After what will be 43 years at Mossey Library, Library Director Dan Knoch recently announced he is retiring at the end of the 2018 — 2019 school year.
Knoch will continue to serve as director through the end of the upcoming school year, representing the library on various campus committees and continuing his administrative duties at the library.
He said part of the reason for announcing his retirement plans early was due to some people in the community assuming he had already retired.
Knoch was first hired in 1976 as an acquisitions librarian, a role that grew into a technical services librarian several years later. In these two roles, Knoch worked to expand and document the library’s catalog.
“I was responsible for ordering the books for the library,” Knoch said. “A lot of people don’t realize it, but you’re constantly buying things at a library. You’re always building your collection.”
Over the course of his 42 years at Mossey Library, Knoch said technology has changed the day-to-day operations of the library, though the overall mission — to acquire, organize, and provide resources for the college — has not. When he first began, the library used a card catalog to track books. Then, the catalog was on a CD, and in 1990, the library got its first online catalog.
“All of a sudden, this catalog card is available in computer form, and so we started converting our catalog cards into machine-readable form,” Knoch said. “The staff would take cards and add them to the online catalog, and by adding our holdings, we were able to download all that information into an online catalog.”
Public Services Librarian Linda Moore said she has enjoyed working with Knoch and appreciates the administrative support he provides for the library archives.
“It will just be very different here without him,” Moore said. “He certainly has been a constant for me, because he and I started working on the same day. A few people have come and gone over the years, but Dan has always been there. It’ll be kind of a different place, but I think that he believes the idea always is that you leave an organization perfectly capable of going on without you.”
In addition to his general duties, Knoch also oversees the Carus Coin Collection, organizes the Our Faculty’s Ongoing Research lectures, helps with new faculty orientation, and serves as an academic adviser for incoming freshmen.
“He does so much for the library and campus, even though a lot of students don’t necessarily know it,” said junior Katie Hillery, who works with Knoch as the student coordinator for the Carus Coin Collection. “He knows the student workers by name, and he’ll always greet us and check in to see how we’re doing.”
Knoch said he plans to spend more time with his three grandchildren in Hudsonville and Kalamazoo, Michigan. He said he also is looking forward to the opportunity to spend more time swimming laps, walking, and reading for fun.
“I just really appreciated working at Hillsdale College all these years, and seeing the positive progress that the institution has made,” Knoch said. “I really think it has made some incredible progress, and a lot of fine people are working here.”