There are many changes happening around campus, the updates to Johnson Hall are probably the most notable and visible, but there are quite a few changes that have been happening in the library as well. Several staff who have worked here for over 20 years have retired recently. The torches of Susan McClintock, Head of Reference, and John Kincheloe, Head of Media Services, have been passed onto new staff. And now, Ted Waller, whose career at Meredith started in 1986, is passing his torch as well as he retires.
When Ted started here 30 years ago he felt Meredith could be his home until he retired. He was drawn to the ad for a Technical Services Librarian since he was interested in the cataloging aspects of librarianship. He had also heard of Meredith’s good reputation and liked that it was smaller college environment. When he started in the Technical Services Department the ubiquitous use of computers was yet on the horizon. However, as head of the department, the automation of the library grew under Ted’s leadership. He heralded the use of new technology throughout his career in cataloging and the archives to streamline our patrons’ access to information.
To put his exciting and challenging career into perspective, when Ted started here he and his staff spent hours a day updating the cards for the card catalog, putting correct spine labels on the books, and creating pocket cards for the books. Everything had to be done correctly so all of the call numbers on each piece would match. While there were typewriters and special printers, there was no Internet and there were no computers! During our interview, when Ted mentioned he started working without the Internet, he stated it was a “very different time.” Ted reflected “people had to come to the library to research, and now the opposite is true, they don’t have to” due to the resources available online. When the Internet did become available on campus, Ted realized the potential of this life changing technological breakthrough and had the very first connection on campus installed in the library.
Even though keeping up with technology was one of the biggest challenges of Ted’s long career, he remained a beacon for ushering in these innovative advances at Meredith. Under Ted’s oversight the library also had the first fiber optic cable installed on campus. Ted continued to grow the library’s technological reach when it was again the first place to use video on campus for our archival films. He also has helped to preserve Meredith’s history physically and digitally through his work with the archives. Now you can read historical Meredith documents online and view photography collections dating back 100 years, and there is the Rephotography Project, which offers photographs from Meredith’s past to be viewed with ones from the present. These are just a few of the legacies Ted leaves behind that will continue to enrich our college.
Ted will also continue to nurture our college since many of the excellent people he has hired will continue on their positions. He hired Donna Garner, Head of Circulation, and Meredith Haynes and Monica Borden who serve as Technical Services Assistants. Carrie Nichols, who has worked side by side with Ted for 22 years in Technical Services will be taking over Ted’s position. Ted used to say to her, and the rest of his team, “There is nothing that we can’t lick as long as we work together” no matter how challenging the issue. They even paused together on his last day so he could say this to everyone. Carrie Nichols is excited to continue working as a team with Ted’s mantra in the forefront of her mind as she tackles her new role.
Photo information: Library staff photo from the 1987 Oak Leaves, shows Left to Right: Robert Fracker, Margaret Sexton, Gerry Sargent, Lynn Henderson, Dorothy Quick, John Kincheloe, Frances Hannah, Ted Waller, Rick McBane, Janet Freeman, Alice McNeill, and Carol Smith.
—Submitted by Amanda Sullivan, Research and Instruction Librarian