Bill Greene talks Triceratops, Sci Fi, and 40+ Years at Falvey
Today is a special day at Falvey Memorial Library as we celebrate the retirement of staff member Bill Greene. Bill’s varied spectrum of interests and skills makes him one awesomely multifaceted person! We are rerunning a ‘Monday Mood Board’ blog post from 2015 to commemorate the day. Read on to learn more about Bill, dinosaurs, science fiction, and to follow some links to great books and resources.
Hi, Bill! So I saw on Facebook that you had a major work anniversary recently. How many years have you been here now?
40. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?
What is your earliest Falvey memory?
Actually, it wasn’t much of a memory, but it was my first day here. I was a student. Way back—I can tell you the date! I was a student. I knew it was gonna be a life-changing thing, y’know. The date was May 7, 1968. It was a Wednesday, and I was working in acquisitions. I was working with books in print. I was checking the orders to make sure they were correct. The whole first day was really strange, because the previous day, I had known nothing about working in a library. But then my mother said to me “[one of our neighbors] called, and she wanted to know if you’d like to work at Villanova’s library. “ So I said, “Yeah, why not?” I just could’ve said, you know, “Nah, forget it, I don’t wanna do that” and that would’ve totally changed my life. But I said yes. Next day, I was in there, that quick. It just grew from there, it wasn’t planned.
And forty years later, look at you!
Yeah, still here!
What are the first three words that come to mind when you think of Falvey Memorial Library?
Fun. Novel.* People.
*”I was considering, I still am, writing a novel with this place as the background. With so many experiences, I have plenty to pick from.”
Read any periodicals, magazines, journals?
I read Discover Magazine, because mainly, it’s science, which I am interested in. It’s science, but they write it so I can understand it. Once in a while I read Scientific American… and I wonder, why did I bother reading this? I didn’t get anything out of it. They’re too technical, I think, in some cases. Discover is a good magazine, especially if you find an article on something you care about.
What’s your favorite dinosaur?
My favorite dinosaur is Triceratops. Do you have any idea what Triceratops looks like?
Very good! I figured you would. He’s one of the more common ones, the three horn face, that’s what it stands for in Latin, I guess. I couldn’t tell you why I like him. My favorite dinosaur is not Tyrannosaurus Rex because that’s who everybody’s favorite dinosaur is. [Triceratops] is always defending himself against Tyrannosaurus Rex, supposedly.
I can’t even pronounce my favorite.
Yeah, what is it?
I think it’s… Parasaurolophus?
Parasaurolophus, you like him? He’s cool! Thinking about this question [of my favorite dinosaur], he came up. Parasaurolophus is the one with the horn. He’s the one they’re thinking, recently, in the past five years or so, they’re figuring, the reason for the horn? All of the duck-billed dinosaurs, which she is one of, went around making noises and the different noises they made could tell each one what individual was from his group, what species it was from. The air went through the horn, and made all kinds of honking noises.
That would be so neat to hear!
Wouldn’t it? A herd of ‘em?
Current favorite poet? Any poet you’ve read, new or old, that makes you think “yeah, them!”
One that pops to mind is Coleridge. “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Kubla Khan.” When I was reading him, he hit me right away.
What is your information routine? How do you get news and info?
Most of my news I probably get from TV. I don’t get any papers, because they all come to the library. I don’t have time from it, for one thing. Yeah, the news. Channel 6 is what I usually have on.
Do you visit any websites on a regular basis?
What are you going to do after this interview?
Probably going to continue work. A lot of the things I do, I have to wait for someone to bring it to me, like the mail, and the stuff from UPS, and the stuff that’s over in Garey waiting to come over to be scanned. But chances are pretty good that I’ll probably go down and start scanning stuff. Lot of books to scan, articles.
Can I mention something you haven’t asked me? I’m a big science fiction person.
Great! When did you discover you love science fiction?
I was around 12, give or take a year. I think the first book I read was R is for Rocket by Ray Bradbury, short story collection. And I read the whole book, and I kept thinking – this is just my state of mind at the time, you know, I’m 11 or 12 – I’m thinking, “gee, these are good stories, he writes them so well and they’re good, but they all end badly! I don’t like that, they all end badly!” And now I’m coming from a different perspective, being as old as I am; they do end badly, but you know, they’re really cool stories. I wish I had written them. It doesn’t bother me quite as much, and I can see why he did it the way he did it. ‘Cause it would’ve been a stupid story if it didn’t have a bad ending.
What is your favorite Bradbury work?
Fahrenheit 451, of course.
Any other favorite science fiction authors besides Bradbury?
Alfred Bester, Theodore Sturgeon. Any of the best [science fiction] novels are written back in the fifties, I think, because now science fiction just can be anything. How do you define science fiction anymore? There is a definition for it, but a lot of the science fiction today is really on the edge. There’s no science in it! So what if it takes place on Mars? There’s no science in it.
I just read a book called The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. The thing that makes it different is it’s a combination of science fiction and romance, and I’m thinking, I can’t think of any books, good books, like that. I would highly recommend it.
Thanks for chatting with me, Bill!
Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.
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