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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
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Friends to meet

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 4 - September 15, 1994

"You gotta have friends," says Stephen Zietz, head of Special Collections in Universities Libraries, quoting singer Bette Midler.

With that in mind, Zietz spearheaded organization of a committee of employees and friends of Virginia Tech and its libraries last year. That committee has organized a Friends of the Virginia Tech Libraries, which will hold its inaugural event on September 24 at Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center.

The inaugural activities will formally recognize special patrons of the University Libraries: Elden E. "Josh" Billings for a gift of Civil War books, manuscripts, and memorabilia that places Virginia Tech among the top repositories in the nation in Civil War materials and R.C. "Bob" Dorey Jr., a Virginia Tech alumnus, class of 1944, for his gift of an N.C. Wyeth painting. Billings will also receive the Ut Prosim Award from President Paul Torgersen. Guest speaker for the event will be James I. "Bud" Robertson Jr., alumni distinguished professor and a member of the Friends organizing committee.

The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. with coffee, followed at 10:30 with the special recognition ceremonies. Robertson will speak on "The Heart of the University" following an 11 a.m. brunch.

Zietz said, "New trends in information processing and a growing awareness of the legacy of the book as artifact, among many other things, have made it logical for this library to project a higher profile on the university campus, in the state, and even in the nation. We hope to accomplish this task through various means. Primary among them will be the use of the advocacy and support roles of the Friends of the Virginia Tech Libraries."

"With diminishing resources across the state for higher education and particularly diminishing resources for library support, we think the Friends will be instrumental not only in expanding services into new areas of interest, but also in maintaining basic services for which the libraries can no longer pay," he said.

According to Margaret Shuler, executive secretary of the Friends of the Virginia Tech Libraries, the mission of the new organization "is to increase public awareness of the array of resources and services available, to expand access to these programs, and to enhance the private philanthropy that sustains the libraries' excellence." It is co-chaired by Louisa Dekker and Frances Russell, Blacksburg residents with family ties to the university.

For information on joining the Friends organization or to register for the festivities, call Shuler or Special Collections at 1-3427.