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Five alumni who participated in the original book move in 1964—Barbara (Allison) Crist ’67, Irv Godbolte ’64, Susan (Schmehl) Gordon ’67, Linda (Reed) McCrae ’67 and Darryl Jeffries ’66—returned to campus to participate in the reenactment this April. (please click the photo to view a larger version)

Irv Godbolte ’64 would do anything to get out of going to mandatory chapel, so on April 8, 1964, when Susan”Susie” (Schmehl) Gordon ’67 told him that students could skip chapel that week if they went to the library to help with “Operation Book Shift,” Godbolte was in. He eagerly joined Gordon and more than 700 students and faculty members in transferring 70,000 volumes from Alumni Memorial Library to the new library— named the F. Wilbur Gingrich Library in 1980—in the current Library/Administration Building.

Fifty years later, Godbolte, Gordon and several other alumni were happy to return to campus to do it all over again—or at least to pretend to.

On April 8, 2014, Albright celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Albright College Library with a reenactment of the book move that marked the building’s opening. Approximately 125 current students, staff and faculty—some dressed as if they were plucked right out of 1964—stretched across the Library Plaza to pose for a commemorative photograph.

Linda Reed McCrae ’67, who participated in 1964 and came back to campus for this year’s celebration, fondly recalled spending many days and nights in the library as a student and remembered feeling happy to help move books to what she called “the new, big library.”

With classes cancelled on that day, students worked in two-hour shifts to move the books. “You got your books in the old library and carried them all the way through the line to the new library to the shelf where they belonged,” McCrae said. “It was an exact science, and when the day was done all the shelves were in order.”

Stephanie Force ’16, library circulation manager, was eager to participate in the book line and be in the commemorative photo. “I saw it as a chance to help recreate history while taking part in history that was in the making,” Force said. “Being part of the book line meant that for a moment, time stopped.”

As participants gathered around the library steps, President Lex McMillan began his opening remarks with a quote from Andrew Carnegie: “A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never-failing spring in the desert.”

McMillan went on to say that investing in libraries”gives us hope” and expresses confidence in the future of the institution. Raising funds to renovate and expand the current library is a priority of That Their Light May Shine: The Campaign for Albright College. Reflecting student needs and expectations, the new and improved library will feature a Learning Commons, a comfortable learning environment designed to bring together students, faculty, skilled professionals, information resources, high-end technology resources and student support services, including the Writing Center and the Academic Learning Center.

Force, who has been involved as a student representative in discussing plans for the new library, said,”The brilliant thing is that while it will be getting a makeover and some additions, the core of the building will still be that in which we celebrated 50 years, and will celebrate 50 years more.”

web-extra-icon For an online scrapbook and more about the history of the library, go to http://libservices.albright.edu/50anniversary/

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