Speaking of History:The Words of South Carolina Librarians

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Listen to Dr. Nettie Parler

Dr. Nettie Parler talks about working with the academic library while a professor in the English department at South Carolina State University.

RW: Were you able, during the years that you were in the English department here -- or the communications department -- did you have a fairly intensive relationship with the library? Did you encourage library use?

NP: Yes. In fact, I suspect that I was one of the biggest boosters, you see, of the idea that reading is the essential ingredient in our work. Yes, we assigned -- just automatically -- an awful lot of reading to be done. And I was constantly involved -- and my students -- my department served all the students of the college. We started off serving all the students of the college for two years, and when I left, we were serving every student for two and a half years, because we had developed a humanities program that began the first semester of the sophomore year and extended through the first semester of the junior year, so that gave us an extra semester with all the students. And by serving every student in the college for that length of time, we felt a great responsibility for their interests or lack of interest.

RW: Was the library co-operative in helping you out through this time? Did you have to push them?

NP: They were as eager to help us as we were to use the library. We were mutually supportive of each other.

RW: So you feel that they were doing a good job of student services? Bibliographic instruction?

NP: Yes, I do. They did an excellent job. They kept us well informed through publications of acquisitions [lists] and other services. I believe they sent us either biweekly or monthly publications to let us know, and the thing that bothered us both -- our department and the library staff -- was the difficulty in motivating the students. They were having difficulty and we were having difficulty, and that was another reason we were working so hard together...to try to stem a tide of indifference, I suppose.

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