Column Editor: Mary E. (Tinker) Massey (Retired Librarian) <[email protected]>
It’s that time again when we go through evaluations, clean shelves and cabinets, and reminisce about the old times. At ERAU, many of the folks can talk about beginning in trailers, living in the ABC complex, and then being in the present structure, the No.4 building behind the Orville and Wilbur Wright statue of the Kitty Hawk plane. We’re almost to graduation, and we watch as so many groups and families take pictures around the plane. There is talk of moving the plane closer to the Boulevard for a dramatic flare, but we all really love being able to locate ourselves behind it, as a direction finder. From being an appendage to being a vital force on the campus has been an exciting challenge for those who have that history. So many things change in a library’s life.
Remember all the ways we did things without computers: handwritten call numbers, embossed ownership, colored tape for locations, pre-cabinet shelving for microfilm in Technical Services, 8am-5pm service, and many others I don’t know from my lack of history. I get a thrill just to hear and see the planes on the tarmac behind the school. Our new hangar and research facilities are almost complete now. It’s been awhile since the tornadoes took the old ones down. The ABC teaching structure is almost down and the new complex will begin construction this summer. Another floor of our library is being converted to office space, and the books have been weeded beyond belief! We have 24/7 reference, especially for our worldwide campuses. We are open most days, but the campus is forcing workers to a more conventional four-day week, so the library is really having to figure out some difficult schedules to cover the six days (we are not open Saturday in the summer).
I am excited about the coming preservation of our eclectic print materials. We spent a great deal of time inventorying and cataloging old serials, so that this project could happen and grants could be written. I hate to see the soaring plane exhibit dismantled, but there are many new projects that will be possible because of it. As we get more in touch with our digital products and converting print to digital, other formats and diverse teaching methods will find their way into the library. We are beginning to share many products and the digital projects will avail us of connections with other schools who have complementary materials. We are about to realize a more complicated and important change for libraries than the Age of Computers. Let us think about that and smile!