(The University of Findlay is spotlighting Shafer Library as part of National Library Week 2018. The accompanying letter from a 2010 alumna, titled “An Ode to Shafer Library,” can be accessed here.)
It’s the only place on the University of Findlay campus where one can access material about Ulysses S. Grant, unwind at a monthly book club meeting, and borrow an umbrella. Shafer Library deserves to be celebrated, and now, at the start of National Library Week, is a great time to begin.
This year, UF’s invaluable information resource site is also marking its 50th year of operation in the striking white building located just to the southwest of Old Main. Festivities are planned for Homecoming and Family Weekend this October. Meanwhile, library workers are requesting that anyone willing to share great memories they have of Shafer Library do so by submitting their stories to Periodicals and Acquisitions Manager Nancy Bickford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The library is its own great story. Dedicated in May 1968, the building boasts 45,000 square feet of floor space, a seating capacity of 600, and room for 150,000 volumes. It was named after Douglas Shafer, a prominent community leader and Central Oil Asphalt Co. executive. Shafer was not an alumnus, but was a staunch philanthropic and social supporter of the University.
Times have changed greatly since the library’s 1968 build, particularly regarding information acquisition and dissemination.
“The advent of (full-text) databases and their broad range of materials within a specified area of study has made faculty suggestions a rare occurrence,” said Bickford. Rapid technology changes made many former library research tools and services obsolete, such as the reference area CD-ROM tower of multiple compact discs of article abstracts, and the Apple IIe computer lab.
The shift from print to electronic books and journals also caused a shift in how library materials are acquired. Bickford said until 2012, departments had been allocated a portion of the library’s budget to purchase books relevant to their areas of expertise. Faculty are still able to recommend books for purchase, but a significant portion of the library’s budget is now committed to joint OhioLINK purchases of electronic journal and book packages from major publishers like Elsevier, Oxford, SAGE, Springer, and Wiley.
Today, many rely on Shafer Library’s membership in OPAL (Ohio Private Academic Libraries) consortium and OhioLINK to get their hands on information located elsewhere, or online. Graduate students working on thesis papers can borrow books on topics such as the rhetoric of silence and pedagogical practices, faculty can read articles on how best to structure collaborative assignments, and undergraduates can easily tap into sources they need to write synthesis papers.
Here are 10 other interesting facts about Shafer Library, courtesy of Librarian Andrew Whitis:
- Any community member from age 14 (a parent or guardian’s signature is required for those ages 14-18) can get a library card for $10 per year.
- Librarians and library student workers staff an online chat service to answer questions when the library is open.
- All yearbooks, 272 photos, some theater programs and other documents are available online in the Findlay Memory digital archive.
- The leisure reading collection of 427 books in the Learning Commons has a mixture of fiction, nonfiction and graphic novels.
- The leisure DVD collection in the Learning Commons has 443 titles covering several movie genres.
- The library has more e-books and e-journals than physical books and journals.
- Internet Technology Services offers 3D printing services for the cost of the plastic or resin.
- The library has One Button Studios to record videos for class projects and lessons.
- The Mazza Museum was originally housed in Shafer Library’s basement.
- The Knowledge Bar offers drop-in technology assistance to students, faculty and staff.