Linda Moore has seen many changes at Hillsdale College’s library in 44 years of working there. But now she’s ready to move on and let someone else take a crack at her job so she can travel the world.
Moore, public services librarian at Mossey Library, will be officially retiring from her position in January. She has worked in several departments of the library over the years, primarily in circulation, reference, and archives. Hillsdale has been her first and only professional career, and she applied after hearing about the college through her friend from graduate school. One of the reasons she’s stayed for so long, she said, is because she loves the unique aspects of working at a smaller library.
“The thing about working at a small academic library is that every day is different. If you work at a big library, maybe you just do one thing,” Moore said. “I’ve always liked that mixture of roles you have at a small academic library.”
With retired life ahead of her, Moore said she wants to travel more, something that she already does as a hobby.
“I do a fair amount of travel, people say, but not enough as far as I’m concerned,” she said. “I’ve traveled someplace every summer. But there are places I want to go that the academic calendar prohibits.”
In the past, Moore has visited Antarctica, as well as Egypt in 2010 and China in 1983. She’s also been on several African safaris. In the future, though, she’s planning a trip to Brazil in February.
“To make sure people knew I was serious about retiring, on Feb. 12, I’m headed to South America. I’m going to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Easter Island.”
Moore also will have a chance to delve more into historical research with her hometown of Buchanan, Michigan. As an archivist for the library, Moore said she’s learned a lot over the years, often from people coming to her with research questions.
“If people ask you enough questions, you do the research and pass it along,” Moore said.
Moore is one of the go-to people for local Hillsdale and college history, Library Director Maurine McCourry said.
In terms of a workplace, Moore and McCourry both said the library is an excellent workplace. The staff is kind of like a family, McCourry said, adding that Moore has been a big part of that atmosphere.
McCourry said one of the qualities Moore brings to the library is her intelligence.
“She’s one of the smartest people I know,” McCourry said. “And she’s very generous with her time and herself. I can text her at 10 o’clock at night, and if she’s awake, she’ll respond.”
Moore said her duties will be split into two full-time positions: public services librarian and archivist. Lori Curtis will take over archives and special collections digitization, Moore said, while George Allen will take over the public services side of things.
McCourry said Curtis and Allen began working with Moore on Monday.
“Part of why they started so early is so that they can absorb what Linda knows,” McCourry said. “There’s so much that is just in her head.”
During her time at Hillsdale, Moore says the collegiate atmosphere has stayed the same. But Moore certainly has seen campus change over the course of 44 years. Aside from an increase in the number of students, faculty, and staff members, Moore said one of the biggest changes she’s witnessed is the digitization of the library. Everything was done by hand when she first arrived.
“The final overdue notice would take the entire library staff all day long in order to produce the fine list for the business office,” Moore said. “It takes five minutes now.”
The library has also changed in what it offers students. Moore — who helps students with research and putting together bibliographies — said it used to be that students only had access to materials located in the library, or else go to another university. For that reason, students wouldn’t have done as much work with primary sources. Now, faculty can ask students to do more rigorous research.
“Students can decide if that’s a good thing,” Moore said.
Moore has also trained student employees. In the past, she usually had about 12 students. Now, she trains and oversees more than 30.
Senior Elyssa Warren has worked with Moore since she came on as a library employee her freshman year. Warren said she admires Moore for being so orderly, something which helps “when running a library largely staffed by college students.”
“She is crazy patient. She deals with a lot of students who have never done serious research before,” Warren said.
Warren, who is interested in studying library sciences in the future, said that if she was ever to be a librarian, she looks to Moore as a model.
“I’ve realized how varied what she does is,” Warren said. “She’s specialized, but she also can do a whole bunch of things.”