During her 40-plus years at Falvey Memorial Library, Louise K. Green, who has a bachelor’s degree in education and a master of science in library science, has been a reference librarian, head of the reference department, lecturer in the library science department, instructor, acting library director, associate director for public services and a member of the Academic Integration team. She will retire at the end of May.
Early in May, she answered the following questions:
NT: At what colleges did you receive your undergraduate and library degrees?
LG: I majored in mathematics at East Stroudsburg Teachers College (now East Stroudsburg University) and received my library degree from Villanova University in 1965.
NT: How did you come to Falvey and when did you start?
LG: While pursuing my degree, I worked as a graduate assistant in the library science department where I taught a one credit course to arts and sciences undergrads on the use of books and the library. When a part time position opened in Falvey, I was interested. Since my daughter was still young, I worked part time for six or seven years. I also taught graduate reference courses while working at Falvey.
NT: What drew you to library/reference work?
LG: In high school and college, I was a library assistant and enjoyed helping fellow students find books and information.
NT: You have seen much change in libraries over several decades. Which changes do you consider the best? The worst?
LG: Better funding for the library, especially for research access. When I first proposed a subscription to an online data retrieval service (BRS), I was told we couldn’t afford it. Being persistent, I convinced the administration to let us do the retrieval during off hours to save money and then pass the costs on to the academic departments utilizing the service. Now databases and online journals are a major part of the library’s budget.
Since patrons are able to access information from dorm rooms and offices, along with the use of email and (the online link) “Ask a Librarian,” a good deal of interpersonal contact has been lost. Of course, having patrons get the assistance and information that they need efficiently and quickly is our mission.
NT: How were your experiences as an acting director?
LG: Interesting and challenging. I was able to get an overview of the inner workings of a university during my time on the Council of Deans and I came to appreciate the variety of issues that a director has to handle. Since I had been considering getting my Ph.D., it helped me to realize that administrative work was not my strong suit and that I would be happy to go back to my reference work. I didn’t enjoy dealing with budgets and salaries.
NT: Did you help with the design of the first instruction room?
LG: I worked with former Library Director Dr. Mary Ann Griffin and UNIT to set up a computer room where the instructor had control of all the computers and could display an individual student’s screen to the entire class to show differences in what had been retrieved. Since we were one of the first schools in the area to have this Classnet hardware, people from local colleges came to see how it functioned.
NT: What part of your work here did you enjoy the most? The least?
LG: Working the reference desk while getting to meet students, faculty and staff members. All were interesting and a pleasure to meet and assist. There was no downside to reference for me. People were always so appreciative of the time spent with them guiding their research. Most of all I disliked trying to understand and deal with usage statistics. I won’t miss that at all!
NT: You have served on several committees and councils. Where do you feel that you contributed the most?
LG: I thoroughly enjoyed being on search committees, especially for library directors.
NT: Who was the most interesting/unforgettable person you have encountered or worked with among the faculty, administration or staff?
LG: There have been many over the years, but I still remember a certain chemistry professor whose breadth of inquiries was amazing. I never knew what subject we were going to research; the areas ranged from crossword puzzles to philosophy to art and to Beilstein, an important organic chemistry resource (now online).
NT: Do you have any funny stories to share?
LG: One day while assisting a student, I asked him his professor’s name. His reply was “Mr. Staff.”
NT: If you weren’t a librarian, in what other field would you have liked to work?
LG: I would have taught mathematics at a local high school.
NT: What plans do you have for your first few months of retirement?
LG: My husband and I will be taking a trip to Santa Fe with friends and then we will spend some time in Cape May with our family. I also plan to explore volunteer work in my community. I will certainly miss the day-to-day interaction with my colleagues and the sense of satisfaction I have derived from my reference work. On the other hand, I am hoping to feel relief in September when I don’t have to get up early in the morning to come to work—especially on bad weather days.
In addition to her reference work, Louise served on the Academic Information Planning Committee, the Subcommittee on Information Networking as part of the University’s Information Technology Steering Council and the Faculty Recruitment and Retention/Multicultural Diversity Committee. In 1997, she was awarded the University’s second “Distinguished Service Award” in recognition of her many contributions to Falvey Memorial Library and Villanova University.
Louise Green, with her dedication and enthusiasm and wit, will be missed.
Photograph by Natalie Tomasco