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Volume 10, Issue 3, Spring 2010(2)

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Best Wishes to our Retirees!

by Reba Leiding

This space in the Knowledge Edge is dedicated to recognizing those who are retiring in 2010: 

Judy Anderson, Catalog Librarian
Lynn Cameron, Psychology Librarian
Jeff Clark, Director of Media Resources
Jerry Gill, Government Documents and Political Science/Justice Studies Librarian
Candie Miller, Sociology/Anthropology Librarian

Mary Ann Chatelain, Accounting Specialist
Tillie Hannah, Library Specialist, Technical Services
Johlene Hess, Library Specialist, Public Services
Bruce Mathias, Information Technology Specialist, Center for Instructional Technology
Darlene Newman, Senior Cataloger, Technical Services
Mary Petit, Library Specialist, Public Services
Debra Ryman, Library Specialist, Technical Services

I asked those who are retiring to respond to three questions: how have JMU Libraries and Educational Technologies changed over the years, what are some memorable moments you recall; and what are your future plans.  Many of them took the time to respond, giving us a another chance to share some of their personal and institutional memories.

Judy Anderson head shotJudy Anderson: I started work at JMU as the Music Dept. Librarian in the late ‘70s and later moved into a Catalog Librarian position at Carrier Library in ‘84. Later on in the mid 90’s I added on responsibilities as  Liaison Librarian for the Communication Sciences & Disorders Dept. When I first started working for the Music Dept., Chris Bolgiano was the Coordinator of Technical Services and we worked together closely to establish technical services-related policies for the Music Library - including writing up a cataloging and processing manual. I also attended Cataloging meetings every morning at 8:00 in the ‘big’ library, i.e., known then as  Madison Memorial Library. We had just received the new edition of the cataloging rules, AACR, and were becoming familiar with them by taking turns reading portions out loud – in a round-the-robin fashion!  

1984 was the “last year of the card catalog,” when 3X5 cards were still being filed in catalog card drawers, the cabinets of which took up a large amount of floor space in the current Carrier Library lobby. In the spring of 1985 we “went online” with our first integrated library system, using VTLS.


The Library was originally a Dewey library, that is, all catalog cards and books were identified with Dewey call numbers. When I was first hired I participated in a major Retrospective Conversion Project which had been going on for a couple of years. At one point the Library hired a team of four which worked evenings and weekends – in addition to regular staff. (According to Anna Ruth Perry, former Head of Cataloging, the total number of staff in Cataloging and Processing during those days varied from 12 to 18, including student assistants.)  

Later,  I was put in charge of coordinating the remaining project with SOLINET staff. Among one of the more interesting little tasks: I had the job of mailing boxes of shelf list cards to SOLINET every week, eventually totaling in the thousands! 


I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Communication Sciences & Disorders faculty, students and staff. This department is unique in many ways, as an allied health, interdisciplinary field and its doctoral programs are national recognized. Over the years I have met with faculty and students in trailers, answered reference phone calls from as far away as Australia, and conversed with various faculty members on any number of subjects. (I’ll never forget one conversation with a faculty member who visited me in the Library at Carrier, all while hiding a few chicks inside his coat to keep them warm. -- They were to end up as subjects in an experiment.)    

Because no one had ever researched or published on the subject of information resources for this field, I was lucky to be able to do so, on a number of different occasions. I was also able to work with faculty and students from UVa, Hampton University, Longwood University and JMU to establish resources for the Masters speech language pathology distance ed program.  

Future plans:  I’ll be looking for ways to keep active, from playing with my chamber music group and other groups, to teaching cello, to learning more about photography and taking pictures, to working with Skyline Literacy or some other similar group. 

Lynn Cameron head shotLynn Cameron: When I came to Madison Memorial Library, the new addition, where the entrance is now, was just being started.  I’ve seen us add hundreds of databases and thousands of online journals.  The librarians have gone from having a secretary who typed for us to doing everything for ourselves online.  Some things have stayed the same though.  For my entire 29 years at JMU, my goal has been to teach students how to find good information.

One of the most memorable moments was when the JMU information literacy program was chosen as one of 10 model programs by the Association of College and Research Libraries in 2002.  This was a great occasion to celebrate.

I plan to continue my research on the culture, history, and ecology of Shenandoah Mountain, go hiking often, hug a llama every day, and advocate for permanent protection of special places on National Forest land in Virginia.

Mary Ann Chatelain head shotMary Ann ChatelainThe budget was one tenth of what it is today. Originally, I was the only person in the finance office and now we have three full time employees and a student. Budget tracking was a manual, jot down invoice paid system with informal reports, no reconciling of records, and no audits; today I use multiple computer systems for tracking, produce extensive reports, and expect frequent audits.

Special memory: I met my husband on the steps of the old part of Carrier Library.

Future plans: I plan to work part time and enjoy the extra time for gardening, beekeeping, baking and family.

Jeff Clark head shotJeff Clark:  I have to admit that expansion of technology and information resources in all areas has been extraordinary.  Media collection programming is moving more and more online, too, and I can barely recall the days when classrooms were lucky if they had an overhead transparency projector in them. Nowadays, faculty might refer to the data/video projector installed on every ceiling as an “overhead projector.” The historical object is barely a memory for some… just as students now may encounter older media formats for the first time in our media center: 16mm films, LP (“long playing”) records and their players….

What hasn’t changed over the years: 1. My office. 2. The lovely JMU landscaping, always a pleasure.

Future plans:  I’m planning on a good long rest from regular work, while I get married, relocate, and set up house with Caroline in Minneapolis/St. Paul (“Twin Cities” is easier to say and doesn’t slight the capital sister). Then I’ll be back doing various things—volunteer interests, work with copyright and intellectual property issues. I’ve already gotten myself on a professional organization task force to draft “best practice” guidelines for using licensed vs. fair use streaming video. If no one in that group (which includes three content vendors) strangles me first because of my views, who knows? Retiree Bruce Matthias and I have a common interest in foreign films that go beyond martial arts and Oscar winning fare. We could start up a blog together—easy enough to do with today’s technology!

Jerry Gill head shotJerry Gill:  I’ve seen about 40 librarians come and go since I started in 1974. There were seven librarians then; now there are 27, almost quadruple. The staff was about 17, whereas now it’s 125. The university has grown from about 6,800 to almost 19,000, closing in on three times the 1974 size.

The library research environment has dramatically changed from totally print paper based to heavily electronic. The difference in questions is stark; there are almost no fact based questions anymore – students get that from the Internet. They now show up with more challenging research level inquires. The students now are more aware of information than were earlier generations.

Memorable moment: The addition to the library (then Madison Memorial Library) was completed in the spring semester 1982; the move into the new part happened over spring break of that year. The library was to have its “grand opening” when it reopened that Sunday, March 14th. The scene was set; dignitaries were at the front door, and I was the librarian on duty that weekend. So the doors opened and in comes Dr. Carrier and other JMU and community leaders anxious to see what the new building was all about. The feeling was palpable. The AC had cut off during the weekend and the honored guests were treated to a stuffy 85°. In addition, all the furniture but the chairs had arrived, but the company had provided us with about 50 “loaner” chairs, all orange and chrome, nothing like what we ordered. Some chairs were also moved from the older part of the building. And so we opened with choking heat, mismatched furniture, and not enough seating. The dignitaries did not tarry more than half an hour, then went out to the 50° weather leaving me to sweat it out until 10 p.m.

Future Plans: I will probably resume one hobby, astronomy, and start a new/old one, amateur radio. Along with that I plan to take advantage of more of what Charlottesville has to offer with culture, groups (new friends), and nature. As for travel I would like to see the Southwest, Maine, the Adirondacks, and maybe another trip out to Hawaii and Pacific bound.

Tillie Hannah head shotTillie Hannah:  When I first started working in Technical Services, everyone had a typewriter but we only had one computer. Each person had an assigned time to work on it.  We filed cards into the card catalog every morning. Our collections consisted of mostly print and microform materials.

Memories:  Being here for several additions to the building and the name change from Madison Memorial Library to Carrier Library.

Tubing down the South River during our ILR Staff Day at Grand Caverns and canoeing on Newman Lake and playing Frisbee golf on Employee Appreciation Day were fun times.

Future plans:  More time for travel, spending more time with family and friends, tackling some of the many projects I have at home, and part-time employment.

Mary Pettit head shotMary Petit

Changes:  Mid 1980’s (when I worked in the Serials Dept.) –shared one computer with two office mates (Tillie Hannah and Mary Wilson Stewart) for e-mail and for anything else computer-related. We each had a typewriter, but not a computer.

  • Current Periodicals was a restricted service area and every single periodical use was manually tallied  in a print list of periodical titles.
  • Reference updates and periodicals and were checked in manually.
  • Periodicals holdings were entered into our online catalog (powered by VTLS, at the time) by staff volunteers.
  • In the early 1990’s, when I moved to the Reference department, there were two PCs and two databases (both on CD-ROM) for public use.
  • Weekly desk schedules were typed (not word processed) and distributed in paper.
  •  Most shifts at the reference desk were double staffed.
  • There were lines at the photocopiers then not much shorter than our present lines at computers. 

Future plans:  After getting caught up on my sleep, I plan to visit friends  and family in Arkansas, Louisiana and California.  I also want to spend time sewing and gardening, take a photography class (and organize my photo library), read and volunteer at RMH and the Skyline Literacy Coalition. The Lifelong Learning Institute classes are of interest, as well.  More importantly, I plan to have a lot more “grandma time” with my eight-year-old grandson.


Deborah Ryman head shotDebra Ryman:  When I first started work in May 1977, circulation staff, plus Janice Pivarnik and Tom McLaughlin (librarians), and myself (ILL), all shared what is now Sandy Maxfield’s office. Plus, the circulation student assistants left their coats, books, etc., in the corner of the office. I had a very small wooden desk with an adding machine on it. The TWX machine was right behind me, and the typewriter right in front of me. That fall, Mr. Miller and Derelle Keam were hired as reference librarians.

Some other changes I remember (in no particular order):

Memorable project: we (ILL staff) planned and implemented procedures and worked with UVA/VaTech and vendors to meet quick turnaround (from two weeks to 24/48 hours) of article requests from 500 selected journal titles that we wished we could own. [Former Dean] Dennis Robison initiated the project. At JMU we called it Document Express; between the three schools:  UVA/ VaTech/ JMU, it was called the READI Project. After the first year, other libraries in Virginia decided they wanted a piece of the action. This marked the beginnings of VIVA in the state of Virginia.

Thanks to all who shared their memories, and wish all our retirees happy and fulfilling years ahead!

Reba Leiding, Editor

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