News Release

News and Public Information Office
Glos Center
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056
(513) 529-7592
(513) 529-1950 fax
newsinfo@miamioh.edu

History of Miami Libraries Published

09/22/1997

OXFORD, Ohio -- Even before the forest was cleared for Miami

University's first buildings, the job of creating its library had begun.

As the Rev. John Browne rode east in 1811 to solicit funds to establish a

college in the woods of Ohio, he was offered books to begin its library.

Today, the library's collection of almost 2 million volumes includes 1,600

of the books acquired by Browne before he drowned in the Little Miami River in

1813.

Longtime Miami librarian Elizabeth H. Baer's just-published book, "The

History of the Miami University Libraries," tells the story of nearly two

centuries of growth and evolution of the library.

"The publication of Miss Baer's book is a milestone for the Miami

University libraries," said Dean and University Librarian Judith Sessions.

Sessions noted that it was particularly appropriate that Baer write such a

history because of her long association with the libraries.

That association began in the spring of 1937 when as a high school senior

she received a call from librarian E.W. King offering her a job as a student

assistant in the cataloging department at 30 cents an hour.

"Though less than eager for the opportunity at this particular moment, I

began working the very next week, and, unbelievably, was away from the library

less than three years until my retirement in December of 1979," wrote Baer in

her introduction.

When Baer retired she was head catalog librarian and

associate professor of library administration.

Sessions noted that the book places the evolution of the library into the

context of both the university and librarianship, while telling the very human

story of the people who made the library work.

"Now as we are renovating library facilities and looking ahead to the

impact of information technologies on the profession, it is an especially

appropriate time for us to be reviewing our history and remembering those who

came before us," Sessions said.

The 334-page book costs $25 ($18 soft bound). It can be purchased at King

Library's Walter Havighurst Special Collections or at Miami's Panuska

Development Center.

Persons who contribute $100 to the university libraries will receive a

complimentary copy. Call 513-529-1230 for more information.

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