries is no coincidence; you cannot have one without the other.

Professionals who staff libraries are not mere technicians and, from my experience, they embraced the emergence of electronic journals. While electronic media have changed the way libraries operate and have eliminated much of the necessity for paper documents, they have not eliminated the need for a library and its staff.

Hence, I was dismayed by Ernest F. DuBrul's April 13 letter which said that libraries are an anachronism and that “research published more than five years ago means nothing to most scientists.” I hope this view is not being cultivated in students of the biological sciences at the University of Toledo; they need not have their ignorance given refuge by the faculty.

A common problem in training students as scientific scholars is convincing them that they must have a good general scientific background and must read all the relevant papers in their area of expertise, even those more than five years old. I am often distressed to find that graduate students do not know the history of science and regard interest in such topics as old fashioned and pedantic. If students confine their knowledge to the work of the previous five years they are destined to be hopeless ignoramuses.

And finally, if Mr. Dubrul should find himself, through some misadventure, in the hallowed halls of that anachronistic institution he so disdains, he better hope that the UT library staff does not recognize him. He has only their declining numbers to protect him.

JOHN DAVID DIGNAM

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Medical College of Ohio

Many who are opposed to the smoking regulation state that the board has no business controlling what goes on in businesses regarding tobacco pollution. This thinking runs counter to what happened in public health in the United States in the last century.

Public health measures that remarkably changed the status quo increased the average life span of American citizens by 25 years during the 20th century. American public health officials and scientists have a long and proud tradition of improving the quality of life in the United States.

The present board of health is courageously carrying on that tradition.

Early in the 1900s public health officials enforced regulations that ensured sanitation, hand washing, refrigeration, improvements in nutrition, housing, water chlorination and filtration, and sewage disposal. I was not there at the time but I can just imagine the hue and cry that went up from those who liked things just the way they were.

For their efforts the public health pioneers and citizens of the time were rewarded with dramatic decreases in tuberculosis, botulism, typhoid fever, scarlet fever, diphtheria, and dysentery. The death rate of children less than 1 year of age also dropped from 100 per 1,000 live births to 7 per 1,000 births!

The present board of health and commissioner are standing on the very strong shoulders of their community-minded colleagues from the past. They are also being cheered by their public-health friends from around the state of Ohio.

STEVE ROBERTS

Westbourne Road

Lloyd Mahaffey, director of the United Auto Workers' western region, is wrong. Toledo Hospital did not perform any unfair practices during the recent union campaign. As a matter of fact, the U.A.W. representatives themselves were campaigning within the hospital, long before hospital administration offered another view to the employees.

As a 15-year employee of the hospital, I too, strongly considered representation by the U.A.W. Although the union may bargain for increased retirement benefits and wages, the conditions of employment and management structure will not change.

Hospital administrators offered a series of meetings to the employees to answer questions about collective bargaining and the U.A.W. itself. The employees were presented with facts and figures. The U.A.W. representatives were present at various locations throughout the campus, handing out literature, buttons, tote bags, etc. Employees were called at home, sent union cards to their homes, and received visits to their homes by the U.A.W. representatives.

The meetings offered by the hospital were suggested, although not mandatory. Who was unfair?

The voters turned down the U.A.W. in a secret-ballot vote, a legal process, hardly “unfair” to anyone. It's unfortunate Bob Duvendack, respiratory therapist, found it necessary to put sexist blame on the election results. Perhaps he should have worked in a more “masculine” environment, the last 30 years. Face it gentlemen, in a democratic process, someone/something does not get voted in.

TAMI CAMPBELL, RN/EMT

Perrysburg

Thank you for printing Robin Erb's April 10 story about the Juvenile Court's Family Drug Court. She captured the drama and the mystery that enables many of our people to overcome difficult and complicated circumstances and achieve the return of their children into a safe and supportive home.

There are “behind the scenes” events taking place also. They are not as interesting as the events on Thursday afternoons, but without them we would not have a Family Drug Court.

The Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Service in the persons of Mike Stringer and Joanie Moore alerted us to an availability of grant money for the creation of a drug court. That money trained us and pays for much of the treatment that people receive. ODADAS has provided ongoing support and assistance. Their encouragement has kept us going through some difficult times.

The Lucas County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services in the person of Jay Salvage have been leaders in making assessment on demand and treatment on demand a reality. TASC, Compass, SASI, Fresh Attitudes, and Unison have brought a “can do” attitude to the table, as has the Aurora House. Mental heath has stepped up to help with persons who have a dual diagnoses. Finally, were it not for Lucas County Children Services, we could not function. Dean Sparks authorized the creation of a unit whose caseworkers have only Family Drug Court clients.

The commitment those people and organizations have made is outstanding.

JAMES RAY

Administrative Judge

Lucas County Juvenile Court

In response to the woman who wrote a letter in the Readers' Forum April 10 concerning the abusive behavior of a few African Priests: It is always amazing to me how feminists will use any deplorable incident to promote their degenerate agenda.

There is no such thing as a “right” to ordination or “equal opportunities in the leaderships in the church.” There is no offense to their dignity by exclusion for which they have no conceivable right.

Jesus Christ made his choice for his church. The church has ratified it. There will never be any change.

MARTIN LAPORTE

Shasta Drive



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