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Printable information sheet to attach to "The Booker"
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Sunday, 15 April 2012
Pennsylvania, United States
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The Mission of this Travel Bug is to go to Libraries all over the United States. Take a picture of this bookmark with your favorite book, or at your local Library. Tell us about an exciting book you have just read. Most of all remember in your prayers Keith Gordon. ...."The Booker"
Henry David Thoreau is quoted as saying, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams", He very well could have been referring to Keith Gordon, AKA "The Booker". I first met Keith on my way to a cache in the Ebensburg Area, I don't remember the cache name, but I will never forget meeting this man. Of course, after introducing himself, I then had the pleasure of meeting "Rover". Rover was a walking stick that had the head of a dog carved on the handle, he went every where with Keith. He told me Rover was great companion and didn't eat much. We found that cache with a little indecision, of course Keith was right, and we stood and talked for sometime. He told me he was retired from the Altoona Library which would explain the "Bookmarkers" that he always placed in the caches he visited. Little did we know how influential this humble man was to his profession. I have included in this post a letter to the editor printed in "The Altoona Mirror" ...reprinted with permission by the author Deborah Weakland.
Gordon showed ‘behind scenes greatness’
April 11, 2012
The Altoona Mirror
I read the modest obituary in the Altoona Mirror for Keith Gordon last week and realized what a humble man he was.
I felt a strong need to say something about this extraordinary man who spent his professional career always in the background but so important to both his colleagues and the public even though they didn't know he was there.
Keith was the director of the Aliquippa Library and worked in New York City before he came to the Altoona Area Public Library in 1970. For 28 years he selected, collected, classified, catalogued and directed the staff who prepared and shelved every piece of material made available to the public from the collection of the Altoona Area Public Library.
Shortly after he began working in Altoona the earliest signs of library automation started to sweep the country.
Keith became a pioneer in 1971 when Altoona joined an automated consortium called OCLC which planned to create a database of the collections of Libraries throughout Ohio and its contiguous States.
Today the OCLC database contains billions of library records throughout the world. While creating a library database of all of Altoona's new acquisitions Keith also began a retrospective conversion of the existing collection.
The process spanned over a decade and culminated in an automated system for cataloging, circulation and public access in 1986.
This remarkable scholar with an eidetic memory gave his total professional attention to making the collection accessible of the Altoona Area Public Library for everyone and as broadly inclusive in content and format as was available at the time.
Every day we celebrate fame and fortune fleeting though it may be. We should also take time to celebrate true greatness behind the scenes that make many things possible without fanfare or accolades.
Keith was part of the heart and soul of the institution that today is the Altoona Area Public Library.
Deborah A. Weakland
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