History of Seth Wilson Library
The Beginning Decades
Seth Wilson served as the first academic dean and first ex-officio librarian for Ozark Christian College (he started the bookstore in 1948). Ethel Overman, a 1950 graduate assisted Dean Wilson in the bookstore/library. “Mrs. Clara Belle Blackwell, a student, became the librarian in 1950” (Lynn Gardner, Ozark Christian College, 93). Clara served until 1963, with Thelma Colestock as an assistant in 1952, and Mrs. Bertha Ayers helping between 1963 and 1964. In 1965, Mary Hobbs became librarian with Bertha Ayers and Mary Dickey assisting after the death of Clara in 1964.
The New Campus at North Main Street
In 1963, the library shared space with the cafeteria, printshop, mailing room, bookstore, and offices in the new Administration Building. Loren Dickey (a 1958 alumnus) served as librarian from 1965 until the spring of 1987.
Walter Messimer began working as Reference Librarian in 1965, and left the college in 1975. Librarians shared the duties of helping with reference questions in the interim. The current library structure was completed in 1976 and renamed The Seth Wilson Library in 1991.
Circulation Desk and Reference
Kathy Bowers succeeded Jackie Arwood as Circulation Supervisor and helped with reference queries from 1992 until 1998. Kathy restructured the position of Reference Assistant in 1998 and served in that position until 2004. Barbara Gardner (MLS) left a position with the Joplin Public Library to replace Kathy, when she became President Ken Idleman’s secretary. Kathy currently serves as secretary to President Matt Proctor. Barbara Gardner served for three years until John Hunter took over as Reference Assistant in January 2007.
Connie White became Circulation Supervisor in 1999, holding the position until June 2002. Jason Fry took over in 2003 until April Carmichael became his successor in 2005. In 2007 Randa Reed transferred from Goodman Hall as Resident Director to be the current Circulation Supervisor.
Audio-visual and Technical Services
Mark Sloneker began working in the library in 1985, earned his MLIS, and has since served as Assistant Director and Cataloger/Acquisitions Librarian. Dr. Bill Abernathy took the position of Library Director in the summer of 1987 and helped bring the library into the 21st century. When Dr. Abernathy retired, Tim Limkeman was Director from 2002 until July 2008. Dr. Abernathy returned in the fall of 2008 as part-time Interim Director, with Mark Sloneker and John Hunter named as associate directors beginning with the 2009 spring semester.
Several have been library staff members between the late 1980s and late 1990s in circulation and audio-visual departments: among them are Darlene Barnes, Lydia Copenhaver, Sherry (Heister) Parrott, Misty McNally, Teresa Brewer, Suzanne House, Phil Mehrens, Andrea Francis, Merilyn Peters, and Keri (Rucker) Cochran.
Brady Gobin served in the A/V Department from 1993 to 1996. Ty McCarty took over from 1996-2001. Kyle Bellinger followed Ty in 2001, then Aaron Wheeler, and Kyna Green. Delberta Fluharty has served as the present Audio-Visual Supervisor since August 2005. Richard Lazarus served in the technical services position from 2000 till 2002. His father, Janus Lazarus, has served as Technical Services Assistant since 2002.