Social and Collection Challenges 1967-1984
George A. Smathers Libraries History

Margaret Goggin served as Interim Director for two years (1967-68) and Annette Liles for one month (July 1968) until Gustave Harrer began as Director (appointed May 1968, started August 1968 and served 1968-84). No sooner had Harrer become the new Director, than significant automation activities, having been developing during the previous years, began to take shape.

MARC at University of Florida was a report (1968) discussing problems encountered since the library was invited to participate in the MARC project in 1966. Library participation was hampered because of the lack of computer knowledge among the librarians and the need to rely on the central university computer center. Another report, Automation Proposal (April 1968) recommended the library become automated, invest in computers and hire systems personnel. The Subcommittee on Library Automation supported the conclusions of these reports and recommended the library develop faculty identification cards in order to implement an automated circulation system and that the library hire a consultant to help develop an automation master plan. The library, in partnership with the Orlando Public Library, also received a federal grant to study the use of facsimile transmission of information between libraries.

No doubt because of these computer related needs and the recognition of an electronic future, a Systems Analyst was hired in 1968, an Assistant Director for Systems in 1969, and a computer programmer in 1970. There was also a need to manage the Information for Campus, Community and Commerce (ICCC) program that started in 1971. This program was part of the libraries reference service for automated information, which involved over a half dozen cooperative programs using shared computer databases and the acquisition of over 1,000 reels of magnetic tape containing bibliographic and other databases.

Meanwhile, the Subcommittee on Library Development was continuing its work on the idea of developing a central science library. Another Committee on Plans for a Science Library was formed in Spring 1968 and a Science Materials Council formed in 1970. In September the Library Director sent a letter to UF President Stephen C. O?Connell asking the university to give a high priority to the central science library, an idea that was favored by George K. Davis, Director of the Division of Biological Sciences, E. T. York, Provost of IFAS, and W. Ellis Jones, UF Director of Planning.

A Florida Conservationist Environmental Library collection was formed at Library West in 1972. In 1973, Library West experimented with 24 hour service during final exams. Also in 1973, with the appointment of an Assistant Director for Special Resources, the Special Collections Department was reorganized as the Division of Resources and consisted of several collections: the newly named Belknap Collection for the Performing Arts, the Rare Books and Manuscripts collection, the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, and the University Archives. This same year included the appointment of a Map Librarian and the beginning of the Map Library. A Book Endowment Fund and University of Florida Patrons of the Libraries were established in 1974.

Additional automation developed during 1973-75 when the Libraries began to access the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) database and install OCLC terminals throughout the libraries. The early to mid-1970s saw an increase in the number of bibliographic databases, with the librarians providing fee based searching services for faculty and students. The two millionth book was acquired in 1979. In 1980-81, the Libraries acquired the NOTIS software for running a PC based, automated online card catalog and circulation system. This system was installed for use in 1985-86 and was inaugurated statewide as LUIS in 1986-87 (with 4.1 million bibliographic records). It was also during this time (1980?) that the library’s Systems Office (the Department of Systems and Computer Based Operations) was established to better manage the increasing role of computers in library services. This period ended with the tragic shooting of Harrer and the attempted shooting of others by a former library employee in 1983. Harrer was partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, and although he retained an office at the library and continued his research and work (he was appointed Distinguished Service Professor and University Bibliographer), he stepped down as Director in 1984 and Max Willocks took over as the Interim Director.

History by Vernon N. Kisling Jr.