Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The "teachers college" library

Time moves on, and the library did as well as the college. In 1942 after a long campaign Brockport became a Teachers College, meaning that it began awarding the Bachelor's degree. (As a "Normal School," our graduates received certificates to teach in the public schools; many of their credits could transfer to further schooling if they wished.)

The library had occupied a set of rooms in the old Normal School building, and had a similar position in the new building erected in the late 1930s, occupying a set of rooms on the second floor, in the middle of what we now call Hartwell Hall. (Pictured here is a scene of students studying there in 1946.)

Like today's library, there was a reference collection of encyclopedias and dictionaries, books on diverse topics that could be checked out, a children's literature collection and so forth. Starting in 1924 we had our first librarian with professional training, Elizabeth Sherley, who had gone to the New York State Library School in Albany. Librarian Mary Lee McCrory succeeded Sherley in 1938 and a second librarian, Rosemond Cook, was added in 1941.

After WWII, as the school experienced tremendous growth in student numbers, expansion of the curriculum and so on the need for a separate building for the library became increasingly obvious. One staff member, senior cataloger Joyce Ogden who retired in the early 1990s, recalled that when she started in 1958 the library was still in Hartwell Hall, and the staff desk seating was so limited that staff had to share desks in rotation; there just wasn't room for them all to be present and working at any one time!

Finally in 1961 the first building on campus designed expressly as a library building was erected, but that is for the next posting :-)

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