Miss Skinner's Last Year as Librarian
Miss Skinner ended her long, distinguished and eventful tenure of office in June, 1947. In her last annual report she summarized her observations on the status of libraries throughout the entire Pasadena School System, noting particularly that there had never been any coordinated overall planning, that libraries at the various levels of education, viz., elementary, junior high school, high school, and junior college had established and had grown in essentially haphazard way with no organization of the whole system from an administrative angle. Nor was there any coordinated or organized curriculum covering the use of books and the library, in her opinion, a serious deficiency of the Pasadena School System.
Miss Skinner also commented in her last report, as she had many times previously, on the wide variability in the book budget from year to year, stemming from the time that free textbooks were provided by the state to high school students. Since Pasadena Junior College from 1928 to 1954 was a four-year institution encompassing the last two years of high school together with the first two of college, under one administration and faculty, and because accounting practice for many years provided only a lump sum for both textbooks and library books, whenever there was a large demand for textbooks for high school use the library budget suffered accordingly.?Even after the accounting system was changed to provide funds for textbooks and library books separately, the tradition remained, in Miss Skinner''''s view, that books are books, whether they be texts or library, thus precluding any long-range buying on the part of the Library.?She suggested that the book fund be put on a per capita basis, which would conform to the usual practice of college and university libraries and would tend to stabilize book buying into a more consistent year to year pattern.
The Librarian also had many sound suggestions regarding the planning of the new library building, the realization of which was now imminent, depending only upon securing of voter approval of bonds to provide the necessary funds.?She emphasized the need for careful and early investigation to determine present and future needs by all responsible persons concerned--the Librarian, representatives of the Faculty, the building superintendent, the Principal, and library architects.
Miss Skinner also strongly recommended the employment of a library building consultant to check the plans carefully after they were drawn up, but before they reached final acceptance, in order to reduce the number of changes and omissions in the ultimate structure.?She emphasized the necessity of early planning, noting that it took about five years to prepare the plans for the second wing of the U.C.L.A. Library where the pattern was already set by an existing structure.
Finally, she recommended planning the new library more in the pattern of a college and university library rather than on that of a high school (even a glorified one) because of the size of the student body to be served and the probable development of the junior college toward a fundamental part of the system of higher education.
One may say without exaggeration that this type of foresight characterized Miss Skinnerï¿½s long and distinguished career in library service, spanning thirty-four years or more of growth and development, from Librarian of a small high school library of some 3,000 volumes to Librarian of an incipient college library of about 38,000 volumes.?One might add that such foresight and regard for the future is all the more commendable when one takes account of all the difficulties and disappointments she faced arising from two world wars, the Great Depression, and the earthquake of 1933, which punctuated her long sojourn in office.
Her characteristic concern for the future is overshadowed perhaps only by her devotion to the cause of serving others through librarianship, and by her ability to inspire her co-workers in the same direction through her own example.