Thorne Library: The Fulfillment of a Dream


In 1993, the MVNC Board of Trustees approved the future site of the $6 million, 44,000-square-foot library/learning resource center as Dr. E. LeBron Fairbanks stated to the board, “the building of a new LLRC is not an option; it is a necessity.”

After years of planning, fundraising for the capital campaign, and strategizing the relocation of the art, education, and counseling and career center buildings, Thorne Library/Learning Resource Center was dedicated on March 7, 1997, with several hundred people in attendance.

The library was named in honor of Dr. Glenn and Shirlee Thorne, who donated $1 million to the $6 million project. Thorne, a long-time trustee of MVNC, and Shirlee, his wife, are from Salem, Ohio.

“I, with my family, are honored on this day of dedication,” Thorne shared at the dedication. “My joy is found, not in the honor of the naming of this building, but my joy is in knowing in my heart that I have obeyed God.”

“The library project began about eight years ago, when Dr. E. LeBron Fairbanks began his presidency at the college,” said Dr. Ron J. Phillips, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

In a campus image study in 1991, students, alumni, and other college constituents confirmed that priority must be given to the expansion and improvement of library facilities.

The original 7,000 square foot library built in 1969, was designed to hold 67,000 volumes and had 80,000 volumes at the 1997 dedication. The Thorne Library/Learning Resource Center was estimated to accommodate 140,000 actual volumes and allows for the addition of about 2,500 volumes each year for over 20 years.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place in May of 1995, a book move took place in December of 1996, and the library opened for use in January 1997.

At the dedication, Richard Schuster, library director, said the improved facilities have pleased the entire campus community.

“When students and faculty come into this new building for the first time, it is exciting to see their expressions, their surprise, and their amazement,” Schuster said. “They are just astonished at what they can see with their eyes, and there is much more connected by electronic media.”

The three-story library then featured several group study rooms, a community conference room, a commuter/extended hours study and computer rooms, an archives room, multimedia carrels, balconies, and an Instructional Resource Center, housing graphics and video labs.

It also featured electronic communication capabilities such as the internet and access to OhioLink. Tom Sanville, executive director of OhioLink, was the keynote speaker at the dedication. He said OhioLink provides access to other library resources through a computer network.

In the dedication’s closing, Fairbanks said, “I want the faculty to see this as an opportunity to help students navigate both the traditional print and the modern electronic media. I want this to be seen as a service, not a place.”

Reprinted from the Spring 1997 issue of the MVNC Communicator

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