Who would have thought this little newsletter would survive 25 years and still be going strong? The year was 1997, the average cost of a new house was $124,100.00, the average cost of a new car was $16,900.00, the cost of gas per gallon was $1.22, and the average income per year was $37,006.00. A lot has changed in 25 years, but one constant in the Freeman/Lozier Library is the newsletter. So, let’s take a closer look at the newsletter More Than Books.

  • The first issue Vol. 1, No. 1, dated December 1997, premiered under the name “Not Just Books.” There were nine parts, including a feature article and was available in print only. The first feature article centered on the Interlibrary Loan Service which is still very active today. While the issue was met with positive reviews, the name was not; therefore, the name changed to More Than Books with the very next issue.
  • The “Site-Seeing” piece was changed to “Netscope” in the second issue after noticing another publication used that headline for reviewing web pages.
  • “You Asked…We Listened” and “Read ® Reviews” was introduced with Vol. 1, No. 3.
  • Added a technical assistant to the team and went online with Vol. 1, No. 4 issue.
  • “What’s Happening” became “Bulletin Board” with the Vol. 2, No. 2 issue.
  • The “Fast Facts” segment became “Facts at Your Fingertips” with Vol. 10, No. 1 issue when another publication started using that headline for disseminating accurate truthful information and statistics.
  • There has been one editor, one assistant editor, one technical assistant, seven design/layout/typeset organizers, and 64 contributors over 25 years.
  • Began with four pages, increased to six with Vol. 10, No. 4, then to eight with Vol. 14, No. 1, expanding to 10 with Vol. 15, No. 4 and now consisting of 12 pages beginning with Vol. 17, No. 3.

While the name changed, the features increased, the contributors expanded, the graphics improved, and the look transformed, some things have not changed. It is still published quarterly in December, March June, and September. There are still the original nine columns, which have since expanded to 15. Some of the most memorable feature articles dealt with the growth of the library. For instance, how we survived Y2K in 2000, the ILS migrations to Sirsi in 1999, then onto the cloud in 2012, and more recently to ExLibris in 2022. Other notable features included the introduction to BUILD IT, the Copyright Center, Digital Archives, 24/7 Librarian, Discovery search engine, Library renovations, and the Personal Librarian/RAP programs. We revealed the changes to the Library website, the initiative to lend Kindles, and the very popular Library on the Go (LOTG) program.

We entered the social media realm in 2010 with Facebook, the Blog in 2011, Pinterest and Instagram in 2013, and the Podcast in 2015. The addition of the Blog and Podcast provided us another avenue to showcase our resources and services, and often, content from the newsletters have been retold within them. Perhaps the feature that resonates the most with all of us is the one that dealt with the changes that occurred as a result of the Coronavirus in 2020. To this day, we still are experiencing changes as a result.

The past 25 years have not been without challenges. We experienced marriages, births, resignations, retirements, and deaths, all which have been chronicled. We learned from some of our not-so-successful features such as those that try to engage readers (contests, quizzes, etc.); however, one constant throughout the years has been our triumphs and victories which have been abundant. Each and every year we recapped National Library Week activities and the annual Holiday Party, now celebrating its 42nd year.

We hope you have enjoyed this issue and reminiscing along with us as we detailed the history of the newsletter. Now, the tradition continues and we look forward to the next 25 years!

By: Robin Bernstein
Senior Director, Library Services

Originally posted in the Freeman/Lozier Library’s quarterly newsletter, More Than BooksV. 26 No. 1, Winter 2022.

24/7 Librarian