The Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) Library celebrated their silver anniversary in the Library-Administration building recently with bookworm cupcakes in honor of National Library Week. Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) every April, Library Week is a national observance of the contributions of our nation’s libraries. National Library Week will be observed April 9-15, 2017 with the theme, “Libraries Transform.” The theme is especially resonant at NEO where the library was built in 1967 amidst a tidal wave of construction that truly transformed the campus.
As part of the college’s fiftieth anniversary, eight buildings were dedicated in 1969, including the library. That 1969 event was the official opening of the new library, but a photo in the Norsewind campus newspaper indicates that the building lights were on and students were participating in post Spring Break study sessions among the shelves as early as April 7th, 1967. Previously the college library had been housed on the third floor of Shipley Hall. “We decided to celebrate 50 years of living and working in this space because this campus and its students are transforming right before our eyes every day,” said Sloane Arana, Director of the NEO A&M College Library and Archive. “I have always liked Shelby Foote’s suggestion that a college is a group of buildings gathered around a library, which in my mind makes the library the heart of a campus. No matter when the official dedication took place, we want to celebrate 50 years of students making themselves at home in the stacks.”
The NEO Library’s current collection includes more than 80,000 print volumes, 150 periodical subscriptions, a growing digital eBook and audiobook collection, plus online access to multiple academic databases through a consortium agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. In recent years, the library has expanded their services to the college community with a renewed emphasis on the college archive collection as the college approaches its centennial celebration in 2019. In order to ensure preservation and access to Viking yearbooks and editions of The Norsewind student newspaper, publications were digitized and may now be viewed or downloaded on the college website.
Another successful initiative transforming the way students use the library has been the growth of the NEO Academic Support Center where students get help with a wide variety of courses and subjects at NEO. Two subject specialists plus a number of student tutors assist students Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. “The center has been enormously successful over the past few years and continues to grow,” said Kathryn Wenzel, Coordinator of NEO’s Academic Support Center. “Our endeavor has really been about responding to student demand and listening to what students tell us they need. Our goal is to be able to expand our services and provide more and better resources so that NEO’s students are successful for another 50 years and beyond.”