From rare books to online databases, the library’s dynamic resources help students and faculty stay current
BY MIKE NASON ’69
NORWICH RECORD | Summer 2021
Kreitzberg Library has served students, faculty, and other patrons since it opened in 1993. Its construction was largely underwritten by the generous gift of Fred ’57 and Barbara Kreitzberg. During the university’s early years in Northfield, the library was first in the original Jackman Hall. It then moved to old Dodge Hall and later to Dewey Hall before moving into the Carnegie Library front and center on the Upper Parade Ground in 1908. The library, one of five Vermont libraries financed by the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, was in 1953 renamed the Henry Prescott Chaplin Memorial Library in appreciation of a large contribution by the Norwich trustee.
As Norwich grew and expanded its academic offerings, so too did demands on the library. Kreitzberg was planned and built to accommodate the current and anticipated requirements of the time. Even so, expanding academic programs necessitated a major renovation in 2015. Today, the library encompasses 55,000 square feet over five floors, along with a mezzanine level and a basement. The library houses some 230,000 books and periodicals; the university archives; a rare books room; reading rooms; multipurpose rooms for classes, meetings, and group projects; individual study spaces, computer stations, and printers; and administrative offices, not to mention the first-floor Daily Grind Café and Academic Achievement Center and Counseling and Wellness Center offices on the fourth floor.
The library’s Archives & Special Collections include written and photographic records of the university, rare books related to military history, and personal papers of Norwich graduates, faculty, and other figures with a Norwich connection. While Kreitzberg Library’s appearance and purpose are much the same as academic and public libraries, how it supports Norwich students and faculty differs considerably, says Greg Sauer ’88, executive director of the library, archives, and museum.
“While our holdings of actual books, archives, and special collections are important to us, the library’s reach goes far beyond its walls,” Sauer says. “Today’s academic libraries are gateways or portals to digitized information and databases located theoretically anywhere.”
With a single university account, students can access vast amounts of information from sources the library purchases in subscriptions for resources and research. In recent years, a significant portion of the library’s budget has shifted from buying books and periodicals to paying for access to these digital sources.
“In my four years at Norwich, I have not found a more helpful resource than the Kreitzberg Library,” says recent graduate Eli Hollingsworth ’21, a studies in war and peace major. “As a student, I have written many papers, and the library has been a vital part of my achieving success in those papers.”
In 2019, before the coronavirus restricted movement on campus, 228,000 people walked through the doors of the library. During the same time frame, there were 822,000 page views from digitized sources beyond the walls of the library, demonstrating how Norwich’s library is currently used.
When new majors or programs are added, a slice of the price tag includes additional library resources to support faculty and students delving into those fields. Library staff are challenged to stay current, know what’s available, and help students find what they need. Today’s Kreitzberg Library is anything but static. It remains an important resource helping Norwich stay current and relevant in a fast-moving, ever-changing world. It’s like the heart — sometimes noticed, sometimes not, but always beating, keeping the rest of the body vital and functioning.
As alumni and friends, you are invited to take an interest in the library. Join the Friends of the Kreitzberg Library, which advocates for the library, supports the library’s professional staff, and finances unprogrammed projects. The group also sponsors the annual Faculty Scholarship Celebration, provides cash awards for outstanding student research, and hosts lectures, exhibits, and symposia. To join, visit alumni.norwich.edu/KreitzbergLibraryMembership.
Gardner “Mike” Nason ’69 is president of the Friends of the Kreitzberg Library. Library staff members Rachel Goldenberg, Gail Wiese and Claire Veach contributed to this article.