Library Memories

1
Nov10

It Was 20 Years Ago Today. . .

Posted by: G. Karen Merguerian

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(Click for larger image)

Happy Birthday, Snell Library! November 1, 1990 was the formal dedication ceremony for Snell Library. It’s hard to imagine NU without Snell Library, but for most of the history of the University, the library was a small affair housed in Dodge. Inadequate for the needs of the growing NU community, it was replaced thanks to an alliance including George and Lorraine Snell, University faculty, staff, students, and alumni who undertook to raise funds, and support from a U.S. Department of Defense grant. As part of the project, our first online catalog, “Nulis,” was also established around the same time.

In 1990, the things we take for granted today about Snell were inconceivable to most people. The concept of a catalog on a web site, to say nothing of a cell phone, was hard to imagine; so was the notion that most journal subscriptions would be online. There was no Digital Media Design Studio for students to create videos, nor a program to convert our printed archival records to digital form. Email delivery of journal articles from interlibrary loan… even a Cybercafé was hard to imagine in those “no-food-in-the-library” days.

One thing that hasn’t changed: the centrality of Snell Library. Architecture professor Peter Serenyi put it so perfectly:

“It is in its siting…that the library makes its most dramatic contribution to the campus as a whole…Opening up to the north and west, the Snell Library gathers the campus around itself, thus becoming not only the intellectual center of the University but its physical center as well.” (Tradition and Innovation, p. 33)

I think this is as true today as it has always been.

In the coming year, on this blog and elsewhere, we’ll be reflecting on our anniversary and on what the next 20 years hold in store for Snell Library.  What do you think Snell Library will be 20 years from now?

Posted in: Library Memories, Library News and Events, Serendipity

26
May10

Share Your Library Memories

Posted by: damong

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NU Libraries has employed many students and graduates throughout the years. Please share your memories of working in the Library, no matter what year you graduated, by posting a comment under this post.

As a recent graduate myself, I’ll start: I highly enjoyed the visit of Patrick Tracey, who came to give a Meet the Author talk in April of 2009. His book Stalking Irish Madness is an unsettling account of his family’s long history of schizophrenia, which in turn relates to the prevalence of mental illness all over the country of Ireland. His talk– like his book– was partly autobiographical and partly journalistic. There was something powerful about listening to this world-weary looking guy, with a monotone sort of voice that still managed to convey compassion, while looking out the window at the sun setting over the smokestack at a nearby building, blowing fumes into the air…

As minute and eccentric as it may seem, that is a very special memory of mine from working at the library.

Please see our notice in the recent Library Supporters newsletter as well.

Posted in: Library Memories, Serendipity