Fall 2009 | Gateway to Learning
|Karen Mand (Library)
A catalog of service
From the patchwork library system that squeezed into less-than-adequate space in three different buildings to today’s state-of-the-art Mulva Library, Karen Mand has been the one constant.
Mand was a student at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wis., in 1971, working toward a minor in library science and happy with her work study job in its library, when St. Norbert offered her a job a couple weeks before graduation. That would be the first and last job she’d ever take, but she has witnessed an evolution in library science during her 38 years at St. Norbert College.
With the Mulva Library now open for its inaugural semester, Mand spoke with Mike Dauplaise ’84 on her career and the changes she’s seen in libraries and students at St. Norbert.
Q: What are your current duties?
A: I’m the cataloging management specialist.That means I do database work, cataloging, and generally make sure our database is in as good of shape as it can be. I love libraries, and I love working in libraries. I get to see all the new books that come in.
Q: How does the Mulva compare to Todd Wehr?
A: When we moved into the Wehr Library, we thought it was paradise. But this is so much more inviting and comfortable. People comment that they can curl up somewhere and pick up a book and just start reading. The colors are more soothing, and it’s more conducive to studying and sitting.The natural light is so nice compared to the other building. I can look out onto the street from my office,and it’s just a fabulous view. There is so much light and airiness compared to the other building.
Q: Tell us about the other library facilities in which you’ve worked during your time at St. Norbert.
A: When I started, the main library was on the third floor of Boyle Hall.There was also a science library in the John Minahan Science building, and the education department was in St. Joseph’s Hall – which is the facilities building now – and it had a small library there, too. It was a constant back and forth across Grant Street to get our work done.
Q: How has the library system changed?
A: We ran out of room in Boyle Hall in the late 1970s. We went through the whole collection and pulled out anything that was not in circulation in 10 years and put them in the science building. When we moved into the Wehr Library in 1980, we were integrating collections from the Boyle library, the science building library, Media Services, the least-used books collection, and the education library of curriculum and children’s literature. We did the move ourselves. We hired students to pack the books in boxes and used carts to move them into the Wehr building.
Q: And the students?
A: They all have cell phones and laptops now, and face-to-face contact is something they’re not totally comfortable with. I think that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Q: You must have seen a lot of changes during your career?
A: When I came here in 1971, I had never even used an electric typewriter before. When we did interlibrary loans, we had to fill out American Library Association forms that you typed up and sent out through the mail. Depending on where you sent it, it could take weeks for it to come back. We had struggles even getting computer wiring into the Todd Wehr Library, because it wasn’t designed for that. I didn’t even have a computer when we moved into the Wehr. Here, the desks are configured for computers instead of patching things together.This is designed to be a functional work space. We moved into the Mulva Library in June, and it felt like home immediately.
Look here for web-only content that expands on topics presented in the current St. Norbert College Magazine (PDF).
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From start to finish
The Mulva Library, now open, takes shape before your eyes in this time-lapse sequence of images.
Your ideas for future magazine stories are most welcome. Write to the editor with any suggestions or comments.
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