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Interview with Lillian Seaberg, March 30, 1976

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Title:
Interview with Lillian Seaberg, March 30, 1976
Creator:
Seaberg, Lillian ( Interviewee )
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English

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University of Florida Campus (General) Oral History Collection ( local )

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This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.

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Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
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This interview is part of the 'University of Florida' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
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UF 41 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA PERSONALITIES
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INTERVIEWEE:
INTERVIEWER:
Lillian Seaberg
Tom King
DATE: March 30, 1976


K: The following is an interview with Lillian Seaberg, former
University College Librarian at the University of Florida
from 1949 to 1973. The interview was recorded in the Ford
Library at the University of Florida, Florida State Museum,
on March 30, 1976. Miss Seaberg, can you tell me something
about your life prior to coming to the University of Florida?
Where were you educated and where were you born?
S: I was born in Louisville, Kentucky. I moved to South Carolina
when I was twelve years old, and so I went to Winthrop College
for my bachelor's degree. Then I taught school in South
Carolina for eleven years, and I went into the Army for
three, two-and-one-half years, as a WAC.
K: When was that?
S: Well, I got out in '46--I keep forgetting exactly--'43, I
guess. Most of my family was in the Navy, but they did not
open the WAVES until right after I joined. And so, I joined
the WACS, and was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina,
when I wanted to see the world! And then, I did think I
was going overseas, probably to the Pacific. [Between VE
and VJ Days I was at Camp Crowder preparing for overseas
duty.]
The war ended, so then I was sent to Fort MacPherson
in Atlanta, where I did [computation of] officers terminal
leave pay. I figured that out, as that was my job. They
asked me, "Do you like math?" And I said yes, and so that's
what I was stuck with.
Then after I got out of the army, I went to Library
School at the University of North Carolina. I still have
relatives in Raleigh. Then I went to Virginia, to what was
Farmville's Teacher's College, for two years as a librarian,
and while I was there, I decided I wanted to take added
education, so I chose the University of Florida, having
lived here [in Florida] awhile when I was a pre-school child,
and had been back a few times. My grandparents owned property
here so I,[came to] the University of Florida, working full-
time, and going to school at lunchtime and other times. I
got a degree. They say sociology, [on my diploma] but actu-
ally, most of my courses were in anthropology under Dr. Goggin
[John M. Goggin]. I was his first master's [graduate].


2
K: Well! That's impressive; I didn't know that.
S: Well, yes, because they had not opened the program yet. He
had not been here too many years. Julian Grandberry was
working at the same time, but he got held up a bit in his
thesis, and I barely got under the wire, because Dr.
Goggin was quite a perfectionist. He wanted me to write
like Yale Ph.Ds and I couldn't. But he was very nice to
me.
K: What year was that, when you got your degree? Your master's
degree?
S: Well, I received it January of '55, and then went to Europe,
immediately afterwards for a [summer]. That was the time
when the librarians could take a summer off every third
year, if they did without their vacations the other two
years. So a friend of mine and I did that for several
times, three times.
K: Now, is that policy ended?
S: Oh, they long ago ended it, yes.
K: Can you remember when it was ended?
S: Not exactly, but let's say--well, 1961 was my last trip,
and it was soon after that it was ended.
K: Can you recall the rationale behind ending it?
S: [The practice was ended at a time when the university was
particularly hard up. The librarians had faculty rank but were
on twelve month contracts. The university was trying to change
many faculty contracts to ten months. The plan could not
work for the library as just as many desks for just as many
hours were open during summer school. Just as many new books
were coming in, etc.]
First, to save money, they tried to get the faculty and
the librarians to sign up for just nine months work, or ten
months, and then be without work for the summer term, and then
later on, of course, they changed[to twelve months contracts].
Back and forth the university has changed its policy. Until
now you cannot even gather too much at the library. You lose
[days of] vacation if you save too much of it.


3
K: Oh, I see. After having received your degree in anthropology,
did you ever do any work as an anthropologist, or have you
always been just a librarian?
S: I have not done it professionally. For several times Dr. Goggin,
when he excavated--by the way, it was near Rochelle,
in Micanopy--at the Zetrouer site [which was the subject of
my thesis]. Several times when they did further digging,
I was invited to go along [because of my thesis] and I also
went to Shired Island with them. I would supervise one of
the places they were digging, and it was very amusing. Dr. Goggin did not
have any sense of humor where his work was
concerned and so forgetting, I would sort of brag and say,
"I wonder why our place yields all of these ceramics and
all, and Dr. Goggin, he never can find anything?" And oh,
he just would explain, and explain, and explain. So I
finally decided to shut up! He also became very angry when
some of the boys on one of our expeditions slipped a Coca-
Cola bottle into the dig, and so we dug that up. But it
was very interesting to know some of the students more, and
I really enjoyed my course work, and particularly the field
work. But I have not done [any on my own]. I've been strict-
ly an armchair archeologist ever since.
K: I see you brought some notes with you.
S: Well, I was thinking, I did not really organize them, but I
did try to think of things that people might be interested
in. I don't know whether you're more interested in the students or the librarians.
But I would say the thing that
struck me first about the students was that the ratio was
about four men to every girl.
K: Was this 1949?
S: Yes. And actually, the student body went down some hundred,
a year or two after I came, and then went back up, and
spiraled quickly to a high level. But I would see a girl
come in, and she'd usually be surrounded by three or four
men every time. And it was rather interesting to see that,
and of course, I believe that they were much less sophisticated.
I guess I was a mother figure to some of the freshmen.
They would come to me with problems such as one who had
carried off the key to the family car, and he was almost in
tears! He did not know what to do. I was working at night
in the library. He didn't have any paper or box to put them


4
in. And he wanted to mail them and he didn't have any
stamps. Well of course, I fixed him up. Now I do not
think that a student in this day and time, would have been--
he might have asked me for something to wrap them in, but
he wouldn't have been so upset. But I still liked the
young people very much, even toward the last. They usually
would come to me, and sit down in the chair by me, or maybe
stoop beside me, and talk. When the students first had
long hair, I know some of the librarians didn't like it,
but I really envied some of them. They had beautiful
hair, and it seemed that some of those young men were even
more gentle and pleasant than some of the crew-cut ones.
But I did enjoy the students, particularly the freshmen, and
enjoyed helping them, and got to know a good many of the
faculty. Dr. Herbert, for instance. Oh! One time he asked
to go to the book cage, the part where the rare books were.
And he was so young [looking] in those days when I first
came, [that] I thought he was [a student trying to get
faculty privilege]. I was about to refuse, when he laughed
and told me that he was a faculty member. Of course, now,
he is like the rest of us, he looks his age. But there were
some very pleasant faculty members who helped me. Oh, by
the way, at first I was not in the library proper. I was
out in a temporary building. Army Surplus, that was where
the Italian garden now is, outside of Library East, and we
were connected by a runway, a wooden jerrybuilt runway,
with the library, when a hurricane came. Now that was one
of my first experiences here, a hurricane!
K: What year was that hurricane?
S: That was the fall of '49, and we were open on a weekend,
and the electricity was turned off. Not because something
happened to the electricity, but the electricity was given
to homes instead of the university or something of the sort.
But Mr. West would not allow the library to close. We had
lanterns and flashlights, and I was on duty down near the
Reserve Room. I was [working] in Circulation at the time,
University College was [part of Circulation], and sitting
there in front of Reserve. We would have to look for books
with flashlights, and students would have to read by lantern
light, instead of letting the poor fellows take them home
with them. He finally, Mr. West finally let us let them take
them [the books] on home with them, where they had lights,
to read. I don't think the dorms were cut off.


5
K: Was it a closed stack policy then? Were they not allowed
to take the books out of the library?
S: Not the Reserve.
K: Oh, just reserved.
S: They did have closed stacks, but that was upstairs, and I was
down on the first floor. And another thing...during that
time, when a hurricane would start [blowing], the tiles
on the library roof were rather unstable, so they wouldn't
allow the students to go into the temporary building, be-
cause a tile might come crashing down. But the librarians
had to go in there and get the books for them! Speaking of
the books, the thing that I remember, and I'm sure that
students remember most, are the hundreds of books of one
title in a row, in University College.
K: How did that happen?
S: Well, they did not buy paperbacks in those days much. So
the department, let's say C-l or the Social Sciences, bought
three hundred copies of Hedger's Introduction to Western
Civilization, and put them on the shelf. They did not go out
except over weekends, and after nine at night, to go home with
[the students]. Of course, they disappeared horribly. And
they did have people sitting at a door. In those days they
had students at the door, and whenever we had [them, books
disappeared]. I don't think the students were dishonest,
but I don't think they had the nerve to stop as many people.
Besides, they would have exams, and things, and that is when
the [books] would disappear. This Hedger was a revised edi-
tion. One of my memories that amuses me is the girl who
came up to me and said, "I want that book I'm supposed to
read by the Reverend Ed." So I knew [she wanted Hedger].
I had gotten so I could tell. The students sometimes
would be very astonished. They would come to the desk, and
before they opened their mouths, I'd reach over and get a
copy of Hedger and hand it to them. I could tell which
students wanted Hedger. The other thing that they used to
excess were the progress tests. I think the dorms still
have them but they don't have progress tests nowadays, do
they? That is one of the things that I'm sure [students are
glad about]. They were multiple-choice type, true-false
tests that were given. Some courses just had one test, and
then exam. Some had two and exam. Some three and exam.


6
But at intervals, every student in the "C" Courses, in the
University College, had to take these tests. Old copies
were sent over to the library [by the University Examiner]
and the [students] were allowed to look at them--not exams,
until they got [too] old. They must have reused exams.
The students, of course, in some cases were able to get
one somehow or other, but they usually complained that the
[old] exams weren't much good. They weren't on the same
book or the same subject [studied that year]. But I had
to deal those out. If it hadn't been for Hedger and some of
the humanities books of the same type, and the progress tests,
I don't think I would have had so much to do those first
months. We moved into the new building during December,
during the Christmas holidays of 1949-50. So then, for a
while, I was over on what is the first floor wing, the
north wing, of Library East. [That] is where University
College was situated, and for a while I had Browsing Col-
lections, and the Reserve, and the Periodical Desk, were
all served in that room. Another amusing thing was that
they let us move into the new building while it was still
being finished. Particularly, they kept digging up the
marble floor and putting it down again, so that when some-
one would come up and ask a question, the machinery would
be going full blast, and we were shouting at one another.
It was quite a time, and I think for a long time that was
the [reason] no one in the library, librarians, nor students
were very quiet. I think that had something to do with it.
K: When you say the new building, is that an addition to Library
East that you told me about?
S: Yes, I do mean that, but they did renovate the old part.
Starting at what was the Humanities Room, the one with the
mural...
K: Yes.
S: Well, that door is where the library stopped [before 1950],
and in that room that was later the Humanities Room--I don't
know what they have in it now--but we did have art books, an-
thropology, and science for the College Collection there
[from about 1967]. The Reference Room was there [before
1950], and back where the Latin American Room is, was the
stacks. And across that door [between the rooms] was the
Circulation Desk. Down below that was the Reserve, Periodi-
cal Desk, and some periodicals out in the room under [Reference].


7
They usually had at nights a librarian upstairs, and one
downstairs to oversee it. And that's when I was stationed
downstairs. I felt rather lonesome, and that was the hottest
place [in the extension]. I called it a Quonset Hut, but
I'm told it's not a Quonset Hut because the sides [were]
straight. But other than that it was a metal building, and
it was hot, as hot as it could be.
K: Does that have any effect on the deterioration of books,
materials, and so forth, the fact that the climate could not
be controlled?
S: Well, I don't know that it had any more out there than it
did anywhere else, but we have always had [mildew] in the
library. We've had a great deal of trouble with roaches
and other insects eating the binding, and they [the bindings]
would get really horrible. [Also] then the roof to that part
that I still call the Humanities Room used to leak quite
often, and I think that it might still. They never were able
to fix it. I used to say they should just put a piece of
tin over the whole thing and forget it. But the tile
roof would leak, and some books were wet there. But some
departments, the chemistry department, I guess, on the cam-
put, developed a shellac that had a repellent in it, and
for a long time that was used on the books and helped. But
then later,the cataloguing department became so crowded,
[with] the people who put the numbers on the books and fix
them, that they said they couldn't stand the smell of this
repellent when they processed the books. And so they stopped
using it, and I believe probably now they are having problems
again. But actually, we actually took the roaches from that
outbuilding into the main building. Before that a good many
of the books were put out at Stengel Field [Dorms] and they
had a library out there with a lot of University College
books there. [The dorms were for students for whom there was
no room on campus after World War II. Many were on the GI
bill.] They had a library collection out there.
K: That wasn't ROTC, though?
S: It wasn't, but there were people living out there.
K: Curious about that, it's the first I've heard of it.
S: Well, and they also stored things out there, [in] some of
the buildings there. As I say I've forgotten what they called


8
them, and it was really before my time, or it ended maybe
around '50 or '51. It was some agreement with the U.S.
Government, and of course, when the war was over, they
didn't do too much of this. But I'm afraid you'll have
to ask someone else about the details, probably Dr. Proctor
[Samuel Proctor] could tell you. 'Cause I think he was
around a good bit of the time of what they called this
business, but a good many of the Florida newspapers, for
instance, were stored out in some of these places, as well
as under the tower at the university here on campus, and
the deterioration was awful. And so, that's when they put
the papers on [microfilm]. You understand of course, a lot
of these things that we do as a matter of course now, were
not done in those days.
K: Yes.
S: [And even I started one small thing in the library. When the
magazines were put in piles in the stacks they usually got
very tattered and torn. Copies would go astray. The same
thing happened in University College where I was in charge,
so I started to plasticize them together as the issues came.
That held them in volumes until they went to be bound.
A few months later, members of the Reference Department,
on duty with not question to answer, would take piles of
magazines from the stacks, collate them and arrange in
volumes. Incomplete volumes were plasticized together. If
complete, or the missing issues could be found, the periodi-
cals were sent to the bindery.] There were thousands and
thousands of magazines in the periodicals in the stacks,
unbound. There still are of course, but in those days
there were a great many more than that, so that we felt
[we had done something]. In those days I believe, we had
more of a spirit of belonging and it [the library] wasn't
such a big operation. So we were willing to do things that
a professional isn't supposed to do that would help. And
you won't believe it, but it just really did improve the
stacks. Now I don't know whether that it's gotten back into
somewhat the same condition.
Libraries all over the United States are coming to the
point of where they are starting to just putting their maga-
zines on microfilm and not binding them, because of the
theft and the tearing out of the pages. I don't believe it
was quite as bad back then, at least the first term semester
or two [of a freshman]. I noticed that they [the university]


9
are talking about going back to the semester. We had the
semesters at the time, and the first semester of the first
year, the students weren't so bad about carrying off the
books. They seemed to learn. But I believe now, they must
learn in high school. I understand it's quite a problem.
But I remember particularly one title. It was not a Social
Science title, it was in physical sciences. It was a much
smaller [class] course than some of them, so we had sixty
copies of a book. At the end of exams [during] the time we
had not had anyone much at the door, there were three copies
on the shelf. In some cases of course, what they had done
was hide them behind the [other] books, and then we would
find them later on, when we were shelving some.
K: Who was paying for these, that are assigned by the instructors in the courses?
Was that money coming out of the money
that was given to the library for extra materials?
S: The library budget. Yes.
K: So the different departments themselves were not paying for
these books then?
S: Well, they were assigned, just as now, a certain amount of
money. When I first went there, at University College, they
did not get too much money, let's say less than a thousand,
and they were spending most of it, on these multiple copies.
And then Dr. Wise, I think, was the [main] one that really
worked very hard to get a library committee for the University
College, and more money. We were getting considerably more
by the time I left, yet not so much--let's say seventeen
thousand. But that's a lot more than less than a thousand!
[With the larger amount,] we were trying to get the general
books in all subjects. And [then in the '60s and '70s] I
did have input and so did the faculty. Before then, I would
say when they were getting multiple copies, it would just be
the adopted books, many by the faculty of the courses them-
selves. They were supposed to get the textbooks. They
[these students] did have a textbook, and then they had
these others that were maybe [not read by] everyone. The
thing that I didn't like about it, was that [during] one
week, a thousand people were supposed to read ten pages in
a hundred [copies] and everybody [the same pages] the first
three days of the week, certain days of the week. It wasn't
that they were supposed to read them over a [long] stretch
of time. They had certain pages to read for Monday, and


10
certain pages to read for Wednesday, and certain pages to
read for Friday, and you could see where then people would
get desperate.
K: Yeah.
S: And they would take these things. Then finally they [the
departments] just decided, after paperbacks became more preva-
lent, to let the students buy their own.
K: What bookstores were here at that time?
S: Well, of course the Florida Bookstore has been here, and
they had a campus bookstore, but it was what was the student
union at the time.
K: Where was that? Well, that was Bryan Hall, wasn't it?
S: [No, Bryan is the old law building. The Union had a "Bryan
Lounge".] I hadn't been back there since it was. But the
student union has been in three places while I was here.
K: Oh? Perhaps you could tell me that.
S: Well, it was first in that [building where] Bryan Lounge is,
where I think Anthropology is now.
K: Yeah, right.
S: Then it was moved to the Hub, I mean where the Bookstore, Campus
Bookstore. That was the Student Union next, and then, of course,
[moved] to the Reitz Union. Every time a little farther away,
and while it was in what is now Arts and Sciences they had
several places to eat in it. They had a snack, quick lunch-
type place, and then they had a cafeteria, and then down in
one of the basement rooms, they had a little coffee and dough-
nut type place. And that was where [we went for coffee breaks].
We didn't have lounges in each building for instance, for the
librarians to go to, and so you'd take your coffee breaks by
going across campus. Not too far, of course, but that's one
of my first memories.
K: Do you have anything else you'd like to tell me from your pre-
pared notes...
S: Well, I don't know what you want to know about. You asked me


11
about the closed stacks once.
K: Right.
S: Well, they had at least the main part of the collection in
closed stacks [before 1950], and then when we moved into
the new part of [what is] Library East, we had four reading
rooms--well, more than that, but we had books chosen by
the faculty and by the librarians [for open shelves], we had
the University College Collection which was entirely in that
room, first floor room, and then the Social Science Room
of course. They had books that were chosen by the faculty
and the librarians, various librarians that were there for
that room. And then the Science Room was on the third
floor, and there were classrooms above that. And then the
Humanities Room had books in the humanities. Now those were
[marked by] little colored [tabs] on them. Unfortunately,
they couldn't get purple like they wanted for University
College, so they had put some white tabs on those, and
people were always tearing them off, thinking they were
just pieces of paper that were stuck in there. But we did
have [colored tabs on the books]. Then we had the half-
card system.
K What is the half-card system.
S: Well, they were catalogue cards with a colored border but
they were cut on a slant, so that the call number of the book
[card] behind it would show. And every book that was in one
of these reading rooms, and the reference collection had a
half-card in front of it [different colors]. And I think
for a while even the reserve did. So it was really rather
a complicated system. The student or faculty would go to
the catalogue and look it up, and if they didn't notice
there was a half-card, that was a problem. They would
have to fill out a card, an IBM card, with all of the infor-
mation on the book, take it to (if it didn't have a half-
card) take it to the circulation desk, and then these people
behind the desk, would take it up into the stacks and get
the book. Well, a person might turn in six cards. Like
say, a freshman or a sophomore, that didn't have access to
the stacks, would turn in maybe six cards, and only two of
them would come back, for them, and maybe they would wait
twenty minutes for them. And the others would be out, or
they'd tell them they were on reserve or lost, or whatever,
and the two they had [might do no good]. Sometimes, you can't
always tell what a book is about by looking at the title, and


12
they didn't know enough to look at the subjects I guess.
But it was rather frustrating I thought. Of course, it
did make it a little easier to keep them in order, but they
still had books stolen.
K: When were the stacks opened?
S: Oh, dear! I don't remember, not long before they moved
[to the Graduate Library]. If I had to guess--I don't remem-
ber, but let's say '64 or '65. Uh, I think they (Graduate
librarians) moved over into what was called the "Research
Library," but "West" now, in '67. And we had not had opened
stacks very long. But I wouldn't swear to the date. Since
I was so interested in the younger students, lower division
students being able to find their books. I did not particu-
larly care for this business. And having them to not be
able to go up there and see the books.
So that was one thing that it was good about the
University College Collection [before 1967]. It was supposed
to be a rounded collection, and you'd be surprised at how
many [people], including the director of the library, who
used that room. I believe [Mr. West used the room] more
than he did most of the other rooms that were open to the
public. Of course the way they have it now, it's just sort
of a combination, and I do not [like it]. Even though it would
mean the destruction of the college collection, the University
College or College Collection, as it came to be later called,
I think they should put all the books in Library East into
one numbering system. Because even the shelvers do not manage
to get them in their right place.
Now, as to what books were put over there [from the
Research Collection] of course, the influence of certain peo-
ple had something to do with it. But the science books were
put over there [Library East] because they expected at that
time to get a new science library, which I think has gone
down the drain pretty much. So they put the science and
education books, because the books [in call numbers] that
would be also in other libraries on campus, they put over
there. And Library West stack area is just about half the
size that Mr. West had planned it, because when he worked very
hard and got a grant from the federal government, you can
guess what the state did! They subtracted that from what
the state gave him. So there would be stacks out where
that parking lot is now, or part of it. It was, I think,
nearly cut in half, and so immediately, as soon as they
moved over there, they were in trouble for room and started


13
storing some things.
K: You mentioned that there were some people who were influ-
ential in having certain books moved over. Can you tell me
who they were?
S: Well, I wouldn't say that. I guess I shouldn't have said
that exactly. But I mean that certain areas that were very
important, [for example] one that was moved late was Bus.
Ad. They were in Library East, in fact that really [took
over ] the College Library. Business was also to have its
own separate library. For that reason and because their
students were mostly undergraduates, the business was
held back in the old building but shelved separately.
We didn't really have much time to do anything for
the College Library, the college students, the undergraduates,
because of so much of Bus. Ad. material, had to be served
out of locked cages, because they disappeared somewhere or
something. That was moved later, and I really can't think
of the name of the dean, but he thought he could divide it
[and move] according to call number and that's a hard thing
to do, because there's always places where things overlap.
When Library West, or the Research Library was first
built, and they moved in, they did not allow freshmen and
sophomores above the first floor, and they had somebody
stationed at the top of the stairs to turn them back, and
that made for a lot of trouble, you know, a lot of people
politicking the students to be able to use it. So in a
way, they almost had closed stacks over there to start
with, but that didn't work out.
And that was when they decided they would rename the
library [when Research books went back to East] so that they
wouldn't mean Research and College, but I don't know whether
it worked or not. And I think, of course, they let the old
building, Library East, deteriorate to such a degree. At
least they did...I haven't been over into it for a couple
of years, so I don't know what's happening now. I understand
that it is, and it's just too bad that they couldn't just
build it big enough, and just have it all in one.
K: How long have they had the computerized check-out system?
S: Well, they had that before, it was not as fancy a machine,
but they had that for quite some years. I can't tell you
exactly again. I would say 1960 or before, that they had


14
these cards. They were a little different, of course, in
their makeup, but I just can't tell you exactly that. Be-
fore then, they used to fill out cards, and just file them
according to call number.
K: When you first came here in 1949, do you know approximately
how many volumes were in the library?
S: I'm sorry, I can't tell you. They didn't hit the million
mark until after I'd been here ten years or more, I know,
and of course that counts periodical volumes and everything
else. And actually, I would say that it was much less
[in 1949 than five years later] because they went on a big
buying spree, and about the same time we were trying to help
the [condition of the] stacks with the periodicals and all.
They got more money and were able to buy things they needed,
or thought they needed. I couldn't even tell you the budget
figures for everything, but I don't know what I should say.
I guess I'm just wasting the tape.
The one thing--I don't know if it would be of any interest
at all, but I'm sure it was true about new faculty members,
or unmarried ones anyway, as well as the librarians. When
I first came everybody went into a room at first, and maybe
after a while they got into an apartment. Nowadays, when they
come, they buy a house before they even come to Gainesville.
K: Salary has certainly changed. Can you tell me what your
salary was, when you started here?
S: It was $3200.
K: And what was your title?
S: I was University College Librarian, but I was called--well,
it was the equivalent of instructor. They called it,
assistant in the library, which was a pain in the neck,
because there were also library assistants which were clerks,
and people couldn't get the difference. And I didn't get...
in those days you had to do something to get your [promotion]
besides just be here. So it wasn't until I got my third
degree, my master's because the library degree was a professional degree.
Then I got my advance to assistant [librarian],
and then I made associate librarian, which is the same
as associate professor, before I left, a few years. And so
I made over $10,000 then, which is almost nothing so far.


15
K: Well, you just mentioned about the Plaza of the Americas and
the band concerts first. Can you tell me something about
them?
S: The Plaza of Americas of course, has been very popular for
a long time and we used to sit out there to eat lunch and
all. That was before it became the gathering place for the
barefoot horde, and about once a week during the summer sea-
son they would have a band concert out there. Colonel
Bachman was the leader at that time, and he played the kind
of music I liked--the band marching type, instead of the
very classical type, and people would bring blankets and
sit on them all out there, faculty and their children and
students, everyone. It was very pleasant thing on a nice
summer evening.
K: When you first came here in 1949, I know that there had been
a large influx of returning veterans. Also, I think the
state university system had just become coeducational,
late 1940s.
S: 1947, I believe it became coeducational.
K: So the composition of the student body had changed somewhat.
Now I know that you weren't here when it was an all-male
university, but, since you have been here, the composition
of the student body has changed a number of times. First
the returning veterans, the men outnumbering the women about
four to one. That is changed. Now the women, probably, al-
though they are not equal in numbers to the men, they still
are very close to it. Also, we no longer have as many older,
more mature people in the University College system as we
did immediately after World War II and the Korean War.
There's been various other changes in the composition of the
student body since you've been here. I'm wondering if that
has been reflected in the way that the library has been used.
Have you noticed any differences in study patterns and use
of material available to students and so forth.
S: Well, I can't say that I do. Of course, there are a good
many things, but I don't have it very well organized in my
mind. One thing that I noticed way back when I first was in
University College Room they would congregate at tables, of
mostly--let's say a fraternity would have all of its pledges
come, and they'd sit around the table, and they'd make so
much noise that other students would complain. Then, later


16
on, the fraternities were not as popular or they had their
own places to study. I don't believe they [congregated again]
until the black students started, and then they began having
their pledges come to the library. And of course, they'd
always made a little corner that everybody around it couldn't
study. But, of course, as I mentioned before the students
are quite a bit more sophisticated. I noticed in the summer
too, particularly when the teachers come back. (Although they
use the education library to a great extent, they do come
to the main library.)
Right after the war, of course, when I came here, the
war had been over about three or four years, the type of
person who tried to bring their certificates up was a much
lower grade and seemed to be much less intelligent than they
are now. You don't get many of those completely lost [types],
they were usually women, who would come in. For instance,
one couldn't find the Encyclopaedia Americana. I tried to
tell her and finally I had to go over and point to it.
She says, "Oh, it's red! Our set was blue."
I believe it's maybe just sophistication [in the younger
students], but they do seem to be more knowledgeable, and
they are better prepared. Even though we fuss about our
schools, I think they are at least more familiar with books.
They come from schools that have libraries, and they don't
seem to mind as much asking questions either. Before [1960]
you would almost have to go up to some of them to get them
to ask a librarian a question, and I don't believe that is
true today. I don't think they mind going up to people
nearly so much. They're not as shy, but as I said before,
I still like them and I think the undergraduates are older
than [before] because they have more grades on their high
school, for one thing. I can remember when they didn't go
[through so many grades]. I had eleven grades before I
went to college, but one of my cousins just had ten. So
there had been added grades and so they are just a little
older.
I thought you might be interested in some of my student
assistants. Tyrie Boyer, who is now a judge, and Ansel Paine,
Jr., Keith Stanley. Dean Stanley was the phys. ed. dean,
Dickson Walker, who is now with the Health Center, and Ed
Taylor, who is now with the registrar's office. And Lynn
Dulou, well you wouldn't know her, but she married [Don
Dulou], Ed Taylor, and Don [Dulou] did their courting,
I think [while working] at my desk. Since then Don has
died, but those were some of the ones that we had, and quite


17
often though, our students would be married. I guess
that those were the ones that needed [more money]. Talking
about salaries, to start with, some of the time they didn't
get but thirty-five cents an hour, or something like that.
It was very low pay.
K: Can you tell me something about the origin of the University
College Library as a unit separate and distinct from the rest
of the University of Florida Library?
S: Well, if I remember, when the college was set up, I believe in
1935, Dean Little was [a pioneer in the movement] and it was
one of the first university colleges, that type of setup. It
even was named something else at first [General College] but
at that time, they set up a small bookroom for the books.
They had these multiple copies; I don't know exactly where that
collection was. It may have been down in where I said the
reserve was. Then they moved it out into this barnlike struc-
ture. And I don't know how long it was there, but it had the
nucleus started in 1935 when the University College was first
.... And it was really for reserve-type books.
K: In your tenure at the University of Florida, can you remember
any instances of censorship, or attempted censorship of
volumes that might be emphasized, or periodicals, or any
material for that matter?
S: Well, yes, I cannot tell you right now without organizing my
thoughts, but every once in a while, someone--it usually had
to do with communism in the old days. Oh, the Johns committee
really got the university, including librarians [in a terrible
state of morale]. Of course they started out with communism
and then they took the [charge of] homosexual finally to get
the people [they wanted in trouble]. You were afraid to
even have a friend of your own sex. We had of course, to
sign the "I am not and have never been a Communist" but the
Johns committee really did tear us up, and there was a lot on
that. They didn't want [any books on communism]. The
Communist Manifesto was one book I never could keep in the
room. You buy lot of paperback copies and they'd disappear.
I really believe that somebody was stealing them to keep people
from reading. Because I don't think they [students] wanted
them that badly.
K: Were there any instances other than the Johns committee inves-
tigation? [That] was in the early 1960s, wasn't it? Or in


18
the late 1950s?
S: I think it was the late '50s. I don't remember the titles,
but I know that our humanities librarian had quite a time
about some books, although they were accusing her of being
the one that wouldn't put some books in, I've forgotten
what the subject of them were. But actually, the library
didn't have the money to buy all the books in the world, and
you would be more inclined to buy the ones that were not
controversial. There have been a few books that were in
University College, mostly to do with the race situation.
I know that there was one book written by an old-iron line
anthropologist that talked about [race]. One professor
objected to it, but when it was brought up, I think it was
Dr. Berner [Lewis Berner] who taught Biology--C6, we called
it, but he thought they ought to be left there, and then
there was something in the humanities too....
K: What did that book say that he objected to?
S: Well, that the blacks were inferior in general. It was
one of the anthropologists that wrote about the inferiority
of all races except the whites.
K: Did the book remain on the shelf?
S: The department decided to leave it there, but there were books
that were moved to the stacks. Now they didn't usually throw
them out. But when we had closed stacks, there were some books
that particular members of the faculty would object to. Some
of them were anti-Semetic, and so the solution usually was
to move them to the stacks, where anybody, if they wanted them,
could have them, but they wouldn't be there for somebody just
to pick up unknowingly, you know, and get the wrong ideas.
I don't know myself, I had rather felt like you oughtn't go
waste the money on trash, but then you should at least have
something on all sides of every idea.
K: Was anybody ever successful in having any book removed from
the library? Just taken away completely, did the Johns
committee succeed in having anything on communism removed?
S: I don't remember, I don't remember that they had, any instance
in which they ever did, but it's possible, that maybe [some
titles] just weren't bought. I think that would be the most


19
likely thing. I don't believe they ever did [throw out a
book]. Now there were some books that were put even farther
[away] than in the stacks, but they were thought to be obscene
or something. There were some Japanese books, I remember
that they were put in with the rare books, so they wouldn't
be obtainable unless with special permission, but...
K: And what was their nature, what was it that offended people?
S: Well, erotic [pictures] of Japanese, something or other. I
never did look at them, so I don't know. You'd have to apply
to the head of circulation and be specially led to the cage,
I think, in order to see them.
K: Since you have been here, have you noticed any trends in funding
for books?
S: Well, it went up considerably of course, but Mr. West used
to be better than Dr. Gustave Harrer, I think, in getting
extra money]. There is a rule that if you haven't used up
your money, if the checks hadn't actually been cashed on
July 1st, you'd lose it completely. So around April, the
people began to run around in circles, so Mr. West used to
be good at spending all our money, and then going over to
the president or whatever, and getting some extra money
that somebody else hadn't spent. Pay for student assistants
was something else that we had suffered from a great deal,
that they cut down, as you probably know. They didn't re-
duce the amount, but the pay went up, and these things [the
budget] stayed stationary. Now the last few years they have
frozen the book funds several times and so the library didn't
[have any money to spend]. About the early seventies and
the late sixties, probably, was the best time, because
[the state] gave more money, and in proportion to what things
cost.
K: Can you tell me when the library was air-conditioned?
S: Oh, well, it wasn't too long, I don't remember exactly. I
would say in the fifties, but the air-conditioning, after
the separation of the two libraries, most summers the one in
Library East didn't work, and we had fans and everything.
I just don't remember exactly, but probably it was early
sixties. I'm afraid I can't remember.
K: Did more people begin to use the library after it was air-conditioned?


20
S: I remember one May it was hot as hot could be, and I worked
one night, and the students were...it was exam time and the
students were [studying]. There wasn't a place [empty].
You could hardly go up and down the steps. People were
just crowded, and they were just jammed in, studying.
K: There have been several different presidents of the uni-
versity while you have been here. Can you give me an opinion
of each of them? Can you tell me which of them you felt
better served the interests of the university community and
which did not?
S: Well, I don't know that much, Miller [J. Hillis] was here
when I came, and he was a very pleasant man. He and his
wife took some interest in the library. Allen was the one,
that took, came to the library more, but he was an interim,
Dr. [John] Allen, who was president at South Florida later.
I don't feel like the last one or two even knew we existed.
Well, Mautz [Robert Mautz, Professor of Law and vice-president
of Academic Affairs] was a little bit library-minded when
he was here. I'd hate to say because I don't think my
opinion would be worth much along that line.
K: Well, do you think it makes a difference to the library who
is the president at any given time at the university? How
much impact does he have on the quality of the library system?
S: He has influence on whether you get money or not, that has
something, and then I think his interest in it. We can tell
the difference, but I'd say quite most of them don't ever
come over there. Now, Dr. Reitz [J. Wayne Reitz] of course,
was an agriculture man. He didn't seem to be interested in
the main library at all, and I don't think I ever saw what's
his name. I'm as bad as the students now, some of them didn't
know the name of the president. I can't even think of the
name, the one after Reitz. They just didn't do anything
about the library. I haven't been there since the new man,
I've retired since then. But if they were going to cut any
of the money [from the] budget--you see, the library has to
get its money released from Tigert as well as released from
the state, so if they clamp down more and more, the library
is one place where they think they can cut it off.
Some time back, some legislator said, "Why get more
books? There's books in there now that nobody readsI" So,
I think maybe they think that. They haven't cut the personnel
too much, except by attrition, but they seem to want more and


21
more hours open. I don't know though that the answer of
more people helps much. I really think it's more of a
morale problem, than anything else. Because there are
certain spots in the library I have no right to talk about.
It seems like just the more people that are there, the
people just to sit around and talk!
K: What do you think is the cause of bad morale in the library?
S: I guess, in my own case, it would be not being able to have
much input into it. They might have a meeting, have a committee
[and put non-administrators on it], I know. I was on some
committee at the time when they moved. But unless you came
up with a solution that had already been decided by the top,
and the meeting wasn't [accepted], you had another meeting.
So I think it's that as much as anything else, and then of
course, as the place grows bigger I think that hurts too.
K: Yes, you indicated earlier that you thought morale was a little
higher when you first arrived here. Is that because it was
a smaller college?
S: It was that. I was taken into the reference department because
Mr. West decided there wasn't any use having one room out of it
and not the others. Just as I was going in they got a new
head, not that the old head of reference wasn't good, but she
married one of the other librarians, and so she had to give
up her job. In those days you couldn't do that. So [the
new head] was Margaret Knox who married Dr. Goggin later.
She was comparatively young, and was just getting her Ph.D.
She organized a lot of these things that we were doing.
Later on, the pressures of trying to please! Well, I
don't want to get myself into trouble because I don't want to
name names, but certain big faculty members kind of put a lot
of pressure on. They want their ivory tower, they don't want
any undergraduates or anything in there. And then, it just
gets to be that you begin to feel like you're not important,
your work is not important, and I think that's happened all
along. And to everyone--it's sort of vague, because I can't
name names or times--but I just felt like we were sort of
forgotten over there in Library East. And you might be asked
your opinion or give your opinion on something about the
arrangement of the books, something simple like that. [Always
it] was arranged so that it would help Library West, rather
than would help Library East, for the people that go over
there. I don't know, I just sometimes felt like the director


22
wasn't sure of who I was. He thought I looked sort of familiar,
it's just,I guess that size would have something to do with
that. Of course, if you are so small that you don't have
the personnel and the materials, that's bad too.
K: There's a problem now with overdue books that are checked out
to professors...
S: Yes.
K: ...that are never returned.
S: Well, it's always been that way.
K: Has this always been a problem?
S: That's always been a problem, but I don't think until Dr.
Harrer came, they did much about it.
K: What are they doing about it now, or what did they do about
it when Dr. Harrer came?
S: Well, he began calling them in, and insisting that they turn
them in. You see, some of the professors, they'll take the
money, [forgetting it] doesn't belong to them, of course.
It was the departmental money, and they'll order a book, and
asked to be told when it comes. They check it out and keep
it forever. On the other hand, I know I was instrumental
in getting one book that I happened to know that a graduate
student wanted. She was staying in my home, so when it came,
I checked it out. But we hadn't had it three days, before
the professor asked to have it called in. Well, I kept it
a few days [longer] because she hadn't finished. She hadn't
taken her notes, and we had been waiting. She was using it
for her work. And we were keeping it selfishly, but that's
what you have to do. That was before the days of
[I had to return it because the professor had it called in.
He then kept it until we forgot it. He may still have it.]
But I don't know which side you're on there, whether you think
what some professors and even some graduate students think,
that their work is so important that they should be able
to just keep a book. Doesn't matter that the state pays
for it. They now have a three-week--we used to have a two-
weeks check-out. Of course, the faculty didn't have, they
could keep it for a term, and then they were always supposed
to report. I mean, supposed to renew it, not that they did.


23
K: Is there anything else you'd like to add to this interview
before we bring it to a close?
S: Well, I don't know, is there anything else that you'd...
I don't have anything [much to add.] The campus of course,
has exploded, and new buildings, seem to be [always] started.
When I came here Gainesville had streets, I lived on McCormick
Street. And then, you see they had names instead of numbers.
K: Oh, how long ago was this? Well, I'm sure it was '49 when you
came here of course, but when did they change it?
S: Yeah. Well, that changed I think, in the early fifties,
when they got the quadrant system. Which is confusing too,
because the post office can't seem to read, even if you put
it down. My mail goes to southwest instead of northwest.
But of course, it is a little easier to get around, than
when it had names. Names of trees, for instance, were on a
lot of the streets, of course. I lived over near Alachua
General, and that was one of those streets [which] was
McCormick. University of course has always been University.
But we had two Main Streets, East Main and West Main.
K: Where was West Main?
S: Well, I think what's called Main Street now, I believe is
West Main, and I think East Main was the first street to
the other side of it, one way or the other. And we used to
of course, have more trains coming through, although I had
to go to Waldo, when I came by train from Raleigh. But the
train did go, in fact I think at one time, there used to be
a train down on Main Street, but it came right through town,
but not in my day and time.
K: Well, if there is nothing else you'd care to add, I think
we'll go ahead and close now.
S: I guess so.
K: Okay, well thank you very much, Mrs. Seaberg.
S: You're welcome.