With the annual Friends of Fondren Library gala coming up this weekend, we’ve been looking through a lot of pictures and other materials that document the history of that group. I hadn’t realized that it was founded in 1950–it’s one of those organizations that is so solid it seems to have always existed. Click on the announcement of its founding to the left and you’ll be able to read a lovely statement of the group’s mission. It’s remarkable to me that over so many years they have stayed so true to their original purposes. It’s also remarkable that they’ve been so successful. Their hard work and faithfulness to the vision of the academic library has helped build a truly fine rare book and manuscript collection at Rice.
There are hundreds of photographs of Friends events over the years and some of them are a real hoot. What caught my eye, though, were these pictures of a tour through the library in 1986. This tour was given to acquaint members with the new technologies that were beginning to change the library. My favorite photo is this one to the right. It’s such a distinct moment: while everyone is examining what the new computer can do, the old card catalog still sits over their shoulders.
- This made me laugh. I’ve never seen anyone gaze so intently at a book truck before.