This summer, the University Library says goodbye to three stellar employees: Sydney Bufkin, who completed her Mellon Digital Humanities Fellowship, and retirees Carol Blair and Dick Grefe.
Normally, we would celebrate our friends with a cake-filled fête. Because in-person celebrations aren’t possible due to Covid-19, we celebrate their contributions digitally…until we can safely gather together again.
In this post, we recognize Senior Library Assistant Carol Blair. Carol joined the W&L family in 1983 and worked in library acquisitions, a part of what is now called Collection Services, from the very beginning. During her tenure, she witnessed a transformation in library systems and processes: from multi-part order forms to today’s online purchasing systems. These technological innovations resulted in faster turnaround times for faculty requesting books. Books now arrive only days after order, as opposed to previous wait times of six weeks!
Carol does much more than purchase books, media and serials. She processes donated gift books and is instrumental in the organization of our yearly library book sale, a favorite event for W&L community members and local Lexington patrons alike. She also helps manage aspects of the library budget, like the spending of endowed funds. Basically, Carol has been instrumental in library operations since 1983. Her varied tasks and duties cannot fit into one blog post.
Moving into retirement, Carol will have additional time to pursue her interests in art and golf. Carol graduated from UNC-Greensboro with a degree in Art and continues to produce artistic works—notably, highly realistic portraits of animals and golfscapes. She even flexed her artistic skills when winning the “Best in Show” prize at the library’s edible book event in 2016!
Thank you, Carol, for 37 years of service to the University Library!
We look forward to seeing you out on the links, with a sketchbook or just enjoying life in Lexington!
A note from Carol’s long-time colleague, Senior Reference Librarian Dick Grefe:
Carol’s retirement causes me to fear for the future.
Not so much the library’s future—we have anticipated this and planned for it and may be able to do a credible job of reassigning tasks and otherwise coping. Instead, I fear for the future of publishers and distributors with whom Carol has dealt over the years.
For much of that span, these businesses have depended upon Carol to examine and correct their operations—their incorrect invoices, their statements sent to the wrong address, their failure to inform us of changes in their procedures and products, the occasional missing link, etc. I wonder how CQ and National Journal and Sage and Oxford and Cambridge and several other companies can possibly manage to avoid total chaos without Carol’s intervention to save their corporate butts.
They, like W&L, will just have to get their houses in order. And since they won’t think to say it, let me say it: Thank you, Carol, for keeping us and our relations with the academic publishing world humming along for all these years. Best wishes.—Dick Grefe