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Steps Magazine | Life at the Library: Dean Marion Reid Retires after 20 Years of Service

Kellogg Library Dean Marion Reid spent the last 20 years as an integral part of the California State University San Marcos campus. Over the years, Reid was tapped to assume a variety of diverse responsibilities which ran the gamut of Acting Director of Computing and Telecommunications, Interim Vice President of External Affairs, and Assistant to the President on Special Projects. On September 9, 2009, Marion officially retired from CSUSM. Before her retirement she shared her thoughts and reflections on those early years and the priorities that have helped to build this remarkable campus.It was a handwritten note from the founding president of California State University San Marcos that first attracted Marion Reid to the University back in 1989."My husband, Brooks Reid, was offered one of the founding faculty positions and he let then President Bill Stacy know that I was a serious consideration in the decision process," said Reid. "The President was working out of his briefcase; he sat down at a borrowed desk and wrote me a note which invited me to come talk to him about a term appointment for one year."The unique opportunity that CSUSM would provide captured the imagination of Reid, her husband, and many of the founding faculty. Cal State San Marcos was the first comprehensive public university to be built in this country in 20 years. While Reid's original appointment was only for one year, it was an opportunity she didn't want to pass up. Fortunately for Reid and the University, she was the successful candidate in the nationwide search for CSUSM's library Dean that next year."An early challenge was creating everything from scratch," says Reid. "There hadn't been a new university in two decades. There was no guide book on what to do first. Anything you had to have, you had to create."One of her fond memories of those early days was a small red crate. Until her first office was ready Reid used the crate to hold her office supplies as she moved from borrowed desk to borrowed desk. She then used the crate as a file to hold the first book orders for the new library. The little red crate even served as a podium as the need arose. For Reid it became a symbol of the flexibility and creativity of all the CSUSM founders.There was an excitement and pioneering spirit in those early days that remains a part of the campus culture today. "everyone working here was drawn together to make this place happen and make it happen in a quality manner," said Reid. "The main focus was the student and trying to make it as easy as possible for the student. We still have that desire today."Building the Library...As founding faculty set about developing curriculum and hiring the next round of professors, Reid began building the library. There was infrastructure to create, there were procedures to be developed and books to be acquired."There were three things I put into the framework of what I was trying to do," says Reid. "In building a library, it's first important to build a staff because the staff are the most important resource a library has. You first have to have people that are interested in others, that will put students first."The second element of Reid's framework was building the library collection. With a seed budget of $4.3 million, Reid began to make the acquisitions and was able to stretch those dollars thanks to the generosity of sister institutions. Campuses from all over helped bring the CSUSM library to life."I knew we would receive gifts but I had no idea how much other libraries, particularly libraries in California, would help us out," says Reid. "When I got here, there were more than 400 boxes of books in storage that UCSD had sent to us."The final piece of the framework was a facility. A former storefront church in the Los Vallecitos shopping center where the startup campus was located served as the first home for CSUSM's library. It wasn't long though until the Library moved to the third and fourth floors of the newly constructed Craven Hall.The move brought on a whole new set of challenges. Rather than one or two entrances into the library, there were no less than 22 access points and no way to secure or lock off the doors."As soon as it was light out, people were coming into the library and sitting by the windows," says Reid. "It wasn't uncommon for us to come in to open up the library and find any number of people already in the library."Planning for the permanent library began as soon as the move into Craven was completed. Unfortunately (or fortunately as it turned out), voters did not pass a necessary bond proposition. Construction of a permanent library was delayed. In 1999, CSUSM finally got the go ahead to fast track construction of the library. During the five years that had passed since the initial planning for the library, a new definition of a library building had been approved by the Chancellor's Office — a definition that provided for larger buildings housing technology components, learning centers, and a faculty center. The wait proved worth it."We were very fortunate that the architectural firm was most interested in working to bring light into the building. We were fortunate to be able to afford a signage consultant — the first one on this campus. We were fortunate that Planning Design & Construction went back to the Chancellor's Office and said there was not enough money for furnishings, fixtures and equipment for this building because funding was based on a building program from 1993. We were fortunate to receive federal support for some of the technology. We were fortunate enough to have donors who would contribute to the library. All of those factors led to the building we have as opposed to the building we would have had if we were on schedule. Had we been on track we would not have the jewel of a building that Kellogg Library is today," says Reid.Finally, in 2004 Kellogg Library opened to CSUSM and the community. Generous donors W. Keith and Janet Kellogg had an opportunity to visit the Kellogg Library soon after its opening and were greeted by a standing ovation of students, faculty, and staff.Summing up the 20 years..."I came to build a library," says Reid, "I had no idea to what extent I would be involved in the institution itself. This has been an experience that far exceeded my expectations and was more than I could have ever hoped for or thought possible. It was far more than anything I could have imagined. I have been allowed, as we all have been allowed, to come up with ideas about how we address challenges rather than being told you can't do that or we don't have the money. If you could come with alternatives people would listen. It has all been very satisfying."