There are not too many places where you can see a “Shushing Librarian Action Figure,” but if you check out the display on the second floor of the Hatfield Library, you’ll see this figure along with some wonderful photos and assorted items relating to the history of Willamette’s libraries.
Libraries at Willamette have a long and interesting history. The original library was housed on the third floor of the University Hall, later renamed Waller Hall. When the building was rebuilt after the 1919 fire, the library was relocated to the second floor.
A new library building was built and the library moved from Waller to what is now Smullin. One Friday in May 1938, classes were cancelled and students and staff moved the collection carrying the books in their arms to the new location. And did you know that in the ’80s, two cats lived in the old Smullin library? When the library moved to its current location, the cats were adopted by library staff members and taken to their homes. Any guesses as to the names of the cats?*
Do you know when Willamette got its second library? (This excludes the separate music library that was housed in the Fine Arts building). The J.W. Long Law Library opened in 1967. In the big flood of 1996, the Law library suffered some major damage.
Photos capture the big move as books were loaded onto carts by students and library staff, and rolled over from the Smullin library to the new Mark O. Hatfield Library in 1986.
The exhibit also includes interesting library artifacts. You might remember or have seen some of the technology the library used to employ, such as Zip Disks. But you probably have never seen a 7-inch electric eraser! We even still have the metal plates that were used to help guide the eraser and avoid damaging the printed ink.
Imagine what it would be like if we were still using card catalogs to look up books, or print indexes for journal articles. We are very fortunate to have our digital catalogs and databases of today.
A lot has changed for our campus libraries, and they will undoubtedly continue to change to meet the needs of the Willamette Community. Take this opportunity to view the amazing history of Willamette’s libraries!
*Snooter (a striped “tiger” cat) and Pee Wee (a tortoiseshell cat). Pee Wee was later renamed to Kit; both cats were female and enjoyed long, happy lives.