Birthday Party A Smash!

Posted Apr 07, 2022

On April 5th, the Courtright Memorial Library celebrated their 50th anniversary with a small birthday party, featuring cupcakes, speeches, and a ribbon-cutting for an upcoming library service.

A birthday cupcake, celebrating 50 years! (Photo Credit: Da’Viona Fowler)

The event began at 4pm and kicked off with a greeting from Stephen Grinch, University Archivist. Mr. Grinch explained that the hope had been to have a birthday party on the original dedication day for the library, May 6th. However, in order to include the students in the celebration, the decision was made to move the party to April, during National Library Week. He then introduced Lois Szudy, the previous library director.

Ms. Szudy spoke of the library’s past – the first years under John Becker and what the library was like when she arrived as library director in 1990. When she began, there were only two computers in the library! Lois also talked about the library’s role in the formation of the Ohio Private Academic Libraries consortia (OPAL) in 1998. Otterbein was a founding member of this consortia.

During Ms. Szudy’s speech, she announced a new endowment being created for the library. Sylvia Vance, a Friend of the Library who sadly passed away, gave money to the library for the creation of this endowment. The endowment will allow the library to continue work that will benefit the Otterbein community.

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Tiffany Lipstreu, Library Director, discusses the importance of the library staff in creating a welcoming space.

Tiffany Lipstreu, current director of the Courtright Memorial Library, spoke about the library as it is today, focusing her attention on the library staff members and the hard work they put in to create a friendly, collaborative, understanding, and resourceful space for our community. Ms. Lipstreu thanked the Friends of the Library as well, applauding their efforts to create a Textbook Affordability Endowment in light of textbook costs being a known barrier to student success.

Finally, Wendy Sherman Heckler, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, spoke about the library’s future. She connected the work that the library does with the four pillars of the Academic Affairs Vision Statement, as the library provides instructional resources, works to eliminate systemic barriers to learning, and teaches students how information is located, shared, organized, evaluated, and promoted and thus provides critical skills for understanding the connectedness of the world today.

After the speeches concluded, the party moved to the building’s vestibule to have a ribbon-cutting for a new and upcoming library service, contactless SmartLockers. These lockers will allow students to pick up library materials they have placed on hold at any time of day that suits them – including when the library itself is closed. The lockers were funded through a federal Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA ARPA grant awarded by the State Library of Ohio. Dr. Sherman Heckler cut the ribbon, to much applause all around.

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Dr. Sherman Heckler cuts the ribbon for the new contactless SmartLockers while Tiffany Lipstreu and President Comerford watch.

After the ribbon-cutting the event became more casual, with Opus One, one of the smaller choirs, performing a few pieces while people socialized with one another and partook in refreshments, including cupcakes and punch. The refreshments were provided by the University’s catering company, Parkhurst. At 5pm the Friends of the Library held a quick members vote on proposed by-law changes, which passed.

A larger event celebrating the Courtright Memorial Library’s 50th anniversary is planned for Homecoming 2022.