Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Town Called Springfield

In Don Barlow's library management class, small groups of students have been assigned the task of creating a new library program. The groups will present their proposals to class, and the class will evaluate the proposal's strengths & weaknesses. Our group has decided to embark on a digital library. The details are still being worked out, but, as a side note, I've created a rough draft of the town's history. It's an amalgam of the Simpsons' Springfield, Rome, Pittsburgh, and a meandering imagination.

Here it is:

In 1796, Jebediah Springfield broke ground to create a village bearing his surname--a testament to his own creative genius. After a long and arduous search, Jebediah had discovered a fertile plateau adjacent to the Liber River and nestled between seven ore-filled hills. Originally a farming community, the town grew into a bustling, industrialized city by the turn of the 20th century. During WWI, Springfield was the sole supplier of copper springs to the American Colt Co., and by WWII, the city had became renowned for its rubberized canvas muster bags.

However, even with these successes, the city could not escape the fate of many other rustbelt cities. As the manufacturing jobs moved overseas and foreign steel stripped the earnings of Springfield’s wealthiest citizens, Springfield’s economic base collapsed. Soon the population dwindled to approximately 85,000 residents (a 1,000% decrease), and Springfield’s crime rate skyrocketed.

Yet, like the phoenix rising from its ashes, Springfield reinvented itself. By the late-Nineties, Springfield resurrected its economy not by industrial output but by sheer luck. Across the world, interest had been growing surrounding the history of modular housing. Numerous important art & architecture historians, sociologists, psychologists, and other “intellectual folk” were scouring the globe for information concerning the roots of modular homebuilding. Springfield, after WWII, had become the modular home capital of the world. Then director of the Springfield public library, T. Derrick Sullivan II, possessed the foresight to collect any newsworthy piece of information pertaining to Springfield’s fledgling modular home communities.

Today, scholars from all over the world travel to see the T. Derrick Sullivan II Modular Home Repository at the main branch of the Springfield public library. Thus, with today’s interconnected world, the city of Springfield has a historic opportunity to spread modular home awareness. A modular home digital library will increase access to primary sources and whet the appetites of potential visiting scholars.

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