Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers

History of the Library

The 1970's

Materials.The number of new accessions fluctuated throughout the decade, due in part to fluctuations in the amount of money allotted for college library resources through grants from the federal government under the Higher Education Act. A significant amount of HEA money was used each year for the acquisition of microfilm and microfiche.

Machine for viewing microfilm and microfiche

It was an effective way of coping with the shortage of shelf space for bound volumes of periodicals. (In 1970 there were only 174 reels of microfilm, primarily New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

Left: A reel of New York Times on Microfilm, a photographic image of the printed version, Right: Microfiche of a scholarly journal, a micro-photographic image of a printed journal on a four by six sheet

By 1979 there were 5,029 reels.) HEA funds were used also for building a collection of audiovisual materials. This collection grew from a mere handful of items in 1970 to 2,617 audiocassettes, 508 LPs, and ninety-nine art reproductions at decade's end. These were available for direct loan to library patrons whereas the audiovisual materials that had been moved to a new Instructional Resources Center in a neighboring building were available only to faculty members.

In 1971-72 the book collection passed the 100,000 mark, reaching 112,236 in June 1980. Throughout the decade, the library made a strong effort to slow the net growth of the collection by weeding out obsolete and otherwise unsuitable materials. Net growth was generally below 3 percent, and was sometimes below 2 percent (1.2 percent in 1975-76). In 1979-80 the staff achieved negative growth by withdrawing 1,494 more items than were added. Inasmuch as many withdrawals were made only after conferring with instructors, this was a significant achievement, indeed.

For many years the number of periodical subscriptions had hovered around 500. Throughout the 70s the Library added about twenty-five new titles each year, often reflecting changes in the Colleges curricular offerings and responding as well to changes in public interests, for example, conservation and the environment. The withdrawal of periodicals of lesser interest kept the number of titles at decade's end at 510.

Library Usage. Turnstile counts reached an all-time high of 551,259 in 1970-71, fluctuated up and down during the decade, and stood at 520,938 in 1979-80. Circulation figures are elusive at best - affected by such factors as length of circulation periods, renewal policies, availability of materials, faculty assignments, etc. Even the retirement of a single faculty member who required extensive library usage had a dramatic effect. From a high of 147,750 in 1970-71, book circulation dropped to 96,646 in 1979-80. Not counted in such figures were items picked up from tables and returned to the shelves (41,443 in 1979-80 - an average of 234 per day). As noted earlier, the opening up of the bookstacks in 1967-68 had fostered greater in-library use without the need for the checking out of materials.

At decade's end, statistics for library use on a typical day were as follows: 540 books and twenty-seven audiovisual items circulated, 2,939 persons counted through the turnstiles, 234 items picked up from tables and reshelved, 1,061 photocopies made, seventy-three reference questions answered, and forty-six items picked up from book-return bins at three separate campus locations. The number of people trying to pass through the turnstiles with "hot" books dropped from about one per day in 1970-71 to about one every third day in 1979-80.

Finances. In 1970-71 the Library spent $283,144 in local funds. As was typical of the period, there were annual increases so that by the end of the decade the expenditures of local funds for library purposes approached a half million dollars. Unfortunately, much of the increase was due to inflationary factors, including proportionately larger amounts for salaries and other resources rather than for books and other library materials. Therefore, the number of new books added to the collection each year actually declined from 6,600 in 1970-71 to 3,729 in 1979-80.

Federal grants under HEA (the Higher Education Act) and VEA (the Vocational Education Act) continued to be a significant source for the acquisition of new materials as well as for student workers under CWSP (College Work-Study Program), EOP (Extended Opportunity Program), and PETE (a reverse acronym for Employment Training, Education and Placement). The VEA also provided new and replacement equipment for the Library Technology Program. Grants ranged from $11,753 in 1970-71 to $22,004 in 1979-80. In spite of continued efforts to eliminate thefts, the Library lost about $6,000 annually through thefts as well as through the loss of materials that were legitimately checked out but never returned

Federal funds for libraries were jeopardized when the federal government cut more than a billion dollars from the amount authorized for libraries and library-related projects in 1972-73, and then provided no specifically designated aid for libraries in the 1973-74 budget. Although Pasadena City College Library had received no grants directly from the public library projects thus affected, it had benefited from federal funding through cooperative programs with other college and public libraries in the Southern California area and with the State Library. The Library supported the public libraries in their efforts to have funds restored.

Inventory. The book collection was inventoried annually or biennially in order to identify which books had been stolen from the collection. Losses continued to average about 200 per year, whereas they had averaged about 600 prior to installation of the security system. The annual cost for the system, including labor and materials, was about $3,100 in 1974. Had the library used a human guard rather than the Sentronic equipment, the cost, of course, would have been more in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $15,000 per year, and would have been less effective in catching items that were not properly checked out.

Besides identifying lost books so that they could be replaced or so that catalog records could be removed, the inventory process included shelfreading of the entire collection so that all of the books were in precise order at least once a year. Other benefits from the inventory included the identification of books that needed mending or rebinding and also the correction of cataloging inconsistencies.

Personnel. At the opening of the 1970s, the ratio of librarians to classified staff was 8:8, the same as it had been for the three prior years. For a couple of years, it rose to eight librarians and nine support personnel.

In 1970-71 the Library Staff was restructured for more effective operation. One aspect of this was to establish the position of Library-College Coordinator, filled by Jeanne Brown. Her job was to facilitate closer liaison between the Library and classroom instruction. Jo Ann Ohanesian rearranged the circulation desk so as to provide a more effective flow of work, and she also simplified the procedures for issuing library cards. Maxine Franklin developed staff manuals and flow charts for a more efficient flow of materials through the Acquisitions Department. In the Fall Semester of 1972, Sylvia Lomen was released part-time to head up the Office of Black Affairs. In that position she worked with Department Chairmen to coordinate the African-American Studies Program with various courses in several academic departments of the College.

In 1979, the College put into place a Retirement Incentive Program that permitted retirees to be hired back for up to two years as consultants who contracted to work 400 hours for a fee of $10,000. As noted later, Bob Ball and Grace Seward took advantage of this incentive program and were able to accomplish some Library objectives that had been elusive during regular employment.

In another cost-cutting measure in 1979, the College gave layoff notices to a large number of classified employees, including several on the library staff. They were given the opportunity, however, in lieu of layoff to elect to voluntarily accept a reduction from a twelve-month assignment to one for either ten or eleven months. Jennifer Duignan, a Library Clerk who had been laid off for a month the previous summer, now accepted the "voluntary" reduction but did so under protest.

Dr. Sylvia Lomen, Teacher/Librarian, began a three-year leave of absence in 1978-79 and was not replaced while on leave. In order to facilitate the granting of her leave, the other librarians had simply agreed to run short-handed.

James Crayton, Learning Resources Advisor and Reference Librarian, was released from the Library staff for the 1978-79 academic year in order to serve as Teacher/Coordinator in the recently created Learning Assistance Center. After Mr. Ball's retirement, Mr. Crayton returned to the Library as Acquisitions Librarian for a year before transferring to the College's Community Skills Center as its supervisor.

There were numerous staff changes during the seventies, as shown in the "Years of Service" charts in the appendices. Among the certificated librarians, there were six additions and six departures. Classified staff had twelve in and ten out.

The number of hours assigned for student staff fluctuated throughout the decade, often dependent upon the availability of federal funds under the College Work Study Program. Total hours for each year ranged from a low of 11,131 in 1972-73 to a high of 14,161 in 1979-80.

Services for Patrons with Disabilities. For assistance to the visually-impaired, a Visualtek reader was installed in 1976. This enabled patrons to magnify printed materials of all kinds. Books, magazines and other printed materials, as well as photographs, maps and even small objects could be placed under the viewing head for display on a high-resolution monitor. Patrons could magnify a whole page of text, or even just one word or one letter at a time, depending on the degree of vision loss.

As noted earlier under Materials, an audiocassette collection was growing rapidly. Patrons who were visually impaired could, of course, listen to tape recordings of books and other items in the collection.

Other Services. During this decade, a number of new services were inaugurated, including audiovisual service for students (tapes, slides, filmstrips, LPs and a poster collection). A separate section for audiovisual materials was set up in the West Reading Room in the fall of 1972. In 1973 Bob Carter solicited extra textbooks from faculty members, and set up a textbook collection for students to use in the Student Learning Center, formerly the Library Learning Center, in the West Reading Room. A paperback book collection was also established. Cataloging procedures were modified to meet the special requirements of minorities, "nonreaders," and disadvantaged students. Procedures were put into place for notifying instructors about new acquisitions in subject fields of special interest to them, for requesting books in circulation and for requesting rush cataloging on books that had been received but not yet cataloged

In October 1971, under a Joint Powers Agreement, Pasadena City College joined with seven other community colleges to form the San Gabriel Community Colleges Library Cooperative, a separate public agency. The librarians of the community colleges in the area (Cerritos, Citrus, Cyprus, Fullerton, Glendale, Mt. San Antonio, Pasadena, Rio Hondo) had been meeting informally for a couple of years prior to formal action by their respective Boards of Trustees to officially form the Cooperative. In setting up the Cooperative, the library directors were hoping to obtain federal funds for some of their activities. Such hope, however, was never realized. All income was from pro rata contributions and direct payments for services and products received by the colleges. Districts took turns serving as fiscal agent. After ten years of operation, the Board of Directors found that the Cooperative's treasury was gradually being depleted by charges for insurance, fidelity bonds, and annual audits. The librarians decided that they would be able to continue all of the Cooperative's activities without incurring these unnecessary expenses. Consequently, with the concurrence of all participating districts, the Joint Powers Agreement was terminated on July 1, 1981.

In addition to the San Gabriel Community Colleges Library Cooperative, the Library participated in the Southern California Interlibrary Loan Network (SCILL) whereby students and faculty had ready access via daily delivery van to virtually all of the library resources in Los Angeles County. Cooperating libraries included Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Southern California, California Institute of Technology, the Metropolitan Cooperative Library System, Rand Corporation, the Long Beach Public Library, and many others. Mr. Grainger served on the boards of these two large cooperative ventures. SCILL relied on federal funds for its support, and when those funds dried up in 1981, the Network died. Librarians had learned, however, that they can cooperate with one another to mutual advantage, and resource sharing on a smaller scale has continued.

In 1974 and again in 1979 the Library conducted a survey of library services. Students as well as faculty, completed questionnaires. In 1979 responses were received from 148 faculty and 198 students. Both groups were asked to assign letter grades. Amongst the faculty, 83 percent were A+, A, or A-. None of the academic departments as a whole rated the Library below 3.5. Five were 4.0 or better. Overall grade-point average was 3.87.

Amongst the students, 53 percent assigned A, A- or B+. Students from only one department rated the Library below 3.0. All others were 3.23 or higher, with an average rating of 3.55 from all student respondents. The responses from students as well as from faculty were used not only to evaluate current services but also to plan for the future.

Housing. During the seventies a lot of energy went into the continuing quest for adequate housing for the Library. As noted earlier, in order to get maximum use of the existing structure, shelves were set up in the West Reading Room, and 12,000 books were moved there from the basement bookstacks. This move actually brought books and readers into much closer proximity, and was beneficial in that respect even though it reduced the number of seats available. By the end of the 70s, bookstacks had so encroached on the reading rooms that seating was reduced considerably below what it had been in 1949 when the building was new. In one instance, 419 students were crowded into an area designed for only 275. Furthermore, the amount of space for each reader was only about fifteen square feet whereas the national standard was twenty-five square feet per reader.

On February 27, 1970, the College submitted to the State a revision of its "Continuing Ten-Year Construction Plans."The revision included a proposal to connect the Library to the nearby Jane Addams classroom building. Known as the D Building, it was located over sixty feet to the east of the Library building. It was also several feet below the level of the Library.

Finding an effective and efficient way to connect the two buildings, was quite a challenge. Four possibilities were explored: (1) connect with a bridge, (2) connect with a tunnel, (3) connect directly by constructing an addition between the two buildings and (4) keep the two buildings separate. Option 3 was submitted to the State as part of the revised ten-year plan. The connection between the two buildings was to be a 6,000 square foot air-conditioned structure. The Library's collections were to be housed partly in the new structure, partly in the Library, and partly in the D Building, and would require modifications in both buildings. Once connected, the complex would contain 48,771 square feet, including 10,000 ASF for a functional Instructional Resources Center.

Library Building, 'D' Building is on the right

The revised proposal included modernization of the existing Library. Lighting improvements as well as installation of air conditioning were particularly targeted. The estimated cost for modernization was $164,408. The cost for making the connection between the two buildings and for necessary modifications to each building was estimated to be only $500,000. This compared very favorably with the $4 million cost estimate for the four-story addition that had been proposed in 1968.

Once again, this latest proposal fell through. The antiquated library building was to remain essentially the same, except for one notable improvement. In 1972, in order to make the existing library more inhabitable, air conditioning was finally installed throughout the building, including Harbeson Hall. This improvement had been over twenty years in coming. With the advent of air conditioning, it was now possible to bolt shut all outside windows, thus improving the effectiveness of the security system. Patrons could no longer drop books out of open windows, later to retrieve them from the ground below.

In order to overcome the severely crowded conditions in the lower stacks, additional shelves were installed, and 50,000 books (half the library collection) were shifted so as to make room in each section for new books to be brought in and shelved as they were acquired.

Defying its age, on February 9, 1971, the library building rode out a 6.5 earthquake that struck the Pasadena area during the early morning hours when no one was in the building. Although many books were thrown to the floor and a few ranges of shelves tipped over, there was no structural damage. College maintenance staff subsequently connected ranges of freestanding shelves together and to adjacent walls so as to avoid injury from falling shelves and books in the future.

Instruction. In 1970-71 the Library began offering a one-unit course in Independent Library Study that enabled students to pursue avenues of special interest to them and to receive a unit of credit toward graduation. Although the Library Technology Program had eighteen graduates in 1970-71 as well as in 1971-72, enrollments gradually declined below the minimums imposed by the College Administration, and the Program was discontinued in 1980. Besides low enrollments, there were at least three other reasons for the decline: (1) saturation of the local job market, (2) a shortage of funds for local school and public libraries to hire new personnel, and (3) a relatively high rate of attrition. The passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 had such a negative impact on libraries throughout the State, that many had to make drastic cuts in personnel and in their hours of opening as well as in their purchases of new materialsXall of which meant fewer job openings for graduates of the Library Technology Program. Since the Program's inception in 1963, fewer than 100 students had actually graduated. Some students already held associate or baccalaureate degrees. Numerous others had taken individual courses simply to improve skills needed for positions that they already held, or to enhance their chances for advancement on the job. In 1973, three outstanding students received $75 scholarship awards from the Verdugo Chapter of the California Federation of Women.

Apart from the Library Technology Program, the librarians conducted orientation lessons in many classrooms and often brought classes to the Library for tours and on-site instruction. Hundreds of students were tutored individually regarding the use of library resources. Jeanne Brown, working with others, prepared self-instructional brochures and six videotapes on library usage that students were able to view in the Library over the College network. She also prepared several television spots to promote the Library.

Jeanne Brown and student 1975

Other Activities/Accomplishments. Under the influence of botanist/librarian Robert Ball and conservationist/environmentalist Grace Seward, the Library Staff donated nine trees that were planted at various locations on the College campus. A bald cypress tree was one of them.

Bald Cypress tree

Mr. Grainger and Grace Yuki at donation ceremony

Harvard and Grace Yuki, Library Clerk, gave three tulip trees in memory of their son Douglas, who was killed in Vietnam. The trees were planted as symbols of new life for the one who was lost. They were planted on February 4, 1971, in the Library's front lawn at a dedication ceremony presided over by Mr. Grainger.

In other activities, the staff prepared dozens of articles for various college publications and, for a time, published a Library Newsletter. It was initially edited by Bob Carter, and later by Lilia Vazquez. The library did an exhibit of the works of handicapped students, including paintings. Also shown were Braille books as well as playing cards and dominoes done in Braille.

Mr. Grainger met monthly with the librarians from the high schools and junior high schools of the Pasadena Unified School District. One outgrowth of their meetings was the extension of library services to high school students upon referral by their respective librarians. Such service to noncollege persons had been first inaugurated in 1972-73 when adult residents of the Pasadena Area Community College District were issued library cards. (Members of the Pasadena City College Alumni Association are currently issued cards, irrespective of place of residence.)

The staff improved access to the Library's resources in a number of ways. Bob Ball, for example, developed an index system for the Library's archives. Jeanne Brown started a clipping file for authors who were not adequately covered in the usual biographical sources. Under Grace Seward, access to the Library's resources was enhanced by greatly increasing the number of cross references in the card catalog and by introducing new headings which enabled patrons to identify books written by black authors. Blind students were given better access to the collection of audiocassettes by the labeling of cassettes in Braille. The actual work was done as a joint project of the Student Senate and the Handicapped Services Office.

In order to involve faculty in the selection of library materials, the staff regularly routed review cards about new publications. With the assistance of the Library Board, twelve to fifteen thousand cards were routed to instructors each year. In 1975-76 librarians sought out and met individually with instructors who had not been taking part in the selection process.

Automation. Perhaps the earliest effort at automation was the introduction of the Gaylord bookcharging machine in the 1940s.

Using the Gaylord bookcharging machine at the library front desk.

Closeup of the Gaylord bookcharging machine in use.

This electric machine made it possible, with accuracy, to check out many books in a very short time. It was used until 1983. Not until the seventies did the Library begin moving in a truly "high-tech" direction. In 1975-76 Grace Seward worked out procedures for acquiring cataloging data from Stanford University by means of a computer terminal at Pasadena Public Library. Then in 1978, the Library contracted with the Ohio College Library Center (OCLC) for online access to a computerized databasecontaining over four million catalog records. This enabled the Library to begin online cataloging and to create machine-readable bibliographic records that would be used for a future local system. Online cataloging of new acquisitions actually began in June of 1978, and a significant backlog of uncataloged materials was completely eliminated in 1978-79. Data entry of bibliographic records for titles that were already in the collections was begun in 1979-80.

The agreement with OCLC included shared cataloging whereby the Library not only retrieved cataloging information but also input such information for new titles that were not yet in the OCLC database. Another aspect of the agreement was to buy complete sets of catalog cards from OCLC, including all the appropriate headings. Even though the Library staff sometimes had to make modifications, they were relieved of much of the labor-intensive task of manually typing subject headings on thousands of cards.