Students form human chain to commemorate symbolic move into Alkek

News Reporter
Alkek librarion, Joan Heath, begins passing the six books down the human chain from Old Main to Alkek Sept. 23.

Students packed the quad to help Alkek kick off its 25-year anniversary with the “Book-it Brigade” event where students, faculty, alumni and staff formed a human chain from Old Main to Alkek Library.

The event reenacted the original symbolic move of May 1, 1990, with a human chain of students, faculty, staff and community members. Alkek opened its doors a month later on June 4, 1990.

The event began with speeches from Kenneth Pierce, President Denise Trauth and university librarion Joan Heath, who talked about what 1990’s Book-it Brigade and what its anniversary symbolizes for the library today.

Trauth said the event was to celebrate the original Book-it Brigade, which was the centerpiece of the dedication 25 years ago.

“Some people thought libraries were going to go away and what we’re experiencing here is that the library is even more important to us and it is the university symbol of our intellectual life,” Trauth said.

Heath started the pass with six books, including original work from Sandra Cisneros and an e-book, which then made their way to the top of the Alkek stairs.

Pierce spoke about the importance of the library and how it will continue to change to accommodate the needs of its users. He also spoke about the library’s role in helping Texas State become a research institution.

“The Alkek library continues to evolve by adding new technologies, increasing access to research content and creating spaces for library users to learn, create and discover,” Pierce said. “We look forward to the next 25 years.”

The library retains ongoing value and importance as a central component of the university, he said.

Lindsey Waldenber, grad student and library staff member, said it was important for students to attend the event because it was a big part of tradition.

“It’s important to acknowledge the past and invest in the future of Alkek,” Waldenberg said.

Trauth said students showed up to display their recommitment to the library and what it stands for.

"They're recommitting to not just the library building, but the whole notion of the library being the intellectual center of the university,” Trauth said. “(The library’s) role is changing and our library is evolving.”

Lisha WilkinsonBarker, Texas State alumna, said she attended the event to show support for the library and what the university has become since her time as a student.

WilkinsonBarker explained how the former library, located in the J.C. Kellam Administration Building, made things such as registering for classes a big inconvenience. Because JCK had one computer for over 10,000 students, registering for classes was a day-long process.

WilkinsonBarker said today's library is far more efficient than the one computer system at JCK.

Once the books reached Alkek, student body president Lauren Stotler discussed the importance of the library and how she hopes to return for Alkek’s 50-year anniversary.

“This only happens every 25 years,” said Lynn Smeal, alumna and university cataloger. “It’s a historic moment and marks the beginning of Alkek’s transformation.”

Heath said the outcome exceeded expectations.

“I’m just so proud of the Texas State community,” Heath said. “I cannot tell you what is was like coming from Old Main to Alkek and with that kind of turn out, the enthusiasm and support. It was superb.”

Follow Kasandra Garza on Twitter @KasGarza.