From six computers to nearly 70. From 75,000 books and journals to a whopping 440,622 books, journals and media. From O’Connor Hall’s lower level to its very own building.
SJC Long Island’s Callahan Library has come a long way since it opened 30 years ago.
“I remember the day we were able to walk through the new building,” said Maria Shine, who was hired at St. Joseph’s in 1987 to help organize the periodical room and process mail. “It was very exciting to see in-person what we had looked at for a year on paper and how it had all come together.”
That Was Then: 1987-1989
Shine, who earned a degree in human resources management from SJC Long Island in 1998, also managed the equipment borrowed by faculty members: TVs, a large video-recorder, overheads, 16 mm projectors and slide projectors. And she assisted in the implementation of the then-new LS200 automated library system.
Shine still remembers the details of the library when it was housed inside O’Connor Hall: the main collection, circulation desk and technical services were located in the North Wing, where classrooms and offices are now. The physical library in O’Connor Hall started at the double-glass doors and went as far as the art studio. The director’s office, periodical room and reference room were located where the East Wing (Psychology/Human Relations/Social Sciences/Criminal Justice) is today.
“I remember having to use ‘Veronica’ and ‘Jughead’ to search the internet when it was in its early stages,” said Shine, referring to the popular Archie Comics. “The library started out with six computers for research and to search for books.”
She added that the periodical room was always busy, as students would wait on line to request journals, then check them out for two hours and make copies before returning them.
“It was a whirlwind of activity the year prior to the library opening,” Shine said. “We were completing the installation of the LS200 system, which involved taking the books off the shelves and adding a barcode, then processing them into the new library system and placing them back on the shelf.
“We were the first college library to have an automated system on Long Island,” she added.
There was also a small staff dedicated solely to working on moving everything from the old library into its proper place in the new facility.
“Do I miss the old days? Not really,” Shine said. “It is great to have good memories. But the College and the library have evolved with new technologies, and I think it has always managed to keep the connections with and for the students. We want to always move forward making new memories, while keeping in mind the essential things that made the old memories good.”
I believe the library is essential to the success of the students at St. Joseph’s, and I am happy to think I have been a part of it.” –Maria Shine ’98
This is Now: 2019
Now, the three-floor Callahan Library houses a collection nearly six times bigger than the one it held on the first floor of O’Connor.
“Today, our students have the capabilities of completing almost all their research online, but they still need someone to guide them with their endeavors,” said Shine, who became reference assistant at the library in 1998. “Most of the articles are accessible from the computer databases, or the students can request them through interlibrary loan.
“As I tell the new students, there is good news and bad news. The good news is you can access journal articles and e-books from home. The bad news is you have no excuse for not having your paper finished on time,” she added.
As the library has changed over the years, so have Shine’s responsibilities. She serves as support staff for the librarians who instruct classes, showing new students how to access the online databases and conduct effective searches. And as the library system has changed three times since Shine started, she’s been responsible for maintaining and updating the instruction manuals for each new system.
“My most important job, however, has always been and will continue to be assisting the students and faculty with research or any questions,” she said.
Shine also assists with the library’s 3D printer.
“In October, pink ribbons were printed on the 3D printer and displayed at the main circulation desk, where they were sold for $1,” she said. “The proceeds were sent to the American Cancer Society. We support a different charity every month when school is in session.”
This month, the Callahan Library is selling yellow ribbons and red poppy pins, with the proceeds going to the College’s Office of Military and Veteran Services. In December, they will print Christmas ornaments and blue dreidels, and the proceeds go to Toys for Tots.
“I have had the privilege to work with many wonderful people,” Shine said. “I have great joy every fall when I greet the entering freshmen, and again when I see the freshmen mature into graduating seniors.
“It has been wonderful to witness how the library has evolved and grown over the years,” she continued. “I believe the library is essential to the success of the students at St. Joseph’s, and I am happy to think I have been a part of it.”
The red ribbon used during the actual ribbon-cutting ceremony was displayed at the Callahan Library on Sept. 18, the exact day the library opened 30 years ago. Students at the library that day enjoyed a sheet cake celebrating the anniversary.
Fun Facts About the Callahan Library
Most Borrowed Item: Testing kits, which are assessment tools used by child study majors
Most Borrowed Book: “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister, which is mainly checked out by child study majors
Oldest Item: “Origen Against Celsus,” which was published in 1660. It is an English translation of a Greek document originally written in the year 248, and it’s considered the most important work of early Christian apologetics. Access to this work is by appointment.
One of the Most Interesting Items: A two-volume replica of the 1455 Gutenberg Bible: “Biblia Sacra.” The first American facsimile edition of the Gutenberg Bible, it was published in 1961. It is bound in leather, features illuminations and is one of 1,000 unnumbered copies. Access to this work is by appointment.
Antique Postcards: The archive also contains a large collection of antique postcards (the Twitter tweets of their time!), which contain valuable information about people, places and things. The library is digitizing a portion of these cards that deal with South Shore historic inns, hotels and restaurants, and the South Shore Recreation collection. Both collections consist of materials documenting Long Island’s tourism history. New items are regularly added and may be viewed on the New York Heritage website, a portal for learning about the people, places and events that have contributed to the history of New York state.
Superstorm Sandy: When Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island on Oct. 29, 2012, many Long Islanders were left without power. Local students came to SJC Long Island’s Callahan Library, which served as a safe haven in the aftermath of what was one of the deadliest storms to hit the United States. The library offered heat and light, as well as a safe place to hangout with friends while charging their devices. Many students ended up falling asleep on the big, comfy chairs found throughout library.