RVW: We are with Mrs. Nancy Jane Day at her apartment in Laurens, South Carolina, on October 8, 1986. We said we'll begin at the beginning and hopefully we're going to ignore the recorder as time goes on and just have a good conversation. You were born in Pendleton, South Carolina. Tell us a little bit about your family background.
NJD: Well, my father was a doctor who practiced over the countryside as doctors did in those days, but we lived in Pendleton. My mother had been born in Denver, SC, which is a little place between Pendleton and Anderson. It used to be a place where there was a mail station, but I don't think it's even that now. It's down near about where Welborn is. I went to the elementary school in Pendleton and the high school, and from there I went to GWC - Greenville Women's College.
RVW: You finished there in 1925.
NJD: That is right.
RVW: With a bachelor's degree in History. And the same year you took a job teaching in Winston-Salem, North Carolina -- just as soon as you graduated?
NJD: Yes, we went up in the fall. There were five of us who were friends who went up there together. I taught in the Wiley School - the Calhoun Wiley School - which was the new school just opening up. It was an elementary school and we had grades one through seven there at that time. I started ... Well, at first I taught both history and geography, then they turned it into social studies and I taught sixth grade social studies as long as I was in Wiley. Then there was need for a person in the high school library at Reynolds High School, and I went off and studied at Columbia University and came back that year - that Fall - and started working in the high school library. There were two other librarians there.
RVW: Who approached you to become the librarian?
NJD: Well, I wasn't the librarian. I was just in the library. Remember, I had just had one summer school by that time. There were two other people who had already received their training or education in library science. So, I went from teaching in the Wiley School to doing library work in the high school--Reynolds High School. My supervisor was the supervisor of the school libraries there, and she was the one that suggested it. I had decided I would go off and study library science. My sister, who is younger than I am by 18 months, had gone to Simmons in Boston and gotten library training because she said she knew she couldn't teach because she couldn't take care of the discipline problem. So I had decided -- after teaching, I guess, five years -- that I would study library science. So I had applied at Columbia University. And then they asked if I would go to Reynolds High School - transfer to Reynolds - so I did, and I was there three years.
RVW: Why Columbia?
NJD: Well, I don't know why, except that I thought it was a good library school, so I chose it. And I liked New York. I thought I would like New York; I had never been there.
RVW: Talk a little bit about Columbia during your days there. Who were the faculty?
NJD: Oh, don't ask me that. I couldn't go back and get those people to save my soul. That's been -- that was in the 1930's and this is '86. I would have to look at something to see it.
RVW: Did you specialize in school library work or was it a general library course?
NJD: Well, it was a general course, but I did take some school library work. But it was general, really. I took college library courses there. While I was there - I guess it must have been 1933--I finished, because I went during the summers. Greenville College for Women had become the Women's College of Furman by that time maybe... .
RVW: Merged then apparently right after that or during that time.
NJD: Yes, I was going to take a leave of absence to study at Columbia University, and I gave up my job in Winston Salem and took that job for a year. And so I worked there.
RVW: Now you went to Columbia strictly in the summers?
RVW: Two summers? Is that right?
NJD: No, four. From '30 to '33.
RVW: So while you were the high school librarian you went summers to Columbia.
NJD: That's right.
RVW: Was Melville Dewey's "ghost" still hanging around Columbia at that time?
NJD: Well, I didn't hear so much about it. We heard a great deal about Miss Mudge, the reference teacher. Other than that, it gave me a grand opportunity to see plays and go up the Hudson and do different things that I enjoyed doing, so that was one of the enticements as far as Columbia was concerned.
RVW: Yes, I bet so. You say the librarian at Greenville Women's College wanted to go get training so you took that job.
NJD: Yes, she had some training, but she wanted to study at Columbia University and she did further study anyway. She had a leave of absence, and I took her place. And when she came back, I went to Greenville Public Library. I guess you noticed that I did years of public library work.
RVW: No, we just ...
NJD: Oh, I've tried every kind of library work.
RVW: We had that in '34, when you got your degree from Columbia, you went to the Women's College and then to Furman, so the merger of those two must have been right about that time.
NJD: Yes, I guess it was. Somewhere around there.
RVW: 'Cause we have you were librarian at Furman.
NJD: Which was a little different. I went to GWC for that year and then I began working with Miss [Fanny T.] Taber down at the public library in Greenville, Greenville County Library it was. I worked in the part that really worked more with the city area, and I was there for, I don't know -- a whole year? -- I'm not sure. But when they offered me work over at Furman, Dr. [Walter Barnard] Hill [Furman president?] I went over there, though I didn't stay there very long. I got an opportunity to go down to Florida State College for Women. Dr. Hill was a very nice person and said that if I would help them through a study that they were making, an evaluation that some people were doing, then he felt that he should not hold me and I ought to go on to Florida. So then I went to Florida State College for Women.
RVW: What was your job there, now? Were you the head librarian?
NJD: No. Well, at Furman I was. Miss Wrigley, who was really the librarian, was away at that time, somewhat, so I really was the head, but she came back after I left and then [J. Issac] Copeland followed her. She wasn't there for a little while, and then Copeland followed her. You know the one that's -- I guess he's still up at the University in History. Is he?
RVW: I don't know for sure.
NJD: I can't think of what his first name is. I ought to, because he was librarian there for quite some time. But anyway, after I went down to Florida I was just one of the assistants, you know. All this time I haven't been any great shot. I went to Florida and I stayed there four years - maybe five years. And then Mrs. [Frances Lander] Spain from Winthrop wrote me about coming to Winthrop and teaching library science, and so I came to Winthrop. That's how I got back into South Carolina.
RVW: Did you and Mrs. Spain know each other prior to this point?
RVW: But she had been at Florida College for Women [now FSU]?
NJD: Yes, but she had graduated before I went down there. Frances is either one or two years older than I am, so she had finished before I went down there. But anyway, she offered it to me and I took it and taught there.
RVW: How did she learn about you and your work?
NJD: You know, I don't know. Now, she may have known ... I just don't know. I don't think she ever told me. I never asked her.
RVW: I didn't ask her either the other day. It didn't occur to me.
NJD: I have no idea why she wrote me and asked me. I expect the fact that I was a South Carolinian, maybe. And she had graduated from FSCW, perhaps there's some connection.
RVW: No, she had gone there in the summer as a PE major, actually, and then went to Emory.
NJD: Yes, to get her library degree.
NJD: Yes, she was a PE graduate.
RVW: How did you like Florida State?
NJD: I loved it. I liked it very much. Enjoyed being there, working with the group and working in the library. We sort of did everything, you know, so anytime it was open anybody could work wherever you had to be.
RVW: Did they have the undergraduate library training program at that time?
NJD: Yes, they did. Miss [Etta Lane] Matthews taught it. They had an undergraduate program and Sarah Schrigley was there at that time.
RVW: Teaching in the school.
NJD: No, she was a student.
RVW: As a student?
NJD: She was a student.
RVW: Do you remember her from those days?
NJD: Yes, I certainly do. She helped us in the library when she was a student. So Sarah was there. I don't remember any others who went on into library work.
RVW: I wasn't sure when they had started that program.
NJD: I don't know when they started it. When I got there the program was already there.
RVW: Was it? You didn't teach in it?
NJD: No. I didn't touch it in any way. In fact I hadn't taught [library science] until then [at Winthrop].
RVW: Sarah Schrigley is a fourth or fifth cousin of mine.
NJD: Oh, is she? She's an attractive person, and very capable.
RVW: Yes. She was there -- she was teaching when I went there, too.
NJD: Did you graduate from FSCW? I mean Florida State.
RVW: Right, in 1964.
NJD: You graduated when it was Florida State. They began having the men come in during the war, when they were training there.
RVW: So then in '39 you come to the training program at Winthrop, and this is certainly a switch from academic libraries.
NJD: Yes. But I had taught in this kind of school and I had done high school library work and I had worked in a college and I had worked in a public library. I don't know why I couldn't teach library science.
RVW: Teach them everything.
NJD: I had all sorts of experience. And of course they trained for school library work, and I had done school library work and I had also taught in the elementary school. My work had been in the high school. So I thought that qualified me to teach.
RVW: You and Mrs. Spain were the two faculty members and taught all the courses between the two of you.
NJD: That's right.
RVW: How many students did you have in a year?
NJD: We didn't have many. I don't know. I would say maybe -- well, we must have had maybe sixteen or seventeen or eighteen -- somewhere along in there.
RVW: And you were part of the Education Department.
NJD: No, we were not. Mrs. Spain was head of this area. We weren't under the Education Department.
RVW: Oh, I thought you were. O.K.
NJD: No, I'm sure not. And the Registrar there was Mr. Kelly, John Kelly, who had been high school supervisor at one time with the State Department of Education. So he and I talked a great deal and when Mr. [W. D.] Nixon came up, who was the high school supervisor -- had been high school supervisor -- well he was still high school supervisor -- came up to Winthrop I had a chance to talk to Mr. Nixon. He later went to the University, you know. I always get the two mixed up. He had a brother. The names -- I can't think of his name though I think was W. D., wasn't it? Who was at the University in the Education Department?
RVW: Sounds familiar.
NJD: So I got to know him pretty well and got some background information on South Carolina and school libraries and this sort of thing in talking to Mr. Nixon. He would come up and talk to Mr. Kelly. That's where I gathered my information.
RVW: Now you taught certain courses and Mrs. Spain taught certain courses?
NJD: I got into the book selection courses and this sort of thing -- and administration. She taught cataloging and classification, which has never particularly interested me, except as a tool. Even though at Michigan I had taken cataloging.
RVW: Well now during the years '39 to '43 that you were at Winthrop, you must have had a lot of opportunities to visit school libraries around the state.
NJD: Did not really have so many. The Training School people went out in the state, and I did do -- at one time I went over to the Training School as the librarian while they were trying to get somebody there. And so I worked in that library for a little bit, but not very long. I really didn't do so much visiting. Most of my knowledge came from working with Mr. Nixon and Mr. Kelly.
RVW: What were the problems confronting school libraries at that time?
NJD: I think the conditions in the libraries was one thing. You know, they didn't have librarians, and the ones that had librarians -- some of them had study halls that were pretty awful. I know I recommended one of my best students to a superindendent, and when she got there it was mainly study hall. She finally left it and went into teaching. Said she found it a lot better for her. That situation held true even when I became supervisor. He [Mr. Nixon?] once asked me to recommend somebody for a position and I said I'm not going to recommend anybody to you for a position just to come down here and hold a study hall. I just thought that was unfair.
RVW: Were the collections pretty poor at the time?
NJD: When I got into the State Department of Education they were pretty poor. Yes, they were.
RVW: And probably even worse, then, in this earlier period -- '39?
NJD: I imagine so. I really do, because people weren't necessarily sold on libraries and they were meeting standards of the Southern Association. They had to meet them -- and they were meeting them if they wanted to be a Southern Association school -- and those that didn't, the state standards were pretty low. State standards, I think, were adopted in about 1937, weren't they? Before my time. And I think they are based on the 1934 Southern Association standards. Something like that, anyway.
RVW: I've seen that someplace, too. I think maybe in the article Mrs. Spain did she cites those. Well then in '43 -- that's what we have -- I have a question mark here -- you went to the University of Michigan. Is that when you started there?
NJD: No, I graduated in '43. I did two summers and a semester, and I graduated in January or February -- whenever the semester ended.
RVW: In '43?
RVW: Why Michigan? You wanted to see the rest of the country?
NJD: No, that really wasn't it. I felt that I had gone to Columbia, which really was a school in a very large metropolitan area and in a section of the country that was different from anything I grew up in. But then I felt Michigan gave me a different point of view. I was sure to find a big university in a small town, and serving a different section of the United States, to be interesting. And so I decided I'd choose Michigan.
RVW: Was it?
NJD: Yes, it was. A lot of the things at the University were interesting, because they brought to the University concerts and plays and things of that sort which I enjoyed a lot, which were not necessarily library science. And also I had an opportunity, I think, to study the history and the geography which I enjoyed, which was different from library science. I liked Michigan.
RVW: What faculty members stand out in your days at Michigan?
NJD: I think the person -- and now I just needn't give names -- I'm having a problem with names now -- the person who taught book selection who was at that time librarian at Swarthmore. He taught in the summer. And Mr. [Rudolph H.] Gjelsness, who was the head of the library for the library school. Those were two, I would say, who were outstanding. I took school library work while I was there, and then I took some advanced reference. I mean advanced cataloging. When I took advanced cataloging, I really was taking it with the idea of reference. I had liked reference. I liked working with people, and I liked the materials -- things of that type. Cataloging and classification, really, I never did particularly care for. Now my sister was a cataloger, and worked in that area at Duke Law Library, so we go different on this entirely.
RVW: Why did you decide to go get an MLS at that point?
NJD: Well I had always planned to, and just never had done it. When I was down in Florida, Miss [Fanny T.] Taber, who was on the GEB [General Education Board] - she had been librarian up at Greenville Public -- she wrote me and she said that GEB had some scholarships, grants and so forth and that she knew I had been interested in going to study further and she wondered if I would be interested. Well at that moment I was not interested, but -- I mean, I didn't feel I could go at that time -- and so, as I worked at Winthrop I decided that was a good time to go.
RVW: The MLS doesn't become the common degree really until the '50's...
NJD: No, because you had to have your BS to go to get your MLS. It was a fifth year degree.
RVW: A good ten years in advance of people beginning to do that.
NJD: Yes, that's right.
RVW: Did you and Mrs. Spain ever have occasion to talk about the philosophical differences between Michigan and Chicago, and the differences in approach there to things?
NJD: I don't think we ever did.
RVW: She didn't talk so much about the research emphasis at Chicago and how it might differ from what you were doing at Michigan?
NJD: Well, I was not particularly interested in research. I did not have in mind going on for a doctorate.
RVW: So you never gave Chicago serious thought?
NJD: She was interested in research; I mean, she was interested in a doctorate, and I was not.
RVW: So Michigan seemed to be the ideal place from a variety of viewpoints.
NJD: Well, yes. I took special work in school libraries under -- oh, who was the visiting professor? I never did feel that was the strength ... I felt mostly that I, you know, sort of had -- in the school library part. But I did enjoy Mr. Gjelsness. Who was the book selection -- funny I can't think of his name.
RVW: Was that Bonk? He was at Michigan I thought.
NJD: No, but I didn't have him. I had Gjelsness when Gjelsness was there. He was head of that school, Rackham School of Graduate Studies, you see. But the Swarthmore person is the one I --[Charles B.] Shaw -- gave that Shaw list and what have you.
RVW: Oh, right. O.K.
NJD: He was the one that taught me, and I thought he was an interesting person.
RVW: When you got your degree you then come back to South Carolina for a "few minutes" and head off to Emory to teach. How did this happen? '43 to '46 is what we have for the dates that you were at Emory.
NJD: That is true. Well, I think, as things worked out at Winthrop, it seemed to me that we didn't have the students and so forth that we had had, and I wasn't sure whether they were going on with that. In fact they indicated to me that I might not be needed at Winthrop. And so they wrote me from Emory and I took it. I don't know how. I guess they got my name from some of the colleges. I don't know.
RVW: Don't know how they heard about you, then.
NJD: I judge that's where they got their information -- was from either Columbia or from Michigan.
RVW: What areas did you teach, then, at Emory?
NJD: I taught reference and the school library work, and I taught college library work, too, because at Columbia I had studied college work. I had worked at college, but I had not done, of course, administration of college [libraries], so I taught it.
RVW: Who was teaching there at the time that you were teaching there?
NJD: Miss [Tomie Dora] Barker was head of the library and Miss [Clyde Elaine] Pettus taught the cataloging and that sort of thing. I started out by teaching the history of books and libraries, but Miss Pettus liked that and I was glad to take on something she had and let her have it. I think it's interesting, but I didn't care about teaching it.
RVW: What was Miss Barker like as an administrator?
NJD: She was good. She was a capable woman. She had her principles and she stood by them. You know I really have been fortunate as far as working with women are concerned. I've had three very strong women -- Miss Barker and Frances Spain and -- oh, who was down at FSCW? Oh, see the problem I'm having with names. I'll tell you later. It will come to me just like Shaw did. As she was, they have been strong women with strong principles. And they knew where they were headed. They had vision. I've been lucky. And Miss Taber was another one, really.
NJD: Miss Taber, down at the public library -- Greenville Public. She was not -- I better be careful what I say -- she was a person that was a little abrupt and was not necessarily popular with all of us there. But if you were used to doing things in a business like way you didn't have any problem at all, and she really knew what she was doing. And she was concerned about libraries. She helped a lot, I think, with that WPA. She was a source of strength there.
RVW: I think that's what Miss Barbare says, too, in talking about her.
NJD: I was very fond of her. I enjoyed working with her.
RVW: So in '46, then, you leave Emory and come back to South Carolina. Why did you leave Emory?
NJD: Well, I didn't really leave Emory. I was coming to South Carolina. I mean I've never felt when I left a place that I was leaving -- that I had made a choice to leave. You know?
RVW: Well you make the really big switch at this point to a state department of education. I guess is what I'm getting at is how did that come about? Who recomended you for that job?
NJD: You know I have not the least idea. But Frances Spain did. I know that. But I mean how Frances ... well, I guess I had taught at Winthrop...but Frances Spain recommended me. Frances Spain, as I said, was president of that school library group, and the librarians had been interested in getting a supervisor. And GEB [General Education Board] had been paying the supervisor's position for a year or so in order to establish them in a lot of the southern states. And South Carolina could have had one earlier if they had just applied. Dr. [James H.] Hope [Superintendent of Education] was a likeable person but he didn't push for a lot of things at that time, and so they [the Board] pushed him.
RVW: Oh, the Board did?
NJD: Yes. Well that's the reason she [Mrs. Spain?} was working so closely with the Board and the people on the Board who were interested in that sort of thing.
RVW: Did the Board pay your way the first year?
NJD: No, the first year and a half was paid by the GEB [Board] -- that Rockefeller money -- and they paid my travel expenses for the first year and a half. It was generally understood that the board was willing to take over, you know, insofar as they could, of course, get it through the legislature and what have you, but that they would apply for that position to continue. And that's the reason they made the year and a half, so you didn't just work a year and then you came to an end. You worked a year and a half. And they just had a half year to pick up the first time. But they [the Board] also paid my travel and my salary the first year.
RVW: Did you make reports to them as well as to the state department?
NJD: I did report to Mr. Christian.
RVW: With the General Education Board.
NJD: Yes. I don't know that there was ever anything that said you had to, but I did report to him. Because it would be a natural thing to do.
RVW: What were the first things you started doing when you started to work for the State Department?
NJD: Getting acquainted with the schools, and I was very fortunate. There were two things that helped me a great deal. One was that in October---the SCEA had regional meetings at that time---and I went to work in September. (I had been employed in April, but I had to teach through August at Emory because it was my time to do that part of the summer school teaching and so I was obligated to stay there.) And so I came on in September, and it was the day in which the candidates for state superintendents of education were running off an election. Neither one of them had employed me. Mr. [W. D.] Nixon, who was in the department, and Mr. [Jesse T.] Anderson, who became the superintendent of education. I hadn't been employed by either one of them, but on the day I appeared they were running off. Well, I had met Mr. Nixon. At least I knew him from Mr. Kelly. It developed that, actually, Mr. Anderson's wife was the sister of some of my friends at GWC, which was mighty lucky, I think. So I continued, you know. It was a little hazardous. But it was right interesting.
RVW: Did you then start going around the state to look at school libraries?
NJD: You see, with those regional meetings I got run all over the state. I was invited by the SCEA (South Carolina Education Association) to go to all of those meetings and to present something about the library program and what we hoped to accomplish and that sort of thing.
RVW: SCEA was much more influential in school library things than SCLA. How did this happen? Was it just over a longer period of time that SCEA had an interest?
NJD: Well, I don't know. I always belonged to both groups. But you did have a school library section, and, you know, the school librarians -- this is one thing -- they are very close to teachers. They need to be. And I suppose that was the reason. At the present moment the school library group has become a little independent, you know, but it was SCEA that has been stronger. I suppose that's been the reason. We tried to get more of them into ALA and SCLA and this sort of thing to broaden their outlook on libraries. And I do feel that a good teacher will make you the best librarian -- school librarian -- when she gets background training. She knows the curriculum. She knows how to work with the children, how to work with teachers. You really do work more closely with them, I think. You don't have a tendency to make your decisions on your own. You have a tendency to work within the school situation, and that's where they've got to work.
RVW: So you began to visit folks, work through SCEA ...
NJD: And by the way, one other contact I had before I met -- and this was where the public library helped me in a way -- Miss Mary Frazier. I don't know whether you've run across her name. She did so much for public libraries. Well, I had known Miss Mary because -- although she was connected with Clemson -- she was stationed at Winthrop. You know, they were at that time. And I knew her, and when she heard that I was coming, she got the Parent Teacher Association, with which she also worked, to write me and ask me if I would be State Chairman of the Reading Library Service for the PTA. And so they wrote me and I told them I would, and that gave me an opportunity to work with parents. Because I worked closely with those people who were officers it gave me an opportunity to go out and talk to the different parent groups. And that gave us the kind of support we needed. We never would have gotten anywhere without the cooperation of the teachers and administrators and the parents. They formed a good support group for us.
RVW: How supportive was the State Department of Education for what you were doing?<>NJD: It was always very supportive. (Dr. Hope had very little time left, 'cause in January he left the state). Mr. Anderson did want something in that annual report about the libraries. His supervisor hadn't even come in at that time, you know, so he wrote a report. Although I had only been there since September, we did have a little comment in that first report. Mr. Anderson was a charming person. I had been promised a secretary when I got there, and I didn't have a secretary, but Mr. Anderson did see that I got a secretary. Mr. Anderson left you a great deal of freedom to work. And the supervisors -- we didn't have many -- we had an elementary and a high school supervisor ... ([counting aloud] elementary supervisor, high school supervisor, adult education supervisor, two supervisors for Negro education -- who were separate you know at that time -- and we had a rural supervisor). I think that was about all we had on the supervisory staff. And all of those were supportive and they invited me to go out with them when they were going out into these different districts of schools. And then superindendents invited me to come out, and principals ... any who happened to be interested in it. And I think the fact that I got to speak to them at the SCEA, then that at least meant I had met them and they had some idea of what we were trying to do, and so they invited us. I never had problems going out into the schools. I was always invited. I never went out, as far as I know -- except where we were doing some evaluations for schools (but, of course, we were invited to do that) -- I never went out that I wasn't invited. The librarian would go through the principal and the superintendent. Or whether the superintendent himself asked me to come, or the principal. But I went out, really, mainly. That kept me busy, just going out where people wanted you to come and do something.
RVW: You were doing workshops, speeches ... >
NJD: Well, we did -- if I went into a school, I usually spent a good part of the day. And we'd look over the situation and see what was there, what we'd recommend. You always came back by the principal's office. Well, you went in through the superintendent's office, the principal's office, and down to the librarian. When you went to a school, you always had a certain way you went because you didn't just take for granted you were there. And so as you came out, you had a chance to talk to whoever ... the principal, the superintendent ...
RVW: But you would go in, talk to the librarian and say these are the kinds of things I think you need to do.
NJD: Yes, I'd ask them things and then they would have questions. You know they always had questions.
RVW: What kind of training are we talking about that many of these folks had?
NJD: They didn't have -- a lot of them didn't have any training, or very little training. Now the first summer I was there, GEB held a workshop down in Tallahassee for all of the school people, -- really school librarians, supervisors, and teachers. And we went there and were trained, really, in doing workshops. That was the summer of 1947. And so, then we came back and GEB paid for scholarships for people to come into workshops that were held. We held one at Winthrop, and we invited people with no training to come. We had two librarians who had training. One had a degree from Emory, and the other one had the critical hours from somewhere, I've forgotten where. But anyway, they came and the State Department of Education gave that time to Winthrop -- my time to Winthrop. And I went up and directed it. And so we worked with these people, trying to get them some information on materials and their use -- and on actually all the library -- using that Douglas Teacher Librarian's Handbook, you know, something that they very simply could use. And we held that workshop that year and then we held another one the following summer and Mrs. Spain directed it. We brought in people who needed to come, and we paid their expenses. Now with the second year, we had one at State College also, which was paid by the Rosenwald fund. We got a lot of money from the Rosenwald and that Southern Education Fund, you know, which is for the Negroes. Our Negro supervisors worked with us on that. They were the ones, really, that got the money for us.
RVW: In the black school districts?
NJD: In our black schools. We brought those in to State College and there we got those workshops for them.
RVW: You didn't have a counterpart for the black schools, did you?
NJD: I worked with the blacks just like I worked with whites. In fact, I was introduced that way once. They said, "This is Miss Day and she works with us just like she works with the white people." So there was no distinction. I worked across the board. And the supervisors for Negro education were very definitely trying to get something done because they just had nothing, really. So many of them, even in the best situation, were [in a terrible situation?]
RVW: Did you work with the Palmetto Teachers Association?
NJD: Yes. I met first with the South Carolina Education Association and then with the Palmetto Teachers Association. I was glad when they got together.
RVW: Yeah. It makes life simpler.
NJD: But they were very good. But we had a lot of workshops all during the years and I think that is one of the things that we did. When we first got there we also made a small list of books just so that they would have -- people with no training -- would have something they might check on and get or buy. And that they would classify -- could put them up by number. Whatever number was in the book. And at least have subjects together. So that started us on making lists which we tried to get out of but we continued to make, but then we broadened from the lists so that we did not require of them to buy from any of the lists. We never required them to buy from the lists, but some principals would, you know. But we did that as one of the first things, trying to get these people who needed some help. And we had a lot of workshops. I really would say that my first early years were spent in interpreting what a school library really is -- not just a collection of books which may or may not be classified, you know. That's what they'd been. And the lack of the librarians, for instance, [who] didn't go to teachers meetings. Instead they would catalog books or something, where the important thing was for them to be in that teachers meeting, you know, building up relationships and so forth. Getting the teachers interested in the library. So I think those first years we talked about that everybody cooperated in the library. It was the superintendent and the principal and the teacher and the librarian, all working together on it. And then trying to show them that it did help in the teaching, it also had services it had to give, you know, that sort of thing. And sort of raise their sights as to what a school library was and what it was supposed to do. And that, for instance, in our high school standards -- we didn't have any for elementary -- the high school standards said 80% of your books had to come from some list recommended by ALA or some of those, when nobody knows 80% of what's come from what. And then it said, and I know we always have been -- in colleges too -- you said you ought to have 12% from reference and 12% from this and 10% from, you know, different subject areas and all. Well, we got that out of the standards because we tried to show that your collection was based on the curriculum. And whatever they were teaching, that's what you had to support, besides the things you had for pleasure. You know, children's interests and so forth. And so we -- that just made it more flexible. We began to try to open up things for them. In different areas we tried to do that. We tried to do it -- and this is over a period of time, remember -- and we tried to change somewhat the training where they said you had to have three hours of administration, four hours in book selection, and three hours in something else. We wanted to get in something on AV. And with the -- in the State Department of Education you could always enlarge on the scope of what you were talking about in administration, but you couldn't get a new program unless you went through a committee to study that -- that went to a committee -- went to Mr. Anderson or somebody, you know -- and then went to the State Board. And then you might get it in to the whatever it was you had to get it into. But you could say that administration included certain things, which included AV materials, you know, or that book selection included not just books and magazines, but included the AV materials which they ought to be buying. There was no money to do these things, remember. This is all preparation that we were doing. But in workshops we discussed various things. We had workshops just with principals and librarians. This was true for the blacks, too. We brought the principals in and the librarians because the librarians felt they couldn't raise certain questions, you know. They didn't feel quite free to raise them. And so we raised the questions.
RVW: What was the most difficult group to work with? Principals, superintendents, or librarians?
NJD: I never found any group really difficult to work with.
RVW: You were talking about interpreting the library to those folks.
NJD: Yeah, but I didn't find it. I think they all were interested in understanding and seeing what it was. Now the superintendents had to come across with money, and sometimes they were perhaps, least likely, to take on something that you might like to ... .
RVW: What about breaking that mold, though, of the principal seeing the library as a handy study hall? Were they resistant to that?
NJD: You know part of that was not wholly due to the fact that they thought it ought to be. Now some of them did think that the librarian didn't have anything to do and she ought to have a study hall. But part of that was state aid. The state gave you a person, a teacher, for so many pupils. There was not one there for the librarian. And if you paid a librarian, then those pupils had to be divided among the other teachers somewhere. Now if you taught, at first it was four periods you had to teach to get state aid if you were doing library work. And that was true of principals in the small schools. They had to teach a certain number of periods before they could get state aid. [Brief interruption]
End Side 1/Begin Side 2.
NJD: I remember one of the first elementary librarians we had -- she had her degree from Emory --and the superintendent wanted to put her on state aid because he got more money for a person with a masters degree -- all that extra work -- than he did for one that would have a bachelors. And you know they always put the ones on state aid that would get the most money for the district. And when this was -- when he first approached and asked for this they said, "You can't. She is a librarian and she can't get state aid." So they came to me and we began to discuss it and worked out something so she could get state aid. But that was one of the first librarians that got state aid. After that we did not have that trouble, by the fact that they were librarians.
RVW: Now one of the things that you really worked vigorously on, I gather, was getting district library supervisors?
NJD: Yes, I did.
RVW: How did this start, and how successful do you think you were?
NJD: Well, a district or two had supervisors. They were able to get them in some of the bigger districts when they consolidated. But they were few and far between. We really got those when the Elementary and Secondary Education Act went into effect. And money, I want to talk about that too, because this first part of all these years we were working on personnel, trying to improve it because so many of them did not have the necessary training. Trying to raise the standards if we could, where we could. You know, you just do what you can. And this was in regards to personnel, in regards to collections, and in our quarters, and all those things. So we spent a lot of time on this, and the payoff was when the Elementary and Secondary Education Act came out. We had already gotten our elementary standards, too, just about that time, so that when this money came pouring in the climate was right to be sure that the library was considered in Title II when we talked about materials and that the majority of the funds would really go to the library. And, in Title I, that we would get personnel and we would get quarters and we would get collections.
RVW: Now this is in the early sixties, isn't it? Elementary and Secondary Education Act?
NJD: Yes, somewhere along there. But we really could do all these things if you had everybody ready and they worked hard. For instance, parents went in and set up some of our elementary libraries. And teachers -- in one district the teachers--elementary teachers--went in and I worked with them in workshops and they set up a library. We always told them how much work was involved, because we didn't want them to start and stop and they kept the library and did everything that had to be done. But they had a central selection. And so I think the climate was just right. We didn't have as many sorry books sold in the state on our materials. We were very liberal in that we allowed any really accredited list to be accepted. I remember the librarian who said, "Does it mean they must be from your list?", and we said, "No, it has nothing to do with our list." Any accredited list. But we started that, really, with the NTEA when it first came out and we were able to get written into that the materials, which included libraries. So that we built our math collections and our science collections and our modern language collections, and we bought those books at the elementary level in those areas where we could. They came from any accredited list.
RVW: When did the accreditation process with the Southern Association start affecting libraries?
NJD: Well, they started early, really, for those who were Southern Association schools. But they were thinking of so many books, teachers with so much training -- which wastwenty-four hours -- and I guess that's where we got our five books per pupil that we kept for so many years. Last high school still six books, elementary with ten books, which shows you where you can start, you know, we have the climate for it, for elementary. But Southern Association, from the very beginning -- Dr. Hightower, from North Carolina, who was, I guess, supervisor of secondary education in North Carolina -- anyway, I'm not sure just what his title was. And he was the Southern Association representative, and he was very interested in libraries. And we met -- he called us together -- the supervisors -- and he also called the teachers of the school library area, and had workshops. We went to workshops for Southern Association.
RVW: So when you started with the job in '46, already the standards were in place?
NJD: Yes, the standards were in place, I think, 1934. I think that the Southern Association standards were 1934. Somewhere. But he was working on people, and we sat and worked on the curriculum for our libraries -- what we felt they should have and they should include and this sort of thing. The southeast has had a great deal -- has a record of cooperation, you know. We've always -- the librarians have worked together. And that's true even in southeastern libraries, they've worked together. But also, always, we just haven't had any problems there. We sort of worked together.
RVW: Well in '46, not that many schools in South Carolina were Southern Association accredited. And did you start using those standards as ...
NJD: Well, when Mr. Kelly was high school supervisor, those standards -- standards similar to those -- were accepted as standards in South Carolina. So they were already set up when I came. For instance, they just require six hours for a teacher librarian. Well, when you realize that we had one hundred ... one thousand six hundred and fifty schools, wasn't it?
RVW: Sometimes, before consolidation.
NJD: Well, you know how small some of those schools were, and consolidation was another thing that came along, you see. It wasn't what I did; it was what we all did to try and move forward and get things. Consolidation helped. All of these things helped us along the way.
RVW: What about your place/role/status within the department? Where did you start when you ... where did you report when you started?
NJD: When I started I reported to Mr. Anderson.
RVW: The superintendent?
NJD: The state department of education was not [unifed?}; it was divided. Your elementary supervisor worked out[side?], your high school supervisor worked [outside?], the supervisors for Negro education--we had two of those---worked out[side?]. All of these worked out, and so I was just there. I didn't report to anybody except to Mr. Anderson.( Mr. Hope it was, first.) And then when Mr. Anderson came in, he reorganized us. We hadn't been organized, really. He reorganized us. And this is the most fortunate thing, I think, that happened to me. He put me in with the Division of Instruction. He set up a Division of Instruction, and then of course vocational was still separate, you know, it had always been, and the administration and so forth. And so people then -- I was with the high school supervisor, the elementary supervisor, the Negro education people--and then he added some supervisors. He began to add to and get some others. And I was right there where I worked with them. Now my salary wasn't as sweet as theirs in those times. Those were mostly men who were around there. But as far as working, I worked with them. Working across the board with different groups was easy in those days. I think now [i.e., today] later you went up and down [the bureaucracy?], but there was none of that then. You went across when you wanted to. For instance, when I was interested in personnel, I went over to teacher education and I asked what could we do here and just talked to them. And then we'd just sort of work out the things that we needed. And Miss Heidt in teacher education -- she was not the head--but all the heads always were interested in helping us then. (I'm jumping all over the place.)
RVW: Fine. Go ahead. What about -- you mentioned certification. Did you work on the certification standards in the beginning? When did you start trying to get those?
NJD: Well, I tell you how we moved up. This is where you worked with teacher education. We worked with them, and finally they would not certify anybody for less than twelve hours. So we said you must have a librarian with at least twelve hours, you know.
RVW: In library science, you mean.
NJD: Yes. And then they got into eighteen hours, and then you had that for your teacher/librarian, and you had your librarian for twenty-four hours, and that stayed until after I left, after this masters program was set up. You can't -- it was not wise to require what you didn't give in the state.
RVW: Did you help get the program started at USC for the undergraduate program?
NJD: Yes, we all worked on that. When I first came, Winthrop gave a course for undergraduates. State College gave some courses. The University gave courses in the summer. Now thank goodness Mr. Rawlinson was interested -- he was the librarian at the University -- he was interested in it and he taught some of those courses, and Mrs. Varnell Salley over at Columbia College taught some courses. But there was no program. They just came in in the summer and taught some courses, and they went back and they had this course and this course and this. And so when Dr. Russell came in as head of the University -- you remember when Russell, Donald Russell, came in as head? -- well, he wrote to the State Department of Education and and asked what he could do to improve the School of Education. And I wrote and told of the importance of having a program that was set up in a winter session as part of the whole program and then a summer school grew after that -- and that we needed a program that was in library science. Now Miss Heidt, from teacher education, wrote the same thing. So she wrote that it was necessary to have this. So that was about the time they began to set up, you see, this undergraduate program at the University, and Nancy Burge was a great help all the way around when they set that up. And then I was off in Thailand part of that time, as they began to do some of the setting up, because it was the year I was there. But Nancy Burge was just ... she was a good teacher. She held their noses to the grindstones, but she really turned out some good librarians who really knew what things were about. She had been a school librarian in Raleigh and she was good.
RVW: What do you feel were your major accomplishments with the Department of Education over those years?
NJD: Well, of course, we did elementary libraries, which we didn't have, really. We didn't have any standards. We didn't have anything that said [anything] about a person that served in the elementary school. If they did, it just happened to be that that district wanted somebody I thought would be good, and mainly collections of books or collections in classroom And of course teachers hated to give those up at first, but we said, "That's all right. We're going to start a central collection and we'd like for you to bring yours in but if you don't you may keep those and we'll just begin to build up a collection." And they soon found it was a lot easier to have them in a central library than to have them in the classroom. You know, and you got your newer books from the central collection, not in there, because they didn't give any more money for the collections. But we never forced their hands on that. The elementary libraries -- we didn't have anything that said they had to set up an elementary library. We had one district where they built a new junior high school -- this was just before I came -- and they didn't even have a library in it.
RVW: What was the reaction when you said we've got to have elementary school libraries?
NJD: They were ready. They were willing and principals and the person who headed up elementary education -- we had two supervisors by this time -- they got to work on some standards. They felt they were needed. This was later of course. And we had to build up; had parents and different ones building, until we got standards. But the Department of Education, they were concerned about that, and we wrote those standards with committees. I was on the committee for libraries, and we had different ones on committees for the elementary standards. We were the the ones that went around and talked to it to the point. And one time when we were talking about the standards just before they were adopted -- you see we talked with principals and different groups about the standards; got reactions from them -- one superintendent got up in a group where I happened to be and said, "Well, I'd like for Nancy to tell us why we need elementary libraries." And a principal got up and said, "I will tell you why!" So he forthwith told him. He said, "I'll just tell you. I have one. I'll just tell you what it does for your children." So that settled that, you know, I didn't have to talk when he said all that. But that approach was really very good. But we had workshops for people who were the curriculum people in the schools, you know. The supervisors of instruction in all the different districts -- we brought all those in. And we brought in somebody who was good in libraries to talk to them, and then we had discussion groups, and the people who led those discussion groups were the supervisors at the State Department of Education -- the math and the modern language and all those -- led them. (phone ringing) Excuse me a minute. [Stops tape here]
RVW: Let's talk about Thailand.
NJD: Well, let me say this, though. You know I think the first part of my work, the first years, were all in preparation through getting the cooperation and getting an understanding of what it was we were trying to do with libraries -- and to broaden their understanding of what we were talking about -- always on everybody's -- mine too --mind you know, as we all met, studied and did workshops -- really was paid off at the time of the federal funds. And I think we didn't ... We profitted from it because we got the elementary libraries as high priority schools under Title I. We got personnel --library and supervisor -- librarians and supervisors; we got quarters; and we got collections up to par. And by getting collections up to par, that freed Title II so that we helped the schools that were mostly white or were not high priority to build up their collections, you see. So we really started out with those high priority schools almost having ten books from the start, which we never would have gotten if we had not had that money. We could not have kept the elementary standards. But by doing that -- and everybody cooperated in it and they were willing to do this sort of thing.
RVW: And spending those early years laying the groundwork ... ?
NJD: I think it did. I think that whole thing is we tried to improve standards, personnel and collections -- and tried to broaden understandings that helped number their selections in workshops so that they got beyond a state list or beyond anything of that type again. And I think it saved us from having a lot of sorry materials in our libraries. A few times they would buy three copies of some reference book they'd never have any use for, but anyway generally we got good collections and we weren't bothered by these fly-by-night people who sold books. Because we were used to working together and then they would say send them up to me and I'll see whether we recommended them or not. And all these things -- it became a pretty floating sort of thing, and it paid off right there.
RVW: You were doing all this pretty much on your own at the time. This must have been a night and day -- twenty-five hour day.
NJD: Well, it took a lot of time, but it was fun. I enjoyed it. Now, about Thailand.
RVW: Thailand. How did Thailand happen? Here's this break.
NJD: You know so many things happen because people do things for you, don't they? In a lot of instances. Mr. Cliff wrote me and asked me if I would be interested in applying for a position in Thailand to teach library science. Sent me the application. And so I filled it in. Frances had already been there and I'd heard a lot about Thailand, so I was interested. And so I filled in that application and sent it in, and they approved it and I went. I asked Mr. Anderson if I could go -- have a leave of absence -- and he said if I would get somebody to take my place who had my same philosophy of libraries and would continue the work that I could go. And so I asked Nancy Burge to come in and take it and she did and I went to Thailand.
RVW: How did you like it?
NJD: I liked it. I found it interesting and them an interesting people. They were...I thought it was quite an interesting experience.
RVW: How about the cultural differences? How did you adapt to those?
NJD: Well, you know, I was brought up on rice. That was a help. No adjustment there. Everybody else could talk about rice, but I knew rice. I liked it -- I was brought up on it. There were differences. I think in an orientation we had after we got there one of the Thai people who was telling up about things said, "You Americans will be a lot happier if you are not too efficient." I remember that. So when your patience was tried, you just tried to remember you'd be a lot happier if you weren't too efficient. But they were nice people, they really were.
RVW: Now a year had elapsed between the time Mrs. Spain was there and you arrived? What had happened to the program during that time?
NJD: Mrs. Rockwood was there..
RVW: Oh, Rockwood. That's right, Ruth Rockwood had been there during that year. OK. I had forgotten about that.
NJD: She was still there when I went there -- was in the process of leaving.
RVW: And she had continued the education of all kinds of librarians, other librarians as well, mostly academic librarians.
NJD: Well you worked with anybody in there who was interested in library work. In your freshman class I had I bet ... first showed up about ninety or something - a lot of them. A lot of them were there just to become more fluent in English. I had a physics professor. I had somebody from social service. You know, who really weren't going into library work.
RVW: And you taught them cataloging?
NJD: No, I didn't teach them cataloging. That wasn't the first course. First course was sort of an introduction to libraries and administration, you know, those questions. But anyway, one got a raise on his grades in my class. He was really quite good. They said they'd give him a raise if he made that, and he made it. But they really were very friendly and very nice people and I felt I profitted from that. I did lose the retirement for that year, though. They [SC Department of Education] wouldn't give me the retirement. But I thought in my present old age I'd enjoy my Thailand visit more than I'd enjoy maybe the extra money. I don't know.
RVW: Did you get to travel around quite a bit? See the country?
NJD: Yes, I did. I did travel. Because I went out and worked with the public libraries, too. You worked with whatever library was there. You worked with education offices. I did a workshop in connection with UNESCO down at Chachensau, which was a little ways. I got up in the morning and went on that and then came back in the afternoon. Went on the train. Chulalongkorn was willing to let me have that time to go down there and work with them. They were teachers. And then I did a workshop up in Oobong, which had different education officers who were invited to come in and work with the course, and I took with me three Thai officers who would translate when I needed it.
RVW: Now you taught every course. Cataloging, the whole works.
NJD: I was the only person there at that time.
RVW: Where were your materials coming from?
NJD: Well, I took some of them with me. They had some older materials there, you know, in reference and a few things of that type. And then we had the boss of America, you know, the libraries that they ... the USIA libraries. We used those. Used them a lot. And of course they had all their libraries locked up. And so that was one thing we tried to change. I went down and worked with the YMCA on some materials they had. They wanted some help and I talked to them. And then I gave them a certain amount of money and I said, "Now, I'm giving you this money for some materials and I'm going to have some strings attached and I advise you never to take money that strings are attached, but these are to be put on open shelves." So they said all right. I don't know how long they stayed there, because people walked off with them. But I thought that they realized they were getting the gift.
RVW: Did you have any trouble as a woman in Thailand?
NJD: No. Never found any. I remember one night going out to a school somewhere and I didn't know where it was, and I stopped just at a little night stand somewhere. I asked them how I got there, because I didn't know. And one young man said, "I'll just show you," he said. So he went down with me, and the school was a way down out of Bangkok, way down the road. But you felt safe. I didn't bother about escorts. I felt perfectly safe anytime there.
RVW: What have you thought about in terms of reflections of your role as foreign advisor, consultant, teacher over this period of time?
NJD: Well, your role, really, as far as the United States government was concerned, was to interpret America to people, I think. You know? The way you worked and the way you interpreted the American democracy, really, as you did. They used to be a little amazed, because I would approach them and if something came up, we had to go to the Prime Minister or something, I'd say, "Tomorrow I will not be here." Or I would do certain things. Their professors didn't tell them all that, you know. That was just this work for the student. It was just too bad if you didn't show up or something. And so they were a little amazed with that. And I remember we had a tea. They had given teas, but they wanted to give a tea, wanted us to give a tea, and invite all the high people. And we did, and I went around and I served tea to one of the students and the student said, "You must remember your teacher has served you today." That was just entirely new to them at that time. Remember this is '53 - '54, before it was so Americanized as it is now. There were a lot of little things like that that you tried, in the way in which you worked with them, to really -- this was what the government was interested in. And the reason I say that -- I served on the committee that did some of the first screening of people to go abroad, you know, with the group that made the choices for the universities and this sort of thing. And that was one question they wanted to know was your relationship with people. And your subject -- they wanted to know if you knew your subject matter before they passed you, but they also were interested in how you worked with people, because this was one of the things they were interested in. Working with people. I think ... I still hear from some of them and I think it created a friendly feeling, generally, on your work. And as far as the library work is concerned, I think it gave them some basic idea, but they had to go from there if they wanted anything done.
RVW: What about interpreting American library philosophy to them?
NJD: I think we did that -- I don't know how successfully -- but I think so, just like serving, you know. I think their idea was not always serving. One student told me once -- we were talking about books that had to be put up or something -- he said he wasn't educated just to put up books. You know -- do different things. But, anyway, I think they got philosophy pretty well for what you wanted in a library -- the amount of the service -- because of what you did. Because we put our books on -- the books that I brought and the ones that I got from USIA--went on to open shelves. They were very good. Mary Englemeyer was there when I first went there -- in the library. I think they began to understand that. I don't know how much the government would understand that. You could talk whatever you wanted to. I don't know that you could act whatever you wanted to. You knew there were people there who knew what you were doing and what you said, because I mentioned the fact they had this illustrated Thai magazine -- we were talking about things -- and I said, "Now this is an excellent source." I ran across this and I said, "It's an excellent source for new materials that you may want to refer to the files and so forth. I believe it would be a wonderful periodical for looking up some things about your country." And I want you to know it wasn't more than three days before I got a stack like this sent to me. So somebody had heard, you know, what was said out of one man. But I think you could get across some ideas. You always had that feeling of books being lost, and of what you were educated to do. The basis, I guess, is important.
RVW: What about -- what was happening to the Thai library association when you were there? Was it getting formed?
NJD: I think it was just started a little bit later, really. After that it was being formed mainly. At least I didn't work in it. I did work some with the fellow who was librarian up at Brooklyn at one time who went with the publishing company -- Franklin Publishing, I guess it was -- he was in various countries doing some books and so forth in the language of different people, Francis R. St. John. And we talked with him and I tried to get some people who might be interested in doing some writing, but I don't think they ever got anything there. I think that maybe took too much energy or something. They just didn't want to branch out, or something like that. Anyway, I don't think anything ever came of it. But I did meet with him and I did write him about it and I did recommend some people to him that I thought were good.
RVW: Did you and Ruth Rockwood and Mrs. Spain ever share conversation or notes to compare?
NJD: Well, Frances and I talked together. Ruth Rockwood I didn't see much of -- I didn't really know her before and I didn't -- haven't -- seen much of her since I've been back. But Frances, of course, I saw often. And after I came back we usually shared a room when we went to ALA. We've been close friends ever since I was at Winthrop. But the Thailand experience was well worth it, and I think I brought back an understanding of Thailand which I was supposed to. Not only were they supposed to get an idea of what I was like, I was supposed to get an idea of what other countries are like, and I think I did. I think I have a better appreciation of those people and what they stand for and what they do.
RVW: Let's talk a little bit about library association work. You've been involved very significantly with at least four groups and we noted particularly your work with Southeastern Library Association. Did you start early working with them in specific areas?
NJD: Well, no, not really. I just worked with mainly school libraries in Southeastern. When I was president of the group we did get one thing started which was very worthwhile for us. I don't know whether you've ever seen that Achieving Quality in Library Service [Day, Nancy Jane and Sarah Jones. Achieving Quality in School Library Service: A Report of a Committee of the Southern States Work Conference. 1961.] that was published by the Southern States Work Conference.
RVW: We have a citation to it, but I don't think we've found a copy.
NJD: It's really, I think, quite a good book for us to have accomplished. As president of Southeastern, I wrote to to Dr. Johns and suggested the fact that we would like a study made of school libraries and that one of the school library supervisors had recommended that to Southeastern. And so he wrote back and said he was interested, and that's how I got the job of being, you know, chairman of that group. You always do. He was wondering what we wanted to write about. We were particularly interested in elementary schools, is what we wrote him about. But eventually it became the whole school, just seeing what was a quality school library. And Mary Helen ??? came down and served as the consultant with us on that, and the state supervisors from the different southern -- southeastern -- states worked on it. We worked down at Daytona Beach. And that group is sponsored -- that Southern States Work Conference -- is sponsored by two groups. One group is the state departments of education and the other group is the state education associations. Those are the two groups that sponsored it. Of course, expenses are paid by either the education association or the state department of education to go to it. We spent a week three summers, I think it was. We had groups in the states and then they met the first year down there and we set up the problems we wanted to study and all and then we had committees and they did work during the following year and then they came back and we worked on that. And then finally we decided what we wanted to include. That was finally edited by somebody and published.
RVW: Now this came out after your year as president, around '55?
NJD: That's right. It was started in Southeastern, really.
RVW: Were there other major accomplishments during your period of, particularly your year as president of Southeastern? Things that stand out?
NJD: Well, from a standpoint of just getting things organized somewhat, it was the first year we had had, really, a paid auditor to audit the books. I felt it was necessary for us to. We didn't handle a great deal of money, but I thought if I were treasurer I'd certainly want my books audited by somebody who knew what they were doing. And we started working on a handbook which later was finished in another administration. I think maybe it was Lucille Nix's where we got out a handbook, you know, concerning Southeastern, which had all the -- not only the constitution but the officers and all the -- everything connected with the association. It was just a regular handbook so that you'd know what was taking place in there. But I don't know whether there was anything else significant from the other groups. I was just trying to think about Southeastern at that time.
RVW: I had always had the impression that Southeastern was more of a public libraries group.
NJD: Well, it is public. The school library group was always a very small group in there. Don't ask me how I got to be president. I don't know how. I guess they accepted me because I had done all kinds of library work. I'd done school and public and college. So I don't know.
RVW: Been everywhere in the southeast?
NJD: I knew most of them, yes. I knew people in different areas. I mean, I didn't know just school librarians. You see, I knew all the others I had come in contact with, worked with, so I suppose that was one reason for it.
RVW: Let's just talk about the SCLA work: what I was about to ask, to compare SELA and SCLA work in terms of satisfaction. How about SCLA? How effective an organization has it been in school library development over the years?
NJD: Well, I'll say this for it, and I think you will see it if you see those papers that Margaret [W. Ehrhardt, Library Supervisor, SC State Department of Education] has. I think in the beginning there were letters from some of the public libraries. I think Mrs. [Emily] Sanders of Charleston Public Library was president of the SCLA at that time when they were trying to get a school library supervisor, and I think she gave real support to it. And I think at that time also, Nancy Blair, who was executive secretary of what was then the State Library Board, also gave it support. So that I think there was never a lack of support on the part of public libraries. I think it's just mainly public libraries belonging to it. I think our problem has been the school librarians feel the only time they can go is on Saturday, and that is something I tried to break as supervisor. So that they could come on Friday, too, you know. And gradually we did get school librarians coming in to regular meetings and not just have to always meet on Saturday when most everybody else has finished, you know, things generally. So they could participate in this. I believe you've got to know more than you used to, and I believe people have to know about more libraries than the one they're working in. At least have some understanding of it. At least that's always been my feeling. But that has been a drawback 'cause all of them would say, when you'd say let's have a meeting on Friday or something, they'd say, "But we can't go." But you know you have to begin asking, and sometimes you don't go, but sometimes you do get to go.
RVW: So this was a real problem with SCLA and school librarians?
NJD: I think it was. With Southeastern I think it was a problem. And it was a problem anytime you brought school librarians together. But at SCEA everybody goes, you see -- schools just close for those days. But the other days, who keeps the library and the kids? You've got a problem there. But what do you do? But after we began to get some secondary people and so forth, then it became mandatory to go.
RVW: I found it interesting that you were president of SELA a good many years before you were [President of SCLA] ...
NJD: Well, I tell you, I never felt I should be president of SCLA. I felt that as supervisor I had opportunities which opened up for me to do things, you know, and that I didn't need it for recognition in the state. As supervisor I had recognition. I didn't need it as a sort of reward for anything. And I felt that I really was not eligible, in my own mind, to take it. I always felt that. But then one year Mary Gray Withers, who was librarian at a junior high school in Columbia, was elected president, and she had an aneurism and she was in a coma for a long time, and the executive board was sort of in a dither as what to do, you know, and so they asked me if I would take over the presidency and I took it over.
RVW: You were not actually elected?
NJD: No. No. I wouldn't have let them nominate me if it had come up for it. Because I really had very strong feelings about that. I felt our librarians, if it were time for a school librarian -- which they sort of do work it around -- I felt that a school librarian should have that honor. You know? I didn't think a supervisor ought to have that honor. Really.
RVW: So they asked you to become the president when this other person became sick?
NJD: The executive board elected me. I don't know that that's generally known.
RVW: I don't think that it is. May not even be legal.
NJD: Well, I guess the executive board does elect.
RVW: No, not any more.
NJD: Not any more? You have to go back to the election?
RVW: Yes. It's elected by the general membership.
NJD: Well, yes, it was elected by the general membership then, but Mary Gray was in a coma for a long time. She had that aneurism and ...
RVW: 'Course now there's a president-elect, too, who will succeed if there are problems. You were not president-elect, either, were you?
NJD: No, I'm sure I wasn't. There was just an executive board -- was I vice president? No, I was vice president of Southeastern. But was I vice president? I don't think I was vice president of South Carolina Library Association.
RVW: I have that you were vice president/president-elect '59 to '60, and then president '60 to '61. But now that may not be right. We'll check that out. [RVW:Miss Day was not elected by the general membership to either the presidency or the vice-presidency.]
NJD: I declare I don't believe I was. I don't remember, really. But I did feel, really, that something where a school librarian could get an honor, a school librarian should have it. I thought it meant more to the association and I thought it meant more to our librarians.
RVW: May not have meant better leadership, though, to the association.
NJD: Well, I think we always -- we have people who can lead. You know, you don't know until you try people. And if I could get in new people, I'd try to. I think that the only way you develop leadership along the way is to give people an opportunity.
RVW: Now the early '60s were an interesting time in SCLA and throughout the state 'cause you were beginning to get a lot of the federal money and those kinds of things.
NJD: That's right. But you see all our money came through education. None of our money came through the library, and so that made a difference.
RVW: Let's talk about AASL, then. You were president '53-'54.
NJD: Yes. That's when we were struggling to get recognized by ALA. Well, we had the same problem.
RVW: And segregation and desegregation was an issue during those periods, those times? ALA stopped meeting in the south.
NJD: Yes, but we had our regional meeting along at that time. And we met down at Miami as one place where you could meet. I wrote reports on that -- on the regional meetings -- and ours was, I think, successful, except that we didn't have as many people that came, [inaudible]. But we did meet in this hotel that was acceptable and we had a very good meeting.
RVW: Now AASL during that time always met with ALA.
NJD: It didn't meet by itself. It's only been in the last some years that it's met by itself. And I think that's because they feel they have certain problems they can work out for their behalf now. But I still have a feeling -- I've always felt -- that they ought to be a part of ALA. Just like I believe that school librarians should be with SCEA. Now I think they grow as they pull out and get more, you know, take on more things that they'll do. I really do think that's better. But I hate to see anybody losetheir connections with SCEA, which is important to them, and ALA. I think that ALA and SCEA raise your sights.
End Tape 1/Side 2.
Begin Tape 2/Side 1.
RVW: We have to get Robin to work at five o'clock back in Columbia, so we're going to need to stop in just a few minutes. She can be a few minutes late but not ... I wanted to ask about your activities involved with the founding of the library school as a graduate program -- the kinds of things you did there.
NJD: Well, you know except for mentioning the fact that we needed a graduate school -- which we started things off in the annual report that we did need something -- and except for talking to Dr. Jones at one time about maybe what we could do, you know, I thought some grants or something might be possible, and meeting with the committee which he called together, you know -- I don't know that otherwise I did a great deal. But we did meet.
RVW: What was Mrs. Burge's feelings about this?
NJD: She wanted a graduate school.
RVW: Did she?
NJD: Yes, and in fact she backed it. There was a little question, I think, about Winthrop at that time, and I could see -- we had worked at Winthrop trying to get some of their courses at the graduate level, because teachers -- we did take teachers to make librarians frequently, or we took somebody who had already been to school, you know, with some other field -- and they were unwilling to go back to school and get undergraduate credit. You can see why. So some of the materials and reference and some of these things became graduate work at Winthrop. They could take up to fifteen hours, I believe, in library science in graduate work at Winthrop at one time. Now what they do now I don't know, but when Dr. Smith was there, he was the one they worked with. And at the University some of those courses that were in the undergraduate school did carry some graduate credit. I think they were the materials courses. I'm not clear on that right now. Butwe had the backing of Mrs. Burge on that and we had the backing of the school librarians, too. And they sent out some questionnaires -- I think Helen Callison, maybe, sent the questionnaires. I can't remember when she was chairman, but she sent out questionnaires to see how many people, you know, would be interested and so forth, so that all that type of thing .... I think I was an encourager, you know, in ....
RVW: What about the folks at the State Library and at the University? How were they?
NJD: I think the University people were all interested. At least the person who was chairman, who was the Englishman, you know who I'm thinking of [Dr. George Curry]. Names, names -- I hope I never have to call names ever out of my head anymore. After fifteen years of even thinking about them. But anyway, he was interested in it, and so was another person who was put in charge at one time there, who was one of the deans, I believe, was interested in it. So I felt we got support, and Dr. Jones was interested.
RVW: What about Mr. Toombs [Kenneth E., Director of USC Libraries]?
NJD: Well, now Toombs wasn't there.
RVW: Oh, he wasn't there at the time? When you did the early work?
NJD: I don't believe Toombs was there. Who was there? Was he?
RVW: I think so, but I'm not real sure.
NJD: Well he didn't participate in any of the discussions as I remember. But we did have, as far as the administration was concerned, and the people that Jones put in charge of that committee getting together. Now Winthrop hesitated a little bit, I think. Joan Harrow was there, and they were a little -- I never felt whether it was because of Winthrop's history of school libraries, you know, or what it was. And I must say that in the early days, before we were ready, before we felt we could require people with, um, had full time positions that people were getting training -- you had to hesitate about whether you would have people going to a library school or not, you know. But everybody was interested in it those months that we really worked to get something.
RVW: And you were on the committee? [Estellene P. Walker was also on the committee.]
NJD: I was on the committee. And worked within that committee.
RVW: Well I'm sorry we have to stop.
NJD: And I can't tell you what the committee was, what it was called.
RVW: Well, we have that name someplace.
NJD: You've got all the people who headed it up, I hope. Who were on it.
RVW: Yes, I think so.
End of Tape 2/Side 1.
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