Hello Library History Buffs,
N&N is pleased to present this delightful stroll down a library’s memory lane by Steve Antonuccio, which originally appeared on ALA Connect. You can purchase his memoir, There is No Such Thing as a Typical Librarian, through Amazon, and visit the book web site for more details.
My name is Steve Antonuccio and I am a retired librarian who spent 30 years working in public and academic libraries. I have written a book about my experiences entitled There is No Such Thing as a Typical Librarian. During my career I spent 20 years at the Pikes Peak Library District running a local educational cable access channel we called “The Library Channel.” I produced several historical programs and documentaries for local history as well as developed and cataloged over 100 historic films shot in the Pikes Peak Region. The Pikes Region is such a beautiful scenic location that it has always attracted some of the best photographs and filmmakers to the area. The Special Collections at the Pikes Peak Library District is housed in the original Carnegie Library as part of the Penrose downtown Library in Colorado Springs. It is one of the best local history collections in the country and has an incredible digital archive of these photos and films that are accessible on-line . Many of the films have been uploaded to Youtube and are available for the community on-line as well, The reason why the film collection is so expansive is because the Alexander Film Company moved to Colorado Springs in 1928. The Alexander Film Company was the largest producers of screen advertising playlets at one time and had over 600 employees in 1948. They produced several promotional films for the Colorado Chamber of Commerce and these films are a time capsule of Colorado Springs history. Here is a link to a promotional film they produced in 1948 for their company. www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU-A7Uoe-bo&t=56s
One of their employees was a man named Lew Tilley who in 1958 did a film on the then Colorado Springs Public Library, when the city had a population of 90,000. The Pikes Peak Library District is now one of the finest library districts in the country and now serves a community of 700,000. Here is a link to this wonderful film that was shot in 1958. If you are old enough, I was born in 1955, you will remember the card catolog and the book card method of check out. www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqQ42EwxWIM&t=377s
The Pikes Peak Library District was one of the first public libraries to automate in 1980. The director at the time was named Ken Dowlin and he wrote a book about early automation entitled “The Electronic Library.” The spot the computer was installed was called “Maggie’s Place,” since Maggie the Librarian used to work in the same area.
I’ve been retired for the past three years and in addition to writing my book I also give several history programs in the Pikes Peak Region for libraries, museums, and historical organization. One of those programs is called “The Historic Films of the Pikes Peak Region.” Since the Coronavirus quarantine I had to cancel four of my programs in April and May. I’m usually very active so I am going nuts at home, I decided to record my presentation on my laptop and I uploaded it on Youtube. Here is the link to my program on “The Historic Films of the Pikes Peak Region.”www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdtixN8y2RQ&t=411s
I hope you enjoy this look back at how we did business as librarians in the 1950’s.
All my best,
Author, There is No Such Thing as a Typical Librarian