BSC Library Hours

Regular, academic year hours for the BSC Library are:

  • Monday – Thursday — 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Friday — 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Saturday — Closed
  • Sunday — 4 – 8 p.m. 

ODIN (online catalog) and BSC’s online databases are available 24/7!

Interim/holiday hours and other changes are posted, or are available by calling (701) 224-5450 or (800) 445-5073.  

The Professor and the Madman

dic-tion-ar-y [dik-shuh-ner-ee]  — noun, plural — ar-ies.

1.  a book containing a selection of the words of a language, usually arranged alphabetically, giving information about their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies, inflected forms, etc. , expressed in either the same or another language; lexicon; glossary: a dictionary of English; a Japanese-English dictionary.

“If you were stranded on a desert island, what books would you want with you?”  

I have finally decided that one of the books I would really want with me is a dictionary — a great big, unabridged dictionary.  I love words and I love language.   I like to look things up and to know what words mean and where they come from and how they have evolved.   A dictionary would entertain me for a very long time. 

If you are a word lover, too, I recommend the book, The Professor and the Madman: a Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester (HarperCollins, 1998).

The Professor and the Madman tells the story of one of the greatest literary achievements in the history of the English language — the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) .  It is also the story of two men who played key roles, Professor James Murray and Dr. William Chester Minor.  Murray was the distinguished editor of the OED project and  Dr. Minor, an American surgeon, was one of the most prolific of the thousands of contributors who submitted illustrative quotations of words to be used in the dictionary. 

Finding out how murder and insanity and dictionary-making (strange bedfellows indeed!) come together makes for a fascinating read.    

Check it out at the BSC Library!  (Call number: PE 1617 .O94 W56 1998)

Marlene Anderson, Director of Library Services

P.S.  Simon wrote a second book about the OED — The Meaning of Everything: the Story of the Oxford English Dictionary  (Oxford University Press, 2003).  It is also available at the BSC Library; call number: PE 1617 .O48 W558 2003.

One Perfect Day …

One Perfect Day: the Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead

$161 billion is what Conde’ Nast Bridal Group figures is the total yearly expenditure by Americans for weddings (26).  The American wedding is a billion dollar industry fueled by “wedding porn,” media, and the pressing urge by brides to have perfect (expensive) weddings.  Rebecca Mead’s One Perfect Day shreds the wrapping from the “supposed” traditional key elements that drive the wedding industry.

Let’s look at a few “supposed” wedding traditions marketed by the industry and highlighted in Mead’s book:

  • Wedding Gown/Dress– The history surrounding this key player in the supposed wedding tradition does have a long history, but not as long as some would like you to believe.  A young bride wearing white has its roots in the 16th century.  White was not always the first choice by young brides, as the poorer had to suffice with whatever they had available.  Wearing white had less to do with one’s maidenhood and more to do with the fact that the bride was rich and could afford to keep the gown clean (79-80).
  • Unity Candle – Use of the so-called “Unity Candle” in weddings began in 1960 (132).
  • Apache Indian Prayer (also called the Navajo Prayer) – This prayer is frequently used in weddings, but as far as anyone can determine, including Apache culture scholars, this is just a work of “poetic fiction” with apparent roots in modern day cinema, i.e., the film “Broken Arrow” (134-135).
  • Diamond Engagement Ring – In the late 19th century, the diamond engagement ring began to gain a foothold in America.  In the 1930s, with the push of advertising from De Beers, the diamond ring moved into its “supposed” traditional niche in the American engagement/wedding scenario (57).

The wedding industry and planners are thriving and manufacturing wedding memories as quickly as brides and grooms can snap them up.  Mead’s book opened my eyes to the wedding con that sucks our money and drives us into debt.  I refuse to be a part of this charade.

I highly recommend this book, particularly to anyone considering getting married.  It is available at the BSC Library (call number HQ 745 .M43 2007).

Johanna McClay, Reference Librarian