Memories from the SILS 75th Anniversary

We want to hear about your experiences at the School of Information and Library Science! Share your memories here with other alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the School.

Please email or send your name, graduation date and any photo you may wish to include with your special memories to

Class of 1939-1940

"Partial class of 1939/40, UNC Library School, Dale M. Bentz - left rear"

Shared by Dale M. Bentz — August 2, 2006

"I enjoyed and profited from my 9-month term 1951-52 on campus with my young family in Victory Village. I returned to Union Theological Seminary as Assistant Librarian, and four years thereafter was named the school’s first Director of Continuing Education. Our program was built on the concept of the library as an active and consistent resource by which the seminary maintained its lifelong learning commitment to all its alumni/ae. I served there till 1976, when I moved to Valley Forge PA, and became the American Baptists’ Eastern Director of Continuing Education for eleven years (an unusual vocational opportunity for a Presbyterian minister!). Melba and I had a great time there, then returned to the Richmond area, where we have been for almost 18 years in a retirement center."

Shared by Connolly Gamble — August 15, 2006

I had the privilege of being in the Library School while Miss Akers (we never called her Dr Akers although she was entitled to it) was Dean of the school.She also taught Cataloging at 8:00 AM in the morning and you had better be in your seat at that time. If it became a habit you did not get a good reference. I retired from the U. of Virginia on April 1, 1985 where I was the Head of Cataloging. Coming from the U. of Cincinati where I had been in on the beginnings of the OCLC system, I pushed the Virginia libraries into joining the system. I am still a practicing librarian as I have run the library in the retirement home where I live for 21 years. I remember Mrs. Henderson (she was Lucille Kelling when she taught me Reference, Nora Buest taught Book Selection and later was part of the US Dept. of Education and Dr. Downs who taught History of Books and was latter my boss when I worked at U. of Illinois.

Shared by Alice Googe Bauer — August 24, 2006

I did not receive the invitation [editor's note: to the 75th anniversary celebration] until today in Iraq (forwarded from Texas). I obviously cannot attend, but I am absolutely delighted to hear of the 75th anniversary. SILS is an outstanding program thanks in no small part to the excellent faculty, bright students, and never ending support from The University of North Carolina. I am proud to be a graduate of the school (MSIS ‘99) and I expect the next 75 years to bring even greater accomplishments to all.

All the best,


J. Michael McNealy
Executive Officer, 163d Military Intelligence Battalion
Balad, Iraq

September 20, 2006

My best wishes on the 75th anniversary. I am recent (2006) graduate of SILS. The SILS experience was everything I expected of a leading academic institution and more. I will forever treasure the learning from the knowledgeable faculty and the rich diversity of students.

I am also glad to see that SILS is not resting on its past laurels and is working hard to achieve greater heights.

Best wishes,

Sayan Chakraborty
(MSIS 2006)
Consultant, Deloitte Consulting

October 8, 2006

Posted for Ms. Alice Bauer, Class of 1938


Requirements to get into the Library School - Liberal arts degree with French and German. For School Library degree, the last year of a four year college.

I was interviewed by Dr. Downs who was the Librarian of UNC at the time. I vaguely remember talking to Jean Freeman.

There were 35 chosen for classes in the Library School the beginning of the year. Two dropped by the wayside early in the year.

Faculty: Dr. Susan Grey Akers, dean and taught Cataloging; Lucille Kelling (Henderson) who was later dean and also married Dr. Henderson, taught Reference; Dr. Robert Downs, Librarian of UNC Library, taught History of Books. Incidentally, he was my boss when I worked at the University of Illinois at the beginning of World War II and Nora Beust, who later headed a section of the U.S. department of Education, taught Book Selection, and Jean Freeman was the Office Manager.

Quarter System. The first quarter ended with exams in December; second quarter ended the middle of March. Between the second and third quarter, class took a trip by train to Richmond, Washington, Baltimore and New York to visit different libraries for a week. The third quarter ended in early June with graduation. We received an AB in Library Science.

Girls lived in a new graduate dorm behind the President’s house. It had no name at the time. We had to walk everywhere since no bus service was available at the time. The arboretum made up for having to walk.

The Library School had the top floor of the Wilson Library and all our classes were held there. There was one class room and a large study area with individual desks pushed together in rows. We were assigned desks in alphabetical sequence. Cataloging labs were held here.

The cafeteria was in Swain Hall at the time, which a lot of us called Swine Hall. On the other hand, you could eat three meals a day for about a dollar.

Alice Bauer

October 10, 2006

Posted for William Cormeny

I went to Carolina 40 years ago. And I still recall the admiration my father had for your department. He was an official at the University of Maryland, and everyone told him Carolina had the best library science department in the country and the finest university president, Bill Friday. Carolina retains that mantle.

Having met the graduate students of this illustrious department, and having received numerous helpful hands by the librarians I can only say it made my life much easier.

Keep up the great work.
William Cormeny

October 26, 2006