HISTORY OF THE GEORGIA HIGHLANDS COLLEGE LIBRARY
By Larry Stephens
By Larry Stephens
Ground for the existing Floyd Campus Library was broken in the fall of 1972. The building was completed in 1975, along with the F-Wing of the Administration Building. In the words of author, Jim Cook, (We Fly By Night: the History of Floyd College, 2006), “the completion of these buildings solved the acute problem of overcrowding and gave the college the appearance it would maintain for many years (99).”
At its inception, the Library was a 30,000 square-foot carpeted building that featured a large reading room, special study areas, a TV studio, AV workshop, and special meeting rooms. Prior to its construction in 1975, the Library had been meeting in a room in the main Academic Building of the College (today, the Walraven Building). The library’s first director was Mr. Hubert Whitlow.
To begin the library’s collection, the college purchased from the Xerox Corporation approximately 5,000 books, which included encyclopedias, essential reference materials, and some of the classical literary works. In November of 1972, the library received an unexpected donation of books from Dr. E. Merton Coulter, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Georgia. Hubert Whitlow commented: “We are honored that a person of Dr. Coulter’s distinction selected Floyd as the recipient of this gift (39).”
By 1990, the library collection had grown to 53,000 volumes and amassed an impressive collection of audio-visual materials. It was also completing the conversion of the core collection to the Unicorn system for computer enhancement of library services (Cook 149).
Mr. Whitlow retired from the library in 1990, after nearly twenty years of service. A series of interim directors took over library operations for the next few years. In the fall of 1991, a Title III Grant proposal was submitted for the purpose of creating a Tutorial Center in the library. The grant was approved in the spring of 1992, and the center became an immediate success. An integral part of the library’s day-to-day operations, the Tutorial Center staff saw over 1,000 students in its first year of operation, with slightly more students coming in for Math tutoring and the rest for assistance with Language Arts.
Deborah Holmes became Library Director in July of 1996. Under the leadership of Ms. Holmes, the Floyd Campus library collection expanded to well over 60,000 volumes, with nearly half of these books being offered in electronic format. Prior to this, the GALILEO databases had been incorporated into the library’s electronic offerings in 1995.
Another milestone was achieved in 1997, when the library was wired to accommodate student laptop computers, as a part of the college’s overall mission to become a totally wired campus. In that same year, the Assessment Center was moved to the Library. In 1999, the library’s automated catalog was linked to the University System of Georgia’s GIL Catalog, and in 2005, Georgia Highlands College became a Universal Borrower in the GIL Express system.
Ms. Holmes moved to Georgia Coastal College in the fall of 2009, to take a position with that institution’s library. She was succeeded by Mr. Elijah Scott in January of 2010. At present, the library is undergoing the first major interior renovation in its history, which includes the installation of new carpeting, a new ceiling and light fixtures, a new paint scheme, and other improvements. The only other renovation to the existing structure occurred in the summer of 2009, when a new metal roof was placed on top of the building’s existing roof.