Library turns 50, celebrates with display

By Terryn Kelly

The month of September marked the 50th anniversary of the Townsend Memorial  Library  serving the campus. It has come a long way since its first $10,000 temporary frame structure was built.

Professor and Director of Learning Resources Denise Karimkhani joined the staff in 1977 and has seen many changes within the library throughout her career.

The methods of how information could be found in the library were different when she first arrived.

“When I started here, there were just a limited number of books we had to assist students. You knew the books that you had, and you went to those books time after time. Now there is so much information and we have about 100 databases,” she said.

Professor and Librarian Dorothy Planas has been here for 12 years. Although she does prefer that some things still be done in print or by hand, she appreciates the technological advances that have helped make her job easier in different aspects.

“We are doing a lot more things electronically than we did before. We do still hand out paper surveys, but we do our tallying by computer. We can actually log in all the results into the system,” she said. “Now, I don’t have to tally manually. I used to have to do it by hand, so that part has gotten easier.”

Beginning her eighth year as Head of Public Services Librarian, Anne Price has seen Townsend make modifications both physically and technologically through the years. 

She said, “The way in which information is stored these days is different. We used to have a lot of microfiche upstairs. Cabinets were full of it, and we eventually got rid of all of them. We now have much more study space upstairs to use.”

Students and faculty are now able to stay connected to the library without having to be there in person.

“We see more and more people in here physically studying, but we also see many through the computers, meaning we can see them online accessing our databases, and this is something that has changed drastically since I have been here,” Price said.

The library is always trying to keep up with the changing pace of technology and the world, and with that comes more responsibility.

Price said, “I have more to do. My job has changed a lot since I first started working here, and it is a little bit harder. I was basically making signs at first. Now, I am making maps and videos.”

The library not only serves as a home for books, but also as a tool for different types of research and information.

“We do online tutorials and lots of promotional videos, all of which was not done when I started here,” said Price.

With the added interest in e-books and Kindles, some wonder if there will even be a need for a library or even librarians another 50 years from now.

Price said, “I think students will come to the library in a different way. I do not think you will be physically in the building, but you will still access the library. I think we will always be needed because we have special training in finding information.”

Author: The Bells Staff

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