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This information taken from Library Juice

Sanford Berman's appeal to colleagues, some background

Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 10:31:21 -0600 (CST)
From: Sandy Berman <sberman@sun.hennepin.lib.mn.us>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun@ala1.ala.org >
cc: srrtac-l@ala.org
MIME-Version: 1.0
Reply-To: sberman@sun.hennepin.lib.mn.us
Sender: owner-alacoun@ala1.ala.org

Dear Colleagues: MUCH-HONORED MINNESOTA CATALOGER DISCIPLINED FOR TALKING ABOUT CATALOGING! FREE SPEECH A "NO GO" INSIDE NATION'S 5TH-RANKED PUBLIC LIBRARY! These appear to be outlandish statements, the sort of wildly-fabricated headlines that have become hallmarks for "The Onion," a satirical tabloid. Except that they're true... Since a request for rescinding a reprimand issued to me on 2-8-99 has been denied, I now want it withdrawn with an apology for false accusation and wrongful discipline--plus firm guarantees that staff can freely address professional and policy issues without fear of reprisal... I'm appealing to members of the ALA Council and SRRT Action Council for help since I've been unable to secure justice by "following the rules" where I work. Want details? Let me have your mailing address, or write or call me at home: 4400 Morningside Road, Edina, MN 55416; 612-925-5738... With heartfelt thanks in advance for your assistance & support... sandy berman

        Sanford Berman             sberman@sun.hennepin.lib.mn.us 
        Hennepin County Library    phone: 612-694-8570 
        12601 Ridgedale Drive        fax: 612-541-8600 
        Minnetonka, MN  55305 

To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l@ala.org>
Subject: Hennepin County Library Becomes OCLC Member (fwd)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Reply-To: srrtac-l@ala.org
Sender: owner-srrtac-l@ala.org

this doesn't sound like sandy is in trouble. what's up?

A. Ralph Papakhian, Indiana University Music Library
Bloomington, IN 47405 812/855-2970 papakhi@indiana.edu
co-owner: MLA-L@listserv.indiana.edu

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 14:39:42 -0500
From: "Makssour,Marifay" <makssoum@OCLC.ORG>
Subject: Hennepin County Library Becomes OCLC Member

Nita Dean +1-614-761-5002


DUBLIN, Ohio, March 1, 1999--The Hennepin County Library, known for its commitment to advancement in the field of subject headings, has become an OCLC member.

For years, the Minnetonka, Minnesota, library has been a leader in this field, particularly among public libraries, and Hennepin is now, because of its extensive subject heading listings, often described as the envy of many in the library community.

Much of the library's success can be attributed to Sanford Berman, the esteemed head cataloger at the Hennepin County Library. Throughout his more than 30-year career--with 25 years spent at Hennepin--Mr. Berman worked to expand and transform the Library of Congress (LC) standardized subject headings. His efforts have helped to eliminate many biased and racist headings from LC's subject headings, and to build the Hennepin County Library into what it represents today.

MINITEX, the OCLC-affiliated U.S. regional network that provides services to libraries in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, is pleased with the library's decision to join OCLC.

"Hennepin County's joining OCLC will enhance resource sharing throughout the three-state region and will add to the MINITEX database of bibliographic records in OCLC," said William DeJohn, director, MINITEX Library Information Network. "Having Hennepin County Library in OCLC will greatly assist library staffs as well as library users to know what they hold in their collections. We're particularly pleased by OCLC's efforts to support the existing collaboration between Hennepin County and NoveList, which will benefit other OCLC members by making Hennepin's subject headings available for use."

Hennepin County's use rate is one of the highest in the country, with the number of visits to its libraries totaling more than 4.5 million, and the number of books and other materials borrowed at more than 10 million. The public library system serves 700,000-plus suburban Minneapolis residents through three area libraries, 23 community libraries, one Readmobile and outreach services. Three Hennepin County Library staff members--Mr. Berman, Charles M. Brown, library director, and Gretchen Wronka, youth services coordinator--currently serve on the American Library Association's 175-member governing council.

Elizabeth Feinberg, manager, Collection and Bibliographic Services for Hennepin County Library, cites a changing environment and the desire to share Hennepin's unique approach as the impetus for joining OCLC.

"The time was right for this collaboration, and we are all very excited about the opportunities that this new relationship with OCLC will bring about for us at Hennepin County, and for the rest of the library community," she said.

Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, OCLC Online Computer Library Center is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization whose computer network and services link more than 33,000 libraries in 67 countries and territories. OCLC is dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs.

In the United States, more information is available via telephone (+1-614-764-6000 or 1-800-848-5878) or via e-mail (oclc@oclc.org). In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, contact the OCLC Europe office, located in Birmingham, United Kingdom (+44 121 456 4656). In Asia and the Pacific region, contact the OCLC Asia Pacific office in Dublin, Ohio (phone: +1-614-764-6189 or fax: +1-614-764-4331). In Canada, contact the OCLC Canada office in Montreal, Quebec (+1-450-658-6583 or 1-888-658-6583). In Latin America and the Caribbean, contact the OCLC Latin America and the Caribbean office in Dublin, Ohio (phone: +1-614-761-5196 or fax: +1-614-718-1026).

More information about OCLC, its affiliated U.S. regional networks, international divisions and distributors is available on the OCLC Web site http://www.oclc.org/. (JI/ND)


Date: Mon, 01 Mar 1999 15:43:22 -0600
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l@ala.org>
From: Kim Edson <kedson@selco.lib.mn.us>
Subject: Re: Hennepin County Library Becomes OCLC Member (fwd)
Mime-Version: 1.0
Reply-To: srrtac-l@ala.org
Sender: owner-srrtac-l@ala.org

Well, if you receive additional documentation, you will see that HCL restricted him from making revisions to this documents (revisions that were requested of him by OCLC). Further, HCL would not entertain his wish to have references to his name removed given that his revisions were ignored and that he did not wish to have inaccurate information associated with his name.

Most importantly, however, is that the revisions he suggested were supportive, useful revisions that helped clarify cataloging efforts at HCL and in no way were they suggestions that indicated lack of support for the OCLC program.

Sandy, do you wish to add more.


Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 07:44:42 -0600 (CST)
From: Sandy Berman <sberman@sun.hennepin.lib.mn.us>
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l@ala.org>
Subject: Re: Hennepin County Library Becomes OCLC Member (fwd)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Reply-To: srrtac-l@ala.org
Sender: owner-srrtac-l@ala.org

Ralph & Everyone: "Sandy" was askeds by the OCLC NEWSLETTER about 2 nweeks ago to approve or correct the text of an article on HCL's OCLC membership slated for the Jan./Feb. issue. I submitted a number of corrections & additions, solely to the passages dealing with me and cataloging, in order to make the report fuller & more accurate. Those recommended changes were ignored by order of my immediate supervisor, who NEVER consulted mwith me on the matter. A case, I think, of rank & arrogant censorship. In short, my name & reputation I believe are being (ab)used for purposes that actually contradict what we have achieved in nearly 30 years of cataloging innovation & reform. One stated reason--incredible as it may appear--is "globalization." We need to stop being a "small town library" & go global by conforming to often irrevelant & dysfunctional "standards." Aaaahh.... sandy

        Sanford Berman             sberman@sun.hennepin.lib.mn.us 
        Hennepin County Library    phone: 612-694-8570 
        12601 Ridgedale Drive        fax: 612-541-8600 
        Minnetonka, MN  55305 


Mitch Freedman's appeal to Colleagues for Sanford Berman

Date: Tue, 02 Mar 1999 13:11:43 -0500
From: "Maurice J. Freedman" <freedman@wls.lib.ny.us>
X-Accept-Language: en
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l@ala.org>
CC: sdimattia@cahners.com
Subject: Sandy Berman, the Hennepin County Library & OCLC
Reply-To: srrtac-l@ala.org
Sender: owner-srrtac-l@ala.org

To Whom It May Concern:

The following statement is in response to two occurrences:

1. A very public statement and documents publicly distributed by Sandy Berman, Head Cataloger at the Hennepin County Library, that indicated how he was being 'reprimanded' for expressing his professional views. Sandy believes that he is on a disciplinary path that seems headed toward termination. It is hard to conclude otherwise from the documentation. (Anyone interested in viewing the documents should contact Sandy directly. His e-mail address is listed above.)

Based on statements made to Mr. Berman and others by HCL management, Sandy believes that the Hennepin County Library is in the process of ending Hennepin's innovative cataloging policies of enhancing, altering and otherwise upgrading LC/MARC records--certainly from the perspective of library users and information desk staff.

2. HCL has decided to join OCLC. OCLC issued a press release that announced Hennepin's decision and extolled the value of HCL's catalog records, particularly the subject cataloging, and Sandy Berman. (Note: Among other awards and recognition, Sandy won the highest award ALA has for catalogers, the Margaret Mann Citation, for the work he has done.)

The occasion for the following statement was the juxtaposition of Sandy's very public response to what was happening to him at Hennepin, and the glowing compliments by the OCLC press release (see below). On a listserv where some discussion of Sandy's plight was already being discussed, a question was asked, 'how can Sandy be in trouble at the same time he is being so highly praised?'

The following statement is a revised version of the original response I sent to that e-mail question. My discussion also includes business considerations based on information supplied to me by Sandy and assumptions--clearly labeled as such--that bear on the overall situation.


"This is a scream. "Hennepin is in the process of shutting down the unique, progressive, socially sensitive and, most importantly, user-oriented cataloging that Sandy has been doing since 1973. Hennepin is building up a case to fire him for speaking against automatic acceptance of LC names, and probably in the not-too-distant future, ditto on the LC subject headings and the overall LC cataloging record.

"This advocacy and the operational implementation of it in Hennepin's catalog is precisely what got Hennepin the acclaim it so richly has deserved and the OCLC press release proclaims. And it is precisely this advocacy--a letter Sandy wrote to another Twin Cities professional--that is being used to discipline and threaten him for exercising his professional responsibilities, namely, advocating what he thinks is most professionally sound.

"Typically, such lockstep adherence to LC in the context of membership in OCLC is the foundation for lowering cataloging costs, and replacing librarian catalogers with paraprofessionals to do so-called 'copy-cataloging'. In this context it would be hard to see any long-term objective other than this on Hennepin's part.

"The irony and dishonesty of such an approach here by Hennepin is that Hennepin will have to save a lot of money because of all of the money it would lose by such a decision. NoveList, according to Sandy, is paying Hennepin between $80,000 and $100,000 per year in royalties for the cataloging that comes out of Sandy's department. The alleged cost-savings from de-professionalizing cataloging will eliminate the royalties either immediately or over time, and may never equal the royalty income Hennepin receives today and that will be lost eventually. (The last statement is speculative, but it is based on library practices once the implications of OCLC membership were appreciated by cost-cutting administrators.)

"And presumably, the business decision by Hennepin to turn over its demonstrably valuable database to OCLC so that OCLC can sell it to every library hungry for good cataloging, boggles the mind. OCLC will make the money and, presumably, give NOTHING to Hennepin for its records being used, i.e. no royalties.

"And I don't know if it's true in this case, but the standard process for a library joining OCLC is for that library to pay OCLC to load its file of catalog records.

"So, Hennepin, in all probability, is paying OCLC to take its valuable database and thus permit OCLC to sell it over and over again for further revenue. At the same time Hennepin seems to be planning to kill the goose that laid the golden egg of royalty revenues by removing what was unique about Hennepin's cataloging.

"All of which is why all of this applause about OCLC's loading Hennepin's records is a scream.

"Whoever is in charge of OCLC, if he or she thinks this through clearly, will tell the people at Hennepin to leave Sandy alone and encourage him to stay at Hennepin forever. OCLC will have a stream of cataloging records that will uniquely enrich its database and which OCLC can repackage and resell at will, not just to NoveList but to every commercial vendor in the country. (I am not privy to OCLC's intentions, plans, or how it redistributes records under its control, but, again, the previous statement reflects what could be a profitable business decision on OCLC's part.)

"Of course, all of the foregoing presumes that if OCLC loads Hennepin's records, OCLC will make Hennepin's records available for its customer libraries to copy. Presumably OCLC would not match the Hennepin records against LC/MARC records and simply attach HCL's holding to the LC/MARC record. In the latter case Hennepin's valuable cataloging will disappear from view and use by OCLC catalogers. This latter alternative wouldn't be consistent with the hosannas and praise OCLC lavished on the Hennepin database. But since one is not privy to OCLC's decision-making, one can only presume.

"Despite the exultant tones of the press release, OCLC--if Hennepin's management continues on what appears to be its current course--will find that its valuable acquisition will steadily lose its value as the slavishly-adhered to LC cataloging comes out of a Berman-less catalog department.

"And library users, everywhere, will suffer, too."


"I will state my personal interest. I am a close friend of Sandy's. I hired Sandy to work at Hennepin in 1973 when I was head of technical services at HCL (1969-1974). Wholly aside from the blatant stupidity and malice underlying Hennepin's treatment of Sandy and the overall direction in which Hennepin's management seems to be taking cataloging, I take it personally that Hennepin is destroying the policy that I established as head of technical services at Hennepin County Library (and to his eternal credit, Bob Rohlf, the director of Hennepin at the time, approved and sustained long after I was gone and until Bob's retirement a few years ago.)

"Lastly, Sandy recommended to Hennepin's management that it use me as a consultant to negotiate a better deal for Hennepin than just turning over its valuable database to OCLC and, presumably, to pay the per record charges get it loaded onto OCLC. Sandy's suggestions never received a response."


Dr. Maurice J. Freedman 
Director                                    (914) 674-3600 x223 
Westchester Library System      fax: (914) 674-4185 
410 Saw Mill River Road          freedman@wls.lib.ny.us 
Ardsley, New York 10502       Web site: http://www.wls.lib.ny.us 


Bibliographic record to 1995 festchrift for Sanford Berman

TITLE       Everything you always wanted to know about Sandy Berman but 
            were afraid to ask / edited by Chris Dodge and Jan DeSirey; 
            with a foreword by Bill Katz. 
PUB. INFO.  Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, c1995. 
DESCRIPT    ix, 179 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 23 cm. 
NOTE        Includes bibliographical references and index. 
SUBJECT     Berman, Sanford, 1933- 
            Librarians -- United States -- Biography. 
            Subject cataloging -- United States. 
ADD AUTHOR  Dodge, Chris. 
            DeSirey, Jan. 
            Berman, Sanford, 1933- 
CONTENTS    Foreword / Bill Katz -- Introduction, Part I / Jan DeSirey -- 
            Introduction, Part II / Chris Dodge -- A man for all subjects / 
            Mark Pendergrast -- The Berman brigade : Sandy Berman, Army 
            Special Services Librarian, Germany / James Caccavo -- The 
            sound of one sandal flapping / John Held, Jr. -- Homage to the 
            Berman-librarian / John Yewell -- A tribute from a progressive 
            librarians guild cofounder / Elaine Harger -- Those days at 
            U.C.L.A. / Fay M. Blake -- A man for all seasons / E.J. 
            Josey -- Information freeway builder / Zoia Horn -- Advocate 
            for sexual freedom and the alternative press / Daniel C. 
            Tsang -- Female masturbation, see also Hairdryers / Martha 
            Cornog and Timothy Perper -- Painting a portrait / Jeannie 
            Kamins -- A tribute from West Virginia / Yvonne Farley -- The 
            better for his courtesy / Noel Peattie -- Mr. Berman, I 
            presume? Nope, just Sandy.. / Jim Dwyer -- Sandy Berman-- 
            R.I.P. / Will Manley -- Is Sandy a true bibliosmile? / Norman 
            D. Stevens -- Pancho and Lefty / Steve Fankuchen -- Your mole 
            in LC : two letters / Saul Schniderman -- An African genesis / 
            Hans E. Panofsky -- Behind the boerewors curtain / Christopher 
            Merrett -- Catalog shopping / Jenny Tobias -- Troubled waters / 
            Chris Dodge -- The quality of life / Polly Mann -- The joy of 
            Berman / Rosalie Maggio -- I have a friend in Minnesota / 
            Marjorie Greenfield -- Cartoon / Steve Willis -- Bibliography 
            of works by Sanford Berman -- Bibliography of works about 
            Sanford Berman -- Appendices. 	

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