Merced College

MC Matters: Librarian's 40 years on job are great

Many good things were first introduced in 1971.

Eighteen-year-old Americans could vote with the ratification of the 26th Amendment. Walt Disney World opened. Intel released the world's first microprocessor while Texas Instruments released the first pocket calculator.

Apollo 15 astronauts became the first to ride in a lunar rover on the moon's surface. The first soft contact lenses became available, and National Public Radio sent out its first broadcast.

Best of all, Barbara Guth began working at Merced College.

Guth, the circulation supervisor in the Learning Resources Center, has seen more than her share of college history. She's seen administrators come and go. She's watched the campus expand and, she said, "I've worked with some great students.

"I love the students, and working with all the staff on campus," Guth said. Though she's surrounded by books and magazines all day, it's the people who've always been the most enjoyable part of her job and the reason she's kept working at the college after four decades.

"Barbara is dedicated to our students," said Associate Vice President Susan Walsh. "Her dedication, passion, and compassion for our students are evident in everything she does."

Guth, the longest-serving employee of Merced College, began working at the Los Banos campus even before there was a campus. In those early days, the college held classes in an old Department of Water Resources office.

"It was neat and cool back in those days," she recalled. "We were a small staff and we helped cover for each other. If I had to step away from my desk, I would just holler down the hallway and have one of the secretaries cover for me."

Part of Guth's daily responsibilities is the training and supervision of the library's work study students. But her most enjoyable duty is the many displays she creates throughout the library. The displays add to the atmosphere of learning in the library. Many of the displays center on themes, such as Women's History Month, Constitution Day, poetry or pottery. The items she uses in the display cases are from her vast personal collection.

The library hosts eight to 10 displays a year, with Guth researching background information on each display.

"When we did a display on the Japanese internment camps, Barbara reached out into the community for information, artifacts and photos to use in the display," Walsh said.

Guth laughs when asked about all the items she has collected over the years; so many that she had to have her husband build a separate storage unit just to house the collection. She uses her organization skills to separate, label and store all the containers for future use.

Aside from her regular duties, Walsh said Guth looks forward to new challenges: "When the library upgraded from the old paper catalog system to computers, Barbara met the challenge without blinking an eye as it was another way to help the students."

And though she's not recognized for it, students can also thank Guth for starting the library's annual "Cookies & Cider" activity for them during final exams.

After 40 years, you'd think she'd be moving closer to retirement. "Maybe I'll give it a more serious thought in four to five years," she said.

Merced College Matters is written by the Merced College Public Information staff.

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