Fun facts about McCabe Library; or at least facts.
Back in the dark days when AIM and Yahoo IM were not only remembered, but were considered the way to stay in touch with friends [roughly 2002], the reference department at McCabe jumped on the bandwagon and gave students who hated speaking on the phone everything they ever dreamed of: Students were able to IM a librarian with research questions. That's right. Students could ask their research questions from the comfort of their own dorm rooms and get instantaneous answers without having to deal with any telephone-induced anxiety.
In the fall of 2005, the compact shelving that houses the government documents and locked compact materials was added to McCabe in an effort to increase shelving capacity. In case you are one of the lucky few who haven't yet had to tangle with the compact shelving, they're the big, gray, moving shelves on the lower level of the library (not moving of their own accord in a cool Hogwarts type way, but more in the sense that they have the capability of moving through your own manual labor).
For those of us who may sometimes feel like the space between the shelves is closing in on us [or could], rest assured that you aren't in any actual danger of being squashed like a bug by the hundreds of documents you're rooting through, it's just a bout of claustrophobia.
Free to a good home
The Rand McNally geophysical globe, donated by Arthur Magill '29, has been up for grabs since at least the Spring of 2002. Any institution that can come up with a plan to disassemble and reassemble the globe can have it for free. That's right, the globe, which originally cost $12,020 in 1967 can be "purchased" for the low, low price of coming up with a way to get it out of the library...
Bonus facts: The globe actually used to sit at the correct axis of 23.5 degrees and was powered by a small motor that allowed it to rotate. It also used to have lights.
ILL's new location
In the summer of 1999, the interlibrary loan office (ILL) moved to its current location across from the elevator on the main floor of McCabe.
Where was it before? In the area we now think of as the reference librarians' offices, near the back of the Honors stacks.
**Bonus: In the spring of 1999, the ILL office limited student requests to 10 ILL items per day.
Library Hours Over the Years
McCabe's library hours have gone through a few changes over the years.
In Spring of 1999, the hours were listed as follows:
Monday through Thursday: 8:15-1:00am
The hours changed in the fall of 2003:
M-Th: 8:15 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
In the spring of 2008, McCabe piloted the hours that we have all become accustomed to (except the students who faithfully come to McCabe at 9am on Saturday thinking it's open, they're apparently possessed by Swarthmore alums from the class of '99):
Monday-Thursday: 8 am - 2 am
Mary Ann Wood comes to Swarthmore
In the Fall of 1999, the face of the library changed forever (or at least 15 years): Mary Ann Wood became McCabe's new Evening Supervisor in the Circulation department.
Before her arrival, there was some very odd system in place in which staff members would come in for the day, leave, and then come back to fill the evening hours on some rotation cycle.** This was back in the dark days before Alison Masterpasqua took over as the head of the Access and Lending department.
**I have had this system explained to me twice and still don't quite understand it, so if you want to know how this worked in any detail, ask Linda or Alison! They lived through it!
In the Fall of 2000, the overnight policy for general reserves underwent a drastic change to become the policy that students have come to know and exploit: students would now be able to check out books from 9:30pm until 9:30am instead of 9:00pm to 9:00am. That's right. A whole extra half an hour of sleep.
Plus, online bookings became possible through Tripod!
PALCI/EZ-Borrow comes to Swarthmore
In the Fall of 2000, McCabe library's Interlibrary Loan office introduced a new way for students to get the materials they need: PALCI/Direct borrowing or, as we call it now, EZ-Borrow a.k.a those books with the blue bands.
Bonus fact: PALCI actually stands for Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc. Who knew?
Pillows in McCabe
Students have been asking for pillows to be put in McCabe since at least 1970 to be used by all those "who want to sleep but don't want to make the long trek back to [their] rooms." (Phoenix, 12/15/70). This suggestion has remained popular over the years, but due to concerns about hygiene, has yet to be enacted. We do have ridiculously large bean bags though, so I guess we're getting closer to that promised land of pillow-y goodness!