I get mail from Sandy Berman almost once a week. In envelopes with interesting stamps and adorned with rubber stamped images, he sends a pile of photocopied news articles, printed out web pages and cc’ed letters that he’s sent to the Library of Congress, to Barbara Tillett specifically. In his ongoing quest for LCSH reform — continuing even after his forced retirement from Hennepin County Library system — Sandy keeps up a regular correspondence with Tillett, the chief of the LoC’s Cataloging Policy and Support Office. Some of these letters are amusing, all of them are good reading. Tillett writes back.
Rory Litwin of Library Juice has interviewed her for the Library Juice blog, where they discuss cataloging reform, God, Zionism and, of course, Sandy Berman.
Most of our correspondence contains helpful and constructive suggestions – what criticism we receive is simply not as he characterizes it. There is no onslaught of letters and emails and faxes from outraged librarians or researchers. For the most part, public criticism comes from Mr. Berman or other individuals he has urged to write to us. We’re more inclined to react favorably to constructive suggestions than to coercive techniques such as petitions, hostile articles in the library literature, emotional attacks, or letters of complaint to members of Congress. Methods such as these are almost always counterproductive, whereas more cooperative and positive approaches usually produce good results.