A couple of weeks ago while reading Jerome Lettvin’s obituary I noticed this gem:

“At MIT, his office in Building 20 was crammed with books, most overdue from the college library. Dr. Lettvin claimed he did not return them because the library would send him the students who wanted those books, and he would interview them as potential assistants.”

Jerome was gaming the library. He was holding onto resources that like-minded individuals desired in order to make professional connections. Cool.

Jerome’s approach clearly has some scaling problems and some issues surrounding content that can’t be stacked in an office (digital content), but he was onto something. People connect through works held at the library and the library should encourage these connections. How do we do that? I’m not sure, but I’m giving it some thought.