Linda Cain has been the third floor librarian of Houston Cole Library for 40 years.
You can find her there now, if only for a bit longer because she is preparing to retire. She can be found her tidying up her office, preparing it for her eventual successor. She explained what is was like for the last four decades
“I enjoyed it, you know. If people pay you, you do work, it is work, but it’s very enjoyable work, and I like doing it,” Cain said. “It wasn’t boring, it’s never been boring, and the best thing you can say about a job is that it never got boring.”
“It’s always been very pleasant, people have been easy to work with and students, well I see the best students,” she said. “I have seen some really good students and I enjoy working with them.”
Over the years, she has seen the change from index card catalogues to the Online Computer Library Center and Library of Congress system, the integration of computers on every floor, and how it has changed the way the library works.
But she said the people haven’t changed all that much.
“[the students] are more comfortable with computers than they were but other than that they’re very much the same.
“They’re just good to work with, I’ve enjoyed working with them. The library is an interesting place in that I work with them but I don’t give them grades, so that is nice,” said Cain, laughing softly.
“[I’ll miss] the students and the faculty. You can find books to read, I can come here and get books to read, but I won’t have that interaction anymore and I will miss that.”
But that doesn’t mean she’s going to leave the library behind. “One of the reason I like about living in this area is I would have access to the library.”
“The library is a really fine collection, especially for a school this size. It has been well collected, and people have amazing opportunities for research here…we have librarians that are super familiar with their subject area, often having advanced degrees in it.
“So it’s not just general reference, it is subject reference, subject specialty, and that’s very unusual for a school like this,” Cain said. “We have a really fine staff of librarians. They have so many strong talents and they complement each other.”
Cain speaks softly as she sits in her office, surrounded by the past with retirement looming ahead.
But as she put it, “It’s not an either/or, it’s an and. I am looking forward to my retirement…I’d like to travel some, I’d like to learn to draw, to paint and crochet… It’s a major life change, but on the other hand I feel sure that I’ll stay busy and productive. They’ll get another librarian who’s very good to work here, and I won’t have to worry about that.”