Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
In a stunning and wholly unexpected turn of events, Swarthmore’s Friends Historical Library, a collection housed in McCabe and established just two years after the College, has issued an official statement of secession and violent declaration of war on all campus libraries. In language strangely reminiscent of Daily Jolt threads, curator Chris Densmore confessed to perpetrating the infamous McCabe Swiper incidents earlier in the year and outlined several demanding, if not outrageous, requests including but not limited to “our own crib” and “a decade’s worth of Fig Newtons and weak tea.”
A DG reporter bravely ventured deep into McCabe basement to find Densmore’s current stakeout (fashioned out of carrels) for an interview. “We knew, before getting into this, that things could get ugly and we’re prepared,” Densmore says, adding that the feud had been “a long time coming.” When asked whether the move directly contradicted the FHL collection’s stated scholarly mission of studying pacifist Quaker history, Densmore snorted and slickly replied with “pacifism, schmacifism.”
Other members of the FHL staff, of course, agreed, condoning the sudden behavior as necessary to “show McCabe we mean business.” “Besides,” shrugs archivist Susanna Morikawa, “we never said we were role models.” So far, the Friends forces have taken a hold of the Reserves section, DVDs with titles beginning with L – T, and nearly all of the private study rooms. Peace Collection librarians work in fear, but McCabe librarians have kept invasion at bay otherwise.
Staffers are now on high alert for further indications of trouble. Access & Lending Services Specialist, Linda Hunt, admits that the possibility of further infighting does exist. “We are now keeping our eyes on Cornell. Ever since hours were extended for McCabe but not Cornell, we’ve felt a little tension. We don’t want to end up fighting on two fronts.”
Both parties are attempting to court various members of the consortium to form alliances, rally support, and build resources. Several Haverford librarians declined to comment among much stifled laughter while worried Mawrtyrs are currently consulting the honor code for further direction on the matter. So far, only the Penn libraries have vowed to remain neutral though it is vastly expected that the home of the “Fighting Quakers” (not a joke) will ultimately lend support to FHL.
One polisci professor says the recent outbreak of fighting is an excellent example of the social deprivation theory which “suggests that a deprivation of resources, in this case Rice Krispie treats served nightly at 10 PM, leads to frustration which ultimately explodes in aggression.” This tentative explanation was tempered with the fact that long-term empirical studies on the politics of warring libraries have never really been done before.
For now, students are waiting in suspense for the outcome of the battle. The Daily Gazette will continue to report on the situation as it breaks.