Reflections on my 1998 US Tour
June 22-July 19, 1998, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles
Fe Angela M. Verzosa
From June 20 until July 20, I have traveled from the west coast to the east coast and back, visiting
libraries in Los Angeles (June 22), attending the ALA Conference in Washington, D.C. (June 25-30),
visiting libraries/archives/museums in Washington, D.C. (June 24-30), La Salle University in
Philadelphia (July 1-3), visiting libraries and museums/historic sites in New York City (July 4-10), and
more historic places of interest in the cities of San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles, California
(July 11-19). Visited were six university libraries (University of California in Los Angeles, California
State University, Georgetown University, La Salle University, Villanova University, and New York
University), two public libraries (Alexandria Public Library and New York Public Library), one high
school library (St. John’s College), one special research library (The Dumbarton Oaks Library under
Harvard University) and three great national institutions, the Library of Congress, the National Archives,
and the Metropolitan Museum. For religious institutions, I visited the Basilica of the Immaculate
Conception, the Washington National Cathedral, and Christ Church in Alexandria; Old St. Mary’s and
St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia; St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity Church, and St. Paul’s Chapel in New York;
the Cathedral in Tijuana, Mexico, and the Basilica in San Francisco City. For places of interest, the
California Missions served as my “piece du resistance.” Everything else was just icing on the cake.
The ALA 1998 Annual Conference
The 1998 Annual Conference of the American Library Association was held at the Washington
Convention Center in the heart of the D.C. (District of Columbia) area. The theme of this year’s
conference was: “Global reach…local touch”. Officially, the conference began on June 25 and ended
July 2. Expected to attend were some 20,000 local and international librarians, and about 1,400
exhibitors. The week-long affair as promised was filled with exciting tours, lively presentations,
educating seminars, and a dazzling exhibition of the latest trends in library products, materials, services,
and cutting-edge technology.
On June 24 (a day after I arrived), I joined a tour of the White House with international librarians from
nine US embassies and information/ cultural centers. I also made a self-guided walking tour of old town
Alexandria, its historic buildings(Lee Boyhood Home, Ramsay House, Carlyle House, Lloyd’s House,
Gadsby’s Tavern, and the Lyceum museums, Christ Church, and the oldest public library in Alexandria).
In the afternoon, I had another self-guided walking tour of Dupont Circle and took pictures of Sheridan’s
Statue, some embassy buildings, and great mansions. I also visited the home of Woodrow Wilson, the
only President who lived in Washington, D.C. and died there. His remains are enshrined at the
Washington National Cathedral. The Cathedral is the sixth largest in the world, and probably the last of
pure Gothic architecture. Its central tower is the highest point in Washington (676 ft above sea level).
On June 25 (Thursday), the International Relations Round Table and International Relations Committee
of ALA sponsored half-day pre-conferences on global learning. I left the conference early to visit
Georgetown University, particularly its library. The country’s first Catholic institution of higher
learning, Georgetown was founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll and in the early 19 th century, it
was turned over to the Jesuit Fathers. Its University Archives is among the oldest in the US, second only
to Harvard. Its Special Collections Room houses an unparalleled collection of institutional and historic
manuscripts. Its library (of more than 2M volumes) is fully automated (the system is called “George”)
and some computers in the lobby are touch-operated.
A self-guided walking tour of Georgetown led me to the Old Stone House (the oldest surviving structure
built in 1765 on its original lot in the Federal City), St. John’s Church (where Jefferson was a parishioner
and Francis Scott Key was a vestryman), the house where Jack and Jackie Kennedy lived before his
presidency, the Tudor Place, a Dumbarton Avenue House (believed to be a ghost house), and
Dumbarton Oaks ( a Federal style building with a 10-acre formal garden, now owned by Harvard
University). Its Library holds a special and rare collection of more than 100,000 volumes of research
materials on Byzantine studies, history of landscape architecture, and pre-Columbian art. Its museum
exhibits the best of Byzantine and pre-Columbian art.
The next day (Friday) was an orientation for international visitors for a better understanding on what to
select from 3,500 meetings/panels/lectures (scattered in 26 venues) and on how to take advantage of the
sites and other cultural events in Washington, D.C. At noon, I had lunch with Bro. Edward Gallagher,
Director of St. John’s College (at Military Road, Chevy Chase), the only La Salle school in Washington,
which was founded in the mid-19th century. It was a military school for a long time before it turned co-
ed. On the way back, I made a walking tour of Arlington Cemetery, visiting the gravesite of the
Kennedys, the tomb of Pierre Charles L’Enfant (the designer of the capital city), and the Arlington
House (home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee).
June 27 (Saturday) was the opening day of the ALA exhibition. The ALA exhibits are unchallenged as
the largest and most comprehensive library educational exhibition in the United States. An exhibit fee of
$ 10 is required for admission to the Exhibition areas which consisted of two levels or floors in the
spacious Washington Convention Center. Among the booths I visited included the following:
Ameritech Library Services (for its Dynix and latest softwares)
Library of Congress (for free copies of some publications, mostly on copyright)
H.W. Wilson and ERIC (for latest CD products)
Films for the Humanities and Sciences (for our orders on the Great Philosopher Series, etc.)
OCLC (Online Computer Library Center)
CARL Corp/Uncover and BLACKWELLS (for its Document Delivery System)
British Library Document Supply Centre (also for its DDS)
R.R. Bowker, Grolier Publishing Company, Barnes and Noble, and other major publishers
University presses such as Columbia, Howard, Johns Hopkins, Cambridge and Oxford
SilverPlatter Information Inc. and OVID Technologies
Library Computer System companies such as GEAC, Innovative Interfaces Inc., VTLS, SIRS, and
Library furniture/products suppliers such as BRODART, GAYLORD, DEMCO, 3M,
Security systems products such as Checkpoint Systems, Barcode Systems,
In the afternoon of June 27, I sat in a panel discussion on “Fair Use---a Value in the Digital Age?” A
panel of experts (legal, librarians from a consortium, and an author on copyright) tackled the issue as it
applies to electronic information. This was followed by a tour of Washington’s Mall, starting from
Ford’s Theater (which is a close distance from Washington Convention Center) where Lincoln was shot,
and the house opposite it where he died. I visited the National Archives and viewed its permanent
exhibitions, took the elevator of the Washington monument to have a breath-taking view of the city,
climbed the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, walked to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, until I
reached the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Some of these buildings are undertaking some renovations.
Sunday, a day of rest, began with a mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (which has the
largest collection of contemporary Christian art in the U.S.), followed by visit to the Holocaust
the Smithsonian Festival at the Mall, and a tour of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, passing
by the Washington Harbour and the Watergate Complex. There is a free performance at six o’clock for
the general public, and a prime rib dinner at the Encore Café capped the day’s event.
On June 29, Monday, I sat in three panel meetings: “The College Connection,” “Knowledge
Visualization: a picture is worth a thousand words,” and “Diversity and Demographics: are we prepared
for the 21st century?” The first topic covers bibliographic instruction: what are we teaching college
students, and do they need what we teach. The second is on the optimum use of visual interfaces in order
to help users better navigate the flood of information through automated systems. The last one is more
on demographics of the workforce, particularly academic librarianship.
June 29 also was a half-day afternoon tour of the Library of Congress, both the Thomas Jefferson and the
James Madison buildings, and a special evening international reception at its main lobby. I took the time
to view the permanent exhibits (e.g. “American Treasures”, selected rare items from its collection) and
two ongoing exhibitions at the Thomas Jefferson Building (“Religion and the Founding of the American
Republic,” and “The Thomas Jefferson Building: Book Palace of the American People”). The Library’s
online resources already include more than 26 million records of books, music, mss., texts and images,
etc. The Library administers THOMAS, a www server which provides access to information about
Congress, including text of resolutions and bills. It is now embarked on a 5-year project to link resources
of major libraries and museums with LC’s own collections.
June 30 was spent at the Internet Café of the Washington Convention Center, a last minute visit to the
ALA Exhibition, lunch at the World Bank, and a trip to the Union Station to take an AMTRAK train
bound for Philadelphia.
At La Salle University (a 100-acre campus), I stayed at the Christian Brothers Residence Hall and had an
acquaintance dinner on June 30 with eleven brothers: Andrew Bartley (the Director of the community),
Emery Mollenhauer (Provost/VP, and editor of the Sesquicentennial Yearbook), Fred Stehlmach (former
grade school principal), Joseph Grabenstein (the Archivist), Thomas Warner (former Librarian), Joseph
Willard (who works at the Diocese), Bosco Truong (Vietnamese Brother student), John Owens (the
Guestmaster of the House), Daniel Burke (former President and presently the Art Gallery Director), Carl
Clayton, and Bro. Arthur Bangs (who is a Counseling Psychology faculty and plays the organ during
mass). For the next three days, I had breakfast, lunch and dinner with the same group, and attended early
morning mass with them (except Friday, a holiday, when the mass was held before lunch).
Connelly Library, a four-story airconditioned building, was inaugurated in August 1988. It has a
collection of 300,000 books, 1400 periodical titles, and 40,000 microforms. Its Special Collections
Room houses a collection of books and mss. on the Japanese Tea Ceremony, 19th century ornamental
gardening, and imaginative literature on Vietnam War. It has seats for more than 1000 readers, fifteen
group study rooms, three seminar rooms, computers for word processing, and a lounge where smoking,
food and beverages are allowed, equipped with comfortable chairs, vending machines, lockers, and pay
phones. Online services provide searching over 300 databases online or on cds. Specially equipped
carrels are available for individual multimedia viewing, and viewing rooms (one for classroom, and the
other for small groups). The Archives is separately housed at the basement of the Brothers Residence
Hall. It contains both the archives of the University and the Baltimore District of the Christian Brothers.
The University Art Gallery is also at the basement of another building, the Olney Hall for the humanities
and social sciences. Established in 1976, it serves as a cultural resource for the university. Its permanent
collection of paintings, drawings, and sculpture on Western art is housed in period rooms (17th, 18th, 19th,
and 20th century), including Old Master artworks.
Bro. Andrew took me to old town Philadelphia in the afternoon of July 1. I joined a tour of
Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776), and made a self-
guided tour of the Liberty Bell, the City Hall (which was the first Supreme Court House), Congress Hall
(of the 1790s), Carpenter’s Hall (meeting place of the First Continental Congress), the First Bank of the
US (the oldest bank building in the US), Betsy Ross House (where Betsy sewed the first American flag),
the Arch Street Meeting House (home of the Friends or Quakers since 1693 on the land set aside by
William Penn), the Pemberton House (an Army-Navy Museum), an 18th century garden, St. Joseph’s
church (the first Roman Catholic Church in the city), Old St. Mary’s Church and cemetery (founded
1763), and Christ Church Cemetery (burial place of Benjamin Franklin).
The next day was spent at the Archives, where I helped Bro. Joe identify some pre-war photographs and
photocopied some materials for our own Archives. In the early afternoon, I visited the Art Gallery and
afterward, went back to the Library to take pictures. In the evening after supper, Bro. Joe took me to
Kinko’s to get good copies of 26 pictures we selected for donation to our Archives. On the way back, we
passed by Villanova University and visited its Library (which was open until 10:00 pm! And this is
summer!?!) It has a good Archives and Special Collections, and a Holy Grounds Coffee Shop!.
My last day (a non-working day) was spent in an early morning walk around an 8-acre historic garden
where the restored 18th century home of American portrait painter, Charles Wilson Peale, now serves as
the residence of the LSU President. I also visited the Japanese Tea Ceremony House in the farthest end
of the gardens. Bro. Joe took me to the railway station in the afternoon to catch the AMTRAK bound for
New York City.
DAZZLING NEW YORK CITY
I arrived at Penn Station in Madison Square Garden in New York on July 3 and stayed in a relatives’
apartment near Rego Park, Queens, until July 10, commuting everyday to Manhattan island by means of
its complicated subway system. July 4 was highlighted by a tour of South Street Seaport (between
Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges), watching street performers, and the Independence Day fireworks along
FDR Drive. The seaport is a 19th century port district, with historic ships open to the public, and plenty
of shops, restaurants, and pubs. All streets here are for pedestrians only.
The next two days were devoted to a walking tour of Central Park and Fifth Avenue all the way down to
Midtown Manhattan. I joined a guided tour of the New York Public Library (42nd and Fifth). I also
visited the Rockefeller Center (from 47th to 52nd streets), the world’s largest and privately-owned business
and entertainment complex, and viewed its open-air exhibition of Auguste Rodin’s famous sculptural
masterpieces at the sunken plaza. I went inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral (at Fifth and 50th), the seat of the
archdiocese of New York. Built in 1858, it is one of the finest Gothic structures in America. I took
pictures of the Marcos-owned Crown building, Empire State building (the famous 102-story structure),
the University Club (of the Ivy League schools), and the Trump Tower (a bronze glass tower containing
5 stories of boutiques and restaurants, and an 80-ft. waterfall).
Some facts/reflections on the New York Public Library. It is the oldest public library in the country, not
dependent on government support. It is one of the five great research libraries in the world. Its 200-year
old book conveyor system still works, delivering requested books in 30 minutes! CATNYP is its online
catalog for its research collections. It features changing exhibitions from its international collection of
prints and rare mss. I noted some very rare items on its present exhibit on the Spanish-American War in
1898, took pictures of the beautiful Periodicals Room, and the old drinking fountain. I sat on the front
steps to eat my packed lunch, where everybody eats their lunch, smoke or simply watch the pigeons and
July 7 (a Tuesday) was spent at Uptown Manhattan visiting museums: the Jewish Museum (Fifth and
92nd), Guggenheim Museum (Fifth and 89th), and Metropolitan Museum (Fifth and 82nd). The Jewish
Museum holds a permanent exhibition (“Culture and Continuity: the Jewish Journey ”) and ongoing
exhibits of American artist George Segal (a retrospective show of his paintings, sculptures, and
drawings), and French artist, Chaim Soutine (“An expressionist in Paris”). The Guggenheim Museum
specializes in modern painting, sculpture and graphic arts. Its unusual building was designed by Frank
Lloyd Wright. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s leading art museums and the
largest in the western hemisphere. Its collection runs from the ancient arts to the 20 th cent., including
famous masterpieces, such as those of Rembrandt, Rodin, Renoir, Manet, Monet, Degas, Vermeer, Van
Gogh, Gauguin, El Greco, Murillo, Velasquez, Reubens, etc. It was impossible to view all the exhibits. I
missed those of Asian Art, Chinese, Islamic, Japanese, Korean, South and Southeast Asian, and the
Robert Lehman Collection.
I went to the Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park the next morning. A branch of the Metropolitan Museum, this
building which stands on a hilltop, overlooking Hudson River, is built with parts coming from several
Medieval monasteries and chapels that were brought from Europe and rebuilt in this unusual structure,
stone by stone. It has an outstanding collection of Medieval art from 12 th to 15th centuries. It also has a
medieval garden of about 250 rare species of plants grown in the Middle Ages.
Thursday (June 9) was spent in lower Manhattan or Downtown, starting at Battery Park for a ferry cruise
of the Liberty and Ellis Islands . The famous landmark, Statue of Liberty, was a gift of France in
October 1886. Ellis Island is the immigration center from 1892 to 1954. From the islands, I took a
picture of the city’s skyline, with the towering World Trade Center (two 110 stories-high building) at the
focal center. Returning to the Park, I had a walking tour of Broadway Street, passing by such famous
sites as: Wall Street, Trinity Church (where Alexander Hamilton is buried), the New York Stock
Exchange, St. Paul’s Chapel (built in 1766), the City Hall (the seat of the municipal government since
1811, and one of the most beautiful buildings in America), Chinatown (where I had lunch), Soho, the
new art colony replacing Greenwich Village, which, however, remains famous because of quaint old
houses that have sheltered many famous artists and writers, Washington Arch (built in 1893), in
Washington Square, where I chanced upon the Main Library of New York University. Since the Library
was about to close, I just obtained some guides, leaflets, and other informational materials. The Library
is fully “wired”; its online resources (BobCat) are available on line or on cds. It has 2.6 M vols. and
12,000 periodical titles.
My last day was reserved for the Queens Botanical Garden, that sits on 39 acres of property in the heart
of Queens, not very far from our apartment. There is nothing much to see at Queens, except cemeteries
everywhere. It would seem that every New Yorker is buried at Queens. There were three boroughs I
missed in NY: the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. I hope someday to see their famous places of
interest. The only bridges I crossed were Queensboro, Triboro, and George Washington. In the
afternoon, we drove to La Guardia Airport, passing by the Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona
Park, the home of the champion New York Mets baseball team. I took a Northwest flight to Los Angeles,
arriving at about 10:30 p.m.
I think there is some truth to the song, “It never rains in Southern California…” In the East Coast, I
made it a habit to watch the early morning weather news, so I know if I need to bring my umbrella and
windbreaker. But in Los Angeles, all I needed was a light sweater for the chilly mornings and late
I began my tours of the California Missions (there were 21 in all, hoping to get at least half of them) last
June 21, accompanied by my father and my brother, at Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana, about an
hour’s drive from La Palma, where I was staying. But it was already closed when we got there, and all I
did was buy a tiny bronze bell as souvenir of my visit. In the early evening, I visited University of
California in Los Angeles (UCLA), took pictures of the Powell Library, the Student Union (Ackerman
Bldg), Royce Hall, Haines Hall, and other campus buildings. The campus libraries number to 28
including the Main (Powell Library) and the University Research Library.
The following day was a visit to California State University, its library, art gallery, etc. with my niece,
Teresa. Unfortunately, most of the buildings were closed, and many were under renovation. One thing
certain, these two university libraries are fully “wired”, because my niece who studies at CALSTATE
can access UCLA and borrow books from its Library.
So, when I got back on July 10, I mapped out a one-week sojourn to the California missions. The 21
missions that dot El Camino Real (highway 101) are California’s historic landmarks. In mid-18 th century,
the Spanish monarchy charged the Franciscan Order to secure the western shores of “Alta California”.
Each mission would be the beginning of a civilian town, the center of agricultural, religious, and social
activities. The padres were to be assisted by their converts, the native Indians, who, in return, will live,
eat, and be educated. Founder of the first ten missions was Fr. Junipero Serra. He was briefly succeeded
by Francisco Palou, who turned over the task immediately to Fr. Fermin de Lasuen. A trip from San
Diego to Sonoma (northernmost tip of San Francisco) is, therefore, a journey through time in
On July 11, the first visit was at Mission Sta. Barbara (10th in the chain),
the “queen of the missions”, and the only mission with two towers,
Romanesque in style. It has an archives-library which dates from the
mission’s founding (1782), housing all the indispensable records of the
California missions, including the largest known collection of sheet music
from the mission era. My brother took photos of my Dad and I sitting on
the steps of this grand church.
Not very far from Sta. Barbara is Mission Sta. Ines (founded in 1804, 19th
in the chain), in the heart of Solvang, a district settled by Danes. It is the
only structure with Mexican-Spanish style; the rest are quaint houses,
shops, inns, pubs and restaurants in Danish architecture. At Sta. Ines, the
first seminary in California was founded (1843). This seminary was once
managed by the Christian Brothers in 1877-1881.
The next visit was in La
Purisima (1787, 11th in the
chain), the most fully restored mission in its most original
setting. There are 37 rooms furnished in period style, amid
the ruins. It retains a section of the old foot-trail, El
Camino Real. Mission volunteers, called Prelados de los
Tesoros (Keepers of the Treasures) assume character roles,
dressed in period costumes, and serve as tour guides.
“contested” visit was San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (1772, 5th
in the chain), which has a unique belfry and vestibule.
Three bells hang from the openings directly above the
church entrance. The convento collonade has square
openings and round pillars, a style not used in other
missions. Also, pointed nails dot the trusses and beams to
prevent birds, mostly pigeons, from nestling inside and
scattering bird drops.
The last visit for the day was San Miguel Arcangel (1797, 16th in the chain), which boasts of one of the
better-preserved interiors, especially the church itself, with an all-seeing “eye of God” above the altar. It
was, however closed when we got there, so we just took pictures of the famous bell landmarks, and the
cannon cast in Spain in 1697. We arrived in San Francisco in the evening, and stayed in a small hotel.
The next day, a Sunday, began with a mass at the Basilica Mission Dolores in San Francisco, where the
sixth mission was founded in 1776, named after San Francisco de Asis. The original mission church is
the oldest intact building in the city. The reredos, or decorative altar, were crafted from Mexico in 1796.
The baptismal register dates from 1776. It has a museum containing precious artifacts, lithographs of the
California missions, the “revolving” tabernacle brought from the Philippines, and sacred items given by
Fr. Serra himself. Buried in its cemetery were the first governor of Alta California (Don Luis Arguello),
and the first mayor of San Francisco (Alcalde Francisco de Haro).
The next visit was in Mission San Juan Bautista (1797, 15th in the chain), the widest of the mission
churches, with three naves. It is also the only mission that sits on the San Andreas fault! And the church
has had an unbroken succession of padres from its foundation. The Spanish Plaza surrounding the
mission is the only original one remaining in California. The town square is a state historic park, with 3
dozen historic buildings.
San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo is considered the most beautiful of the missions (founded in 1770,
the 2nd in the chain). Its moorish tower holds 9 bells and above the church entrance is a star window. In
front of its beautiful altar are the remains of Fathers Serra, Crespi (his life-long friend), and Lasuen.
Padre Serra chose the best spot for his final resting place here because Carmel is one of the most scenic
places along the California Coast. There is a library of about 400 very rare items, the oldest library in
California! Its museum and gardens are well-maintained.
Since this was the last visit for the week-end, we decided to enjoy a scenic drive along the Big Sur
coastline (Highway One), south of Monterey. It is a 90-mile stretch of rugged and awesomely beautiful
shoreline between Carmel and San Simeon (where the Hearst Castle is). The spectacular, breathtaking
scenery of the Pacific coastline is also a most treacherous drive, with its sharp curves and steep hills.
This where the famous artist-writer Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer, of Capricorn, and the trilogy
Nexus, Plexus, and Sexus) once lived.
Monday, I arrived in San Diego with my father in the early afternoon, and stayed at my aunt’s apartment.
We went to Tijuana, Mexico the next morning. There we visited the cathedral, and bought some
souvenirs (cigarette case and a nice poncho). In the afternoon, we visited the San Diego de Alcala
Mission, the first mission (1769). The simple, austere facade of the church is complemented by a
beautiful campanille of 5 bells and a lovely garden. Its cemetery is the first in California. Its site
overlooks the harbor and Old Town San Diego, where we visited the Heritage Park. Nearby is the
Roman Catholic Cathedral of San Diego.
The second day was a visit at the Benedictine
Monastery (Prince of Peace), site of a retreat
house, and the “King of the Missions”, San
Luis Rey de Francia (1798, 18th in the chain).
The mission occupies the largest in area (6
acres), and until mid-18th cent., it was the
largest building in California. It is also one
of four missions still owned by the
Franciscans. Its museum houses the largest
collection of 18th-19th cent. Spanish
vestments in the US, and a well-preserved
statue of the Virgin Mary ca. 1770. It has a
lovely cemetery and a friary garden where
the first pepper tree in California still stands.
My last week-end was a visit to Mission San Juan Capistrano (1775, 7th in the chain), the “Jewel of the
Missions”, so-called because it is the best known. This is where the swallows (Las Golondrinas) come
back after a 2000-mile journey from their winter home in Central America arriving on March 19,
feastday of St. Joseph. The bells (two cast in 1796, and the other two in 1804) are still rung to signal
their coming. The Serra Chapel, the only surviving structure in California where Padre Serra was known
to have said mass (and the oldest building in California), has an altar with beautiful giltwork believed to
be 350 years old (brought from Barcelona). Other interesting sites are the outdoor furnaces for cooking,
tanning, soap-making, candle-making, etc. It has a museum, lovely gardens and fountains.
The eleven missions I have visited highlighted my California summer holiday. Other tours which served
as icing on the cake are separate trips to Pueblo Olveda, the old Mexican town site of Los Angeles,
Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theater where Hollywood legends mark their hands and feet on the
pavement, Griffith Observatory for a breath-taking view of the city, a cruise along Sunset Boulevard
down to Malibu Beach, and an early, chilly, silly, morning walk along Huntington Beach, not far from
Long Beach, where a sidewalk café serves good pancakes for breakfast.
After a hectic month of US tour, what else can I say? Some reflections about American culture:
• Just like DLSU, many US libraries located in downtown areas no longer enjoy the luxury of
space (e.g. George Washington U, Columbia U, New York U, UCLA, etc.). Scenic campuses
are those in suburbs like La Salle Philadelphia, CAL State U). Georgetown University, although
in the heart of DC area, is an exception. The decision to exclude it from the Metro subway
system is possibly one of the reasons why it has kept its 18th c. ambience.
• Digital technology is widely used, even in small high school libraries like St. John’s College in
Wash.D.C. and the Alexandria Public Library (using their own computerized library systems).
Of special interest are those in Georgetown U, LSU, Library of Congress and New York Public
• The book delivery system in the New York Public Library (more than 200 years old) still works.
Books for issuance arrive in less than 30 minutes!
• Georgetown U Archives is one of the oldest (about 200 years old).
• American culture is toilet-paper rich. Private and public toilets, even in public parks, railway
and bus terminals, etc. have an abundant constant supply. High technology is markedly visible
even in their water faucets.
• Smoke-free environments everywhere (inside houses, apartments, buildings, buses, trains,
subways, even non-airconditioned restaurants) created a tremendous pressure on my smoking
habit, thereby causing an indulgence for food and chocolates, and contributed to my over-
• You can live by a good American breakfast (like Denny’s)…Sustains you on your day’s travel.
• You do not need a car in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia. Subways will take you
• There are clean-up days in California suburbs--- streets are swept clean by mechanized vacuum
cleaners, and trees are trimmed. There is a penalty for people who park their cars on the streets
during clean-up days.
• Queuing is a way of life. Even on the way to the john. So empty your bladder at every stop.