The Fall 2021 semester was rapidly approaching as the Frederick Madison Smith Library found itself without a full-time librarian. When help was desperately needed, a TEAM OF GRACELANDERS answered the call — former Graceland librarian Diane Eberly ’67 Shelton, MaryAnn Stanton ’73 Manuel, Betsy Folkins, and Hayley Condit ’21.
Shelton got a call from Graceland’s Executive Director for Planning and Effectiveness Beth Higdon ’73 asking to keep the library open for a week. Then they realized they needed someone to keep the library operating and functional for the entire fall semester. Shelton thought to herself, “How can you have a university without a library?” So she agreed to come and help her alma mater.
ANSWERING THE CALL
It had always been Shelton’s plan to work as a librarian and in the summer of 1985, Graceland hired Shelton to take over the role. From the fall of 1985 to 2011, Diane Shelton could be seen running around campus as the sponsor of the Hawaiian Club and the Crescents organization, and of course, diligently managing the library. Diane’s husband, Joe Shelton ’67, worked as an admissions counselor and announced Graceland football games for years. “We were really involved in Graceland life, and we loved it,” said Diane. “So, when they called and asked if I could help, how could I say no?”
“The connection to Graceland is what drew me back again. I missed doing my job. It did me good to be a part of the Graceland community again; it meant a lot to me to do that. You never lose that connection.”
-Diane Eberly ’67 Shelton
ASSEMBLING THE LIBRARY TEAM
When Shelton arrived on the Lamoni campus in the fall of 2021, she was not alone in the task of keeping the library open. Diane was accompanied by Hayley Condit, who had already been recruited by Graceland as an assistant librarian. Condit intended to only work in the library for a month or two, but ended up falling in love with the role. (She now works as the resource management librarian and plans on pursuing a graduate degree in library science.) Shelton knew she needed more help to keep things running smoothly so she asked two of her former colleagues, Betsy Folkins and MaryAnn Manuel, to help. Both had 21 years of experience with Graceland — Folkins, who retired in 2017, had previously done a lot of work with cataloging materials and interlibrary loans as an assistant librarian, and Manuel was the tutor coordinator until she retired in 2019. Manuel said, “Volunteering in this new role really fulfilled a need for me to be involved and be around the students. I think it’s important to stay in contact with Graceland — it’s going to evolve over the years, but it has always been a really nice place to work, and the students are always really good kids.”
PASSING THE TORCH
Shelton, Folkins, and Manuel closed the book on their volunteer service when Jacob Starks was hired as Graceland’s Director of University Libraries. Shelton believes, “The new librarian is becoming a part of the Graceland community and I feel like our work has been left in good hands.”
You might remember the plaque dedicated to Frederick Madison Smith (or “Freddie” as he is affectionately called) just inside the doors at the library’s main entrance — the one with an image of Smith’s head that students traditionally rubbed as they left the building, an act believed to help strengthen the knowledge gained while studying inside. The plaque reads, “He delighted in learning, believed in education as essential to freedom and dignity, and in a strong, healthy society for effective service to God and mankind.” Now Jacob Starks carries the torch as Director of University Libraries and is working diligently to maintain those standards by improving library resources.
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