College librarian Lee Dalzell will leave after 27 years of service

After nearly thirty years of working at the College library, Lee Dalzell, head of research and reference services, will retire from her position at the end of the spring semester.

Dalzell first became a librarian in 1974 and has helped students find references, write theses and cite sources ever since. Her decision to pursue a career as a librarian was based largely on her interest in the academic world. She said that her fascination with the scholastic process has been kept alive all these years because she is “always learning something.”

Dalzell said that there have been many changes since her arrival to the College, most prominently the personal interaction between students and faculty. She recalled a time when the library, classrooms and faculty offices were all in one building. The set-up created more “inter-mingling” between professors and students. Dalzell finds the current separation of the library from the faculty offices detrimental to the interaction between professors and students, since the arrangement makes it much more difficult to have students and professors in the same place. She hopes that the future plans for the Sawyer/Stetson complex will include a place that will attract both students and professors, so that communication between the two will increase.

The increasing diversity of the student body has impressed Dalzell, who believes that, “diverse backgrounds create diverse questions.” She credits this diversity as one of the reasons for her long career as an educator, explaining that new questions and learning are what keep her job interesting. Dalzell also cited various technological advancements made during her career as other reasons why her job has remained exciting.

She did emphasize that it is still important for students to stay in contact with book collections, despite the wealth of information now available on the Internet. Dalzell said that she uses the Google search engine frequently, but does not think it should be the only source students should look to when writing papers.

According to Dalzell, technological advancements have made it “more and more of a challenge to make [book resources] relevant.” She credits this difficulty as one of the explanations for the “magnified job” of a librarian these days. In continuation of the librarian’s job as an “academic support for faculty and students,” theInternet has added the task of “bringing students in touch” with books.

Dalzell explained that the web has also broadened the range of skills now necessary in becoming a librarian. The Internet not only contains information in websites, but also in scholarly databases and indexes.

The job of a librarian now requires an ability to use these resources and the capability to teach others to use them.

After she retires, Dalzell will not be helping anyone do research – she will be doing it herself. She plans to write a book about the Rockefeller family with her husband, Robert Dalzell, professor of American history.

This is not the first time Dalzell and her husband have collaborated on a book. The first book they wrote was entitled George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Dalzell said she hopes that the upcoming book will take a much shorter time to write than the first, which took twelve years to complete. Working on books, she said, will also prevent her from missing book collections. But she said that she will miss other aspects of the College, like the students and faculty.

“The faculty are so wonderful to work with,” she said.

Dalzell will continue to help in the library and encourage students to ask questions for the rest of this semester. She will retire at the end of June.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *