SR: This is Nina Stoyan-Rosenzweig, and the date is March 4, 2005. I am conducting
an interview with Ted Srygley, former director of the Health Center Library. I
guess I'd like to get started just talking about your life, where you were born,
where you grew up, when you were born, and then we'll move on to your
professional career. So just give me a little background information on you.
S: I was born in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1938, which makes me sixty-six now, last
December. I lived in Texas until the age of about eleven, when we moved to
Florida. I went to the University of Florida from 1956 to 1960, and I got a
bachelor's degree in English. From there I went into the United States Army
where I served as a second lieutenant for a couple of years. After that I went to
the University of Illinois to get a graduate degree in library science, a Master of
Science degree. From there I went to Florida Atlantic University, which was just
starting out, and I went there in 1963. I was hired as the assistant acquisitions
librarian. I think at that time I had an appointment in the department of English,
for some reason, as a faculty member.
SR: It looks like as an instructor. Did you teach in English?
S: No, this was strictly a paper appointment.
SR: Was that so they could give you a faculty position?
S: I think it must have been.
SR: Let me just go back and ask about the military service. Was that part of a draft at
that time, or did you do ROTC [Reserve Officer Training Corps]?
S: I went through ROTC and I was stationed in Ft. Carson, Colorado, in Colorado
Springs. I was in the Adjutant General Corps, which is essentially the
administrative branch. It was a valuable experience because there were a lot of
personnel problems and leadership issues.
SR: So does the Army give fairly good training in that sort of administrative
S: I think, looking back, they did. At the time I was fighting it a little bit, but looking
back I think I learned a lot from that, and I had some excellent supervisors. I was
able to learn from them. One of the things that was interesting was that as soon
as I got to the base, I just gotten out of the training school, and as soon as I got
to the base there was another lieutenant reporting for duty. Our major said, we've
got two jobs, one is to check the filing on the personnel files, and the other one is
to write the newsletter for the retired Army personnel of the Fifth Division. I said,
I'll write the newsletter. So I was able to do that. What was fun about that was I
wrote a letter for the general which was a cliched letter to the people who were
receiving this newsletter. I was afraid he was going to kick me out rather than
sign it, but he did sign it and he thought it was good. The other thing that
happened that I learned a lot from was that one of the captains who was getting
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 2
ready to retire-he was about six months from retiring-another position in his
division had become available, but he didn't want to do it because it was so
fraught with problems. So they asked me as a second lieutenant to do it and I
said, oh yeah, I'll do it, not knowing enough to be worried about the problems.
Anyway, I was able to do it and I learned a lot from that.
SR: What was that?
S: I was over about five or six branches. I was over the personnel and classification
assignment, and testing and equipment-just about everything you can think of on
the administrative side. It was kind of a position where you're getting all the
problems, but I didn't have sense enough not to do it, so it worked out pretty well.
SR: Looking at your CV [curriculum vita], did you get a degree in education while you
were in the Army?
S: No, I took a couple education courses but I didn't get a degree.
SR: You were in the Army then for two years. Did you have any desire to stay longer
or were you glad to have served your stint?
S: Well, I was torn because I had gotten married right after I got out of college,
when I graduated from the university, and we started having children. So we had
two children by the time I was out of the Army, or had just gotten out of the Army,
and so I was thinking, well, maybe I should stay in the Army because I don't
really have a livelihood being an English major. They had offered me a Regular
Army commission-I had a Reserve Army commission-but they'd offered me a
Regular Army commission and they'd offered to appoint me as the General's
aide, which is an honor, but I wasn't sure I wanted to do that. So what I did, I just
looked around at the people who had been in the Army a long time and I decided
I didn't want to do that. I decided to go to library school instead.
SR: I guess you saw that, in part, as getting the sort of professional training that
would lead to a definite type of position, but why library school?
S: One of my first jobs was when I was about ten or eleven years old. I'd gone to a
summer camp and I got a waiver for the camp fees because I told them I'd bring
my library. I had a bunch of little kid books, so I brought my library and I set up a
little system to check things out, not knowing I would become a librarian in the
future. But, it turned out that was my first job.
SR: And it was a positive experience?
S: It was a positive experience. I've always enjoyed reading, I've always enjoyed
working with people, and I just figured it would be a nice thing to do.
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 3
SR: Was there any particular reason why you went to the University of Illinois for your
library science degree?
S: Yeah. I'd been offered a scholarship at the University of Washington and the
University of Illinois. The University of Illinois' scholarship was bigger so I went
SR: And your family came with you?
SR: How many children did you end up having? You said you had two at that point.
S: Two, we just had them fast.
SR: Just to go back, you said you were born in Texas and then you moved to Florida.
Where in Florida did your family end up? In Gainesville?
S: No, we moved to Tallahassee. My father was in the education business. He had
been a principal, and then he worked for the Texas Department of Education and
then came over to Tallahassee and he was in charge of curriculum development
for the Department of Education in Tallahassee.
SR: When you finished with your degree you came back to Florida. Was that
purposeful in that you wanted to come back to the state, or was that because
there was a job available?
S: No, that was purposeful. I really wanted to come back to Florida. My wife was
born in Florida and she wanted to come back to Florida. Both of our families lived
here and we pretty much wanted to come back. I was just fortunate in that
Florida Atlantic University was developing at that time and I was able to get the
SR: Okay. So this is 1963 and you're at Florida Atlantic [University]. What was your
position when you started?
S: I started as assistant acquisitions librarian, and then by the time I left I think I was
head of technical processes.
SR: I know one thing is that library work has changed tremendously in the last thirty
to forty years. Can you give us a description of what daily life was like, or what
sort of things you were doing as an acquisitions and serials librarian? What were
the tasks? When you came in in the morning, what did you do?
S: Well, there were really two things: one was developing the collection, and the
other was developing the computer applications for managing the collection.
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 4
Florida Atlantic University Library was based on the premise that computers
could be applied to library processes. It was a little ahead of its time because
computers weren't that advanced, but we did make a lot of inroads. So the most
exciting part was developing the computer part, and that involved talking to a lot
of people and making trips and finding out what other people were doing, that
kind of thing. But developing the collection was also exciting because we started
at ground zero-we didn't have anything. So we worked with a lot of
bibliographies and made selections from those. We set up review committees in
the faculty [and] we'd get them to review, particularly, journals. We tried to get a
liaison with various faculty departments so we could get a steady input of
requests for new materials, as well as to review the bibliographies too, and fill in
SR: That must have been fun. Did you travel at all to pick up books, or was most of it
[done by mail]?
S: Yeah. Being kind of low on the administrative level, when somebody offered [the
library] a collection of books I was usually the guy with the strongest back and
the weakest mind and would go out and pick up the books. That was fun. I ended
up meeting some very interesting people from that.
SR: Was that through Florida, or Florida and beyond?
S: It was mostly in Florida, although we did make one trip to California to review a
collection of journals, which I'm glad we didn't buy because it was just
warehouses full of journals that weren't really sorted or collated very well. That
was close because it was $100,000 and they were talking about having to lease
boxcars to bring it over. I was afraid we were going to end up buying it-it wasn't
my decision to buy it or not-but it would have been a disaster if we had bought it.
But that was fun because we did get wined and dined.
SR: A nice trip to California. So this was a collection for the whole university, it wasn't
a specialized [collection].
SR: The other aspect that you were talking about, the computer applications, had you
had any training at the University of Illinois working with computers, or was that
pretty much so new at that point that it wasn't taught.
S: That was brand new. I can't remember any training even being offered at that
time-that was in 1961 or 1962. When I got to the university, though, to Florida
Atlantic, there was training available and that was primarily through IBM
[International Business Machines], which had the contract for the sinlge
computer. So they sent us to all the various schools and tried to get us trained.
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 5
SR: Did they have computers, and what was the computer? Was it one of the giant
sort of things that filled a room?
S: Yeah, it was a giant mainframe in a blue room with a false floor with all the
conduits running underneath it-flashing lights. It was very impressive. At that
time we were working with punch cards, eighty-column punch cards. So trying to
get a whole university catalog on eighty column punch cards is something
nobody would attempt to do today because the key punchers had to not only
keypunch an entry-which had to be first coded by a cataloger so they could
keypunch the entry-they had to verify it, which means they ran the same card
through another machine to make sure that it was correct. If it wasn't correct,
then it would pop out and they'd do another card. It was just a tremendous,
tremendous task. But we came up with the first computer printed catalog in the
country as far as I know.
SR: How would people use that? So the catalog was on a computer, were people
using it to do research, or were they still working with card catalogs? Like the
people who came to the library as patrons, did they access the computer, or
were they still on paper?
S: We started out with no catalog cards. That was an administrative decision
directive-we're not going to have a card catalog. So what we ended up
producing was a series of book catalogs, catalogs in book form, so we'd have an
author, title, and subject catalog. These would be printed out and made available
to the various departments. This was before people could access computers
online. At that time it was quite a startling innovation to be able to look up
materials in your office and see what was in the library. The problem was that it
became so expensive to produce, print, and distribute that it eventually broke
SR: So what did you do after that, or were you gone by that point?
S: By that time I was at the University of Florida here.
SR: I guess, again, because the faculty was not using the computers, they had the
catalog, they weren't having to learn anything new. I was just wondering,
because these are people who probably never dealt with a computer before, was
there any sort of resistance to it?
S: Yeah, there was, and the resistance took some interesting forms. Harvard, Yale,
and Princeton got together and created a print chain that had multiple characters,
sort of like alphabets, [with] special diacritical marks, and that kind of thing-very
expensive. So, initially, we were producing our catalog using that print chain.
Later the faculty said, why do we need all this fancy stuff, why don't you just do it
in uppercase characters? Because even the upper and lowercase characters
were expensive. We decided-this was later in the game, just before I left-we
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 6
decided, well, maybe to save the catalog it makes sense to do away with the old
super print chain and go to a lesser [one]. So we went to that and we were
producing the catalog, essentially in catalog card form even though it was put on
a page. Then they said, why use that catalog card form, why don't you format it
so that whatever the file element is is highlighted and the rest of it can just be in
straight text? So we did that and cut more expenses. Unfortunately, it made a
terrible bibliographic tool, so it really turned out to be just a shortcut. Eventually
the format of the catalog fell down. I think what happened was that they used the
same data to print catalog cards initially, and after the director left they created a
SR: It was one of those that was printed from the computer, right?
SR: I guess you were there at Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic [University], for three
S: Three years, yeah.
SR: Then you came to the University of Florida, and you came in as director. Can you
describe that situation or the process of applying?
S: Let's see, at the time I was offered the job I think I was head of technical
processes, so I'd come up the ranks really fast. Probably too fast. I got a call
one day from Dr. Sam Martin, who was the provost of the [University of Florida]
Health Center. He said that they needed a medical library director and he would
like to talk to me about the job. I said, well, I think you've got the wrong guy
because I don't know anything about medical libraries. He said, well, that doesn't
matter, we'll send you for training. [He said,] what we really want to do is get
into the computer era and get our library brought up to date, plan a new library
and various things like that, so don't worry about not knowing anything about
medicine. I said, well, I'll come up and talk to you anyway, but I don't think this is
going to work. So I came up-I think there were two trips. The first trip I came up
and essentially went over to his house and went to the country club and kind of
wined and dined and we talked about computers, which he was very interested
in. I really developed an admiration for him.
The second time he called me back I was surprised because I didn't think
there was any chance that they would want me for the job. He said, yeah, he'd
like to have me come over and go to the National Library of Medicine [in
Bethesda, MD] and meet the people up there. So we took a trip up to the
National Library of Medicine and I met Dr. Martin Cummings, who was the head
of the National Library of Medicine, and I was able to meet the head of the
Medical Library Association, which is a major professional organization. She
[Mildred Langner] just happened to be visiting and [I met] a lot of the people at
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 7
the National Library of Medicine who were in pretty key positions. I really liked
them and I liked what they were doing. They were working real hard on
computerizing their database, their serials database-journals. I found it
fascinating; the whole experience was fascinating. So when I got back I said,
well, maybe I'd be interested in this, but I still need some training about medical
libraries because it'd be ridiculous using an academic library as my only
experience. He said, okay, what we'll do is send you to the National Library of
Medicine for two months and you can train up there. They'll develop an individual
training program-whatever you want to learn you can learn, and whoever you
want to work with, you travel around. So that's what I did.
He still hadn't really offered the job yet, but that was a real inducement. So
then I came up again to actually interview for the job with members of the library
committee and various department chairs. What had happened was that the
director's position had been vacant for two years, and the health center faculty
were not particularly happy with the way the library was operating. They were
looking for somebody from outside to come in and try to give it some new life.
The staff that they had, they had five librarians, and they were They
were all about twice as old as I was, I was twenty-six. Every one of them, I think,
was twice as old as I was. When I finally decided to take the job, the health
center did not make any announcement about it at all; I just appeared one day
and said, well, here I am, and the staff said, why are you here? I said, I think I've
been hired to be the director. [They said,] oh, okay, then they gave me a desk
and that kind of thing. So one of my problems was overcoming natural resistance
from the existing staff because I was this young guy coming in and thinking I
might know something about medical libraries. Fortunately, after about a week
there I went to the National Library of Medicine for a couple months, so they had
a chance to get used to the idea. They didn't know what I was learning anyway,
so I guess it all worked out well. When I came back I think they were a little more
receptive; they had gotten a chance to get used to the idea that somebody new
was coming in.
One of the things that Dr. Martin had wanted to do with the library was to
plan the new building, which is now the building we're sitting in. So we started
planning that right away. There were a number of factors involved in that, one of
which was [that] the College of Dentistry was in the process of being created,
and then the College of Veterinary Medicine, which was a little further down the
line. What we had to do was plan collections to support those disciplines. We
were actually pretty solidly medicine and nursing and pharmacy at that point. So
the direction of developing those collections was a major task. I think what
happened, because we had so much to do, the staff didn't have time to get
disgruntled, they were so busy trying to work with these new programs. Things
worked out pretty well.
SR: Let me just ask you, there's a lot about the early history of the library that just
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 8
isn't recorded or isn't known. Obviously, you didn't just immediately replace Fred
Bryant. Did you know him at all or have any contact with him?
S: Yeah, I knew him when he was at the University of South Florida. Fred was an
interesting person because he had planned this library, the University of Florida
Health Center Library, and done a beautiful job with it. Then he moved up to
Hershey and planned a library there, and then he moved down to the University
of South Florida and planned the library there. He was really good at planning
libraries. I didn't know him well, and I wish I could have talked to him more about
how he got this place started, but we didn't really have a chance to do that much
talking. I was on several regional committees with him, and I would see him at
SR: I guess he left-you're saying a two year vacancy-he probably left with Dr. Harrell
when Dr. Harrell went to Hershey.
SR: And who filled the position? You said it was vacant, did they have interim or
S: The acting director was Mayo Drake, who had been there since the inception of
the library, since the beginning. He later went to head the library at LSU
[Louisiana State University]-wait, that's not right. I'll have to check on that; it
wasn't LSU, but it was in Shreveport, Louisiana.
SR: So he was there part of the time?
S: Yeah, he was there about a year overlapping me.
SR: Was there anybody else who was there temporarily as a director, or did they just
not have a director?
S: No, he was the acting director.
SR: Okay. You said there were five librarians, did they have a system when you
started that there would be a librarian who was sort of the representative of a
particular college? Like was someone specialized in medicine and nursing and
pharmacy, or was it just pretty general?
S: No, it was all general. There was actually only one reference librarian, and she
had a pharmacy background. [She] was very, very talented. Her name was
Elizabeth Eaton; she just recently died at the age of about ninety-three, I think. I
was so impressed with her. I think she was the most impressive of the group.
She could handle virtually any reference question that came up, [and] it was all
manually [done] at this point-no computers, no computer access. So one day I
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 9
asked her, Elizabeth, what do you do when you get a question you don't really
know how to find an answer to? She gave me this quizzical look and she said,
I've never run into one like that!
SR: That's amazing. Did she stay on here for awhile, or did she go elsewhere?
S: She stayed on until she retired. One of my problems was that we didn't have
enough staff turnover. Our staff kept aging because we would hire young
librarians and they would just stay.
SR: People were obviously happy here.
S: I think they liked Gainesville. The Health Center's a vibrant place. It was a nice
place to work.
SR: When you came, you said Sam Martin recruited you, so I guess you were always
reporting to the provost or the vice president? Was that the chain of command, or
was he your boss?
S: Yeah, he was my immediate boss, and that stayed the same all the way
through-I think I was under four or five different provosts or vice presidents. I
don't know what the organization is now, but at that time it was a good place to
be in the chain because we were on an organizational level with the deans in the
colleges. We weren't reporting to any one college. What I would tell the deans is,
we are your library; I'd tell the Pharmacy [College], we are your library, so they
wouldn't feel like we were just an amorphous space out there. If I reported to the
Health and Related Professions dean, for example, I would have given
preference, probably, to that collection. This way I could be fairly objective about
how to develop the services and the collection for each college.
SR: Do you know if it was always that way? Again, we know very little about the early
history of the library. We know Harrell hired Bryant, for instance, but then did
Bryant report to the provost, or was he reporting to Harrell?
S: I believe he was reporting to the provost, but I think Harrell was serving dual
roles at the time, too. I think Sam Martin for a good while was serving dual roles,
dean of the College of Medicine and provost. The library actually was started
very rationally, in fact it surprised me. When they [the State of Florida] were
talking about having a medical school here, they had appointed a team of
consultants, they probably have some of the studies downstairs, but the library
has one whole book in which the consultants had made their recommendations.
It was invaluable because it talked about how big a collection we needed, and
how big a physical plant was needed, and staff; they addressed a lot of things
that made it so much easier, I would imagine, for Fred [Bryant] to operate
because he had these recommendations to back him up.
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 10
SR: To me, that is amazing. The more I learn about the process of planning the
whole medical center; they seemed to have really attracted some visionary type
S: They did, they really did. One of the things that-I credit Fred Bryant with it, but
I'm not sure it was all him-but one of the things they did was put a great deal of
emphasis in this library on journal back files. They were given a large chunk of
money to start the collection off, and a lot of that money was put into the back
files, the scholarly back files, in the field of medicine and pharmacy primarily.
This made the collection, I think, one of the richest collections in the Southeast,
because we've got back files; most of which go back to volume one. As a result,
this library later became one of the major suppliers of information, particularly in
the Southeast, because we had such a rich collection.
SR: That is remarkable, and I'm always sort of impressed by everyone who got
involved in the early years, including the deans. Did you have interactions with
Deans Smith [Dorothy Smith, Dean of the College of Nursing] or Mase or other
S: Yeah, Dean Smith was chair of the Library Committee when I was hired. I was
greatly in awe of her, she scared me to death. She was very library-oriented, she
really believed in the library. From that point of view I was quite impressed with
her. I dealt with Dean Mase [Health and Related Professions College] quite a bit.
I think that Dr. Ken Finger had just come on as the dean of the College of
Pharmacy. So he was new in the job and real anxious to find out what was
happening with the library and get programs going. He was great to work with.
SR: Manny Suter would have been the dean of Medicine.
S: Yeah, he was real library-oriented. Most of the deans we have had have been
very supportive of the library. Supportive in terms of getting the students to
learn how to access information and that kind of thing, as well as just generally
[End of Tape A, Side 1.]
SR: We were talking about the various deans. Are there any anecdotes that relate
about the deans who were here when you came? Was there anything striking
about their personalities?
S: I just remember that Ed Ackell had just come as the dean of Dentistry. He
seemed to have a lot of energy; I was quite impressed with him. He had a judo
background. He never said anything about it-he just mentioned it one time-and I
later got into the martial arts and I was quite interested in that. As far as
humorous anecdotes, not really. We're pretty serious, I guess [laughter].
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 11
SR: When you started, you said there were five librarians and they had all basically
been there since the beginning, which, in 1966, it would have been open for ten
SR: There was one reference librarian, what were the other librarian tasks? I guess
there was acquisitions?
S: Yeah, there was an acquisitions, a reference, circulation, cataloger, and then
director; so there were five positions, I guess, four librarians when I got there.
Shortly after I got there our cataloger was killed in a car wreck. Her name was
Eunice Disney. We had a staff freeze, and the books kept coming in, so I decided
that, theoretically, since I was supposed to know something about cataloging and
the way to do it, I ended up cataloging books for the next two years. That's how
long it took us to finally get a cataloger.
SR: And this was on top of being the library director and planning the new library and
planning a switch to computers.
S: And the new collections were coming fast. I didn't have much of a family life in
those days. It was really hectic.
SR: I can imagine. How old were your children at this point?
S: They were about five and six or six and seven. It was hard. When I first came I
decided I would rent a house. I wasn't going to buy a house, I was going to rent
a house because I wanted to be sure if I was going to run a library, I wanted to
run it the way I wanted it run. If anybody gave me a hard time I was going to
leave. Nobody gave me a hard time, so I stayed for the next twenty-odd years.
SR: I guess one of the things you weren't able to do was to increase the staff for
awhile. When the hiring freeze was over, did they ever let you plan for having the
library staff grow? Obviously, the Health Center was growing at this point
S: Yeah, the way that happened was that we'd tag it on to the new building. The
new building is several times the size of the old building. The old building, I'm not
sure what is there now, the College of Nursing had moved in there after we
moved out. But we moved into this building [the Communicore], which was huge,
and we required a staffing increase. We also justified additional staff based on
the need to build collections in dentistry and veterinary medicine. I was able, for
the most part, to get the staff we needed after that initial problem with the
SR: You said that they were really interested in moving into computers. Was that
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 12
just Sam Martin or did all the deans support that interest?
S: I think it was really just Sam Martin. He was just fascinated by computers. He
loved looking at what the National Library of Medicine was doing, and I think we
ended up going up there two or three times just to talk to the director and find out
what they were doing.
SR: And of course, as it turns out, he was right in his focus on computers. Did they
give you technical support for computers? Did they purchase a library computer?
Did they have any here?
S: No, we were still on mainframes. So really, there wasn't a lot to do--or that could
be done--that made a lot of sense because I didn't want to duplicate the mistakes
that they made at Florida Atlantic. I knew what not to do for sure. We did do small
things like inventory control and we had a system so that when journals would
come in we could send the faculty member a notice that the journal he was
interested in had come. We set up profiles of journals that faculty members were
interested in. But in terms of computerizing the catalog or anything really major,
we just didn't have the computer support to do that. I think they probably saved
some money by hiring me rather than somebody else, because somebody else
would have tried to do something more ambitious than me. Now when the
personal computers came about, and online access to computer information
came about, that's when we could really jump into it and do some real interesting
things with it.
SR: That's when it made sense then. I guess when you had a mainframe computer
and you had to have people who were doing punch cards, it was centralized, but
it was also just dependent on very few people who could operate the equipment.
S: Yeah. I didn't have any programs for it. We came out with a computerized serials
holdings list, which was not that hard to do with punch cards, but even there I
had to hire a student assistant from the computer sciences department to do the
work for me.
SR: How long did it take before you were able to make this real functional shift to
S: It took a good while, probably into the early 1980s. What we had done was to
focus on this type of thing. There was another application for computers and that
was circulation, but that was tying into larger systems; it wasn't that complicated.
But what we had tried to do, what I tried to do, was to first plan a library, second
was to develop these collections and make sure we had a good operational
foundation and really focus on the services that we were giving. As we were able
to add reference staff, people who could actually give service, I think we came up
with a real good service plan. It worked well.
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 13
SR: What was that? Was that the plan where you have a librarian specializing in
S: Yeah, we started doing that not only for reference services, but also for selection.
We had librarians responsible for subject areas, for developing a collection. That
worked out well because they were able to coordinate with the faculty in those
areas. Like the person who was responsible for developing dentistry could go
over and talk to the dental department heads and find out what they really
SR: When were you able to do that? Obviously, not for a couple years, but as far as
that planning is concerned, when did you really start putting that into practice?
S: That, again, was probably in the early 1980s. Let me go back further in history. At
Florida Atlantic we had an associate professor [library] position that was
responsible for faculty liaison. What he did was to find out what the faculty
wanted, talk with the librarians and see if we could get our services in tune with
those needs. I really liked that concept, so I kind of played that role for the first
several years. I would go meet the faculty, the department chairs particularly, and
the faculty that were particularly interested in the library, and just discuss what
they needed and try to translate that. We went through a number of different
kinds of things. We got a full-time acquisitions librarian, he would actually fill out
forms; I talked to Dr. so-and-so and he's interested in these subject areas, likes
these journals, etcetera, which was nice in theory but it didn't work out
SR: Did the library committee continue after you were hired? Was that a permanent
thing or was that just for hiring a director?
S: No, that was permanent. I'm a firm believer in library committees. They serve in
an advisory capacity and we had representation from all the colleges and the
teaching hospital and the student body.
SR: Was it one from each college, or a couple from each college?
S: I think it was a couple [of students] from the Health Center. At some point the
students had joined together into a Health Center student council, so we got the
head of that to appoint students to be on our committee. But yeah, we had a very
active library committee.
SR: I'm interested in this idea of a Health Center student council because I don't
know if that still exists.
S: I don't either. I don't know.
SR: That's interesting. My sense is that, I know both Deans Harrell and Smith were
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 14
interested in just fostering more cooperation between colleges, and I know that
has sort of fallen by the wayside, although I think the whole idea of a center is
replacing that because centers are very interdisciplinary. It all seems to me that
the student bodies have become more fragmented.
S: Well, at that point they were really making an effort, the students were, and I
think the faculty were making an effort to bring the disciplines closer together.
You'd have things like the Physician's Assistants program, which sort of bordered
medicine and possibly some areas of nursing, even though they ended up in the
College of Medicine. The students were really talking about healthcare teams as
a way of delivering patient care. I think the effort was to get the students talking
to each other in different disciplines to learn what the vocabulary was, what their
mind sets were, etcetera. It seemed to be-it had its ups and downs. Generally,
at the first of the semester they were all enthused, I think they had some projects
going. We'd get them interested in the study center, because there was an
interdisciplinary study center. We would ask their advice on how to set that up,
twenty-four hour study rooms, what the best times to close were, when we need
to close. They felt it'd impinge on their schedule. It became a real nice channel
for us to be able to find out what the students were talking about or wanted.
SR: I guess I should move back and ask you a little bit more about the move itself.
What was that like, and who was sort of in charge of moving the library? Was it
one particular person?
S: Yeah, the person I designated for that Jewel Garvin, Circulation Librarian. We
had a lot of books to move. The older journals had been moved downstairs into
what we called the basement, and there were thirteen-foot-high stacks that had
been erected; you had to have huge ladders to get up on top to get those. It was
kind of like Jack Benny's basement; you remember that radio show? Below that
level there was another sub-basement and there were books stored down there.
That was a situation where there was a metal trap door that you raised up, and
go down this rickety ladder and got down under pipes and wade through water to
get to where all these books were stored, essentially, on apple crates. I couldn't
believe it the first time I went down there [laughing].
Anyway, we had all these books to move and so we thought, well, how are
we going to move these? We thought maybe a commercial mover; we talked to
some commercial movers and it was obvious that would be a disaster. So we
decided that we would do it ourselves. I appointed Jewel Garvin, who was our
circulation librarian-she had been there since the beginning and knew the
collection inside and out-to plan the move. She worked on the planning of that
for probably six to eight months, and she had the details down to which journal
titles would go on which numbered shelf in the new library. So when the move
came we were able to move all the collection in one weekend. We closed Friday
night at five [o'clock] and opened Monday [morning] at eight [o'clock]. Through
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 15
that weekend all the staff worked. We moved the entire collection-worked most
of the night-[and] got the whole thing moved over. It was just an incredible
SR: A massive effort, it sounds like.
S: Yeah, but we never could have done that if she hadn't done that kind of
detailed planning. A weekend of closing sounds real quick, but [there was] the six
months of her planning it out before the time to move. But it was ready to go. All
the shelves were ready and everything in perfect order.
SR: That would have been-I guess project one, which included Communicore and
the dental tower-did that start in 1970 and then finish ....
S: That was March of 1974.
S: You might want to check that, it could have been 1972, but I think it was 1974.
SR: But dentistry, I think, opened for students in 1972, but that doesn't always
mean that the building itself was finished. Do you have any other thoughts about
S: Well, the move was just one of those intense kind of projects that brings an
organization closer together-the members of the organization-because
everybody worked real hard and we had food brought in. We worked practically
around the clock. So after the move, I think Sunday night, we had a party over at
my house and relaxed. But everybody was proud because we were able to keep
our services going and it wasn't an individual operation.
SR: Did you have a party to celebrate the new library?
S: Yeah, we had that, too. For a few years we would have a party on the
anniversary, which I think was March 13 or 14; we would have an anniversary
party and tell a number of wild stories of the move.
SR: Do you know if anybody took pictures of that? Even the picture record is a little
S: Oh yeah, it really is. I don't know. That was before digital cameras when you
could take pictures all the time.
SR: Yeah. As the archivist I actually inherited a number of old photos from News
and Communications. I have a couple of the library move where all the books
were in boxes and everything, but not very many.
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 16
S: I remember I deliberately took a picture about a week before we moved. I took
a picture of that downstairs area, not the sub-basement, but the basement area,
with papers and books just stacked head high. That's just the way we operated
every day. The reason I did it was because the first person who complained
about space in the new library, I wanted to be able to pull that [picture] out and
say, this is what we came from. I don't know where the picture is now.
SR: You mentioned the study center, and I wanted to go back and talk about that a
little bit more. I guess, first of all, as director your responsibilities were the library.
Was there a media center? Did you have anything to do with other media or the
learning resources center? Was that a separate entity?
S: Yeah. I was on the committee to essentially make recommendations as to how to
structure the whole issue of learning resources. What we ended up with as a
committee, was to designate the creation of the media as one organizational
area, and the management of the media as a separate area, which would be
combined with the library. At about that point-we had never before gotten
involved in the creation of it- but one of the ideas was, well, since you guys
manage it, why don't you supervise creation. My position was that that would be
a disaster, because librarians are a lot better at managing it [media] than creating
SR: Or they don't necessarily have the training for technical ...
S: And vice versa, because another suggestion was, well, why doesn't the guy who
is responsible for creating it also manage it. Those two entities just don't [mesh].
[Break in interview.]
SR: So, after a pause, we were talking about the learning resources center, and now
we're talking about media and the discussion of what the library's role was in
creating versus managing.
S: When we were making plans to move to the Communicore building, they
envisioned the Communicore as being a core of communications. So they
decided that what would exist there was the Learning Resources Center, which
really was kind of misnamed because it was more a learning resources
origination or creation center. The library, which took in the management of
media resources, teaching laboratories downstairs, and animal resources below
that. The organization really took effect when we moved into the Communicore
building. I was on the search committee that hired the director of the Learning
Resources Center, which was Neal Balanoff, who was our first director of that. I
think before that, what had been a Learning Resources Center was essentially
the Department of Medical Illustrations in the College of Medicine. So when we
moved into the new building they vastly expanded and then added staff and
resources to support the College of Dentistry, which was very heavily
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 17
media-oriented. We created the student study center, which we thought about
naming the Student Study and Media Center, but then we decided to just call it
the Student Study Center-but that essentially was where the media would be
used. So we set up a system whereby the students would come to the circulation
desk and sign up for checking out media to use in the study center.
SR: When that opened, I guess the school of vet med was due to come on line, but
probably actually hadn't opened its doors.
S: I don't think they had opened yet.
SR: So I guess, did you get pretty much even usership from all the students in the
S: From the media center, from the media?
S: There was primarily dentistry students; nursing had a little bit, medicine had
some, but I don't think pharmacy had hardly any. HRP, Health Related
Professions-I think they've changed the name of that since I left ....
SR: A couple of times.
S: Anyway, at that time it was Health Related Professions. They had some, but it
wasn't really as extensive as dentistry, because dentistry's whole curriculum was
essentially based on the materials in the study center. We worked very closely
with the college on that.
SR: I know when dentistry started their curriculum it was fairly innovative at the time. I
guess it's become more traditional, but how did the library work within the
curriculum development? Obviously, you had to be in on their plans because
you're providing resources for their students.
S: I think as far as actual curriculum content, we really didn't. As far as the support
of that, that's where we got much more involved because we had to have the
machinery to support it and we had to have the catalog for students to have
access so they would know what was there. For a while the college actually had
a faculty member stationed in the main dentistry media lab, and that person
would help them when they ran into problems. I don't think that lasted very long
because as it turned out most of the problems were figuring out how to use the
machinery, or if the machine would break down. We would have very close sort
of maintenance relationships.
We did have one cooperative project. Ron Bass, who was in the College
of Dentistry, and I had a grant from the National Library of Medicine, to test out
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 18
the use of synchronized microfiche machines. Which seemed like it would be a
really good idea because with microfiche you can fit a lot of material in a very
small space. These machines were synchronized with an audio tape. I guess we
had that going on for two or three years. Then the Revox Company dwindled in
their support of our project; I don't know if they're still in business. Anyway, the
technology which passed our department outdistanced that idea. But it was a
nice project in that we did work very much closer with the college because they
were putting some modules into that kind of format. We worked in terms of what
would be the best kinds. They were working with learning styles of students to
learn which media students could learn best based on their particular learning
style. That was all very interesting.
SR: I can imagine. I guess the colleges aren't all necessarily the same size in terms
of their faculty and student numbers. When you had a budget, how would you
allocate the budget based on the different colleges, say acquisitions? Would that
be evenly distributed among the colleges, or would that be based on size or
S: We made a definite decision not to base it by college, so rather than doing that
we did it more in terms of [subject] discipline. That got us out of the political
hassle of saying to dentistry or nursing, well, you can't have very much because
of this college over here. It worked well because Lenny Ryan was able to work
out our acquisitions development so that people stayed pretty happy. It's not until
they become unhappy that they start looking at how the budget is broken down.
So between being able to find the materials they needed or get access to another
library, on interlibrary loan, we were able to satisfy, I think, most of the demand.
Much of that was, again, before online access. It took a lot of time to get all those
kinds of arrangements worked out with other libraries, buying journals and books
and keeping up with the mass of publishing that goes on in medicine.
SR: It looks like Vet Med opened in 1976, and at that point you had been here ten
years. You started with four librarians. At that point, how many people were in the
library ten years down the road?
S: I'm not sure, but I think we essentially doubled our staff when we came into the
SR: That's right, because you tied the new growth into the dentistry opening.
S: Yeah, because by that time I think we had three reference librarians. We had a
cataloger, acquisitions person, and the head of technical services and public
services. I'm not sure of the number, but I'm pretty sure we almost doubled [our
staff]. Vet Medicine-I worked very closely with Charles Cornelius; again, he was
a very library-oriented dean. He wanted to start a reading room for Vet Medicine.
We had long discussions about whether the Vet Medicine collection should be
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 19
over in Vet Medicine, or should be in the Health Center. What we agreed upon
was that the scholarly collection should be at the Health Center, but they needed
a reading room because they were [physically] separated from the Health Center.
What they would have over there would be current-awareness kind of materials,
current journals that would go back maybe two or three years, a collection of
current textbooks. But the older materials, the real scholarly materials, were
going to be over here. So that involved some duplication because they had
eighty or ninety journal subscriptions, which we also had here. I think we were
both very happy with the way that worked out because they were able to get their
needs [for current information] satisfied, but they could come over here and do
SR: So I guess their students tended to use the reading room over there, or were
they still coming over here? Was it mostly faculty, then, that used this?
S: It seemed like the students were mostly using it over there. The person running
the reading room was actually on my staff administratively. Budgetarily, I'm pretty
sure it was on the College of Veterinary Medicine, but I was supervising that
person. We were able to do all of their book processing and it worked out well, so
it was kind of a seamless operation between the two places.
SR: That's pretty remarkable with the volume of materials you're dealing with and
things like that.
S: Yeah, that was a good thing.
SR: I also had a question about, I know there was a history room for awhile. I guess
Jewel Garvin was more or less in charge of that?
S: Jewel Garvin had a real knack for history from the beginning. She's the one who
developed that collection and kept up with it and did all the bibliographic work
involved with it even though her official title was circulation librarian. But that's
where her heart was, in the history department. What we tried to do there was to
get at least token works of the important [historical] works of medicine or in the
health sciences, and I think we did that. We had some real good material. It
wasn't exhaustive at all-we didn't try to develop a comprehensive history
collection because there wasn't an academic program to support it. But to see
the students come over and take a look at a first edition of something was very
satisfying to see. We got one of Leonardo da Vinci's works and photocopied it.
We had that and a work that was a rare edition. There was so much difference in
the interest that was given to the original; there was just a whole different feel to
it. We really weren't particularly interested in photocopies or facsimiles because
they just didn't have the same feel. The other thing we did, which I thought was
valuable, was to collect the works of faculty members of the Health Center. So
each time a faculty member would publish a book the library would see if we
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 20
could get a copy for the circulating collection, but also one that didn't circulate
and was autographed for the history room. Over a period of time that became
very valuable. I don't know where that collection has gone now, but all those
were signed by faculty who had been here for years.
SR: I have some of that in the archives-some of it's actually in the rare book room up
on campus. I guess at one point there was someone with a cross appointment in
history who was providing some history lectures and discussions and things like
that, Todd Savit.
S: Todd Savit, yeah.
SR: But once he left it seemed like there was no programming being supported.
S: No, there wasn't. Yeah, he was very inspirational to our staff and he would talk to
us about history and where it was going or had gone. I was kind of disappointed
because there wasn't an academic program to support it and it was hard to really
justify to somebody who's saying we need current materials. We'd really like to
buy this two hundred year old book. We actually had a very literate faculty.
Occasionally, we'd have surveys or contests to find out which books they found
most valuable and which were their favorite books. That was nice. We'd have a
lot of answers come back on that.
SR: Were there any faculty in particular who were big supporters or who were
memorable? Are there any names that you remember?
S: The one that comes to mind immediately is Parker Small. He was enthusiastic
about everything, but he was always enthusiastic about the library and
encouraged his students to use it.
SR: He was also interested in education.
S: Yeah. He and I went over to St. Augustine one time to look at a collection-it was
really a delightful trip. We drove over together and we just talked books the whole
time. That was a lot of fun. I don't think we ended up buying the collection, but it
was still a nice trip.
SR: What about Tom Maren? I guess he comes to mind when I think about literature,
but not necessarily history.
S: He was a real hardcore library user. I say hardcore because he'd get very upset
if something wasn't just the way he wanted it. In fact, he was on our library
committee, a very good person to have on the library committee because he had
a lot of weight with the people he dealt with. I remember one time-we had library
fines, I'm not sure if we still have library fines for faculty but at the time [this
library] had fines, which I felt was a strange idea. When I first came that was one
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 21
of the first things I asked the library committee about, do you really want library
fines? Oh, yes, we need to get the books back. Anyway, one of the things that I
decided was that if we were going to have library fines then the library committee
should be fined as well, they shouldn't get a free pass on that. I hadn't told
anybody about that. So one day Tom Maren came in the office and he said, I got
a library fine, I'm not paying a library fine! I said, yes. He said, I'm on the
library committee. I said, yep, that's right, you're one of the ones that voted on
the fine. He ended up paying.
SR: Did he change his mind about fining or no?
S: No, he still thought it was a good idea. I guess the interesting one was we had a
faculty member who would use the library every day. He would come and check
a current journal-as soon as we'd open-he'd check the current journals. We just
had a constant circulation of journals coming in and out. So one day we had
apparently fined him for journals that were late. He said he'd never had a late
journal. I said, well, according to circulation you did have some journals late, so
you've got a fine. He said, nope, I'm not going to pay. I said, well, you've got to
pay. He said, nope, the only way I'll pay is if you give me a receipt every time I
turn in something I've checked out at the library. This [argument] went on over a
period of time and I talked to the staff about it. There was no way we could give a
receipt for the things he returned, it was just a mountain of paperwork. So
finally, I went up to his office and I told him, I'll give you a receipt every time you
turn something in if you can beat me in arm wrestling. He said, aww, to hell with
it. So he gave up. But that worked out. I think I could have beaten him, but
SR: But he didn't test that.
S: No, he saw the humor of the situation.
SR: How about personalities in the library? Were there any interesting personalities
among your librarians?
S: Yeah, we had some really interesting people. Jewel Garvin was very interesting. I
don't know whether she's still alive or not, she'd be about ninety-five if she is.
SR: I think she passed away, I'm not sure exactly when.
S: She was quite a character, very good with dealing with the faculty. She always
had a jovial, joking kind of relationship with them. She also had a real hard edge
to her; her favorite expression was that people were no damn good, so we would
always discuss that to find it was just the opposite. She loved the history part [of
the collection]. We had some real characters, not necessarily librarians; we had
one woman who used to work in acquisitions who said every time she'd eat a
food she'd develop allergies to it, and that the way she would eventually die is
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 22
because there was no other food that she could eat. What do you say to
someone like that? Her favorite pastime at lunch hour in the summertime was to
eat her lunch in the car with all the windows rolled up.
SR: She liked warm weather I take it.
S: I guess so. Anyway, she was kinda [weird], but she was pretty good at clerical
work, which was what she did, so it was fine. We seemed to attract fairly strong
personalities, but generally they were able to work fairly well together. There
were times when I would liked to have had a boxing area where people could
work out their differences, but in general they got along pretty well.
SR: This is one of the questions that Faith Meaken wanted to ask was, were there
any librarians that went on to directorships elsewhere or library directorships
elsewhere? It sounds like a lot of them stayed here for the length of their career.
S: Yeah, like Lenny; Lenny could have gone on to a directorship if he had wanted
to. Mayo Drake, the guy that I replaced, went on to a directorship. Well, in
Jacksonville we had appointed Pam Newman, who had been on the staff, as
director of the Borland Library, that was one of our branch libraries.
[End of Tape A, Side 2.]
S: During the time I was director, turnover [in the profession] was considered a
problem because of all the hiring and training involved, particularly with librarian
positions. But for us it was just the opposite, we didn't really have enough
turnover. I would have welcomed that, it would have been great. Esther Jones
was head of public services, and she was here for many years; she retired from
here. Peggy Hsu, she's still here; somebody like Peggy you don't particularly
want the turnover because she's very talented. But generally I think it's more
healthy to have some turnover rather than almost none.
SR: This might have been challenging, especially when computers had reached the
point where you really could use them easily and profitably, because then you
have to retrain people who are used to older library methods.
S: That's what happened with me. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but when I
came here I told Sam Martin that my ambition was to get a Ph.D., and I was
going to go away to do that so I was only going to be here two years maximum.
He said, that would be fine. What I found was-I started taking classes on
campus, I took some languages and some psychology and statistics and various
things. What I found was that I really was not so interested in the scholarly
background or the scholarly approach to libraries, or even in English, which I
might have gone into, but I really enjoyed [library] administration and setting up a
library that is responsive to users. That was sort of my thing. I had an opportunity
to go to several different places to interview, [but] I didn't really look for a job. But
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 23
rather than try to move on, I decided this place [the Health Center] was kind of
like a river, as the old saying [goes]. You never put your foot in the same river
twice, because it was changing so much. Anyplace else I would have gone would
have been a change, but this place was a change, too. Even though maybe the
last few years it was starting to get a little routine, for a long time it was like
coming to a new place every day.
SR: I would imagine so, it was pretty young as a health center, but then also with the
six colleges there is just a continual introduction of new material because all
those fields are changing and growing.
S: And the new faculty coming in. I would try to meet a lot of the faculty as soon as I
could and go to all their initial faculty meetings and introduce myself. There was a
lot going on.
SR: I wonder if part of that is Gainesville, the lack of turnover, just because it seems
to me there's a large number of the early faculty who came and just stayed
forever. It wasn't just in the library, but in the college of medicine that probably
some moved on, but there's still a fair number of people who came and stayed
and then retired. They're still here.
S: Yeah. I think that's probably true of a lot of organizations that start out with a lot
of energy and excitement and initiative, and the people who are there are just
sold on it. Then the second and third waves kind of just [go with it]; everything is
routine by now, they're not as excited, so they go someplace else.
SR: There's a lot of opportunity for creativity in a new place.
SR: You can have some influence on policies. They're not necessarily set in stone
right away, so you can influence those. Well, obviously, then the professions that
are using the library are changing dramatically, and then library science is
changing. If you were to think about a day when you first came in 1966 compared
to a day at the end, what about your job would have changed in terms of daily life
or what you did when you came in in the morning?
S: When I first came, I think there was already a transition going on in the medical
library field, because when I first came the people who had been in the field a
long time were saying that medical library managers need to keep up with twelve
to fifteen of the medical journals-read them cover-to-cover every time one comes
out: New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Science, all these journals. The
idea was that the librarian was a subject expert. These were generally very small
libraries and they served a reference function as well as an administrative one.
So about the time I was coming in that concept was breaking down a little bit so
that you were getting administrators who were hiring information specialists,
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 24
reference librarians, people who did that kind of thing. They were hiring
acquisitions people who knew the books, and catalogers that knew cataloguing.
The libraries went from a one-person place to a multi-person, multi-function
place. I think that was the way I came in, where the director became more of an
administrator and looked at things like, where are we going? What are we trying
to do? [Those] kind of visionary sorts of things. Then we tried to hire people that
could implement that vision.
Toward the end it seemed like there was a lot more emphasis on the
budget side of working out things that would make that would make you more
[financially] self-sufficient. So you get the administrator as fundraiser, which had
absolutely no appeal to me. I guess that's one of the reasons I was not
particularly interested in extending my career further. I don't know whether that's
still the case now or not, that just seemed to be the way it was going. If you could
come up with a money-making idea, that was really good, as opposed to a new
service, well, that's okay, but that's not the [laughter].
SR: I should ask Faith Meaken about that and see how she sees that.
S: Yeah, I wonder how the field changed there.
SR: Well, certainly, one thing would be computers. Can you talk more about when
you were really able to integrate computers in the collection, or from the
collection through computers?
S: We started using them pretty early in the game, because when I was at the
National Library of Medicine I talked to a lot of the researchers and people who
were developing Index Medicus. What we had at that point was what they called
"dumb computers," where you had a little telephone headset and you plugged it
into this black box that's got a terminal on it and it operates in 1200 band, real
slow, but it seemed like it was really fast [laughing]. What they were doing was
inputting their searches, the National Library of Medicine would run them in their
mainframe computer and mail them back. Then the next big technological
advance was the fax machine, and so they'd fax them back. We were so excited
because this was really cutting down the time. So from dumb terminals we went
then to interactive terminals, and that was an interesting transition. I'll never
forget when our head of reference came to me and she said, it's really stupid to
spend money on the interactive terminal-to spend $2,000 on the interactive
terminal for us to do searches-it just doesn't make any sense because we can
do it with our terminals that cost $800 and get it faxed back. What's the
difference? I said, well, maybe initially not much, but we're going to go ahead and
get them. Within six months they [the reference librarians] were ready to throw
out the dumb terminals. The interactive PCs were the only way to go. The
transmission was still real slow, but relatively speaking they seemed real fast.
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 25
I guess that was the most useful change because the librarians were able
to do searches right on the spot. Then we started setting up our information
services. We tried to develop a statewide system that we called the Florida
Health Information Network, which would give service to individuals and libraries,
particularly in Florida, and would do that interactively. Technology still wasn't
particularly good, it was hard to get a Hewlett-Packard machine to interface with
our machine and other hardware problems, but that's since been worked out and
that's not a problem. I guess during that period of time our buzzword and vision
was "information delivery." We were trying to get information not only to the
people at the Health Center connected to their offices, but also to the people
within the state, health professionals in the state, many of whom were graduates
of our place.
SR: So would you say over time you had more and more people using the library
from outside the university, the health professionals throughout the state?
S: We were trying to develop that. I don't remember the numbers, [but] we had a
pretty good amount of people. They were using us that way, we were actually
selling subscriptions to that service. I'm not sure whether that's still going on, it
probably isn't because at this point you can get the information many different
ways rather than everybody going to the same place. The other thing we did was
we set up the informatics lab with the idea of having it serve as a classroom
whereby we were training the student to get into literature. That was a big thing
for us, and we eventually got all the colleges involved in that. The students
seemed to like it, it lasted for several years. It cost a lot because the equipment
was always changing and we were always trying to upgrade it; we could never
keep up with change.
SR: How was that funded? I guess I heard at one time that anesthesiology provided
funds for a computer lab.
S: They had given us some funds, yeah. I don't remember the specifics of that, but
they were one of the groups that was so interested in keeping up with current
information coming out, and that's one of the things we do could with our lab and
that kind of service. People could get the information as it was coming out, at
least the bibliographic citations. You wouldn't necessarily have the abstract or the
full text, partly because we didn't have time to do it. They could do a fairly decent
literature search, which was our way of keeping current with their interests.
SR: Talk to me about Jacksonville. We haven't really talked about the libraries of
Jacksonville and connections. You mentioned that Pam Newman became the
director. How did the connections develop between the libraries?
S: The way that started, they weren't initially part of the library system. I think I was
appointed to their library committee as a consultant, as a non-paid consultant.
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 26
What they wanted me to do was see if we could get our processes more closely
aligned because they were using a backup for their collection. In some
way they developed some problems with their current director, and at that point
they thought, well maybe the library would work better if it were actually
administratively a part of the Health Center. Funded separately but
administratively part of a Health Center. So after a lot of taking me out to dinners,
I said, okay, we'll give it a try. Dr. Max Michael was instrumental in getting all that
SR: What was his position at the time?
S: He was something like the director of JHEP, Jacksonville Health Education
SR: About when would this have been?
S: Probably in the late 1980s. You know who can tell you that for sure is Carolyn
Hall. I don't know if you know her or not.
SR: I'm actually going to interview her next week.
S: She's got a [mind like a] steel trap, she'll remember everything and every word
SR: When were you actually in the position of being the administrator over the
director of Jacksonville libraries? Or were you?
S: Yeah. When I agreed with Max Michael that I would take that over, there were
some personnel problems-Carolyn might be able to elaborate on that a bit
more-but, essentially, Carolyn was working for the head of that library. The head
[director] left probably within about a year, and we designated Carolyn as the
head of the library. Pam was working at that time as a library technical assistant,
and she went on to get her library degree. When Carolyn retired she was
appointed to be head of the library. Jacksonville seems like a real success story.
It's a complicated area-politically it's just a real maze, [a] tangle-but they've got
a really effective library system going there. They have good relations with all
SR: I guess at the time there was a lot of coordination among the different hospitals,
in particular who were a part of it and who would have been using it.
S: It seemed like there were thirteen or fourteen organizational members of JHEP,
and they all paid dues. We even had CSX Railroads as a member-I never
SR: Did they have a health center?
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 27
S: I'm not even sure they had a library. I went over and talked to them one day and
never saw a library. They were able to access the Jacksonville library, that's what
they were interested in is being able to use that. The services they [Borland] had
over there were very effective. They'd get a request in and then have it Xeroxed
and sent out on the same day. It was a just a real fast turnover. People seemed
real happy with the service. When I first got there I don't think there were any
librarians in any of the hospitals; there was only one person, one clerk.
SR: What would they do then, send the request to the library?
S: Yeah. What they did was made a gateway to the Jacksonville Library, so one of
their staff members would come to a library clerk and say, I need this journal
article, she'd send it over to Carolyn and they'd get it worked out. Then we were
a backup to them. If they needed something that was further back or if they didn't
have it, we would get it through our collection in our system.
SR: What did your duties involve? How were you overseeing Jacksonville? How
much input did you have even on a daily basis? What decisions would you make
concerning them, or were you serving more as a sounding board than the
S: Well, once Carolyn came I wasn't there as much. I had lunch with her the other
day and we were laughing about [how] we had the system set up so that I would
go over there one week and she would come over here one week-that lasted
about three weeks. She is so confident, we would just talk about directions and
policies and problems that were coming up. So the actual daily supervision was
virtually non-existent. It was a concern about end products kind of approach, but I
did go over-I seemed to spend a lot of time in Jacksonville--I'd go to their library
committee meetings. For a while they had a super board set up for JHEP and
they had all the politicians on it and all of that stuff; I don't know if that is still in
SR: I'm not sure.
S: This is before Shands was over there, but they were trying to get a lot of local
interest in the whole healthcare system, so I'd go to all their meetings. I'd make a
little presentation on what the library was doing, but we were trying to
tie-particularly with document delivery or interlibrary loans-but we were
especially trying to synchronize and that kind of thing. As far as the specific
services, I figured that was a whole different environment than what we have
over here, so they pretty well worked out. I'm not particularly a micro-manager at
all. In fact, I think I only had about three complaints in about ten or fifteen years
that Carolyn was there.
SR: Do you mean about her?
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 28
S: About the library. That's pretty rare.
SR: That is. How would you characterize your management style, since you
mentioned that you're not a micro-manager?
S: No, I believe in a collegial approach, with the director making the final decision.
What I would try to do is have meetings generally with all the librarians and we
would talk about specific issues and they would give their input on it, try to come
up with a solution-generally we would come up with a solution. At the same time
that would serve as a way for circulation to say what was going on; it was kind of
like an information exchange mechanism. It was fairly ineffective because
democracies are ineffective; anyways, it wasn't a true democracy, that's why it
was more like a benevolent dictatorship with a lot of input. But the people who
hated meetings weren't particularly happy with the people who enjoyed giving
input to the decisions. That's the kind of people we ended up keeping-those that
liked to be a part of what's happening in the whole organization. We didn't have
any eight to five-er type of people.
SR: I guess that leads me to ask about library hours-were they always open until
midnight and that sort of thing, or did that become more extensive?
S: No, the funny thing is, I don't think we changed hardly at all from the day I walked
in. I think we may have extended it maybe an hour or so, but that schedule just
seemed to work out well. We had a hold-over from when nothing used to happen
on Sunday mornings in the South because everybody was in church. The library
opened at two o'clock or something like that. As I recall, we kept that going-we
rationalized that-but actually it was hard to get anybody to work on Sundays, we
had staffing problems. We did work it out so that around tests we could have the
study center open twenty-four hours and that kind of thing. Our staffing
restrictions are really what held us back.
SR: As far as Jacksonville's concerned, your input became less frequent once they
really established the structure that fit their needs and had good leadership, but
did anything else change there in terms of your interactions over time? I guess
you're saying this greater interaction started-when was it again, 1980?
S: I'm not sure of the dates. It seemed like a lot of the time I spent over there was
spent trying to get the organizations to stay in or new organizations to come in,
because people have a hard time justifying library services, and with hospitals
having a clerical person who didn't have any pull at all with hospital
administrators. We would try to talk to the hospital administrators and convince
them that a library is something worth funding, and most hospital administrators
don't know much about the value of libraries. It was kind of an uphill battle.
Generally, what we would do is to find somebody in the hospital who was a good
user of JHEP Library. We could get them on our side, then we could get the
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 29
hospital administrators with us. We had better success that way, but it was
always a battle. That was the first thing-why don't we cut out this expenditure
because I never see anyone over there, that kind of thing. Yet, a big part of the
budget was dependent upon these organizations chipping in.
SR: What about other professional activities, I guess organizations in the South or in
Florida? What was your involvement in some of these? I guess I'm thinking
particularly of the Consortium of Biomedical Libraries of the South [CONBLS].
S: Yeah, that was one that I helped start. When the Regional Medical Library
Program was getting started by the National Library of Medicine, for some reason
the Southeastern [medical] libraries felt threatened. It wasn't so much an
immediate threat as that old holdover from the War Between the States, [the idea
that] well, they're going to take us over, [that] kind of thing. So we said, why don't
we start our own consortium. We got just the directors of the three libraries in
Florida, major academic medical libraries in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama,
Tennessee. We would meet together as a group, generally in conjunction with
the Southern Regional group, the Southern Regional chapter of the Medical
Library Association, and it was a good way to get to know the other directors. It
was partly a social function and partly just a way to rub antennae with our region.
SR: It was a good way to exchange information.
S: I think it's still in effect-I'm not sure why-but I think it's still in effect. The other
one that I helped keep going was one that Fred Bryant had started real early,
which was originally called the Florida Medical Librarians-and that went through
a number of name changes. Now I think it's like Florida Health Sciences Library
Association. But the funny thing about that is when I came here there was one
note from Fred and it was addressed to the next director-it was on the big desk
that I inherited from him-[it said,] to the next director, whatever you do, keep this
organization going, the Florida Medical Libraries, because it's really valuable. So
I took that sort of as a commandment from God. What we tried to do was give
them as much support as we could. Hospital libraries at the time were almost all
manned by non-professionals, and the state of their collections was generally
pretty sorry. What we tried to do was give them advice or a free consultation; we
tried to upgrade their collections and to give them more status within the
hospitals. Now I think it's a reasonably good organization, we call it a
professional organization. We would have meetings in different hospitals in the
state and I'd be invariably the only male there. That was the days where you held
the door open for all the women. So there would be this line of twenty-one
women walking through the door and I would be holding it then running up to the
next door holding that one open until we finally got to lunch. That's changed a lot.
There's more men in the field now.
SR: Well, that's interesting. I think I'm sort of coming to the end of questions. One that
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 30
I would ask is, do you have any overarching thoughts about either your
experience as a librarian, or director of libraries, or just the direction that libraries
S: Looking back, when I essentially got into the profession it was a way to support a
family, and the way I ended up is as a fairly dedicated professional. I'd say it's a
real good field to get into. I think the computers have revolutionized the practice
of it, and probably for the better. I've trained a lot of creative people in the field,
and I'm not sure how it's been in the last ten years, but [they were] people who
probably got into the profession as a second choice-I never met any kid that
wanted to be a librarian as a first choice-so a lot of people kind of fall on into it.
But the people I've met have been very talented, creative people who seem to
respond to kind of a project-oriented program, as opposed to the person who
likes to do the next thing that comes along. Those kind of people are important to
have on your staff, but they're not usually the people who are pushing the place
forward. As far as medical libraries go there's still a mystique of medical libraries
that we're sort of the frontrunners. Whether that's true or not-it probably isn't-
there's a nice mystique to it.
SR: What year did you retire?
S: I retired in December of 1993.
SR: So you came in 1966 and retired in 1993; you were here for twenty-seven years.
I did come across one thing about some mention of your retirement party. It's
something that Mark Hodges had written.
S: Oh yeah, the Southern Chapter gave me a roast at my retirement party, and it
was the first roast that they had ever had-I'm not sure they've had any since. It
was quite a wild time. Pam Newman had gotten people to buy t-shirts that had
my picture on the front, so we got to the banquet and there were about fifty
people that took their jackets off and here they were with my picture on a t-shirt.
So, I knew something was coming. Then they had four people and each one of
them gave a roast. It was pretty embarrassing, but it was a good way to go out.
SR: What have you been doing since your retirement?
S: Well, since I retired I've been trying to see my grandchildren fairly frequently,
which is not easy. I've got one group in Seattle and another in Kentucky. My wife
and I both like to camp, so what we do is take a couple months each year and we
drive up to Seattle and we camp all the way up and all the way back, and we stay
there about ten days or so. We try to go a different route coming and going, so
we're crisscrossing the nation diagonally, which is a lot of fun. I've got a place at
Horseshoe Beach [west of Gainesville at the Gulf of Mexico], so I do a lot of
fishing and boating down there. I've taken up canoe building; I build wood
canoes. That's been something I discovered since I retired.
UFHC 62, Srygley, Page 31
SR: How many canoes have you made?
S: Well, I built a small canoe for children, which is about eight feet long and made
out of plywood, and I built about fifteen of those. The one that's the prettiest is a
strip canoe made out of red cedar, and I've made five of those. But they take
anywhere from four months to a year to build, so that goes slow.
SR: But that sounds like fun.
S: It is, it's a lot of fun. I've taken up the didgeridoo, the Aboriginal Australian
instrument, that's fun. But a lot of time we've spent at Horseshoe. I really enjoy
the water. That's kept my sanity while I was working; we've had that place for
about thirty years, so that's our retreat.
SR: Well that sounds very idyllic, actually.
S: It is, it's good. I live on eleven acres up towards Jonesville; we have a bunch of
dogs, we just bought some chickens.
SR: Well, I think that's it for my questions. This is the end of the interview with Ted
[End of Interview.]