Legendary author, oral historian and radio personality Studs Terkel died at the age of 96 this past Friday. Much has been written about Studs and his work- here, here and here are but a few. While listening to the radio yesterday morning, I was struck by a story his friend Scott Simon told about him. Once a woman approached Mr. Terkel and commenced to tell him her life story- part of which involved being abducted my aliens. After the women left, Mr. Simon said, “Well, I guess you can’t use her interview in a book.” Studs Terkel’s response was that it is always important to listen to people- if you give them a chance, you see they have an important story to tell. This willingness to listen and be open seemed to me to be a valuable lesson to me in both my professional and personal life.
When Mr. Terkel won the National Humanities Medal in 1997, President Bill Clinton said of Terkel that “no one had done more to expand the American library of voices.” Important work indeed. We’re happy to have many of his fine books at the library for you to check out: