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Memories of Powell
What Price Glory?

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Spring 1997
Memories of Powell
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When I came here in 1955, psychological journals were kept in a locked cage in Powell with pornographic literature and other such "risque" materials. You had to sign out a key if you wanted to get to the journals. I think anything that used the word "sex" was locked up in there. -- Wendell Jeffrey, professor emeritus, Psychology Department

My great-grandfather, Charles Henry Rieber, was the first dean of what was then the School of Letters and Science. When I came to UCLA, I went to the card catalog in Powell Library to see what I could find under his name. There was something there! That really made me feel my connection to UCLA. -- Ann Rieber Plauzoles '67

Students have connected through Powell to UCLA in innumerable ways over the years. Now, with the renovation, there is the opportunity for making new kinds of electronic connections to the university. The upgraded and updated Powell is home to the College Library Instructional Computing Commons (CLICC) and four interactive media classrooms, which together provide more than 200 computer workstations. Throughout the library, 500 study carrels are wired to provide network connections and Internet linkups for students' laptop computers. It's a far cry from the technology available during my days in Powell: We thought doing ORION database book searches was practically "Star Wars" stuff.

But no amount of technology will ever alter the perception of Powell as one of UCLA's most potent and venerable symbols. Which, of course, puts the library at serious risk every November during the week of the USC-UCLA football game.

Powell is a tough-to-resist target for Trojan pranksters, as I learned one crisp fall day in 1982. I arrived at the library to find that crickets -- hundreds and hundreds of them -- had been let loose in the book stacks that morning by stealthy USC operatives. Imagine trying to study against the background sounds of a highly agitated mob of crickets. The campus Pest Control crew did their best to round them all up, but for weeks afterward, you could still hear the discomforting chirps of renegade insects in the stacks.

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