Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers

History of the Library

The Prewar Years, 1938-41

The principal development of the year 1938-39 was the conversion of John Muir Technical High School  (located about five miles to the northwest of Pasadena Junior College) into a part of the Junior College called the West Campus, the original Junior College becoming known as the East Campus of the expanded institution.  The effect on the Library was the incorporation of the former High School Library into the Junior College Library as a semi-autonomous unit, bringing with it two trained librarians and 9,000 books, so that by June, 1939, the combined East and West Campus Libraries held 40,000 volumes.

Although it would have been more efficient to operate the two units of the Library as separate entities, the school administration insisted on a policy of unity in the operation of the Junior College as one institution on two campuses and extended this policy to include the Library.  The already overworked staff of the East Campus Library was given the added responsibility of ordering, cataloging, and organizing techniques for transference of books to the West Campus with no help from West Campus personnel, who remained where they were to operate their portion of the greater Pasadena Junior College Library.

The second year of operation of this unified two-campus Junior College and its corresponding Library saw many problems worked out, but rapidly growing collections and student body, coupled with increasing difficulty in obtaining and retaining competent clerical help led Miss Skinner to note in her Annual Report for 1939-40 that the staff was hopelessly inadequate in numbers to offer many services which it was professionally capable of rendering.

The advent of the 1940s found the Library with a book collection of over 44,000 volumes of which over 34,000 were held on the East Campus, or a growth of more than 4,000 volumes there in only two years.  In 1940-41 an automatic charging machine was installed at the East Campus Library, aiding greatly in circulation control and relief of staff for other duties.  Also the cataloging backlog growing out of the much higher rate of acquisitions was temporarily ameliorated by employment of two of the assistant librarians as catalogers during August, 1940.