Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers

History of the Library

The Early Years of Pasadena Junior College, 1924-30

Newspaper clipping. quoteThe Library. Before the present High School buildings were ercted on East Colorado St., the Pasadena High School and Junior College Library was housed with its initial three hundred volumes in various small rooms of the John Muir school building. That was in 1909, and when the change was made in the location, the number of boks had increased to ten thoousand. At present there are sixteen thousand. Student assistants from the Junior College Journalism class or any student desiring the practice and reward by service points, have assisted during the past year under the direction of Miss Skinner, Miss Hughes and Miss Girdner. Mrs. White was in charge of the textbook department. P.H.S. and J.C. students appreciate the pleasent courtesies that these instructorrs have shown to them in the library, for not only has every attempt been made to aid students in finding informaton, but also the ibrary has developed a personality with th eindividula touches which its directors have added. Thes latter are especially noticeable in the lovely bouquets that are seldom lacking, aqnd in the paintings from prominent artist that adorn the walls.

This period of the Library's history is best described as one of quite rapid growth of the collections in both quantity and quality in response to the new responsibilities of the Library toward the college-level students whom it commenced to serve upon the inception of Pasadena Junior College in September, 1924. That the Librarian was immediately aware of this new role of the Library is attested to by her statement that [although] the book collection [was] lacking in many fields [it was basically good as a] foundation for college work, judging by comments made to her by visitors from the State University and other colleges.

In 1927 the Library had a staff of four, as pictured below.

Photo of librirarians in 1927.quote Who will read my books today?

Miss Baker, later Mrs. Margaret McCaughna, served as a reference Librarian until her retirement in 1968

A vigorous policy of acquisitions pursued as a result of Miss Skinners awareness of the new role of the library produced a book collection of almost 24,000 volumes in 1930, a seventy percent increase over the 14,000 volumes in the Library in 1924. Also, a change in acquisitions policy was instituted in 1925 in regard to ordering duplicate copies of books. Therefore, the Library ordered no more than two copies of a given book from its own budget, thus making it possible to increase titles more rapidly and hence emphasize the reference aspect rather than the laboratory aspect of the Library. If a department wished the Library to obtain more than two copies of a book, the additional ones were charged to the department budget.

However, this rapid and large expansion of the book collection, coupled with hours of service extended into the evenings four days per week (and Saturday mornings some years) quickly resulted in conditions of overcrowding of the facilities and understaffing which were only aggravated by continued Library responsibility for distribution of textbooks to high school students and supervision of study halls. These difficulties were only partially alleviated by the hiring of additional clerical help and enlistment of as much voluntary student help as possible.

photo of student library staff. Left to right, top row, Norton, Peterson, Mcfredies. second row, Blick, Todd, Brown, Berger. Third Row, Brownwood, Johnson, Hill, Campbell, Kenedy.

The aspect of the Library which suffered the most from all these factors was the card catalog which soon became and remained in serious arrears, a source of chronic dismay to the Librarian for many years.

By 1927, the rooms assigned to the Library had become so overtaxed in use by the staff, faculty and students that the Librarian suggested the need for a separate Library building as soon as possible. As a temporary expedient she sought allotment of additional rooms to the Library and removal of study hall responsibility. Compulsory study hall in the Library was dropped in 1928, and extra space for workrooms and stacks was obtained in 1929, but only after several years operation under conditions which made staff work, particularly cataloging, exceedingly difficult to perform.

Other accomplishments of note in this period were:

  1. The formation in 1926 of a Faculty Library Committee (appointed by the Principal) to confer with the Librarian on matters of Library policy and act in an advisory capacity in the appropriation of the book budget
  2. Incorporation in 1925 of the Library of the Modern Language Department into the general Library collection

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